The Misha and Despacho as Personal Mast’ay

Back on January  30, 2017, I posted a blog that talked generally about the concept of mast’ay (See “Ceremony as Personal Mast’ay”). Today, I want to apply the concept of mast’ay specifically to the misha (mesa in Spanish) and despacho.

In that 2017 post, I described mast’ay as follows:  “Mast’ay is a Quechua word that in yolisa-weaving-compresseddaily life refers to unfolding and spreading out a cloth or weaving, perhaps on the table or a bed. In the mystical tradition, it refers to bringing order, organization, or structure to something. When you make a despacho, you are doing a mast’ay. When you arrange the khuyas in your misha, you are doing a mast’ay. But you don’t only bring order to things outside yourself. You can apply mast’ay to your own beingness. When you bring greater organization to the inner self, everything in your life is affected in positive and productive ways. The inner mast’ay furthers your awareness and, thus, your potential for conscious evolution as a human being.”

If you take that definition and description at face value, then you will understand why I explain to my students that the making of a misha and a despacho are each an act of mast’ay—of organizing the self, of expressing who you really are. As I explain it, the misha and despacho are practices that externalize your internal state.

It must be so, because both the misha and, especially, the despacho are grounded in ayni—in reciprocity (your energetic interchanges with spirit beings or the kawsay pacha at large). Ayni is a reflection of your internal state—of your very state of being. Ayni isn’t ayni if it isn’t the totally and completely authentic flow of your personal energy to the kawsay pacha.

That’s why I tell my students that as a paqo, you don’t create a misha or a despacho by rote. If you slavishly follow instructions taught to you by someone else, you are mesas-compressed-lisa-sims-photos-2016being robotic. You must develop your own way of doing things, because your ayni offering must be true to you—and there is no one else in universe like you. You are a unique Drop of the Mystery. You are who you are because of your unique life experience and path, your feelings and emotions, your beliefs and so on. Your despacho and misha must reflect you alone. They must express your ayni, which by its very nature has to be exclusively yours and not dependent on someone else’s belies or rules.

You might learn what the misha means and how to use it. But the khuyas you choose to go in it must be reflective of your own inner “structure” and personal “energetic organization”—your mast’ay. The last thing you want to do is make your misha a collection of trophy stones from sacred sites or teachers. No! All kinds of things will go in your misha—stones, trinkets, and other items that represent the milestones of your self-development, of your life, of your important relationships, of your very beingness.

No one has followed the same life path you have. No one sees and feels and understands the world exactly the way you do. No one has experienced exactly what you have. Therefore, your misha can be like no one else’s, both in what it contains and how you organize it when you work with it open. While you may have learned to place certain stones in certain positions and so on, you have to stop and ask yourself: “Is this how I want to organize my misha? Is this true to me and the meanings I superimpose on the mast’ay of my misha?” If your answer to either question is “No,” then it’s time to express your personal artistry while working with and organizing your misha.

Furthermore, you are growing, changing human being. You are not static in experience, form, or energy. The same goes for your misha. If it is an externalization of your internal state, then it must change as you change. Items you put it in years ago might no longer be representative of your current state of ayni. New items might be necessary to represent who you have become. Typically, we work with the mast’ay of our misha at least once a year, on the Andean “new year’s” day of August 1. We “feed” our misha and reorganize it (reconsider its mast’ay). For example, one year while I was doing this I realized that there two stones I had put in my misha decades ago but no longer had any connection to. Although I knew they came from sacred sites in Peru, I couldn’t remember which sites. These stones were absolutely meaningless to me. I understood that they were no longer khuyas; they were just stones. Those two stones came out of my misha.

Understanding your personal mast’ay also is crucial to making a despacho. The Qero despacho qoricocha lake IMG_4245 compresseddespacho is the most common way you will externalization your ayni and internal state. It absolutely cannot be a robotic performance in construction or use. It must be truly authentic to your state of being and intention. Thus, a despacho doesn’t have to contain certain items, it doesn’t have to be organized in a certain way, it doesn’t have to be offered in a particular manner. The one certainty is that it has to be representative of your ayni in the moment you are making it and offering it.

A despacho also doesn’t have to be pretty or symmetrical. If you are angry, make an angry despacho. If you are depressed, make a despacho that gives that depression to the spirits as an offering. These might be “ugly” looking despachos. They might break all the “rules” you learned. Fine! All that matters is that your despacho—your communication with the spirit beings, the kawsay pacha, with God—be true to you in that moment. As with a misha, to make a despacho you have to first know yourself, then be clear about your intention, and then express who you truly are and what your intention truly is.

Think of making a misha or despacho as being an artist. All artists learn to use certain tools—oils, pastels, watercolors—and learn the rules for painting a portrait or landscape (color mixing, perspective, etc.) but then they break from the rules or apply them in their uniquely original way. They create their own art. They express their own style. You can have ten artists painting the same still-life and each finished painting will look different. It’s the same with making a despacho and constructing or using your misha. Your internal state is unique, and so your external offerings will be as well.

One of my early teachers, Américo Yábar, once said to me and some other women I was with: “Waste your time. Waste your money. But don’t waste your energy.” To be as blunt as Americo was, I would counsel you that making and offering your despacho or constructing and organizing your misha according to anything but your unique personal internal mast’ay is a waste of your energy.


How to Avoid Creating Hucha

How exactly do you create hucha?

ideas and creativity in businessThere are three primarily ways: as a result of conflicted and life-negating emotions, a lack of self-awareness, and a loss of integrity in your thoughts, words, and deeds.

Jealousy, worry, blame, and harsh judgments and emotions that negate the value of yourself or others can create hucha. As can loss of integrity, which usually results in hypocrisy. For example, if you are thinking, “What a jerk this person is” but are shaking his hand and telling him how happy you are to meet him, your hypocrisy can create hucha. The operative word in these examples is “can.” These emotions don’t have to create hucha.

Hucha, as you may know, is kawsay/sami that is slowed down. Kawsay’s nature is to move unimpeded. If you are conscious of your ayni exchanges with the living universe and so absorb and radiate kawsay freely, then you won’t slow kawsay down. It won’t get stuck on the skin of your poq’po (energy body) or blocked from flowing through you. However, when you are unconscious of your ayni exchanges and out of integrity in your emotions, thoughts, words, or deeds, you can slow, stop, or block the flow of kawsay and so create hucha. Hucha, as you can see, is not negative, bad, dirty, or contaminating energy. It is just slowed or blocked life-force energy. And even if you e experience life-negating emotions or a loss of integrity in our behavior—as we all do—you don’t have to create hucha. It’s possible, but not a given.


Because we are conscious beings. And self-awareness has everything to do with ayni—with the way we interact with the living energy—and thus with hucha.

Here are three variations of a scenario that examines energetic emotional processes. palette-compressed Pixabay 1482678_1280I have devised this example precisely because it relates an event that seems innocuous: going to an art gallery. Even seemingly simple or mundane events and interactions can cause problems if you are not conscious of your energy dynamics. One variation of the scenario creates hucha, and the other two don’t.

Scenario One: As you view the artist’s work, which has been touted by art reviewers, you form an opinion: “Wow, her portraits are fantastic , but I’m not so fond of these landscapes. And the prices! They seem ridiculously high. That must be the artist. Wow, she certainly seems self-confident the way she’s making the rounds. Guess I won’t wait around to meet her. I think I’ve seen enough. I’ll have a glass of champagne and head home.”

Scenario Two: As you view the paintings, you think: “Yeah, she’s good. But only at portraits. Her landscapes are mediocre. Why didn’t the reviewers talk about that?  How could they be raving about her art and missing the truth about half of her works? There’s the artist. She’s not the least bit shy. In fact, she’s strutting around this gallery as if she were Da Vinci! There is no Mona Lisa here! And I can’t believe she gets these prices for her art. What makes her think these are worth that kind of money? She needs a reality check.”

Scenario Three: As you move around the gallery, you think: “She’s good, at least at portraits. No denying that. The landscapes. . .don’t like them so much. And the prices! A bit high. Maybe a lot high. Where is the artist? Oh, that must be her. She certainly is strutting around as the star of the show. Ha! She thinks she’s Da Vinci, but she certainly is not . . . Hhmmm. Where did that snarky remark come from? I am feeling hostility toward her and I haven’t even met her! I wonder why? I don’t even know her. I haven’t spoken a word to her, but I have been pretty hard on her since I Self reflection compressed Pixabay-913575_1920walked in. What’s that about? Why am I feeling such a strong negative reaction to her as a person? Am I feeling jealous? Jealous? I am! I have to admit it. Why?”

After more self-reflection, you realize you are projecting. You realize, “I always wanted to be an artist, and here is a woman who has done it, and is making a darn good living at it. She’s self-confident because she has a show and a full audience, and from the looks of things a lot of buyers. I never had that kind of confidence. I only dabbled with oils. . .I never really applied myself. Never believed in myself as an artist. It’s my romantic dream. That’s why I am so hard on this artist. I am jealous of her success—because I never risked trying to produce any art myself.”

You can see the differences in energetic, emotional processing that goes on in the three scenarios. In the first process, you form an opinion, but there is no emotional charge with it. It’s what you think. You’re entitled to your opinion, and when you leave the show, you are not carrying any emotional baggage out with you. The result is that even though you had strong opinions—some that reflected negatively on the artist—no hucha was created.

In the second scenario, opinion begins to veer into emotional turmoil. Objective opinion spirals into judgment and self-righteousness. There’s a good chance that you are projecting something hidden within yourself onto the artist, but you are oblivious to that possibility. You think the truth is “out there,” not “in here.” This is a classic set-up for creating hucha.

The final scenario starts out much like the second one, but you catch yourself as you spiral from opinion into judgment. You realize you are not only feeling a strong emotional reaction, but that your emotions are beginning to become overcharged. Surreal portraitYou have the self-awareness and self-control to monitor your emotional dynamics and so begin to explore the charge behind your hostile feelings. When you do, you discover at least part of what you are feeling is a result of your projection of unrealized dreams onto another person. You realize that while there is nothing wrong with having an opinion and you are at liberty to dislike something or someone, something more is going on. You have no objective evidence or personal interaction to justify your feelings about the artist, and that’s a clue that your shadow self (the hidden, rejected, denied aspects of yourself) is involved. This process of self-reflection allows the hostile feelings to dissipate, thus guarding against your creating hucha.

As you can see, lack of awareness of the complexity of our thoughts and emotions—and thus lack of self-examination—is a core reason we slow or block the life-force energy and create hucha.

The transpersonal psychologist and philosopher Ken Wilber wrote something that helps us understand why self-awareness is so important. He says, to paraphrase, that information is just information. No matter what kind of information is input to your consciousness—a fact from outside or an internal opinion— it is simply information. In and of itself information is devoid of emotional content. The emotions are add-ons—they come from your reaction to the information. When you have a strong emotional reaction to that input—especially one that stays with you over time—youhands and plant have a clue that your feelings are arising from your shadow self and so are not truly well-formed, objective opinions or reactions. If you have an emotional reaction and then it passes—you can let it go easily—then you’re okay. But if those feelings linger, you need to pay attention. You have exposed a soft spot in your shadow and that information has irritated it. That irritation has presented itself as projection—usually of negative emotions—onto others. Through self-reflection, you can aspire—as paqos do—to be a person who “sees reality as it really is.” In this case, you see that your opinions have become embroiled with emotions about yourself and really have little or nothing to do with the other person. That person or situation simply became the trigger for that shadow emotion. When you realize this, then you can deal in a healthy way with those feelings and not create hucha.

While there are other ways you can create hucha, lack of self-awareness, unjustified/projected charged emotional reactions, and loss of inner integrity in thoughts, words, and deeds are three of the most common. If you take this knowledge to heart and work these three energetic processes, you will go a long way toward evolving your consciousness and creating greater well-being for yourself and others.

The Three Pachas Within

man-energy-at-forehead-compressed-adobestock_60268556In the Andes, as in many wisdom traditions, there is a saying that “As above, so below.” In the Andes, one of the ways this plays out is in the mirroring of the pachas outside the self with the pachas within the self.

The kawsay pacha is partitioned into three worlds or pachas (spheres of space-time): the hanaqpacha, the upper world that is a sphere of perfect ayni; the kay pacha, the human world where we both do and do not practice ayni; and the ukhupacha, an inner or lower world that is a place of regeneration for those who did not practice ayni well in life. Did you know that you have these three worlds within yourself as well?

Actually, you have the whole universe inside yourself. But specifically, within your poq’po—your energy bubble—you have a personal hanaqpacha, which is the space above your head but within your bubble; a kaypacha, which extends from the top of your physical head to the soles of your physical feet; and a ukhupacha, which is the space beneath your feet but within your bubble.

As my teacher Juan Nuñez del Prado so elegantly explains, you have within your bubble the world without and the world within. Don Benito’s work—the right-side, mystical, yachay-focused work—is concerned with the universe outside yourself, the God without. Don Melchor’s left-side, magical, and llank’ay-focused work is concerned with the universe within yourself , the God within. The chaupi work of don Andres Espinosa is about generating and being self-sufficient in munay, which is the human power of the kaypacha and integrates all three pachas into a whole.

Another name for the Andean God—Wiraqocha—is Hatun Taqe Wiraqocha, which means the Great Joiner God. God is present in all things and suffuses all level of the kawsay pacha and Pachamama (material world). In my last blog post, I spoke about your poq’po as being yours alone, that no one—not even God—can enter your bubble unless you invite He/She/It in. If you have done that, then it will be worth your while to consider being like God and being a Great Joiner. In this case, that means bringing coherence to the three pachas within yourself as a next step up the qanchispatañan—the Stairway of the Seven Steps of Consciousness. This involves doing the work of taqe—joining your personal pachas. Once you do, this joining can lead to an even greater energetic state—that of taqa, or expansion. Taqa is an opening to the greater reality of your Inka Seed, which encodes your mission here on Earth and in your human life, and links you to your divine origin.

I can’t, of course, go into the work of taqe and taqa here, but I can suggest an energetic exercise to help you realize the energetic reality of your three pachas and begin to integrate them. This work is done through a seqe, a cord of energy. The following exercise is adapted to this blog post as a way to get you started. It is a way to begin to perceive your inner pachas and bring coherence to them in relation to your entire poq’po and being.

One way, among many, to think of your personal hanaqpacha is as your higher self. You can perceive it as the pacha linked to the energy of your Inka Seed that is your purest energetic state, which is one of perfect ayni. It is your potentiality as an enlightened being. It is your spirit, your divinity.

Your personal kaypacha is your human self, your karpay (your capacity for personal power at the current time), your state of consciousness, and your level of integrity in living the capacities of your chunpis (qaway—mystical knowing; rimay—integrity of the power of speech; kanay—knowing who you really are; munay; khuyay—action and living with passionate engagement; atiy—brining impulse under your will, measuring your personal power, and right timing).

Your personal ukhupacha is your interior self, from your conscious effort to live with ayni to your unconscious shadow, which is where you hide from yourself by stuffing all the ways you do not own yourself.

The first part of the exercise is to spend time touching in with the energy of the three pachas of your bubble. Simply touch the pachas one at a time with an intention of magical  loving heartdiscerning them, perceiving their state. Are they available to you? Are they hidden from you? Are you comfortable in each? Just sit with whatever you feel and perceive. This is a process of discovery. It is an invitation to get to know yourself and your poq’po better—touching in with non-judgmental curiosity. Don’t rush the process of getting to know yourself!

When you are ready, move to this second part of the exercise, which involves performing an energetic taqe—joining—of your three pachas by using a seqe, a cord of energy. It is a cord of love for the self.

  • Bring your attention to your Inka Seed.
  • Using your intention, extend a glowing cord of energy—of munay—from your Inka Seed up through the middle of your body and out the top of your head until it reaches the inside top of your bubble. Infuse your personal hanaqpacha with this munay.
  • Bring your attention back to your Inka Seed. Using intention, extend a cord of energy—of munay—down through the middle of your body, out your body between your legs, and down into the bottom of you bubble. Flow munay through this seqe from your Inka Seed to infuse your personal ukhupacha with love.
  • Bring your attention back to your Inka Seed. Perceive the cord extending up and the cord extending down from it. See those two cords merge inside your Inka Seed, making one single cord of munay that flows through your entire bubble from top to bottom. Now feel munay flowing from your Inka Seed up and down this cord through your personal kaypacha—from the top inside of your skull to the bottom soles of your feet. Feel the munay filling your physical body, your personal kaypacha.
  • Soften your intention, sit in your bubble, which is now full of munay, and perceive the totality of the three pachas within as fully joined by a seqe of munay, seamlessly and holistically suffused with munay.
  • Soften your focus and end the exercise.

You may or may not feel yourself moving from taqe (joined) to taqa (expanded) by the end of the exercise. Once you have joined your three personal pachas and brought this coherence to your energy body, you can take time each week to reinforce this joining, and over time you will eventually feel the flowering of the self—the expansion that is taqa. As I have written about in past blog posts, as paqos we seek to become like flowers in the garden of Wiraqocha, attracting the hummingbird to drink from our munay nectar. This is an exercise that can help you to become such a flower.

Inviting in the Taytanchis

The Andean metaphysical god was called Wiraqocha. Another name for God is the Taytanchis, which means Our Father. Although referred to as male, Taytanchis is beyond gender, for Taytanchis is the living God, the Great Mystery, the Inscrutable One. It is the first cause of creation. From it arose the immaterial realm of living energy, the Kawsay Pacha, and the material realm, called the Pachamama. This is the realm that includes all the matter of the cosmos, including the galaxies, stars, planets, and all of life. It is from Taytanchis that we all come and to Taytanchis that we all will return.

Each of us is a child of God. In essence we each are God, as our divinity is encoded in our Inka Seed awaiting its realization in our lives. And yet the paradox is that we are both inseparable from the Taytanchis and apart from it, until and unless we take a crucial step in our lives. Here is why.

According to the lineages in which I have been taught (Waskar and Inkari), your freedompoq’po is private. As my teacher Juan Nuñez del Prado says, your poq’po is the one thing in this life that is wholly yours, that you alone own. No one can enter your poq’po uninvited (consciously or unconsciously), not even God. As a result of that fundamental energetic truth, as Juan says, this is where the evangelical Christians get it right—you must invite God into your life (poq’po). Until you do, the Taytanchis cannot act as a direct living energy in your human life.

So the question I put to you is: Have you invited Taytanchis in?

Doing so has nothing whatsoever to do with religion or even spirituality. Instead, the act is one of ancestry. It is a reconnection with that from which you came and that to which you will one day return. Even if you don’t invite Taytanchis in, you will one day reunite with this source of your being. However, your life will be richer for reestablishing a personal relationship with the Taytanchis. As a paqo, you may eagerly work to establish communication with spirit beings, such as the apus, while overlooking the most important relationship of all.

Even though we always maintain a connection with the Taytanchis through our Inka Seed, having a personal, intimate, and conscious relationship with Taytanchis is a ladder up to skieschoice. Having given you free will, Taytanchis will not trump that will. So, you must purposefully invite Taytanchis into your human life and physical being.

There is no special ceremony for doing so. You simply offer up the invitation or make the request. Find the words and feelings that most represent your munay and ayni. An example is: “Taytanchis, I invite you into my poq’po, my body, my life. I seek a personal relationship with you. I ask that you guide me in my conscious evolution.”

The munay of Taytanchis is neither meager nor complicated. It is freely given to anyone who not only seeks it, but asks to be its recipient. It is abundant in quantity and pristine in purity. So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to invite Taytanchis into your energy, body, and life? I predict you will be both deeply satisfied and delightfully suprised once you do.

An Exercise for Claiming Your Divinity: Integrating Your Inka Seed and Heart

As a path of human conscious development, Andean mysticism’s focus is on becoming a fully developed human being, meaning a fully enlightened person. We are already perfected because we are Drops of the Mystery of the cosmos of living energy and our enlightened self is held within each of us as a potential in the Inka Seed. However, we do not live that potential—yet!

Here is an exercise, adapted from the left-side lloq’e work of don Melchor Desa (as taught to me by my primary teacher Juan Nuñez del Prado), for nurturing this potential within. It is an exercise to energetically connect your Inka Seed and sonqo, or heart. Both are generators of munay, which is love under your will. Love has to start with the self, but how many of us genuinely and unabashedly love ourselves? Truly, deeply, wildly love ourselves? My guess is not many of us. . . This exericise can foster that process within.

In addition, one of your primary goals as a paqo is to integrate your three human powers. They are, from the highest to the lowest in the estimation of the Andean masters:

  • Munay, which as I said is the choice for love. It is agape, or a love that arises from the self but from beyond the needs of the self. We might call it unconditional love. It is also involved with the ability to live from feelings (joy, kindness, compassion—the “higher” human attributes) rather than from emotions (the “lower” human attributes).
  • Llank’ay, the ability to perform in the world, to take action, to make an effort, to put intention into practice
  • Yachay, the ability to think, reason, and use your intellect.

We want to integrate our three human powers, even as we understand that culturally we are trained to valorize one over the others. Juan says that Westerns tend to be doers and thinkers. We are what we do. We are skilled at abstract thinking. We value knowledge, and see it as the solution to so many of our problems.

In contrast, he says, the Andeans are the masters of feelings, and so of munay. Munay, he says, is the “treasure” of the Andes. Andeans, thus, can teach us to harness our feelings rather than our emotions, which are transitory. You can feel joy in the midst of tragedy if you live from feelings, because joy is a state of being. In contrast, happiness is transitory because it is subject to the whims of fickle moods and changing circumstances. One minute you love me, the next you don’t. The training of the Andes helps us to develop our capacity for living from feelings, which are situated energetically in the heart, rather than from emotions, which are situated energetically in the qosqo, or belly. For the Andean mystics, living more fully from feelings will help us solve our problems.

The Inka Seed and heart are both about munay. But just what is the Inka Seed? It is an energetic structure that holds as a potential within our likeness to God. It encodes our unique mission in human form, our purpose and the gifts and talents that will help us fulfill our human purpose.

The qori chunpi—the belt at the heart—is free of hucha. So are the Inka Seed and magical  loving heartheart. There is never any need to “clean” them, as they are pure sami. Still, we have to work consciously to activate our Inka Seed and to connect our Inka Seed and heart into an integrated system in order to stimulate our development and fuel our evolution. Integration is the purpose of this modified exercise. And it is a way to not only connect these two most important energetic structures within, but to generate copious amounts of munay in the process. As you feel that munay spread through the self, you receive a taste of the purity and power of self-love.

Integrating the Inka Seed and Heart

To do this exercise, you need to know where your Inka Seed is located. It is positioned within your body at the level of the sternum (where your ribs curve up and together just below the breast area) and halfway between the front and back of your body (in the middle of your body).

  Sit quietly and touch in energetically with yourself, with your beingness, both physical and energetic.

•  Begin a saminchakuy to cleanse your poq’po, your energy bubble: Using intention, open your bubble at the area of the top of your head and intend to draw in the light living energy (sami). Feel the empowering flow of sami through you. Then bring your attention to the base of your spine and send a seqe—and energetic cord—deep down into Mother Earth. Intend to send any heavy energy (hucha) that is on the surface of your poq’po (energy body/bubble) flowing down this cord to the earth. Allow these two flows to continue for several minutes, doing a cleansing and empowerment of your bubble. After a few minutes, stop the downward flow of hucha and retract the seqe from the earth. Keep the flow of sami down through the top of your poq’po going.

  Using your intention, direct the flow of sami like a laser down through the top of your poq’po and body until it touches your Inka Seed. Feed your Inka Seed with sami until you feel it “pop” or open. As it does, munay will flow from it. Try to perceive the feeling of munay as it wafts like perfume through you—your heart area (the qori chunpi), your poq’po, your body, your entire being. Feel the sweetness! Feel the love!

  After a few minutes, bring your attention back to your chest area and the Inka Seed. Using your intention, allow sami to flow down and once again fill your Inka Seed. Then intend that a cord of living energy extend out from your Inka Seed and extend over to connect with your heart, flowing sami through your Inka Seed and into your heart. Your Inka Seed and heart will become connected, integrated, inextricably linked energetically. Feel the increased munay, which is now flowing from both your Inka Seed and heart. Fill the chest area of your body, and then feel the munay wafting out to fill your entire poq’po, body, and beingness. Sit in the glow of this munay.

•  Soften your focus, loosen your intention, and end the session.

You can do this exercises many times as you need to so that you can actually perceive the flow of munay within and throughout the self. When you experience this sweetness, you will finally understand the metaphor of the paqo as exuding a nectar that draws the hummingbird. The hummingbird is the totem of the upper world, the hanaqpacha, and of God. When the hummingbird feeds on your nectar, you are deeply connected with God.

Are you generating the nectar of munay? If not, use this exercise to learn.  Doing so will help you discover “who you really are.” As author Amaka Imani Nkosazana writes, “Nothing is sweeter than being unapologetically you.” That “you” is both human and divine. Munay is the bridge between the two.