When training people in the Andean mystical tradition, I often hear students talk about the chunpis—the Andean belts of power—as chakras, and I correct them. They are nothing like chakras. I am adamant about this, even though very early in my training, before I knew better, I too used the word “chakra” as an analogy to explain the energetic concept of chunpis. (See the glossary definition of “chunpi” in my original book Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge and the revised and updated paperback version Masters of the Living Energy.) I was wrong. I came to know better. It is not my intention here, in this blog post, to explain or try to persuade you of why there is no connection between chunpis and chakras. I have done that in a previous post: “Chunpis and Chakras,” May 12, 2017, which provides an overview of how the chunpis differ energetically and structurally from chakras. Here I am making a different point, because many students have also been taught that there are more than four chunpis . They talk about seven, like the seven main chakras. Some students even tell me that they have been taught that our poq’pos—our energy bodies—are evolving and that in the future there will be more chunpis, up to twelve.
I respond respectfully but with skepticism. I then explain why we have everything we need already and don’t need to evolve more energetic structures in our energy bodies.
I certainly admit I only know the teachings of two lineages (Waskar and Inkari), and then only as taught by three masters through my primary teacher Juan Nuñez del Prado. These teachers were don Benito Qoriwaman and don Melchor Desa from Wasao and the Waskar lineage, and don Andres Espinosa from Q’ero and the Inkari lineage. That leaves a vast range of knowledge from other lineages and teachers (past and present) from the Andes untapped and unknown. So, I acknowledge that I know only a tiny portion of this far-reaching and eons-old tradition. But the teaching itself that we already have is what convinces me that there will never be more than four chunpis—there simply is no need in the future for more.
(Note: Of course, I am open to persuasion! If you have a teaching from the Andes that says we need more than four chunpis, please present your rationale or your teacher’s rationale. Truthfully, I need to be convinced that you are not confusing or overlaying the Hindu chakra system on the Andean chunpi system.)
The teachings we have from the three masters I named above, especially from Q’ero master don Andres Espinosa, reveal that we already have everything we need to be gods in human form—to be enlightened human beings—with the four chunpis and other energetic aspects and structures of our poq’po as they are now. We have:
The Inka Seed
The Inka Seed, the energetic structure that connects us to who we really are: each of us is a unique expression of God (First Cause, Great Mystery, whatever you want to call it). The Inka Seed is the repository of the energy of future potential as fully enlightened beings. Also within our Inka Seed are all the capacities we need to express and live our unique life mission as human beings here on Earth in the physical. We don’t need anything more. We just need to develop consciously what is already within us. Our evolution is not dependent on forming new energetic structures, but on developing the consciousness to connect to and express what is already energetically part of us, especially in the Inka Seed.
The Three Worlds
The three worlds are both in the natural world and within our poq’po. There is the hanaqpacha, kaypacha and ukhupacha of the natural world, and there are the same three worlds within your bubble: the personal hanaqpacha is above your head but within your bubble, the personal kaypacha goes from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, and the personal ukhupacha extends from just under to your feet to the lower inside of your bubble. The entire expanse of being is both within and without you.
The Three Human Powers
The three human powers provide everything we need for our humanness: yachay (the mind: intellect, knowing, reason), llank’ay (the physical body through which we take action, the ability to put intentions into action in the world), and munay (feelings, including love, that we can learn to bring under our will and express through our choice). This is where the chunpis come in.
The Four Chunpis
Chunpi means “belt,” and once we go through the Chunpi Away karpay to weave the belts into our poq’pos, or energy bodies, we have everything we need to realize our enlightened selves. The four belts encode capacities that arise when we learn to harmonize and use the three human powers. When we do that, then we can consciously express our mystical powers. Compared to our mundane capacities, these mystical capacities appear to be supernatural capacities. But, really, they are not. They are our natural capacities, those already energetically encoded within us, only heightened because of our conscious evolution, which depends on releasing hucha so that our poq’po is mostly sami and thus is more harmoniously and energetically coherent.
When we develop our yachay, we can access the capacity of qaway (mystical knowing) at the three eyes and rimay (thought that expresses itself with integrity) at the throat (the silver belt). When we develop our munay, we activate our capacity for kanay at the gold belt at the chest level, which is our capacity to know who we really are and our capacity to be enlightened beings and live that enlightenment. When we develop our llank’ay, we activate the mystical capacities of khuyay and atiy at the red belt at the belly and the black belt at the bottom of the trunk of our body, respectively. Expressing our khuyay means we live with personal power and through passionate engagement. Expressing atiy means we can measure our personal power and the timing of our actions to act more successfully more of the time, and we bring our emotions and impulses under the conscious guidance of our will.
More perfectly harmonizing and expressing our three human powers and these mystical capacities encoded in the chunpis is what raises us to the level of superhumans, or what we call enlightened beings. I tell stories (real occurrences) about the use of the capacities of the chunpis that appear to be superhuman. But they are not. They are what is possible for each of us, our natural capacities when we have achieved harmony in the expression and use of our three human powers and the mystical capacities of the four chunpis.
Everything we need to express our full, grand humanness (and mystical humanness) is already present in our four chunpis. There is no need for more chunpis.
Ñawi literally translates to mystical “eye.” There are seven primary “eyes.” Each of the four chunpis has a ñawi. Then there are the two physical eyes and the seventh eye (roughly at the center of the forehead; in other traditions called the third eye. ) There are also five secondary “eyes,” but they are more accurately considered energy centers and not technically ñawis. They are the uma at the top of the head, the two makis (one in each palm) and two chakis (one in the sole of each foot)
Although we call these “eyes,” they are about more than vision. They are about perceptual knowing. They are full mystical perceptual organs/centers, through which you can energetically “see,” “taste,” “touch,” “smell” and “understand.” They also go beyond the physical senses to the mystical senses, heightening your three human powers of yachay, munay, and llank’ay. And through them you can throw seqes (cords of energy) to connect with anything and everything, from the tiniest insect to the most distant star.
There is more to say, but I think these explanations suffice to demonstrate that, according this this tradition, there is nothing more we need to express ourselves as gods while in the human form. I respectfully submit that we don’t need seven or twelve belts (chunpis). We don’t need chakras. We don’t need twelve energetic bodies (physical body, mental, emotional, astral and so on), which is a philosophy that comes from Theosophy and other traditions, but not the Andes. We need only use what we already have according to the old masters of these two lineages. Everything is possible with the three human powers and the capacities of the four chunpis.
Let me end by using an analogy that seems helpful to my students. I ask them, “Why complicate things?” The Andean mystical tradition is one of the only traditions I know of that strips things down to their essence instead of inflating things with layers and layers of philosophy. I think of the Andean tradition as a science of energy that reveals the simple beauty of the most fundamental laws of who we are and the natural world we are part of. When scientists, particularly mathematicians, are seeking the fundamental laws of nature, things are very complex when they start. Their white boards are filled to overflowing with complex equations. But then they finally have the eureka moment—when they discover the law of nature—and they find they can express that law in incredibly simple terms. The wall of dense equations becomes e = mc2 or F = ma. Of course, that is not always true, but you get my point. Why complicate the beauty, grace and simplicity of the Andean tradition with overlays of philosophy from other traditions, such as Hinduism? It isn’t necessary, and, in fact, it can prevent you from developing as quickly. When you think you need to evolve more energetic capacities or mystical organs in some future time, you see yourself as incomplete in the here and now. That is not what the old paqos tell us or teach us. We are complete already. We only need to do the (hard) work of bringing to consciousness all that we are and increasing our energetic coherence to use what we already have.
(Note: For another blog post about the chunpis, see “Chunpis and the Art of Being,” November 27, 2017.)