The Mayan people have a saying, ‘In Lak’ ech Hala ken’ which literally means, ‘I am you, as you are me’ or, ‘I am another you, as you are another me.’
Photo: Mónica Ramírez López
There is a story of a woman who went to visit the Dalai Lama to understand the definition of compassion. She prefaced her question to the Dalai Lama, by sharing how she felt earlier when she saw an old man beating an underfed stray dog with a stick. The Dalai Lama responded by saying, ‘Compassion is when you feel as sorry for the man, as you do for the dog.’
The Mayan people, who are an Indigenous tribe in Mexico and Central America conceive the universe as ‘one’ and believe that everything is related. They consider all individuals, the community, the plants, the animals, the winds, and the spirits are ‘one’ and nothing exists without the relationship to the other. They say, everything is alive and everything is connected.
Dr. Fidencio Briceño Chel, who has a Ph.D. in Anthropological Linguistics says, that this dual vision in which ‘I’ does not exist, accentuates our commitment to being part of the whole. We do not exist as separate entities, we exist from our belonging and our relationship with the community. In this way, we begin to relate to the world by forming a ‘we’ with everything and everyone.
The Mayan philosophy respects all things equally and reminds us there is no separation.
May we remember this wisdom and our connection to everything.