“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
― Marcus Aurelius
Had a pretty good conversation with this great lady today. She is in a state of despair. She is starting to meet a number of Traditional Indian people (Elders, Healers, Helpers) and learning about the Teachings. However one the things she is having trouble with, is the character of people. She was raised in a Christian household (not sure but might have been non-Native). To her, the surrounding community of the Christian folk were very supportive to each other and they really loved God. To her these people really did try to live a virtuous and kind life. Now with the people in the Indian community there seems to be so much anger or maybe distrust for each other. She is getting disillusioned about the way people say they are and in the way they act. People are trying to live the "Red Road" but seem to be straying. She loves the words of the Teachings, but wonders why the word don't match the actions.
Don't despair my friend. People are flawed. We don't need to worry too much about the character traits of others. I know the old saying that "actions speak louder than words". People will speak good, but the way they behave reveals their character. We can judge and be disheartened by the selfish or bad actions of someone, who professes to live a life of virtue, or we can just try and control our own actions. I say don't let the flaws of others discourage your journey. Your journey of discovery. We may never know the lives the others have lived and what influences them. Perhaps they are damaged by a trouble past; poor environment; horrible instances; abuse; addictions; isolation. Maybe they are trying to live a kind and good life but are confused. That is the thing with any life. Myself, I struggle every day with my demons and the demons of my actions past. It is a hard thing.
Many of our people are going down the same journey as my friend is. A journey to discover their heritage. A journey to the connection with the Creator, to God. The journey is for many reasons; Adopted out, raised out of the Native community, lost heritage, denied heritage, residential school survivors. So they may be in the same situation. Loving the concepts, the intent of the Teachings. But they are faced with the fact that people are flawed. Peoples character traits are not synonymous with the way of life of a Traditional belief system. That's okay. Don't let the actions of others interfere with who you are. You will no doubt meet both people who are walking the Red Road in earnest and those that are struggling. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just take the good in all things. There must be some good in all people; at least I hope there is.
We all have our own traits, good and bad.