by Dr. Alberto Villoldo: There are many wonderful works of fiction about time travel…
which are inevitably cautionary tales about what happens when we tinker with events that were meant to be. On some level we know that the universe has its own wisdom, and stopping what we perceive as a disaster might result in another, greater one elsewhere.
The Laika similarly know that we can change just about anything we want in our world, if we’re willing to take on the karma. At the level of serpent, we try to change things by force; at jaguar, we change things through will; at hummingbird, we change things through visualization; and at eagle, we change things through dreaming. When we’re perceiving at the level of serpent, karma seems to catch up very slowly, which is why some people seem to get away with terrible actions with impunity. At jaguar, we experience our karma a bit faster, always within this lifetime. At hummingbird, karma is immediate, so we feel the results of our actions instantaneously: Good deeds yield immediate blessings, and bad actions bring about instant consequences. In eagle, there is no karma, because there is only Spirit and “may Thy will be done.”
When you let your ego rule and insist that you must control events, you end up in a constant struggle against the universe. Yet you can choose to simply be with that butterfly in Beijing whose flapping wings creates a storm at sea—not pushing it or willing or visualizing it to do anything other than what it’s doing. Your very presence will create balance and healing; and you, the butterfly, the wind, and the storm become one.
It’s difficult for us in the West to trust that we can achieve peace and happiness if we’re not doing something active to bring it about, but embodying peace and happiness does bring it about. Our egos don’t want us to believe that we can have infinite power by immersing ourselves in the wisdom of the universe, but it’s true.
For example, many young people today are fascinated by witchcraft because they think it might give them a chance to have a greater influence over what happens to them. They want to believe that if they follow a spell’s instructions to the letter, they’ll be able stop a bully from picking on them, make a popular kid like them, or magically become as physically attractive as a movie star. They don’t realize that real magic doesn’t come from chanting incantations or mixing together herbs with a mortar and pestle, but from shifting one’s perception and embodying confidence and grace. The Laika certainly don’t have to wear clothing that indicates their power and position—when they enter a home, food appears without their having to ask for it, and blessings are bestowed without having been requested. Their presence has a radiance that others respond to, and words or symbols of power are unnecessary.
I remember hiking through the Altiplano with don Antonio years ago and arriving at a village where it hadn’t rained for many months. The high mountain lagoons, which stored the town’s water during the arid summer months, had begun to dry out. When they saw us coming, the villagers greeted us and asked my mentor to call the rains. The old Laika asked for a hut where he could fast and meditate. For four days, he had only water to drink.
I was starting to get concerned when he emerged in the early afternoon of the fourth day. Don Antonio started walking to the edge of the village, to where the mountains began a precipitous drop to the Amazon basin, and told me that he was going to “pray rain.” I corrected him, saying he must mean he was going to pray for rain, and he said, “No, I am going to pray rain.”
He came back two hours later, and there were great big thunderclouds overhead. Within minutes, the rains broke out. All the villagers were dancing with joy and thanking him, but he explained that he had done nothing—it had simply rained.
At that moment, I understood what my teacher had done. He had stepped into eagle and dissolved. He had ceased to exist for that instant, which was infinite. There was only Spirit there, and thus no one to pray to. He simply prayed rain. And it came.
Later I asked him why it had taken so long: Did he always need to fast and pray for four days when he wanted to enter the level of eagle? He answered that when we arrived at the village, he noticed that it was out of ayni. It was so out of balance, in fact, that he became out of balance, too. He couldn’t do anything until he went back into ayni—when he did, so did the village, and the rains came. The old man knew that everything is healed from within.