Sandra Lowe takes us on a physical and spiritual journey through the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley. She describes the lay of the land-the terrain, the ruins. But she also describes the ley of the land-invisible lines that join energy centres.
Filled with photos, maps, history, and spiritual insight, The Ley of the Land reveals the deep connection Sandra has made with the ancestors of the land and the guidance she has received for spiritual growth and personal transformation.
Some may choose to read this book as a travel guide prior to walking the Inca Trail. They will learn why it is worth getting up at 4:00 a.m. to walk in the dark. But the gems in this book go beyond trekking to Machu Picchu. Sandra shares the wisdom of her mentors that will help anyone walking the path to Self-awareness. If you are taking a trip to Machu Picchu, read this book. If you are on a journey of the Self, read this book. Sandra's trek and meditations will be a guide for your own personal journey.
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The Ley of the Land
A Journey Through the Energy Centres of Earth and Body
By Sandra M. Lowe
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Sandra M. Lowe
All rights reserved.
I first hear in December 2001 about a Peru trip offered by Serenity Transformational Tours. When I speak to the co-founders, Shera and Chidakash, I am enthralled with the idea of going. But it is when I read the itinerary, particularly about rising at 4:00 a.m. to walk the sacred path to the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, that I become weepy and tingly. I know this trip is for me.
On April 15, 2002 I book my trip, and feel such excitement. The very next day National Geographicmagazine arrives with a supplemental insert of Machu Picchu and the Inca history!
Before leaving for Peru, Shera and Chidakash invite us to do two writing exercises to prepare us for the inner journey we are about to experience.
I do the first one a couple of months before our trip — writing my invocation, my declaration to myself of my highest purpose for this trip. I use ten-minute writing for the first time. I clear my mind, and for ten minutes, let my pen flow across the paper. If the words stop, I keep the flow going by repeating the last word until another takes its place.
Over the past year, I have become increasingly aware of my Self, my connection to Source, and to everything and everyone else. During meditation, I have been able to achieve a growing and deeper sense of calm and of my Self, who I Am, what I want and what I need. This need focuses on my Self to follow Its path, Its heart, and to be led when my body feels at peace — total peace. It is my goal, my dream to be able to get to this place, this feeling, more often, without specifically meditating:
To be the best I can be for me, and through that honesty and faith in myself, the best for others as well.
To be able to throw out the trivial, to make peace with myself for all my past wrongs and guilts and to continue in my life as happy as I need and deserve to be. And through the inner peace and contentment, to guide my children to a greater understanding of themselves and everything around them that they will be strong enough in their inner peace to take the best roads for them to be able to fulfill a life of joy and peace.
To grow to be able to put events of my past in perspective, understand them but not excuse them so that I can live at peace with my life to date and be strong enough to learn from my lessons.
To sit upon the mountain peaks and awe at the work of Source; to breathe in the air of generations before and after me; to marvel that the air is thin yet is able to sustain me.
To sit atop the peaks and meditate and project love to all my family and friends, especially those who have no idea that it may be coming their way — who may reject the whole concept of what I have been experiencing in my meditations, who may be upset with me. Breathe them in — breathe in their heavy air from below, purify it in my lungs and exhale it into the thin air of the Andes.
To let the morning's rays kiss my brow and warm my soul so that I may have the strength and knowledge to continue my journey of inner peace.
To say farewell to another day, with all its opportunities to make me the person I want to be.
To touch, both physically and spiritually, the people of Peru whose culture is foreign to me but who have a wealth of teaching for me.
To return from Peru an enlightened soul who has soaked in all there is to see and do, who has meditated in the marvelous ruins and had experiences beyond what I now know or can comprehend, and who is able to share a new understanding of herself, and of inner peace, with those anxious and willing to hear but also with those unaware that they need to listen.
The day before I leave home for the trip, I do the second exercise. What do my travel glasses look like? For this, I use the clustering technique. I circle "my travel glasses" in the centre of the page and expand related thoughts in bubbles around it. From this, I flow what I have written in the bubbles into sentences.
My Travel Glasses
The glasses I want to wear on this trip are crystal clear with all sorts of edges so that I can see things from all angles and with pure light. I will strive to see through every pane, and will not be curtailed by foggy, smoky, or rose-coloured glass. They will be focused on all distances — from the very close that is right under my nose, to the very farthest distance that will bring in the broad picture.
The glasses I wear will be weightless on my head. They will be from my Self and not man-made. My glasses will be clean, not clogged up with my past beliefs about what is right or wrong, what should be and what shouldn't be. My glasses will not be scratched, so that there are no lines to differentiate vertical and horizontal.
My glasses will be my glasses, ones made only for me because I am the only one who sees things exactly as I do and who feels and understands the things that come into focus in my eyes.
I believe that because I have been given visions and miracles, I am close to enlightenment — living physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from Source — and that my journey from here will be much like my dynamic, Source-based, and prophetic meditations.
I am on the path but it stretches before me. My progress is not measured in time but in inner peace — and this takes longer than my two-week trek in Peru.CHAPTER 2
OCTOBER 14, 2002
After driving two and a half hours from Wawa, I am at the airport in Sault Ste. Marie heading to Toronto.
As the time has approached, I have lost my excitement and feel nothing. Why don't I feel excited now? Where did it go? Everyone keeps telling me I must be so excited. I want them to leave me alone. What's wrong with me?
OCTOBER 15, 2002
I am on the next leg of my travel to Peru, sitting at the Toronto airport waiting for my flight to Lima.
I can now see with some greater clarity. I feel that I am passing through the window of awareness, that change is possible. But I must break through the window to the beauty beyond. I will suffer possible cuts from the shards of glass, glass that will try to halt or stall my passage, make me bleed from my heart and cause pain. Perhaps my lack of excitement is simply trepidation about going through this window to the other side. Although a beautiful scene, it is unknown.
I am only at the beginning. In Peru, I must pass through this window, at least put my foot or my arm through it. If not, I believe that it will take me so much longer to emerge into my new world.CHAPTER 3
OCTOBER 16, 2002
This morning our group leaves the misty coastline of Lima for our short flight to Cusco. The clouds part as we ascend so that we can see the arid mountains of the coast and the snow-covered peaks of the Andes in the distance. I become excited once again and feel a little weepy, knowing that I am where I am meant to be. As we approach our landing, we see Cusco nestled in the arid mountains. The red rock or sand reminds me of Prince Edward Island.
Our hotel is a lovely two-storey white stucco building with a central garden and a circular stone staircase. When we are shown to our rooms, the first thing I notice in the window grate is a large piece of wood resembling a snake, complete with a twig for its tongue.
Once settled in, we meet our Peruvian guides, Puma and Humberto. Using the traditional forms of healing, herbalism, and ceremony, Puma's grandfather is training him to become a curandero ("medicine man", similar to a shaman in North America).
We are at 3335 m; altitude sickness can occur above 2400 m as a result of decreased oxygen in the air. Once settled in, we have coca tea to help us acclimatize to the elevation and Chidakash tells us about Inca beliefs.
For the Inca, the one Supreme Creator is Wiraqocha but the highest physical god is Inti, the Sun. Pachamama or Mother Earth plays a large role in their daily lives, as they honour and live by the signs she gives.
An apu is a spirit or god of a sacred mountain; Apu Salkantay is the most powerful in the region. A waka is a sacred object or place that holds spiritual power and energy. It can be a natural formation or it can be created, such as carved rocks, piled rocks, or objects. A rock waka carved to honour an apu is shaped like its mountain god.
The Inca believed in three worlds. Hanakpacha is the upper world, the realm of the gods of the celestial sky. It is the world of higher consciousness and is represented by the condor.
Kaypacha is the physical world of humans, plants, animals, mountains, and minerals. This is the realm of our daily existence. It is represented by the puma.
Ukupacha is the inner world of Pachamama, her rivers, caves, and ravines. It is the world of our thoughts and emotions, and is represented by the snake.
As Chidakash talks, I become teary. My heart soars and my body tingles. I am so excited.
We head into town for lunch and get our first glimpse of the centre of the city, the Plaza de Armas. Two churches, a central fountain, and lovely triangular-shaped gardens punctuate the square. The main church, Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin or Cusco Cathedral, and Iglesia La Campania de Jesus are kitty-corner to each other. The square is lined with modern shops, guided tour operators, and colonnade walkways, as well as some large stone Inca walls. In Inca times, it was lined with palaces and temples, and used for ceremonies and processions.
While my physical senses take in the square, it is my emotional senses that are heightened. I spend much of my time sitting in the gardens of the square, marvelling at being here. I am beginning my journey that will take me along a trail to experience something I cannot yet imagine.
When we return to the hotel, Shera and Chidakash invite us to share our inner journey invocations. I immediately feel totally weepy, not knowing how I will be able to speak. When it comes to my turn, I start to cry. I say I can't talk but begin to speak of my concern about not being excited, and then try reading the last part of my invocation. I'm not sure anyone can understand a word I say but it feels good to share it.
When we have all spoken, Shera has us draw an outline of a gingerbread man. Within it, we are to colour or write how our body feels — where we feel pain or joy or tingling, any sensation or feeling.
When we have finished this exercise Shera has us go to our power centre, a calm place in our mind. My power centre is my sacred forest, the location of many of my meditations. It is an open forest with tall, straight deciduous trees, and sunlight filtering through the leaves.
One of the first things I notice in Peru is a snake-shaped piece of wood in my window grate. For the Inca, and the Quechua today, the snake is one of the three animals fundamental to their spirituality, representing the inner world of our thoughts and emotions. Being immediately drawn to this window decoration foreshadows my journey into my inner world to uncover my blocks. Blocks are imbalances in our chakra energies resulting from unresolved emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual issues.
I so often write about feeling weepy. This has nothing to do with sadness, anxiety, shame, or embarrassment. It reflects an overwhelming sense of something bigger than I am; it is one way my body reacts when I am connected with my Self. To this day I have the same reaction.
Many of us have not travelled our inner journey before, and, as such, sharing our experiences and hearing those of others often helps us navigate. Shera and Chidakash encourage us to share our experiences, and this becomes an integral part of my journey. It just seems that I need to share for some reason — there is something within me that knows my life purpose is sharing my journey. Prior to coming on this trip, I only talked about my meditations with two friends. However, in Peru, I share every part of my inner experiences with those on the trip.
Throughout our trip, Shera guides us with various exercises to connect with our Self. Our bodies speak to us and give us the clues to our well-being on all levels. By drawing how we feel, we begin to be aware of what is going on in our body, where we are holding stress, pain, or where we are feeling comfortable and well. I have both physical and emotional signals in my body. By acknowledging, without judgement, what is happening within us, we have the opportunity to allow our body to let us know where we need to focus our healing.
Having a sacred place in our mind's eye creates a focus to more easily centre into calmness and peace during meditation or to take a moment to pause in a stressful situation.CHAPTER 4
OCTOBER 17, 2002
Before breakfast, three of us do yoga on the terrace of our hotel overlooking the city. I follow their lead, as I have not done yoga before.
Over the years that Shera and Chidakash have been coming to Peru, they have become part of two local families. After breakfast, we meet some of them, including Puma's grandfather. They have prepared a private market of art and brightly coloured wares made from llama wool in the garden of our hotel. I buy an overnight cloth bag, two purses, and a small painting.
Our morning includes a wonderful tour of the UNSAAC Museo Inka. Its exhibits range from pre-Inca civilizations, through Inca times to the Conquest by the Spanish.
The Inca Empire expanded under the rule of Pachacuti, the emperor from 1438-1471. It stretched from the Pacific to the Amazon and from Ecuador and Colombia to central Chile and north-west Argentina. The area had over eight million people and was divided into four regions with Cusco (Qosqo in Quechua meaning "Navel") as the capital.
Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the Inca were in a civil war between two brothers. After Waskar was killed, Atawallpa and his forces were en route to Cusco when the Spaniard Pizarro and his men attacked them at Cajamarca on November 16, 1532. Taking Atawallpa captive, the Spaniards returned to Cusco and held him for a vast ransom of gold and silver. After Atawallpa agreed to become a Christian, they garroted him on August 29, 1533. Pizarro then appointed Manqu Inka Yupanki as leader. On November 15, 1533, Yupanki led an army of 100 000 soldiers in a siege on Cusco but was narrowly defeated at Saqsaywaman.
As we move through the rooms of the museum, we see mummies, clothing, jewellery, gold ornaments, vases, tools, and utensils, collectively giving us an image of the Inca culture. Farming was, and still is, their way of life; maize was the primary crop. They were masters at developing terracing to make the most of the mountainous land.
After lunch, Shera leaves us to deliver the clothing and supplies we have all brought with us for families in need while Chidakash guides us on a city tour. We begin by walking several city blocks past Inca palace walls to arrive at the Qorikancha ("Golden Enclosure").
The Qorikancha was the most sacred temple in the Inca Empire. Processions would lead from here to Saqsaywaman. It was principally the Temple of the Sun, and the blueprint for all such temples in the Empire. The walls and floors were covered with gold and its courtyard was adorned with gold statues. The courtyard was surrounded by temples to each of the other gods in Hanakpacha — Temple of the Moon (Mama Killa, Inti's wife), Temple of the Stars (daughters of Inti and Mama Killa, whose constellations are a representation in the sky of animals on Earth), Temple of Thunder (Illapa), and Temple of the Rainbow (Cuichu).
The Spaniards built the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo on the foundations of the pillaged and destroyed Qorikancha. However, in 1950, an earthquake severely damaged the church and convent but also revealed the intact Inca walls. The church and convent were rebuilt leaving these walls exposed.
After our tour of the Qorikancha, we walk over to Avenida El Sola to see the huge, colourful mural painted on the city wall by Juan Bravo in 1992. We need to sit on the other side of the street to be able to have a complete view of it.
Chidakash takes us through the pictorial story of the Inca beginning with the mythological birth of the civilization. Inti and Mama Killa created Manqu Qhapaq and his sister Mama Okllo from the foam of Lake Titicaca. Inti gave them a golden rod, and where it sank into the ground, the land was fertile and would be the site they were to build upon. The rod sank in Cusco.
Excerpted from The Ley of the Land by Sandra M. Lowe. Copyright © 2015 Sandra M. Lowe. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Map of Peru Route, xvi,
Part 1: Excitement, 1,
Chapter 1: My Invocation, 3,
Chapter 2: En Route, 7,
Part 2: Cusco, 9,
Chapter 3: Snake, 11,
Chapter 4: Foundations, 15,
Part 3: The Inca Trail, 21,
Graph of the Inca Trail Elevation, 22,
Map of the Inca Trail, 23,
Chapter 5: Emerging Butterfly, 25,
Chapter 6: Bowl of Porridge, 35,
Chapter 7: Jovial Deities, 43,
Chapter 8: Pass the Salt, 49,
Chapter 9: Punk Flies, 59,
Part 4: Machu Picchu, 67,
Map of Machu Picchu, 68,
Chapter 10: Do Not Be Afraid, 71,
Chapter 11: Room Renovation, 89,
Part 5: The Sacred Valley, 97,
Chapter 12: Gift of Children, 99,
Chapter 13: Bridge of the Urubamba River, 107,
Chapter 14: My Pain, 113,
Part 6: Tampumachay, Qenqo, and Saqsaywaman, 115,
Chapter 15: Healing Cave, 117,
Chapter 16: Sunglasses, 127,
Selected Bibliography, 139,