God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.
I heard a former military flight engineer, Tony Woody, say in his YouTube video about his spiritually transformative experience that the message he received was plain but powerful: “God is insanely in love with you. He is insanely in love with you.”
That’s a lot of love!
Do you know that? Believe it? Live from it?
That God (Universal Intelligence, Wiraqocha, Great Spirit) loves us is the spiritual message of the Andes. Paqos play at the level of the kawsay pacha—the Godhead revealed in the material world. They play at that level of munay, where love is sacred and the sacred is love—a level that is not solemn and serious but deeply and wildly passionate. This kind of passion is called khuyay (you can learn about it in my past post about it: “Khuyay: Living with Passion”). It’s a passion that arises from the certainty that you are a Drop of the Mystery, as encoded in your Inka Seed, and you choose to live powered by the sacred thrill of being an integral and participatory part of the living universe, or God if you will.
As I have said so many times in these posts, the Andean tradition is a path of joy. Pukllay is sacred play, which is the spirit of our interaction as paqos with the kawsay pacha. The universe of living energy is woven from the fabric of love and joy; it is overly abundant and we can take from it anything we want with no limits. There is no scarcity at all—not of love, not of joy, not of anything. And it all starts with our relationship with who we really are—which is a part of the Godhead.
You might not be used to hearing a teacher and practitioner of the Andean tradition talk about God (or whatever you want to call the Great Intelligence of the Universe). I am the exception. I talk about God all the time, because the Inka Seed inside me is my energetic connection to God. I am, and you are, a Drop of the Mystery manifest in human form. But how much do you live from that knowing? How does that wildly amazing truth infuse joy into your practice as a paqo?
As paqos we are learning to be at play in this grand, infinite field of energy, knowing that energy must follow intention. It must! That is the law of ayni. Yet as much as I know that, I also know that too often I am shy about marshalling my personal power to meet God on this equal playing field of love, joy, and manifestation.
Sometimes I feel the best thing we can do as paqos is to lighten up—figuratively in terms of our approach to our Andean practices and literally in allowing our individual soul light to shine brilliantly for all the world to witness and share.
Now that I am on the road teaching the Andean mystical tradition, I am aware that if there is one “error” people learning the tradition make it is being too serious. They work so hard! They wonder to the point of worry about images and perceptions they see or feel: What does it mean? How should I interpret this? How should I react? If there something I have to do? Am I being called to Peru or by an Apu? They stress themselves about doing the practices correctly or not. They admonish themselves if they judge that they are not “perceiving” the energy clearly enough or at all.
I say. “Relax!” Yes, practice—and take your practice seriously, as that is the commitment to growth and conscious evolution. But breathe into the practice—play and have fun. Pukllay doesn’t mean you are not being serious about your intent; it’s more about living that intent with joy, playfulness, self-nurturance, and so on. To put it boldly: Don’t be afraid to laugh your way to enlightenment!
This is a message I have to constantly remind myself of. I am aware that I do not laugh enough in my life. I feel joy, but I tend to keep the expression of that joy inside. Too often my joy is private. That’s like keeping a light under a bushel basket. The glow barely escapes. . .
We can fake a laugh but we can’t manufacture true feelings of joy. We have to cultivate the playful and passionate aspects of ourselves just as we cultivate other skills and talents. The first step is awareness. By observing ourselves we can sit outside ourselves not as critics but as cheerleaders. Heller Keller said, “One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.” Our path as paqos is conscious evolution so that we stop creeping and start soaring—and not only as individuals but as a species.
Joy is generated as much from the sacralized world as from the purely human one. Paqos are focused like a laser on the human world—on living as a fully realized human being. The writer and adventurer Jon Krakauer, writes: “You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.”
I would add that it is more than circumstance and a desire for the unconventional that facilitate an openness to experiencing joy; it is a developing awareness. It is a way of looking at and perceiving the world, even in its most conventional guise. The Andean tradition can help us cultivate both a new approach to engaging the world and greater levels of awareness to perceive it through. Then we can witness and, more importantly, experience what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says of joy: “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
We can wait for joy or we can cultivate it. Writer Shauna Niequist gets to the heart of the matter when she says: “I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
Your life is a gift from the kawsay pacha. One day you will have to return that gift. The question is what the “in-between” of that ayni exchange is going to look like, feel like, be like. I propose that we burn the candle of joy from both ends: laughing through this life along with our joyful God and living our joy in honor of God’s gift of our life.
Of all the spiritual traditions that I have studied, I find that the Andean tradition best embodies this dual point of view that we are both recipients and givers of joy. My counsel to those learning the path is to strip Andean mysticism down to this deep playful and passionate core, and from there to develop their practice. All the rest will fall into place more effortlessly and naturally—and joyfully.