Since we’ve been in Lima, I’ve been reading up on the energy practices of the region, playing a bit of that compare-and-contrast game we all learned so well in school.
In Andean Shamanism, there is no positive or negative energy per se, but rather a heavier, disordered energy (called hucha) that is produced by humans, and the more refined energy (Sami ) that suffuses the natural world.
The world is said to be composed entirely of living energy, kawsay pacha, which involves different degrees of these fundamental frequencies of hucha and sami. By tuning into our own energy bodies (kawsay poq’po), we can learn to dance with these energies by a principle known as ayni, or reciprocity.
We’re staying with JC’s family in San Martin de Porres, a working class community that it one of Lima’s oldest pueblos jovenes. Like many Latin American cities, Lima didn’t develop organically or neatly. Since the 1940s, poverty has pushed families from the provincias to the capital. Land invasions were (and are) common; parks and other recreational facilities are few and far between.
Though I grew up in a working-class neighborhood full of factories, hour motels, and more resting places for the deceased than the living, I’m reminded of what I’ve grown accustomed to every time I go out for a stroll. The leaves of the few trees here are dulled by monoxide fumes. The cars are My breath here is labored. I’ve been balancing my environmental sensitivity by eating extremely well, doing yoga daily, trying to be around plants, and overall enjoying myself whenever possible.
Hucha is not bad. The earth, whose feminine energy is known as pachamama, thrives on offerings of hucha.
A meditative practice for those who wish to work with energy is to go into the qosco, the chakra-like energy belt that is close to the physical belly, and offer the denser energy down deep into the earth, while drawing down sami from the spirits of the cosmos down into the purple energy center that is by your third eye so that we become more like the natural world.
Yet, to be free means tasting all the flavors of energy. You might not vibe with some varieties, but, according to the teachings, there’s no need to close yourself off to them. Protecting yourself from them is like living in a gated community; you’ve got nobody to blame for your glamorous prison but yourself.
I try to remember this as I work to transform how I engage with the legacy of colonialism, intentional deforestation and underdevelopment, the unrelenting belief that a miracle lies waiting around the corner.
I try to listen more and connect to that pissed-off part of me less.
And though my lungs don’t always play along, I simply try to breathe.