Right Here, Right Now on Earth

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

In this post I want to talk once again about how to be in the world as a paqo. Our path is different from many other spiritual, mystical, shamanic, or energetic paths in Earth.that we seek not to leap beyond this human world but to be the grandest self we can be in this human world. This is a path of conscious evolution. We are seeking, ultimately, to be active participants in the Andean prophecy of the rise of the Runakay Mosoq—the New Humans. So, our work is about shining our human light out through a human body right here in the material plane of Earth and being active contributors to the evolution of our species.

In the Alice Walker quotation above, the point is not to walk with your eyes to the stars, but with your eyes on the ground. By extrapolation, we are seeking not the supernatural but the natural. We are seeking to develop the qaway—the vision—to see God in a field of flowers and, of course, in ourselves. The Walker quotation brings to mind the Andean story about the hummingbird, who flies to the farthest hummingbird and three dianthusreaches of the upper world, the hanaqpacha, and there meets Wiraqocha, the metaphysical God. Wiraqocha is at work in his garden, tending the flowers. The metaphor that grows out of this story is that paqos are the flowers in the garden of the world, and we want to cultivate ourselves so that we are rich in nectar. (Sami, which is the light living energy.) When we are rich in nectar, we attract the hummingbird, who comes to feed off of us, connecting us more deeply with Wiraqocha.


My judgment is that too many of us are distracted by the fleeting glitter of a mysterious, supernatural otherworld rather than focusing on the stable bedrock and the sweeping beauty of this world. Paqos are deeply connected with the earth, and they treasure the natural. The Andean spiritual law of ayni (reciprocity) applies to both the spiritual and social worlds, to both the celestial and terrestrial worlds. The despacho, the offering bundle, is full of flowers. And its outward beauty mirrors theFran another despacho inward ayni that infuses it. The despacho draws together the three worlds: the hanaqpacha, or upper world of perfected ayni and of the spirit beings to which we may be offering the despacho; the kaypacha, or this world in which we are the human agents of both the highest and lowest flows of energy, and of everything in between; and the ukhupacha, the lower or interior world where potentiality lives. The ukhupacha is a place sadly lacking in ayni, but it is a place not of condemnation but of rejuvenation.

My point is that a paqo is more a creature of the earth than of the stars. He or she is grounded! Andean practice is about refining the self and so increasing the sami right here, right now on Earth. So, if you could do one thing as a paqo or spiritual practitioner to further your own evolution and that of our species, you might mull over your answer to one primary question:

Who am I in the world?

The Vedic texts tell us that we are not in the world, the world is in us. That thought parallels the Andean view that we are each the center of the universe. Each of us is “in” a different world, because we can only know the world as  filtered through our ourselves—and our “self” has been shaped by personal experience and emotions. Born original sign compressed AdobeStock_92859991This is not a selfish view as much as a self-centric view. We cannot really know anyone except ourselves, and most us barely know ourselves. So when we ask “Who am I in the world?,” we have to start with the “I” before we can say much about the world. The Andean concept of kanay, which is a capacity held at the qori chunpi (the energetic band or belt at the heart), involves coming to know who you truly are. Once you know (using the human power of yachay, or intellect), then you can more effortlessly and accurately be who you truly are (using the human power of llank’ay, or action in the world).

In the Andes, according to the tradition as I was taught it, our work is to become masters of our energy environment. All energy dynamics are perceived as being in relation only to the self. For example, rather than say someone else has hucha, or heavy energy, we say that we feel hucha between ourselves and another person. Then we take responsibility for lessening that flow. We work on our own energy body first and foremost. There really are only two primary energy dynamics, and both are determined in relation to the self: compatible and incompatible energy, andIllustration of woman and man with aura, chakras and healing energy similar (masintin) or dissimilar energies (yanantin). When we can discern the type of energy flow we are feeling, then we can act to make that flow as clean, efficient, and beneficial as possible, not only for ourselves but for others with whom we are in dynamic energy relationship.

So when we ask, “Who am I in the world?,” we shift our perception from seeing problems and difficulties “out there” to examining what is going on “in here.” In a word, we take responsibility—for ourselves and, by extension, for the world of which we are a part. When you take responsibility for “who” you are, then “how” you walk in the world takes better care of itself.

Criss Jami says, “Faith . . .never removes responsibility; it removes fear of responsibility.” I think that just about sums up the Andean tradition as I have come to know it and the energy practices as I have been taught them—take personal responsibility for your energy, mind, actions, and heart. That doesn’t mean later, when you have mastered energy techniques or learned a new ceremony or made contact with a spirit being, or fully healed your wounds, or dealt with all your shadow stuff. It means right here, right now, on this Earth, in this world, just as it is and just as you are. This is our only starting place. But, oh, there are no limits to where we can go!



Poetry for Paqos

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
― Leonard Cohen

I am sharing something quite different in this post. As some of you may know, I completed doctoral coursework in modern American and British fiction and poetry. Recently, when I was revisiting some poetry, I was inspired to share excerpts that speak about life and nature. These particular excepts remind me, as Leonard Cohen says in the quotation above, to make sure my life “burns.”

hummingbird and three dianthusAs paqos, we are on a path of conscious evolution and that starts with our resacralizing our relationship with nature. We are hummingbirds feeding on the sami (nectar) of the living cosmos. These poems are like sami to me, and I hope they are to you as well.

We start with part of a Mary Oliver poem about how to meet the end of your physical life with joy. Since she is one of my favorite contemporary poets, we also end with an excerpt from another of her poems. The other excerpts may inspire your immersion into nature both as a paqo and as a “natural” human being. For instance, the Walt Whitman excerpt reminded me of the Inka Seed. A paqos we are in ayni with nature, but we are also in ayni with the entire cosmos of living energy. Like poets, in the words of poet Wallace Stevens, we are “priests of the invisible.” Enjoy!

(Note: If you are viewing this post on a phone, the line breaks in the poems may be effected.)


Mary Oliver, Excerpt from “When Death Comes”

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


Walt Whitman, Excerpt from Section 1 of “Song of the Universal”

Come said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the universal.

In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.

By every life a share or more or less,
None born but it is born, conceal’d or unconceal’d the seed is


By William Wordsworth, Excerpt from “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798”

. . . The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, not any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
. . . For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.—And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.


Conrad Aiken, Excerpt from Section 4 of “A Letter from Li Po”

Exiled are we.
Were exiles born.
The ‘far away,’

language of desert, language of ocean, language of sky,
as of the unfathomable worlds that lie
between the apple and the eye,
these are the only words we learn to say.

Each morning we devour the unknown.
Each day
we find, and take, and spill, or spend, or lose,
a sunflower splendor of which none knows the source.

This cornucopia of air! This very heaven
of simple day! We do not know, can never know,
the alphabet to find us entrance there.

So, in the street, we stand and stare,
to greet a friend, and shake his hand,
yet know him beyond knowledge, like ourselves;
ocean unknowable by unknowable sand.


Mary Oliver, Excerpt from “Humpbacks”

Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will every dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,

its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones

toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire

where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.