Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all,
and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.
And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and understood more than I saw;
for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit,
and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being . . .
And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle,
wide as daylight and as starlight,
and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree
to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.
And I saw that it was holy . . .
But anywhere is the center of the world.
OGLALA SIOUX, 1863-1950
The Gathering is a traditional gathering of tribes to bring the vision of Black Elk into fruition. (see the articles 'Circles, Cycles, Spirals and Spheres'and 'Mitakuye Oyasin' on my web site.)
As the above extract from the account of Black Elk's vision indicates, when we are centred and in balance with our spirit, emotions, body, and mind we are at the centre of the world and we are seeing in a sacred manner. This is when we see the connectedness, oneness, and interdependent (not independent) nature of life. As Eckhart Tolle' says there is only one life and everything we see that appears separate are just the myriad of forms that life can manifest, of which there is no limit. All forms are impermanent and so come and go, but the eternal life that animates all forms is never changing.
So if we are going to live a good life in harmony with 'All Our Relations' (see 'Mitakuye Oyasin') and in a sacred manner we must keep these things in mind; be aware of the eternal Spirit and follow it's guidance. The material world of work, money and all manner of form are impermanent and are of secondary importance. When we have a good relationship with Spirit, both the personal God, Great Spirit or whatever you call it; and the impersonal Great Mystery aspect of God, then all the other aspects of our life will fall into harmony.
To bring to the people medicine through ceremony to preserve and in some cases re-teach elements of the old ways of living. To enable the vision of Black Elk which was for the reunification of all peoples, all colours, all religions, all classes. To work towards the sacred unity of all.
Black Elk Lakota Holy Man
"With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit my Grandfather with running tears I must say now that the tree has never bloomed. A pitiful old man, you see me here, and I have fallen away and have done nothing. Here at the center of the world, when you took me when I was young and taught me; here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather. Again, and maybe the last time on this earth, I recall the great vision you sent me. It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds. Hear me, not for myself, but for my people.
"I am old. Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop and find the good red road, the shielding tree."
from Black Elk Speaks by John Niehardt