The Ñawis as Perceptual Organs

If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!
–Pablo Picasso

We have twelve mystical eyes—the ñawis in Quechua: the primary seven are the two physical eyes and the seventh eye (called the third eye in some other cultures), the kunka ñawi (throat), sonqo ñawi (heart), qoswo ñawi (belly) and siki ñawi (root). The five secondary eyes are the two makis (palm of each hand), the two chakis (sole of each foot) and the uma (top of the head).

The primary capacity of the ñawis is qaway—mystical vision. As paqos we are qawaqs in training: we are learning to engage the world with mystical vision and knowing. We want to develop the capacity to see reality as it really is, which is about perceiving both the physical attributes of the material world (Pachamama) and the energetic attributes of the immaterial world (kawsya pacha). Although the metaphor is one of mystical vision, being qawaqs and engaging the world through our ñawis involves all of our sensory capacities. So it is inaccurate to think of this capacity only as vision or sight. In reality, the ñawis are complex perceptual organs that involve all the senses.

For example, there is another metaphor commonly used when discussing the ñawis as perceptual organs: “tasting.” It is similar to “seeing” in that we are gathering information about something using our mystical senses.

We mostly engage the world through the qoqso—our primary power center at the belly—and, thus, through the qosqo ñawi. We reach out (mostly unconsciously) through cords of energy called seqes and connect with the energy bubbles of  objects. If we are qawaqs, however, we bring consciousness to our energy dynamics. We use intention to engage our mystical perceptual abilities to “see” and “taste” the world around us. And we use more than only our qosqo ñawi. We can choose to use young businessman in glass jarany of our twelve ñawis.

By developing the “eyes” that are our ñawis, we break out of the confines of our limited physical sensory experiences that reduce the world only to information about the qualia of the world—the characteristics of materiality, such as texture, density, size, and so on, and we use our mystical senses to expand our experience of reality. Engaging our mystical sensory capacities takes us beyond materiality to the essence of the thing. According to the Andean mystical tradition, everything is a being, so “seeing” and “tasting” an object relates information about its energy dynamics in relation to the self. It may be yanantin/dissimilar or masintin/similar energy, and it may be a compatible or an incompatible energy. Knowledge is power! Once we understand the energy dynamics, we can intentionally work to shift them if necessary.

An alternate way to think of this engagement is as touch. As we engage the world, we are constantly energetically touching other people and things—their poq’pos, or energy bubbles—and if we are conscious we can both discern information about those particular people or things and determine our energetic dynamics with them.Illustration of woman and man with aura, chakras and healing energy Knowing the state of that dynamic interplay can help us reduce hucha and foster sami.

Tasting energy is also a practice of opening ourselves to the wild and wonderful kawsay pacha without fear. The more kinds of energy we taste, the less unfamiliar energy we will come into contact with, and thus the less isolated we will feel from the living cosmos. So explore!

Once I was in New York City with my teacher, Juan Nuñez del Prado, and we went to Central Park to taste/touch the obelisk called the Needle of Cleopatra, which is the twin of an obelisk in Egypt. We then went into the Museum of Natural History to taste/touch the Temple of Dendra, which was displayed there. We were connecting with their essence—and they with us—through seqes. You could say we were both introducing ourselves to them as beings (and vice versa), and we were learning about them as energy configurations (and vice versa). As energy beings they might have even communicated with us, through our ñawis as auditory perceptual organs. I didn’t “hear” any “conversation,” but I did experience these beings as energy fields with their own unique energy signatures and realities.

Juan has always counseled me that the world is a smorgasbord of energy, and I should never pass up the opportunity to taste the different kinds of energy. As I pointed out above, the more kinds of energy we are familiar with, the more we know the Pachamama (material world) and the kawsay pacha (immaterial world). We never have to be afraid of energy because it can’t hurt us. It is only compatible door openor incompatible with the state of our own energy body. But by tasting or touching as many kinds of energy as possible, we open ourselves without fear or hesitation and so can engage the world more easily with khuyay (passion).

The main point here is that our mystical eyes are more than organs of sight. They are full perceptual organs with a rich sensory capacity. If you are not using them, start now! Play with them to get to know the extent of your qawaq abilities at the current time and to practice so that you can increase your abilities. Practice engaging both the physical world and the energetic world that informs it. See, touch, listen, taste! As Juan says, the world is your smorgasbord!

Here are a few exercises that can help you work your ñawis:

  • Select an item in the room you are in (a table, chair, book, etc.) and focus your attention on it. Then using intention, connect with that object through a ñawi. Start with your qosqo ñawi. Just be receptive. Can you discern the energy of that object (its poq’po)?
  • Disengage from the object. Then reconnect, using your intention to connect through a different ñawi, perhaps your seventh eye, or a maki (eye in the palm of a hand), or the sonqo ñawi (eye of the heart center). Do you feel the same energy signature of that object, but perhaps are accessing different aspects (qualia) of it? By trying out different ñawis, you will be able to discern, over time, which ones you are most adept at sensing through and which ones are less developed.
  • Practice sensing through different ñawis alternating between an organic/living thing and an inorganic/non-living thing, such as a dog and a lamp. Try different combinations of things. Over time, can you discern a different material and energetic qualia in living things than in non-living things?
  • Have someone put a an object in a paper or plastic bag, so you can’t see it. Better yet, have them prepare several bags. Over time, practice “tasting”/”touching” the object through a ñawi and see if you can discern the qualities of that thing even though you can’t see it and don’t know what it is. If you don’t get a sense of the object through one ñawi, try using others. This practice is not about intuition (an inner knowing). It is about the mystical perception (feeling, sensing in an almost visceral way) of the qualities of the object and of it as a being in its own right.

A New Year of Divine Juiciness

We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.
― Brian Cox, particle physicist

Those of you who have studied the Andean tradition with me know that the lens through which I teach this tradition is as a path of conscious evolution, both for the self and so as to contribute to the rise of the Runakay Mosoq, the New Humanity. To mark this New Year’s day, conscious evolution is again my subject.

If you make no other resolution this year, direct your intention to dedicating (or rededicating) yourself to your personal growth. According to the Andean tradition, your life is a gift. You did nothing to deserve it. Your mission, as held in potential in your Inka Seed, is to grow into the fullness of your personal capacities and, when your time comes, to return your life to the kawsay pacha as a grander human being.

To inspire you in this undertaking, I share some quotations that have inspired me, adding short commentary about how the information applies to your practice as a paqo.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” 

The darkness Carl Jung refers to is at least partially, if not solely, the personal shadow. It is that place in the unconscious where you stuff all the beliefs about yourself and others and life in general that you find offensive, unacceptable, and threatening. Your shadow “stuff” drives your behavior more than you may know (yachay—understanding). So the obvious action (llank’ay—doing) is to probe deep Shadow self close up compressed AdobeStock_34688107within to know yourself more truly. And to love (munay) yourself more completely.

This darkness cannot hurt you, even though it may feel “heavy.” It is what we call hucha, which is slow or blocked life-force energy (kawsay). And just as you can use saminchakuy to turn hucha back into sami (actually, it is all kawsay, just kawsay flowing at different speeds), so too can you turn a practice of self-inquiry and contemplation into a light by which you can illuminate yourself more fully (kanay) and, thus, live as who you really are (as encoded in your Inka Seed).

This is not an imaginative undertaking, such as in visualization or thinking positive thoughts, although those are fine practices. It is an action (a “making,” as Jung says). The action starts with self-inquiry and self-observation. There are myriad ways to practice self-inquiry, so I won’t go into them here. The important action is that you start—that you apply your intention and energy to your own growth and self-awareness.

All change starts with the self. Author Eric Micha’el Leventhal reminds you that “the closer you come to knowing that you alone create the world of your experience, the more vital it becomes for you to discover just who is doing the creating.” So I ask you, Are you truly aware of how grand and exceptional you are and how much the world needs you?

Don’t race past that question I just asked. Spend some time contemplating it. Feeling it. Owning it. You truly are a mystery. But, more than that, you truly are a miracle.

“How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, Spiral Mindcontemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos? Especially awe inspiring is the fact that any single brain, including yours, is made up of atoms that were forged in the hearts of countless, far-flung stars billions of years ago. These particles drifted for eons and light-years until gravity and change brought them together here, now. These atoms now form a conglomerate—your brain—that can not only ponder the very stars that gave it birth but can also think about its own ability to think and wonder about its own ability to wonder. With the arrival of humans, it has been said, the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself. This, truly, it the greatest mystery of all.”

The above thoughts are those of V. S. Ramachandran, a neuroscientist, but they echo the stance of others, from physicists to paqos. One particle physicist, Brian Cox, puts the same idea more succinctly: “We are the cosmos made conscious, and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” A paqo, don Benito Qoriwaman, framed the same idea this way: You are a drop of the Mystery, of the infinite kawsay pacha and the ineffable God Consciousness that underlies it. You have a unique mission to fulfill here on earth, and you provide the living universe an experience of life and of itself that is impossible for any other person to provide.

What an astonishing mission you have! The Latin root word from which our modern word “astonish” comes means “thunder,” as in leaving someone thunderstruck. That is what your life is to the living universe—something to marvel at, to be amazed by, to be joyously thunderstruck by. That doesn’t mean you have to do big things. It means you have to be big. As author and human potential coach Marianne Williamson has written: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.”

Now here is a nugget from me: Love within the esoteric traditions reminds us that we are gods. There is no boundary. Creator is our Source, that field of energy from which we came and to which we will return. We are always already divine, innocent, perfected, accepted, loved. We can do nothing to earn God’s acceptance and love, for we are an aspect of God. There is only the One, of which each of us is a part.

 The question you must ask yourself, then, really isn’t “Do I dare to be divine?” because you already are divine. The more astute question is, “Do I dare to express my divinity consciously?”

I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer, the late author and inspirational speaker, describe our essential self as an orange. What happens when you squeeze an orange? You get orange juice. No matter the conditions—if you squeeze the orange in the dark, in bright light, in the cold or the heat—you get orange juice from an orange. Not lemon juice or grapefruit juice.

So I ask you, What will the world get when you are squeezed by life and life’s circumstances? Will joy and compassion, enthusiasm and curiosity flow from you? Or will sadness and lethargy, judgment and pessimism flavor the flow? You are an expression of a unique mix of essential qualities, but the unfortunate truth is that you can choose to express less than your potential. The root of all wisdom traditions is “Know thyself.” To live an extraordinary life you not only have to know yourself, you also have to be willing to squeeze out all the divine juiciness of yourself.

There is no better time to begin the transformation then right now. And, there is no better way to begin than by declaring yourself to yourself and to the universe.

So get started. Rise from your chair right now and declare your existence and your divinity—out loud. Start by calling out your name, centering the energy of the moment through the vibration by which you are known, which is your name. Use the power of energetic vocalization called rimay in the Andean tradition—a vocalization that is filled with your personal power. Then speak aloud all of yourfreedom wonderful qualities, strengths, and gifts. Speak everything about yourself that is cause for celebration and worthy of note. Don’t make this a laundry list of your accomplishments; focus instead on your qualities, speaking from your heart about what makes you the unique being you are, about the less obvious yet marvelous qualities that form your character.

Declare yourself to yourself and to the living universe. The Holy One already knows but will no doubt be thunderstruck at the magnificence of who you really are. My wish for you in this new year is that you, too, will be thunderstruck by your own grandeur.