A few days ago a dear friend who has long studied Native American culture passed along an email from someone who had recently attended a talk by Don Alverto Taxo, a master Iachak of the Atis (Kichwa) people from the high Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Taxo was given the highest honor of Master Iachak by the Shamanic Council of South America. For the past 15 years, he has traveled throughout the United States and Europe, sharing the ancient Andean wisdom and practices with people who seek happiness, balance and fulfillment.
The teachings and practices are offered by Taxo in fulfillment of a 500-year old prophecy, which spoke of a time when the wisdom of the Condor (heart-centered spiritual cultures of the south) and that of the Eagle (mind-centered industrialized cultures of the north) would be exchanged to restore a more harmonious way of living for all. In the last decade, the signs foretelling the realization of this prophecy appeared. Now, at the request of the Elders, Taita Iachak Alverto Taxo travels north to share and to teach.
I strongly believe in the Shamanic legends and have long practiced their methods that call for us to use the five senses when we pray – our sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste – to set an intention and breathe life into our prayers. The free talk that Taxo gave last week, which focused on these beliefs and practices, prompted one of the attendants to fire off the following email, which eventually made its way to me. I though it was worth passing on, word for word:
“I just came home from a talk given by Alverto Taxo, who was introduced as an indigenous teacher and healer from Ecuador. I had heard him speak before about five years ago and was impressed with his message then and tonight more so. I won’t go into much detail, so much is lost in translation, but I am writing because at two points in the evening he said things that, later, I realized I had to share with as many people who might be open to this message as possible.
The first is that the world is at a critical point in a process of transformation. He says his father and grandfather have talked about this time all of his life. But he actually never thought he be a witness to it. According to him, we as a people and as a country are about to experience a transformation but it is a dangerous time… a time of great risk. All could be lost. To ensure this transformation, the world needs energy from us. He described it as a connection to life, a feeling of a gratitude not a thought about gratitude or that I should be grateful but a gratitude that begins with the senses.
He offered two exercises. One when we shower, to take in the sensation of the water all over our bodies, let it penetrate you and let the enjoyment of the water in as well. He said that one should “see” or “imagine” the water going into your pores and washing the inside, the organs even the thoughts and feelings.
The second exercise is to, as often as you can, take a piece of fruit, your favorite, and hold it in your hand. Take it in with your eyes. Think about how the fruit came to be. From a seed that was planted in the ground. Roots took hold, a tree grew, branches, etc. Think of the months and the days it took to create this miracle in your hand. Think of the process and all the people it took to have it finally arrive in your hand. Then smell it. Let the smell fill you. Allow the sense of gratitude for this miracle to grow in you and then eat the fruit. Savoring it. And then allow the gratitude out into the world.
He went on about the importance of this feeling, especially now that we are in this time. He claims the energy moving through all of us is particularly strong. He spoke very seriously about the danger of negativity, anger or fear especially now. He seemed totally convinced that the next few months are critical and will determine our future and the success of this transformation. He even referenced the coming election saying it was part of this critical time and cautioned that anything but authentic positive feelings coming from a real sensation of life will not serve our future.”
Having just re-read these words as I typed them, I am struck once again by their strength and truth. I am about to have a lush, juicy peach for lunch. Prior to writing this, I probably would have bitten into it without thinking. But now I am holding this peach in my hands in wonderment, thinking about everything that had to happen for it to arrive in my kitchen. And I am filled with gratitude for everything we have in this country. Certainly, there are tough times ahead. But we must not feed into it by staying in a place of negativity, fear, or anger. If we maintain ourselves in a state of gratitude and loving kindness, we will get through these trying times and emerge from the experience with a renewed understanding of what is truly valuable and important in our lives. Don Alverto Taxo’s words couldn’t be more timely or important.