The Magic of the Hollow Bone

Jim Redtail

By Jim Redtail Collins, PhD

Jim 'Redtail' Collins In the wisdom teachings of the Lakota, it is said that our primary “spiritual” task is to become as a “hollow bone.”
This teaching is embodied symbolically in the eagle bone whistle—a whistle carved from the wing bone of an eagle—worn by Sun Dancers and medicine people. It is chiefly used for healing and for calling the spirit of the eagle to ceremony.
Many other spiritual traditions also speak of the hollow bone (or “empty reed”) to illustrate the largely misunderstood concept of humility, the most direct path to enlightenment.
As is often seen with “spiritual” concepts, there is more than one level to this teaching. On one level, humility has to do with giving up self-importance to see more clearly. At a higher level, it points to a deceptively simple pathway of self-transformation!
A common misconception is that the practice of humility is about humbling yourself. Not really. Nor is it about “knowing your place.” It is not something you do, nor is it something that is done to you. The essence of the practice of humility has to do with being completely present and releasing attachment to outcomes. It has to do with getting out of your own way. And though it is mentioned in many spiritual teachings, few people actually understand how to accomplish this.

True Wisdom For Our Time

The secret of humility—becoming the hollow bone—involves clearing your resistance to the universal flow of energy in your life, allowing the source of existence to flow through you unobstructed by your conditioning and self-identity.
To accomplish this, a “hollowing out” is required, an emptying of self-limiting beliefs, fears, resentments, unhealed wounds, doubts, apprehensions: resistance to Life. In the magic of the hollow bone lies one of the great secrets to happiness and fulfillment.
This is analogous to the shamanic practice of nondoing. Nondoing is not the same as inaction; it is about giving up on trying to micromanage everything by thinking, analysis, and forceful action—working your will on life.
It has to do with acknowledging the flow of life and merging with what life offers rather than trying to control and push everything, which is usually driven by subconscious fear. Most of us have learned to constrict the flow of possibilities considerably in order to maintain the illusion of control and ego-identity.
It is learning to be a human being, as opposed to a human doing.
This does not mean being “passive,” not in the least. It means being less involved with your own agenda and more “tuned in” to the power and opportunity that is all around you in every moment. It means being more alive!
Being open to the flow of energy from the Source of existence—without resistance— is what invites grace. Grace is essentially the natural flow of the life force that expresses as attitudes and behaviors such as forgiveness, compassion, kindness, appreciation, gratitude, joy—the frequencies of love.
You will probably notice that the hollow bone within you actually expands as you remove the resistances you have developed to the flow of vital energy through you. As you become more open and expanded—that is, hollow— through the releasing of resistance, you will experience more grace in your life!Jim Redtail

A Tool That Will Transform You

   An ancient practice will bring you into alignment with the flow of grace. In the mystical teachings of the Andes, this alignment is called Ayni—which roughly means right relationship, reciprocity.
Take time every day to observe what is blocking the flow of your life energy without judging it. Ask yourself questions such as: How do I feel stuck?        What am I resisting right now? What am I afraid of? What do I want to do that I am not doing?
If the answer is “nothing,” look harder. Something. Trust me. If the correct answer was nothing, you would be able to make it rain!
Don’t try to analyze it or try to figure out the why of it or what you should do about it. Simply observe what comes up without analysis. You might observe several different things that block you. Don’t judge them, just observe.This is very important. Judging and analyzing just creates more resistance.
Whatever it is, bring the feeling of resistance to your heart area and breathe into it. Relax your body and just breathe into your heart while you hold this feeling in your awareness.
Much of the resistance will dissolve automatically as you do this.
With whatever resistance remains after a few minutes, imagine a flow of energy pulsating up from the Earth into your lower spine and up through your heart. Continue to breathe into your heart and imagine the energy pulsating up into your heart and continuing, sweeping up the remaining resistance and carrying it out through the top of your head and dissolving into the vastness of energy that surrounds you.
Practice this often. Every day. Several times if you can. It just takes a few minutes. It will change you and invite miracles.
Keep working with this simple tool and you will begin notice your life transforming as you release whatever blocks you from the life you want as you increase the flow of grace into your life.
Jim Redtail    The magic of the hollow bone lies in allowing the energy that flows to us to flow through us, rather than resisting it with our learned limitations—the preconceptions, fears, and unhealed wounds that bind us to illusion.
What are you waiting for?

Dr. Jim Redtail Collins is a seasoned psychologist and transformational coach, as well as a full initiate and teacher of the shamanic tradition in both the Lakota and Q’ero-Laika medicine lineages. Blending timeless secrets of indigenous wisdom with the leading edges of scientific discovery, he can show you how to free yourself from learned limitations and find your wings.

Find out more at or call 530-604-8653.

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