Our journey into the world of traditional teachings continued Friday with the presentation of the pilot project for the Cree traditional health program. We were honored with the presence of Tulshi Sen, who is working together with the Elders and the Cree Health Board to set up this program that promotes teachings of the Elders and empowerment of the youth.

Tulshi Sen is a world acclaimed writer and speaker and his wisdom and journeys radiate from his very being. A hindu boy from Calcutta, as he describes himself, he was classically trained through a Jesuit education. He then traveled the world, gathering wisdom from Elders and masters, stories that he shares with humor and passion.

He opened the day with this story:

He was doing humanitarian work in Nepal when he joined a group gathered around an elder. The elder said, ” Son, you are well-versed in scripture, is that so?” He answered that he indeed was. The elder then asked, “Then, can you tell me why God called Adam and Eve by those names. Why not Jack and Jill or some other name?” Tulshi admitted that he had no idea. The elder scoffed at his lack of knowledge and sent him away without another look.

Tulshi tossed and turned all night. At the break of dawn, he rushed to the elder’s hut, who was waiting for him. He asked the elder, “Can you please tell me the answer?”

“In Hebrew, A- means ‘No’ and Dam means ‘breath’. Adam is the one with no breath. He has no life. And so, God breathes life into his nostrils. Every breath you take in, is that breath of God, of the universe that fills you and gives you life.

Eve, from the word Hawa, means breath. She is the mother of all living things.

What is Adam’s main function? He is the namer of things. He is the vision that brings things into being. But without the breath, without Life, these things are empty. Only when Adam and Eve combine do we have creation. If you have vision for it, Eve will produce it.

So, in his original state, Adam could only name things he could see. So he complained to the snake saying: “I see things and I ask ‘Why?’. To this, the snake answered: “I see things that never were and I ask ‘Why not?'”

So in consuming the apple (which was in fact a pomegranate), they became like God, able to create from the void that which did not yet exist. Theirs was the gift of imagination, to create something new, combining vision and divine breath. Adam and Eve.”

Tulshi ended with a smile. ‘That is why I am Adam and I am Eve.’

At the end of the session, I approached Tulshi to ask for his permission to pass on this teaching. He said, “By all means, pass it on to as many people as you can.”

And so I pass it on to all of you.