I grew up in a fundamental Christian environment. In church, our prayers were strong and heartfelt. In many cases, though, they also seemed slanted toward some personal judgment about what should occur. I understood. If someone you love is dying, you want them to live. If they are in pain, you want them to be pain-free. It took me a long time to see perfection in the apparent imperfection and chaos of the third dimension. Looking back, I see that we may have been trying too hard to pray.

When I was introduced to Native American ceremonies, I discovered a new energy around prayer. The songs were very simple and repetitive. I began to realize the power in simplicity and repetition. Soon I heard a prayer that changed me in my core. It was simple. Two words. Mitakuye Oyasin.

It means "We are all related" or "All My Relations". Like my earlier experience with prayer in the church, my natural curiosity led me to explore this prayer. Over the years, I've marveled at the simplicity and the power of it. When I pray by saying Mitakuye Oyasin, I am praying for every being. Beyond that, I'm praying for everything. We are all related. No one left out. No one judged. No push on my part for a particular result.

To me, this prayer is both an act of spiritual surrender and an affirmation of spiritual equality. It honors the sacredness of life - all life including animal friends, the plant kingdom, the winged ones and humans.

When I pray Mitakuye Oyasin, I am lifting up to God the truth of us and saying, as we said in the church of my youth,

"Thy Will Be Done". This is a prayer that crosses religious barriers and can be prayed by one of any faith. It unites, this prayer. It does not seek to divide or judge.

You have noticed our spiritual boundaries relaxing, yes? Aren't we finally learning to honor the truth of others more? Do not we all seek peace?

As we shift away from polarized positions of right and wrong, we can learn to related to those of other faiths in the simple truth that we are all of the same spiritual cloth, in the end. We are One. I say "Mitakuye Oyasin" to remind me of this. I pray it to remind me that I am not alone.

I've had quite a few epiphany moments on my spiritual path. I remember, vividly, the moment that this truth became irreversibly anchored in my beingness. This awareness shift did not occur in church or ceremony. It happened in the most unlikely way. Again, I think we may be trying to hard to worship and pray and walk our path. God can find us and I think it's actually easier if we aren't trying so hard all the time, to understand. There's a flow to life that we miss when we work so hard to awaken.

The vehicle God used to bring this awareness ot me was an MTV video. The band is one I like a lot, called REM. You may have seen it too. It may have stirred something in you too? The setting for the REM video is a long line of bumper to bumper traffic. It's a major traffic jam, with no one moving at all. I'm from rural Alabama and the first time I found myself sitting in traffic like that in Los Angeles, I really freaked out. I wanted to leap from my car and just run, anything to get out of it.

As the REM song plays (the name of that song is "Everybody Hurts") the camera slowly pans past the rows of cars. We, the audience, are given insight into the thoughts of various passengers as the camera goes past them. We hear the thoughts of the people stuck in their cars. I actually wept the first time I watched this video because every single person, in every single car, felt alone in some way. They were totally disconnected, not only from all the other people in all the other cars, but even from the people in the same car with them.

How profoundly this video captured the illusion of aloneness here on this planet. We all labor under it at times which is why " Mitakuye Oyasin" is such a vital prayer. None of them were really alone but each of them felt alone.

Whoever had the vision for this video faced a choice at that moment: they could have just ended the video there; the passengers could have turned against one another and started rioting; the traffic jam could have just dissipated and traffic start moving again. I am so grateful the creators of this spiritual message did not chose either of those options.

What happens next is that a solitary man takes a decisive action. He steps from his car. Even that was done with such spiritual clarity. He wasn't enraged, he wasn't tremendously frustrated. He just decided not to let the appearance of being stopped, stop him. He decided not to allow an unacceptable situation to be his truth. He closes the car door and begins to walk. At that moment, he set me free as well from the gridlock of consciousness and what appears to be. Then, I weep as I see the other passengers, one by one, taking that same action. As they begin to walk, you can feel a line of consciousness between them. They don't acknowledge one another but as each person joins the walk, the whole gains more momentum and surety.

When enough of us refuse to accept an unacceptable situation for our Mother Earth and our relations on earth, then we will simply and collectively walk away. I believe this is, in fact, what is happening and prayers like " Mitakuye Oyasin" are helping us abandon a way of life that is not working for any of us and embrace a new way of being that honors the fact that we are all related. Aho. Mitakuye Oyasin.

Author's Bio: 

Neva Howell is a visionary author, wellness counselor, spiritual healing facilitator and creative artist.

The website:
http://www.angelfire.com/tn/moonlodge/The email: