Valuing the Body

Where is the body in the hierarchy of the term “body-mind-spirit?” For many people on a mystical or spiritual path, the body is relegated to the basement of the spiritual house. Mind occupies the first floor, while spirit Body meditation compressed Dollarphotoclub_94264509hangs out in the upper room with a view. But in the Andean tradition, putting spirit first is like putting the cart before the horse. The body matters immensely as does the mind—they are inseparable, since the mind is a function of the physical brain. In the Andes, the mind is associated with the soul. The soul is the sum of your lived experiences, your culture, your beliefs, and so on. The soul is different from the spirit, which is your Inka Seed, your connection with divinity. The spirit is perfect. The body and soul are subject to the influence of both sami and hucha.

The Andean tradition, while a training in mysticism, is about being fully human. It is not about leaping beyond the human. Therefore, everything you do relates in some way to that most human part of yourself: your physical being, including your mind/soul.

All of your energy work goes through the body. All of your mystical senses are extensions of the body. The chunpis, or belts of power, are located in the body. Their eyes, or ñawis, are located in the body. All the other “eyes,” such as the uma (top of the head), chakis (point in the sole of each foot) and makis (point in the palm of each hand), are in the body. The seqes, or cords of energy that you send out to interact energetically with the world, come from the body. The pouyu—the gap where spirit enters and informs you—is part of the body. Your Inka Seed, which is your connection with your divinity, is in the body.

You can see that the body is very important in the Andean practice. So, here’s my question: How much attention do you pay to your body as you practice as a paqo?

As you study and practice as a paqo, you are in essence retraining your Mind energy beams compressed Dollarphotoclub_53649347body. You are acknowledging a non-material aspect of your body: its energy counterpart. But notice that word—counterpart. You have two bodies, a physical one and an energetic one, and they are not separate.

Since the “thing” that drives energy, according to the Andean tradition, is intention, your mind is also a vital aspect of your practice. There is no intention without a brain and mind. Nor is there focus, attention, concentration, each of which are crucial to your energy practices. Your end goal is conscious evolution—with a focus on the word “conscious.”

Therefore, you have to attend to your body-mind-spirit equally if you are to evolve in your practice as a paqo and your growth as a human being. I was recently reading Deepak Chopra’s new book, The Future of God, and as I read the following, I was struck by its relevance to our practices as paqos:

     The brain cannot shape itself; it functions as a mechanism for processing what the mind wants, fears, believes, and dreams about. By becoming more conscious, you automatically begin to lead your brain where you want it to go. . .

Your brain, despite its marvels, requires basic training when you learn any new skill, and finding God is a skill. New neural pathways must be formed, which will happen automatically once you put focus, attention, and intention behind it.

His reasoning about the brain’s part in finding God applies to your practice as a paqo learning to consciously evolve, push the kawsay using only intention, and live with well-being and joy. All of your energy practices both arise from your intention brain/mind and affect it (changing it, repatterning it). And practice makes perfect! Sometimes you are deep in touch with the kawsay pacha and sometimes you feel separate from it. Deepak Chopra calls the kawsay pacha the “subtle world,” and he wisely counsels: “Until the subtle world becomes your home, you can’t help but come and go. Repetition and practice are part of the learning curve.”

So, practice! Saminchakuy, saiwachkauy, hucha mikhuy, sensing through Man gathers a human head as puzzles on the wooden deskyour ñawis, and so on.

But to what end? Yes, you want to live in the subtle world, but Andeans don’t talk about leaping beyond the human. So as a paqo you are striving to express the fullness of your humanness, which goes far beyond what scientific material-realism tells us is possible for us. That’s why we call what we do mystical. But it is not non-human. It is a natural part of who you are and how you can be in the world and the kawsay pacha. And while you are here in human form, the pinnacle of your practice is to reach the sixth level of human consciousness—that of the Christ Consciousness or Buddha Nature. (The seventh is somewhat fuzzy, for while it is still human, it is the human-god/god-human, and we have no idea what that could be. Or, at least, we have no description of it from the Andean masters.)

It’s time to invite your body and mind/soul into that upper room with a view, where your spirit lives. These three aspects of the self are a trinity—three in one, one in three, individual yet inseparable. Together they are “who you really are.”


Perceiving Kawsay: The World Within and Without You

In the Andean tradition, intention drives energy—the kawsay, or light Evolving Microcosmliving energy, of the universe. Our aim is not to imagine or intuit that we are pushing the kawsay, but to actually perceive the flow of energy. Perception comes through your senses, through a visceral experience, so that you know without any doubt you are actually achieving your intention.

Perceiving kawsay can be a challenge. It can sometimes take months or even years to develop a perception of kawsay and its movements. If you are having trouble perceiving kawsay, here are some tips for improving your perceptual capacities.

Practice More

Whether you are doing saminchakuy, saiwachakuy, hucha mikhuy or some other technique for moving energy in a specific way, practice makes perfect. When you practice, be sure you fully understand the technique—how to do it, what you are intending to achieve, and how the kawsay will move. For example, with saminchakuy, the flow of energy will be downward moving, whereas with saiwachakuy it will be upward. With hucha mikhuy, you can expect to feel a split flow, both upward and downward, within your poq’po.

You don’t need to spend hours practicing. Ten minutes a day on one technique is about right. At first focus not so much of achieving the effect (cleansing, empowering, etc.), but only on perceiving the movement of energy. But don’t try too hard! Sometimes a gentle effort is better than a strong one. Rein in your expectations. Be gentle on yourself. Be patient.

Cleanse Your Poq’po

The more hucha you have, the more difficult it is to develop your qawaq shower with flowing water and steamabilities—both mystical seeing and mystical sensing. The more hucha you have, the less you can perceive and see reality as it really is, because you may be projecting a lot of unconscious “stuff” out into the world. Therefore, use saminchakuy to cleanse your bubble.

Remember, saminchakuy is like taking a shower. It cleanses the skin level of your poq’po, where most of your hucha accumulates. Send the hucha to Mother Earth and pull in sami from the cosmos. Do that for five or ten minutes a day and you should see your ability to sense kawsay improve.


Examine Your Beliefs

If you have erected unconscious (or conscious) boundaries between yourself and the world, it is unlikely you will develop a clear perception of the world, and certainly not of its subtle energies. Fear, feeling the need for protection, anticipation of being hurt or taken advantage of, being overly critical or judgmental, relying too heavily on the egoic voice, and even low self-esteem can create a wall between you and the world, lessening your ability to truly perceive energy flows. When you doubt your own ability to “be” in the world, the world retreats. Do your psychological “shadow work” to draw the world back to you and to learn to embrace it. You will find that your metaphysical perceptual work becomes easier.

Get a Boost from Your Misha

Sometimes an extra punch of sami is all that is needed to crack open your perceptual abilities, and a great place to get that sami is from is your JOan Phukuy with Q'ero whistling vessel trip Croppedmisha. The misha contains only sami, so it is a deep repository from which you can freely draw. Place the misha on your uma (top of your head) and bring its sami into your poq’po. Through it, you will be drawing on the experience of a long line of powerful paqos and the deep ancestry of the Andean tradition. When you work with the misha, you are never alone. Allow the ancestors to help you, and they will.

Learn to Physically See Kawsay

Not everyone can do the following because of the requirements, but if you can, go for it! While we generally learn to perceive kawsay as a visceral feeling and through our metaphysical eyes (the ñawis), it is possible actually to see it with your physical eyes. For this you need a completely dark, or black, room. It must be free of any ambient light.

Don Melchor Desa had such a room in his little house: the walls, floor, and ceiling were painted black, the door was well sealed, and there were no windows. It was in that room that Juan Nuñez del Prado learned to see kawsay—simply sitting and staring into the darkness. It took many, many hours over many days before he first saw kawsay as different sizes of luminous spheres that moved freely through the air. He was even able toEvolving Wave Particle learn to “taste” them—taking them into his qosqo but perceiving an actual physical taste.

This was a training, not a parlor trick. It can be invaluable because of the dynamics of human nature: seeing fosters believing, and believing in the physical reality of kawsay fosters the development of perception at the purely energetic level, which is our ultimate goal. However, a word of caution. Don’t  taste kawsay by taking it into your poq’po (“eating it” and “digesting it” through your qosqo) unless you are skilled at the technique of hucha mikhuy. Instead, send seqes (cords) of energy out from your qosqo to reach out to the living universe to perceive and taste the flavors of kawsay.

It Ain’t So Heavy, It’s Just My Hucha

Some of the most hucha-producing days of my life occurred in 1995 while I was traveling, with several others, to Q’oyllurit’i, a festival held in the Horses to Qolloritibowl of a glacier more than 16,500 feet above sea level. We traveled on horseback for four days, and the ride was difficult and even frightening, especially the narrow, precipitously steep trails and drop-offs over the cliffs that led to hundreds of feet of nothingness. As unnerving as parts of the trail were, most of my hucha was created by my fear of horses.  As a city girl growing up outside of Boston, the only time I had been around horses was during a visit to a farm. Not knowing any better, I walked behind a tethered horse and the next thing I knew I was on the ground, having been kicked in the forehead. I survived that encounter, but I was not so sure I would this trip to Q’oyllurit’i. I almost didn’t go, but my desire to attend this most sacred Andean festival was stronger than my fear of having to ride a horse to get there.

These were Andean horses: most of them were slung low to the ground, with barrel chests and lungs that chugged like bellows. They had amazing stamina and were sure-footed, but willful. Sometimes there was little I could do to control my horse. The lead rope was hand-woven and frayed, the saddle—if you can call it that—had no horn so there was nothing to grab hold of to steady myself on precipitous parts of the train, and the stirrups were set for a short Peruvian and could not be adjusted for a tallish American. The one on the left was high, so my leg was uncomfortably bent the whole trip and my balance affected.

Needless to say, whenever my horse encountered an especially difficult part of the trail and stumbled, I went over the top. Almost every day I had a fall and suffered some kind of injury: a large hematoma on my right hip Admiring the view on the way to Q'ollorit'ifrom flying over the horse and smacking into a stone outcropping when my horse slipped going down some wet Inka stone steps; a badly injured knee from another mishap on day two. In some kind of selfish divine justice, I didn’t fall off on the third day—someone else took a tumble instead. Then on day four . . . well . . . let’s just say that because of Latin machismo, and against my vigorous protests, the guides insisted I stay mounted when it was clear I needed to get off that horse. The horses could not climb one portion of the trail that was a huge stone Inka stairway, the steps very deep at the bottom and a struggle for the horses to get up on. Plus, there was a shallow but wide crevasse at the base of the steps. Everyone dismounted and climbed.

But because of my knee, the guys, trying to be nice, insisted they had a way for my horse to make the climb with me on its back. To get around the crevasse, they decided to take me, on the horse, onto a slick round stone to the side that was only a step or two away from one of those terrifying drops to nothingness. Of course, their plan didn’t work. My horse freaked out and tumbled into the crevasse. In one of the few Castaneda-like moments of my life, I leap-frogged backwards off the horse but somehow ended up standing on a tiny ledge just wide enough for my feet that was 90 degrees to the left. How I ended up there defies the laws of physics, but I was incredibly happy to be there. In another miracle, the horse, when they finally were able to extricate him, was unhurt except for a small cut on one lower leg. Anyway, this was a huge hucha-producing trip during which I was pretty rattled and did not remember to do saminchuy often enough toCamping at Q'ero village Chua Chua on our way to Q'ollorit'i re-establish equilibrium in my poq’po.

I did two major hucha-cleansing sessions. The first night at Chua Chua while visiting don Manuel Q’epsi, I released hucha and pulled sami from him. Juan Nuñez del Prado, my teacher and guide on this trip, had said that when you are with a paqo who is more advanced than you are, you can drink sami from his poq’po. (Remember, sami literally means “nectar.”) When I was with don Manuel, I drank and drank! The other time was at Hatun Q’eros, where we also spent a night and I got some herbal anti-inflammatory help with my swelling knee. There I performed saminchakuy in the regular way, sending my hucha to Mother Earth and pulling sami in through my uma (crown of my head) and filling my bubble and body.

We humans have the dubious distinction of being the only creatures who can slow or stop the flow of kawsay, causing hucha. (The ancient names for sami and hucha were llanthu kawsay, literally “light living energy,” and llasaq kawsay, literally “heavy living energy.”) Although we create hucha whenever we are not living in ayni, or reciprocity, with the kawsay pacha, the most common cause of hucha is emotion. Our emotions fuel words, actions, thoughts, and intentions that can disrupt ayni. The number-one creator of hucha is humans is fear—but not just any fear.

We instinctively feel fear—the flight or fight response—when we are Male brown bear in forestphysically threatened. If you are hiking and cross paths with a bear, you probably will feel fear. You are reacting physically and naturally to a potentially significant threat to life and limb. Your emotion is in perfect ayni with the circumstances. Hence, this fear may not generate hucha, although the whole experience may upset your energy. The life-threatening aspects of my trip did not themselves cause hucha. That fear was a normal, appropriate response to circumstances.

But beyond that justifiable fear was fear that was hucha-producing. I was carrying the hucha-imprint of my early experience with horses. Now I was not a girl but a grown woman and could have handled that horse well if I had only acted like an adult and had confidence in myself. My hucha was following me from my past, and I was misunderstanding that past to be true in my present. I also had a lot of self-esteem problems at that time, plus was just generally subject to a low-level constant anxiety about unfamiliar situations where I felt I had little control. So I was producing a lot of hucha.

When releasing hucha, we always refresh ourselves with sami—and we have almost unlimited sources of sami. Although in saminchakuy we tend to pull the light living energy down from the cosmos, in actuality we can pull it in from anything in nature—a tree, a stone, an animal, a cloud, a river. Everything in nature is comprised only of sami, so we have unlimited sources of various “flavors” of sami and can choose the most appropriate flavor for our condition.

For example, if you feel unsteady and at the whim of life’s circumstances, when you perform saminchakuy you might pull sami in from a large rock Nature Lake and Trees Compressed Dollarphotoclub_94323562formation. Its sami is grounding, steadying, vigilant, “rock solid.” If you feel you are stuck and can’t seem to move in life, perhaps you might pull sami from the clouds, which are always moving and full of life-giving and life-sustaining water. Your only limitation is your imagination when it comes to drinking in the sami of the natural world and cosmos. And your primary responsibility is to do the practices that release hucha and help re-establish coherence in your poq’po. Take it from me: I know how difficult it is to remember to do the practices when you really need them! But better late than never. . .

Waltzing with the Universe

Dancing in step with the universe. Flowing with purpose and joy along the stream of life. Understanding that the universe knows you better than you know yourself, moondanceand witnessing it deliver to you, at just the right time, the perfect fulfillment of your needs.

I just read Michael A. Singer’s new book, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection,” and it’s a story that meets each of these seemingly impossible expectations.

And while reading it, and his previous book The Untethered Soul, I couldn’t help but think of the Andean path, especially about ayni—being in perfect reciprocity with the kawsay pacha, the universe of living energy.

In his new book, Singer recounts his quest for getting beyond the pesky, loquacious, opinionated, ego-based voice within to the still, silent, knowing place of the Self. When he gets there, he finds that his life unfolds almost miraculously, with everything falling into place as if by divine guidance. He says, “Once you are ready to let go of yourself, life becomes your friend, your teacher, your secret lover.Abstract Red Yellow Fractal Flowers When life’s way becomes your way, all the noise stops, and there is a great peace.”

We have to recast Singer’s journey from meditation and Buddhist teachings to Andean energy practices and concepts to understand that what you are learning on the Andean path is exactly what he is talking about achieving through the contemplative traditions.

“When life’s way becomes your way. . .” That is a great definition of ayni, of reciprocity. The “great peace” that results we would call “well-being.” When Singer talks about having to quiet that ego-based voice that blocks the flow of life energy, we would understand that as releasing all the unconscious and conscious projections that create hucha. Singer frees himself through arduous meditation practices; we do it much more quickly and effortlessly through saminchakuy.

On the Andean path, we know that the natural state of kawsay is to flow ideas and creativity in businessunimpeded. We understand that our goal is to allow life/kawsay to flow through us in order to “see reality as it really is.” We learn to see not only through our physical eyes/mind/ego, but also through our mystical eyes (the ñawis). Because we can be qawaq, we know we need to embrace our direct experience of the kawsay pacha and not be fooled by the illusion of our projections.

Singer’s focus is largely on being aware and allowing. From the Andean perspective, we would call this intention. Intention is not about control but about clarity of vision. Singer, for instance, sets a clear intent of quieting the personal ego voice (releasing hucha), being in reciprocity with the universe (practicing ayni), and of being awake to what is actually happening and allowing it to unfold (qaway). All of this leads to acting with personal power and integrity.

Intent and personal power allow us not only to follow the lead of the kawsay pacha,door open but to have the capacity to act when opportunity arises. Ayni is not passive, but active—it is a clear-sighted interchange. Intent without energy is not effective, and vice versa.

Singer takes action in spades! As paqos do. Sometimes that action is simply allowing. Other times it is actually doing something. One of the culminating capacities of the energy work of the Andes, especially through the work of the chunpis, is atiy. Atini means “I can do it” in Quechua. Man atini means “I cannot do it.” Your personal power—energy coupled with intent—determines your capacity for atiy, between your being able to waltz with the universe or having to sit on the side of the dance floor as an observer. The key is in knowing when to allow and when to act.

Singer at first thought the path to “enlightenment” required passivity. He dropped out of life and became a recluse, obsessing about being alone in the woods in meditation so he could access his higher Self. After tedious effort, he discovered that the universe did not want him hiding out in the woods. It wanted him engaged in the world. That is exactly the message of the Andean path—to be fully human in the human world instead of trying to leap beyond your humanness into a purely spiritual world. It takes Singer dozens of years to realize this. You know it from the first training in the Andean path.

Magic lampI recommend you read Singer’s new book. It is impressive in its evidence-based nature that the universe is a living universe and ayni allows us to partner with the cosmos and dance. Singer’s book also underscores what Andean paqos know: the kawsay pacha is incredibly abundant, giving back tenfold for every authentic energy exchange. Singer’s book reveals that intention and energy are the twin engines of life at every level, from the most mundane to the most esoteric. What it doesn’t show, naturally, is that the Andean practices can achieve the same ends, and they can get you there faster and less painfully.

There is one lesson I ask you to definitely take to heart from Singer. That is dedication to a path. If you know the Andean practices but are not using them, hopefully Singer’s example of persistent practice will motivate you to take them up again. By doing so, you can start on your own path toward waltzing with the universe in ayni.

Integrity and Your Poq’po

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.

—Alan Simpson

The word “integrity” has several meanings within the Andean tradition as passed on through the lineage of Juan Nuñez del Prado. The core meaning of integrity as Abstract fractal texture wisps and lights Background design ofa paqo means being in energetic coherence, in the sense that the streams of kawsay that flow through and within your bubble do so harmoniously. When you divest your bubble of hucha through practices such as saminchakuy and hucha miqhuy, you increase your bubble’s level of sami, which is the life-creating and life-sustaining energy of the cosmos. Less hucha and more sami means your poq’po is closer to its original, natural state.

When you are in energetic integrity, kawsay flows through you unimpeded, so you are in a greater state of unity with the cosmos, Thus, your capacity to make more refined ayni exchanges is heightened. As more sami flows and energetic integrity increases, you also activate your Inka Seed, which is your divine self. It’s you as a Drop of the Mystery. Your Inka Seed encodes your true nature and fully realized self. Thus, it is the repository of your fullest and grandest capacities and gifts. But your Inka Seed grows best when the ground state of your poq’po is one of coherence.

Integrity as coherence also means you are not split within. You don’t act as often from your superego, which acts according to feedback such as approval and acceptance that comes from outside the self, or from your undirected passions and impulses. You are more aware of who you really are, and so you can more easily divest yourself of illusions, contradictions, projections, and such. Doing so releases hucha and increases sami so that you can act with the integrity of a unified self. You are not torn emotionally between your head and your heart. Between your desires and your best interests. Between your intentions and your actions. When you are in energetic integrity your thoughts, actions, words, intentions, desires, and such are more integrated. The consequence as a human being is that you are in “right relationship” with yourself and with others. You are more compassionate, confident, trustworthy, joyful, truthful, patient, and a host of other qualities that arise from inner coherence. In short, you are more “real” in the union of yourself as human being and spirit being.

Integrity also means to act with munay, with a love grounded in will. Munay is not sentimental; it is not a feeling that is subject to the whim of circumstance or emotion. Munay is a choice.  It is grounded in clear-seeing—in qaway—and so is subject to your will.  Munay is beyond the needs of the self yet within the purview of self-control.

Munay expresses itself in myriad ways: it is evident when you choose to speak kindly 3d words of faith hope and loveto someone with whom you have deep differences; it displays as compassion for someone whom you judge as suffering due to his or her own choices and actions; it does not condemn; it is not about preaching; it is not holier-than-thou, although it also is not devoid of opinion, ethics and morality. But munay always extends the benefit of the doubt. It errs on the side of kindness, charity and empathy. Because munay is love grounded in will (choice), it is not so much a feeling as it is action. Even if you do not feel loving toward another person, you act with loving–kindness. Ideally, however, munay is the perfect coherence of both feeling and action. It is, like Christian agape, the model for humanity.

Integrity encompasses each of these meanings and others. Bringing integrity—coherence—to your poq’po is a fundamental practice of a paqo. When in energetic integrity, you can live more fully and truly as a paqo who fosters joy and well-being for yourself and those around you.