Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Category: Uncategorized (page 3 of 7)


In December of 2016 I reached a milestone for me, I sold my 1000th copy of my book, “The Andean Cosmovision: A Path for Exploring Profound Aspects of Ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos“.  In addition to just announcing that remarkable (to me) fact I would like to share a little about the book and my process and what I hoped to accomplish by writing it.

As a young man I used to be a voracious reader of books about consciousness, Taoism, Sufism, Buddhism, meditation, lucid dreaming, altered states of consciousness, and many other related topics. I developed an intellectual understanding of those topics that was both deep and broad. When I met don Américo Yábar in 1994 and he invited me to be his student I realized that I was embarking upon an exploration where words and concepts would be of no avail. I completely stopped reading about consciousness. I wanted to enter into a new way of experiencing reality and I did not want my thoughts (so steeped in the Western world) and the thoughts of others to shape and distort my experinces. I decided to simply experience the Andean Cosmovision, and then eventually, perhaps, I could write about those experiences. I wanted the experiences to inform my thinking and writing and not the other way around.

For roughly 18 years I let my heart and my body and perhaps my spirit lead me in this exploration. When I would return to Peru I would try to make sense of my experiences after the fact, as I worked to integrate this new experience of reality with my continuing life in the West. For several years Américo encouraged me to write a book but I knew I wasn’t ready. Finally I did. I had a hard time starting as the ‘book project’ seemed so huge and massively tricky to pull off while remaining true to the experiences. A friend of mine suggested that I begin by writing a blog where I could get my ideas out piece by piece and then write my book. So I did, and it worked.

My goal in writing the book is to help nourish salka on this planet. It is not a message that “should” be heard, it is a message that might touch others as deeply as it has touched me. I also believe that the path described in the book, the path of heart into the Andean Cosmovision, could help change the trajectory of our society toward a future of greater health and beauty. I self-published the book to get it out more quickly and to insure that it would say exactly what I wanted it to say. I hope each copy is a like a pebble tossed into a pond, with ripples of influence spreading out.

When I went the route of self-publishing I knew the number of books sold might be small. As some sort of marker I thought that if I could sell 100 copies then I would feel that the extensive effort I put into the book (and innumerable lattes) would be worth it. I am more than gratified to have sold 1000 copies, with almost no advertising, just word of mouth. No path works for everyone, nor does this book, some people have reported that they stopped reading it part way through, but more have been along the lines of a reviewer who said that he keeps a copy of the book strapped to his body. That’s how I feel! Thank you to all of my friends and to those who have bought the book and told others. I really appreciate it. Love, Oakley

Don Américo and me in Peru.

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Introduction to the Andean Cosmovision

With the holidays coming up I hope you won’t mind if I post another plug for my book, The Andean Cosmovision:  A Path for Exploring Profound Aspects of Ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos.  I have included below the introduction to the book as a way of perhaps wetting your appetite.  More information about the book, including the table of contents, reviews, and how to purchase it are available at


This is a guidebook. It is not a philosophy book (although there is a little bit of philosophy in it), nor is it primarily a description of the Andean way of understanding reality (although there is a fair amount of description in it). It is instead a guide to help you explore new facets of yourself, of Nature, and of the Cosmos. I can’t describe what you will find. You will need to go there and discover that for yourself. I can say that this is a path with a heart, that it will touch the part of you that delights in beauty and laughter, that it is an adventure, and that it nourishes a more loving and mutually supportive relationship between yourself and Nature and the Cosmos.

You don’t need a guru for this path. You need the Pachamama (the great Being who is the mother earth), you need the Apus (the great Beings who are the majestic mountain peaks), you need the stars, the wind, the trees, the rivers, the sun. This book can only open the door to new territory and give you a map and some advice. It is up to you to determine whether what you find is in harmony with your deepest values. If this path touches something beautiful deep inside of you, then keep going, it only gets better.

For the past twenty years, I have been exploring the Andean way of experiencing reality (which I call the Andean Cosmovision) under the tutelage of my Peruvian mentor and friend don Américo Yábar. In my trips to Peru don Américo has also arranged for me to work with numerous other paqos (Andean mystics/shamans) including his son, Gayle Yábar. From don Américo and the other paqos I have learned how to explore the Andean Cosmovision but most of the actual exploration of this Cosmovision has occurred while I have been back home in the United States.

I have come to realize there are two aspects to this path. One aspect is to learn how to experience reality through the Andean Cosmovision; this is what I have learned in Peru. The second aspect is to figure out how to integrate this experience of reality into our lives here in the modern, Western world. This integration is something that the Andean people can’t teach us. It is up to us to discover how to do it. My intent in writing this book is to help you do both.

The heart of the book are the “how to” bits, where I lay out the various experiential processes that serve as the doorway for exploring these new facets of reality. These bits are woven into a larger tapestry of thoughts and concepts that support the experiences and that help us to integrate what we learn into our Western view of reality. The Andean Cosmovision moves us into a dance with the vast ineffable mystery of the Cosmos. There is no linear way of proceeding, yet words and thoughts (and books) are linear. I recommend that you read the chapters in the order they are given, as some of the later chapters assume you have read some of the earlier chapters. If you continue to use this book as a guide, however, then you can always come back to reread just the chapters you need at that time. That is how I use this material.

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The Nature of Wisdom

I am pretty sure that I used to be more intelligent than I am now. I am also pretty sure that I am wiser than I used to be. I have always been a lover, someone who loves, and over the years my love has matured, gotten deeper, aged like a fine wine. Love and wisdom come from the same deep place. Intelligence is the froth on the surface of those depths.

These are my thoughts as I sit next to the stream tumbling down Millcreek Canyon. The water spills over the rocks and collects in small pools before cascading on. Flowing, flowing, flowing and river sound. The canyon shadows and rippling surface of the water makes obscure the depths of the stream, but in this late afternoon light narrow beams of sunlight penetrate the pools and I see the rounded stones on the creek’s floor. How beautiful, and look over there!

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Recover the Night

I believe this is the first time I’ve posted something about the Andean Cosmovision that was written by someone else.  This beautiful essay is from my friend Angela Rhinehart.

“Recover something of the night that is within you.” These words from Don Americo Yabar are resonating strongly today. Last night I did recover something of the night that is within me. I was feeling afraid of the dark, curled up, hiding away, aching.

He said, “It is beautiful to fill yourself with night.” I had not been feeling that beauty, I was filled, yet not open. It is as if it was there and I was curled up on the ground, eyes squeezed shut, suffering the oppression of the night. Until the pain of that moved me towards the night. Once I rolled over, began to rock and expand, then I realized that I could find my way in the dark. I could open my eyes and be soothed by the darkness, the cool, expansive night. Once my eyes adjusted, then the soft light of the moon and stars could fill me with the cosmic stars of my mystery.

I am recalling a dark night in The Andes of Peru, next to a river with Don Americo. We were meditating, but there was a light across the way and all of a sudden he invited us to go to a different spot. “Vamanos?!” I arose and began to follow, without a headlamp or flashlight out into the dark, he led us on a meandering path, scrambling through bushes, and finally arriving at the river’s edge once again, this time the night was uninterrupted by the harsh, electric beaming. The expanse of stars danced and swirled.

I recall the cold stone beneath me and the rushing water, the breeze caressing my cheek, silence behind it all. Sitting in the dark, next to my companions, being with the night, filling myself with the night, connecting with my stars. There is always the light within the night. My soul was soothed by the night, expanding, breathing.

My soul craves the dark. Yet, if I am only diving into the depths and don’t allow the expansion into night, then I am buried by the weight of darkness. I may go into the cave to find solace and protection, but I also need to emerge from that and have courage, know that I can find my way through the dark of night. There is a thrill in that, the mystery that my soul knows is important.

If I care for my soul, then I am gifted by wholeness and expansiveness, connection. My whole self includes the night and it is there whether I acknowledge it or not. The night will exert itself. The more I honor the night, the less afraid I become. If I soak in the wet night then the light and warmth of day becomes more welcome.

So, I turn towards the night that is calling me. I welcome the dark, I recover that. I fill myself with the stars of my mystery.

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Hi everyone. I haven’t been posting here a lot recently. My energy is going out to a rather diffuse number of outlets. I am presenting a three day workshop on the Andean Cosmovision in Grand Junction, Colorado this coming weekend. My web site has served as the hub of my internet efforts but had gotten of date and so I have rewritten it. I have created a Facebook page for my book, The Andean Cosmovision, and I have been posting there recently to see if I can get the word out on my book to more people.

I have been waiting for something to come to me that I would like to share on this blog. And today it arrived. I would like to share some thoughts and energy about ‘impeccability’.

I first ran into the idea of walking through life with impeccability in the earlier books of Carlos Castaneda. My favorite way of expressing it is through the following story that don Juan told Carlos, which I paraphrase below

One day you will be walking down an arroyo and you will stop to tie your shoe. When you do, a huge boulder will crash to the ground right where you would have been if you hadn’t stopped to tie your shoe. Another day you will be walking down the arroyo and you will stop to tie your shoe and a boulder will land right on top of you and kill you because you stopped to tie your shoe. Given a world like this, the only thing you have control over is tying your shoelace with impeccability.

Acting with impeccability adds a great deal to life, exactly what I have a hard time putting into words. It can also be, in my experience, too stern a task master. The resolution I have arrived at is that my being impeccable includes not having to be impeccable all the time. I would like to share a story about that.

One time when I was in Peru by myself with don Americo he told me that the president of the Q’ero people was also in town and would like to meet me. He added that this was purely optional and I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. When I paused, wondering why the president would possibly want to meet me, Americo added softly that it would be rather rude to say no. Of course I said yes.

When I went to meet him I didn’t know what to do or say, so I decided to just open my heart and interact with him. I ended up showing him a photo of my sons on my cell phone and asking him about his family. Afterwards Americo chuckled and said that was an interesting and rather refreshing way for me to act. He also said that he had watched me slip into my ‘impeccable mode’ right before I entered the room, and that he has seem me do this other times as well, he complicated me on my ability to be impeccable. I replied that in all honesty it was much easier for me to be impeccable after a couple of cups of coffee in the morning. Americo laughed and said that Carlos Castaneda might not approve, but that it was very salka of me.

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