Way of the Hollow Bone

(by Robert Lester

In ancient times, our ancestors were guided by their innate connection to their spirit. Life was about deep listening and acting accordingly. One of the things I learned from a First Nations Elder was the art of listening. He would only say something once and expected me to understand it. That trained me to listen not only with my ears, but with my spirit. He taught me the Teaching Of The Hollow Bone.

If you find an old bone in the woods, it has been cleaned out by insects or animals and appears to be pristine. The insides are absolutely smooth. When you become like a hollow bone, you have no ego, no concerns, no doubts, no pride. Just humility. Spirit can now come straight to you and straight through you. I was told the hollow bone teaching is over 40,000 years old, and when you rely on it, it never fails.

How do you become a hollow bone?

In traditional teaching, techniques include ways to clear your mind, ground yourself, and breathe your spirit into your body. In a natural setting, you can practice opening yourself to the natural world. You can then listen with your heart, literally!

Here is part of the teaching that you can try for yourself.

*Go out into nature and find a spot where you feel safe and comfortable. This could be a special place in a park, or a favorite saltwater beach, or by a river. Your spirit will know the exact spot that feels most powerful.

*Bring a wool blanket or sweater and wrap it around you. The wool has its own medicine and will draw good to you and protect you as well. Shelter yourself from the wind.

*Sit down where you are.

*With your eyes closed, breathe in from above your head, pulling your spirit down into your body.

*Pull the breath down through your body through your tailbone and into the earth. To develop a relationship with the earth, hold your breath for just a moment and quietly exhale.

*As you exhale, let your spirit soar up along the body and above you.

*Inhale back down all the way through you, back into the earth. As you touch the earth with your breath, hold your breath again, just for a moment.

*Then exhale again up through the body. Keep your eyes closed. This breathing will begin to clear the mind. You are sitting in one place and quieting yourself.

*Now bring your consciousness to your heart, in the center of your sternum. Bringing the intention to the heart focuses your attention on your personal fire, your Spirit. Make a fire~listen to the spirit within.

*Breathe in a soft fashion. With each breath, expand your consciousness, to all that around you and listen from your heart, your spirit. If you are on the water, you can become the water. If you are in the woods, you can become the land.

*As you listen with your spirit, you may hear the helpers from the unseen give you guidance. You may hear the grandfathers direct you in ways that you had not conceived possible.

*Finally, you will begin to hear your own spirit direct you in the way of your highest good. This is the beginning of the Hollow Bone Teaching.”


Please note how this ancient Native American practice resonates with the practices of other traditions, including the Christian practice of Kinosis (self-emptying) from the "self emptying of Christ" in Phillipians 2; the Zen practice of Sunya (emptiness) from the Heart Sutra; and the Yogic breath-practice of self-cleansing from the root to the crown chakra. (- Chaplain Fred)

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