A Paqo’s Response to Covid-19

What’s been your response to the turmoil and anxiety—if that is indeed how you feel or how you discern others are feeling—in the world, in your country, in your community in response to Covid-19? What’s been the response of those closest to you? Of your leaders?

It’s important to examine our responses because our outer behavior reflects our covid 19 imageinner state. I suspect that you, like me, are seeing or experiencing three general varieties of response. One view is, “What’s the big deal? Not my problem. I’m not changing how I live my life.” Another is, “Stay six feet away, because you are a threat to my well-being. What if I get sick and I can’t get a test or a hospital bed or a ventilator if I need one?” A third is, “Take care of yourself and I will take care of myself. Let me know how I can help, and I will call on you if I need help. We are all in this together.”

Those of you who know the seven levels of consciousness, as passed on from don Benito Qoriwaman through don Juan Nuñez del Prado, will recognize the characteristics of the second, third and fourth levels in the responses above. Of course, there are a host of other responses, but it is probable that the majority of the responses you are witnessing fall into these three common levels of awareness. (For a brief overview of the levels, see my “Birds of Consciousness” post of May 11, 2016.)

By discerning how people we know and others we hear about on the news are reacting—and how we ourselves are feeling—we can tease out opportunities for growth to the fourth level in the midst of this pandemic. Here are some perspectives from which we can view Covid-19 based on the Andean path, and offered not as a teaching but as food for thought.

We recognize that we are yanantin beings: we are both physical and energetic beings. We are not either-or, but both-and. In the physical world we are subject to the vagaries of germs and viruses, of our own immune system, of our habits for or against health, of the near impossibility of controlling our environment. We cede the need for control while respecting our ability to influence our own and others’ health. We don’t succumb to fear but use commonsense to do what we can to slow or stop the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and others healthy.

As energetic beings we use our tools. We continue our daily saminchakuy, and we add in occasional saiwachakuy to empower ourselves and strengthen our energetic IMG_4436 compressedand physical immune systems. We can use hucha miqhuy to reduce the fear or anxiety we experience or that is being experienced by those we love or care about. We can send sami to our leaders, from our town mayor to our president to other decision makers. We can send sami to the first responders, from EMTs and pharmacists to nurses, doctors, and the other health professionals on the front lines of our health care systems. We can send sami to those who support our sustenance and well-being while we are under “stay at home” orders, from the grocery store clerks to the restaurateurs who are making food for pick up or delivery to the people still picking up our trash and the employees still processing our health insurance and other claims. We can send sami to the volunteers who are making masks on their home sewing machines, the companies retooling their plants to provide protective gear, and the artists of all stripes who are posting songs, comedy routines and the like online to boost our spirits.

As paqos, we are not idle during our “down time,” but participators.

We can use this down time to lift ourselves and others up. The one thing the hustle and bustle of normal daily life squelches in many of us is the energy for creativity. This is a time for qaway and khuyay: being present in the moment and seeing reality as it really is, and for engaging with munay and passion. You can go online to see funny mask covidvideos of the many ways people are marshaling their compassion and creativity to say, “We are all in this together. I see you. You see me.” Italians singing from their balconies. American nurses in non-Covid wards waving and making funny faces and fashioning their hands into heart symbols through the closed glass doors to their colleagues in the sealed-off Covid-19 wards. The children writing letters and drawing pictures of appreciation to their teachers, local health professionals, first responders, and others. A son talking by phone on one side of a window to his grandmother on the other side. The neighbors of a cul de sac standing at the end of their driveways with their kids, each family group separate by together saying the Pledge of Allegiance before they start their home-schooling day.

We can do a gratitude inventory, giving thanks that we have homes to go to, water and food to sustain us, family and friends to support us, books and movies to amuse and educate us. That most of us have freedom of speech to speak out and stand up, that we are not subject to government censoring of our tweets and online posts, that while we are being asked to curtail our movement and act responsibly to “flatten the curve” of contagion, we are not giving up our human rights, and on and on. We can reflect on how we might have come to take our comforts for granted. How we might have become complacent, or even lazy, in our mindfulness of our bounty and well-being. Years ago I saw a sign in the front yard of a church in rural North Carolina that brought my own complacency, lack of gratitude, and even sense of entitlement to the forefront of my awareness, and caused me to change both my thinking and my behavior: “There are millions of people praying for what you take for granted.” When you really stop and take that truth to heart, you may feel prompted to make the most gratitude-filled despacho of your life!

There are all kinds of ways we can make this time of outward slowing down and even self-isolation a useful period of active flowering and expansion, both within ourselves and among our communities. For most of us, in this age of smart phones, tablets, and other electronics, there is no such thing as isolation. And for paqos, there is no such thing as not knowing what to do!

Paqos and Coronavirus

corona virus spread mapThe COVID-19 coronavirus is at pandemic proportions, and while I hope we are all dealing with it calmly and sensibly at a human level, we as paqos have a role to play at an energetic level as well. As the paqos of old have told us, we have a responsibility to use our tools to increase the well-being of ourselves and others. And so it is with this responsibility in mind that I post now about what we as paqos can do.

My primary teacher, don Juan Nuñez del Prado, has posted information about how to work the energy of the virus. I am pasting that posting in here. However, I have received emails from several students and others about efforts they are undertaking to help reduce the power of the virus. Hats off to them for being proactive. However, I have a few things to say about those efforts that may be instructive, at least in relation to how I learned and teach the tradition. I will comment at the end of this post.

Our tools are, of course, saminchakuy, saiwachakuy, and hucha miqhuy. Don Juan explains how we can use these (using his personal spelling of terms and only slightly editing):

“To my paqos colleagues:

“On the occasion of the ongoing epidemic, chains of prayer and meditation are beingcorona virus image 1 organized to help control it. Of course we can join their intentions and practices. According to tradition, at the end of the 19th century, don Garibilu Quispe, one of the founders of our spiritual lineage, used the practices of the Andean spiritual arts to counteract an epidemic of smallpox, which occurred in Peru at that time. In the current circumstances, we can use the basic practices of our art for similar purposes, as follows:

“Saminchakuy: Using your intention, make the living energy—kausay—flow from top to bottom and through the generated flow offer Pachamama—the cosmic mother—as food the energy of the virus and the heavy energy of the epidemic.

“Saywachakuy: Using your intention, make flow the living energy of the earth, from the bottom up, with the intention of strengthening your immune system [or the immune systems of others].

“Juchamijuy: Using your intention, attract to your qosqo—energy center of the navel—the heavy energy of the people of your family or intimate group to support and strengthen them, and with the power of this center digest it [their hucha]. Extract from it fine energy [sami] and incorporate that into your energy field and discard the heaviest energy, offering it as food to the earth.”

Of course, you can follow don Juan’s advice working as a group as well as individually. For those of you who have shared your group work with me, I would like to respectfully offer the following comment: keep it simple! I mention this because some of the practices people have proposed in the emails are quite elaborate indeed! Remember, as paqos we never want to waste our energy. So, we always use the simplest, most efficient practice first. And we repeat that practice and give it time to work. Only then, if there is not a good effect, do we increase the complexity of our practice. But that increase is incremental, adding in only what is absolutely necessary to try to produce the effect we are seeking.

Individually and together, we can do our part as paqos to “work” our energies to reduce the impact of or even stop the spread and effects of the coronavirus. Please join us.

Working the Three Uppermost Ñawis

Recently I was emailing with a student of the tradition and he asked about the three mystical eye imagistic compressed Pixabay -1228968_1920uppermost ñawis, or mystical eyes, saying that these were the three ñawis he least understood how to use. Our discussion prompted this post. However, I alert readers that this material is advanced knowledge and will only make sense if you have taken the training through don Juan Nuñez del Prado and his lineage or from his well-trained students, and only if you have had the Ñawi K’ichay and Chunpi Away karpay. Also, I recently emailed with don Juan about this and I will quote from him directly, as you are better off hearing the teaching from him when you get the chance than from me!

Before I get into this, let me call out the Quechua words so I don’t have to keep interrupting the flow of sentences to translate and define. Qanchis means seven, soqta means six, and pisqa means five. Phaña/paña means right and lloq’e means left. Yachay is knowledge, munay love under your will, and llank’ay the ability to take action. Chunpi is a belt of power, of which there are four, and ñawi is a mystical eye, of which there are seven. Poq’po is your energy body, the bubble of energy around and interpenetrating your physical body. A saiwa is a column of energy and a seqe is a cord or stream of energy. Yanantin refers to the dichotomous or complementary nature of “dissimilar” energies, such as light and heavy, sun and moon, up and down, etc. A hapu/japu is the perfect harmonization of yanantin energies.

So let us now get to the three eyes. The three uppermost mystical eyes are the seventh eye in the middle of your forehead, called the qanchis ñawis, and the two physical eyes (right, or paña ñawi, and the left, or lloq’e ñawi ). Juan explains that the seventh eye “perceives the metaphysical world: visions, visualizations, dreams, imaginations, nature spirits, supernatural beings, bubbles [poq’pos], saiwas, seqes” and more. The two physical eyes perceive the material world, but each through the lens of one specific human power. The right eye is considered the sixth eye and, as Juan says, “perceives physical reality, but from the perspective of its rationality (yachay).”  The fifth eye is the left eye, which also “perceives physical reality, but from the perspective of its practicality (llank’ay).”

The capacity of the seventh eye is qaway, or mystical vision, but I also have come to think of qaway as the synthesized perception we achieve by using these three eyes together. If we can see through all three upper eyes simultaneously, we can develop the abilities of the seer, the one who views both worlds as a yanantin, as the complementarity of these two different aspects of reality (the energetic and the material).

If you are “working” only one view—the purely energetic or the purely physical—you are leaving half of yourself unexplored and undeveloped. As a matter of fact, each of us is receiving input all the time through all three eyes, but we tend to process the signals separately. Most of us predominantly process input from the fifth and sixth (physical) eyes, and only occasionally, perhaps during ceremony or while using an energy technique, are aware of input from the seventh eye. But if you can simultaneously process the input from all three eyes, you can eventually achieve a japu, a perfect harmonization of the two views of reality.

You are already “wired” to do so. Each of these three uppermost ñawis has an energetic cord, or seqe, that runs from it back into the skull, joining together into a single seqe in the middle inside of the head. That single seqe then runs into the top of the spinal column, joining these three eyes as a unit with your nervous system and linking them to all the other ñawis. So you have the capacity wired into you to see holistically by taking in and processing input from all three eyes at once.

In Rumi’s poem “Wetness and Water,” he writes, “Your boundaries are your quest.” How true! How are we bound by lack of clear-seeing? What do we miss when we develop only one aspect of our processing capacities, overemphasizing the physical senses at the expense of our metaphysical senses? To begin to develop the integration of the views provided by our three uppermost eyes, we have to know our kaypay—our stage of development of personal power at the current moment. We have to know, clearly and deliberately, our starting point. That means, as I always stress to my students, as you do energy work you have start from right where you are and in the exact psychological and energetic condition you are right now. Wishful thinking about your capacity to use your powers gets you nowhere. So, it is wise to be realistic about how well you are using your personal power, the three human powers, your ñawis, and your other mystical and energetic capacities. When you find room for improvement, the solution is to diligently practice your energy techniques.

Don Juan explains, “Your basic powers are munay, yachay, and llank’ay. Other powers are phaña (right), lloq’e (left), and chaupi (middle)—these are the three [uppermost] eyes. These basic human powers are ways of tuning energy: the right side through knowledge, the left through action, and the middle through love—with the seventh eye as the chaupi.” The seventh eye as chaupi is the integration point, where we synthesize our powers and perceptions.

However, we tend to be like the three bears in the kids’ story: we are “too big” (overdeveloped) in one capacity, just right in another, and “too small” (underdeveloped) in a third. The same goes for our qaway. Most of us are overdeveloped in seeing the physical world using our five senses, with an emphasis for most of us on sight/the visual. We tend to be undeveloped in sensing or perceiving the energetic aspect of our world. Or, if we are sensing through our seventh eye, we can be distorting what we see because of our projection of story, belief, judgment, ego, wishful thinking, and so on. That’s why I believe a sober self-assessment is necessary and beneficial. When we understand our own state of development, we will better know which ñawis and which of our powers need our Toward Digital thoughtattention and work.

To my mind, the attainment of qaway by integrating the perceptual views of the three uppermost eyes is like discovering the “Theory of Everything” that physicists are on the hunt for—the harmonization of Newtonian and quantum physics. There is some “third” reality that is the complement of the differences (a japu) of our yanantin energetic and physical reality. This is the reality known by the “seer,” or the qawaq.

Our training in the three aspects of the path—the paña, chaupi, and lloq’e work—provides us the means of taking action toward this harmonization of the self, with particular attention paid to the left-side practices. As don Juan reminds us, the three uppermost eyes are “cleaned and activated deeply by the initiation of the left side [don Melchor’s work] that includes a water initiation (Unu Karpay) and a succession of seven saminchakuys that are accompanied by a series of power actions [involving the exercises we do] with qaway, rimay, kanay, munay, tusuy, atiy and tarpuy.” After these seven practices, we conclude the left-side work with “four saiwachakuys, which are plastic manifestations of the kawsay—living energy; this involves working with the mallki, qanchis poq’po, tawantin and amaru. Plastic manifestation refers to modeling kawsay by intention and giving it a specific [energetic] form, for example as a mallki—a tree.  Sometimes the plastic [energetic] manifestation can be seen not only by the practitioner, but by other people.”

Some of our chaupi work also is especially relevant to the development of our qaway ability. I had asked don Juan specifically about the energy tuning practice of looping energy through the inside of the head (work we learn to do in the chaupi section of training, which is the work of don Andres Espinosa). He had previously mentioned to me that this looping process can provide a deep release of hucha. And that we can specifically deeply release hucha from our personal past while doing it! When I asked him to explain more, he offered the following explanation.

“It seems that around the head there is a small circular energy field—a little poq’po inside the [overall larger] poq’po. The energy is very concentrated there, and if one focuses his intention, he can use it as a kind of motor for the [looping] exercise. When this happens, the small field rotates as a kind of mill that extracts hucha. Of course this hucha comes primarily from the head of the practitioner, but by intention it can be made to be of the whole body, or of the [personal] present or of the [personal] past, or of the three eyes that are in the head [ the two physical eyes and the seventh eye]. But it depends on the intention of the operator. One consequence [meaning, one effect] is the property of the small field, but another is the will of the operator.  You can intend to move the energy in many ways through this looping flow: between two people, to clean your three upper eyes, to clean the energy of a client’s poq’po or body, to clean your personal past, and so on.”

I predominantly use the looping energy flow to tune energy, especially for healing. So I was surprised and delighted to learn about this “small circular energy field” around the head and how to use it. After more than twenty years on this path, I am always learning more . . . and I am happy to pass on this information to you.

Yet beyond this kind of specific information, don Juan’s explanation reminds us that as a paqo you are like an artist, applying your knowledge in artful ways to achieve Abstract Red Yellow Fractal Flowersyour desired goal. The same practice that helps you develop your qaway ability, to deeply cleanse the three eyes so you can more fully and comprehensively “see” reality as it really is, also can be used for many other ends. With each conversation I have with don Juan, and with his son don Ivan, I marvel at how my understanding of our work deepens, and I further appreciate how it is indeed a sacred art. While this post has focused on the three upper eyes, the information applies to how we work with our entire poq’po and use each of our practices. Speaking only for myself, practicing in an “artful” way deepens my absorption in the practice and, usually, improves the result I achieve. The same can be true for you.

Update on the Chunpis and Ñawis

Whenever I spend time with my primary teacher, don Juan Núñez del Prado, I always learn something new or refine my knowledge of our practices and cosmovision. When last with him in Peru, we talked about the energetic anatomy, particularly the chunpis and ñawis (the energetic belts and the mystical eyes), and I am now updating my past students, and others interested in this subject.

Below, I am going to call out the important clarifications for past students, providing refinements to the points we talked about in class.

  The chunpis, or energetic belts, are temporary unless you continually work with them, but they do not interpenetrate the physical body. They are on the surface of the poq’po, or energy body, and are not considered part of the energetic anatomy. The ñawis, in contrast, are a permanent part of our energetic anatomy. They do penetrate from the poq’po through the physical body. You know that each is a three-dimensional structure, shaped like a sideways cone, with the opening or eye at the surface of the poq’po and the root or point of the cone touching the physical body (the spine for all but the siki ñawi, where the root touches the inside of the pubic bone at the front of the body).

  As you know, we perform the Chunpi Away karpay to weave the belts into place and to awaken the mystical eyes, the ñawis, which is the Ñawi K’ichay karpay. However, the deeper purpose of weaving the belts is that they connect or “wire” up the ñawis so that they are all linked. This turns what were isolated perceptual centers/eyes into an interconnected system. This is the primary importance of the chunpis, as linking fields of energy so that your perception through the ñawis, if you refine it, can be more holistic and systemic.

  The capacities such as atiy, khuyay, rimay and qaway are associated with the the ñawis, not with the chunpis.

  Once you have linked up the ñawis by weaving the belts, you are able to move energy in more efficient and direct ways that can improve your ability to handle that energy, to increase your perceptual awareness, and to evolve your own consciousness more easily. For example, where previously (before weaving the belts and thus connecting up the mystical eyes) if you felt the sudden punch of an impulsive energy, you would have had to deal with it only in the realm of one eye, say the siki ñawi, which would have limited your range of possible perceptions and actions. Once you have linked up the eyes by weaving the belts, however, that impulse can be moved up through one or more of the other ñawis, thereby refining your possible responses.

Let me provide an example. Let’s say someone says something to you that triggers an unconscious response and you feel an immediate and impulsive charge to lash out verbally at the other person. If your ñawis are not connected by weaving the chunpis, then that impulse stays in the area of the lower eye and you have only the resources available at the siki ñawi to modulate your response. But if you can move that energy up to the sonqo ñawi, because the ñawis are now all wired up together and so there is a pathway through which that energy can move up, you can modulate your response through your feelings, especially through munay, the choice for love. As the energy of the impulse rises to the sonqo ñawi and you give yourself a few milliseconds to realize that you can have some control (make a choice) about how to respond to the punch of the impulse’s energy, you can use the perception of this ñawi to refine your response. Instead of lashing out verbally, in an eye-for-an-eye kind of energy (no pun intended!) toward the person you feel has verbally offended you, you can choose to bring a measure of love, peace, and calm to your response. This prevents the creation of hucha.

You can move the energy up further, from the sonqo ñawi to the kunka ñawi at the throat and put rimay into play, choosing now to actually reply verbally with less rancor and more reason, in a way that won’t cause hucha. You can even choose to not use this rimay capacity: to let the impulse to lash out pass and not respond verbally at all.

As you can see, by having a perceptual system that is fully wired together, you have all kinds of perceptual options and actions available to you that you do not have when your ñawis remain more isolated or unconnected.

  The pukyu not only is the point at which your spirit and soul leave your body upon physical death, but is the energy point through which you are always connected to Taytanchis (God) and the flow of kawsay. Kawsay/Sami is always flowing into you through the pukyu and down to our Inka Seed, empowering you.

♦  The teqse apukuna (universal spirit beings) are not associated with the chunpis themselves, but with the ñawis. They are not elements, but universal spirit beings.

  There are a few refinements to the Chunpi Away and Ñawi K’ichay karpays, but this is not the place to try to detail them. Generally however, the chunpi paqo does most of the work. When I teach online, I have students participate more fully to more deeply engage them in the process since we not physically together to experience the karpays. However, one point I do want to stress is that when you move from weaving one belt to the next, you pull a seqe (cord) of the energy of the lower belt up to the higher center. Then you change the khuya, and it is the khuya itself that is emitting the color/energy to make the next belt.

For example, after making the yana chunpi (black belt), you would move the “two” khuya (yanantin khuya) up to the qosqo, but as you do, you pull up a stream of the black energy to the the qosqo ñawi. Then you change to the “three” khuya (kinsantin khuya) and that khuya itself is emitting the energy (color/frequency) by which you as chunpi paqo weave the belt. So the “three” khuya would be placed on the qosqo ñawi, emitting the red energy, and you would use that red energy to weave the puka chunpi (red belt). And so on with the same type of process to weave the remaining belts.

I suggest that those of you who have studied with me make notes on your handouts to reflect these important refinements to your knowledge.

A Poem for Paqos

This poem was sent to me by a former student, Denise Covarrubias, who also sent her sensitive and thoughtful translation. However, I have edited that translation using my own judgment and understanding, and with the help of Spanish translation Andean old woman compressed and cropped indigenous-609479_1920software. There is no known title, nor is the author known. (The line breaks may differ depending on how you are viewing it.)

This is a poem of teaching that I believe all paqos will find enlightening and restorative. In our way of walking the path, we know, however, that we must learn to do this healing work ourselves, rather than rely on others, even a wise old woman. Still, this is a beautiful message to launch us into the new year, and I hope it touches you heart and soul.

The wise old woman said:

If you come to me as a victim, I will not support you.
But I will have the courage to walk with you through the pain you are suffering.
I will put you to the fire, I will strip you, and I will sit you on the earth.
I will bathe you with herbs, purge you, and vomit the anger and darkness inside you.
I will strike your body with healing herbs, and place you on the grass, looking up to the sky.
I will blow into your forehead to scare away the thoughts that cloud your vision.
I will blow into your throat to untie the knot that won’t let you speak.
I will blow into your heart to chase away the fear, so that it goes so far away it can never again find you.
I will blow into your solar plexus to extinguish the hell-fire within you, and you will
know peace.
I will blow with fire into your belly to burn away attachments, the love that was not.
I will blow away the lovers who left you, the children that never were.
I will blow into your heart to warm you, to rekindle your desire to feel, create, and begin again.
I will blow with force into your energy centers to clean the sexual door of your soul.
I will throw away the garbage you collected trying to love what did not want to be loved.
I will use a broom, sponge, and rag to safely clean all the bitterness inside you.
I will blow on your hands to destroy the bonds that prevent you from creating.
I will blow on your feet to remove the dust and erase the memories of the tracks, so that you can never return to that bad place.
I will turn your body over so your face will kiss the earth.
I will blow on your spinal column from root to neck to increase your strength and
help you walk upright.
And I will let you rest.
After this you will cry, and after crying you will sleep.
And you will dream beautiful and meaningful dreams.
And when you wake up, I will be waiting for you.
I will smile at you, and you will smile back.
I will offer you food, and you will eat with pleasure, savoring life, and I will thank you.
Because what I am offering you today, I was once offered, when the darkness lived
in me.
And after I was healed, I felt the darkness leave,
And I cried.