Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Tag: Americo Yabar (page 1 of 9)

Podcast Episode 1: An Introduction to the Andean Cosmovision

A conceptual introduction to the Andean Cosmovision.  I recommend listening to this before moving on to the meditations.

To download the episode click on “Download“, if an audio player appears and begins to play the episode, right click on it and then select “Save Audio”.

Transcript (pdf)

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It Is a Way of Being

The Andean Cosmovision provides a different-from-Western-Society way of perceiving and interacting with reality. It is not a way of thinking about the world, it is not a set of concepts and beliefs, it cannot be describe or encompassed with words. To explore the Andean Cosmovision is to enter into another way of experiencing reality that is so different from that of the West that it cannot be distinguished from actually exploring a different reality. I have found it to be a path that takes me through territory that my own society ignores. It takes me to my heart, to beauty, to love, and to a relationship with Nature and the Cosmos that fulfills my desire to sip at the cup of the sacred.

It isn’t easy. It is not a path that everyone would want to take, and it certainly isn’t a path that everyone should take, for it has no dogma, it has no rules laid down by an external deity, within the Cosmovision there is no moral imperative to walk this path. If the path itself is rewarding to you then keep going (if you wish). If not, stop, and try some other path, or no path at all. That decision is something that only you can make.

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi.  From The Illuminated Rumi
Broadway Books, Coleman Barks (translator).

There are many different paths that lead into the Andean Cosmovision, each has its doorstep in a different region of the Andes or with a different teacher. I really only “know” the path I have been shown by don Americo Yabar and don Gayle Yabar and that I have walked for many years in the company of several dear friends. I know something about some of the other paths, not enough to describe them from experience, but enough to know that they have some noticeable differences from the path I have taken. I would like to point that out, so that you will understand that what I share in this blog may apply only to the path I know.

In this path of heart the meditations serve as the portals for entering the Andean Cosmovision. That is a reality that has no limits, and I intend to be exploring it for the rest of my life, or at least so long as it continues to nourish my blossoming as a Being in this Cosmos. For me it is not a set of powers to be gained, or techniques to master, or knowledge to accumulate, it is a way of being in this Cosmos, and very much so it is a way of relating to Nature and the Cosmos.

There are times in my life when I stop meditating for a while.  This often happens in the winter when it is hard to go outside and I am busy teaching at the University and being all intellectual.  Engaging with the politics of a world that seems to be increasingly directed by fear and hate also moves me away from meditating. Much of what I love and value is under immanent threat of destruction.  There are times to meditate by the river and times to throw myself in front of the bulldozer. The two modes represent my left side and right side, respectfully, and part of what I value about this path is that it embraces all of who I am.  Occasionally I get glimpses of that aspect of myself that is greater than the sum of those two parts, for whom the left side and the right side are but two facets of my existence, but we are the diamond that has those facets.

Still, when I stop meditating, this path stops being something I am being, and it becomes a memory, an idea, which it can never be without losing its essence.  I have discovered, rather obviously, that when I abandon this path, this connecting with the Cosmos, that I slowly start to feel abandoned by the Cosmos.  I get depressed.  When I start to meditate again I return to this way of being, and its essence returns and my existence again puts on a mantle of meaningfullness.  My challenge is that when I haven’t meditated for a while, and I start to feel down, I don’t feel much like meditating.

I would like to share with you something that I have found to be useful.  I have put the following poem on the desktop of my computer where I can see it everyday:

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi.  From The Illuminated Rumi
Broadway Books, Coleman Barks (translator).


You might enjoy my book:  The Andean Cosmovision:  A Path for Exploring Profound Aspects of Ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos.

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Presentation and Workshop in the United Kingdom

Hi, I will be giving a Friday evening presentation and a Saturday workshop in the United Kingdom on August 11th and 12th, 2017.  More information, including how to purchase tickets, is available through the links below:

Evening presentation (August 11th), “The Andean Cosmovision”,  in Manchester.

Workshop (August 12th), “Reconnecting with the Wild”, in The Gathering Fields (Lancaster).

I am very excited to have this chance to connect in salka with the people of Europe!  Thank you Neil Brocklehurst and Debra Delglyn.

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Cuti…cuti…cuti!! Disconnecting from Other People’s Filaments

This is an Andean meditation that can only be done as a group.

There are times when either on purpose, or as the result of emotional and energetic interactions, other people’s filaments get connected to our own energetic body. The intent of this meditation is to disconnect any such connections from other people, leaving us free to blossom into the beauty and essence of who we each uniquely are. We are still connected to everything else through our filaments but the boundary of our own energy is clear. When our boundaries are clear we can dance in harmony with others in such a way that the whole of the relationship becomes greater than the sum of its parts (us). This concept harkens back to the posts Yin/Yang of the Andes, Warmi-Qhari (Woman-Man), and Tinku–Confirming the Rules of Life.

I have heard from friends who have trained with the Four Winds that this same process is taught there but with a different intent. In retrospect it doesn’t surprise me that the same process can have two different intents. The process is the vehicle and the intent is the trajectory. I’m struggling for a good metaphor here, but I’m afraid the one that has come to my mind is that the same tuba can be used to play many different melodies. Anyway, I am going to share the meditation as I learned it from don Américo Yábar and as I have I have practiced it for many years.

For a small group, one person stands in the center and the rest of the people form a circle around him or her, standing about 10 feet from the person in the center. For a larger group, three people stand close together in the center, facing outwards. One person in the surrounding circle is the leader, initiating the action and everyone else follows along. Here is what we do.

A) The people in the center simply use their intent (sincere pretending) to connect to the Pachamama through their feet and to the Cosmos through the top of their heads. They get all the benefit, everyone else gets all the fun.

B1) We all start moving together toward the person/people in the center. Our intent as we move is to scoop up the filaments of the Pachamama as we proceed. The posture that facilitates this intent is to have our hands to our sides, and our fingers pointing to the ground, with our palms facing the people in the center. It helps to bend forward a bit as we move to really get the sense of scooping up the filaments of the Pachamama.

As we move forward we chant “cuti cuti cuti…” (pronounced “cooty”), this flavors our intent. “Cuti” is a quechua term that means “change” or “a turning of the energy”. Thus our intent as we scoop up the filaments of the Pachamama is to activate or initiate change.

There is something inherently silly about chanting “cuti cuti cuti…” as you approach someone. This whole meditation/process is best done with a good deal of panache. Get into it. Enjoy it.

B2) As we get closer to the person in the middle we bend a little more so that we can pull the filaments of the Pachamama up through their feet, and then we straighten up as we pull the filaments up through their body, and then up through the top of their head. We don’t actually touch the person, our hands are a couple of inches from their body. While we are doing that we chant “ninikiriri ninikiriri ninikiriri…” (pronounced “neeneekeereeree”). The literal meaning of this ancient term has been lost in antiquity but the flavor it adds to our intent is to disconnect and bring along any filaments from the outside that are connected to the person’s body.

B3) Still all moving together, as we get to the top of the person’s head we then energetically toss the energy up into the Cosmos shouting “lloqse lloqse lloqse…” (pronounced “yoksay”). Lloqse essentially means “return to sender”. This is not a violent turning of the energy back on the other person, it is simply an act of “this energy is yours not mine, it belongs to you not me”.

After this, rather remarkable, procedure everyone scurries back to their original position and repeats the process two more times. At that point the people in the center join the circle and others take their place until everyone has had a chance to be in the center.

Describing each step in detail makes the whole thing seem more complicated than it is. Essentially, with a good sense of flair and panache:

  • Walk toward the person chanting “cuti cuti cuti…”, scooping up the filaments of the Pachamama.
  • Pull those filaments up the person’s Being from feet to head, chanting “nidikiridi nidikiridi nidikiridi…”
  • When you reach their head toss the energy up into the Cosmos shouting “lloqse lloqse lloqse…”

Repeat two more times.

The only real meaning of the salka meditations I have been sharing is the effect they have on you, and you are the only authority on who you are and how you want to be. Notice how you feel after the process is over, and decide if you want to add it to your repertoire of tools for navigating through the great mystery that is the Cosmos and our existence within it.

End note: as I write this I remember that Américo (when he taught us this process long ago) said that this meditation/process is from a different Andean tradition than most of the ones he teaches. My memory is that he said it is from the layqas (on the path of power) rather than from the paq’os (on the path of heart)…please see the post Paths to the Other Side of Reality.

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The Creature and its Creations

Don Américo Yábar

The first part of this post was inspired by Alan Watts (1915-1973) and his book Nature, Man, and Woman. Watts was a wonderful writer and philosopher best known for bringing Eastern philosophy into Western culture. His titles include The Way of Zen, Tao: The Watercourse Way, This is It, Psychotherapy East and West, The New Alchemy, The Joyous Cosmology, and The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

I would like to begin by asking the question, “Are we more like clocks or are we more like flowers?”

Let us begin by considering clocks. Clocks are created to fulfill a purpose, which is to indicate the time. After the purpose of the clock has been determined we can apply our rational mind to how to construct such an object. From this design various parts are manufactured and assembled into a working clock. The creation of a clock, then, has these elements: 1) it is created by a creator who stands outside of the clock itself; 2) the clock consists of pieces that were made first and then assembled into a whole; and 3) the clock was created to meet some purpose.

Now let us move on to flowers. First, we note that flowers don’t have pieces. They have petals, and stems, and roots but these are all part of a whole. We can break off the petals and call them pieces, but they weren’t created first and then glued on to the stem, they emerged from the stem, and once we turn them into pieces by breaking them off we can’t snap them back into place. Second we note that flowers are not constructed from the outside. Flowers grow from within. The growth of the flowers is informed by the seed (using the the old-fashioned meaning of “informed” which is “to give shape from within”). And third, the flower has no purpose, at least not the sort of rational purpose that goes into making a clock. Flowers weren’t created with a purpose and then inserted into the web of life. They co-evolved with other life, with pollinating insects in particular. Flowers do play an important role in the interrelations of life on the planet. This role was not rationally decided upon from outside the dance of co-evolving life but emerged from within that dance, a dance that earlier proto-flowers had a part in.

In Western society we are very familiar with the process of making things like clocks and computers and houses…and dinner. When we turn to consider who or what made us, and made the Cosmos, it is natural to conceive of a Creator in our own image. Such a Creator would exist outside of the Cosmos that he/she/it created, the Cosmos would consist of individual pieces, and the creation and its pieces (e.g. we humans) would be created for some purpose.

What if a growing flower, however, is the better metaphor for existence and creation, that the Cosmos grew from within, that everything is interconnected, that the creator is not an external God but an internal blossoming, that the Cosmos created itself from within and continues to do so? Well, if this is the better metaphor then we are left with no “purpose” for our existence. Poor us and poor flower!

Alan Watts says about this, “Such a line of thought may be … disturbing, since it suggests a universe of life which has no motive at all…and surely an absolutely purposeless world would be the most depressing of all possibilities.” He then goes on to say, “But the idea of a purposeless world is horrifying because it is incomplete. Purpose is a preeminently human attribute.”

In the dictionary purpose is defined as the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exits. To say that we, and the Cosmos, have no purpose is simply to say that our existence is not the product of rational thought, and that is far from saying what we are the product of, which would be nature and the Cosmos.

Again, turning to Watts.“To say that the world has no purpose is to say that it is not human, or, as the Tao Te Ching puts it: ‘Heaven and Earth are not human-hearted (the Chinese character “jen”)’. But it continues: ‘The sage is not human-hearted‘ (Tao Te Ching, Chapter V).”

What I propose Heaven and Earth (and sages) are is Cosmic-hearted. This flow of thought brings us to the “path of the heart” (see the previous post Paths to the Other Side of Reality). The path of heart does not lead to the human heart and its emotions, it leads through the human heart (actually the munay) to the heart of the Cosmos. This is what underlies the Andean meditations and also underlies salka. The Cosmic heart occasionally shines through the cracks of our reality while we are meditating, and when it does we experience the meaning of our existence.

Returning to earth, I would like to now consider the work of Gregory Bateson (1904-1980). Bateson was an anthropologist, social scientist, and linguist who helped create the discipline of cybernetics (also known as “systems theory”).  He was a pioneer in using cybernetics to explain social, psychological, biological, and ecological systems. Bateson proposed an elegant definition of “mind”  that resolved the “mind/body” problem (the situation where the mind seems to be both transcendent to the physical realm yet also seems to be just a byproduct of the physical realm). It would take too long and be largely irrelevant to describe his solution here but a consequence of it is that both humans and larger ecological systems fit his definition of having a mind.  From within this perspective we can see that human creativity and biological evolution share the same processes, and one is a special case of the other.

Bateson took the cybernetic explanation as far as it could go, eventually tackling the nature of the sacred in his aptly titled book “Angels Fear: Toward an Epistemology of the Sacred”. Some of Bateson’s ideas have appeared earlier in this blog, and in my book, under the titles “Why a Swan?” and “Lesson of the Mask .

The following is from the chapter The Creature and its Creations in his book A Sacred Unity: Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind. In his very logical and erudite way Bateson begins by making the case that creations give us insights into the creatures that created them.  He then turns to the narrative poem Peter Bell by William Wordsworth, and says:

“Wordsworth mocks that to Peter Bell,

‘A primrose by a river’s brim

A yellow primrose was to him,

And it was nothing more.'”

Bateson proposes that, “To the poet, the primrose can be something more. I suggest that this something more is, in fact, a self-reflexive recognition. The primrose resembles a poem and both poem and primrose resemble the poet. He learns about himself as a creator when he looks at the primrose. His pride is enhanced to see himself as a contributor to the vast processes which the primrose exemplifies. And his humility is exercised and made valid by recognizing himself as a tiny product of those processes.”

Yes, he writes that way.

My original intent in creating this post was to share the related thoughts by Alan Watts and Gregory Bateson about the underlying processes of the Cosmos, thoughts that have helped me integrate my experiences in the Andean Cosmovision with my intellectual Western worldview.  As I have been writing, however, another thought has arisen that I would like to include.

Many years ago don Américo recommended to me that ‘we make our lives a work of art”.  I have always loved that advice.  In thinking about it now I see it as a way of having my life be more in accord with the processes of the Cosmos itself.  I think about the world a lot, and when I do I often get to a decision that seems to have no rational best choice;  “On the one hand I could…” and “but on the other hand I could…”  This is very familiar territory for me.  When I remember Americo’s advice I turn back to the options and ask myself which would be the more artistic path to take.  When I do the choice is usually obvious.

 

 

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