There is a clear path to personal development in the Andean tradition as I have learned it and teach it. It’s a path of conscious evolution, both for each of us individually and for us collectively as a species. According to the prophecies of the tradition, we are accumulating the personal power to birth a grander self and the “new humanity.”
As metaphysical as this goal seems, it is actually a path of sobriety. It requires that we do our sacred inner work. And that begins with a commitment to our practices as paqos.
Let me review some of the core practices.
1) Ensure your energetic “cleanliness.” Bring coherence to your energy body to accumulate personal power, perfect your ayni, and increase your ability to push the kawsay on behalf of yourself and others. The practice is saminchakuy.
2) Practice ayni. Your responsibility as a paqo is to use your personal power on behalf of yourself and others. If you see others in need, address that need, whether that is to foster healing, empowerment, or something else. The practice is saiwachakuy. If you feel hucha in your relations with others, cleanse that stream of energy. The practice is hucha mikhuy.
3) Harmonize the three human powers. To be in harmony within, you must master the three primary human powers—llank’ay, the ability to do work and make an effort; yachay, the ability to reason, use logic and intellect; and munay, making a choice for love, compassion, empathy and non-judgment. The supporting powers are rimay, kanay and atiy.
4) Live your life as the treasure that it is, and live fully and passionately no matter the outward circumstances. Seeing the world as a awe-inducing creative experience is a point of view that comes from the inside and can change everything about the outside. As some Hindu mystics say, you are not in the world, the world is in you. You project awareness out into the world and into your experiences, which colors all the meanings you give to what is happening around you, to you, and through you. In the Andean tradition, the goal is to engage all of life with passion, and the power is khuyay.
To live these principles is not about seeing through rose-colored glasses or living a fairy tale. It is about being the passionate yet sober energetic warrior who lives from his or her Inka Seed. Expanding your personal power may not be easy or comfortable. For whatever reason, we humans tend to learn and grow through challenges. As paqos we strive to “see reality as it really is,” and sometimes reality appears to be a opponent rather than a ally. Our work as paqos is to look beyond appearances to what physicist Bruce A. Schumm calls the “deep down things.” The power is qaway.
Gloria Karpinski, a wise friend of mine (and a gifted author and international teacher and lecturer), provides a pithy way to understand one of the common ways spiritual and energetic intention (ayni) works in the real world. She writes, in her book Where Two Worlds Touch, “Once we start paying attention to what’s happening in our own environment, we begin to see that the universe is giving us all sorts of clues about our path. If we believe in love and we are making a commitment to being love, there’s a good chance the universe will send us thirty people in a row whom we don’t love. Our assignment: Love those thirty people.”
The law of ayni can be surprising! Using Karpinski’s example, as we develop munay, we may indeed draw to us those we can easily love. But we might just as easily draw to us those whom we struggle to love. Both results fulfill the law of ayni, although the latter is decidedly more difficult a lesson in the ayni of self-awareness and growth. No rose-colored glasses here! But no need for them either, as you, as a paqo, have all the practices and tools you need to meet the challenge (or, more accurately, the opportunity) the kawsya pacha has seen fit to offer you.
You don’t need to be a philosopher to be a paqo, but I do think that you can more easily and quickly master the practices of the tradition if you dive down into the deeper levels of what you are doing and why. When you seek those deep, down things, then you must take off the rose-colored glasses because will not see your life as a paqo as one-dimensional or single-hued. The kawsay pacha is rich in creativity and blessings beyond your wildest imaginings. Why would you think that your life, and indeed our human world, would be any less so? Even your cruelest challenge can be turned to good if you approach the world “as it really is,” which is under the guidance of your munay and ayni.
The whole point of this post is to urge you to pay attention to more than the surface roads of your work as a paqo along life’s journey. Your destination is certain—you will one day return the gift of your life back to the kawsay pacha. The question is if you will have evolved as much as you can through your practice. Have you discovered and then used all of your gifts? Have you shared them with the world?
I love this quotation from Erma Bombeck: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” An Andean paqo can speak no truer words than those!