Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Tag: cosmovision (page 4 of 5)

Right Side / Left Side

The Andean Cosmovision draws distinctions between various aspects of our Being in many overlapping, non-mutually-exclusive ways. In an earlier post we looked at the Three Centers of Being; the llankay, the munay, and the yachay. In this post I would like to examine the distinction between the quality of energy we have on the right side of our body and that on the left.

Our right side (called paña) handles our activities in the everyday, ordinary, realm of our life, in other words, that aspect of our reality which is created by our society. We tap the abilities of our right side when we work, go to the store, get to our kid’s soccer game, balance our check book, watch TV, buy airline tickets to go to Peru, and so on. Our left side (called ‘lloqe’) handles our connection to the vast, ineffable, mystery that is the Cosmos. There is no way to describe that part of the Cosmos, for it is exactly that aspect of reality which exists beyond all the words we have to describe it and beyond all the concepts we have for understanding it. The Andean meditations move us into our left side.

Whether or not we develop the skills and perceptions available on both sides, we all do have both, for they are part of our heritage as human beings. It is my experience that in my western technological culture we place a heavy emphasis on the right side, and we are hardly aware, if at all, of what is available on the left side. If we want to explore more of who we are, and who we can be, and the full potential of our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos, a rich place for us to explore is the vast territory of experience available through our lloqe, the left side of our being. If we want to have dinner, hold a job, raise children, not get run over when we cross the road, enjoy our technology, and get to Peru, then we need to honor and nourish the skills we have on the right side.

Our paña and lloqe are complementary opposite aspects of our Being. In previous posts I’ve written about the role of complementary opposites in the Andean Cosmovision (Yin/Yang of the Andes) and their role in the relationships between women and men (Warmi-Qhari), and between communities and individuals (Remember to Wave Your Warak’as). The distinction between our right and left side takes us into the complementarity of opposites within ourselves. We find that the principles which became evident in the earlier posts apply here as well.

Our right and left side are not two, independent, things but instead are mutually defining aspects of a unified whole (our self). As in the post Yin/Yang of the Andes I will use a Taoist symbol to represent this: For these two mutually defining aspects of our self to exist we need to keep a clear distinction between the two, otherwise we end up with:

The Taoist symbol for Yin/Yang usually contains small circles that convey the concept that each opposite contains a small seed of the other:

This implies that when we are operating on our right, social, side it is good to have a small connection to the great, ineffable, mystery that is the Cosmos, and when we are operating on our left, mysterious, side to have a small connection to the everyday world. I’ve never heard anyone in the Andes say this nor can I speak from my own experiences. This idea arose as I was writing this post and I offer it as something to consider.

Back to the main point. The first principle is to keep a clear distinction between our paña and our lloqe, between our ability to work in the everyday world and our ability to connect with the great ineffable mystery that is the Cosmos. The second principle is to bring these two aspects of our self into yanantin, a state of harmony with each other . When complementary opposites are brought into yanantin then something emerges that is greater than the sum of the two. This something is recognized in the Andes as a new life force, and it is meta to (above) the complementary energies from which it emerges (see the post Warmi-Qhari)

The Andean meditations move us into our left side, as we do the Andean meditations we become more familiar with that facet of our being. Interacting with our society and everyday world moves us into the right side, a facet of our being with which we are very familiar. Instead of being blown by the winds of circumstance into either our right side or our left side, we can choose from which side to operate at any moment, and the ‘you who can choose’ exists at a higher level than either. As we choose one or the other we become more aware of that higher level of our self that can make that choice. That’s really all it takes.

Meditation: After you have some experience with the Andean meditations and have noticed how they affect your experience of the world, and your energy, and how you feel, then there is a simple way you can move into the left side directly. Stand with your weight evenly balanced on both feet, then with a hand, or in your mind’s eye, draw a line down your body from your head to your feet that divides you into your right side and your left side, and while doing this use your intent (sincere pretending) to feel it divide your energy into your right side energy and left side energy. Then, just step sideways to your left and with intent step into your left-side energy and its connection to the non-ordinary, vast, mysterious, Cosmos. Being on the left side is a learned state, this ‘stepping into’ the left side can evoke an experience that is commensurate to what you have experienced in the other meditations.

Source: This differentiation between the right side (paña) and left side (lloqe), and the meditation for stepping into the left side, are from don Americo Yabar.

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Ultimately, I no longer care about philosophy. I’m in love with life…and what I care about is learning how to be a better lover. (A thought that arose while I was writing the post “Remember to Wave your Warak’as“)

To the scientist the Andean Cosmovision is a fantasy. In the Andean Cosmovision, the Aristotelean logic of the scientist is an illusion. (Don Americo Yabar, personal communication, close paraphrase).

Don’t believe everything you think. (A bumper-sticker from

Our intellect was meant to be our guardian, not our prison guard. (Various sources, including Americo Yabar and Carlos Castaneda).

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Remember to Wave Your Warak’as

In this post we continue to pursue an understanding of how the complementarity of opposites informs the Andean people’s understanding of themselves, their relationships with each other, and their relationships with the Cosmos. In earlier posts we looked at the basic concepts underlying the complementarity of opposites (Yin/Yang of the Andes), how it informs the relationships between women and men (Wharmi-Qhari), and how the ritual encounter (‘tinkuy’) of differing energies can give rise to new life force (Tinkuy: Confirming the Rules of Life).

In that latter post tinkuy was introduced within the context of ritual battles that up until recent times were waged between neighboring communities in the Andes, and in the whipping dances that continue through today. In this post I would like to take a look at tinkuy in the form of competition between communities and between individuals, and then use that as a foundation to understand don Americo Yabar’s description of the three levels of relationship between people in the Andes.

The true treasure of the Andean Cosmovision is found in the ways that it differs from the view of reality offered by my modern, western, culture. This difference is deeper than simply having a different set of beliefs, or a different set of meditative practices, and this is exactly what is lost if we skim off a few beliefs and meditations from the Andean culture and toss them into our eclectic bag of ways for working with the energy of Nature. The change I believe we need as a culture if we wish to head toward a future of greater beauty and health, not only for us but for the whole planet (our future cannot be beautiful or healthy without accomplishing that for all of Nature as well) involves deep and fundamental changes in the way we experience reality, and in our relationships with each other, in our relationships with the Cosmos, and with the various aspects of our own Being.

The Festival of Qoyllu Rit’i

We have seen the role of tinkuy in the ritual battles and whipping dances of the festival of Pukllay (earlier post), now I’d like to turn to the expression of tinkuy in the dance and band competitions found in the Andean festival of Qoyllu Rit’i (held in May/June of each year). Qoyllu Rit’i is a time when communities of the region come together on the slopes of the majestic Apu Ausangate range. Communities bring their own bands and dance groups to compete during the festival. The battle of the bands is somewhat like a real battle in that the various bands don’t just take turns playing their best but at times try to drown each other out with their music. The competing dance groups have worked long and hard during the preceding year on their costumes and on their dances in the hope of outperforming both in style and energy the other groups. These band and dance competitions are tinkuy, an encounter of differences leading to a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“It may seem paradoxical that competition enters so strongly into an event that serves to integrate ayllus (communities defined by relationships) over a large region, and whose overall effect is to produce an overwhelming sense of ‘comunitas,’ an ecstatic submersion of individual selfhood into a larger whole. Yet it is exactly the competition–the clash of ayllu with ayllu, province with province, puna (high grasslands) people with valley people–that explodes in a huge jingle of sound and blaze of color, in an intensity of activity and noise, which vibrates for a few days in the sun and ice of the Apu’s glacial solitude.” (Allan, pg 176).

View of Asungate Range

Ausangate Range


My own experience of a regional dance competition was at a festival in the town of Paucartambo, which don Americo Yabar had taken me to see. It was a festival that is not well-known by outsiders and I was about the only non-Andean there (it was one of those ‘pinch me I must be dreaming’ moments). Some of the dance groups had walked over 15 miles through the mountains to represent their village in the competition. The photos below are of the dancers from the village of Mollamarka.

Dancers of Mollamarka

Dancers of Mollamarka

Dancers of Mollamarka

Earning Smiles and Applause

The Day of the Horse

Dance and band competitions are tinkuy between communities. Competitions in the Andes can also be between individuals. In her book Rituals of Respect the anthropologist Inge Bolin describes a horse race that plays the title role in a sacred festival held in the high Andes, a festival the locals call ‘The Day of the Horse’.

The festival is held to honor (in ayni for) ‘Illapa’, the Andean deity of thunder and lightning. As a reminder (from earlier posts), the Quechua language has no word that translates without distortion into our word ‘god’. The Andean gods are not transcendent spirits, they are, instead, the consciousness inherent in that aspect of Nature or the Cosmos.

The honoring of Illapa plays an increasingly important role in the culture as one moves higher up in the Andes. In the high villages death of both people and their animals by lightning is a recurring threat. The thundering sound of the horse’s hooves during the race and the celebrations surrounding the event honor and appease Illapa.

The race is held in a high mountain valley with the massive range of Ausangate towering over its far end. The track is about two kilometers long, at its end the riders need to negotiate a steep mountain side before returning. Women, children, and men not in the race sit on the surrounding slopes to get a vantage point from which they can cheer and applaud the riders. The race is held in heats of four which take all day to complete. By the time the last, championship, heat is held it is dusk, and the riders disappear into the gloom of night to emerge again from the darkness as they come charging back.

Inge Bolin notes that the riders, who are called the ‘Sons of the Thunder’ are enthusiastic and every contestant hopes to win. And yet, while they are racing, they often sacrifice speed to sit up and swing their warak’a (slings) above their heads and jubilantly shout out the names of important sacred sites and spirits.  ‘Every contestant hopes to win.  Yet, it is more important to participate, to celebrate this day, to remember the gods, to be together in joy and harmony.”  (Bolin, pg 173).

In the evening, when the race was over, Inge realized that she hadn’t heard who had won. She asked the people around her but they just smiled. Finally, someone pointed out the winner.  “I congratulate him for having won this thrilling race. He smiles and shyly averts his eyes. Only later do I full comprehend that winning is not the prime reason for staging the race, and I realize that it was not proper behavior to ask for the winner or to congratulate him openly. In an egalitarian society where respect for others is a primary concern, it is not considered polite to make much fuss about one person, stressing his individual achievement to the detriment of others. The race was a success…The gods were pleased…It was a great competition in which the riders competed with and not against each other. Everyone who witnessed or participated in this energetic ritual was equally important.” (Bolin, pp 173-174).

As I read the phrase ‘competed with and not against each other’ something arose in my mind, something I remember don Americo Yabar talking about years ago that had not made sense to me at the time. Now I think I have a better understanding of it.

The Three Stages of Relationship

Americo was describing three stages that can occur in a relationship. The first stage of a relationship he called ‘tinkuy’, and he uses the term a bit more narrowly than Bolin and Allen.  Tinkuy is the encounter of two different energies (e.g. two different people).  This happens when the sphere of energy around one person first comes into contact with the sphere of energy around another. At this point one can begin to sense in which ways you are similar and in which ways you differ from the other person.

The second stage in the relationship Americo calls ‘tupay’, which he described as involving a competition between the two people. At this point in the explanation, in my notes, Americo hesitates and tries to explain the nature of this competition, that it is not the western, aggressive form of competition where a victor stands in triumph over the loser. I could never quite grasp what he was getting at until I read Bolin’s account of ‘The Day of the Horse’, a jubilant race where you compete with the others rather than against them. The point of the competition in ‘tupay’ is not to triumph over your competitor, but to discover in which areas each of you excels over the other.

For the relationship to then reach its deepest level, the third and final stage is to move from ‘tupay’ into ‘taqe’. In ‘taqe’–now that you have found what each one of you is better at–you bring the other person up to your level of expertise in that area. You become equal by both of you becoming more than you were before.

These three stages are described by Joan Wilcox (from her studies with Americo and others) in the book Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q’ero of Peru (pp 58-62). She goes on to explain how this process informs the living tradition of the Andean Cosmovision. The people in the Andes who are the maestros of the Andean Cosmovision are called paqos (also spelled paq’o).  They differ in their ability levels, in what they can accomplish in dancing with the living energy of the Cosmos. Their abilities are not, however, measured by their adherence to a set of specific, traditional, teachings or techniques. The abilities are, instead, the product of their relationships with other paqos, who all have their own set of knowledge and skills. And through the process of tinkuy, tupay, and then taqe these skills are shared with others. As you grow in skill from these relationships you are more able to learn higher skills from others, and you will be more in a position of being able to share something they would benefit knowing how to to do as well.

I would like to expand our view a bit and look at all of the parties involved in these relationships. The abilities of the paqos concern their relationships with the vast, beautiful, sometimes frightening, mysterious, unfathomable multitude of beings (consciousnesses) of Nature and the Cosmos. The ability of interacting, for example, with an Apu (a being who is a majestic mountain peak) is not just a skill, it is a relationship between two beings, the Apu and the paqo. Learning from another paqo how to open the door to that relationship is one step, what happens after that is up to the paqo and the Apu. The skills of the paqos, thus, are not just based upon what the paqos have learned to do, they are also the result of their subsequent relationship with Nature and the Cosmos.


In looking over the past few posts this is what I see. There are at least three patterns of healthy relationships in the Andes.

1) When two differing energies/beings (complementary opposites) come together they can retain and honor their differences, yet form a union, and this is called ‘yanantin’, the harmonious bringing together of complementary opposites, which leads to a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. From this union of complementary opposites new life force emerges from the synergy of the complementary energies dancing together. A harmonious interaction of female and male energies is an example of yanantin.

2) When two similar energies/beings come together this is called ‘masintin’. I do not know if the alliance of two similar energies also produces a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts, or if it creates a whole that is equal to the sum of the parts. I suspect it is the latter but none the less beautiful for that. In our lives we have the opportunity to form many yanantin and many masintin relationships.

3) A third option is one that might be called co-evolution, where we start off by noting our differences, specifically differences in our abilities, and then we endeavor to pull each other up to our best levels. What starts off as difference ends up as equality, not by finding a mean but by mutual elevation. This, as I see it, is the path of the paqos.


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Yin/Yang of the Andes

The dynamic concept of the complementarity of opposites (described below) plays a fundamental role in the Andean culture, informing not only their relationship with Nature and the Cosmos, but also their relationships with each other, and the relationship of energies within themselves. The complementarity of opposites has a role equal to that of ‘ayni’ (see the posts Ayni, Ayni Revisited) in the Andean Cosmovision, in fact, as we will see (in a future post), it must.

When I decided to write about the complementarity of opposites I meant to offer it as a way to better understand and tap the potential of some of the Andean meditations. I began by dusting off my understanding of the complementarity of opposites from my study of Taoism (many years ago). I then returned to those writings about the Andean Cosmovision where the concept of the complementarity of opposites was emphasized (Allen, Bolin, Sharon, and my notes of don Americo Yabar). Finally, I set forth to use the former to inform my writing about the latter.

Writing about something is an excellent way for me to refine my thinking about it. I found that as I began writing about this topic it started opening up into new territory for me, and I began to get glimpses at just how profoundly the traditional Andean culture integrates this concept into their experience of reality. While Taoism had long been my favorite philosophy of the underlying dynamics of the Cosmos I could never get a good handle on how to incorporate it in a meaningful way into my everyday life, and here is a culture that exemplifies how to live it. I had seen it as a way to inform the relationship of the various facets of our own energy, but as with just about everything in the Andean Cosmovision, it applies as well to our relationships with each other and our relationship with the Cosmos. I would like to take several posts to explore this in some detail. In this first post I will cover the basics of the complementarity of opposites.

The basic idea behind the complementarity of opposites is that opposite concepts define each other, and in fact, they cannot exist without each other. ‘Dark’, for example, defines ‘light’ and ‘light’ defines ‘dark’. If only light existed then we would not understand what dark was, and without dark to contrast it with we would not understand what light was either. Consider a mountain sitting in the sunlight. If there is a ‘sunny side’ of the mountain there must also be a ‘shady side’ of the mountain. If all the mountain is in sun then there is no ‘sunny side’ and ‘shady side’, if all the mountain is in shade there is no ‘shady side’ and ‘sunny side’. The sunny side and shady side of the mountain define each other and cannot exist without the other. Along similar lines ‘up’ and ‘down’ cannot exist without each other, if everything were somehow up then there would be no down, and if there is no down there cannot be an up that is above it. ‘Good and ‘evil’ define each other and rely upon each other to exist. If only good existed we would not understand evil, and without evil to contrast it to we cannot understood good.

In Taoism the primary complementary and opposite energies of the Cosmos are ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, they define each other and can only exist together. The complementary natures of yin and yang are expressed in a variety of ways, such as female/male, dark/light, yielding/aggressive, intuitive/logical, and so on. The following, familiar, Taoist image is often used to express the relationship between yin and yang. While the symbol is Taoist rather than Andean I would like to present it here as a visual reference for some things I would like us to consider about the Andean approach.

The yin/yang circle with dark and white areas.Here is my interpretation of the yin/yang symbol, tailored to serve as the foundation for what I want to say about about Andean Cosmovision. The circle as a whole represents the Cosmos, in the figure the Cosmos is divided into the complementary energies of yin and yang, which are represented by the dark and light pollywogs of the circle. The two smaller circles (of black within the white and white within the black) show that yin and yang are not absolutes, that a situation that is very yin also contains a germ of yang and a situation that is very yang also contains a germ of yin.

It is clear in looking at the figure that the dark and light parts define each other, the boundary of one area establishes the boundary of the other. That there is a distinction (a boundary) between the two is important, for without a boundary between white and black we get the following (Figure 2) which I like to call the ‘undifferentiated grayness of the void’, where neither white nor black exist. It is also significant that the boundary between yin and yang in Figure 1 is curved. The boundary could be drawn as simply a straight line (Figure 3), but by drawing the line curved (the way it is in Figure 1) suggests movement, that the two pollywogs of yin and yang are dancing around each other, for the Cosmos is not static but always flowing and changing, and a situation that is now yin may become yang and one that is yang may become yin.

And now, consider this. When we divide the Cosmos into two dynamic opposites the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. If, for example, we divide the Cosmos into ‘male’ and ‘female’ we can then list which attributes are male and which are female, but we also have what emerges from the interaction of male and female energy (these are known as ’emergent properties’). Emergent properties cannot be found in the list of what it is to be female and what it is to be male, they arise from the dance between the two, this is also known as ‘synergy’.

Some of the complementary opposites that play an important role in the Andean Cosmovision are :

  • male / female
  • domesticated energy / undomesticated energy (‘salka’)
  • the vertical dimension / the horizontal dimension
  • the energy on the right side of a person (‘paña’) / the energy on the left side (‘lloqe’)
  • the energy of day / the energy of evening
  • heavy energy (‘hucha’) / light energy (‘sami’)
  • the traditional ways / the Christian ways
  • the visible world (‘kaylla’) / the invisible world (‘tiqsi’).

In future posts I will examine how the dance of these opposites shape the Andean Cosmovision and some of the meditations that arise from it.

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Giving Flowers to the Cosmos

An important part of my journey on this path is to regularly give despachos (offerings) to the Pachamama (the great Being who is the planet Earth), to the Apus (the Beings who are the majestic mountain peaks), and to the creek who flows so beautifully past where I like to meditate. Despachos are offerings made to nourish our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos. In the Andean Cosmovision it is possible to form a relationship of respect and  love with Nature and the Cosmos, for the Andean people live in a physical world that is as conscious of them as they are of it (see the post Barefoot in the Mountains).

Despachos can be very simple or very elaborate. The despachos I have seen the Q’ero (also spelled ‘Qero’) make are both elaborate and beautiful, with each element carrying important significance. The intent of a despacho can be to express gratitude and nourish the relationship with the facet of the Cosmos to whom the despacho is offered, or it can be to express some specific desired outcome. In this post I would like to share how to make simple despachos of gratitude.

Joan Wilcox in her informative book Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q’ero of Peru draws a distinction between ‘despachos’ (made for specific outcomes) and ‘pagos’ (simple expressions of gratitude). I have not heard don Americo Yabar draw that distinction. Both terms are Spanish in origin, and when I turn to my English-Spanish dictionary to see if it can clarify the meaning of the terms I am led to wonder how either  every came to be associated with the offerings made in the Andes. Perhaps the dictionary doesn’t tap a subtle use of the terms that would indeed fit the despachos of the Andean people.

I use the term ‘despacho’ for any offering made to Nature or the Cosmos in the spirit of ayni, no matter how simple or complex, including those made just to express gratitude. As I write this my mind wanders back to a workshop by don Americo that I attended in Hawaii. We made a group despacho, consisting simply of flowers that we all brought to lay upon the Pachamama (in this case the verdant slope of a volcano).  After the despacho was complete a hole opened in the cloud cover and a shaft of sunlight slanted down to illuminate just the flowers. It was a beautiful experience.

Simple despachos of gratitude have become an essential part of my Andean meditative practice. This began one time when I was teaching some of the Andean meditations to friends. We were sitting out in the woods. We started with the Touching the Pachamama meditation and then moved on to the Releasing Hucha meditation. When it was over I was overcome by a deep sense of appreciation of living in a conscious Cosmos where the Pachamama will accept our hucha from us, where the Cosmos will send down refined energy to replace the hucha, and where all the facets of Nature and the Cosmos are available to help support our personal and interpersonal transformations in a relationship of mutual respect and love.

Up to that point my despachos had been mainly rather formal rituals I went through out of a sense of obligation. But all  changed in that moment. Since then I always bring some tequila with me when I go into the canyons to meditate. After clearing my hucha I pour a little tequila onto the Pachamama with the intent (sincere pretending) that it carry my gratitude to her, if I am sitting next to the creek I give a little to the creek with the same intent, and I throw a little tequila into the sky for the Apus. This–the simplest of despachos–is my heart-felt way of connecting to these facets of Nature. Despachos are not the material components of some spell to control nature, they are not bribes nor payment for services rendered, they are like giving flowers to a loved one, they nourish the relationship. And as I write this it occurs to me that gratitude is indeed an interesting thing, it is something that cannot be faked.

Sometimes I want to offer a more elaborate despacho, and this takes a little bit of preparation. I base these despachos on a few of the elements I have seen go into the elaborate Q’ero despachos. For a despacho to the Pachamama I bring three red flowers and three white flowers. Red and white flowers are an important part of Andean despachos. Red flowers represent blood, the Pachamama, the feminine. White flowers represent the masculine energy and the Apus (most but not all of whom are male), white  also represents the stars. I also bring three sugar cubes. Once when I was in Peru, and a Q’ero woman was explaining the significance of the various elements she was adding to her despacho for the Pachamama, she placed some candy into the despacho and explained that the Pachamama has a sweet tooth. Americo, who was translating for us, winked and joked that this might be a projection. Still, candy or sweets are a nice touch for a despacho to the Pachamama.

To complete a despacho for the Pachamama I dig a small hole into the earth. In the Andes the despacho would be wrapped in a large sheet of paper and tied with a string before burying, but I skip the paper for Western, ecological, reasons. I hold the flowers up to my mouth and gently blow on them three times, with the intent of imbuing them with the very finest of my energy. I then gently place the sugar cubes and the flowers into the hole, and pour a little tequila on them while holding the intent of expressing my gratitude to the Pachamama for all that she gives us. Finally, I fill in the dirt on top of the despacho and gently press it down with my hands.

For the creek that flows past my meditation spot I bring three red and three white flowers, gently blow on them three times to imbue them with the very finest of my energy, and then I cast the flowers into the flowing water, and follow that with a little tequila, again with the intent of expressing my gratitude to my brother the creek, for his beauty and for what he brings to me as he flows through my life.

For the Apus, I use the same elements as I do for a despacho for the Pachamama, but I bundle them into a piece of paper, tied with a string, that I then place in a fire. As I rarely make a fire I don’t make this despacho very often.

OK, that’s it, that is what I do. Ayni. Very simple. If you would like further information on making despachos I would like to refer you to Joan Wilcox’s book. I may write further about despachos in this blog.

I have made the point repeatedly in these posts, particularly when discussing some meditation or another, that I believe the essence of the Andean approach is our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos. The various beneficial results of the meditations, including personal and interpersonal transformations, are but byproducts of the beauty and actualization of this relationship. It is a relationship that is not even seen as possible in the assumptions of Western culture. But we don’t have the only set of assumptions on this planet.

For the past summer I have meditated a lot outdoors, and I have gotten a lot from the meditations, and I’ve given many despachos, and it is all ayni, all reciprocity, given with respect and love. I’ve changed, my experience of reality has changed, the reality around me has changed, all in subtle ways, but enough for my heart to sing a soft melody.

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