Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Year: 2013 (page 1 of 5)

Energy Shield

In the meditation Inside/Outside I shared a way of disengaging from what is going on around us to retreat into a sanctuary within ourselves. This sanctuary is a place where we can rest from our dance with the world. In that post I said that this is not like putting up a siege barrier, it is more like entering a haven where you can recuperate. The meditative-like process I would like to cover in this post is like putting up a siege barrier, it can be used to protect yourself from unwelcome energy being directed at you from others. This process is meant to be completed before you actually need it.

Begin by picking up a stick or pebble, hold it in your right hand, and put that hand out straight in front of you as if holding a shield. Now, hold the intent that this stick or pebble radiates a barrier that other energy cannot cross. While holding that intent rotate your body in the following manner…keep your left foot where it is as if it is in the center of a circle, using your right foot turn you body all the way around in a counter-clockwise direction, your right foot will be defining the circumference of the circle. As you rotate 360 degrees keep your hand out with the impeccable intent of this stick or pebble serving as a shield to protect you from outside energy. Go all the way around seven times. This charges the stick or pebble with that intent, you then take it with you where you will need it and when the time comes activate the intent again and hold it out as a shield.

The first time I used this process was after I returned home from my second trip to Peru. Particularly for the first few trips to Peru, when I returned home I wanted to hide in the basement for a few days. One of the beautiful things about Peru is that my acceptance by the people there has been based upon my willingness to open my heart to them, they respond to that deeply, and I love that. When I come back to the U.S. everyone seems so cold, and particularly because I am a man, being openhearted is not really tolerated or all that safe. When I came home from Peru after my second trip I knew that the next day I had to attend what was going to be a very hostile faculty meeting. The faculty would be considering a topic that many felt very strongly about, I would be representing one side of the issue, and so some of the hostility would be directed at me. It was like a worse case scenario for an open-hearted person who has let down all of his barriers.

Before the meeting I went outside and found a pebble and did this process. I put the pebble into my pocket and went to the meeting. As it started I pulled the pebble out and held it in my fist resting on the table in front of me, and using my intent I turned it on. It was beautiful. I sat there with what was probably an annoyingly pleasant smile on my face while all the hostility just bounced off or flowed around me. I was able to give my contribution to the discussion without feeling hurt or threatened.

Upon reflection, you might ask, ‘when would you want to use a stick?’ For that I would like to relate the story that don Americo told when he taught us this process. When Americo was a young man his teacher sent him to spend the night in a cave in the Andes. It turns out that the cave was the home to a puma, and when it returned to find Americo there it wasn’t very happy about it. Americo grabbed a stick and went through this process and putting all of his intent into it was able to turn the puma away. When the puma left Americo tossed the stick aside in relief. A while later, however, the puma returned to have another say in the matter, and Americo found himself scrambling around in the cave before he found the same stick. It is hard to forget a story like that.

My right side is tapping me on the shoulder asking me to add that this was performed by a professional paqo and should not be attempted in a lion cave near your home.

This process is quite different from the others I have shared in that its purpose is to put a barrier between ourselves and some part of the Cosmos. This can be useful but when possible I prefer to step around rather then step into situations where I may need it. I have really only had to use it a few times in the almost twenty years since I learned it. The Andean Cosmovision is a way to develop a loving and mutually supportive relationship with ourselves and the rest of the Cosmos. It is not a path of power or domination, its underlying metaphor is not war. It is a path of heart, its underlying metaphors are to explore and to blossom. For all of that it is not a path for the timid it is a path for the brave, it is risky and scarey to open your heart to the world, for along with the uttermost joy we may find great pain. It calls for the courage and impeccability of a warrior, but we are warriors of the heart. The true confrontation is to stand naked in front of the incredible power and mystery of the Cosmos, and ask it if it would like to dance.

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Confessing to Nature

As I start wrapping up the book I am writing on the Andean Cosmovision I am spinning out a few topics that I haven’t addressed yet in this blog…

If you have something you need to confess, to get off your chest, go to nature and confess it out loud to a tree, or to a stream, or to a bird, or a cliff, or to Tai Tai Inti, or to Pachamama. By itself I don’t know if this would make a big difference, but as part of your changing relationship with Nature and the Cosmos it is a small but beautiful step. After many of these small steps you will begin to notice a change in yourself that arises from a change in the quality of your relationship with Nature.

By the way…when don Americo was suggesting this to us he also mentioned in passing that we are allowed to make the exact same mistake in our lives three times before we have to start feeling like an idiot. I hope you read this blog during the ‘cut yourself some slack’ week.

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Peeling the Onion

Many, many years ago, when I first started down a spiritual path I thought it would be a path of slowly increasing bliss. When I tell that to people now we all sit back and laugh. Instead what I found is that I had a lot of encrustation to get rid off, gunk (to use a polite term) that I had picked up in my life, decisions I had made about how to approach life that led to times of pain and depression, beliefs that I had adopted from family and friends and society and then incorporated into my personal identity even though the weren’t mine, unhelpful assumptions about what I can and cannot do, should and should not do. The path for me has been one of working my way through all of that in search of the experience of the essence of who I really am and my true relationship with the Cosmos.

I don’t know any way to get beyond those issues other than going through them, and the process can be painful. The result of moving past one, however, leads to joy and a sense of liberation and a step closer to who I really am. This is what keeps me going. Then, the next one arises and the pain and/or depression returns until I move past that. Sometimes it seems that an old issue surfaces again and again and I despair that I will never get past it. But in looking back over the years I can see that when I feel like I am facing yet again an issue I’ve worked on many times before that it is more like I am in a spiral, and as I come across it again it is from a higher spot, and what I learn this time takes me closer to the center of my existence.

To paraphrase Americo: We are like onions, we keep peeling away one layer after another to finally get to the center, and that process is both painful and beautiful. And, when we get to the center, we find nothing….we find we are ‘no thing’.

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Alto mesayoq

In the Andean tradition an alto mesayoq is a very high level paqo. They are usually described as paqos with incredible abilities. While we were in Peru last summer my friend Karen asked Gayle Yabar (don Americo’s son and a great paqo himself) to tell us about the alto mesayoqs. He replied by saying that they were paqos who spent their whole lives in service to an Apu. Then we had lunch…and Gayle served us our food. Service is not servitude, it is a gift born of love.

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From Shaman’s Drum

I’m busy working with some waikis to nourish a salka community here in Salt Lake.  Here is something I came across in my old notes that I would like to share.  It comes from an interview with Americo Yabar in the Shaman’s Drum (Fall, 1994).

Hal Bennett:  In terms of meeting our global crisis, do you feel going out in this way–to have direct contact with Nature and the Cosmos–is more important than going out and talking with other people?

Americo:  Yes, yes, absolutely!  It is much more important in all aspects:  therapeutically, intellectually, spiritually–in all ways.  We have to speak to the mountains in the mountains, to communicate with the spirits of nature in nature.  If you go to the river, the river doesn’t lie to you; the river cleanses you.  The wind cleanses you.  The ancient voices and the spirit of a tree can give you much.  These are the only constant and direct presences of the Divine.

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