In this United States this week, we will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a holiday founded upon sober reality (the newly arrived colonists were asserting rights to a land already populated for millennia by others, and the new colonists were suffering terribly) and an unlikely gesture of compassion and cooperation (the Native Americans freely helped those they saw suffering even after being abused by earlier colonists and explorers). An article on History.com explains:
“Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Native American who greeted them in English.
“Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.”
These Native Americans acted toward the colonists with ayni (reciprocity), munay (love and will), and sami (their finest light living energy). Our nation’s first tragedy is that ultimately future colonists did not do the same.
Today, as we approach Thanksgiving, we can use Squanto’s and others’ examples to bring awareness to our ayni and to how we are spreading our sami. And we can bring awareness to our blessings, express gratitude for them, and act from munay so that everyone feels the grace of Taytacha (God/Creator/First Cause) and shares the bounty of the Kawsay Pacha (the universe of living energy).
Below I provide you an opportunity to express thankfulness for what you have learned and for how you are capable of continued development to the most glorious human being possible.
Ayni is reciprocity, a feedback loop between you and Taytacha/Kawsay Pacha. Ideally, it is an authentic exchange of giving and receiving, a gesture of love through the selfless impulse of generosity and empathy. The exchange may be of any kind: energetic, intellectual, emotional, physical. It can take any form, from encouragement, support, time, money or effort, to a smile, a hug, a helping hand, a kind word, or a selfless gesture.
I give because I have so much to give.
I receive because I acknowledge my own worth,
and have an open and humble heart.
In ayni I am a vessel, filling and emptying in a ceaseless exchange
of all that serves the greatest good and the highest order.
Mother Earth carries us all on her back and gives selflessly to support our needs. She never grows weary, although she can grow angry. She wants to nurture us—that is the nature of her being. As the primary feminine spirit in the Andes, Pachamama is honored in countless ways each day. The indigenous people spill a little of whatever they are about to drink onto Pachamama, as an offering and a thanksgiving. They do the same with food before they eat. They are aware of her and know that she is aware of them. Pachamama is the primordial Mother of us all. We, and all the creatures of the world, are her offspring, feeding from her breast. Her sami (light living energy) is the milk that sustains and nourishes life.
The Earth is my mother.
She birthed me and provides me great bounty.
For this I give thanks.
All her creatures deserve my respect.
I am part of the Great Web of Being
and I strive to live in harmony within the cycle of life.
A despacho is an offering, usually of thanksgiving, that is made of natural items, from flower petals to candy and other food items to stones and shells. It is the great teacher of ayni and always represents a tawantin: wholeness, harmony, completeness. My definition of the despacho is the externalization of your internal state. It is an offering of the self.
I give thanks for this day and for my life.
I am grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that I can be.
I honor the difficulties that have moved me
beyond what I thought I was capable of.
I give thanks for the sweetness of life I have tasted and acknowledge
all the sweetness I have missed, ignored, wasted, or denied myself.
I accept the guidance that is available to me from all sources.
I know that I am an integral part of the Universe. I am never alone.
Sami is the refined living energy from which all things in the material world are made. It infuses the cosmos and our being. It is the light living energy that drives all things and imparts the fullness of well-being. Sami is not light as in visible light, but as a quality of the highest vibration of being—of the lightness of being. Still, it lends itself to the loftiest of metaphors. It is the nectar of the universe that you can freely eat, pollinating yourself so you can flower fully as a human being. It is the water of the universe that dissolves your self-perceived impurities and washes away your heaviness. It is the light in your eye, the glow from your Inka Seed that reveals your Spirit, and the light that illuminates even the darkest path you may have to walk.
I open myself to the light living energy,
tasting the sweetness of the universal nectar
and drinking in the living water of the cosmos.
I accept the goodness, abundance, love, and wisdom
that is freely available to me.
I share all these blessings with others in greater measure.
I do not keep myself small. I do not make others small.
I am a being who can grow to express the very qualities of God.
I will walk in light and I send forth my light, for I am a being of light.
Munay is the choice for love. It is the partnership of love and will. Taqe is the joining of energies, an action and process that is propelled by the energy of munay. One of the names for God in the Andes is Hatun Taqe Wiraqocha: The Great Joiner God. This quality of God can become one you cultivate in your own life. You can best work the energy of bridging divides when you are respectful, open, inquisitive, inclusive, cooperative, non-judgmental, and in integrity yourself. These are the qualities of self that generate your will to express love—to practice munay. Munay is not about befriending someone, agreeing with someone, or even liking someone. But it is acknowledging that no matter how different you may be from the other person, that person has inherent worth, for God loves that person. You are not to play judge and jury, but to strive to express equanimity or, at the very least, neutrality. You can’t fake munay, but you can cultivate it. A good way to start is through embracing taqe.
I see the beauty in myself and others.
I celebrate our similarities and honor our differences.
I am an instrument of peace, harmony, cooperation and good will.
Through my words and actions, I am an example
of these qualities to my children and others.
I choose to heal divisions both within and without myself.
Everywhere I look I find—and take—opportunities
to build bridges rather than erect barriers.
I am a joiner of energies.