These three principles were the recipe to a fulfilling life, but the Spanish conquistadors misinterpreted them.
The city of Cusco in Peru was once the capital of the Inca empire. Today, the city has turned into a famous tourist destination, where visitors arrive year round to witness the magic, mystery, and energy flowing from the Machu Picchu ruins and the Sacred Valley. What people often come to find when they arrive to the Peruvian city is that the Inca culture had many spiritual legends that revealed great life lessons. They were a very wise civilization that lived according to three main principles: “search for truth,” “work hard,” and “respect every form of life.” Of course, when the Spanish arrived and colonized them, they adopted these principles but misinterpreted and distorted them. In order not to make the same mistakes as the conquistadors and to fully understand these Inca principles, consider applying the following to your everyday life.
Search for the truth
The Incas’ approach to life was based on three principles, and the “search for the truth” was a key element in the success of their flourishing society. When the conquistadors arrived, they took this idea and distorted it by interpreting it as “don’t lie.” Although the two concepts may sound alike, the reality is that their meaning is completely different from each other. “Search for the truth,” for instance, is looked at from a positive perspective, and it stands as a life's purpose to gather knowledge and be as honest to others as to yourself. Meanwhile, “don’t lie” sounds negative, and it imposes a sort of consequence or punishment for not telling the truth. If you apply this Inca principle to your daily life, you’ll find that the truth can benefit your life in many aspects, like your romantic relationships, friendships, and even work performance.
From this simple and inspiring principle, we know the opposite, which is: “don’t be lazy.” Again, this perspective is looked at from a negative point of view, and it feels more like a complaint, rather than encouragement. The difference between not being lazy and working hard lies on your motivation to accomplish something. For example, we work hard when we wish to achieve a goal or realize a dream. If you wish to fulfill your goals, the best thing you can do is to work hard, just like the Incas’ did when they controlled almost all of South America.
Respect every form of life
The Inca were known to worship the sun; they saw the effects of sunlight on their crops and livestock. As a result, they were strong believers in the energy of the universe and how it lived in their surroundings. They respected others and only engaged in battle when it was necessary. However, the conquistadors changed this principle to “don’t steal” –which is exactly what they did by taking what wasn’t theirs–, an idea inspired by their Christian beliefs. Overall, when we apply this Inca principle to our lives, not only with animals and plants but other people too, we are demonstrating a high level of maturity and tolerance that more people should have.
Cusco is believed to be a place where the energy from the universe fills the hearts of those who visit it. Many of the Incas’ traditions and teachings are still alive in the remaining indigenous cultures of this area, like the Q’ero people who have been passing down stories and legends through many generations. These principles may sound simple (especially if you misinterpret them like the conquistadors did), but if you apply them correctly to your daily life, you’ll find a pathway paved with wisdom that will lead straight to a happier lifestyle.
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