The Apu Chupicuaro told this story:
A mule driver and his assistant had a large group of mules they were driving. They arrived late in the day and set up camp. The animals were feeding, and the boss called to the assistant, “Night is coming, rope up all the mules so they don’t run away in the night.” Therefore, the assistant went around pounding stakes into the ground, tying each animal to a stake. When he reached the thirtieth animal, there were no more ropes or stakes to be found. “What do we do?” asked the assistant. The boss replied, “Just pretend that you have the materials and pound an invisible stake into the ground, and tie up the animal with an invisible rope.” So the assistant proceeded to do as he was directed. The next morning, the assistant loaded the animals with their packs and undid the tied up animals. Well, the first thirty animals began to move with their packs into line along the trail. The remainder of the mules remained in place as if tied to their invisible stakes. Again, the assistant asked the boss, “What do we do?” The boss replied, “Go and untie the imaginary ropes from the imaginary stakes.” The assistant did as he was directed, and the remaining mules moved freely into line.
My interpretation is that we tie ourselves to our ordinary reality — I know I do that. We’ve been tied down since we were very small, while we were learning once again how to connect with others in the everyday world. In this world our task is to learn how to connect with non-ordinary reality. When we are on the bridge between the two realities, we can change the world.
For more about the apus and their place in Incan shamanism, read Deborah Bryon’s Lessons of the Inca Shamans which you can discover on her website. This quote is from Lessons of the Inca Shamans, Part 2, which is scheduled for release in the fall of 2014.