Chief Tecumseh on Living Beyond Fear
Is living beyond fear possible? Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee Nation offers wisdom that is as relevant today as it was centuries ago. It’s an invitation for us to view life through a lens of respect, love, and communal wellbeing.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.” —Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation
Living without the fear of death opens up a world of freedom. It’s not about disregarding mortality; it’s about embracing the vitality of life. Imagine a community where people are not hoarding resources or power because we are not driven by existential fears.
Instead, we’re sharing resources, experiences, and emotional support to enrich each other’s lives. For instance, imagine people donating tools that don’t regularly use, from power drills to lawnmowers. When you need a specific tool for a project, you borrow it, use it, and then return it for the next person.
Living Beyond Fear: The Beauty of Sharing
This weaves a fabric of trust and reliance within the community. You learn who’s skilled at woodworking, who can fix a leaky faucet, and who loves to build treehouses. Conversations spark, tips get shared, and soon you find that a simple act of borrowing a hammer can build friendships that last a lifetime. Who knew that one hammer could lead to healthy conversations and much laughter?
The simple act of acknowledging someone, even in isolation, cultivates a sense of shared humanity. It reminds us that we are not alone, even when physically isolated.
Coming to terms with mortality enriches life. David Bowie crafted an album as his parting gift, turning his swan song into art. He was leaving the world with something to remember, ponder, and learn from.
Chief Tecumseh’s wisdom doesn’t offer a blueprint but a compass—guiding principles that can help us navigate our own lives in our own way. We only take what we need.
Living fearlessly, respecting ourselves, serving our community, acknowledging each other, sharing and avoiding abuse—these are not just individual virtues but a number of collective pathways we can choose to create a harmonious, healthy society.
In this evolving landscape, we have the opportunity to create playgrounds of empathy, wisdom, and collective wellbeing. Let’s grasp it, not just for ourselves but for generations yet unborn on our planet and the health of every living being.
When we choose to listen to our own heartbeat, we cannot only hear our own but also the vibration of other heartbeats around us—vibrating in harmony.