The Energetic Dynamics of Guilt and Shame

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.

Gretchen Rubin

Fear is the greatest creator of hucha. Hucha, or heavy energy, always siphons off businessman rolling a giant stoneyour energy and so reduces your personal power. It weighs you down and keeps you from moving forward with well-being, grace, and ease.

Right up there with fear as wasteful of energy are two emotions that most of us have felt at some point and probably still carry with us in our poq’pos as hucha: shame and guilt.

Shame is what you feel when you have violated your own standards or hurt yourself. Guilt is how you feel when you have harmed someone else.

In the Andean tradition, your capacity to act is called your personal power. Personal power is equivalent to personal freedom and even wisdom. You can have strong or weak personal power. If you have strong personal power, you have a larger degree of personal freedom because your capacities allow you greater choices for action. The greater your personal power, the greater your capacity to influence the kawsay pacha on behalf of yourself and others. The more personal power, the more clearly you see “reality as it really is” and so the more wisely you can act and speak. If your personal power is weak, the opposite is true.

We all can look back at our lives and see when we have acted with diminished personal power and from clouded perception. We all have things that we feel guilty or shameful about—things we have thought, said, and done that keep us bound to the past because they created hucha for ourselves or others. But the Andean tradition asks that we release that guilt or shame (or, more pointedly, that we not rope binding mans handscreate hucha for ourselves because of guilt or shame). The Andean tradition would say that we should not feel guilty or shameful about things we did not have the capacity to do differently at that time. This is qawaq—being clear-seeing and perceiving reality as it really is (or was).

Usually feelings of guilt or shame come with hindsight. With the clarity of distance from the event and the passage of time, you can see the impact of your words or deeds and so judge that impact as helpful or harmful. Then you feel guilt or shame, or you don’t.  While it is valuable to admit your mistakes and shift your behavior, not forgiving yourself for them just creates more hucha.

When you judge yourself, you necessarily do so from the present, when some time has passed and you have likely developed greater capacities and so expect more from yourself. But you can’t judge your past self according to the personal power of your present self. If you do, you are failing to look back asking, “What was I capable of at the time of the event?” If you are clear-seeing, you might admit that you did the best you could at that time, even as you see now, looking back, that what you did was not beneficial to yourself or others. The Andean tradition gives you the benefit of the doubt. Should you do any less for yourself?

One way to discern whether guilt or shame is a justifiable feeling or not is to tease out from past events how much of the situation was due to your personal power (your will) and how much was due to your intention (state of your consciousness). Sometimes we are unconscious to the motivation for our actions. All the more reason not to torture yourself now for what you did then. But if, for example, you had the personal power for a large degree of choice and action, but willfully and intentionally did that which decreased the sami for yourself or someone else, well . . . then, yes . . . you might rightfully feel guilt or shame. You can then take responsibility for your lapse. You can probe to see what motivated your intention. You can learn from your mistakes and take responsibility, making no excuses for yourself. But don’t waste energy beating yourself up!

The point of self-analysis and self-revelation is not to punish yourself but to learn and grow. Long-term feelings of guilt and shame are a clue that you are stuck and here there green road signnot growing. Stuck energy is always hucha.

The path from “there” to “here” and from “then” to “now” is the path of energy flow. To move your energy in productive ways, use the two core practices of saminchakuy (to cleanse your bubble of hucha) and saiwachakuy (to empower your bubble with sami).

Consciously and energetically initiating beneficial change is a powerful way to increase your personal power and well-being.  So if you find yourself trapped in the past, feeling persistent guilt or shame or some other energy-draining emotion, use your Andean practices to begin to get the stuck energy flowing again. In the interest of integrity, make amends if you can—both with the recipient of your hurtful behavior and with yourself. But no matter what, always, always use your practices. Don’t wallow in the past, shift it by turning hucha into sami.

Are You an Andean Healer?

In a recent workshop, where participants were learning about cleansing hucha and the specifics of hucha mikhuy, there was a palpable reaction of discomfort when I Healing Hands Ayni Compresssed Dollarphotoclub_67573261said that according to Andean healing, you don’t have to ask permission to work on another person’s poq’po. Most people are so used to honoring other people’s privacy, and rightfully so, that doing anonymous healing work seems like an invasion of that privacy.

Here is the Andean answer to that concern. You can never interfere with the interior of another person’s poq’po, so there is no issue about violating someone’s privacy. Hucha accumulates mostly on the “skin” of the poq’po and that is where cleansing takes place. So you are not invading anyone’s personal space because you are not entering his or her poq’po.

According to the Andean view, the only thing that is truly yours in this life is your poq’po. It is absolutely inviolate. No one can enter your energy body without your conscious or unconscious permission. Not even God!

The key word here is “enter.” When it comes to the skin of your bubble, that meeting place between the “outside” and “inside” of the self, well . . . that’s another story. We accumulate hucha there like a tabletop accumulates dust. If we don’t cleanse it, it builds up, and our beauty becomes disguised, our well-being Hand wiping surface with pink rag isolated on whitediminished, and our ability to push the kawsay compromised.

Hucha can enter the poq’po, but that interior cleansing work is for the individual, not another person. If you are working on someone else, you are working at the skin level—unless the other person has invited you to enter his or her bubble.

So, 99% of the cleansing we do on others is at the skin level and we do not need permission to undertake it. Ask yourself these questions. Do you ask another person’s permission to send him or her positive thoughts? Do you require permission to put a person in “the light” in meditation? Do you refrain from praying for a person because you haven’t received permission to do so? Probably not. Hucha cleansing is the same. You can only “heal” another person through munay, compassion, empathy. Those are the feelings and energies that create the space for healing. They are gifts freely given. You do not need permission to give such gifts.

Another question came up concerning karma. What if that sickness, disease or emotional problem is in the “best interest” of the person’s karma? Who are we as healers to try to affect it? First, I have never heard of an Andean belief in karma, so to my knowledge this is likely a moot concern. However, even if it were a concern, it would not require you to refrain from healing because in the Andean view no one heals anyone else. All a healer can do is create the energetic space within which to support or help activate the self-healing capacities of the person who is undergoing the healing. Put another way, we can only heal ourselves. Others can assist, but they cannot force anything on us, even healing.

Dealing with Helpess, turn it offNotice that above I wrote “self-healing capacities.” As a healer, all you can do is create the opportunity for a person to increase his or her own well-being. You can only provide a trigger for that person to enlist his or her own will. Healers cannot affect a person’s free will. If the person does not have the will, desire, and capacity (personal power) to heal, he or she won’t. (Unless a fifth-level healer is working on them. But that is another story!). Thus, in the Andean view, healers are primarily working the energies (cleansing hucha) to create conditions supportive of the other person’s self-healing.

As Andean paqos we understand our responsibilities, one of which is to use our personal power/sami to increase the well-being of those around us and the world in general. It is understood that humans create hucha (slow kawsay down so it gets stuck on our poq’po), so if a paqo has the personal power to be useful, it is his or her duty to be useful. As paqos we are obligated to use our power for the well-being of ourselves and to increase another person’s capacity for well-being.

But as a healer in the Andean tradition, you must be willing to touch another person’s hucha. You must have no fear of contamination because, in truth, the efficacy of the cleansing is proportional to your capacity to connect with the other person. Fear shuts down connection, so there can be no real healing interaction. Plus, fear is entirely uncalled for, because there is nothing harmful or contaminating about hucha. Thus, there is never any reason for a healer to cleanse him- or herself after a healing session.

Finally, healing energy is proportional to a paqo’s capacity to create and drive munay. Munay is love grounded in will. You can generate it within yourself using Natural healingcertain energy practices, and you can drive it as a healing energy on behalf of the well-being of others. Generating and sharing munay is always empowering to everyone within the ayni exchange.

Having the munay to connect deeply and compassionately while touching another person’s hucha allows you as healer to gather information about the cause of the hucha. This knowledge combined with your munay-filled connection can heighten your personal power to be a great hucha cleanser or hucha eater! But as an Andean-style healer, you also realize that you are not working alone. You are working together with Father Cosmos and Mother Earth to cleanse hucha and give it to the universe as a gift. The kawspay pacha turns that hucha into sami, thereby increasing the well-being of the person you were working on, of yourself, and of the collective. Healing is always about more than the healer and the healee. As with any ayni, its effects are cosmic.

[Note: I am traveling teaching, so it will be two weeks until the next post.]

Your Soul, Sami, and Hucha

According to the Andean tradition, you have a body, soul and spirit. Your spirit is You Body Spirit Soul Mindyour essence, your original self, your connection with the Mystery. As such, it is perfect. It contains no hucha, ever. Your spirit is encoded in the physical in your Inka Seed.

Your soul is aligned with your mind and human identity. It is the expression of many influences—familial, cultural, social—and is molded by these and other aspects of your human relationships and experiences. Unlike your spirit, your soul can be both heavy and light. When you cleanse your poq’po of hucha and fill it with sami, you are, in effect, getting deeper in touch with your soul and healing or developing aspects of your humanness.

As a paqo you have the energetic tools to live in well-being, but as a human being, you sometimes feel exactly the opposite. Challenges and difficulties brew feelings of  worry, anger, powerlessness, defeat and a whole host of other emotions. At such times, you, like most of us, may lose the feeling of connection with your spirit and experience your soul as awash in chaos. It is at these times that you are most likely to create hucha in your bubble because you constrict your poq’po, pulling it in and closing it off to energetic influence.

But here’s the good news. When your poq’po constricts, it can also squeeze out hucha, rather like you were squeezing dirty water from a sponge. (Although, huchaSqueezing a sponge compressed Dollarphotoclub_32026680 is not “dirty, ” just heavy.)

What’s more, your poq’po can also propel sami to places within you that lack it. Some Andean exercises, such as tawantin and taqe, have this effect. Energy is propelled “ahead” of you, to places and aspects of the self where you are not yet consciously working. This sami preps your poq’po and soul for cleansing, and helps energetically strengthen you, so the inner terrain is seeded for easier psychological and emotional, and perhaps even physical, healing.

Andean energetics are rarely oppositional. It’s not the case that either you create hucha or you pull in sami. Instead, through certain practices you can create both, even pulling sami directly from hucha (as is done in hucha mikhuy). Remember, hucha is kawsay/sami, just slowed down or blocked. A loss of well-being can also be an opportunity for personal evolution. Andean paqos would remind you that the very fact that you are alive makes you a survivor, and every day you live makes you a winner. The Andean perspective is almost always encouraging and supportive, uplifting and life-affirming, even as the paqos acknowledge the hardships and difficulties of human life.

The Andean view of life and its energetic system helps you to understand that even hardships and challenges are opportunities. They are windows to your inner contradictions, disconnects, ambiguities and incongruities. Energetically, when In light of successyou bring awareness to your human “soul stuff”—which often is best brought into high relief by difficulties—you not only can squeeze out hucha, you also open space within yourself for more sami. Thus you can actually facilitate increasing both your lightness and your personal power by facing your challenges consciously and energetically working them.

Maybe this is the Andean equivalent of the mystical/spiritual adage to “Go into your pain.” As a paqo you have plenty of tools to help you negotiate this landscape consciously and skillfully: saminchakuy, saiwachakuy, hucha mikhuy,  despachos and misha work. You have access to the spirit beings. And you have your qawaq abilities: your clear-seeing through your seven energetic and mystical eyes (if you have been through the Ñawi K’ichay and Chunpi Away  karpay, which opens the ñawis and weaves the chunpis into a coherent system). While your physical eyes and emotional eyes may be seeing only pain, defeat and challenge, your mystical eyes are seeing the play of hucha and sami, they are witnessing the possible faster germination of your Inka Seed, and they are recording the victory that comes with greater self-revelation and self-awareness.

So as paqos, while neither you nor I may be ready to say “Hooray for this challenge!” we also are prepared to call our challenges opportunities, and to seize them as gateway energetic experiences to further our soul’s development.

Becoming Who You Really Are

In many posts I have talked about being “who you really are.” That phrase sounds rather New Age, somewhat ambiguous, even a bit hokey.  I mean, how can you be anything other than who you are? Truthfully, you can’t. The key word is “really.” Who you are right now can be spot-on true to your soul and spirit. Or it can be a jigsaw puzzle creation of influences that have little to do with your soul and spirit. You can literally be the creation of what others want you to be—succumbing to the pressures of parental, social, religious, cultural, professional or other expectations, caving in to the routine of what you’ve always known or what demands the least effort of you, deferring goals to the expediency of current circumstances, sacrificing unexplored capacities because of self-delusions of inadequacies. If that is the case for you, then you are not likely living as “who you really are.”

I remember a dream I had back in 2001, while I was in the Amazon jungle for three weeks. I was barefoot pushing a shopping cart through a big-box store. I knew I had to fill my cart, but there was nothing I wanted or felt I needed. So I pushed the empty cart out to the parking lot. Suddenly, all these people showed up. They came at me from every direction, not threateningly, but certainly purposefully. They started putting things in my cart until it was filled to almost overflowing. As the pile grew, I felt more and more frustrated, because there was nothing anyone was putting in my cart that I wanted or chose but I felt helpless to prevent the deposit into my cart.

To me this dream is about identity. Who am I? After self-scrutiny, I came to admit that my life was mostly a response to my insecurities. I was someone who tried to please family, coworkers and friends, and to fulfill my expectations of what I thought I should be in response to society, media, spirituality, and so on. I was a jigsaw puzzle and I felt most of the pieces of me had been pushed into place with little self-consciousness, despite my years of spiritual and shamanic work. I was only sure of one thing—I was not “who I really am.”

It has taken me fourteen years to become more of who I really am. It has been only in the past three or four years, and especially during the past year, that I feel I have stripped away many of my delusions and illusions and had the courage to be “me.” And what a difference that has made!

I suspect that the same struggle to be your “authentic” self is true for many of you.

I acknowledge that “who I really am” is not static. Life moves, and the “I” moves along with it—and vice versa. The dramatic movement toward greater authenticity comes with the reversal in who is leading and who is following. Before, life moved and I followed, often unconsciously, or with resistance, or because I was too afraid or unsure of myself to chart my own course. Now my “I” leads, and my life responds accordingly. And that makes all the difference.

Who you really are is encoded in your Inka Seed. Don Benito said that at the moment your father’s sperm and mother’s egg joined, the animating force of the universe reached out into the cosmos and pulled a Drop of the Mystery down and into that fertilized egg. That Drop of the Mystery is you. Truly unique. One of a kind. Compete and whole, with everything you need within to be “who you really hands and plantare.” You already have everything you need to express your deepest, most sacred nature and to live your one-of-a-kind life.

The question is if you are ready to believe that, and then to claim it and realize it. This alchemical process of transmuting the lead of “almost but not quite who you really are” to the gold of “who you really are” is not a science, but an art. It’s not a single formula that everyone can follow to a guaranteed result, but a personal journey of learning to know, trust, honor, and express your Drop of the Mystery. As such, your journey’s timetable is unique to you. It may take ten hours, ten months, ten years.

For most of us, our Inka Seed lies dormant within, waiting for us to fertilize it, so it can germinate, grow, and flower. Andean practices help us to nurture it to reveal the full bloom of beautiful, stupendous, amazing, incredible you. What more important or valuable “work” is there than to recover the memory of who you really are and then to live it? Like me, it might take almost sixty years for your Inka Seed to flower, but I can testify that it is worth the wait. . . .

Mastering the Ayllu Poq’po

“Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.”

—Casey Stengel

The modern world is one of connectivity. Even if you are sitting alone at your computer, you are connected with others through cyberspace. Our “group”—in the Andes the ayllu—is ever expanding. But even as our social connections multiply, our social energetics may stay static. So I ask you to take some time to think about how the Andean practices can help you make the most of your connectivity in all its manifestations.

Whether you are physically present with a group or only in energetic connection, your energy affects the group bubble, just as the group bubble, and the individual members’ energies in the bubble, affect you. There are myriad levels of ayni exchange going on. Attending consciously to these group dynamics supports both your well-being (see my last post) and the group’s.

We are all familiar with the various types of group dynamics. The feeling of resistance as you join an already formed task group at work. Or, alternatively, the welcoming energetic embrace of that group. The group where one person emerges as leader, either competitively dominating the group or, alternatively, supporting communal cooperation. The various relational dynamics are almost limitless. But your tools for dealing with them are clear-cut.

First, when in a group dynamic, even if that is just with one other person, be aware of the relational dynamic as seen through Andean eyes. Upon first meeting, tinkuy occurs. This is the energetic touch, the first meeting of energy body to energy body. It happens between you and each individual in the group as well as between you and their combined energies (the ayllu poq’po).

Second, within an instant of that energetic touch, you are flooded with information, and as a three golden eggsconsequence you segue into the next stage of the interchange: tupay. This is the sizing up, and we all do it. You consciously or unconsciously check out both the individuals in the group and the group as a whole, assessing them in relation to yourself—your knowledge, power, looks, status, and more. Usually this competitive or judgmental place is where you stop in your energy dynamics. But the Andean tradition would ask you to continue to the third step in the exchange, the taqe, or union.

If you move to the taqe stage, which is an energetic perceptual stance of the fourth level, you not only seamlessly and amicably join your energy to the group’s, but by doing so you add to its coherence. If you are superior in your abilities, you humbly and tactfully share what you know so that others can achieve your level of knowledge or skill. And you graciously learn from others. You lead or participate by example, fostering communication and cohesion. You eschew becoming competitive or combative while also not being falsely humble or passive. You are a team player, mentor, facilitator and supporter. You allow space for others to contribute and shine. Taqe is about joining energies so that everyone reaches the “top of the mountain” together.

In fact, if (or when) you reach the taqe stage, then the energy can shift again into pukllay, which means play. You and the members of the group flow with joy, lightheartedness, camaraderie. Think of a group of children engaged in play—time stops, creativity flows, effort transforms into effortlessness. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be part of a group that has reached this energetic state?

Another perceptual tool you can use to foster a group’s well-being is to discern the group’s masintin and yanantin dynamics. Remember, masintin is an energy that is similar to yours and yanantin is energy that is dissimilar. You will have multiple masintin and yanantin flows each person within the group and with the group as a whole, and they with you. By being clear-seeing about these types of energy flows, you can deal with them and so head off creating any hucha.

Remember that incompatible energy says nothing about the other person or persons. It is not a condemnation or judgment about them. It is simply a realization that your energy is not flowing in complete ayni with others’ energies. Incompatibility can create hucha, but it doesn’t have to.

To transform any incompatible energy into compatible energy, you can use hucha mikhuy, the deep form of cleansing that is actually an “eating” and “digesting” of hucha. You work through your qosqo with individuals in the group or the group as a whole, taking the energy into your qosqo, where you filter the sami from the hucha (that’s right, you can get sami from hucha!), pulling the sami up into your bubble and feeding the hucha down to Mother Earth. Feeling the split stream of energy is a marker that you are performing hucha mikhuy properly. However, one word of caution. The masters cautioned that you should learn and practice hucha mikhuy carefully and in a specific way before using it on someone or a group with which you are having difficulty. You start with someone close to you emotionally, then practice on someone emotionally neutral, then someone with whom you have a minor difficulty, and only then do you work the “hard cases” in your life. Please take this caution to heart!

Our practices as paqos are about getting along with everyone. That doesn’t mean we give up our individuality, lose our voice, squelch our opinions. . . . It means we show up in our personal power utilizing all three of the core human energetics—munay (love and will), llank’ay (action), and yachay (intellect)—while allowing everyone else the space to share their humanness as well.