Is there more than one Andean mystical tradition?
As I travel around the country teaching the Andean tradition as I know it and practice it, I have had the honor of meeting wonderful “paqos in training” (of which I consider myself one, as there is always more to learn and we are always deepening our practice). However, over and over I have come across a potential stumbling block to the tradition. It’s the elephant in the room that few people seem willing to discuss openly. Not doing so, to my mind, is third-level thinking, and as paqos we are working to accumulate the personal power to evolve to the fourth level. So I would like to open a fourth-level discussion about this elephant in the room. I invite your comments and questions.
What’s the elephant? Feelings of confusion about what the “real” Andean tradition is or if there even is such a thing. Feelings of competitiveness between some organizations and individual teachers, and among their students.
Let me give you examples. I have run into or heard of situations where teachers of this tradition refused to alert their students that I or another teacher was in the area because what we teach is different and they apparently feel a need to protect their turf or their students’ ability to handle alternative perspectives of the tradition. I have run into a student or two who walked out of a training because what I was saying or doing was too different from what their primary teacher had taught them. These are only two of the many ways the undercurrent of fear, ownership, competitiveness and just plain bad juju is flowing through the community.
At one time these kinds of behaviors bothered me. They no longer do. Because I have come to know, as I hope you have or will, that this tradition is not mine or yours, it is ours.
There is a “flavor” of the tradition that tastes good to each of us, so we choose to partake of it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a tradition that comes in 21 flavors of frosting, as long as the cupcake remains a cupcake.
In every tradition, if it is to remain a living tradition, teachers have to walk a fine line between preserving the integrity of the tradition and making it their own, expressing it through their own personalities, strengths, understandings, preferences and such. Different teachers emphasize different aspects of the tradition. There is nothing wrong with this. It is surely true of the paqos of Peru. I have worked with enough of them to know that the same concept can come across differently according to the paqo offering it. So variations are not something that are unique to non-Peruvian teachers of the tradition.
As a living tradition, the sacred work changes over time. While the fundamentals may remain the same, new practices may be created even as old ones die off. It is a fool’s view to think that a tradition can or should remain static and, thus, unchanged. Like kawsay, the living energy whose natural state is flow (and which becomes hucha when it stagnates), the Andean tradition is a living tradition.
These and other factors all come into play when you choose or assess a teacher, so I would suggest that it serves you well to remember that his or her teaching is only one presentation of a multi-faceted living tradition. All of us as paqos are striving to accumulate the personal power to evolve consciously to the fourth level. The fourth level is where we accept our experiences without having to judge them against others. We don’t believe we have “the one and only truth,” so we don’t have to defend it and we feel no need to proselytize. We can find “gold” in every vein of the tradition we mine.
That said, as paqos striving to see “reality as it really is,” we also need to make conscious choices and understand that restriction can cause hucha. For teachers, it is important to let students know of the variations, cross-cultural add-ons, and personal flourishes that are expansions beyond the core tradition. Without such an understanding, students are left confused about what is the cupcake of the tradition and what is the frosting. Fourth-level teaching means cultivating students who “graduate” and go off to new endeavors, further explorations, other teachers, and even become teachers themselves. Fourth-level teachers empower their students, they don’t enslave them. And certainly they don’t need to shield them from alternative views or hinder their personal choices.
As students, it behooves us to choose the teachers and presentations of the tradition that most resonate for us at the time, according to the condition of our energy body, without the wholesale dismissal of other offerings. As students we need to be aware that our current teacher may be perfect at the moment but may not be the best teacher for us two years from now. One teacher is not replacing the other; both are to be honored for their contribution to our personal evolution.
I speak for Juan and Ivan when I say that we love this tradition, and we believe it is the most efficient in terms of energy work and the fastest path to accumulating the personal power to live with greater joy and well-being. We believe we are in the dawning stages of the birth of a New Humanity, and the Andean tradition is front and center in helping foster this evolution. So we want you to learn the tradition, from whomever you want. We want you to share it, with whomever you want. We are honored if you learn from us, but we don’t have any judgment if you don’t. Mostly, we want you to be clear-eyed about the choices you make and why, and we urge you to aspire, as we do, to the fourth-level perception that fear, jealousy, competition, control and restriction serve none of us. Most importantly, they don’t serve the Andean mystical tradition.
So what’d’ya say? Shall we agree to kick the elephant out of the room?