Clearing the Seqes to Your Future

As a paqo, you can think of your past and your future as pachas, as realms within Past Present And Future Signpost Showing Evolution Destiny Or Agingthe 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 Self reflection compressed Pixabay-913575_1920you 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 dream-job-compressed Geralt Pixabay 2904780_1920was 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—close up of woman hand holding open bookmoney. 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. fractal-compressed ibot Pixabay 346127_1280And 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 mesas-compressed-lisa-sims-photos-2016Prado (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 Joan beginning despacho Clemmons Mar 2016 COMPRESSED 20160320_151543previous 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.


Mastering Intention

According to the Andean view of energy, we are always in ayni—interchange—with the kawsay pacha—the cosmos of living energy—because we are influencing energy through our intention. As thinking, action-oriented human beings, we are in continual relationship with the energy of the kawsay pacha; however, we can unconscious to these energy exchanges. One of our primary goals as paqos is to increase our consciousness, and to bring clarity and choice to our energy exchanges. This means we have to become observers of—and ultimately masters of—our intent.

What is intent? According to dictionaries, it is an aim or a goal, the purposeful mental movement that initiates an action, the way we direct mind toward an object or conceive of an idea directed toward an outcome. According to certain schools of psychology, intention is a mental state influenced by desires, needs, beliefs and the like, and the action taken to achieve the stated desire, fulfill the belief, or satisfy the need. On a more purely mental plane, it is the power to think and then to rethink, to direct and then to redirect. Because so much of the landscape of our desires, needs, and beliefs lies below the threshold our of conscious mind— in the realm of the subconscious or shadow self—we may be unclear or even blind to our “true” intentions. We may think we are acting on an intention for one reason, but the reality that drives us may be buried or screened, fueled from needs and beliefs from our subconscious.

Furthermore, we live by the stories we believe—and create. These arise from the combination of our unconscious beliefs and needs and our conscious choices about what to believe. As author Steve 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.” This “patient interrogation” is what can help us evolve our consciousness as paqos, because in addition to keeping our poq’pos (energy bodies) “clean” from hucha, we can prevent ourselves from creating hucha in the first place by paying attention to—and healing—aspects of ourselves driven purely by our psychology (emotions, triggers, projections, etc.).

So as paqos, our first course of study has to be the study of the self. Paqos tell us that we each are the center of the universe because we can only know the world and others through our own perceptions. Therefore, the landscape of our own perceptions must become the field of our study. There are many ways to begin this exploration: mindfulness, psychological therapy, shadow work, cultivating the observer self, and so on. The point is that to work energy out there (the world), you first have to start in here (the self). That’s why I call our work a path of conscious evolution, starting with the evolution of the self. To be true to the tradition, I should say that we don’t have to be self-analytical. Doing saminchakuy every day will release hucha (heaviness) and over time clarify your sense of self and enhance your personal power to be in more perfect ayni. I have found, however, that combining our Andean mystical energy work with some kind of self-work, especially shadow work, speeds up our personal evolution.

In my coaching work, I developed an acronym, CALM, as an easy reminder of how to begin this process of stepping outside habitual, unconscious thoughts and actions and stepping more fully into an awareness of who you really are and what is really driving your ayni. CALM outlines four steps, taken in order, for brining consciousness to your stories, impulses, desires, needs, intentions, communication, and actions—to your ayni. Here are the four steps:

C = Cease

To break the pattern of being in ayni through unconscious drives and impulses, you Surreal portraithave to stop and take a time out. In that fraction of a second between intention and actions or words, you have to remember to cease moving and just observe. Actually, you are initiating a new intention and action: to activate your observer self. This place of cessation, or stillness, of qaway (seeing energetically, understanding mystically) is the cradle of change and the energetic fount of awareness. It is the ground state of conscious creation. But you have to remember to disengage for a second or a minute from whatever is happening or whatever you are thinking. You have to stop habitual and unconscious processes in their tracks so that you can bring them to consciousness and evaluate and seek to understand. Only then can you make a new choice, if indeed a new choice is called for.

A = Attend

Once you have ceased the cacophony of mental chatter or the impulse to act robotically in the way you always have, then, in that moment of stillness, you make pay attention. You can attend to yourself. This means consciously observing yourself, granting yourself permission to drill down into your core mental and emotional spaces with the attention and compassion you deserve to give yourself. If you can be more clear-seeing (qaway) about what is going on inside, then you can determine what is motivating you and thus driving your intentions. Which brings you to the third step in the CALM process: listening.

L = Listen

By giving your attention to your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, you can observe and listen to yourself: Listen to your impulses, listen to your justifications or rationalizations, listen to your story. You can bring consciousness to yourself and the situation. Listening is a kind of observing in that it allows what feels real (your thoughts, emotions, actions) to unfold without judging them. You simply listen to what your words, actions, thoughts, and emotions are saying. Are you being blinded by the fury or worry of the moment? Are you acting or thinking based on beliefs you haven’t examined for decades? Are you acting from the harmonization of your heart and your head, or only from your unexamined needs and impulsive desires? Listening doesn’t have to be a drawn-put analytical process. With practice, you will learn that your core self can speak truly, deeply, and succinctly to you in a flash of insight and understanding.

M = Moderate

As you listen, you can become the moderator of the conflict within or of your unconscious intentions. You can evaluate the situation from a calm, observationalideas and creativity in business stance. You can ask yourself a series of probing questions: Is this what I really feel? What feelings might be deeper, fueling the surface feeling? Why did I have this response to the situation? What other responses could I have had? If I had made a different response, how might I feel differently and how might the situation unfold in a different (more helpful) way? What is the story driving these feelings and this response? You can be the mediator between your knee-jerk habitual words, thoughts, feelings, and actions and new ones that might be more helpful and/or make you feel better—and fuel your ability to influence the kawsay pacha (your ayni) in more productive and efficient ways.

The Andean mystics tells us that the cosmos of living energy is overly abundant. That you can have anything you want, you can create the life you dream about, you can be the person you most want to be—but only in proportion to your personal power. Personal power is the effectiveness and efficiency of your ayni. Personal power and ayni are like an infinity symbol, inextricably intertwined, one leading to the other. Weak personal power = weak ayni. Strong personal power = strong ayni. By using the CALM process you can reduce your hucha and thus improve your personal power, and you can actually prevent yourself from creating that hucha in the first place!

When I teach the tradition, I talk to my students about time: past, present, and future. The reality is that for most of us, they are pretty similar landscapes. We are creatures of habit and thus of predictability. We eat the same 20 core foods, choose the same style clothing over and over, follow the same route to work, and so on. So although we can influence the world of living energy to produce whatever we want, Andean mystics insist that energy must follow intention—and our intentions are mostly unexamined and predicated on what we have always thought, done, felt, etc. So when we look to our future, it is not difficult to discern—it will pretty much look like our present. (And our present usually looks a lot like our past.) Unless, we have invested in our own evolution of consciousness, we are pretty stable creatures mentally and emotionally.

But you don’t have to settle. You are a grand being! You are flexible and intelligent and perceptive. And, most of all, you are a creator. At every moment of every day you have the power to create something new—including a new and grander you. Creation begins within, and then is translated from the self out into the world through your ayni.

As inspirational coach Tony Robbins has said, “Think of all your experiences as a yolisa-weaving-compressedhuge tapestry that can be laid out in whatever pattern you wish. Each day you add a new thread to the weaving. Do you craft a curtain to hide behind, or do you fashion a magic carpet that will carry you to unequaled heights.” What Robbins doesn’t tell you (at least not in this quotation) is how to fashion a magic carpet instead of a curtain. The CALM process is one that helps you not only be a great designer, but shows you how to turn that mental design into something concrete and real in the world. Something you intend with clarity and awareness, not from outdated and habitual—and often unconscious—impulses. If energy truly does follow intention, as the paqos tells us it does, then there is nothing more important than making a deep and careful study of your intentions and what is driving them. The CALM process is a place to start.


Seven Signposts Along the Spiritual Journey

In my trainings, the general topic of the “spiritual calling” sometimes comes up, as well as discussions of how all too often when we feel we are progressing along our spiritual path our lives seem to become chaotic and challenging for some time before they improve. In our discussions, I usually refer to the “stages” or “signposts” of the spiritual journey, and that’s the subject of this blog post.

There are many philosophers, mythologists, spiritual teachers, and others who have written about the stages spiritual seekers pass through or the signposts seekers commonly find along their path. The map of the journey that I draw below is my own view on this topic. I provide only an outline of the stages of the journey. There is a lot more to say, but this will suffice to alert you to where you are in your spiritual journey.

  1. The Disquiet

The first indication that you are on a spiritual quest or beginning a spiritual journey is what mythologist Joseph Campbell designates “The Call.” That is a beautiful and apt term to describe the first stirrings within yourself that life as you know it is not acceptable to you and that you desire something more: more connection, more peace, more joy, more engagement, more service, more meaning. . .whatever it is about your personal experience and state of being that feels unexplored, unlived, undeveloped. Simply put, there is either a calamity in your life that shouts to you “Enough!” and you are propelled toward change; or there is a niggling voice within, often quite subtle, that pesters you toward change. Either way, you come to the realization that you want more, can do more, can be more. Most of us at some point in our lives feel this inner disquiet. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore it and instead just get back to the business of life, the pull of everyday responsibilities, and the safety of the known. Those who listen to this inner call, however, have stepped onto the path of their spiritual quest.

  1. The Search

Once you heed the call, your journey begins. Almost universally, it starts with a search for answers to sometimes existential questions about meaning, strategies for change, and people who can provide advice, information, and insight. The searchAlways Learning compressed Gerd Altmann Germany Pixabay can be the longest stage of the spiritual quest, as there are many paths to growth and they can create inner confusion because they may provide competing and even conflicting strategies for self-development. Sometimes the cacophony of voices you listen to can be so overwhelming that the spiritual journey ends here, with you throwing up your hands in despair and taking the easy path back to what you know and the life you have lived to this point. You squelch the call and retreat to the familiar or rationalize that the spiritual quest and self-development is just not worth the effort. For those who can withstand that task of sorting through the vast reams of information and handling the often conflicting advice, the search becomes an experience rich in the widening of your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual life. The search itself becomes a journey of growth.

The downside of this stage is twofold. First, you can become addicted to knowledge at the expense of practice, sucking in information but not really using it to transform yourself and your life. Or, alternatively, you can become so unsure of yourself that you never end the search. This is what I call the “workshop junkie” response, where you seek, and seek, and seek (always gaining knowledge) but you don’t trust yourself to end the search and begin the true work of transformation. The “best” answer always seems to be the next book, training or teacher, and the next, and the next. . . . Ultimately, however, you have to settle on an “answer” and a practice, which leads you to the next stage.

  1. The Answer

If you are to transform, you finally have to do the work of transformation. You have to settle into a sustained practice, committed to using it fully and over time to choice signs compressed Gerd Altmann Germany Pixabyreap the benefits. This doesn’t mean that you have to choose a single path forever—say a particular school of meditation, or the practices of a particular tradition such as the Celtic or the Andean or whatever—but you do have to commit to a single path or practice for long enough to use it well, perhaps even to master it, so that you incorporate its beneficial effects. You might then move on to another practice, but you then also give that practice sufficient time to help you do your inner work. The trap of this stage is also two-fold: you become dogmatic in believing you have found the single only “real” answer and become fanatical about it. Or, you don’t give sufficient time to that practice to reap its rewards.

I remember being in the Amazon working with the Mother of All Plants, ayahuasca, and her telling me during an inner journey: You can heal through anything: tai chi, meditation, psychotherapy, but you have to have the integrity to follow that path deeply and well and sufficiently. The bottom line is that at different stages of your growth, there will be different answers: different practices that can best help you grow to the next level of consciousness. Being committed and flexible is an useful approach.

  1. The Crisis

In the Andean tradition, we call the inner transformation and our conscious development a mast’ay. This is a restructuring, or better yet a reordering, of the self. That is sometimes not a comfortable or graceful process. A crisis can be what propels you onto the path of personal transformation in the first place, becoming your call to action. But crises also often occur as a consequence of your inner work.

For many spiritual seekers, there is a view that if they are successfully working their practices and path, their lives will change for the better and continually improve. That is often true. But it is also true that just as often improvement is interrupted by crisis. The crisis may actually be a good thing! It may be a sign that you are doing your work and are ready to up your game. Here’s why: You have to walk your talk. You will be asked by Spirit to take off your rose-colored glasses and see yourself as you really are—what you have mastered and what you still need to work on. And the universe will provide that opportunity. In my trainings, when I am talking about this, I often quote from wise woman Gloria Karpinski. She wrote in one of her books, as an example of this kind of “test,” that when you put out the intention to the universe that you want to “be love”—live from love, treat others with love, etc.—the universe probably won’t send you thirty people to love. It will send you thirty people you cannot stand and say, “Love them.” Those are wise words indeed. If you truly want to walk a spiritual path, you will have to—sometimes moment by agonizing moment—put your intention into action.

It can take discernment to figure out what is going on as a crisis or challenge develops. It could be that you have not done your work well, and you inner shadow is coming out and wreaking havoc. This the call for self-observation. You need to realize something about yourself and make an effort to own it, heal it or transform it, and grow. Or, it could be that you have done your inner work so well that the universe is going to provide you the perfect opportunity to live it out loud. To my mind, this is not the universe testing you. It is rewarding you! But only you can determine which of these possibilities is true in the crises that may come up in your life.

  1. The Renewal

As your personal mast’ay (inner and outer restructuring) continues—and, really, this is a lifelong process—you may well emerge from any crisis to a higher level of consciousness: what we would call the fourth level in the Andean tradition. This is a state of being in which you can transcend boundaries, seek cooperation instead of competition, remain clear in your own opinions and beliefs while allowing others to have their own, and find a bridge between the mundane world (which you live in more fully than ever) and the spiritual (which is an understanding that allows you to live in a different, healthier and more productive way in the world and to interact with your fellow human beings in a more harmonious way). The renewal stage can make you feel high! You can be the picture of contentment, happiness, and even joy. And you foster that in others, because you have explored your shadow self, taken back many of your most disturbing projections, and calmed your most explosive triggers.

The challenge of the renewal stage is change. It is my experience that three common reassessments take place—and they can have huge reverberations in your life. 1) You reassess what you are doing with your life, especially your form of service or work and you make a change; 2) you reassess the people and relationships in your life to more clearly see how they are (or are not) serving you and how you are (or are not) serving them, and you make necessary changes; and 3) you reassess your place on the Mother (your home location) and you relocate. In other words, in their most dire expressions, you break up a relationship or marriage, your quit your job, and you move. Sometimes these are necessary transformations, because, after all, you are changed and you see the world (and act in the world) in a changed way. But usually such major disruptions are not necessary—at least not in an abrupt way. My best advice is that when you feel the best (and are reassessing most deeply), do nothing! At least not for a good long while. The old Buddhist adage “After enlightenment, the laundry” applies. Your goal is not to be spiritual and surrounded by spiritual people. Your goal is to be most self-actualized human being and to live in the very real world that way. The question is, “Can you take your relationship, job, and home environment to the next level of satisfaction?” Doing the work on these three most important aspects of your life may be the deepest aspects of the renewal period.

That said, it is also true that during the renewal reassessment, you can also discover “who you truly are” and what your life mission is. Living from truth and clarity may mean that some aspects of your life need to be transformed. The challenge then is to not wait from a sign from God or the Spirits, but to actually undertake the transformation even with incomplete knowledge or feelings of insecurity. When making either small but consequential changes or sweeping and even dramatic changes, risk is involved and so courage is called for.

  1. The Disengagement

Most, if not all, of the stages of the spiritual quest up to this point are about doing: change, transformation, decision-making, and action. This stage is completely opposite, as its name indicates. It is about non-doing. Well, to be accurate, it’s not so much about non-doing as it is about not wanting to do. Not everyone goes through this stage, but enough of us do to make it worth talking about. It’s a difficult stage to describe because it can take many forms and occur with varying force.

The overriding sensibilities at this stage are feelings of lack of connection, motivation, and passion. This is what might be called the existential crisis—a period when you question all meaning, and if meaning even really exists (as some independent “thing” outside of yourself).

This stage usually arises when you have completed important inner work, especially Dealing with Helpess, turn it offthat of self-actualization. You have taken back projections, unhooked from triggers, learned self-observation and self-monitoring (self-control), attended to incongruities within yourself and outwardly in your life (relationships, profession). You have reduced your “needs” and realize that mostly what is left is “choice.” But you may be experiencing such equanimity that choices seem pointless. You feel dispassionate about everything! You can end up lacking motivation to engage in life, instead only going through the motions and putting on a mask so your family and friends don’t worry about you. If that is the case, you may have to, as some psychologists advise, fake it until you feel it (engagement in life—meaning) again.

The challenge is that this ennui can shift into a real depression and you may withdraw from life. The antidotes to such reclusive impulses are contemplation and patience. It’s time to stop judging or analyzing yourself (and life) and just let yourself be. This is a stage in which you can wean yourself from the highs and lows of human emotions: with needing those emotions to tell you what you feel and what is worth moving toward or away from, and from needing emotions to stimulate you and make you “feel alive.” Thus, this is a stage of inner stillness, which just happens to be mirroring itself in outer stillness. Don’t confuse the two! When you realize you are unhooking from the sugar high of emotions, you can “detox” in a healthy way and not confuse the move toward inner equanimity with the loss of self.

Ultimately, you will emerge from this stage. Usually, it takes the realization that while there might be some grand spiritual plan for your life, the reality is that you may not be able to know it except through the day-to-day living of life. In other words, to use a cliché, it really is the journey and not the destination that matters. There might not be any supernatural hand guiding you (or you might not need to feel it anymore), so you will just have to guide yourself. This realization does not mean you lose a spiritual perspective or belief; instead, it is your recognition that spirit will be realized through you so you are better off just being you and living your life again. Another cliché rears its head here: you learn that the magical is the mundane. And, finally, you learn to be comfortable in the lap of paradox and to befriend the Unknowable.

  1. The Reconnection

When you are able to deeply honor the simple, mundane, and every day, you are ready to reconnect with and revision your life. You might or might not regain your Green Road Sign concept and landscape backgroundpassion, but emotions don’t matter. You are making a choice: to re-acknowledge your humanness and to retake your place in the human world. To steal the title of book of physics that sits on my bookshelf, you are the owner of the “deep down things” within yourself, and you are ready to rise up and explore the mysteries of being yourself in the world—really yourself. This means that while you may feel like an island, you are part of an archipelago—a community. You both choose your closest community with newfound awareness and you open yourself to the boundary-less of your connection with all of humanity (and all of life). That is not some grand sentiment. Instead, it simply means that no one is off limits, except those you choose not to invite in. Choice is imperative. You do not have to a friend of everyone to be a friend to everyone. In fact, in the reconnection, you never waste your energy pretending. You own your choices. That includes choices where you say, “No, thank you.”

In fact, being able to determine your true choices, wants, and needs (we all still have them!) and acting on them without being hypocritical, duplicitous, or manipulative and without losing your manners (kindness and consideration) is the liberation that comes with this kind of reconnection. Life is always about the externalization of your internal state of being. In reconnection with or the revisioning of the self—this seventh stage of the spiritual journey—that externalization is of the state of both fidelity to yourself and humility about yourself. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” In reconnection, no matter how far you know you can still go, you never forget how far you have had to come.



There Are Only Four Chunpis

When training people in the Andean mystical tradition, I often hear students talk about the chunpis—the Andean belts of power—as chakras, and I correct them. They are nothing like chakras. I am adamant about this, even though very early in my training, before I knew better, I too used the word “chakra” as an analogy to explain the energetic concept of chunpis. (See the glossary definition of “chunpi” in my original book Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge and the revised and updated paperback version Masters of the Living Energy.) I was wrong. I came to know better. It is not my intention here, in this blog post, to explain or try to persuade you of why there is no connection between chunpis and chakras. I have done that in a previous post: “Chunpis and Chakras,” May 12, 2017, which provides an overview of how the chunpis differ energetically and structurally from chakras. Here I am making a different point, because many students have also been taught that there are more than four chunpis . They talk about seven, like the seven main chakras. Some students even tell me that they have been taught that our poq’pos—our energy bodies—are evolving and that in the future there will be more chunpis, up to twelve.

I respond respectfully but with skepticism. I then explain why we have everything we need already and don’t need to evolve more energetic structures in our energy bodies.

I certainly admit I only know the teachings of two lineages (Waskar and Inkari), and then only as taught by three masters through my primary teacher Juan Nuñez delJuan and don Benito Prado. These teachers were don Benito Qoriwaman and don Melchor Desa from Wasao and the Waskar lineage, and don Andres Espinosa from Q’ero and the Inkari lineage. That leaves a vast range of knowledge from other lineages and teachers (past and present) from the Andes untapped and unknown. So, I acknowledge that I know only a tiny portion of this far-reaching and eons-old tradition. But the teaching itself that we already have is what convinces me that there will never be more than four chunpis—there simply is no need in the future for more.

(Note: Of course, I am open to persuasion! If you have a teaching from the Andes that says we need more than four chunpis, please present your rationale or your teacher’s rationale. Truthfully, I need to be convinced that you are not confusing or overlaying the Hindu chakra system on the Andean chunpi system.)

The teachings we have from the three masters I named above, especially from Q’ero master don Andres Espinosa, reveal that we already have everything we need to be gods in human form—to be enlightened human beings—with the four chunpis and other energetic aspects and structures of our poq’po as they are now. We have:

The Inka Seed

The Inka Seed, the energetic structure that connects us to who we really are: each of us is a unique expression of God (First Cause, Great Mystery, whatever you want to call it). The Inka Seed is the repository of the energy of future potential as fully enlightened beings. Also within our Inka Seed are all the capacities we need to express and live our unique life mission as human beings here on Earth in the physical. We don’t need anything more. We just need to develop consciously what is already within us. Our evolution is not dependent on forming new energetic structures, but on developing the consciousness to connect to and express what is already energetically part of us, especially in the Inka Seed.

The Three Worlds

The three worlds are both in the natural world and within our poq’po. There is the hanaqpacha, kaypacha and ukhupacha of the natural world, and there are the same three worlds within your bubble: the personal hanaqpacha is above your head but within your bubble, the personal kaypacha goes from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, and the personal ukhupacha extends from just under to your feet to the lower inside of your bubble. The entire expanse of being is both within and without you.

The Three Human Powers

The three human powers provide everything we need for our humanness: yachay (the mind: intellect, knowing, reason), llank’ay (the physical body through which we take action, the ability to put intentions into action in the world), and munay (feelings, including love, that we can learn to bring under our will and express through our choice). This is where the chunpis come in.

The Four Chunpis

Chunpi means “belt,” and once we go through the Chunpi Away karpay to weave the energy-work-during-the-hatun-karpay-1997belts into our poq’pos, or energy bodies, we have everything we need to realize our enlightened selves. The four belts encode capacities that arise when we learn to harmonize and use the three human powers. When we do that, then we can consciously express our mystical powers. Compared to our mundane capacities, these mystical capacities appear to be supernatural capacities. But, really, they are not. They are our natural capacities, those already energetically encoded within us, only heightened because of our conscious evolution, which depends on releasing hucha so that our poq’po is mostly sami and thus is more harmoniously and energetically coherent.

When we develop our yachay, we can access the capacity of qaway (mystical knowing) at the three eyes and rimay (thought that expresses itself with integrity) at the throat (the silver belt). When we develop our munay, we activate our capacity for kanay at the gold belt at the chest level, which is our capacity to know who we really are and our capacity to be enlightened beings and live that enlightenment. When we develop our llank’ay, we activate the mystical capacities of khuyay and atiy at the red belt at the belly and the black belt at the bottom of the trunk of our body, respectively. Expressing our khuyay means we live with personal power and through passionate engagement. Expressing atiy means we can measure our personal power  and the timing of our actions to act more successfully more of the time, and we bring our emotions and impulses under the conscious guidance of our will.

More perfectly harmonizing and expressing our three human powers and these mystical capacities encoded in the chunpis is what raises us to the level of superhumans, or what we call enlightened beings. I tell stories (real occurrences) about the use of the capacities of the chunpis that appear to be superhuman. But they are not. They are what is possible for each of us, our natural capacities when we have achieved harmony in the expression and use of our three human powers and the mystical capacities of the four chunpis.

Everything we need to express our full, grand humanness (and mystical humanness) is already present in our four chunpis. There is no need for more chunpis.

The Ñawis

Ñawi literally translates to mystical “eye.” There are seven primary “eyes.” Each of the four chunpis has a ñawi. Then there are the two physical eyes and the seventh eye (roughly at the center of the forehead; in other traditions called the third eye. ) There are also five secondary “eyes,” but they are more accurately considered energy centers and not technically ñawis.  They are the uma at the top of the head, the two makis (one in each palm) and two chakis (one in the sole of each foot)

Although we call these “eyes,” they are about more than vision. They are about perceptual knowing. They are full mystical perceptual organs/centers, through which you can energetically “see,” “taste,” “touch,” “smell” and “understand.” They also go beyond the physical senses to the mystical senses, heightening your three human powers of yachay, munay, and llank’ay. And through them you can throw seqes (cords of energy) to connect with anything and everything, from the tiniest insect to the most distant star.

There is more to say, but I think these explanations suffice to demonstrate that, according this this tradition, there is nothing more we need to express ourselves as gods while in the human form. I respectfully submit that we don’t need seven or twelve belts (chunpis). We don’t need chakras. We don’t need twelve energetic bodies (physical body, mental, emotional, astral and so on), which is a philosophy that comes from Theosophy and other traditions, but not the Andes. We need only use what we already have according to the old masters of these two lineages. Everything is possible with the three human powers and the capacities of the four chunpis.

Let me end by using an analogy that seems helpful to my students. I ask them, “Why complicate things?” The Andean mystical tradition is one of the only traditions I know of that strips things down to their essence instead of inflating things with layers and layers of philosophy. I think of the Andean tradition as a science of energy that reveals the simple beauty of the most fundamental laws of who we are and thegeometry Equations compressed Pixabay Gerd Altmann Germany natural world we are part of. When scientists, particularly mathematicians, are seeking the fundamental laws of nature, things are very complex when they start. Their white boards are filled to overflowing with complex equations. But then they finally have the eureka moment—when they discover the law of nature—and they find they can express that law in incredibly simple terms. The wall of dense equations becomes e = mc2 or F = ma. Of course, that is not always true, but you get my point. Why complicate the beauty, grace and simplicity of the Andean tradition with overlays of philosophy from other traditions, such as Hinduism? It isn’t necessary, and, in fact, it can prevent you from developing as quickly. When you think you need to evolve more energetic capacities or mystical organs in some future time, you see yourself as incomplete in the here and now. That is not what the old paqos tell us or teach us. We are complete already. We only need to do the (hard) work of bringing to consciousness all that we are and increasing our energetic coherence to use what we already have.

(Note: For another blog post about the chunpis, see “Chunpis and the Art of Being,” November 27, 2017.)

Always Learning: Refinements in Our Knowledge

I just returned from a magnificent, if challenging, trip to Peru with a wonderful New Apu wilkanusta Veronicagroup. During that trip, as always, I learned new information and received refinements of old information about our practice as paqos and the tradition in general from Juan Nuñez del Prado and his son, Ivan. Since I cannot write directly to all my past students, I am hoping to inform them of this information here. Of course, I hope everyone who practices the tradition, former student of mine or not, benefits from this information.

The refinements and corrections mostly involve the chunpis. First, let me say, that this word is commonly spelled two ways: chumpi or chunpi. It depends on what school of academic thought and which dictionary you use. I spell this word with an “n”: chunpi.

The first correction I would like to point out is that Juan insists that we not refer to the three eyes area in any way as a chunpi, not even as a “quasi” violet belt for convenience sake. There are only four belts, and this area is simply an energy center comprising the three eyes. While you pull in violet light here at the end of the Chunpi Away karpay, the color of this belt, as I have always stressed to students, is the color of your physical eyes. Also, there is no cone here, as there are in the other four belts. Instead, there is a seqe (energetic cord) from each of the three eyes that converge in the middle of the head and then curve down as a single seqe to meet the spine at the top of the spinal column.

For the other four belts that do have cones, Juan informed me that the old paqos called the cones “horns.”

As you know, each chunpi is associated with certain colors, elements, energetics, and capacities. While the silver chunpi at the throat is generally about communication, it’s main energetic association is with thought, or yachay. It is when thought and knowledge are put into action as a capacity that we then identify the gift of this belt as rimay (speaking with integrity and personal power). Simply put, rimay is yachay in action.

An interesting tidbit of information about the  Chunpi Away karpay came up that I had not heard before:  The gold and silver energies that are drawn back over the Joan's mullu chunpisskull with the yanantin mullu khuya are actually fields of energy, one gold (on the right) and one silver (on the left). The fields cover each side of the head, but as you draw the yanantin mullu khuya back over the skull and toward the neck, these fields narrow into cords/seqes. You then cross the gold and silver cords at the middle of the neck and pull them down to the base of the spine.

In addition, another small refinement is that when doing the Chunpi Away karpay, as you move up to the next belt area to weave it, you pull the energy of the belt below it up with you. So, for example, as you finish weaving the yana chunpi (the lower belt at the base of the trunk of the body), you pull the black energy up to the belly and then change to the kinsantin (3) khuya and weave the red belt. Then you would pull this red energy up to the heart and change to the tawantin khuya to make the gold belt, and so on with the remainder of the belts.

Finally, as regards the chunpis, the mulla khuyas (five stones you use to weave the chunpis) are also considered to be a lloq’e misha, a misha of the left side.

Your primary misha also has an alternative name, which is misha qhepi (or, as Ivan spelled it, khepy), which literally means “misha bundle.” Since misha means “sign” or “symbol” the misha qhepi would be, quite literally, the “bundle of signs/symbols” that you are a paqo.

I specifically asked  Juan to discuss the willka energy—black light energy—a bit more, since not much is known about it or taught about it (in my experience). The willka energy is that of the yana chunpi, or black belt. Beyond that, Juan described willka as the highest nature energy, higher than huaca/waka energy (sacred energy). It is, he said, the “most sacred of the sacred.” In addition, it is the most pristine energy of nature, and it persists in nature wherever it is found no matter what happens at that place over time. In fact, willka is the natural sacred energy that infuses places identified as healing sanctuaries (such as Wanka in Peru, or perhaps Lourdes in France, etc.). And, of course, you can produce willka yourself. Whether you experience it in nature or generate it within yourself, when you touch willka energy and work with it, it can trigger visions,  bring to light information you did not previously have, and reveal to you what is inside you (your state of being).

Finally, even though I call the Andean tradition a path of conscious personal evolution, Juan stressed that personal growth is never mandatory. Every human Celebrating you compressed AdobeStock_73874996being makes the choice to grow or not. As Ivan said, you can have a perfectly great life at the zero level as a “natural” human being. However, if you do choose to grow and to climb the stairway of the seven levels of human consciousness, then it is important to be able to know when you have achieved the next level. Juan described one way of knowing: You have reached the next level when your three powers (munay, llank’ay and yachay) are all expressed at that level. In other words, if two of your three powers are fourth level, but one is still being expressed within you at the third level, then you are at the third level, not the fourth. Only when all three powers are being expressed at the same level can you say you have achieved that level.