Yoga teacher Ana Forrest thought she was delusional. She was praying alone by the Columbia River when she had a profound vision. She saw a towering version of herself with rainbows coming out of her limbs and surrounding her.
She realized that for so many years, she had seen herself as unworthy and small. Her vision told her that she was much more than that. Her vision told her to take part in the healing of the world.
She later learned that a Oglala Lakota healer named Black Elk had a similar vision. The vision would empower him with a mission to restore the “hoop” of his people. He had hoped he could lead all of his people back to the “red road,” the road of good.
Forrest herself would adopt this metaphor into her own life’s work, “Mending the Rainbow Hoop of the People.” She encourages people to tune into the healing power within. This healing isn’t for personal gain. It’s so that we can restore the broken hoop of our communities.
This concept of repairing and restoring echoes in other cultures. The Jewish mystical phrase tikkun olam refers to the need for social justice in the world. It starts by remembering the sacred in our world and taking social responsibility for the various injustices.
The African concept of ubuntu recognizes the influence of our actions on others. Rather than believe in a separate identity from others, ubuntu sees the self as socially constructed. Therefore, you do things for the good of humanity.
Thomas Merton calls it “resetting the bones.” He believed that so much of the world has been broken, and resetting the bones to heal properly is painful. We have to move in painful ways, give up our selfish habits, and remain firm in our “cast.”