BREEMA in the Sacred Valley of Peru Post 4
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 9:14 PM
A couple of days into our retreat, a group of us loaded into a swarm of rumbly little three-wheel moto taxis (so fun!) for an afternoon hike in the countryside near Yukay. After a short and lively ride, zooming past our drop-off location and then reorienting back, we quickly discovered that this is an amazingly-gorgeous area, and mostly unexplored by tourists. As we began our hike, I couldn’t help smiling at the green vitality of nature all around us - and us as a part of that beauty in the wide open expanse which was surrounded by ancient mountains. Walking along one dusty path, step, step, step, there was no question that I was being fed by simply being here with dear friends.
Like so many places in Peru, you can find ancient Inca terraces here, and they're still being used by modern farmers and much in the same way as in the past. Those working the land benefit from irrigation channels built hundreds of years ago, a sort of functional heirloom that continues to sustain life. Right when we got out of the mototaxis, we saw a farmer uphill. He was using a pair of oxen to plow his field. I could almost feel the gentle tug of the plow cutting through the earth with seeming ease as these two incredibly-solid creatures moved in unison, their power concentrated by the wooden yolk connecting them shoulder-to-shoulder as they moved together.
Moving along in silence and sometimes talking, we gradually heard the growing voice of moving water. These old stone waterways funnel icy cold mountain water - fresh snow melt that rushes down to the fields of corn, alfalfa, peas and other crops. Our guide, Raul, told us that part of the reason this area is known as the The Sacred Valley is because of how fertile the soil is and how temperate the climate is year-round. “We can grow plants from anywhere in the world here,” he told us as we walked past two cows grazing on alfalfa that swayed a little in the breeze, a green wall of sustenance all around them.
Taking in new impressions with each step, and registering my body’s weight on the earth, I unhurriedly sipped the fresh air and marveled at the golden sunlight. We passed wild pink roses in full bloom, avocado trees heavy with fruit and periodic “sleeping stones,“ large single boulders that have been intentionally left in open spaces, almost like witnesses to creation and a visible record of the interaction of humans with the rest of the natural world. Raul told us that this tradition of leaving large individual stones alone in the open continues today. Somehow that reminded me, “Oh yes, I am here too!” Funny that a sleeping stone could somehow help to wake me up.
At one point, we stopped for an impromptu Self-Breema class in the shade of a little structure built atop one of these sleeping stones. One of the most nourishing exercises (for me) that we did there is called “Gratitude Is The Fruit of Understanding.” As we made a full-bodied movement, standing and swinging one arm in a wide, swooping arc and experiencing the whole body, I experienced a Gratitude that simply was. Without force, there was Full Participation, and this is the magic of Breema. Alive in this moment, I knew that I was part of the bigger picture, not separate from the sunlight or the mountain air.
Afterwards, we continued walking, refreshed from the break and the reconnection to ourselves. Gradually, we made our way uphill along the edge of one of those channels bringing mountain water down to the terraces. The gush was so alive - speeding along and splashing, glistening in the light and then entering a shady spot under trees farther on. For a moment, I paused beside the channel, closed my eyes and was filled up with the sounds of life and movement. Then I slowly opened my eyes again, my mind a little quieter and more clearly-connected to the body. Without hurry, I continued walking with this atmosphere alive. For a little while, the newness of each step felt as if I was both giving to the earth and receiving from the earth in this simple act we call walking.
How doing Self-Breema is like the creation of a channel to bring fresh mountain water to the thirsty fields:
If I wish to invite meaning, the actual experience of meaning, that taste will arrive in the present moment. Doing Self-Breema exercises helps me to be at home so that I can receive that gift. Otherwise, I am usually lost in thoughts, and miss the Mutually-Supportive magic of life. It’s like those channels that were built to bring water down from the mountain top to nourish the fields and the people who drink it. First, I work with an exercise and really get it in my body, so I don’t need to think about the form of what comes next at any time. It really becomes a part of me. When I do that exercise, my mind loses interest in wandering thoughts and there is desire to just be here, at home. This process is like building that channel for mountain water. Life force is flowing, moment after moment. When I wholeheartedly do a Self-Breema exercise, I step out of past and future. I’m like that open field. I have a chance to receive refreshment and the purifying nourishment of simply knowing I am.
Thank you for reading,
A blog of good news by David Pratt
David & Alana Pratt
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