September/October 2010 This I Believe
Living in Right Relationship
by Ed Liebfried
Ayni is a Quechua term describing the ancient economic system of the Andes. It means “today for you, tomorrow for me” and describes a concept of “right relationship” that goes far beyond the exchange of labor.
This simple principle, as practiced by the medicine men and women of the Andes, can transform our perception of life and unlock the potential within us all.
The Q’ero elders of Peru, known around the world for the purity of their ancient teachings, see ayni as a way of right relationship with all that is, recognizing the spirit within all things, whether living or inanimate. When asked recently what one teaching is most important for non-Andean people, Q’ero elder and master seer don Mariano Quispe said, “Be sure they know that all things have a spirit.”
The energy of the universe, the kawsay pacha is alive. To live in ayni with all beings is to live a life of respect and compassion for all things. The Q’ero elders seek personal ayni by balancing the vision, heart and action in all that they do. At the same time, they show appreciation for all that is given them, no matter how small the gift, by making repayment with prayer and physical offering.
These beautiful Andean people honor all of creation, beginning with the nature beings and including even those energies that have caused them harm. They know that the energies themselves are not evil, but merely incompatible with their own.
The Q’ero elders have been called by spirit to share their teachings with us, and they lovingly share their ceremonies and long-guarded teachings, that we, as their “spirit brothers and sisters” might now help the world to remember these ancient truths.
Don Francisco Chura Flores, Q’ero elder and paqo (medicine man and ceremonial master) will visit Oregon again this fall, offering events in Portland on October 21-24 and Yachats on October 28-31. For Portland event details, contact email@example.com. For Yachats event details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Ed Liebfried, Andean spiritual and healing arts practitioner