Huffing and puffing, I arrived at the top of this pass, 15, 225 feet above sea level.
Literally breathless, I stood in awe of this majestic peak, soaring another 5,000 feet above to its summit at 20,574.
Deep inhale through the nose, quick exhale through the mouth. This technique allowed me to receive more oxygen in my body.
Salkantay Mountain is a large, steep peak. The word meaning wild or invincible, and is often translated as "Savage Mountain." Very few have actually survived a rock climbing adventure up to its peak.
Salkantay lies north of Machu Picchu and is the highest peak of the Willkapampa mountain range, part of the Peruvian Andes. The Incas associated the alignment of Salkantay with concepts of rain and fertility, and they considered this mountain to be one of the principal deities controlling weather and fertility in the region west of Cusco.
View of Salkantay from Machu Picchu
For centuries, the Incas have honored each mountain or Apu as a unique, divine consciousness. Salkantay is a female apu. Apu literally means lord, god, or supreme being. According to Inca philosophy, an Apu can assist and work with any person, near or far, who makes contact with that particular Apu and asks for the Apu's assistance or intervention as the spirit of the sacred mountain, home of the ancestors and the most powerful of all nature spirits.
Therefore, my guide gathered us into a circle to have a ceremony to Apu Salkantay as a chance to reconnect with pachamama (Mother Earth), the Universe, the world of living energies and with our Source (the Divine within). B.K.S. Iyengar states in Light on Life, “There is a universal reality in ourselves that aligns us with a universal reality that is everywhere.”
Salkantay is the domain of the unmanifested, formless inspiration. In this rock ceremony, we closed our eyes and filled our heart with gratitude for what we have already experienced in life and what we hope to manifest in our future.
Eckhart Tolle reminds us in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” We each chose a unique stone from the trail, and placed it onto the larger pile of stones as our offering to Apu Salkantay, looking at the dozens, if not hundreds, that still stood among the peaks of Mt. Salkantay, made by previous trekkers.
“They represent the mountains,” proclaimed my guide and I realized our rock statues were like miniature-sized mountain replicas. According to Andean beliefs, Victor furthered, “the mountains are our gods, they are our protectors, and our sources of life, because they bring us water, which sustains us.” We took a moment to meditate on an intention to infuse within our offering, and my heart was filled with warmth, joy, and an overwhelm of connectedness. I almost cried during this extremely spiritual moment.
Dhyana is the 7th Petal in Pantajali’s Path to Enlightenment. It means worship, or profound and abstract meditation. It is perfect contemplation. The concept holds that when one focuses their mind in concentration on an object, such as the rock or the mountain, the mind is transformed into the shape of the object. Hence, when one focuses on the divine they become more reflective of it and they know their true nature, the divine within.
The mountain has such a constancy, power, and yet absolute stillness in the face of all change, weathering all storms. This power filled me with wonder as I constantly turned back for another glance on my way down.
We have all experienced these moments at one time or another. Some people have these moments of enlightenment after experiencing a miracle. Life will no longer be solely about you and your desires. There is a feeling of unity. It is the way of transcending the ego. We begin to live with gratitude, faith and trust, rather than filled with fear and anxiety. After these moments in our life, we try to live with more awareness, which is the part of you that is “I am” and runs deeper that the voice of your thoughts. “What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that… Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. … The ultimate purpose of human existence, your purpose, is to bring that power into this world” (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth).
Yoga Poses for Dhyana
Mantra for Dhyana & Consciousness
I listen to the wisdom of the Universe.
I live in the present moment.
I am grateful for all the goodness in my life.
I am open to divine wisdom.
I feel unity and connectedness.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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Lessons from Abroad