Learning Meditation in the Andes

My Kung Fu training up to this point has been amazing. I’ve learned so much in the little bit of time I’ve been coming here, and my knowledge base grows and grows with each visit to the Dojo. My instructors really noticed my zeal for the class as well as my willingness to help others who were newer than I was.

One day before we began, I was speaking to one of the masters about my anxiety in everyday living. I had a high-pressure job, a family that demanded a lot of my attention, and the constant need to keep up with the Joneses. He asked me if I was willing to take a vacation all by myself. I thought that was a weird question to ask, so I prompted him for more information.

He told me that many of the students who did very well, still had a problem reaching certain levels because they were experiencing mental blocks that were holding them back. He knew of some places I could go were I could receive individual training, as well as the locale to properly meditate on my studies away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

So about two months later I put my affairs in order, and booked a trip to the Andes Mountains. I cheated a little, and went by way of a tour group, but that was just to get me there. I made arrangements to meet a local guide at the airport who would take me the rest of the way to my destination.

When we got there, the tour guide tried to herd everyone to the waiting bus, but I told her to go on ahead and out catch up with them later. I waited at the designated spot for about two hours thinking that my local guide wasn’t coming. About 10 minutes later a very short but stocky man approached me, and beckoned me to follow him.

We traveled along rough roads, through valley openings, and over challenging hills. His English was very broken, so our conversation was kept to a minimum. He did inform me about the area, because he had grown up there. He told me about the farms, and all the local vegetation that was harvested there. They also cared for a large number of animals which were a staple for their income. He helped raise sheep and alpacas to provide the local clothing manufacturers with all the wool they needed.

alpaca farm

He included that most of the wool that goes into making baby alpaca clothing in the United States comes from this region. I learned a lot during that trip about how faraway cultures live and thrive.

When we arrived at our destination, I was met by an elderly gentleman who spoke absolutely no English. I was thinking how is this going to work. Over the next several days, he guided me through basic to advanced yoga and meditation practices. In the evenings, we would just sit on the side of the mountain and stare out into the vast and beautiful jungles and flatlands that speckled Andes Mountains.

mountains

What I didn’t realize was happening at the time, was that I was learning the skills I needed in an environment that represented stillness and quietness at all times. If one is going to learn the concepts of meditation, it should be an environment away from the noise of society.

When I left, I felt more open and happy that I had in a long time. I knew I could incorporate these practices into my kung fu and life in general. My mind was so open, that I didn’t even need the guide to bring me back to join the rest of the tour group. When I arrived, I was inundated with questions of where I’d been and what I’ve been doing.

Upon arriving back in the United States, I was greeted by my wife and kids and they said that I looked different. I told him maybe it was the tan I picked up from being outside but they said no it was something else. That experience change my life, and I use the the practices that I learned now in my everyday life. I intend to go back every couple of years to work on my meditation training, because once you have this in your life you will never be the same.

Philip Perez

I have enjoyed martial arts for years, and wish to tell you about my journey. Also to give you the best tips and tricks of the trade.