An Indigenous Soul

An excerpt from Martin Prechtel’s classic 2001 interview with The Sun Magazine.

Every individual in the world, regardless of cultural background or race, has an indigenous soul struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile environment created by that individual’s mind. A modern person’s body has become a battleground between the rationalist mind — which subscribes to the values of the machine age — and the native soul. This battle is the cause of a great deal of spiritual and physical illness.

Over the last several centuries, a heartless, culture-crushing mentality has enforced its so-called progress on the earth, devouring all peoples, nature, imagination, and spiritual knowledge. Like a bulldozer, it has left a flat, homogenized streak of civilization in its wake. Every human on this earth, whether from Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Americas, has ancestors whose stories, rituals, ingenuity, language, and life ways were taken away, enslaved, banned, exploited, twisted, or destroyed by this mentality. What is indigenous — in other words, natural, subtle, hard to explain, generous, gradual, and village oriented — in each of us has been banished to the ghettos of our heart, or hidden away from view on reservations inside the spiritual landscape. We’re taught to believe that our thoughts are actually the center of our life. Like the conquering, modern culture we belong to, we understand the world only with the mind, not with the indigenous soul.

And this indigenous soul is not something that can be brought back in “wild man” or “wild woman” retreats on the weekend and then dropped when you put on your business suit. It’s not something you take up because it’s fun or trendy. It has to be authentic, and it has to be spiritually expensive.

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