Ayni is responsibility and respect. Ayni is love and compassion. Ayni is everything. And it is us. Reciprocity. – J. Wilcox
Throughout the ages, shamanic tribes and traditions have all agreed on one thing which science confirms: life is one big pulsating field of energy.
You and I are both part of this vibrating web of energy, as well as every single thing you perceive. Rocks, trees, animals, rivers, computers, cars, buildings, fire, clouds, even the human mind, and emotions — it’s all energy.
As a result of everything being energy and therefore connected at a core level, whatever we do has consequences. Whatever thoughts, feelings and actions we carry out impacts the world around us in ways we can’t even fathom.
Often, this simple principle that every action has a reaction causes a wave of events to crash down on our lives, leaving us feeling panicked, resentful and emotionally stingy towards others (and ourselves). We wonder why our lives seem so damaged and flawed when deep down we aren’t aware that our thoughts have created our reality.
If you’re feeling jealous, suspicious, guarded and as if your life is being lived in mental, emotional, financial and spiritual poverty, read on.
Why it’s Vital to Understand the Principle of Ayni
We human beings are used to pillaging the earth, taking what we want, and focusing solely on our own needs. This selfishness is a natural part of our conscious collective evolution as a species.
How often do you take the time to stop, examine all that you have been blessed with, and offer your thanks to Life, God or Spirit? In our materialistic society, most people equate gratitude with fluffy and impractical New Age concepts. But gratitude is an immensely powerful force as it is an expression of sacred reciprocity.
Having Incan heritage, I learned about Ayni early on in life. It was my grandmother who taught me that Ayni, which is loosely translated to “sacred reciprocity” or “proper relationship” is the central principle of life. As opposed to Western thought that believes creation is solely predatory, in Andean thought, creation is inherently benevolent and will live in harmony with us if we live in harmony with it.
In other words, when we don’t cultivate the right relationship with the earth, we reap the natural consequences. We can clearly see the principle of Ayni reflected in our current world: as a result of disrespecting the earth through annihilation of species, pollution, and degradation, the earth has begun to desert us. Pachamama has delivered us drought, floods, pestilence and climate change in exchange for our greed and narcissism.
Ayni, or sacred reciprocity, is the fundamental law of life because, without it, we live in extreme disharmony that results in suffering. In fact, the principle of Ayni is so vital that it is the only genuine moral rule in the Q’ero (Incan) tradition which is otherwise flexible and fluid.
Ayni is gratitude, respect, honor and reciprocal living. Put simply, Ayni is about recognizing that all of life exists in a sacred balance of give and take. When we practice Ayni we send a message to Existence and partake in the gifts that Life, in exchange, gives back to us. In other words, when observing Ayni we give back to the earth whenever we receive, and by giving to the earth, we know that we’ll be privileged to get something back in return.
How to Manifest Abundance Using Ayni
Pachamama, the earth, is the first mother, the true mother, the spirit mother. From her we have all been given form and substance, and it is largely her will that determines the quantity and quality of our worldly sustenance. It is to her, and to the spirits of the rain and the hail and the other elements that exist within her domain, that Andeans owe the very conditions of their lives. Therefore every action they undertake is necessarily an act of ayni, or reciprocity, with Pachamama. Before any food is eaten or liquid is drunk, a portion is offered to the Earth Mother. Before a spade is thrust into a field, or before a river is crossed, or before a thousand other mundane actions are undertaken, an offering is made to the Mother. – J. Wilcox
Everything in life is Ayni, sacred reciprocity. Everything from our relationships to the chemical reactions within matter reflect Ayni. Even our bodies express Ayni: our breath is supported by our lungs, our lungs are supported by blood and neurochemical reactions, and our neurochemical reactions are supported by our hearts, which are supported by the food we eat.
When it comes to manifesting abundance in our lives — whether that be financial, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual — we have to keep in mind that every action has a consequence, no matter how small. Ayni helps us to realize that we are not made to exist in an abusive relationship with the earth. In other words, we don’t own the earth (as the Abrahamic religions and Descartes would have us believe). Instead, we are a part of the earth and therefore must treat it with respect.
By treating the earth with respect, we learn how to treat ourselves with respect. By expressing gratitude for what we’ve been given, we receive even more to be thankful for.
Here are five simple ways to manifest abundance in your life using the principle of Ayni:
1. Offer sincere gratitude for what has been given to you
You might think that you’ve “earned” what you have. But you haven’t. Did you control the circumstances that led you to the opportunities that helped you to prosper? No. Did you control the people, environment or social climate that led to your success? No. What you have has been given to you through the grace of Life. The human ego loves to believe that it is solely responsible for its success, but this is what leads to selfish and destructive living.
The first step in manifesting abundance is to sincerely offer your gratitude to Life for what you’ve been given. Examine all that you have right now (even if you don’t have that much): look at the food, house, family, clothing, job, entertainment and/or security that you have. Consider what life would be like without these things.
You can offer your gratitude through a simple prayer that is heartfelt. For example, “Dear Life/God/Spirit, thank you deeply for what you have given me. All that I have is from You, and all that I have will return back to You. Thank you for gracing my life with Your loving kindness.”
2. Make respecting the earth your priority
So much of what we buy impacts the earth in a severe way. By choosing non-toxic, biodegradable, sustainable and ethically sourced options, you are performing Ayni, or sacred reciprocity. You might not think of it this way, but what you choose to spend money on contributes to the harmony or disharmony of the planet.
3. Do an earth-honoring ceremony to honor Ayni
Once a week, or whenever you feel the need, offer something back to the earth through a ceremony.
Earth-honoring ceremonies can be as simple or complex as you like. For example, you could sprinkle food scraps at the base of a tree, create an elaborate despacho (read more about despachos), or even practice mindful gardening. When you honor the earth, thank the trees, wind, sky, rain, sun and elemental forces for blessing your life.
4. Nurture and protect life
Everything on earth has just as much a right to be here as you. When you nurture Nature, Life nurtures you in exchange. This is the principle of Ayni. For example, instead of killing the spider or fly within your house, why not catch them and release them outside? Instead of exterminating all pests in your garden, why not choose organic alternatives to restore the natural equilibrium? After all, nature knows best how to care for herself.
You might also like to practice small acts of kindness to wildlife or flora. For instance, if you see a snail on the path, why not move it out of the way so it doesn’t get crushed? If you have the opportunity to save or support a local wetland, why not protect it?
5. Consecrate the ground beneath your feet
Wherever you are, bless the ground beneath your feet. Thank the earth for supporting your house, for the food it provides you, and for everything you have that traces its roots back to the earth. Bless the earth and ask that it thrives with health, abundance, balance and peace. Consecrating the earth beneath you can even become a mantra that assists you in meditation. For example, a beautiful Ayni mantra could be “Earth, may I honor you, Earth, may you honor me.”
So many articles and books out there are written about attracting and “manifesting” abundance. But a large percentage of them are written with the perception that Life is at our bidding and will “serve” us if we know how to “make” it.
Ayni is a principle of equality, respect and the mutual flow of giving and receiving. Ayni acknowledges that we aren’t slave-drivers of the planet, but we’re instead interconnected members of it.
Quite simply, if you want to receive more, GIVE more. Give your gratitude, give your love, give your support, give your attention. Paradoxically, the only way to receive more is to give more. And by giving, you naturally receive.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.