At the heart of all healing – be it through energy medicine or the healing that comes through our deepening work with nature and the four elements – lies a core principle of sacred balance and reciprocity.
When you feel this principle and know it and let it flow through you, it creates a place of opening and softness and deep connectedness in the core of your being. The Q’ero people of Peru refer to this principle as Ayni.
What is Ayni?
Ayni is life in balance. It is the uninhibited flow of beneficial energy between one person and another, between people and nature where all are cared for and in turn care for others. In essence it is the balanced giving and receiving of loving and supportive energy between all living things.
In Ayni, we recognize the role of all living things with honor and respect. All are seen and appreciated for the light and gifts they bring. When we receive, we give back. When someone is in need we step forward. When we have more than we need, we set some aside to give to others. We take care of the earth and she provides for us.
All of life is a complex interplay of interdependent forces. Each exchange given or received weaves a thread between the giver and receiver, adding yet another shimmer in the deliciously magnificent tapestry of life.
By contrast the opposite of Ayni is self-interest, greed or narcissism. When people take without giving back, deplete without replenishing, or measure each action tit for tat (i.e. “I’ll only help someone if I know they’ll do something for me in return”) they interrupt the natural flow of Ayni. Without Ayni nature withers, people become lonely, depressed or disconnected, and the world spins out of balance. The absence of Ayni in our dominant global culture explains so many of the ailments we face at both a personal and collective level.
When we shift our perspective from our self outward, we can observe the bountiful world we live in. We understand how we are nourished by the Earth – the trees that give us oxygen to breathe, the plants that sustain our bodies, the water that quenches our thirst and feeds life, the animals we depend on for so much. We cannot survive without the natural world or the people around us.
We then see our place in the reciprocal flow of life and understand that we too must give back to sustain it. As we give back through acts of generosity, honor and respect, we help weave together the exquisite web of life on earth. We find love and fulfillment in the mutual heartfelt exchanges we engage in every day.
Invite in a feeling of joy and thanks for the simple feeling of the warmth of the sun on your face or a profound reverence for the plants present in the bite of food you consume, and you’ll sense Ayni. See the light in the person facing you and feel a selfless desire to help them shine even brighter – this is a taste of Ayni.
It’s not about changing anyone, it’s simply about seeing them and honoring them for who they are. A candle offers light and heat. It simply is, with its flame dancing in the air above it. It doesn’t try to be more or less. It simply stands with a solid presence and shines its light.
When we act by planting new seeds & watering them, emit prayers and tangible offerings of thanks, or reach out to people in need – driven by a selfless desire to be part of the flow of life – we find Ayni. It brings our hearts into balance. It softens our perspectives. It purifies our motivations. It begins to live and thrive in us and we find ourselves in harmony with and filled by Spirit.
Living in Ayni
To live in Ayni requires action and consciousness. There are many ways to live in Ayni, so long as you feel the genuine softness and interconnectedness in your being and act in meaningful ways.
Give from the heart. Receive from the heart. Measure your actions and words carefully. Seek to further life and create beauty around you. Avoid sowing pain and suffering in those around you. Speak your truth, with kindness. Take responsibility for your actions. See the gifts in others. Know and use your own gifts.
Honor the Earth with prayers of thanks and offerings of beautiful art made from her gifts. Each time you take from her, find a way to give back. Plant your own garden or create a small nature sanctuary in your yard or on your balcony. Care for the seeds as they grow.
As you maintain your consciousness of Ayni and sustain it through your thoughtful actions, you’ll find that a web of interconnectedness emerges around you. In giving and receiving you find the strength and beauty of community, bound together by shared moments that anchor and uplift like a chorus of harmonic voices blending together into beautiful song. This is Ayni.
If you feel called to bring this sacred balance and reciprocity into your life and would like to do so in community, we invite you to attend our upcoming events.