Reaching Toward Enlightenment

In past discussions with students about the sixth level of consciousness—the level of being an enlightened human being—they occasionally ask if such a goal really is achievable. Of course, they allow that theoretically it is possible. But, come on! Really? In one lifetime? Maybe it is possible, they say, if you factor in reincarnation and its many lifetimes, but the Andean tradition doesn’t include the concept of reincarnation. So, they are skeptical.

My response usually stresses that skepticism is fine, as long as it doesn’t keep us from trying! In the Andean tradition, we don’t have modest goals. Viewing the tradition as a path of the development of our human consciousness, we can be Taytanchis ranti, or equivalent to God: God manifested in the human and the human being with God-like capacities. This is the seventh level of development, the pinnacle of our capacities—and an ambitious goal indeed! Even aspiring to the sixth level seems a huge stretch, as this is the level of enlightenment. But we have examples of human beings who have reached this level of development—for example, Jesus Christ and Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha)—so we know it is possible. I have written elsewhere in this blog site about the seven stages of human development, and here I want to focus on the sixth level, because . . . well, why not? Why shouldn’t we know, understand, and aspire to be the most developed human beings we can? So, let’s take a look atladder stairs heaven door freedom blue sky what this level of consciousness and capacity looks like. (For previous general discussions that mention the seven levels of consciousness see the posts “Birds of Consciousness” and “Consciousness, Intention, and Ayni,” among others.)

In the tradition, through the teachings of don Benito Qoriwaman, we learn about the qanchispatañan, the stairway of the seven levels or stages of human conscious development. In the terminology of don Benito Qoriwaman, a person who achieves the stage of enlightenment is a Sapa Inka, or a person of singular capacity or status. He or she stands alone among many because of having achieved a highly evolved consciousness—the rare state of fully expressing his or her Inka Seed, the wholeness of Self. The sixth-level is a person only of sami (light living energy), or, conversely, one who has stopped producing hucha (heavy energy). It is a person, from my way of seeing things, who is able to perfectly absorb and radiate sami. According to don Benito, we will know a person is sixth level not only through his or her words and deeds, but because he or she literally glows. Thus, there can be no imposters to this level.  

Think of the paintings of historical figures who were considered at the pinnacle of spiritual or human development: they are depicted with halos around their heads. They are depicted as glowing. Many spiritual traditions valorize the capacity to emit the white or golden light. While that focus on the white light is all well and good, my difficulty with many of these traditions is that they don’t take us into a deep-dive about how to achieve that state. In order to do so, we have to perfect our humanness, but many of these traditions want us to deny or even escape our humanness. They denigrate the body and worldly things. So, for me, by stressing the white light, they put the proverbial cart before the horse. After all, before you can perfectly emit the light living energy, you have to first be able to perfectly absorb the living energies. And Shadow Self 2 compressed AdobeStock_100724347that process starts in our current state, just as we are now with all our fallibilities and frailties. We have to bring our attention to how we are not now absorbing sami and why.

In my teaching of the Foundation Training, I like to point out—and this is my own view of things, not that of the paqos of our two lineages—that the Andean tradition is singular in its teachings about how to become a more perfect absorber of energy (sami). Our training is deeply focused on learning to perceive energy (kawsay/sami) and to stop blocking it, or, in the parlance of the tradition, to stop creating hucha, or heavy energy. Hucha, as I just defined it, is heavy energy. But what gets lost in that definition is that hucha is sami, just sami that we have slowed down or blocked. Therefore, there is nothing to fear about it. It is the life-force energy, but for whatever reason we are denying it to ourselves. Sami’s nature is to move unimpeded, and hucha is sami that has lost some of its transformative power because we are not allowing it to move freely through us. (To learn more about hucha, see such posts as “How to Avoid Creating Hucha” and “Less Hucha for the Holidays,” which has a section on one of the primary ways we produce hucha; and “Walking as a Paqo Through the Shadows of the Self.”)

The Andean tradition keeps the horse properly placed before the cart—we first have to learn to more perfectly absorb sami—or, said another way, to stop producing hucha—before we can more perfectly radiate it. When we are able to allow every kind of energy to move through us unimpeded—when we are able to practice what amounts to perfect ayni—the result is that we emit a white light (the perfect reflection of every frequency). But we can’t do that unless we first are allowing in every possible frequency of energy. That being the case, it becomes clear why so few human beings throughout history (that we know of) have been able to do this.

But it’s possible! Let me turn to a different tradition to remind us of what we “really” are as human beings, and thus what we can aspire to express in our humanness. Sri Aurobindo, the founder of Integral Yoga, has said of all human beings that we are where “God-Spirit meets God-Matter,” and there is “divinity in the body if we realize that potential.” A sixth-level person has achieved the realization of that potential—and there’s nothing stopping any of us from doing the same.

Don Benito’s title for a sixth-level human being was Sapa Inka, but while the word “Inka” is best known as the title of the ruler of the Tawantinsuyu (the Inka Empire), it has other meanings—the most common of which is “sami,” the animating energy. The more ancient word for “Inka” is Enqa, which just about every anthropologist defines as the life-force energy. Pulling from various anthropologists, it means: “source and origin of felicity, well-being, and abundance” (Jorges Flores Ochoa), and (from John Staller) the “abstract vitalizing force” and “animating essence.” Anthropologist Catherine Allen writes, “The flow of sami depends upon a material medium: there are no disembodied essences in the Andean universe. In this, sami resembles the Polynesian mana and our own concept of energy. The flow is neutral in itself and must be controlled and directed so that all things attain their proper mode and degree of liveliness. All activity revolves around this central problem: controlling and directing the flow of life.”

We can understand the Sapa Inka, as the Inka ruler, as a sixth-level being who, to paraphrase Jorges Flores Ochoa, concentrated sami—the vital energy of the cosmos—within himself and redistributed it to the Empire for the good of the people. The Inka perfectly absorbed sami in its every manifestation and perfectly streamed it through himself and out of himself to the people to facilitate happiness, abundance, and well-being. Thus, it is said, perhaps only metaphorically, that the person chosen to be Inka was the one who glowed.

When we expand the term “Sapa Inka” beyond that of ruler or king, it refers to anyone who is perfectly (or nearly perfectly) absorbing and radiating sami. José María Arguedes writes that “. . . INQA is the name for the original model of every being, according to Quechua mythology. This concept is commonly known by the term inkachu. Then Tukuy Kausaq Uywakunaq INKAKUNA should be translated as the model or original archetype of every being.” (Capitalization and italics in the original) If the Sapa Inka is the model for every human being, then we don’t have to make any excuses, express any false humility, or otherwise restrict ourselves from acknowledging that our goal as human beings may be, if we so choose, to develop ourselves to this sixth level of consciousness.

While I acknowledge that achieving this level of development may be a challenge, simply holding the possibility of achieving this goal allows us to double-down on our practices, especially of saminchakuy and hucha miqhuy, the two primary practices for releasing our hucha and learning how not to block sami. For me, the treasure of the Andes is precisely its focus on hucha practices. Most of these practices teach us ways to perceive, take responsibility for, and ultimately transform our heaviness. It is a tradition that tells us the truth: there is no chance of radiating the white light unless we do deep-down inner work to deal with and transform our hucha. As we do that work, we will find ourselves stepping up the qanchispatañan to more refined levels of human consciousness and to greater measures of well-being. While realistically most of us are delighted to make it to the fourth level, there is absolutely no reason to stop there. Why not aspire to the sixth, and even the seventh, level? There are no obstacles in our way, as no one can stop us from reaching the pinnacle of human development except ourselves.  As human potential “guru” Marianne Williamson says: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” And our “playing small does not serve the world.”



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