Andean Energy Dynamics: Saminchakuy

You drive the living energy using your intention, don Benito explained, and the primary technique for getting stuck energy moving again is saminchakuy.

–Juan Nuñez del Prado

I get a lot of questions about some of the most basic, but important, energy practices of the Andean tradition. So in this post, and in a series of posts after this one, I want to talk about energy dynamics from a few different perspectives. Today, we’ll look at saminchakuy, a topic I have talked about at length about in multiple blog posts. It’s worth revisiting this subject.

don-martin-apaza-1-cropped-compressedI have said in the past, and continue to stress, that the Andean tradition is a path of joy and well-being. But that joy and well-being don’t just happen. You have to use the practices of the tradition to achieve them. That said, the practices are not “work.”They are joyful themselves, and they don’t take a PhD to understand or use.

Let me own my bias about what it means to claim you are following this path. For me it means you actually know and use the fundamental techniques of the tradition. Yet, it amazes me that so many people who have been on this path  for years don’t know the single most fundamental energy practice of the Andes—saminchakuy. Just about everything “energy” in the mystical tradition is based on this practice.

Everything is made of sami (the most refined kawsay, or living energy) and the very term saminchakuy means something like “making/working with sami” or “taking action with sami.” This practice is the basic “cleansing” practice. Just like the skin on your body needs to be washed in order to maintain your health, so does the “skin” of your poq’po (energy body or bubble) need to be cleaned of hucha. Saminchakuy is like taking an energetic shower. However, it’s important to understand that “cleansing” is a metaphor, because hucha shower with flowing water and steamis just slowed or blocked kawsay/sami. It is not dirty or contaminating, but it can affect your ability to be in effective reciprocity (ayni) with the living universe. Saminchakuy gets this slowed kawsay (hucha) moving again, and by doing so tremendously improves your capacity for well-being. You could also say, again metaphorically, that in relation to your well-being, it ramps up your energetic immune system.

The practice is simple. You use intention to draw sami in from the environment or cosmos through the top of your poq’po, and, after connecting through your tailbone or feet (the bottom of your poq’po) to Mother Earth, you use intention to direct any hucha in your poq’po into the Mother. You simultaneously release hucha as you fill and empower yourself with sami.

Saminchakuy pervades the tradition. So much of Andean practice is some variation of saminchakuy that not knowing about it may cause you to miss what is going on around you when you work with the paqos.

When you hear the Q’ero or other paqos sing or pray, you will often hear this word or some variation of it in their songs or prayers, as they petition the apus or Pachamama to receive their hucha. I was recently in Peru as part of a group, and we had the good fortune to spend several days working with a group of Q’ero paqos. During despachos I heard them whispering this word (saminchakuy) as they sought the blessings of the teqse apus. In effect they were asking, “Clean us, clean us.” This makes perfect sense since the despacho is the primary ayni ceremony and the despacho bundle is a great eater of hucha.

When you watch paqos work with their mishas, they most often are running it down a person’s body to release hucha. They basically are doing saminchakuy with the mishadon-francisco-offering-despacho-compressed-lisa-sims-img_4160 (as a result, it is also called mishachakuy: literally taking action with the misha). Like a despacho, the misha is a great eater of hucha. The downward movement of the misha (or a despacho bundle) over the body is a type of saminchakuy. They usually make sure they run the misha or despacho over all twelve ñawis (mystical eyes) and four chunpis (energetic belts), cleansing them of hucha and empowering them with sami. If you don’t know or understand saminchakuy, you might miss the actual intention of what they are doing with their mishas and despacho bundles.

To benefit from saminchakuy, you need only practice it ten minutes once or twice a day. The benefit is more perfect ayni. Everything in the Andean mystical tradition is based on ayni—moving energy through intention in reciprocity with the kawsay pacha. The quality of your ayni is dependent of the state of your poq’po—the more sami, the most effective your ayni—and vice versa. Saminchakuy is the core practice stairwary-metaphyscial-compressed-adobestock_102606538for creating a coherent and “clean” poq’po, so it directly impacts your capacity for ayni (or, to put it another way, your personal power ). It also impacts  the quality of your consciousness. As you cleanse your energy body, you perfect your ayni, which in turn helps you move up the stairway of the seven steps of consciousness. This is why don Benito Qoriwaman said that with saminchakuy alone (often supplemented with the empowering companion practice of saiwachakuy), you can reach the sixth (and possibly the seventh) level of consciousness. Saminchakuy, thus, is absolutely fundamental to your practice as a paqo and your personal development as a human being.

Can you follow the Andean tradition without knowing saminchakuy? Not really. It is simply too fundamental a practice.

Have I convinced you that you need to know and practice saminchkauy? I hope so.

Photo 3 is courtesy of and copyrighted by Lisa McClendon Sims.
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How To Change the World

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
― Jim Morrison, The Doors

Many of the prophecies of the Andes are about the runakay mosoq, the rise of the New Humanity. Instead of looking outside ourselves—to our politicians and to activists and hands-painted-with-world-compressed-adobestock_46322831others—the revolution as conscious evolution starts within.

As I have said so many times before, a primary goal of the Andean path is to become the grandest human being you can be—to consciously evolve, and by doing so to contribute to the conscious evolution of our species. It is not too grandiose to say that we are seeking to change the world by first changing ourselves.

The truth of the matter is that we can’t change other people, we can only change ourselves. As we reach a higher expression of ourselves, we can become living examples to others of the benefits of doing so, and we may even be able to inspire others to do the work of their own inner growth.

While it is important to be an activist and champion for causes that help better the world, if we focus only on what is wrong in the outer world and with others instead of what is going on within ourselves, we risk losing perspective of how the process of change works.

As writer and spiritual teacher Alan Cohen writes, “The world is not defective and does not need fixing; the world is unfolding and needs belief. You will never create a perfect world by fixing everything that is broken. . . .The only way to attain perfection is to claim it, right where you are. If it is not here now, it will not be here later. Perfection is not a condition you attain; it is a consciousness you live from. Changing the world is not about setting it right, but seeing it right. Inner transformation must occur before outer change is possible.”

So seeking to be a force for good in the world is not about doing, as much as it is about your Explosion of imaginationstate of being. As writer and teacher Marianne Williamson says, every moment is a choice about your “ministry.” Will it be a ministry of fear or one of love (munay)? Does it arise from respect or does it only marginalize or denigrate? Long before Williamson was a public figure, she was a cocktail waitress. She decided that her ministry was to be the best, most life-affirming waitress she could be. The bar where she worked was her “church.” She started right where she was and as who she was—a waitress in a bar at a restaurant—and did not defer her work until she had a larger stage or a different environment. Most important, she started by deciding who she wanted to be, before she started acting on that state of being.

As paqos we know that we are in continual ayni with others, the material world, and the cosmos of living energy. And we also know that if we are on one end of the ayni flow and another person is at the other end, all we can take responsibility for is our end of that flow. For instance, when we do hucha mikhuy, we are not cleansing the other person, we are cleansing the flow of energy between ourselves and that person. Our undertaking will indeed decrease that person’s hucha and increase his or her sami, but mostly we are focused on what the flow between us feels like to us and making it feel better for ourselves, so we can take back our projections from that person. We are taking responsibility for ourselves, not trying to change the other person. That person may indeed change as a result of our practice, but that is not our overt intent. Our intent is to shift the condition of our own life and emotional/energy environment.Family relations

This is why we say in the Andean tradition that each of us is at the center of the universe. This is not a statement of hubris or solipsism. It is a practical focus on where the work needs to be done—in the self. We are solely responsible for ourselves and for how we are in ayni with the world of living energy—for how we absorb kawsay and how we radiate it.

Imperfect ayni creates hucha. Like a snake swallowing its tail, by reducing our hucha, we not only increase our own well-being, but we improve our capacity for more perfect ayni. All the beings of the hanaqpacha have perfected ayni, and it is our hope as paqos to one day perfect our own ayni as well. When we do, our own lives will feel more like paradise, and we will be contributing to the shift collectively that can ultimately result in our bringing heaven down to earth.

So while it has become almost cliché to quote Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” that is exactly what our Andean practice is about. Don Benito once told Juan Nuñez del Prado that we don’t have to wonder what God will say next time “he” appears in physical form on earth. We know what “he” has said in the past, and that will be exactly what “he” will say in the future: Ayninaqichis: Practice Ayni.

Yin Yang CelestialThe medieval mystic Kabir reminds us that when it comes to outward gestures, “Why run around sprinkling holy water? There’s an ocean inside you, and when you’re ready you’ll drown.” The mystical drowning is not life threatening, but life affirming.

In the same way that is it impossible to separate water from ocean, we are both an ocean of self and a drop in the cosmic sea of being. We are both separate beings and inseparable from the All. The Andean mystical practices are first and foremost guiding principles for the evolution of the self, and from the center of the self our energy radiates out to touch the world. So think globally but start the process of change by acting locally—within yourself.