Mitakuye Oyasin - by Neva Howell
There is a simple but profound Lakota prayer, "Mitakuye Oyasin". It means "All My Relations". To pray this prayer is to
petition God on behalf of everyone and everything on Earth. Mitakuye Oyasin honors the sacredness of each person's individual
spiritual path, acknowledges the sacredness of all life (human, animal, plant, etc..) and creates an energy of awareness which
strengthens not only the person who prays but the entire planet. Soon after I first learned this prayer, I saw that it represented
all that needed to be said. It was a prayer of respect, honor and love for all of mankind, and for the Earth. It was a prayer
that said "I wish goodness and peace for all. I would leave no one out. I pray for all." It was a prayer that crossed the
barriers of religion and could be prayed by one of any faith. It was a prayer that united, instead of dividing. It was an
There has been a growing awareness, among those of every major faith, of the common elements within religions. Over the
next few years, we will see increasing overlaps of creed and ritual as people of every faith sense a need to embrace new ways
of relating, outside the structure of their own faith--to embrace the "Godness" in others, regardless of the differences in
dogma or religious law. There will be less and less need to "convert" and more willingness to learn from one another. A combining
of traditions, and a reaching out beyond the boundaries of divided faith, will result in a focus on common truth, tolerance,
acceptance, and "Oneness".
I'm not sure how long I have known that we are all connected (and that what we do affects those around us as well as people
we never meet) but I do recall, very vividly, the moment this awareness made it's way to my conscious mind in a clear statement
of purpose. I was watching a music video on MTV (God moves in mysterious ways . . .). The scenes were accompanying a song
titled "Everybody Hurts", by REM. The camera moves slowly past rows and rows of cars, bumper to bumper, in Los Angeles rush-hour
traffic. We (the viewers) are shown the thoughts of the passengers in each car, by way of captioned statements on the screen.
It is painful to watch--not just because everyone seems lost in pain, struggle or hopelessness, but because they all seem
alone and unaware of the people in other cars. Then, a solitary man steps from his car, closes the door, and begins to walk
away. One by one, passenger after passenger follows suit until all the thousands of cars are left vacant. A way of life is
abandoned. One by one, we are stepping on the path to a new reality. Critical Mass has been reached. The hundredth monkey
has rinsed his food, and a new core knowledge of Oneness is being born. Aho. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Stone one is the color white, the stone of the clear
conscience. It is when the mind and spirit
is free as
it searches for knowledge. The child in us asks the
world why, where and when? The child does not see the
or good in an event, but only see the event.
Stone two is the color blue, the stone of creativity.
As we gain knowledge our spirits soar in a
unlimited possibilities. We do not create with our
hands, but rather with our hearts. The hands are only
used by the heart, which can create beauty or ugliness if we chose.
Stone three is the color red, the stone of wisdom and
fire. This can be a time of sharing, building
harmony. Or, it can also corrupt and turn the soul
black with hatred and fear. We must seek the guidance
Great Spirit before we speak or take action.
Stone four is the color tan, the stone of remembrance.
What we leave behind for others is how we
remembered through the ages. Our children and our
childrens children will have the burden of our
and words. As we carry the stones of life,
place them gently in a circle on Mother earth so that
a warm fire will burn
for all to see and be comforted.