My experience studying and engaging in ceremony with shamans from the Andes mountains in Peru and here in the United States has had a big impact on my healing journey. The perspective of the Peruvian shamans that had the biggest influence on me was that of ayni—the idea of being in right relationship with everything you come in contact with. When we can come into right relationship with ourselves and with the world around us, we will be walking “the shaman’s way,” and will be a presence of healing, power, grace and wholeness in the world.
This idea of ayni produces three guiding principles of how we can relate to the world from our head, heart and belly—with the vision and wisdom of a shaman, the love and compassion of a shaman, and the action and service of a shaman.
HEAD: From our head, we interact with the world through yachay, which means a kind of vision that allows us to recognize the life force that flows through all things, animate and “inanimate”, and connect with it. It is the ability to see things in the truth of their essence.
HEART: From our heart we interact with the world through munay, which is love and compassion. It allows us to see the sacred in all, and to accept and honor what is. This is the place of true power to heal and change, this accepting and loving what shows up in our lives. When we can bring honoring and gratitude and compassion to our experiences as they are, then we can begin to dream changes into being.
BELLY: From our belly, our power center, we interact with the world through llanchay. This is service in action. It is acting with reverence in service to all, healing ourselves as a first step in the means of healing the world.
Adopting these three perspectives (yachay, munay and llankay) is part of what enables us to walk this healing path “the shaman’s way,” recognizing and honoring the sacredness of all life, because of the life force energy that flows through all things. I have shared this path of grace with others, and seen the positive impact it has had on their lives, as it has had on mine. So now I am happy to be able to share it with you. We don’t need to be shamans ourselves to benefit from the wisdom and healing the shaman has. We can adopt some of the perspective and values that create a life of power, beauty and wholeness and bring our lives back into balance by walking “the shaman’s way.”