A Paqo Builds the Universe

When teaching the Andean mystical tradition, I often say we each are the center of the universe, because we perceive only through our own body, mind, and consciousness. We are each, in reality and at the core, a mystery to each other, and we can’t truly know how others perceive the world.

Yet, according to the Andean tradition, we each share in creating the cosmos. The cosmos is the Pachamama. She is much more than the planet Earth, who has her own name, Mama Allpa. The Pachamama is the mother of space-time, the mother of the entire material cosmos.

In a sense, we, too, are Pachamama or Pachapapa—mother and father creators of the world. We don’t control the universe, but we certainly influence its unfolding evolution, manifestation, and condition. Our primary tool is our consciousness—our attention and intention. According to Andean mysticism, energy must follow intention. Intention is a byproduct of consciousness, and so as conscious creatures where we place our attention and how we direct our intention are always creative acts and, to one degree or another, impactful ones. We are in some real sense building the universe with each attentional and intentional act. Since my attention and intention are only one small combined flow of the energy of the more than seven billion human flows of attention and intention, it remains to be seen how much influence I have—or you have. But we remain resolute, we persist, and we seek to contribute.

All of this musing was prompted by reading one of my favorite poets, the late Mary Oliver. In one of her poems, “Song of the Builders,” she writes about placing her attention on a cricket, and then she soars on the updraft of a visionary imagination cricket-compressed cropped Pixabay 1287428_1920to declare the primacy of intentions, from the most humble to the most glorious.

In this post there will be no explication, no long-winded teasing out of meaning and application. This Mary Oliver poem speaks for itself, and, I hope, inspires you to see your Andean practices in both their humble and glorious aspects. Ask yourself, as a human being and as a paqo, “What am I helping to build in my life, in my community, in my county, in the world, in the cosmos?”

One a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God—

a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.