The year 2020 was challenging for many of us. Covid-19 health risks, the deaths of loved ones, job loss or insecurity, social isolation. In the United States, it was an unprecedented year for weather-related disasters, from monster fires to destructive flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Also in the United States, we were tossed to and fro by political and social turmoil, from massive protests against police tactics and racism to the culminating insult of this year: the storming of the US Capitol building by a horde of Trump supporters bent on insurrection, on delegitimizing a fair election, and on trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. For many of us, it was a year that challenged—and perhaps even undermined—our physical health, our economic security, our emotional equilibrium, and our core beliefs and values.
So how do we maintain our positivity, our centeredness, and perhaps even our faith in a benevolent universe?
By becoming humble. “Humble” and “humility” come from the same Latin root meaning “low or close to the ground.” That root meaning makes me think of the Andean term for a human being: allpa camasca, animated earth. In this sense, humility means acknowledging that while we are animated to life by the Creator of the kawsay pacha, we are children of the earth, of the Pachamama. We are limited, although we have the potential to be unlimited. Humility, then, means acknowledging where we are undeveloped while striving for our conscious evolution.
In the Andean mystical tradition there are two realms: the kawsay pacha and the Pachamama: the immaterial realm and the material realm, respectively. From the kawsay pacha we receive life, the living energy called kawsay. The finest kawsay is sami, the light living energy. From the Pachamama, we receive a body and everything we need to support our bodies and to live as human beings in the world. The kawsay pacha, we are told, is overly abundant in kawsay and generous beyond measure with sami. All the “blessings” of the kawsay pacha—and of First Cause, Great Spirit, The Holy One, Creator, God, or whatever you call Originating Consciousness and the Fount of Life—are freely available to us, without our having to earn them or deserve them. These blessings are a gift from Creator to us.
The Andean tradition is not the only one that teaches this precept. And while there isn’t a specific word in the Andean mystical tradition to describe this flow of benevolence, perhaps sami is the closest. Sami, the light living energy of the universe, flows through us imparting the life-force energy and increasing every kind of well-being. It’s the transformative power freely and abundantly available to us from the kawsay pacha by which we evolve to our highest expression of self here in the human world.
Other traditions have a more specific word for this life-flow and these blessings: grace.
In Christianity, grace is the favor of God, the flow of support and blessings without your having to earn or deserve them. It is commonly defined as unmerited mercy. In certain schools of Buddhism, grace is seen as the essence of life, it’s “isness,” whereby everything is connected and interdependent, and thus you are energetically supported by everyone and everything else. No matter what the tradition, living a grace-filled life (in our tradition, a sami-filled life) means feeling and experiencing the benevolence, goodness, support, and assistance of the Living Universe.
While grace is freely available to every one of us, there is one requirement for receiving it. You must consciously ask for it or invite it into your life.
As the Andean tradition tells us, nothing can enter your poq’po without your conscious or unconscious permission or invitation—not even God. To establish a personal relationship with Creator, to allow Creator’s blessings to flow into your life through grace, you have to intentionally open yourself to it and accept it. And to ask for this grace, I believe, you must not only be courageous, but full of humility. Courageous because you are ceding a sense of full control, allowing someone/something else—in this case Creator—to guide and direct you. Humble because you acknowledge that you seek or need assistance.
There is no ceremony or ritual necessary to invite Creator in as an active energy in your life or to allowing Creator’s grace to inspire you. You just ask. You allow.
Then you may ask, what are the consequences of doing so? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? These questions are beyond the scope of this blog post. But inspired to dive into the topic of grace and all its ramifications, I and fellow paqo Justin “Cos” Moore have decided to offer a seminar on this topic: to gather together a group of people who are curious about grace and perhaps ready to invite Creator and grace to work in their lives. If you are curious to know more, I invite you to join us.
For me, 2020 was a tawantin year, a “4” year, which as the sacred number of the Andes represents wholeness, completion, harmony. Most of us might have felt that 2020 was anything but. Yet precisely because it was such a challenge, because it showed us our physical and perhaps even spiritual/energetic vulnerabilities, it was a year of opportunity to learn about and experience humility, of acknowledging how close we remain to the ground. Now 2021 is upon us, a “5” year, which in the Andes represents the energy moving from the horizontal to the vertical. Five is the pull upward. For me, this is a movement from the horizontal view of our earthliness to the vertical view of our sacrality. If this supposition rings true for you, what better time than now to allow Creator and grace into your poq’po and life?