It is hard for me to believe that there was a time in my life that backpacking was the standard for my excursions, I don't think I would enjoy it anymore. But regardless of the comfort that my travel arrangements offered, the places that I have visited have impacted me and changed me in ways I will never forget. That was the case about a very special place I visited several times in my native land of Peru. This place was Marcahuasi.
Back in the 1990's, I was in college getting my bachelor's degree in Biology. One day, I met an interesting group of people, who were into collecting plankton from alpine lakes. I know, scientists can be a little kooky, to say the least, all in the name of science. They always talked about this incredible place up in the highlands and how they were conditioning themselves for a demanding hike. I was fascinated by their stories, so I decided to go with them. I didn't realize that was going to be my first trip of many to this remote area of the country.
Marcahuasi is a remote plateau at 13,780 feet above sea level just a few hours outside of Lima, the capital city of Peru. After a treacherous ride by bus, we arrived to San Pedro the Casta, a little tiny town in the Hurochiri province located at 12,500 feet above sea level. We arrived mid-afternoon, and decided to start the hike right away. We couldn't afford to pay for a hostel that night or the extra time to get used to the altitude. The climb is incredible challenging for limeños like me that are used to living at sea level. It can last anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours depending on which route you take. The easy route was the longest; the hard one was the shortest. This is the place that taught me how true this famous proverb is: "when in Rome do as the Romans do." The natives can climb in one hour because they are born at high altitude. Secondly, they chew coca leaves all the way up. Trust me, I've never used stimulants of any kind, but I will never attempt that climb again without some coca leaves. After an exhausting hike, with a few stops fighting altitude sickness, we arrived to the desolate plateau.
Even though the trek was difficult, we all felt incredibly blessed to be in such a unique place once we arrived. It was interesting to see how people were captivated by this magical place. The granite rocks have very unique formations. People's imaginations ran wild and believed some of these rocks had been carved purposely by some kind of foreign entity. I was just fascinated to see how erosion in nature acts as a creative force. There was something mystic about this incredible plateau; that was undeniable. The solitude of the place, the scarce vegetation along with the unique fauna, made it captivating. Being there alone with my thoughts sitting up atop a huge boulder is one of the experiences I will always treasure.
Every time we returned to Lima form this place we were a little different, perhaps because we realized how small we were compare to the wonders of nature. For my friends these were very rewarding trips, they even found a new species of plankton and wrote a few publications about it.
Higher places have the ability to heal you in some unimaginable ways. Perhaps it is the lack of oxygen that makes you feel so out of your body and giddy, or perhaps the loneliness and the ability to look down onto the world and create a separation that helps you examine who you are deep inside. As one of the characters said in the movie "Everest" when asked why he wanted to climb such an imposing mountain: "... because I can, because to be able to climb that high and see that kind of beauty that nobody ever sees, it'd be a crime not to."
I'd like to think that without knowing, when people decide to climb to remote places they are looking for a connection with a universal force, a force that makes them feel invincible, stimulated and capable of accomplishing great things. I remember in one of our trips the guys were joking about one of the members of our group that wasn't particularly fit, he had plans to place her up on one of the higher rocks and charge up over night, God knows she needed it, but that would've been cruel. Jokes aside, that incredible force is real and quite powerful. There is another name for that force; that is "cosmic energy."
Cosmic energy is readily available, and it comes from the Universe. When used during your meditation practice, you can blend it with earth's e energy. These two forces have the ability to clean, purify and rebalance your body and your energetic space.
If you want to learn about cosmic energy and how to use it during your meditation practice please refer to the book "Sam and The Giant Tree" and let me know how you liked it.