The Seven Paths

Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

Anasazi Foundation (Author) | Anasazi Foundation (Author)

Publication date: 07/09/2013

The Seven Paths

Ultimately, it is in communion with our fellow beings and the natural world that we are made whole. We need to leave the path of Me and follow the path of We.

  • Tells a lyrical and moving parable of the healing wisdom of the wilderness
  • Supplies what's missing in traditional notions of "self-help": the importance of a connection to a community and to the natural world in achieving inner peace and personal fulfillment
  • Based on a book published and circulated privately by the award-winning Anasazi Foundation, which has helped thousands of people for twenty-five years

Too many people today have taken the wrong path. They walk alone, seeking peace and fulfillment in isolation. Countless well-meaning self-help books preach this gospel, as the name "self-help" implies. But this approach will take us only so far. Ultimately, it is in communion with our fellow beings and the natural world that we are made whole. We need to leave the path of Me and follow the path of We.

This poetic and evocative book, drawing on the personal experiences of Good Buffalo Eagle, presents the meditations of an ancient Anasazi tribesman who rejects his family and community and walks off into the desert. During his journey, he discovers the seven paths of the Anasazi way, each path teaching a lesson symbolized by an element of the natural world: light, wind, water, stone, plants, animals, and finally the unity of all beings with the Creator, the path of We. By walking these paths, he discovers the roots of his conflict and the way toward reconciliation.

For years, this book has been privately distributed by the Anasazi Foundation, an award-winning nonprofit organization whose work with troubled youth in a wilderness setting has been extraordinarily effective. But there is benefit here for all. The Seven Paths gives access to a source of wisdom and renewal familiar to native people but lost to the rest of us. As Good Buffalo Eagle writes in the foreword, this book "presents what might be described as a course in healing-seven elements among nature that combine to heal human hearts."

Founded in 1988 by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez (Good Buffalo Eagle), Anasazi Foundation gives young people an opportunity for growth through a primitive living experience and a philosophy that invites healing at the hands of nature. Anasazi's family-focused intervention programs inspired the international bestseller The Anatomy of Peace and were the subject of an episode of the Emmy-award-winning MTV series True Life. It is estimated that more than 40,000 people have participated in programs designed by Olsen and Sanchez.

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Overview

Ultimately, it is in communion with our fellow beings and the natural world that we are made whole. We need to leave the path of Me and follow the path of We.

  • Tells a lyrical and moving parable of the healing wisdom of the wilderness
  • Supplies what's missing in traditional notions of "self-help": the importance of a connection to a community and to the natural world in achieving inner peace and personal fulfillment
  • Based on a book published and circulated privately by the award-winning Anasazi Foundation, which has helped thousands of people for twenty-five years

Too many people today have taken the wrong path. They walk alone, seeking peace and fulfillment in isolation. Countless well-meaning self-help books preach this gospel, as the name "self-help" implies. But this approach will take us only so far. Ultimately, it is in communion with our fellow beings and the natural world that we are made whole. We need to leave the path of Me and follow the path of We.

This poetic and evocative book, drawing on the personal experiences of Good Buffalo Eagle, presents the meditations of an ancient Anasazi tribesman who rejects his family and community and walks off into the desert. During his journey, he discovers the seven paths of the Anasazi way, each path teaching a lesson symbolized by an element of the natural world: light, wind, water, stone, plants, animals, and finally the unity of all beings with the Creator, the path of We. By walking these paths, he discovers the roots of his conflict and the way toward reconciliation.

For years, this book has been privately distributed by the Anasazi Foundation, an award-winning nonprofit organization whose work with troubled youth in a wilderness setting has been extraordinarily effective. But there is benefit here for all. The Seven Paths gives access to a source of wisdom and renewal familiar to native people but lost to the rest of us. As Good Buffalo Eagle writes in the foreword, this book "presents what might be described as a course in healing-seven elements among nature that combine to heal human hearts."

Founded in 1988 by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez (Good Buffalo Eagle), Anasazi Foundation gives young people an opportunity for growth through a primitive living experience and a philosophy that invites healing at the hands of nature. Anasazi's family-focused intervention programs inspired the international bestseller The Anatomy of Peace and were the subject of an episode of the Emmy-award-winning MTV series True Life. It is estimated that more than 40,000 people have participated in programs designed by Olsen and Sanchez.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Anasazi Foundation

In the Native American tradition, life is a “walking.” One’s walking is determined by the state of one’s heart toward all that is around him. Anasazi is a Navajo word commonly interpreted as “the Ancient Ones.” According to legends, the wise teachers taught that the Creator placed man on the earth in order for him to learn how to “walk forward”—in harmony with man and all creation.  

For years, ANASAZI Foundation—a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Arizona—has served families by introducing them to a New Beginning and helping them to discover their Seed of Greatness and the wisdom of the lives led by these Ancient Ones.  

Founded by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry Olsen and Ezekiel Sanchez, ANASAZI gives young people an opportunity, through a primitive living experience and a philosophy that invites healing at the hands of nature, to effect a change of heart—a change in one’s whole way of walking in the world. ANASAZI’s wilderness experience is nonpunitive. To those at ANASAZI, the wilderness is not a harsh place to break youth down but rather a safe place—a place free from distractions, where one can learn, ponder, discover, and build.  

Through this experience and ANASAZI’s concurrent work with parents, ANASAZI prepares parents and children to turn their hearts to one another, begin anew, and walk in harmony in the wilderness of the world.  

ANASAZI Foundation, (800) 678-3445, www.anasazi.org



Visit Author Page - Anasazi Foundation

In the Native American tradition, life is a “walking.” One’s walking is determined by the state of one’s heart toward all that is around him. Anasazi is a Navajo word commonly interpreted as “the Ancient Ones.” According to legends, the wise teachers taught that the Creator placed man on the earth in order for him to learn how to “walk forward”—in harmony with man and all creation.  

For years, ANASAZI Foundation—a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Arizona—has served families by introducing them to a New Beginning and helping them to discover their Seed of Greatness and the wisdom of the lives led by these Ancient Ones.  

Founded by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry Olsen and Ezekiel Sanchez, ANASAZI gives young people an opportunity, through a primitive living experience and a philosophy that invites healing at the hands of nature, to effect a change of heart—a change in one’s whole way of walking in the world. ANASAZI’s wilderness experience is nonpunitive. To those at ANASAZI, the wilderness is not a harsh place to break youth down but rather a safe place—a place free from distractions, where one can learn, ponder, discover, and build.  

Through this experience and ANASAZI’s concurrent work with parents, ANASAZI prepares parents and children to turn their hearts to one another, begin anew, and walk in harmony in the wilderness of the world.  

ANASAZI Foundation, (800) 678-3445, www.anasazi.org

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Good Buffalo Eagle

Preface

Beginnings The Making of a Walking

The Age of "I"

Away from My People

My People, Again

Nature as Teacher

Forward and Backward Walking

1 The Path of Light

A Ray of Light

Light and Darkness

Illumination of the Heart

The Source of the Light

Messengers of the Light

2 The Path of Wind

A Voice on the Wind

The Breath of Life

The Connection of Nature

The Connection of Man

Messages on the Wind

3 The Path of Water

The Need for Water

Drought in the Soul

Moisture to the Soul

Water's Lessons

Water's Source

4 The Path of Stone

The Wisdom of Stone

The Foundation of Peace

To Be as a Stone

Forward and Backward Use of Stone

Stone's Question

5 The Path of Plants

The Secret of Plants

The Service of Plants

The Source of Beauty

Counterfeits

Hope for the Desert

6 The Path of Animals

A Badger and a Stone

The Language of Animals

Faces among the Animals

Honoring Creation

The Offering of Animals

7 The Path of "WE"

The Story of My People

My View of My People

Awakening to WE

The Lie in the "I"

The Creed of WE

Destinations Forward Walking

Lone Walking

The Step to a New Life

Together Walking

Words to a Friend

About the Art

Acknowledgments

About ANASAZI Foundation

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Excerpt

The Seven Paths

      

Beginnings
The Making of a Walking

image

The Age of “I”

I am a lone voice, a lone man,

the last of a people.

In my walking, I have seen many days of the earth—
from the days of dust and simple villages to the
days of concrete and gleaming cities.

I have observed revolutions
in science, medicine, and technology.

I have watched as man, once bound to the earth,
has launched himself toward the stars.

I have seen what I never could have imagined and
what my people never could have dreamed of.

Man has become impressive indeed.

Image

But, young friend (and no matter your age, to me you
are young), of all the days I have witnessed, today—
your day—is the most unhappy.

I see it in the faces I meet on sidewalks and in the voices
I hear in your cities.

Mother Earth has never been more crowded,
yet her inhabitants have never been more lonely.

Image

You live in the age of “I.” Man looks out for himself, and
only secondarily for others. In the philosophy of your day,
happiness is a product of the fulfillment of personal wants.

Image

Would it surprise you to hear that man’s unhappiness is due
in large measure to the way he is seeking after happiness?

You know this already from your own life.
For when you have been unhappy, you have been
unhappy with others—with your father or mother, your
sister or brother, your spouse, your son, your daughter.
If unhappiness is with others, wouldn’t it stand
to reason that happiness must be with others as well?

Image

Man’s obsession with his own wants is taking him further
from those without whom happiness cannot be found.

It is taking him from his people.

In truth, it is taking him from his true self.

Away from My People

I was once known among my people as
“The WE walking lost.”

A strange way of speaking, to your ear, no doubt.

And a way I once thought strange as well.

For the speaking of my people had not yet become mine.

Image

You see, there is no “I” alone in the speaking of our people.

When referring to another among us, as when
referring to ourselves, we speak in “WE.”

Image

One day, while on a hunt with others who
were earning their early merits of manhood,
the village leader’s son—once my friend
but by then my rival—claimed my kill as his own.

Both of us rushed to the fallen carcass.

“You!” I yelled, violating our language’s
commitment to community, “You lie!”

Others in the party rushed to pull us off each other.
I swung at him in vain, restrained by the others behind me.

We were taken before the village council,
my father sitting among them.

My rival’s father rose, looking back and forth from
me to his son. He stood silently for several minutes.
Finally he said, “WE suffered today. Our warring in
the forest was against Our way. WE do not fight WE.”

“But WE,” I interrupted, pointing at the other, “is cheating
WE!” I said, looking first at the chief and then at my father.

But my father looked at me in stone silence.
He offered nothing—no defense, not even a look
of encouragement or understanding.

My heart was wounded.

My rival’s father now focused his eyes on me.

WE, young son,” he said slowly, “have much to learn.
Much to learn before manhood.”

“What about WE!” I exclaimed, pointing at his son.
“Does not WE have much to learn, too?”

The air stood still in the chamber.

“Silence,” he said with a quiet firmness.
“Silence is what WE must learn.”

I turned and fled in humiliation and fury—
my father’s silence closing my heart and
my rival’s air of triumph poking at my skin.

Image

From that moment on,
I began to turn my heart from my people.

I resented the village elders, especially my father. And I kept
myself distant from those who had before been friends.

The mere thought of my rival stirred my heart to anger.

And our beliefs and customs irritated my ears.

Image

I saw pain in my people’s faces when I mocked our ways and
reveled in what I considered victory. But my bitterness grew.

My parents bothered me, my sisters and my brother
bothered me, my village bothered me.

I longed to be independent and free—
free from the tyranny of WE.

And so one morning, long before the dawn, I ran.

My People, Again

But I discovered a surprising thing in my running:

Those who had granted me life and language accompanied
me wherever I went. I thought with words they taught me.
Their very identity was replicated in my skin.

Although I had left them physically, they nevertheless
traveled with me in my mind, my flesh, my heart.

Image

How surprised I was to discover this—
that there was no escaping my life.

With a heart that glared at my people, I glared as well
at the hill that rose inconveniently before me.

I swung angrily at the tree that obstructed my way.

I cursed at the valley that fell far below me.

I shook my fists at the rapids in the stream.

When I finally scratched my way to the summit of
Big Mountain and turned for a final glance at the village
in the distance, I was committed to never returning.

Image

But you know that I did return, for you have sensed
the reverence and love I now have for my people.

And perhaps you have guessed that I desire
nothing more than to be among them again.

How did it happen? What brought me home
and taught me love and reverence?

How did I discover happiness with a people
from whom I had felt estranged, even banished?

Image

My young friend,
this is what I have pondered every day since.

And the answer may surprise you.

The hill, the tree, the valley, and the stream—
those objects of my wrath—were my teachers.

Mother Earth reintroduced me to my people.

Nature as Teacher

Unfortunately, modern man has become
so focused on harnessing nature’s resources
that he has forgotten how to learn from them.

If you let them, however, the elements of nature
will teach you as they have taught me.

Consider:

What was the point in being angry at the hills?
They had nothing against me.

And how silly to curse the trees when they merely offered
me shade. Likewise the valleys that offered rest, and the
streams refreshment . . . what cause had I to blame them?

Image

Mother Earth taught me that my anger
toward nature was unfounded.

And she therefore invited me to open my heart to this
possibility: so too may be my anger toward man.

Forward and Backward Walking

In the years since, I have learned that
the point of life’s walk is not where or how far
I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart.

If I walk far but am angry toward others as I journey,
I walk nowhere.

If I conquer mountains but hold grudges against others
as I climb, I conquer nothing.

If I see much but regard others as enemies, I see no one.

Image

My young friend, when the days of your walking begin
to draw to a close, you will know that I speak the truth.

Whether we walk among our people or alone
among the hills, happiness in life’s walking depends
on how we feel about others in our hearts.

We travel only as far and as high as our hearts will take us.

Image

When I ran from my people, this is what the hills,
the trees, the valleys, and the streams invited me to learn—
and before it was too late:

That the success of my journey depended on
whether my heart walked forward—toward my people—
instead of backward, away from them.

Image

My walk is nearly finished. Soon I will join my people.

How fortunate and grateful I am that I want to.

Image

My young friend, before the close of my days,

I will share the making of my walking—paths of clarity
and healing that can be found among the hills.

May your heart walk forward in your receiving.

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Endorsements

“There is much to learn from any person who has lived his life trying to heed the wisdom he has gathered from the lingering voices of his ancestors—especially in an age, like our own, when those voices have been spurned. Ezekiel Sanchez (Good Buffalo Eagle), cofounder of ANASAZI Foundation, is such a person. He has used the ancient, tested wisdom of his people to touch the souls of thousands of once- troubled young people and their families and show them the way to reunion and peace. Such a person also is his literary collaborator, Jim Ferrell. In The Seven Paths, they have distilled their unique and luminous insight. Reading this book receptively, you will likely catch yourself already forward walking in your heart and awakening to the light.”
—C. Terry Warner, PhD, founder, The Arbinger Institute

“This book is profound! The principle of ‘We' is the secret to every success on and off the field.”
—Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN commentator

“Through the story of the Seven Paths, my daughter realized how she, too, had walked backward, away from her family. This profound discovery saved my daughter's life, which in turn saved our entire family. It gave her a solid foundation to navigate through her very difficult teenage years...it gave our lost child new feet to find her way—her path to becoming a loving, successful young adult with truly a heart at peace.”
—Elaine Taylor, President, The Taylor Family Foundation

“Speaking with the wisdom of ancient ones, this guide to life's chal- lenging journey is brilliantly accessible and spiritually transforming.”
—Richard Ferre, MD, adolescent and adult psychiatrist

“The Seven Paths lays the groundwork for personal growth, insights, and strength required in long-term recovery.”
—Jon Memmott, retired judge

“Every page is filled with insight and wisdom. You will want to read it, share it, and read it again.”
—Dale Tingey, PhD, founder and Executive Director, American Indian Services

“The Seven Paths epitomizes the strength of one of my favorite words: TEAM—Together Everyone Achieves More.”
—Bart Starr, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback

“In the universal moments of feeling stuck or lost, the Seven Paths are simple and profound truths that provide not only solace but genuine ways to change your heart.”
—Courtney Merrill, LMFT, marriage and family therapist and educational consultant

“ANASAZI Foundation's Seven Paths illustrates an oft-forgotten truth that it is not our experiences that determine the quality of our lives but who we are morally when we pass through those experiences. To walk in the light instead of in darkness means we see our experiences truthfully and learn and grow. When we betray the light within us, we walk in darkness and we find our experiences burdensome. This book is an invitation to all to live truthfully and distinguish toxic from nourishing ways of being in the world.”
—Terrance D. Olson, PhD, Ernest Osborne award winner in Family Life Education

“The Seven Paths is truly a blessing. I recommend it to anyone in need of healing, wisdom, power, and goodness.”
—Stan Block, MD, author and founder, Mind-Body Bridging

“A little book with a big message! The Seven Paths reminds us of who we are, our relationship to our Creator, and how happiness with our families is within our grasp.”
—Danny Ainge, former professional basketball and baseball player and President of Basketball Operations, Boston Celtics

“It is a privilege to recommend The Seven Paths. ANASAZI is one of the best programs for helping young people and adults make major changes in their lives, and I am thrilled this book will make the phi- losophy and wisdom its program is based on accessible to a larger audience.”
—Ralph H. Earle, MDiv, PhD, founder and President, Psychological Counseling Services, Ltd.

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