What is Wakhan Mind?
What exactly is the mind? Consider the following question:
“Do you mind?”
When you ask someone that question, are you asking what they think? If someone asks if I mind whether they do something (as in, “Do you mind if I smoke?”), they’re not really asking what I think of the fact that they smoke. What they’re really asking is whether I care that they smoke at that particular moment. In other words, they’re asking how I feel about it.
Even the word mindful implies something more than thought. To be mindful requires a balance between thinking and feeling, between reason and emotion. To mind something (as in “mind your manners”), you must not only pay attention to what you’re doing, but also to whether you’re doing it purposefully and intentionally. It requires awareness of why you’re doing something as well as how. It requires the balance of head and heart.
Wahkan (pronounced “wok on”) is a Lakota name that means sacred. It is used with permission and in honor of Roland/Kote, a young Lakota man who, at age 16, declined the cancer treatments that he said was worse than the disease that had first appeared the year before. He was Roland when I first met him. Before leaving his earthly life to join Wakan Tanka or the Great Spirit, he legally changed his name to Kote, which in Lakota means no fear. He lived up to the name.