The Apache tribes in Arizona have a long history of practicing the art of meditation. I guess you could say that it is a tradition that stretches back at least ten thousand years or more.
So when I had questions about meditation I knew right where to go for answers – the Apache nation.More specifically the White Mountain Apache Indian tribe. See website for more information: http://www.wmat.nsn.us/
See also video: 1000 years of Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-miKzuLfMY
There I met with an elder who was gracious enough to discuss this topic with me at a local McDonald’s restaurant.
He identified himself only as “Johnny” and he was about 91 years old I guess (were not exactly sure he didn’t have a birth certificate).
So I asked him how all this got started in the first place? What he said was absolutely fascinating:
He said the first great “mediators” were the Apache medicine men or “shamans.”
The shaman or medicine men would pass down many of the techniques many still use today by members of the tribe when mediating.
He indicated that for literally hundreds of years Apache shaman would encourage young people to go out on spiritual quests to find themselves and the meaning of life. A practice still followed today by some members of the tribe, although it has fallen out of favor among the young.
See video: Apache elder address youth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mraju4OnhI
This often involved them going into the wilderness for upwards to 3 days alone to pray and fast to the spirits, who might appear to them in the form of animals, like a wolf, bear or coyote to communicate messages, dreams and visions, as well as sacred spirit beings.
See rare video: Apache crown dancers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uih1sEtIY98
These young people would often come back as changed individuals. See video: Apache vision quest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXCdcfxi9vQ
They also learned advanced forms of meditation which allowed them to be in the “present moment.”