I’ll get back a little later to the Incan understanding of human development – especially with respect to consciousness / and the primary understanding of the culture of the goal of “ascension”. But first it will help to explain some of the basics of Andean Spirituality.
Above all else, Andean Spirituality is UNITY and connectedness among all things. No one is excluded; everyone—and everything—has a specific function and is in a state of continuous evolution.
Every human being has a relationship with everything surrounding him or her: living beings, animals, plants, elements of nature, even inanimate objects, as well as non-physical things such as achievements, concepts, knowledge, thoughts and emotions, among others.
How we form and maintain relationships to all these things determines our path as we evolve toward the universal ALL THAT IS.
In this context, Andean knowledge itself does not and will not change, what changes is the people. We may be marginalized or not, thanks to a lack of basic information and few appropriate role models, but all of us, inherited at birth a unique set of circumstances with which we’ve had to live, acquiring habits and social customs as we grow up; , but Andean Spirituality remains the same; it has been preserved absolutely intact.
There are three planes in Andean Spirituality that each living thing engages with. These include the:
Hanaqpacha (Higher world) – symbolized by the Condor
Kaypacha (Physical world) – symbololized by the Puma
Ujupacha (Inner World) – symbolized by the Snake
The Inkas had a complete View of the Universe (Visión Cósmica) that incorporated all planes — the interior world of the soul that included mental processes and emotions, the physical plane and the world of universal Spirit. This is not news to any monolingual Quechua speaker living in the Ayllus, or communities, of the high lands ofTawantinsuyö . But many people who have lived in the towns of the valleys ever since their ancestors were violently subjugated by the Spanish, now have passively adopted an imported, materialistic, individualistic culture. They remember very little of what their ancestors taught them, or in some cases, they have completely forgotten or rejected the teachings due to the cultural exclusion that they so often face, especially those who were born in the cities.
Toward Unity and Connectedness of all living things, the primary goal of each being is evolution. And within that evolution there are seven levels of development.
Level 1: YUYAHU (Decision making).
There is a primary level of consciousness that deals with fully developing one’s capacity to understand the need to make decisions and the relationship that emerges between one’s personal decisions and consequences. There is much growth that is required here. It is first essential to understand that each person can and does make decisions (even being passive is a decision). Adults are not – on any regularly repeatable and dependable patter - victims of other people’s decisions and being asked to live at the mercy of other people’s choices. When this is true, we are usually not talking about someone who has accepted the basic responsibilities of adulthood – one basic one being a degree of autonomy that recognizes personal power. Once we are able to make decisions, it is necessary to really understand and accept the immediate and ripple effects of that decision not only for ourselves but for those around us and the relationships and agreements that connect us.
LEVEL 2: YAGHAY KAMARAY (learning and practicing a skill)
To a certain extent, I’ve interpretted this as general – we all have a variety of basic skills we need to do exist as a fully functioning member of society. But, on a deeper level, we are all part of a larger communal or cosmic calling to do something that contributes to the overall functioning and well being of the web of life – whether we consider that on an immediate communal framework or on a larger cosmological one. Each of us encounters growth when we uncover that skill – and our particular, unique approach to it – that makes a difference. Again, on one level making a difference can mean that we are simply noticed. On another level, we can begin to recognize the ways in which we become capable of changing the energy around us in a positive way. To come to terms with our ability – and even our obligation to pursue this – is to develop our consciousness.
LEVEL 3: UYNI (unity with our environment)
There is a fundamental illusion at work today, that we are separate and unconnected / unrelated to all other life and matter. This level of consciousness deals with understanding the interdependent relationship that exists between all things. Even beyond that, that our relationship to each other being has ramifications beyond our own personal outcomes, but for the being considered and for all things impacted by our relationship to it. Some of the obvious outcomes of this consciousness is that we never kill unnecessarily and that we don’t pollute the world with toxins – including our own body.
LEVEL 4: ISA (service).
We need to be of service to others. This is not only true to help them survive but to help us develop the kind of consciousness which has the capacity to grow further. Existing purely in self-service does not allow for the possibility of developing higher communication, relationship, or connection on any kind of spiritual dimension. We give ourselves in service of children, elders, those in need… But in higher applications of service consciousness, we give of ourselves to the spirit of nature or the spirit of wisdom or energy flow. And it is vital that part of that consciousness goes beyond service where we have any kind of personal investment or benefit. Service benefits primarily from allowing someone else to grow.
LEVEL 5: KIKI (identity)
It is key in the development of consciousness that we know truly and fully who we are. That means to understand and accept deeply the truth about ourselves even when it is not positive – and accept it with true grace and with an aim to understand the impact our own ignorance, unconsciousness or denial has on others. It is especially true in the realm of energy. To know the energy we manufacture and discharge in certain situations is critical. We often do great harm by refusing to be aware of our ‘reactivity’ and the particular attachments that drive it. This means that we need to authentic without imitating others. We need to be aware and accepting of ourselves – without ego interference prompting us to be better or worse than others. We don’t aim to compare or compete with others – we simply aim to compliment them in their goals and growth.
LEVEL 6 – SUMA (dignity)
This certainly speaks to each conscious soul needing dignity in order to have and maintain consciousness. But it also means that we need to develop a radar to understand other people’s needs to develop and maintain their own dignity. Must never shame or blame, purposefully embarrass or degrade others. And, especially, we must never directly or indirectly enslave or objectify others – especially for our own benefit.
Level 7 – TINKO (union)
Understanding and accepting ourselves with a deep sense of humility is key at highest levels of consiciousness. This does not mean thinking or acting in a way so as to compromise our dignity. It simply means that because we don’t have critical attachment to things (such as status or wealth or privilege or other people’s opinions or attention) we are able to operate without having to protect these things all the time. The saying goes,”Angels can fly because they’ve learned to take themselves lightly” is very true in this level. We overcome our anger, greed, pride as we learn to overcome our ego – whose main job is protect and defend our ‘honor’ or ‘pride’. Mastering this level allows us to merge and meld those wonderful parts of our child-self (creativity, wonder, playfulness, laughter, sponteneity, etc.) into our adult life without having to also bring our child-like fears, naivite or lack of appreciation for the world’s great complexity. Operating at this developed level of consciousness is to be very energetic and powerful. All of our chakras (conduits of energy that are aligned in our body) are now wide open and allow us to connect with all dimensions. Connections between things appear instantly obvious and easy to develop further. At this level of consciousness, we dont say we are part of ‘this religion’ or ‘that religion,’ – we are beyond that.
These are the seven levels of consciousness according to Inca thinking. Because these levels of consciousness exist within all three planes (1.Physical/material plane; 2. Inner World of thoughts and psychic energy; and 3. Higher plane of divine wisdom), it is like having 21 stages of development.