Less Hucha for the Holidays

We’re coming up on the holiday season, a time when many of us spend extended periods of time with family members and others thanksgiving-table compressed Pixabay g7d1acbf86_1920whom we may not have seen for a while. We travel home, or family and friends come to visit us. Whatever the arrangement, our congregating with those who are closest to us fosters all the sami and joy of being with loved ones—and, if we are being truthful, it potentially may cause us to create hucha, too. After all, there may be good reasons why you only see your brother once a year or you avoid staying at your parents’ home for more than a day or two! As I think about the potential for us to create hucha during these holiday visits, despite our best intentions not to, I am reminded of something Ram Dass is reported to have said: If you want to see how far along you are on your spiritual path, visit your family for a weekend!

If we are going to use our qaway—if we allow ourselves to see reality as it really is, not as we wish it were—we can expect that over the holidays when we are in close proximity over extended periods with family and friends, they or we may create heavy emotional energy. This possibility may be especially heightened this year, because so many of us have been isolated from each other for nearly two years because of the pandemic and because there are so many in-our-face cultural and political divides.

So, while the holidays are occasions of cheer and celebration, let’s take a look at hucha again, with the intent that this reminder of what hucha is and its energy dynamics will (hopefully) help us to produce less of it. We’ll review several core aspects of hucha and consider some strategies for making our holiday visits with loved ones as sami-filled as possible.

Sami is the finest form of kawsay, which is the living energy. Sami is the light living energy, imparting the lightness of being. Sami is transformative. It helps us increase our karpay (personal power), refine our three human powers (yachay/thoughts, munay/love, and llank’ay/actions), and improve our ayni (the awareness of how we are interchanging energy with others and vice versa). Hucha is sami that has lost some of this transformative power. It is sami slowed down or blocked. It doesn’t hurt us and there is nothing toheart- compressed Gerd Altmann Pixabay 1982316_1920 fear about it; rather, it reduces our self-awareness and the quality of our ayni. Over time, if we don’t deal with our hucha, it can degrade our overall well-being.

So, our first strategy for keeping the “happy” in Happy Holidays is to remember it’s all sami all the way down in the Pachamama, and hucha is just how we fallible human beings slow or block this life-force energy. Let’s expect sami in our relationships. That said, as practitioners of the Andean tradition, we know we can only be responsible for ourselves. We take care that we are not producing hucha (or are producing as little as possible) and we know that we don’t have to take on others’ hucha. So, let’s expect the best of ourselves and others. Let’s strive to act as hummingbirds, the bringers of sami, in our interactions. And, let’s act as condors, the great eaters of hucha, as needed by looking at our own thoughts, beliefs, words, body language, tone of voice, behaviors, and so on during our interactions. If necessary, let’s eat our own hucha when we see that we are producing it.  

Hucha isn’t something “out there” that we come into contact with or that attacks us or even attaches itself to us. It is a quality of energy we create from the inside or that others produce and that we attach to, allowing others’ heaviness into our poq’pos consciously or unconsciously. We can identify something as hucha by sensitizing ourselves to the inner emotional, and usually physical, dissonance we feel when we are slowing down or blocking the life-force energy. We know when something feels “off”—when it is more than a transitory and superficial emotion, but is instead something that sets our energy buzzing from deep inside us. That buzzing can be subtle, mildly discernable, or teeth-chattering. It may express itself in myriad ways, from a defensive body posture to muscle contractions to avoidance of eye contact to a slow building of emotion or an almost instantaneous emotional outburst. When will feel where hucha is influencing or even controlling us, we will feel that attachment viscerally.

So, another strategy during our holiday visits is to pay attention to our bodies. When we feel the telltale signs that we are getting hooked in emotionally—that psychologically we are being triggered from our “shadow” (subconscious) self or that we are projecting out onto others—stop! It takes just a few seconds of self-awareness and self-inquiry to discern what is going on for us and to deal with it. Instead of deferring ownership and seeing the heaviness as coming toward us from others, we can check within to make sure we are not instead projecting our discomfort outward (but seeing the “cause” as coming at us from the situation or Heart energy human compressed AdobeStock_110062650words or actions of the people around us). Technically speaking, other people can create hucha that we can take on ourselves, if we allow ourselves to. But we don’t have to make others’ hucha our own. If we do, it’s usually because the other person’s energy and emotional dynamics are so similar to, if not the same as, our own that there is an often unconscious “shadow” resonance between us, and the denial of ownership of the psychological sameness causes us to create hucha for ourselves.  

The subconscious shadow self is where we banish parts of ourselves that we reject, deny, are ashamed of, or otherwise refuse to “own.” Our shadow is the repository of our banished resistances, prejudices, judgements, fears, and certain kinds of survival instincts (from “what must I do to be safe” to “how must I act to be loved”). Hucha, don Juan Nuñez del Prado says, is most often created when we “surrender to the lower aspects” of ourselves. Hucha, thus, must be understood as a consequence and not a cause. Hucha is not causing us to feel angry, resentful, or whatever emotion arises. It is a consequence of our already having those feelings either consciously or unconsciously. Our egos are super talented are making it someone else’s fault that we are feeling angry, dismissed, put down, misunderstood, envious, guilty, and so on. But the truth is that when we are in relationship, in ayni or energy exchanges with others, we are responsible for both the energy we put out and for how we deal with the energy we feel we are getting back.

Don Juan emphasizes that feeling hucha coming back to us is not a punishment; it is simply feedback. So, monitoring what we see and feel as the feedback from our interactions is another strategy to use during holiday visits. Don Ivan Nuñez del Prado, concurs, saying: “In our tradition you need to keep measuring the feedback all the time, be aware of it every day. If you are aware of ayni, then the things that happen to you and around you are not going to be just random things. You put it on yourself, because you know it’s a constant reaction, and then you are going to be able to steer and improve the quality at the time. As soon as you receive feedback, you can correct yourself.” Feedback, then, is information that can be used to help us course-correct our emotions, actions, thoughts, and words—all the aspects of our beingness. Dealing with our hucha—or, better yet, not producing it in the first place by monitoring our inner feelings and the outer feedback—helps us align with our Inka Seed. When we are coming from our Inka Seed—when this inner compass is pointing to the true north of ourselves—we will be able to be who we really are without difficulty. And, we will be better at allowing others to be who they really are (instead of who we would like them to be).

To live from our Inka Seed, however, means understanding the inner filters that cause us to produce hucha. Don Ivan spoke about the importance of learning to see (and ultimately to remove hucha from) our filters: “Your personal background, family background, all of that is a filter, in the way of the light of the Inka Seed. So, you have a source of light within you, [but] whatfilter-compressed Pixabay g7bdc69759_1920 comes out will go through your filters, and so what comes out is a projection of the filter [and so can create hucha] rather than of the light.”

We all have filters, especially when it comes to dealing with family. When we expect others to “understand” us, what we oftentimes are really looking for is to have our filters understood, overlooked, or even excused. Filters are in play when we hear or use phrases like: “But you know what I mean!” “You’re twisting what I am saying.” “You aren’t even trying to see things my way. You can’t get out of your own biased view.” “There you go again!” “You’re so damn predictable.” “Why don’t you just get over it!” “You’re so full of yourself.” A key clue that we are projecting through a particular filter is when we are communicating at a person instead of with a person. This dynamic often displays itself when we use “You” phrases instead of mediating our own inner dissonance or expressing our inner truth by using “I” phrases. An example is: “You are always complaining about that! But you don’t seem ready to do anything to change things!” Instead, we can speak through our own sami-producing filter instead of our own potentially hucha-producing filter: “I hear that you are really bothered by that. How about we try to brainstorm some solutions together?” When we consciously choose to see our own filters, we are better able to take responsibility for ourselves and amend our communication style to be “joiners” rather an “dividers.” And we can bring understanding, even compassion, to the situation and not be triggered by another person.

There’s a phrase that ends many Navajo prayers that I like to keep in mind in situations where I suspect tensions might rise or heavy emotions might be triggered: “It is finished. It is finished. It is finished in beauty.” If we remember this phrase, or a similar one, that reorients us to how we want a situation to conclude, we will be more mindful of how we start and move through the situation. We can consciously seek to reduce or prevent hucha at every point in the process of the interchange and, thus, increase the chances that not only the end result of the interchange, but the whole process of the interchange itself will be one of sami.

Always, always, always . . . personal responsibility means bringing greater conscious awareness to how we choose to be moment by moment. We can’t control others, but we are responsible for ourselves. We can choose not to become ensnared in time-worn family dynamics. We might succeed only partially, and perhaps maybe not at all, but we will definitely increase our chances for successfully creating sami if we take that task upon ourselves, and not leave it only or mostly to others. There’s a saying that in every moment—every single moment—the universe is giving us a new start. That’s a lot of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” energy! So, even if we become ensnared at one point in our visit, we can shift our inner dynamic the next. Every moment is a moment when we can resolve to do better. And sometimes just “a little bit better” can make all the difference to the quality of our holiday visits and our family and friend dynamics.

Andean Mysticism as a Descending Tradition

Once when talking with don Juan Nuñez del Prado, he mentioned that we can make connections between Juan 2019 editedthe Andean tradition and other spiritual traditions, but that one tradition in particular was practically a mirror of the Andean tradition: the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo. It’s not a mirror in its practices, but in its views about how we achieve the lofty goal of living as fully enlightened human beings. Don Juan’s comment sent me back to a book I had not read in a very long time: sri aurobindoSri Aurobindo, or the Adventure of Consciousness. What I found there was exactly what don Juan said: philosophically integral yoga very closely matches the Andean spiritual arts.

There was one aspect of this comparison that particularly caught my attention: the two ways we can categorize spiritual traditions or practice: as either an “ascending” and a “descending” tradition. Most traditions, especially most of the “big” religious and spiritual schools, are ascending traditions. Fewer are descending. Let’s turn to two definitions and characterizations to understand these terms. First, from a dharma talk at the Insight Meditation Houston: “[T]here is a distinction drawn between what are referred to as ‘Ascending’ and ‘Descending’ approaches to the divine. . . [With the Ascending] . . . comes the notion of a hierarchy of being, moving upwards from matter to mind to spirit. Spirit is supernatural, literally, above nature. It is located in transcendent realms, and in the great world religions, salvation or transformation is conceived of as moving up the ladder, towards Transcendence, essentially leaving behind the lower realms of matter and worldly life. With that often comes a denigration of the body. . . . Pre-axial religions . . . such as animism and shamanism, are largely Descending. They view the divine not as above nature and the world, but as imbedded in it: the divine interpenetrates the natural world. Spirituality is part of the fabric of nature and the earth. Transformation is sought not by leaving the world, but rather by greater connection, a deeper order of connection, with nature, other people, the body. Ascending religions, then, emphasize a transcendent sacred; descending ones, an immanent sacred.”

More colloquially, here’s how Richard Rohr, writing for the Center for Action and Contemplation, characterized ascending traditions: “Most of spiritual history, up to now, has attempted to get us out of this world of multiplicity, forms, worldliness, embodiment, and ‘sin’ into the Transcendent Oneness that most call God, holiness, purity, or simply heaven. . . . This rather universal desire for ascent surely proceeds from our understandable, but nevertheless egoic, desire to flee this ‘vale of tears,’ to ‘get saved,’ and to feel superior and somehow above all this messy diversity and sinfulness. However, this left us in an empty and disenchanted world that was hardly worth noticing because the Divine was always elsewhere and beyond.”

The major difference between the two views in terms of the goals of spiritual practice is how, generally speaking, ascending traditions are suspicious of, or even reject, the physical, whereas descending traditions view the physical as sacred in and of itself. With an ascending tradition, again generally speaking, the worlds of matter and the body are seen as fallen states, ones that must be overcome, left behind, resisted, or transformed. In contrast, with descending traditions, a practitioner finds the divine in the body, in the world of matter, and seeks toward the realization of the sanctity of the self while still in human form. Generally, in an ascending tradition we are seeking to rise beyond the physical to the outer “heavenly realms” of spirit or God, whereas in a descending tradition we are seeking to realize the God within.

As you know from your study of the Andean tradition, we are definitely practicing the spiritual arts of a descending tradition. We humans are, in the words of Sri Aurobindo (sounding very much like an Andean paqo), where God-Spirit meets God-Matter. He shares the view of the paqos when he intimates that there is no need to long for or seek to escape to heaven, because the divine is here in the body if we have the courage to seek it. Andean paqos speak of kawsay—the living energy—which comes down and into us—if we are open and don’t block it. Our practice, at heart, is learning to effortlessly and as perfectly as possible absorb and radiate kawsay. Kawsay empowers us, so that through our own effort we can lift ourselves up the scale of human development, up the qanchispatañanEnergy work during the Hatun Karpay 1997, or the stairway of the seven levels of human consciousness. This is a kind of ascension, but one whose goal is rooted fully in the human world, body, and mind. Our ascension is not to realms beyond the human, but to the heights of human consciousness. Ours is a practical tradition, not a sentimental one. Paqos would no doubt agree with Aurobindo’s view that as we progress along our energetic and spiritual path “‘on each height we conquer we have to turn to bring down its power and its illumination to the lower mortal movement.’ Such is the prize for transforming life, otherwise we would merely poeticize and spiritualize on the peaks, while below the old life keeps bumping along.”

Thus, clearing obstructions is our work, as it is in its own way for Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga. As Aurobindo’s philosophy is explained, “Ultimately, progress is not so much a matter of ascending as of clearing up the prevailing obstructions.” We call these “obstructions”—the human conscious and unconscious beliefs, thoughts, and actions that divide us from our God nature—hucha, which is living energy we have slowed downed or blocked. Saminchakuy is our way of releasing the obstructions within that cause us to create hucha. Remember, hucha is sami—the refined or “light” living energy, only slowed down from its natural state. Although we use the word “release” when describing what we do with our hucha, really what we are doing is simply opening our bubble (poq’po, or energy body) and using focused intention and perception to receive what is already and always flowing down to us (and toward us from every direction): this is the flow of God-Spirit into our God-Matter, which over time can help us enhance our ability to live as Taytanchis ranti, God in the human form.

Andean paqos, thus, teach that we are not seeking to leap beyond the human, but to perfect our humanness. Our work entails the energy practices for realizing the God within. Our kanay, is the capacity to know who we really are and to have the personal power and refinement of consciousness to live as who we really are. Who are we? As mentioned above, we are, in potential, Taytanchis ranti: we are the equivalent of God in the human form. We are a Drop of the Mystery, seeking to perfect our harmonization with the God within us, with our Godlike nature. Thus, the focus of our work is our humanness. Our focus is not on striving to rise above this world, seeking to be worthy one day to enter Energy compressed buddha- Pixabay 562034_1920the hanaqpacha (upper world, what some might call the heavenlike realm of pure sami). It is to bring heaven to earth because we have realized our God nature.

Aurobindo again sounds like an Andean paqo when he says, “Such is the key to transformation, the key to overcoming the laws of Matter by using the Consciousness within Matter. . .” Spirit is a descending force that “is actually a formidable mass of energy limited only by the smallness of our receptivity and captivity.” Our practice, like that of much of integral yoga, is learn to be receptive: to perfectly absorb and radiate kawsay. To perfect our inner nature right here is the messy, challenging, sometimes heartbreaking—and yet oh-so-amazing and wondrous—human world. As so many of the prophesies of the Andes tell us, we are seeking to create a Heaven on Earth, peopled by human beings who have realized their God nature. The paqos predict the rise of the Runakay Mosoq, the rise of the New Humanity. But that “new” humanity is us: when we live fully from our Inka Seed we will have realized the sixth level of human development, where instead of ascending to be angels we live on Earth as fully enlightened human beings.

Understanding the Scope of Ayni

Another deep-dive discussion with don Juan and don Ivan! I have been posting a series of “interviews” with them, culled from our Zoom discussions over the past year or more, in order to share their wisdom and preserve it. In this exchange, we dive into the topic of ayni.

Ayni, as you know, is what might be considered the “natural law” of the Kawsay Pacha and Pachamama. We translate it as “reciprocity.” While that tells us what ayni is, it doesn’t tell us about the scope of ayni, about its energy dynamics. Are there aspects of reality that are beyond the reach of our personal ayni? That was our driving question, and here are the answers.

Joan: Let’s start with definitions, going beyond simple “reciprocity.” Take us deeper into the energy dynamics of ayni.

Don Juan: Everything is in interchange. Your body is ayni with the Earth. The whole of you is ayni with the cosmos, and feedback-Compressed Pixabay 796142_1920it’s the quality of your ayni that matters. Ayni is most strongly related to your actions. And you get feedback from the universe. The more conscious you are of this feedback, the better you can continue to respond to what happens. Everything that is under your power is your responsibility. Ayni is a tool to improve your life. It’s a specific action. To improve your life, you need to perform certain kinds of human actions, which is reciprocity, according to the tradition.

Don Ivan: When we start our work as paqos we are all at the zero level [of human development]. We move to the first level and begin to understand ayni and it changes us. Then we can progress up the other levels. Ayni is that when you do something, you have the right to receive everything from the universe. But if you do nothing, you don’t. Zero action, zero ayni.

Don Juan: The nature of ayni is that you get back more than you give. But that can be lightness (sami) or heaviness (hucha). We are not a moralistic tradition.

Joan: What do you mean by that?

Don Juan: Ayni is not so much about don’t do that or that or that. The only commandment is to be aware of your ayni. At a certain point in my training, I discovered how when I project hucha, hucha is going to feed back to me and enlarge. And it’s going to draw me to the ground. It’s not a punishment, it’s just feedback. The measure in which you start to discover that by yourself—through awareness of the feedback from your actions—you are going to start to be careful with what you are projecting in every step of your life.

Joan: In this regard, is ayni kind of like karma?

Don Ivan: I think that the background is the same. [Juan agrees.] You can see ayni as karma but it’s a different kind of karma, a karma that is flowing all the time. It’s not postponed to the next life.

Don Juan: You are not going to postpone ayni to the next life. We want to deal with our hucha here in this life. It is a difference of emphasis.

Don Ivan: In our tradition, you need to keep measuring the feedback all the time, to be aware of it every day. If you are aware of ayni, then the things that happen to you and around you are not going to be just random things. You put it on yourself, because you know it’s a constant reaction, then you are going to be able to steer and improve the quality at the time. As soon as you receive feedback, you can correct yourself.

Joan: We influence reality by our ayni, intentions, actions and so on. If we pay attention to the feedback, we know how we are doing. But we don’t control reality. It’s not like we “create” reality, through our ayni or anything else, correct?

Don Juan: We have the tendency as human beings to extrapolate these things until these things don’t work anymore—Atomuntil they completely lose meaning. The discovery about how quantum reality resonates with the expectations of humans—it is a discovery. But there are people who extrapolate from that, telling you that you are creating your reality because the quantum facts obey your expectations. But did it really obey? Take a look at physics: trying to find the Higgs boson and ways to control certain subatomic processes. Why did they need that huge machine [linear accelerator] if quantum physics follows your expectations in a total way? No! Reality has its own way of moving. It can resonate with you and you may be able to move it a little bit in your favor. And that little bit can be important! But it doesn’t mean you create reality. This is subjectivism that is beyond any part of reality.

Don Ivan: People keep telling me that we are building reality with our thoughts. That’s not true. Reality, the world, exists by itself. And the energy is flowing with or without you thinking about it. Okay? The reality just is, and you are there in this reality. Your ayni, your awareness of this reality, can influence this reality, or address it in certain ways. As we said, ayni is really most strongly related to your actions. And you get feedback from the universe. The more conscious you are of this feedback, the better you can continue to respond to what happens. As Juan said, everything that is under your power is your responsibility. Some things are outside your sphere of power, but your reaction is not. Your resilience to events is in proportion to your ayni, your personal power. Bad things happen to good people, but each responds according to their power. That’s their personal ayni. You do not create reality, but you can influence the kawsay pacha and you can respond with greater or lesser power, experience a greater or lesser hucha impact.

Don Juan: You can modulate a little bit of the reality.

Don Ivan: Your awareness and your will are going help you to, let’s say, sail through the events of the reality. But not thinking about something is not going to cancel the reality. And to think about something is not going to create another reality just for you. Good things and bad things happen to all people independently of people being good or bad. That’s the random part of our life.

The thing is when you have tools you have more chances to survive accidents [and other potentially random events], because in reality there are things moving around all the time. And there’s a random part of our experience, things that are not really connected with our actions so we cannot prevent them or make other things happen. Once they crash Who What Why Compressed Pixabay ask-3236282_1920into our lives, like when we have an accident, we have to deal with it and find a way to survive. But it is not necessarily that you made it happen. That’s another important point. Because what happens? When you start to be aware of your ayni, you can start to see how everything you do has consequences and how you receive the feedback. And this is good, to receive and see that feedback. But the thing is that you may start to think that everything that happens is because of your ayni. And this is not necessarily true. And then you are going to start to feel guilty, because you [think that you] created all the things that have happened and it’s completely out of your power now because you are not able to change it.

Everything that is under your power is your responsibility. But there is a sphere that is out of your power. Okay? Like the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. He used to pray, Lord help to me to accept the things I cannot change. Allow me to change the things I can change. But overall help me to know the difference! Because not knowing the difference can be a hell. Not knowing what is your responsibility and the consequences of your actions can create a hell for you.

Ayni is all the events that are related with your actions, so there is a big part of your life that is related with your actions and relationship with the environment and your connections. And at that level, in that sphere of your life, you can learn to track your actions to see how you did something, how the energy moved around, and you receive the feedback. And in that part of reality and your life, you have more control.

Joan: How does the Inka Seed play into the quality of our ayni?

Don Juan: Ayni is a tool to improve your life. Your capacity is determined by your Inka Seed. The Inka Seed is the place in which you have the potential and capacity to drive the energy. Because of that, you can release the hucha you have. The Inka Seed is special. It’s a drop of perfection, if you want to use that word. Nothing can change that. It is what it is. And it’s the center of your will. In the tradition, there is no specific word for will. Munay is will and love together. It’s not a linguistic difference. Munay is connecting these two energies, will and love. This is the idea of personal power. You express your well-being in the measure in which you can drive much more energy. And in the measure of which you release hucha.

Don Ivan: When we say you have to project munay we are talking about how you really have to address certain qualities of energy you are sending out, and that you are going to get back in response. You can improve the quality of your whole life that way. Your Inka Seed is like a compass that is always pointing to what is right for you. But we sometimes hear it and follow it, and sometimes we don’t. That is our ayni.

Don Juan: That is the whole goal of the Andean path—to express your whole self, all that is within you. Your Inka Seed is pure sami. It has no hucha. Through ayni, you are learning to express what is in you, what is in your own Inka Seed.

Understanding the Eight Helper Spirits

I am frequently asked to go deeper into an explanation of the energy dynamics of the eight helpers. For those of you who have studied the Andean sacred arts with me, don Juan Nuñez del Prado, his son don Ivan, or another of the teachers they have trained, you know that in the lloq’e (left side) training, we choose eight helpers to guide, counsel, and inspire us. For those who have not taken the training, the helpers are just what they sound like—spirits who guide and assist us.

In the lloq’e training, we consciously and deliberately choose these eight helper spirits, one for each level of consciousness, from the zero level to the seventh level. The first three helpers—the zero through the second level—areFalcon compressed and cropped a reptile (cold-blooded animal), mammal (warm-blooded animal), and bird. The third-level through sixth-level helpers are human beings from the past or present who represent the qualities of that level of consciousness and so can inspire us to lift ourselves up to that level. The seventh-level helper usually represents Taytanchis, or whatever God is to you, or, less commonly, it can be a fully enlightened human being who is ranti, equivalent, to Taytanchis.

When we begin our work with these helper spirits, we imprint and tune ourselves with each one’s energy, moving them through our ñawis, or mystical eyes, and perceiving each one’s energy directly and viscerally so that we can know it and begin to more easily develop an energetic relationship with it. Once that relationship strengthens, the helper spirits can come of their own bidding to work with us, and we can call on them when we need them. Seeing the helpers as real spirit beings is what we call “working from the third level,” and that is the way it was taught by don Melchor Desa, who passed on this knowledge and these practices. 

However, there is another way to understand what the helper spirits actually are and how we interact with them. This is a high-level, more abstract view that is from the fourth level of practice, meaning it takes us beyond the third-level concrete teachings of the paqos; we bridge traditions to see how what the paqos discovered correlates to similar things discovered by mystics and others in non-Andean cultures and philosophical domains. Reaching across cultures and intellectual fields of inquiry not only provides independent verification for the Andean paqo teachings, but also fosters an opportunity for us to widen our perceptions and deepen our understanding of the energy dynamics of the eight helpers. So, that’s exactly what we are going to do, relying once again on my (and Christina Allen’s) discussions over the past year or two with don Juan and don Ivan. I have combed through my transcripts of our talks and pulled out the material on the eight helpers, editing them into this long “interview.”

Before I get to the interview, there are two terms that need to be defined briefly: archetype and prototype. According to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who did the most to develop the theory of archetypes, an archetype is a primal, universal symbol, pattern, or theme that is common to the human collective unconscious and that shapes the human psyche and behavior. A prototype, as applies to our discussion, is a physical representation that superbly embodies the qualities of the archetype. If the archetype is “Devotion,” the prototype might be Mother Theresa or your best friend or your dog. Prototypes differ based on personal values and preferences. Archetypes are timeless and universal.

Joan: Let’s talk about the eight helper spirits—how they are real and how they are archetypes. Let’s start with talking about them as real energies, actual spirit beings.

[Note: Although don Juan uses the male pronoun and examples in his answer, helper spirits may be either male or female.]

Don Juan: What is the list? Let’s start there. The top helper is Taytanchis. He has a characteristic: he must be kanaq—able to create—which is the seventh level. The sixth-level helper is a Sapa Inka, a helper who is characterized as being qanchaq, able to glow literally. Then at the fifth level is an Inka awki, a candidate to be an Inka, or a tukuy hampeq, a Inkatotal healer. Then comes qapaq, a king, but he must be wise because he is hamuta, which is wisdom. The fourth level is an apu, representing leadership. Then [at the lower three levels, level two down to zero) are the animals. The pisqa, a bird; then a qorikawsay, warm-blooded animal, then at the zero level the chirikawsay, a cold-blooded animal.

Don Ivan: Working with them as real energies . . . if you have a perception, it changes the shape of your poq’po [energy body/bubble]. If you touch the essence of your helpers, this can retune you and change the shape of your bubble. Because you are able to touch their essence. I always say when you are working with your helpers you are shapeshifting in a way. Your body is the same but your bubble is taking different forms. I feel it like that, but that’s just my perception when I work with my helpers.

Joan: What do you mean by shapeshifting? Energetically or literally? Your bubble becomes shaped more like your cold-blooded helper or your bird or whatever helper you are working with? 

Don Ivan: Not literally, but its energy is perceivable to your senses. You tune with the bird or the puma. Its energy shapes you like that, tuning you.

Don Juan: You become charged.

Joan: Even if different many people select the same helper—say a fox or an eagle, or, for the human helpers, don Benito or the Christ or Buddha—the way that helper tunes each of them is different, correct? You have said the helpers are holding the space for capacities within each of us, places where we are still undeveloped, and helping us to develop those capacities. So, how they help is going to vary from person to person. The same helper is tuning different people in different ways to realize different capacities. I just want to verify that.

Don Ivan: Yes.

Don Juan: Take a look . . . you have an Inka Seed inside yourself. [The Inka Seed holds within it all the capacities we each have to reach our full potential, for our development to the highest level of human consciousness.] Your helpers are the difference between what you are today and what you can be. The only thing we are bridging are the levels [of consciousness]. Because the Andean tradition is flexible in every other aspect, except in these levels of development. This is about ontological levels, about a way of being. The difference between the first level of consciousness and the second level—it’s not just an idea, a concept. [It is a real difference in states of consciousness, in a way of being and acting in the human world and so not just an intellectual difference.]

Joan: You have said that everything, all knowledge, all human thought and experience, everything is “imprinted” in the earth or the entire material universe (Pachamama). Is there a connection between this idea and the helpers?

Don Juan: Yes. I am going to look in the scientific framework of the Western tradition, as there is something there to explain that. There is a Jesuit psychologist who speaks about how the human unconscious knows everything. Unconscious is a word. What is your unconscious? It is also something you can project—to the heavens and into the ground. It’s something like the idea of Rupert Sheldrake, the morphogenetic resonance or field. It is a memory of reality, or, it is saying that reality has memory.

Don Ivan: It’s like the Akashic records.

Don Juan: Yes, akashic records is another way.

Don Ivan: As a concept, they say the akashic records are in the ground, memory or imprints in the ground. Whetherbinary code they are there or not . . . what we are saying is that many people talk about how a certain amount of information is accessible in some way. So, when we work with helpers, we can say that we are not working only with the spirit being, but also with the memory of that helper [especially of human helpers, most of whom tend to be historical], which is imprinted in the earth, into the physical world. In the practice of the left side, when you choose your helpers, you are establishing a connection between yourself and the field of information—and with the ground, with Pachamama, and with those specific pieces of knowledge. So, in working with the helpers, you are working with information that you bring into your bubble.

Don Juan: In this way, the levels are ontological. The helpers are just symbols of each level of consciousness.

The first way to see them is as real beings. This is the third level. We are working with the teaching of don Melchor Desa. And for him, these are real beings. For Andeans the Taytanchis is super real, because he is the Creator. If you are here [in this physical world] you can make a connection with the other side of reality [metaphysical and spirit world]. I can work with my [deceased] grandfather as my ally. He’s just my ally. Where is he? In the hanaqpacha [upper world], but we are connected. For the Western mind, this idea can be very difficult, because for them he is dead. But we are talking now about the fourth level, bridging realities or states. For that, we can look at these as archetypes according to Carl Jung.

What are the archetypes? The most important ones are in the map of the unconscious: your ego, your shadow, the Royal Couple [animus-anima/inner male and female self], and the Self. This map is only from Carl Jung. I didn’t find it anywhere else. Jung made a statement about the Self. He said it is an archetype. Then he said the Self in Western culture is the imprint of Jesus, and in the East it is the imprint of Buddha. What are Jesus and Buddha in both cases?

Joan: Prototypes.

Don Juan: Yes! So, every helper, especially human helpers, we choose can be seen as a prototype. Because they must be or have been real people who we can take as examples or guides; they can help lift us up. They are prototypes. But I am only showing the way in which we can work. We don’t jump from one thing to another. We take the Andean structure and then we look for equivalence in other Western frameworks, and if we can put together two structures, this is what we are looking for. Because a structure is a system, which is a whole. It is not just a collection of factors. We are trying to build and work with systems, with wholes.

The important thing is to follow what we did. We started working with the traditional Andean system, then we picked up the main character of every step in the system and we searched in the Western system, in a different system, which is to us a possible way to make a progression that is trans-civilizational. This is what we are doing. Because the Inka civilization is ours and Western civilization is ours, and we are trying to translate not words but meanings. In anthropology, there is a discipline which is trans-civilization translation and it’s very sophisticated and precise. You take a whole and compare it with another whole. You don’t look for semantics. You look for the meanings and the big background. This is the way we operate.

Don Ivan: Would you agree with me, I think, that the qanchispatañan, the path of the seven levels of human development, is an archetype?

Don Juan: Yes.

Don Ivan: The structure of the seven levels of human development is the archetype, and then the helpers are prototypes that are going to fit into this archetype. But you can put the two things together. The most important archetype we have for working with consciousness is the qanchispatañan, the stairway of the seven levels of the development of human consciousness.

Don Juan: Yes.

Don Ivan: This pathway of development is common to every human being independent of their culture or tradition. It is within. That is the archetype. So, all human beings will develop along those stages of the qanchispatañan, with maybe the help of these prototypes of helpers or whatever their own tradition provides to develop that particular level.

Don Juan: I would say something else: the seven levels is an archetype of the protocol of human growth, and you find it in the Andean tradition and in other traditions. They provide independent verification for each other. And the system of the seven levels of human conscious development is the most important aspect of our teachings. The Andean tradition is absolutely flexible except about the qanchispatañan.

Christina: What’s interesting is that when you go to Peru you see the animals associate with the three worlds—the hanaqpacha, kaypacha, and ukhupacha. They’re all over the place—the images of the condor, puma, and amaru. They obviously are pretty basic in the Andean cultural perspective.

Don Juan: We are going to frame it in the left-side teaching of don Melchor Desa and approach it from the fourth-level, the archetypal level, where the animals represent deep parts of you. In this framework, the cold-blooded animal is the zero level, the warm-blooded is the first level, and the bird is the second level. But, in general, people talk about the condor as similar to the hanaqpacha [upper world]. The puma connects with the kaypacha [this world], and amaru with the ukhupacha [lower world]. It’s correct, but in general you can take them as symbols of those worlds, which means as images, instead of real spirits or animals, that represent that inner state of human beings. But you need to remember that the framework of don Melchor is larger than that. Because birds are only second level, you must then choose a human being for the third level of development; a hamuta qapaq, or wise king, for the fourth level, and so on for the scale of the levels of development. Don Melchor was using in a very personal way something that is general in the Andes. It’s the condor as the symbol of upper world, puma of this world, amaru of the underworld.

It’s the difference between the common knowledge and the specialized work of the paqo path. The Andean culture in general uses these three animals in the most general way, with the three worlds, the three levels of the kawsay pacha. A specific animal will help you connect and tune with one of the three levels. But there is another way, a certain way that they help you to resonate with the levels that are within you. They help you deal with that aspect of yourself. Like the ukhupacha is your unconscious, the kaypacha the conscious part, and the hanaqpacha is your connection with the spirits and gods, the metaphysical part of yourself. They help you access these. For the Andeans in general, they are at the door of each of the three worlds, as kind of gatekeepers; for you as a paqo, they also are a way to tune yourself inside of yourself to those worlds in order to tune to that reality. You deliberately choose each of your helpers, which makes it more specific, because they the ones you feel serve as the best possible way to help yourself to connect.

Your helpers can be seen as a projection from yourself! To help you make a connection with a part of your psyche. Your zero-level helper with the reptile brain, the bottom of your psyche. The mammal is another projection from you that is connected to your mammal way of being. And the bird helps you make a connection with your [more developed] ape brain, ape way of being. The interesting thing is in Jungian psychology, Jung shows how there is in every other society a representation of reptiles, mammals and birds like this. In the Andean tradition, the three animals [condor, puma, amaru] represent the Andean cosmology [three worlds]. But what are the three worlds? From the fourth-level, the ukhupacha can be seen as the world of your instincts or impulses. The kaypacha the world of your affections, your social world. The hanaqpacha the world of your metaphysical factors. The three worlds can be thought of as a projection of the structure of the human mind—Andean style. And all of our eight helpers represent the path of development of our human psyche.



Energy and Healing: Part 3

Continuing with the interviews with don Juan and don Ivan about healing, this third and final discussion covers topics ranging from healing by a fifth-level person to dealing with mental and psychological ailments to working with animals. You will see that this interview, coming as it does at the end of the series, is peppered with my bracketed “Notes” so that people who may not have read the first two interviews will understand what is being discussed and to remind people who have read the first two interviews of important points of understanding or explanation.

Christina and Joan: For people who are healers, the mind may be a major obstacle in their clients, because people can use illness to meet their unconscious needs. They may not really want to heal, because their illness serves them in brain chained resized square-3446307_1920some way. But you have said healers cannot override another person’s will. We can only enhance a client’s capacity for self-healing. Yet a fifth-level healer is an infallible healer. He or she always heals, every time. So, what is the fifth level about, what is so special about it that a person at this level can heal people in spite of someone’s [unconscious] will or unconscious desire to not heal?

Don Juan: The mind is not an obstacle. This teaching is not my teaching. It is don Andres Espinosa’s. Because in the beginning, I believed that [the mind was a factor.] This is today a prejudice of the New Age way of thinking: you need to use your mind and decide to heal. Maybe we put too much stock in this belief! Maybe that’s why they [Andeans] arrived at the fifth level and we [non-Andeans] didn’t. So, maybe first you need to detach from that way of thinking. 
       The first year I was learning this path, I was committed to putting aside all my [Westernized] theories, all my knowledge, psyche, etc. I was very proud of that. I went to don Andres and I told him that. He said, “You’re a fool.” I asked why. He said before studying with us you had half [of a certain kind of human knowledge, the Western scientific/psychological view] and now you are jumping to the other half [the Andean, mystical view], but if you keep both you have the whole!

Christina: I get that on my end as a healer. But what about clients who unconsciously want to stay sick because they maybe get some kind of benefit from it in their lives? There are clients like that.

Don Juan: In reality, nobody wants to stay sick.

Don Ivan: But what you say happens. I think it comes from a way of behaving: that if they are healed, then they will not get the compassion or attention they want from other people. So, it is a normal way for them, a state of consciousness, that allows them to retrieve energy from other people by attracting their pity. They take some sami from other people: good will, compassion, attention and things like that. Some people learned that in their life.

Joan: Would you say then that the fifth-level healer—the level of the infallible healer—is not just healing the body, but the psyche, the mind? He or she is healing the other person’s whole self, so that kind of unconscious need is no longer active or a problem?

Don Ivan: The Dalai Lama says one thing relevant here: your mind is the main tool to end suffering in the world. Take it like that. A very important part of our work as teachers is to retrain the mind of our students to use this spiritual path, to not generate hucha. To show them the value of that. That’s one of the big ideas of this kind of spiritual path. So, some of it is a mental training. But you also have to ask: How do you define healthy or not healthy? We would say ayni. Ayni is action. Unhealthy is more or less about lack of ayni. 
       But when you are on the fifth level, you are not going to use talking. You are just going to touch the person and return that person [to health] through your energy! You are resetting the person in the right direction. That’s the fifth level. Healing is a resetting, reconnecting the people with the action of ayni and the source of life.     

Don Juan: The fifth level is when you are in such deep connection with the earth that when you touch somebody, you retune or reset that person with the proper energy of life.
       The first thing is survival. When people come to you for healing but they really don’t want to heal, our mostearth green energy Pixabay 4075006_1920 powerful driving force is instinctive—it is for survival. Anything that is in the way of survival, especially disease, is what is against that. We all want to survive. The idea, then, is just to be able to follow the person’s will to survive, and help the person reconnect with that will.  Focus on the survival impulse. When you are at the fifth level, you have such a deep connection with the black light [willka energy], the source of life, that if you touch that person you will reorganize them. [Note: The healing love energy, called hampi munay, and the black light energy, willka, are both generated by tuning energy and adding in cosmic and earthly energy, then integrating them inside the human body].
       To do that, you need support. As a fifth-level person, you have the amazing support of all the energy of Father Cosmos and all the energy of Mother Earth. If you receive the support of Father Cosmos and Mother Earth, who is going to stop you? Who can stop you? They are the main sources of energy, and of information to process within yourself to help you to develop to the highest level. You have the whole! This is the idea. You don’t need anything else outside yourself. You focus on your Inka Seed and these two main energies [Father Cosmos and Mother Earth].

Joan: What about energetically working on mental health problems, depression, anger issues. We have “talk therapy” in Western medicine, but is there some equivalent to that in the Andes, practices other than energy techniques like saminchakuy?

[Note: In Part 1 of this series of interviews, don Juan and don Ivan make clear that some types of illness or health problems must be dealt with first by trained allopathic medical professionals, and in this case by mental health professionals. They explain that a problem may not be for the “hand” of a paqo. The following discussion is rooted in their belief that a paqo focuses on the soul and energy, and so may be helpful. But the Andean paqo view is that anyone with an illness use both aspects of medicine, allopathic and energetic, even though for most of their modern history it was very difficult for the native Andean people to access conventional medical resources.]

Don Juan: That kind of problem has a name in Quechua, which is wak’a. [Note: Not waka or huaca, as in a sacred site or sacred item; here don Juan is using a different word (spelling is with as apostrophe after the k, also spelled waq’a) that means mental illness, although on a literal level, if you look in a dictionary, it is defined as mad, crazy, alienated, and paranoid, reflecting outdated and stereotypical colloquialisms.] The way it is viewed energetically is that if someone is wak’a, it means he is not able to connect with Mother Earth or he is not open to receiving the flow of the light living energy.
       In [healing] you can do more or less good things. But to do that you need to develop your rapport with your client first. I will connect this do Dr. Carl Jung, and he said if you are a doctor and you are going to work with mental illness you are going to take the responsibility of doing it, because in the relationship the client is going to transfer to you his mental disease, and it’s going to be yours and you need to learn how to deal with that in yourself. 
       From the Andean perspective, many psychological diseases are diseases of the soul and you must be the expert in that [paqos work with the energies, with the soul]. In this case, someone who is emotionally sick [may be] a hucha sapa, he has a huge amount of heavy energy and he cannot release it. [Note” Don Juan has said in a previous interview that hucha does not cause illness. But it can influence it because it depletes our energy and ability to deal with our problems.] You help the person to release that hucha. For that, the most important knowledge is of the Inka Seed. You need to connect with the Inka Seed of the person, because the seed is totally whole no matter how the person is [physically or psychologically]. If you awaken the seed of the person, the seed is going to help the person.

Don Ivan: You also mentioned depression. Depression from an Andean energy view is having a weak bubble [poq’po]. When you have a weak bubble, you are not receiving your saminchakuy and saiwachuy [sami/light living energy from the cosmos or earth], and then the energy of the environment inside you can begin to crush you. That’s what we call depression. Anger is an overcompensation: when you feel small and try to make yourself bigger, through aggression you try to make more room for yourself because you don’t feel the connection with the ground [earth]. We always come back to the energy and the concepts of the tradition, of the Inka Seed, which is the most important one, and then from there to the state of your poq’po and whether you have enough energy or not. So, it’s the relationship of your bubble with the environment and it’s the [quality] of the flows of energy. Then you can figure out what the solution or the support for that problem may be.
       There are paqos who work energetically with people once a week, like therapy. If you work with clients you are going to know immediately that there are clients where you cannot help fix things in one try. And then you will have to meet with them many times, returning back to the same point, and build little by little, which is a long process. This is also [important in relation to] the work of a paqo, for the paqo’s ayni. The most important thing is to be able to see. If you see progress with the person, see change, then your ayni is in alignment to continue working with that person. But if you don’t see progress, then you have to see if maybe this person and this problem are not for your hands and you will need to refer that person to someone else.

Joan: Before we end, let me ask about animals. Many of my and Christina’s students ask about how to work with their animals, like their pet dogs and cats, or a horse. Any advice?

Don Ivan: You don’t need to heal them in the way we traditionally think about healing. Animals only have sami. No hucha. But they can have more sami or less, a lot or a little. When an animal is sick or wounded, the amount of sami energy the animal is flowing becomes smaller. It is reduced. If you want to help an animal who is ill, pull on their bubble [poq’po]. Pulling on their bubble makes more sami flow in. It’s like blowing on a fire and you make it stronger. The flame flares up, stronger, brighter. It’s that kind of saminchakuy. [Note: Saminchakuy can mean two different things in practice: a hucha release “cleansing” practice, or simply working with pulling sami to you or sending it to someonebulldog-Pixabay 1224267_1920 else, with no hucha release involved. The latter is what don Ivan is discussing above in relation to working with animals, who have no hucha and therefore don’t need a standard saminchakuy “cleansing.”]

Don Juan: Animals are totally open to receiving. If you pull on their living energy [their poq’po], they are going to increase their sami faster. You are going to increase the amount of sami energy that is flowing through the animal.

Don Ivan: They flow with nature, so we consider that they don’t have hucha. They learn. If they get wounded or something, that’s an experience and they learn from it. They avoid that [behavior or situation] later. They learn to respond to dangers and that kind of thing. They are not heavy. But they can respond to our hucha. They copy us, our ways of being. If they have a neurotic owner, they will feel that and act in response to that. It is a response. But they don’t have their own hucha. Their owner does. They are just trying to follow that person.