Travel to Peru may be a bit complicated at the moment given the global crossroads at which we find ourselves, however we're fortunate enough to live in an age where we can immerse ourselves in cultures, concepts, art and even recipes that transport us to another land. All of this downtime has inevitably led us to examine the intricacies of our own lives to see what's been working for us as well as observe the areas where we could use more balance. Strangely enough, travel, which would naturally seem to be the polar opposite of being on lockdown, can do the same in broadening our horizons providing us with new perspectives through which we can view our lives. This is the perfect moment then to shed some light on an ancient Andean way of viewing life that places balance and harmony with our environment at the center of our experiences. The Sumaq Kawsay, or the Andean doctrine of Good Living, is a spectacular guide for becoming more aware of our daily decisions and how to navigate the world around us while respecting the delicate equilibrium of all life. Read on for the 13 defining principles of good living according to the Andean cosmovision accompanied by some travel recommendations to start planning your Peru trip!
1. Suma Manq’ aña: Know How to Eat
Mother Earth gives us the food we require. One must eat the food of the season, the time and the place.
A couple of players that go above and beyond in this area are chef Virgilio Martinez of Central and MIL Centro, Pía León of Kjolle, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino of Malabar, Ricardo Martins of Siete and Arlette Eulert of Matria. If you want even more out of the experience, try one of our Lima food tours.
2. Suma Umaña: Know How to Drink
It is to let it enter your heart, take of the heart and emerge from the heart to run and flow like the river.
3. Suma Thokoña: Know How to Dance
To connect to the cosmos, all activities should be carried out with a spiritual dimension.
4. Suma Ikiña: Know How to Sleep
Going to bed before midnight, the nighttime energy plus the energy from the next morning, is energy from two days.
Early to bed, early to rise. Doesn't need much more explanation than that.
5. Suma Irnakaña: Know How to Work
From the original indigenous perspective, work is not suffering; it is happiness. It should be carried out with passion, intensely.
I mean we're all here and we all have to find some way to provide for ourselves, so no matter what you do, throw yourself into it. What have you go to lose? If you give it your best, no one can take that away from you whether you succeed or not, the worst you will have gained is experience. Go for it.
6. Suma Lupiña: Know How to Meditate
Silence balances and harmonizes, therefore balance is reestablished through one’s silence (Amiki).
7. Suma Amuyaña: Know How to Think
It is reflection, not only from a rational viewpoint, but from one’s feelings. Without losing our mind, let’s walk the path of our heart.
More than thinking about all of the experiences you have to explore in Peru, the best way to get the most out of your trip is to dive in head over heels and feel it at a deeper level because that will be the greatest gift you can give yourself once you return home.
8. Suma Munaña, Munayasiña: Know How to Love and Be Loved
Respect for everything that exists creates harmonious relationships.
So this definitely pre-dates Aretha however we see this recurring theme in just about all aspects of our lives from time to time: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If your relationships are based on respect to the fullest degree, then finding the flow and reciprocity leads to harmony. The golden rule, anybody?
9. Suma Ist’ aña | Know How to Listen
Listening is not only accomplished with the ears; it is perceived, felt, listening is with our whole body. If all things are living, all things also speak.
The Andean cosmovision once again tells us to reside a little less in our minds and tap into our other senses to listen and gain information. We all know that sometimes our gut tells us more than what our head can suss out of a situation and by quieting the mind we can sharpen the other communication tools we have at our disposal.
10. Suma Aruskipaña: Know How to Speak
Before speaking, one must feel and think well. To speak well means speaking to build, support and add something.
Can I get an "Amen?!" If everytime someone opened their mouth to speak it had to be with the intention to build, support and add something can you even allow yourself to imagine what the world would look like? We're constantly surrounded and bombarded with opinions, judgments, fluff, criticisms (not the constructive kind) and quiet frankly, a lot of hot air. Mindfulness in speech could take us a long way. One of the best ways of experiencing a culture is also through the language. You would do yourself a big favor if you picked up a little Spanish before the trip, or even better for the Andes, Quechua. A language is a living, evolving organism that allows one access to a different mindset and even different ways of understanding the same concept. It's never too late to break out the Rosetta Stone and start building your base or even sign up for a language exchange.
11. Suma Samkasiña: Know How to Dream
Through dreaming we perceive life. To dream is to project life.
12. Suma Sarnaqaña: Know How to Walk
Weariness does not exist for one who knows how to walk. We must be conscious that one never walks alone.
13. Suma Churaña, Suma Katukaña: Know How to Give and Receive
Everything flows in life: we give and receive. The two forces interacting creates life.
That sums it up. Give and receive. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
A little food for thought. If we all make some small changes and tweaks to find that balance, we just might wake up to a whole new world.
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