Andean Energy Dynamics: The Right and Left Sides of the Path

In the Andes we talk about working with “both hands,” meaning working the “right side” and the “left side” of the path. While paqos tend to be more adept at one side of Closeup of an indigenous woman's hands, Chimborazo, Ecuadorthe path or the other, the ideal is to integrate the powers of both. The word mast’ay refers to bringing order, usually in relation to making a despacho. But as runa mast’ay it means to bring order and wholeness to the self. It is about putting ourselves into order through more perfect ayni—offering ourselves (our intention and energy) as perfectly as possible to the kawsay pacha, or, as the Christianized tradition would say, to the Holy One. This process of restoring or fostering wholeness begins with mastering both “sides” Andean practice.

The Right Side of the Path

The right side of the path, paña, is often called the mystical side of the work. It is a path of yachay, or knowledge. This is the work of accumulating the personal power to be able to meet with and dialogue with the spirit beings by ourselves, with no need for an intermediary. We accumulate that power by cleansing our poq’pos (energy bodies) of hucha. The less hucha (and thus the more sami, or refined kawsay) we have, the clearer our intent, the more perfect our ayni, and the more effective our abilities are as paqos. The great teacher of ayni, and a core practice of the right side, is the despacho. The despacho at its core is always a tawantin, which is the symbol or structure of wholeness.

In addition to connecting you to the spirit beings, such as the apus, inti (the sun), and other nature spirits, the right side energies also connect you to the old master paqos and their lineage. This work is associated with the misha, the “power bundle” that augustin-pauqar-flores-brothers-book-interview-1996usually contains khuyas (sacred stones and objects) gifted to you from teachers, acquired from other sources such as sacred sites, or selected because they are meaningful in your life. Your teachers, however, don’t only have to be humans. The apus—mountain spirits—especially are tutelary spirits. Paqos often are in “service” to one or more apus, which serve as their guiding stars. A paqo may also have a single celestial star as an anchor in this life and a guide to the next life. Being able to establish a relationship with, dialogue with, and learn from both human and spirit teachers is a mastery of right-side work.

While ayni (clear intent and a “clean” poq’po) is paramount to right-side work, most of this work is energetically initiated from the qosqo, the power center at the belly area. From the qosqo we send out seqes, cords of energy, that connect us with the world beyond ourselves. We can send cords across time and space, and these cords of energy can become conduits for the transfer of information. When I teach the paña workshop, I always send participants into the outdoors to play with their qosqo energy dynamics, practicing sending seqes to different kinds of “beings,” from a flower to a lawn chair to a buzzing bee. Most have fun with this exercise and then, I suspect, forget about it. They don’t continue to practice perceiving energy relationships after they leave the workshop. Not doing so ensures they will never master the right side of the path. Energy relations are everything in this tradition, and working with the qosqo to become exquisitely sensitive to energy connections is paramount to Andean practice. Honing this perceptual skill is a primary right-side pursuit.

We don’t just perceive through our qosqo, however. We “see” through all twelve of our ñawis (energetic eyes), although mostly through the seven primary ones  (at the tailbone, belly, heart, throat, two physical eyes and seventh eye) and the four primary chunpis (belts of power). In fact, we perceive through our entire poq’po, making all reflection white clouds and sun on the blue sky in waterkinds of connections through it. Juan joked once that our poq’pos look like porcupines because there are seqes emerging from all directions over the entirely of our energy bubbles.

The right side is the part of the path where we also work with the three worlds: the immaterial upper world (hanaq pacha), this material world (kay pacha) and the lower world (ukhu pacha). There are many ways to work these realms, but in this context it is about our ayni flows. We pull sami from the upper world (from the perfected spirit beings and the Holy One) or this world (from Mother Earth or the beings of nature) to empower ourselves. We send sami to the beings of the lower world, who don’t know ayni, to empower them.

The Left Side of the Path

The left side of the path, lloq’e, is often called the magical side. It’s the path of llank’ay—of action. It is magical in that we harness the supernatural inside of ourselves (energy and intention) to do work in the human, material, and natural world. Thus, whereas paña is the path of knowing, lloq’e is the path of doing. It’s all about the use of your personal power right here in the human world.

The left side is predominantly the path of healing and of the chunpis (belts of power). don-martin-and-dona-isabila-apaza-blessing-despacho-and-mishas-compressedEach of the chunpis encodes or confers potential abilities. At the throat, there is rimay, the capacity to speak as who you really are; at the heart is munay, the capacity to choose love and compassion using your will, and kanay, the ability to know who you really are and live it; at the belly is khuyay, the capacity to engage the world and relationships with passion; and at the hip area is atiy, the ability to take right action at the right time according to knowing and living as who you really are and according to your amount of personal power (ayni).

The left side of the path fosters in us the ability to use our powers on behalf of ourselves and others. If you have personal power, as a paqo you are obligated to use it. You can do that in any number of ways: through offering a despacho, doing saminchakuy or hucha mikhuy on another’s energy body, and so on. One of the primary actions of the left side is healing. According to the Andean tradition, no one can trump another person’s will, so in reality all a healer can do is create the energetic conditions to help their client activate their own self-healing capacities. But the mechanism by which that happens is mysterious, often purely energetic  (and thus invisible). That’s why healing can appear to be both magical and miraculous. In fact, this is partly why the left side is said to be an integration of the supernatual and the natural inside the human body.

In the lloq’e workshop, participants are taught to bring deep coherence to their poq’po and all the ñawis and chunpis. Even more important, perhaps, is the goal of weaving our energy body into a single system. For most practitioners, their energy body is compartmentalized. The separate parts of the energetic anatomy have not been integrated into a whole. They may be adept at communicating their knowledge, and so working through the belt at the throat, but unable to manage or communicate their  emotions (at the belly). In the left-side work, we weave everything together so that we can work at mastering all of our gifts and all three human powers (yachay or knowledge, munay or love, and llank’ay or actions). You can think of this state as the difference between being a skeleton that is a collection of connected bones and a body that is interwoven together with muscles, tendons, nerves, and so on. There is some connectivity in the first state, but it doesn’t hum with life yet. In the lloq’e work as well we enlist the wisdom and assistance of eight spirit helpers. They hold the space for capacities within that are as yet underdeveloped in us. They model for us ways of being and doing in all spheres of our humanness.

To fully develop as a paqo and, more importantly, as a human being, we have choose conscious evolution and use the tools that help us evolve. This information provides a basic overview of the right and left sides of the Andean path and how they, together, can help us achieve the fullness of being . It is more than enough information, I hope, both to persuade you that it pays to know about both sides of the path and to motivate you to learn to work with both “hands.”

Andean Energy Dynamics and the Quantum Universe

The more we delve into quantum mechanics the stranger the world becomes; appreciating this strangeness of the world, whilst still operating in that which you now consider reality, will be the foundation for shifting the current trajectory of your life from ordinary to extraordinary. It is the Tao of mixing this cosmic weirdness with the practical and physical, which will allow you to move, moment by moment, through parallel worlds to achieve your dreams.
—Kevin Michel

For those of you not science minded, you may find this post a little challenging. For those of you who love to probe the mysteries at the scientific frontier, you may find this post provides a cornucopia of food for thought.

In 2010 a book came out that deeply intrigued me. I had just co-written a book about information theory and biology (Decoding the Body-Field: The New Science of Information as Medicine), and this book was right up my alley, hypothesizing that information is more fundamental than energy.  The book was Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information, and its author, Vlatko Vedral, PhD, argues that “outside of our reality there is no additional description of the Universe that we can understand, there is just emptiness. This means that there is no scope for the ultimate law or supernatural being—given that both of these would exist outside of our reality and inPetals of Abstract Visualization the darkness. Within our reality everything exists through an interconnected web of relationships and the building blocks of this web are bits of information. We process, synthesize,  and observe this information in order to construct the reality around us. As information spontaneously emerges from the emptiness we take this into account to update our view of reality. The laws of Nature are information about information and outside of it there is just darkness. This is the gateway to understanding reality.”

While I don’t agree with all of Vedral’s conclusions, his book provides deep insights that correlate to many of the core aspects of the Andean mystical tradition. So let’s take a look.

  1. There is an immaterial and a material universe.

Vedral is not saying in the paragraph quoted above that nothing exists beyond the material world. There is an aspect to the universe that is immaterial. There may or may not be a supernatural being or Intelligence as First Cause, but we cannot ever know about them using the scientific process (natural laws such as the laws of physics, mathematics, inductive reasoning, etc.). We can, however, know the material universe, which is a subset of something larger, which he calls the darkness or the emptiness.

The same is true of the Andean tradition’s cosmovision. There is a unknowable immaterial universe called the kawsay pacha. A subset of this infinite field of man-under-the-stars-compressed-adobestock_115933022animating energy and information is the material universe, which is called Pachamama. All we can really know is the Pachamama, although through ayni we can interact with and even influence the immaterial kawsay pacha. Quantum allows for the possibility of a participatory universe. Andean mystics would turn that uncertainty into certainty, as according to their cosmovision, energy not only is responsive to information (including intention, human consciousness) but must follow intent.

  1. The universe is digital, not analog.

Vedral posits that the bit (as in computer theory and application) is the model of the material universe, or Nature. Although because of quantum superposition, at the quantum level a “thing” (say, an electron) can be in all possible states simultaneously, once an observation is made the wavefunction collapses to display that object in the material world (our reality) in either an X state or Y state (for example, the electron is either here or there; its spin is either up or down, etc.). There is a twoness (digital 1 or 0) to the way the material universe manifests from the immaterial universe.

When it comes to energy dynamics, the Andean tradition is more digital than analog. There are only two expressions (or kinds) of energy in relation to the human energy body, but they are not really energies as much as informational states about energy. There is either sami (kawsay that moves) and hucha (kawsay that is slowed or barelybinary code moving).

There also are two energy relationships, and in this case the dynamic is almost purely informational: masinitin and yanantin. Either an energy you are in engagement with or in relation to is similar to your energy state (masintin) or it is dissimilar (yanantin). Energy also is either compatible or not compatible with your energy state. There are no other core energy dynamics in the Andean system! In this respect, Andean mysticism correlates beautifully with Vedral’s theory of a digital universe at the energy and information level.

  1. Everything depends on relations

Bear with me as I paraphrase or quote from Vedral, because this text contains a lot of points that are applicable to the Andean tradition. He says that in “quantum theory, entropy is proportional not to volume (such as atoms inside and on the surface of a ball) but to the total number of atoms on its surface only.” The quantum correlation occurs in relations only: between one object and another. “So the total amount of mutual quantum information must be proportional to something that is mutual between the two”—in this case the boundary surface area of the two distinct objects. Illustration of woman and man with aura, chakras and healing energySo entropy as information content is not in the object but on its surface area. “It is a relational property of the object in connection with the rest of the universe.”  (For clarity, be aware that entropy here is from the context of information theory, not kinetic energy theories, and refers to how much information can be contained within that event. The more uncertain or random an event is, the higher its information content. But mostly we are concerned here with Vedral’s statement about boundary and surface area as being of greatest account in the relations between two objects and the information that can be gained through that interaction.)

In the Andean tradition, we say that each of us is the center of the universe because all we can know is our own experience—our own relation to the universe and others. When we come in contact with another energy body (a tree, building, or human being), all we can know is our own perceptions of that interaction. That perception can be of a masintin or a yanantin relation and perceived as an incompatible or compatible relation. Everything is dependent on relationship in the Andean energy work—the relationship as you perceive it between your own state of energy and the other energy entity. You really cannot know anything about the “real” state of the “other.” You can only assess your own energy perceptions in relation to that other. Therefore, the information is contained not within the self and other, but in the relational interaction between the self and other. Vedral says, “All quantum information is ultimately context dependent.” Meaning comes only through correlation—one thing in relation to another. The same is true of energy perceptions according to the Andean mystical tradition.

What’s more interesting is that the Andean tradition would agree with Vedral’s hypothesis that information is mostly (or only) contained in or on the surface area of the object. While Vedral is talking about what can be packed into an object’s surface area, we will look at his statement in terms of actual material surface. In the Andes we know that our poq’pos (our energy bodies) have an anatomy, including a surface boundary or “skin.” Hucha mostly accumulates on the skin of our energy bubble. It rarely penetrates very deep. When we experience loss of well-being, it is because hucha has accumulated on this skin—this boundary between the interior of our bubble and the outer world. We then use saminchakuy to “cleanse” this energetic Man in spaceskin, just like we would wash the skin of our bodies.

One final point. The ultimate relational interaction in the Andean tradition is intention. Intention is pure information, which influences the energy of the kawsay pacha. The Andeans stand unequaled in history as having perfected practices for marshaling the force of intention to drive energy. If in quantum mechanics a “measurement” (and the ultimate measuring instrument is consciousness) collapses the wavefunction to manifest the immaterial into the material, in the Andean mystical tradition “intention” is that measurement.

In these ways and others, the Andean mystical tradition—its natural “laws” laid down thousands of years ago—seems to correlate well with the latest quantum theories, Vlatko Vedral’s being only one of many such theories.