Roaming through the area around Santa Marta, one of the oldest colonial cities on the Caribbean coast, it is worth stepping off the beaten trail and visiting this incredible place.
At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains a remarkable educational centre is being built, and while its activity is just getting underway, it has already managed to inspire many people to undertake personal evolution. The founders of this place, monks from an Indian ashram performing an around-the-world pilgrimage, have created a school that functions based on a paradigm complimented with knowledge on the subject of the world around us that is not offered by well-known, prestigious universities. This is a true fractal university that can open students’ eyed to new perspectives in the creation of their own reality.
The teachers include representatives of many cultures from all corners of the planet, from those living around the nearby mountains of Indian Kogi and Wiwa, along with representatives of other indigenous cultures, Buddhist Lamas, jogins, philosophers and progressive members of the world of science and many other professions. Education is not disrupted by the dissonance between the tangible world of science and the spiritual aspect of invisible dimensions. The unusually open minds of teachers and students review and discuss the most recent and increasingly detailed research on the universe’s quantum structure. This place is an example for me to follow, a living specimen of spontaneous spiritual evolution that I was able to see from up close. Teachers coming from all around the world present their knowledge to students about the most important discoveries from their years-long research and observations. They provide inspiring descriptions of their unusually valuable studies in exceptional surroundings occupied by ancient temples of the land’s past inhabitants, the Tayron people. Lectures and classes are thus not conducted in closed spaces, but rather in wild nature full of colours, sounds, scents. Gaya University came about thanks to people who decided to enrich their lives, coming here from all over to settle in an exceptional place and work together to found an ecological village populated by a self-sufficient community.
We began the day with group meditation and classes led by eastern teachers of yoga. In the meantime, other volunteers prepared a healthy vegetarian meal for the remaining ones. After breakfast, we began working in the garden, learning the secrets of ecological farming, at the same time discovering the valuable skill of caring for oneself and for others. Besides work with fruits and vegetables, we also selected tasks for ourselves from among construction and conservation works, as well as from other similar areas. We learned and practiced activities of utility in the everyday life of a community independent from the destructive system of the global economy, which has practically deprived us of contact with nature. How romantic it is to march and battle power on the streets, but wait a moment – what happens if the system collapses and the shops are empty? An elementary education in agronomy and dietetics should be treated at least as important as foreign languages or maths. The focus in this aspect is on a basic science of thought that will lead to full responsibility for one’s own life.
When the sun reached its zenith and the temperature his its peak, the most important work was nearly done. During this time some of us volunteered to prepare dinner using ingredients taken from the garden. Tasks were delegated on the basis of consensus. I tried to get involved in something I didn’t know much about, wanting to learn something new. I will light-heartedly mention one rather unpopular activity that did not receive great interest, and required the drawing of lots. I am referring to sanitation matters. Every community living in an ecological village must deal with the problem of waste, including with the by-products of digestion. The aforementioned must be brought every couple of days to the compost heap, which processes it into a full-fledged humus – the richest soil. This was a salutary lesson of life in a harmonious community, a sort of larger family, which enriches every day with the awareness of responsible work often joined by joyful play. Careful, daily observation of the community’s interaction with nature, both near and distant, taught me new ways of creating valuable things. It may turn out that each of us can find our true calling in various elements of such a conscious life. That’s why this case was no accident J. I know that I want to work in a similar field and create a similar place, whether in America or in the heart of my native Europe. During my stay in Gaya, I spoke about my life in Sanatorio Espiritual, about my journey from Poland to Peru, about Amazonian shamanism and Slavonic traditions. Each of us wanted to share something special with the others, something that inspired passion, and this is what gave the fractal university its charm. Learning has no beginning and no end here. Education springs from itself, and personal growth becomes a passion that fills every task that we submit ourselves to unreservedly.
Following the afternoon rest in a playful atmosphere, often accompanied by music, we frequently played various team games, or strolled around the nearby mountains visiting waterfalls and Indian villages. In the later hours, when the sun no longer burned with such intensity, the theoretical lessons and lectures began. This was a time when we became listeners, and joyfully contemplated every thought heard. The monks invited us to intriguing ceremonies, and in spite of my ignorance of Sanskrit I eagerly participated, playing drums and other instruments. Later on we usually found time for independent meditation during the beautiful sunset. Then it was time for a small meal together, and evening conversations by the bonfire. Discussions lasting until the late hours gave us a rich dose of inspiration that we used to fill the next day with creative joy following a deserved rest.
Against the backdrop of the myriad educational institutions that teach us only how to participate in the coming collapse of our current system based on blind material exploitation, the University “Pueblo Gaya” remains an exception. During my travels I meet many people prepared to change something in their lives and to make use of knowledge not yet applied on a large scale. I myself wish to use their help in founding a similar place in the Amazon that will become an integral part of the Republica del Amor. Together with maestro don Raule, we have been working for several years on developing a place in harmony with our deepest motivations. The support we receive from spirits of selva has served to help create the spiritual clinic Sanatorio Espiritual, which is a destination for all sorts of people seeking to take advantage of what the native spiritual tradition of the Amazon’s tribes offer. This is one of those places that has successfully defended our ancient bond with a deeper reality, uniting us with all of creation on the Earth and with the entire cosmos.
Spiritual practices enable our guests to cleanse their organisms of everything polluted by stress and other negative influences that come from life in a world of fear, disharmony and want. The next step in my journey will be to create a project for sustainable development based on ecological tourism and volunteerism, whose core will consist of a deep exploration of personal growth for our guests, just like at “Pueblo Gaya”.
Since returning to Poland after a year spent in the Peruvian jungle, I have assisted the activity of an organization that also deals with re-education and the development of awareness, but in a slightly different way than a shamanist clinic. We have created an internet magazine about new economic solutions designed to provide each of us with a dignified life on our shared planet. Today, we live on the edge of collapse of a system which fostered the diseases infecting our everyday reality: poverty, class disproportions, corruption and other pathologies. I will write more about the economic challenges facing humanity in another article, while here I will mention a little bit about educational projects developed by my friends from the We Are Change Foundation. The name, a reference to a person recognized around the world as the spokesperson for change for the better, Mahatma Gandhi, is an accurate description of what this small Polish foundation does. Ghandi demonstrated how much one person can really change. The Foundation, together with the Warsaw School of Management, decided to create Poland’s first course for social educators and change initiators, which addresses questions of economics in a much more conscious manner (Navigators of Tomorrow). The objective of the course is to expand social and economic knowledge, as well as to enrich the self-awareness of students, preparing them for creating a new economic and social reality in the spirit of ethical values. As you can read about on the university’s page, the course will teach students about the central issues of the modern world, coupled with examples of solutions both proposed and applied.
For nearly a half-year I have been on my way to the Amazon, and thanks to the people and the places I have reached, especially those like “Pueblo Gaya”, I look to the future with optimism as I know that there will be more like them. I see incredible potential in educational undertakings, which are the foundation of social change, and it is my belief that they should all work together to achieve the effect of synergy. My observations show me that the Achilles’ heel of such institutes of the new generation is their work in a certain isolation that results from simple matters of geography. On the one hand, these grass-roots initiatives should remain independent, but if a proper network for communication and exchange of experiences between them were formed, this would lead to a definite acceleration of the global process of positive change.