The question is not: “How many spiritual leaders are there in Red Lake?” because whether we see it or not, or whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, the fact is, we are all spiritual leaders.
Rather the question is only: “What kind of spiritual leaders do we choose to be in Red Lake?”
Who is a spiritual leader?
Elders: While some elders never learn their lessons, old age can be conducive to spirituality. Disease, accidents or consequence due to lack of impulse control or wrong choices kill off many of The People in their prime of life.
In general, people who make wise choices tend to live longer.
Most elders aren’t as driven by their hormones as teenagers because they are older. (Elders may not have as many hormones.) They may have little or no sex drive or are not as impulsive because of a lack of hormones.
Elders don’t sleep as much, or as well, so they have more time to think, or do other things.
Parents are spiritual leaders by example as are aunts, uncles, older brothers, sisters, siblings, and twins.
Teens and pre-teens are spiritual leaders because their peers look to them for social approval over any other age group at this stage of their development.
Little children are spiritual leaders because not yet having learned the vices of the world, they are innocent, and virtuous. By being who they are, they teach and remind those of us who may have abandoned some of those virtues as we grew older, to re-examine and reclaim them.
Whether we want to be or not, Red Lakers are visible because we may look different. It can be hard to hide being Anishinabeg. Therefore, we are spiritual examples of being Anishinabeg whether we want to be or not.
Whether we believe we are participating or not, we are spiritual examples. We are an example of participation in spiritual things when we do, just as we are an example of non-participation in spiritual things when we don’t participate.
How do spiritual leaders lead?
I know where the best wild rice lakes are because someone showed me and now I can show you. Spiritual leaders lead by experience gained through faith and knowledge. They believed that the best wild rice lake was there even though they could not immediately see it, and acting on the belief, searched until they found it. Having gained the knowledge through the experience of their search, they could tell or show you how to get there.
Caregiver, servant, teacher, guide, helper or rescuer are just other names for a spiritual leader .
One can never be better than others when one is a spiritual leader because being better than someone else is a false assumption, that is because we can only be better than we were.
I have heard it said that there is no up or down when it comes to spiritual leadership because being higher or lower is a false comparison; as if being better than who we were somehow makes us better than other people. It doesn’t. It is just a matter of our making individual progress.
It is a common assumption that being spiritual means being good. That is an erroneous assumption. Spirituality is neutral until we place a value on it. Spiritual leaders can be good, bad, and evil.
If a person is a good spiritual leader, it is because they practice being virtuous. Virtuous action is a result of choosing to be virtuous. While one can have ulterior motives to doing things that appear virtuous, usually the reason is because one wants to be good.
If a person is a bad spiritual leader, it is not necessarily because they want to hurt other people but because they are trying to be good but are making mistakes.
An evil spiritual leader is a person who acts intending to cause pain or suffering, or intending to hurt or destroy another person–whether physically, spiritually or socially.
Connecting with a higher power can only be done by virtue.
Connecting with a lower power can only be done by vice.
We cannot do the one and expect to connect with the other.
Just a few stray thoughts.