Red Lodge Longhouse: Balanced Self-Growth in All Aspects
Personal development is an attractive path for people seeking more happiness, health and wealth of spiritual connection. The challenges of living in our fast paced information age can be multifold. For many, finding a higher sense of meaning and purpose is an appealing activity. In today’s world, personal development programs are bountiful and all claim to provide the solution for life challenges. So, in our technology driven society, how does one sort through the variety of “quick fix” options to find something deep, powerful and transcendent?
What is Red Lodge Longhouse?
Red Lodge Longhouse is a four-year program that facilitates spiritual self growth and development for people from all cultures and backgrounds. The program blends the greatest wisdom from diverse spiritual traditions and presents the teachings in a way that is relevant to contemporary life. Students integrate invaluable knowledge through ceremonies and creative teaching formats such as teachings, ceremonies, group discussions, physical training and much more.
Over the course of four years, students are given strategies for character refinement and techniques for spiritual self-growth and development that allow participants to expand their consciousness, enhance their intuition and embrace their individual excellence. Through processes like recapitulation and self-forgiveness, students are guided to examine their so-called unfavorable characteristics. These spiritual techniques effectively help students transform emotions like shame, guilt and regret into awareness, acceptance, appreciation and self-love.
Year One: Our Connection to the Everything
In year one, students receive a comprehensive introduction to the basic teachings of the Sweet Medicine SunDance (SMSD) path. Students learn about their connection to the universe and all forms of life on the planet. They are guided to look to nature as a benevolent teacher. Year one focuses on getting to know all of the worlds of Grandmother Earth and how to connect with the plant, animal, mineral, human and spirit worlds.
The teachings of the Sweet Medicine SunDance path are presented in a format called “Wheels and Keys.” Wheels are an ancient way of assembling and transmitting information. This approach differs from linear thinking, which is the form of reasoning that predominates today. In linear thinking, humans are encouraged to follow a series of steps, rely heavily on logic and categorize concepts. Linear thinking is valid and beneficial in several arenas, like science and math, among others. However, when people use linear thinking for everything, they stifle the creativity that could lead to expansion and development.
Wheels teachings recognize the cycles and interconnections of life and nature. There is no beginning and no end because everything is constantly evolving, changing and growing. Wheel teachings evoke creativity in the thinker because it encourages people to access their own artistry and originality. This transformation is the “key” that unlocks the healing power of each wheel so that it can be used to bring beauty to the world.
Year Two: The Undiscovered Self
As the first year is dedicated to getting to know the Worlds of Grandmother Earth along with the Wheels and Keys, the second year looks at the internal aspect of the person. The students journey deep into their personal history and come to understand how their story was fixed into their body and how their personal stories were molded and sculpted. This molding and sculpting is what limits our human potential.
Each student gains a new understanding of “character refinement,” a difficult and tough challenge but a most exciting one as well. These students come face to face with their shadow selves, the part of themselves with which they are most uncomfortable. Consciously working with their shadow allows them to reveal their undiscovered self.
The focus throughout year two is to recognize one’s shining, confront these uncomfortable parts and bring them to the light. The teachings and ceremonies illuminate how each person can rewrite their existence at any moment. Other teachings include the “Great Work,” which is the name for seeing what opportunities each person has in their lifetime.
Year Three: The Healing Paradigm
The third year of Red Lodge shifts in focus as students begin learning about the Healing Paradigm of the Sweet Medicine SunDance Path. Year 3 students undergo intense training through advanced teachings and ceremonies. Students learn a profound body of teachings, tools and techniques that reframe the meaning of health, wellness and healing. More than the absence of sickness, illness and disease, health is a state of harmony and balance and is the birthright of all humans. Health describes the vital life force energy within all people that vibrates at a strong and cleansing frequency. The Healing Paradigm teaches that it is possible to heal the self and return to a state of balance and vitality.
Together, the training provided in Year 3 teaches students how to “troubleshoot” the challenges they experience in life. They learn tools for identifying problems, discerning the cause and finding the solution. The ceremonial experiences of Year 3 help students hold what they learned at a deeper level so it becomes body knowing.
Year Four: Rainbow Light Warriors
The 4th year of Red Lodge reveals deeper layers of all previous teachings. Students undergo leadership training and learn techniques for personal evolution. The focus of Year 4 is to learn what it means to be at service for self, life and others as a Rainbow Light Warrior. This is the name given to all people who vow to be part of the solution on the planet.
Black Lodge: Physical Mastery
All of the Red Lodge Longhouse programs have a component of martial arts training. This training is referred to as Black Lodge. Black Lodge describes the physical conditioning, including self-defense techniques and survival knowledge, that is necessary to maintain health, fitness and the ability to protect oneself from bodily harm. This is an important element of Red Lodge Longhouse and invaluable to maturation and growth.
Community: Why it’s important
Red Lodge Longhouse attracts curious people from all walks of life who aspire for spiritual evolution. Together teachers and students create a community that supports one another as each person endeavors to become more of who they truly are. Many participants form friendships that last a lifetime. Red Lodge Longhouse guides people to turn their thoughts, emotions and behaviors into acts of strength and healing that bring a positive impact to their families, communities and the world. People seeking to bring greater health, harmony, trust and spiritual connection into their lives can attend Red Lodge Longhouse for experiences that will transform their life.
Visit dtmms.org/programs/red-lodge/ to learn more about the Red Lodge Longhouse program. The open enrollment for the 2019 Red Lodge program closes April 11.