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Mitakuye Oyasin - All Are Related
In the Lakota Sioux language Mitakuye Oyasin means All Are Related, or All My Relations. It is known as a prayer of unity and harmony between all living things. This philosophy reflects a common belief among North American Indians. The Traditional belief in the interconnectedness of all life forms paves the way for thinking to be inclusive and focused on unity rather than exclusive and focused on separation.
When we journey on an inward path towards our hearts, we realize that ultimately we are not identified by our skin color or by our race. It is our sacred spirit that is at our inner core. As we acknowledge the Creator and identify ourselves as His created beings we begin to view ourselves, others, and all of nature as sacred. When we know we are connected to others there is no “Us” versus “Them” mentality.
Our ancestors have much to teach us. The realization that we are all related doesn’t seem evident in our world today because fear and anxiety still plagues millions of us. Fear wears many disguises and plagues our lives in many forms. For example, compulsive thinking of injustice, separation, bigotry, bias, hatred, and revenge towards others evoke emotions leading to actions we often regret.
Living in this hateful manner towards others takes away our awareness of what is sacred. In this state we often feel we are attacked from all angles of life, as if evil comes at us relentlessly. Adversity is often the catalyst for change. But what can we do, especially when we feel so helpless?
We can take responsibility for the present even if we feel we are not directly responsible for the injustices of the past. Although people are not to blame for the biases they learned in childhood, or for that of their ancestors, once they recognize and acknowledge bias or bigotry, they can take responsibility to challenge them in the present.
Sometimes it takes a horrendous tragedy to awaken us to take a stand and realize that justice and peace can walk the same path. It is not necessary for change to start on the inside (thoughts and attitudes) as opposed to the outside (actions). Positive changes in behavior, regardless of motives, can result in changes in a person’s attitude and feelings.
A spiritual warrior’s trust in his Creator serves as his shield to extinguish flaming arrows of negativity. Training and practice in behavior make a warrior able to trust in his Maker regardless of how he feels and eventually his emotions fall in line with his faith.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in mobilizing civil rights allies and confronting his opponents, stated that those who act with what he called “love behavior,” such as nonviolent civil rights demonstrators, and those who witness it, are emotionally, spiritually, and behaviorally changed by the experience.
On that account, there is hope that if spiritual warriors of every race and color meet on the Good Red Road and confer and teach others of the old Indian ways of being, even the hardened souls will witness it and respond.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
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