Comforting Thought: Mitákuye Oyás

Silver fern Maori

“The phase Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ comes from the Lakota language and was part of the language of resistance used in the Standing Rock demonstration. Translated to English it roughly means ‘All my relations.’

“During prayers and meetings at Standing Rock, the Lakota people used this phrase when they wanted to speak or when they finished speaking. Listeners repeated it back to them to affirm they had been heard.

“Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ is a sign of respect and love, an acknowledgement that we are all connected to everything and everybody else. To the worms and slugs, as well as the eagles…to the brambles and the toadstools and the nettles as well as to the great redwoods and rainbows.

“Prayers extended to even those who opposed the action and who pepper-sprayed them. Their prayers are instead for the water and for the earth. It isn’t a war with a good side and a bad side or an enemy to beat down. We are all in this together. What is good for my descendents is good for yours.

“Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, all my relations shares with Buddhism the powerful perspective that all beings, all things are interconnected. Water and mountains, police and water protectors, indigenous peoples and their colonisers.

“In the 13th Century, Eihei Dogen, founder of the Soto School of Zen wrote:

“The mind is mountains, rivers and the earth. The mind is the sun, moon and the stars.”

Turangawaewae Te Kuri a Paoa
Te Kuri a Paoa

From: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax

Roshi Joan Halifax PhD is a Buddhist teacher, Zen Monk and Anthropologist who explores the edges of human experience and writes incredibly compelling books about the intersection of spirituality, psychology and human consciousness.

Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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