As I travel around the country teaching, I hear over and over how angry, worried, upset, even sick to their stomachs people are with President Trump and his administration and how much fear they feel imagining what the next four years holds for our country.
I say, take a deep breath. Calm down. Let’s look at the situation from the perspective of a paqo.
Let me say upfront that I did not vote for Trump, and I don’t support most of his platform or approve of many of the people he has surrounded himself with in his staff or Cabinet. But from a perspective larger than that of his personality and his administration’s policy, I am rather upbeat about what his election means for our country.
It’s out with the old and in with the new. A renewed activism on the part of the people—and let’s admit it, for the past few decades most of us have been missing in action on the political front. A renewed time of caring what happens in politics—at the local, state and national levels—instead of apathy or the “let someone else take care it” or “there’s nothing I can do” attitude many of us have shared. A renewed time of self-reflection to determine personal opinions, beliefs, and boundaries. A renewed sense of civic duty and purpose. A renewed demand that our elected officials have to give up partisan power plays for a return to good old-fashioned statesmanship.
The times, they are a’changing. . . And Trump is the alarm clock that has rudely awakened many of us from our peaceful and rather oblivious slumber—perhaps just in time!
If collectively we are individually and collectively awakening to a renewed sense of civic duty, we had better pay attention to how we wield our power. I propose that it’s never been so important to integrate our political beliefs, words, thoughts, actions and emotions with our Andean work as paqos. Here’s why:
The Tariypay Pacha
According to Andean prophecy, we are living in the midst of a cosmic transmutation, a period during which we can individually—and collectively—consciously evolve. But a chick isn’t born without cracking its eggshell; a snake doesn’t grow without shedding its skin, and a butterfly doesn’t exist unless a caterpillar first unmakes itself. In other words, change isn’t easy. And during change, there can be a messy transition as the old morphs into the new.
So, if as paqos we strive to “see reality as it really is,” we have to start by perceiving that we are in the midst of potentially messy change. We need not resist this change, but see it for what it is—an opportunity to remake ourselves. We are at the cusp of—or, rather, in the midst of—an opportunity for significant conscious evolution, with a stress on the word conscious.
The Quechua noun and adjective hamutaq applies here. It means to be a thinker, one who can reason and reflect. For me it means we would be smart to apply our reason to what’s happening around us, but not to forget to reflect on ourselves.
I remember something author and change agent Marianne Williamson said: You can’t march for peace if you have war in your heart. When I see people at all these town hall meetings with their elected officials roiling over with anger, shouting, and fist-waving, I think of her words. I also think of something Wayne Dyer said: “When you squeeze an orange, what do you get?” Orange juice, of course. Exactly what you would expect. In other words, the quality of your “beingness” is commensurate with the effect you can have in the world.
So a potentially insightful question to ask yourself is, “What do you get when Trump squeezes you?” Anger so rampant that reason can’t gain a toehold? Worry so deep that hope or optimism is flagging? Hatred or rejection of Trump and others that exactly mirrors (when stripped of your self-righteousness) what you perceive to be their problem? Activism so strident that it becomes an excuse for acting out rather than reaching out?
You certainly can have an opinion. But you have to take responsibility for how you express it. Are your actions and words adding hucha to the situation? How can you redirect your passion so that you increase sami? The answers to those questions really start with your state of mind and energy. So practice hamutaq to shift your inner world and more positively help change the outer world.
The Individual and Collective Shadows
It is no surprise that anger, and even hatred, are rearing their potentially ugly heads. If you step back and look at this from a larger perspective, what you see happening is a collective evolution, and as Carl Jung said, the “gold is in the dark.” To heal emotionally, one way—a very powerful way—is to descend into your shadow self. It’s the place within where you stuff everything you reject, dismiss, ignore, dislike. To be whole you have to own not just your light but your shadow. We usually don’t dive into our shadows unless forced to. Donald Trump can be the impetous for many of us to dive into—and begin to own up to and heal—our shadows. He can be seen as the perfect foil to force us to inquire about and explore our individual and collective shadow.
We have to do our shadow work—for our individual and collective evolution and for that of our planet. After all, with technological connectivity and economic and humanitarian globalization, we are a bunch of caterpillar nations that are morphing into a collective butterfly. So let’s thank Donald Trump! If we understand how he can serve our conscious evolution, we will celebrate the dark night of the soul we are being forced to traverse, individually and together. Hopefully, with self-reflection, civility, and creativity, we can eventually emerge into the light all the better for our difficult journey. All mythic journeys involve a hero/heroine and his/her nemesis. Both are equally necessary. Don’t lose sight of that. . .
The Seven Levels of Consciousness
According to the Andean tradition, there are seven levels of human consciousness. Most of the world is at the third level, and we as paqos hope to operate most of the time at the fourth level. But if I had to place Donald Trump on the stairway of seven steps, I would say he is at the second level. (If you don’t know the levels, see my post of May 11, 2016, “Birds of Consciousness.”)
As a paqo, you know that when you are interacting with someone, or devising a strategy to communicate with someone, it pays to know or discern as best you can what level of consciousness they are at. You cannot reason at the fourth level with someone on the second level. It’s like talking French to a Hindi speaker. So don’t waste your energy. You would be better off trying to deeply understand where that person is—and where you are—and acting from the level you are on rather than descending to the other person’s level (as so many protestors are). Better yet, find a fourth-level way to communicate at the second level so that person will hear and understand.
Same goes for tactics. In our activism, if we are fourth level, our activism should display that. There is no place for attack rhetoric, insults, outbursts fueled by frustration, or violence in word, thought or deed at the fourth level. Resistance can be non-violent, communication powerful but respectful, emotion tempered by virtue and compassion, and action for change motivated by community-building rather than enemy-bashing. Civic vigilance doesn’t have to descend to second-level political us-versus-them judgments. The best defense is a great offense—at the ballot box. Resolve to work to encourage fourth-level people to run for office, and then get out the vote for them.
Hucha and Sami
Don’t hate the hucha you feel while creating more of it. Generate sami.
In terms of Andean prophecy, the condor was the totem of the old times, when there was an extravagance of hucha. The condor, after all, is the eater of hucha. It has plenty of work to do.
For the new times, the totem has changed to the hummingbird, which is a producer of sami. While there is still plenty of hucha around, the focus has shifted from eating hucha to making sami—and that’s a seismic shift.
If you are having trouble dealing emotionally with Trump, understand that you are in touch with an incompatible energy. Incompatible energy is not bad, but it can increase the probability of creating hucha. But that hucha creation is not a given. Start by divesting your own energy body of hucha. Then return your focus to sami—focus on creating sami, not increasing the hucha, as you express your political views.
What does not creating hucha look like? Well, for starters, it means being a hamutaq: a thinker as well as a doer. In the mystical system, a hamutaq is one who uses discernment in determining not only what’s “out there” but also what’s “in here.” A hamutaq considers both what is happening out there in the world that is affecting the self and others, but also owns how his or her own actions (and words, emotions) affect the self and others. It’s vision coupled with personal responsibility. It is not knee-jerk reactive. It is “feel what you feel, then act from a higher place.”
This stance doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye or mute your voice. Absolutely not. But a hamutaq values virtue over vitriol. Compassion and consensus over conquering. Bridge-building rather bridge-burning. It’s about being a chakruna—one of a group who, rather than tearing down bridges, seeks to build them between traditions or groups. You don’t only engage with those with whom you have a common cause, but you simultaneously work to find common ground with the people you can hardly stand being around and who can hardly stand being around you.
Working to increase the sami in an already hucha-filled field doesn’t mean you won’t be distressed by the words and deeds of Trump and Bannon and others when they espouse discriminatory and even hateful views or try to pitch lies and half-truths as policy. But it does mean that you don’t do similar things—such as shout vile slogans or get emotionally overheated by your own rhetoric. The stance of the paqo is that we do a personal mast’ay—we organize ourselves. And once we do, then we can contribute to the collective mast’ay. A mob cannot create a state. But a group of individuals who are doing their own inner work—and doing it as a paqo within the field of the Taripay Pacha—can come together and fuel an incredible transformation in the public body.
We can be paqo protesters! God knows we need our voices to be heard. We just have to remember that our emotions can fire us up, but a fire can just as easily burn a house down as heat and light it. . .