So far in this blog I have mainly focused on meditations that we can do on our own (well…in the company of Pachamama and the Apus and stars and the trees and the stream tumbling down the mountain side…). I would like to now turn to sharing some meditations that can be done with a group of people.
The Back-to-Back meditation is an example of a practice in the Andes that is known as yanachakuy, the touching and sharing of energy between two Beings. I’ll be describing some other forms of yanachakuy in future posts. I like them all.
Since the essence of this meditation is the connection and sharing of energy between two people I recommend that everyone do a little spring cleaning of their energy before they start. When I am leading the group I have us all begin by first doing the Touching Pachamama meditation followed by getting rid of hucha (see the meditations Releasing Hucha (my favorite), Shedding Hucha, and Cleaning Hucha). Following getting rid of hucha with the Cosmic Circle meditation is rather nice as well as if fires up the old munay.
I will describe the Back-to-Back meditation as if you are the teacher who is directing everyone through the process. First, have the group divide into pairs. Suggest to everyone that they not pair up with someone whose energy they already know really well (e.g. a spouse or significant other). There are several reasons for that, including that they know that energy already, and that personal history and habitual emotions and thoughts are more likely to arise and cloud the perception of the energy.
Direct them to let their hands hang to their sides so that they can then clasp hands with their waiki (friend). Have them clasp hands. Explain that the goal is to stand back-to-back in such a way as to create as much contact as they comfortably can with the spine of their waiki. It is important, however, that they not lean against each other as that leads to a constant shifting of weight that gets really tiring really quickly. The idea is to make comfortable contact spine to spine.
Now they are set up and ready to go. Ask them all to use their intent (sincere pretending) to connect to the Pachamama through the soles of their feet, and to the energy of the Cosmos through the top of their heads. Give them several seconds to do that. I do it myself, getting a sense of how long to give them to do it too.
Next, ask them to use their intent to send their very finest energy to their waiki through where their spines touch, and to receive their waiki’s energy in return. Pause for a bit to give them time to sense what this is like, and then invite them to let the energy flow however it wants back and forth. Pause a bit, and invite them to experience what their waiki’s energy is like.
Let them go on with the process for a while. If there is an even number of people including me then I participate as well, if there is an odd number of people then I don’t partner up, but I use my intent to invite the experience to enter me anyway, as if I was doing it with the group. I find that I enter a very nice state that feels connected with what is going on. Usually after two or three minutes, I start to feel like it is time to close the experience, that they have had sufficient time to get into it, I don’t want them to withdraw from the experience from doing it for too long, and I want to have time to move on to the next step. I call everyone back, if I’m paired up with someone I usually feel inclined to give them a hug when we are finished.
The next step is to ask everyone to pair up with someone new. I then lead them through the process again. After they have gotten into the yanachakuy I like to invite them to just notice how their experience of their new waiki’s energy may differ from their previous waiki’s energy.
I like to repeat the process a third time with new partners, and sometimes a fourth time. There is so much to be gained by doing this with more than one or two waikis, which is why I describe this as a group meditation rather than as a meditation for two people. It is very nice to have enough people for everyone to pair up with three or four different waikis before the meditation is called to an end.
Ok, that’s it. It is particularly nice to follow this meditation with an opportunity for people to share their experiences, what don Americo calls ‘opening the mesa (table)’.
What people experience in this meditation is the only true meaning of the meditation for them. I never try to talk them into experiencing what I want them to experience. For you, however, as the guide of this meditation I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences.
This is a great meditation for a group of people. I almost always include it in my first or second class with a new group. Here is what I think it does for many people.
- Connecting with another person’s energy like this creates a pretty noticeable experience. It may be stronger than the first time we connect, say, with the Pachamama or Tai Tai Inti. It can be a ‘convincer’ that there is something available for us to notice and play with on this path, useful for people like me who entered the path with little if any experience of connecting to an energy other than our own.
- A lot of people report that they can feel a difference in the energies of the various waikis they partnered with. Again, for people like me, this is an amazing and eye-opening experience.
- Something very special and beautiful happens to the people, and to the group, when we connect in this way. It is like, ‘oh, there is a very different way of interacting in the world, outside of ego, outside of personality, and it is beautiful’. It is a great introduction to the way we interact with each other and with the Cosmos on this path. We move to the level of the essence of who we are and we get to know the essence of others.
Option: perhaps after the second or third time the group has done this in a class, invite them at the end of the meditation to go back-to-back with a tree. Suggest that they first exchange their energy with the tree, and then connect their consciousness with the consciousness of the tree. You need, of course, to be in a place where there are trees. In my experience, doing yanachakuy with a tree is more subtle than with another person, which is why it is good for the group to have had some experience doing back-to-back with people first. But…wow.