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Excerpt from "The Seven Paths"

by The Anasazi Foundation

Foreword: I am Good Buffalo Eagle. Hear my words.

The Creator gave all Two-Legged beings a sacred gift. We call this the Gift of Choice. Regardless of where we are born, all come to earth with this gift. Along with this Gift of Choice, all Two-Legged beings have a sense of knowing right from wrong from the One Who Stands Within. Therefore, the Gift of Choice allows us to choose knowingly.

My Pauline, the Woman of my Heart, states that in her Navajo language, life is a walking, a journey. So, if life upon Mother Earth is a journey, there are two ways to walk.

By applying the Gift of Choice, we can choose to walk forward or we can choose to walk backward. Because we choose knowingly, with every step we take forward or backward, we are accountable.

Because we are accountable, there are consequences. Consequences, however, are not chosen. They might be delayed, but by and by they will come.

Forward Walking choices are rewarded with consequences that light the way to peace, happiness, joy, comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. Backward Walking choices bring to the Two-Legged beings consequences of misery, despair, and darkness.

At the end of our lives, when our bodies are about to be laid in Mother Earth, we will know for ourselves whether we are a Two-Legged being full of light or a Two-Legged being full of darkness. At that time, we cannot turn around and point a finger accusingly in the air. WE will know because WE are the ones who chose to walk forward toward the light or backward toward darkness.

Hear my words. Ponder the narrative of the Seven Paths. For you, like the young man in the story, can turn toward a New Beginning. Don’t believe the dark whisperings that invite you to walk backward. At any time in your life, you have the power to turn forward. No matter how young or old you are, you have the power to turn and walk forward. That’s the ANASAZI Way.

We extend an invitation to all to utilize the power of the Gift of Choice, which will teach us the Forward Walkings that will bring peace. Let’s look at the present and with anticipation into the future at what we can become—a Two-Legged being full of light!

I am Good Buffalo Eagle. I have spoken.


There is much to be learned from the world around us—far more than we normally comprehend. The Ancient Ones knew this well—most particularly the wise teachers among them—those who, in the Navajo tongue, were called “Anasazi.”

These ancient teachers understood well that no man is as wise as Mother Earth. She has witnessed every human day, every human struggle, every human pain, and every human joy. For maladies of both body and spirit, the wise ones of old pointed man to the hills. For man too is of the dust and Mother Earth stands ready to nurture and heal her children.

Unfortunately, modern man has moved far from Mother Earth. And as he has done so, his maladies have multiplied. Our work is with those who have been struck with the maladies of the modern age. We have found that no modern prescriptions heal the human heart so fully or so well as the prescription of the Ancient Ones. “To the hills,” they would say. To which we would add, “To the trees, the valleys, and the streams, as well.” For there is a power in nature that man has ignored. And the result has been heartache and pain.

This book, The Seven Paths, presents what might be described as a way to healing—seven elements among nature that combine to heal human hearts. It is a way designed by the Creator and presented by Mother Earth to all who have the wisdom to seek her. We have learned to seek her often over these many years, and like the Anasazi of old, we have the sacred trust of inviting others to do the same.

Beginnings: The Making of a Walking

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.


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?

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.

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.

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.

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

How fortunate and grateful I am that I want to.

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.

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.

Purchase info: ISBN: 978-160994-9198 Paperback: 120 pages Price: $14.95

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