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 hangs 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 body. 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 your 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.”