While traveling in Peru, I found a theme throughout the Andean culture. One of the sayings that kept coming up during museum tours, getting to know the indigenous people and learning about Inca history was Q’ayna or ayna. Q’ayna is from the Quechan language which is commonly spoken by the indigenous people living in the Andes. While on tours Q’ayna was translated as “ help me today and I will help you tomorrow.” In the US we have a similar saying, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” There are an estimated 46 dialects of Quechua, so I wasn’t able to find the direct translation. The parts of translations I could find were “Mirror,” “Yesterday,” and “all united for love.”
The history of the word or phrase was related to times of harvest. With limited resources and no machinery, the Andean people struggled to harvest their food timely. They needed each other's help when harvesting various crops. These crops would be the primary source of income as well as food for the upcoming season. It could be life threatening if they couldn’t harvest enough.
We are so fortunate in the U.S. to have systems for farming, technology and social services. Rarely we are threatened with the possibilities of starvation. The extent of our interaction with gathering food consists of shopping at the grocery store or farmers market. But we struggle with other things. Everyone struggles from time to time.
If you have the means to help someone who is struggling you should. It could be as simple as running an errand or lending an ear. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who loves to have visitors. Maybe a colleague needs a compliment and some encouragement to help them through a rough day. Maybe a friend is moving, and they could use a hand (or your truck.) Maybe your son needs that pair of Beats headphones to feel accepted amongst his peers. Ok… the headphones might be a separate issue but the point is that we don’t have to go as far as helping someone harvest their crops. We can give by acknowledging someone else’s need and offering a hand. In Deepak Chopra’s book, “The Seven Laws of Success,” he talks about the law of giving. The law of giving says that we must learn to give whatever we wish to receive and that our intention to give should always be to create happiness. From my perception Deepak’s law of giving is in alignment with the Quechuan word, Q’ayna, all united for love.
You never know when You will be the one needing help from another.