During the last two years, I have taught classes regarding Cherokee philosophy at the El Dorado Hills Senior Center. While researching Cherokee history and philosophy, I created the following list of Cherokee life lessons, which I believe we can utilize to improve our everyday lives:
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• We learn more from negative experiences.
• To enjoy inner peace, you must let go of negative emotions and fears.
• To help others, the right questions are more important than the right answers.
• While you are talking, you are not learning. Your tongue can make you deaf.
• Opposites can teach you more if you listen carefully to them.
• If one of us believes “Your truth is as important as my truth,” we will have no arguments.
• Do not waste your time or energy on people who refuse to change their negative ways.
• When you confront fear, the fear is no longer alive.
• When someone helps you, you then must help seven other people.
• How can you say “thank you” with nothing in your hands?
• Behave as if all your relatives are watching you.
• It’s not your place to interfere when others are making choices, unless they ask you to.
• Do not allow others to determine who you are … listen to your inner wisdom.
• Those who think they know everything forget how to listen.
• Your intuition may be the Great Spirit guiding you.
• It’s enough to just be. Being average is OK.
• People do not own the earth … People belong to the earth.
• What you do not need or use … give away.
• Learn to listen to and believe your eyes … not your ears.
• Truth is somewhere between opposite views.
• Do not live with indifference; do something about it.
• We choose our inner world …
• Everything we throw in the river or the universe comes back to us.
• Those who are willing to learn will find the teacher they need.
• The best leader is the best listener and the best helper.
• It’s OK to tell a child, “You’re not old enough to understand the answer.”
• Very important decisions require that you go to a quiet environment for four days.
• To accept someone else’s vision is to have no vision.
• Our most trusted friend is inside us.
• It’s OK to expect very little and appreciate the value of everything.
• You become what you think about, all day long.
• It’s a good idea to forgive people, but it doesn’t mean you have to invite them to your house.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.