The Andean Tradition
The Incas, who date back only several hundred years, conquered a territory that encompassed the Andes mountains, stretching through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina all the way up to Chile, incorporating in their Empire many different cultures, including the Moche, Chimus, Amaru, Quechua and Huari to name but a few. The seat of the Empire was held in Cuzco (the naval) in Peru, a location chosen by Manco Capac, the original Inca, and his female counterpart Mama Oclla.
These cultures were not destroyed as they were incorporated, rather the best from each was upheld and honoured and made up a active part of the daily running of the Empire, for example if a culture was advanced in weaving, they would become the master weavers and would teach their skill throughout the empire. The same was true of the spiritual beliefs of the various cultures and so the spiritual traditions of the Andes was preserved, hence the Ancient Andean Tradition dates back almost 14 000 years.
This tradition teaches harmonious communion with nature as a way of living. It brings the understanding that we are not separate from nor above nature, but an intrinsic part of this natural flow of balance. With this understanding intact it becomes possible for humans to connect with what is natural within themselves also. Once the conditioned confusion is removed from the human state, it is not only possible but natural to connect to the supreme consciousness, simple truths, and loving disposition which is our infinite nature, thus allowing us to live in a state of peace, both within ourselves and in our environments.
This state of harmony is epitomised by the sacred law of Ayni, a law taught within this tradition but essentially one of the most sacred universal laws governing life. 'Ayni', simply put, means reciprocity. This law ensured, in its practice, social balance within the Incan empire.
At its core, it is the act of giving, and the honour that exists with this act is the sole motivator for the giver. In the west we tend to lean towards energy exchange - 'A' gives to 'B' and 'B' reciprocates. Ayni expresses this differently - 'A' gives to 'B' motivated purely by the love of giving. This law teaches that what has been given is an energy, no matter its form, and cannot be kept. So 'B' is obliged to give to another who may have need, at any time. This law is supported by nature and is obvious in our natural surroundings.
A tree does not hold jealously to its fruits but gives to the birds, insects, earth, and so on, its excess. In return the tree receives what it needs to grow - water, sunlight, and minerals, for example, from nature. And so the cycle of life perpetuates in flow and harmony.