As a paqo, you can think of your past and your future as pachas, as realms within the space-time continuum. They have their own bubbles. The Andeans position time differently in space than we do. They say the past is in front of you because it is known. You have six ñawis (mystical or energetic eyes) facing forward: the qosqo, sonqo, kunka, paña, lloq’e and qanchis ñawis. These are, respectively, the eyes of the belly, heart, and throat; the left and right physical eyes; and the seventh eye (what some traditions call the third eye) in the forehead. Therefore, you have full view of your past. It is known. That’s why following the seqes, or energetic cords, that stream out from you through your personal past is called following the Path of Knowledge. By following these seqes through your past, using qaway (mystical seeing, which means seeing reality as it really is, without projection or illusion), you can learn from your past, extracting its wisdom. You may not be able to change your past, but you can change your relationship to it, including healing past trauma.
The future is situated behind you. You have only one ñawi facing it, the eye of the root (siki ñawi) at the black belt (yana chunpi). So while it is possible, using qaway, to know something about what “the time to come” is streaming toward you, it is difficult because you have such limited vision of it. The future is not fixed, but is a pacha of potentiality. Thus, following the seqes of the energies flowing to you from your possible futures is called the Path of Potential.
You can think of each of the seqes streaming toward you from your future as encoding a different possibility for what your life will be: what aspects of yourself you will express, which gifts and skills you will use, what you will do with your time, who you will interact with, and the like. Even though the future is the pacha of potential, the reality is that for most us, our future will look similar to our present. We are creatures of habit. We remain fairly fixed in our personalities, needs, desires, and so on. We wear the same types of clothes, eat the same limited variety of foods, follow the same paths to the places we frequent, socialize with the same people, maintain the same beliefs, cling to the same expectations, follow the same career path for decades, etc. Writer Steve Almond says, we “choose the stories by which we construct reality.” Since our stories remain fairly fixed, so does the future we pull toward us from that creative flux of potentialities.
Our work as paqos, when it comes to manifesting a different future, is to become conscious of our stories, examine them, and then clear the energy that has us stuck in a story that may not be expressing our grandest self. Almond writes, “I’ve placed my faith in stories because I believe this to be the basic unit of human consciousness. The stories we tell, and the ones we absorb, are what allows us to pluck meaning from the rush of experience. Only through patient interrogation of these stories can we begin to understand where we are and how we got here.” And, I would add, understand where we are going.
I faced this dilemma in 2015. It was a deeply challenging year. The flesh of my life was stripped to the bone. Laid off from work and not finding anything in my field despite sending out more than a hundred résumés and making countless inquiries, I was blowing through my savings and at risk of losing my house. It was a time for both action and contemplation.
I decided early on in the challenge of figuring out “where do I go from here” that I was going to put all my knowledge into practice, especially my knowledge of and experience with the energetics of the Andean path. I was intent on manifesting the future of my dreams, at least as regards to how I earned a living. I wasn’t going to wear rose-colored glasses, but was going to be both practical and visionary in my approach. I sent out résumés, networked, and took on small freelance jobs. But I spent most of my time working the energetics.
To summarize some of how I worked the energetics: I did saminchakuy to keep my poq’po (energy body) as clear of hucha (heavy energy) as possible. Part of that work was psychological and emotional: I examined my stories, desires, beliefs, needs. I owned my heaviness in terms of doubt, worry, insecurity, and such, and then I worked my heaviness with saminchakuy. When I felt down, I did saiwachakuy to empower myself. While I had the support of family and friends, I wanted a closer sense of support from Spirit, so I called upon my sixth-level helper—Christ—to help me learn trust. (I didn’t fully trust that any of this would actually work.) Perhaps the most important task I undertook energetically was to clear or “clean” the chaupi point of a future potential.
A chaupi is a meeting point, a place of connection or integration. Imagine two rivers flowing parallel and then merging together to become one river. That point of intersection is the chaupi point. For me in this situation, there were many chaupi points: one for all the possible futures streaming toward me and connecting with my poq’po. I needed to be clear about what the future of my dreams looked like so that I could energetically work the single seqe that encoded that particular future.
I decided to keep my intentions manageable and focus on the immediate and pressing situation of how I would earn the currency of this third-dimensional life—money. Since I am primarily a writer, and have worked as an editor for publishing companies and done other types of professional creative work in the field, I at first imagined my future as a writer. (I told you! We are creatures of habit! That’s why our future looks so much like our present and past.) While mulling over the possibilities of what this future might look like, I realized—from past experience—that my most creative imagining would be far less glorious than what the creative mind of God could conjure up for me. So I changed my intention. Instead of identifying a concrete kind of job (writer), I focus on the qualities of the job I wanted. I’d let God figure out which job fulfilled all those qualities.
As I started to do that, however, I had to stop and revamp my energetics again. I threw “keeping my intentions manageable” completely out the window! I decided that if I was going to trust God and let something much larger than myself use the energy of my intention to return an amazing ayni result, I might as well go really big with that intention. So I gave up even thinking about a “job” and earning money working in a specific profession and declared to myself and the universe that I intended there be no distinction whatsoever between “my life” and “my work.” As far as I was concerned, for each of us, our lives are our work. I didn’t want to work to live. I just wanted to live—and be well-compensated for it! So that became my first quality: I wasn’t going to expend any energy intending how I would “make a living.” My life would be my living.
I then became clear about the foundational qualities I most wanted in making my life a living. I kept my list short. I wanted to spend my “living” time being creative, not answering to anyone other than myself, not having to be on any fixed time schedule, connecting with all kinds of people from all walks of life and from all over the globe, contributing to my own soul growth and to that of others, and having fun. I kept these intentions clear and active in my consciousness, even as I continued calling on my sixth-level helper to help me trust that this could become my reality. And I kept perceiving a single seqe—just one from the infinite field of potentiality—streaming to me from the future that encoded all of the qualities I sought. I kept cleaning the chaupi point of this seqe where it entered my poq’po at the siki ñawi. (The future is behind you so the seqe could come in anywhere on your bubble, but I felt it coming into the mystical eye at the base of my spine, since this is the only ñawi we have in the back and it looks toward the future.) I tried to be as conscious as possible of all the ways I was stuck in self-defeating stories and so creating hucha and obscuring the energy of this seqe from flowing freely through me and empowering me. I dealt with doubt, fear, low self-esteem, worry, and many other hucha-inducing emotions and stories. I cleaned and cleaned this connection point to my poq’po using saminchakuy.
The results took some time. In fact, I was taken to the very edge of both financial solvency and emotional comfort.
And the answer was an indirect one, so much so that I did not even recognize it as an answer!
One day, while I was talking to my mentor and primary teacher Juan Nuñez del Prado (who didn’t know about the grand experiment I was engaged in) he said, out of the blue, “You know, after me and Ivan [his son], you know the Andean tradition better than anyone in the world. I would like you to open a US school.” My reactions, in a fraction of a second, were several, but my most powerful reaction was, “I couldn’t possibly!” I immediately thought of all the reasons this couldn’t be: I didn’t have a place to teach, no building or grounds, no organization, and so on. Opening a school immediately felt overwhelming.
I finally pulled it together and just told Juan I would think about it. And I did. I had taught a few workshops about the tradition many years before, and I had not found it satisfying (mostly because I never thought I knew enough). It had been more than ten years since I had taught, and I didn’t feel drawn to doing so again. Still, I realized that although I had never been “out there” as a teacher of the tradition, I had written about it in the past and I could start writing about it again. So I decided to do that. (Drum roll . . . creature of old habits. . . keeping myself in the writer box. . .sound familiar?)
A young tech-savvy friend of mine taught me how to create a WordPress blog. After the first few posts, I spent five days answering the slew of emails that came in. Most of those emails were requests to teach. Go figure!
So reluctantly I started teaching again. And this time it was a completely different experience. I had really dedicated myself to my Andean practice in the previous six or seven years—I had been living it like never before—and it totally changed how I approached teaching. I felt a huge passion for sharing the tradition. The requests kept coming and I kept showing up to teach, accruing more than 94,000 air miles over the next two years. When that kind of travel became exhausting, I started teaching online. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I had no idea that “teaching” was how God would package the qualities I had intended, but it certainly satisfied them all: I am my own boss, I don’t watch the clock, I work from home but can travel to amazing places should I decide to go on the road, I meet fantastic like-minded people, I am growing and changing and helping others to as well, I am honoring this beautiful tradition and having fun doing so. . . . All the qualities I sought to pull from the field of the potentiality of the future have become my present—my life, not my job. And I couldn’t be happier.
There’s nothing special about me. What I did, you can do. The Andean mystical tradition teaches you to work the energies of manifestation of any kind. As Juan says, rephrasing what his teacher don Benito Qoriwaman said: The kawsay pacha is overly abundant. Everything is just energy. You can have whatever you want and as much as you want in proportion to your having the “personal power” to make interchanges with the living universe (your ayni). The only thing that can stop us is ourselves.
I don’t promise that if you use your paqo practices in this way the journey to fulfilling your intentions will be easy or the results quick. But I do promise you that by owning your stories (through qaway) and clearing your hucha (through saminchakuy)—and working the seqes of your future—you too can manifest your heart’s desire.