In 2003 I made a vision quest along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the homeland of the ancient Incas in the Andean Mountains of Peru and Bolivia. As a disclosure, I received an unknown symbol, while I was meditating on the insights presented to me during the trip.
I baptized the symbol' Munay.'
Munay is a word that comes from the Inca cosmology, and it means love. It can also be translated as "The will to love," because munay has the power of the will and the softness of love in it.
Munay refers to an inner attitude and a particular view of life. Munay is about taking a firm decision and one's responsibility.
his poem accompanies the symbol and gives meaning to it. It was whispered to me while I was meditating.
the gift is for you
the gift of life is yours
live it as a dream
a dream in which you can choose
between love or fear and pain
yet there is only love
this is the real gift
all people are one
connected with everything
everyone is an essential part of the whole
you are the dreamer and the dream
yet there is only love
My name is Jessica Bredero. I am "Munay Willaq," "Voice of Munay." In what follows I tell you my story.
In 1958 I was born in a small village in the south of the Netherlands.
For as long as I remember, I felt that my life was not just about me, and I thought living was about feeling good.
Sadly my last assumption turned out to be wrong. Although I had a good childhood and loving parents, I grew up in a world where friends sometimes played unfairly, and my joy of life could annoy my father and mother. Also, school was a place where only a child's brain was trained, and the qualities of the heart got no attention. All this caused me considerable uncertainty and self-doubt.
My response to this made me ashamed of myself. My self-doubt made me to think there was something wrong about me, and I tried to behave 'normally.' While trying this, it was as if 'another me' took over and I treated others the same way that hurt me. Much later I learned that this 'other me' is called ego and everybody has to find a way to deal with it.
I tucked my shame and other bad feelings about myself in the designated hiding place in my psyche, which I named 'Corner for annoying things.'
By calling them annoying, I tried to minimize the impact of things I could not cope with. For many years this strategy functioned reasonably well.
However, it did not take long before every now and then, I suffered from little shame attacks. Those often came out of the blue and could occur on a perfectly ordinary day. In those moments, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by shame, and was absolutely convinced that I had done something wrong. Although I had no clue what that bad thing would be, after all, it was an ordinary day.
Touches of Love
Besides my 'Corner for annoying things,' I also had a 'Corner for nice things.' This treasury contained memories like the Maria processions of our village. During such a march, we walked through the sloping farmland while singing and praying to the Mother of Christ. Often, I felt intimately connected to God's wonderful world and the beautiful landscape surrounding me, and I was aware of his love for me.
I discovered that this feeling could also occur when I was alone in the meadow outside our village. I started going there after the sadness about the incomprehensible reactions to my impulsive behaviour became too much for me. When I laid myself down, it could happen that I felt touched by something much bigger than myself. In this touch, I could relax completely, and as a matter of course, all my confusion disappeared. It felt as if the swaying grass, the smell of the flowers and the bright sunlight 'separated' me from my body, and I was like a kite dancing in the blue sky. At the other end of the kite rope, the world was full of Love, and I felt accepted as I was.
Often I wished I had a magic wand that would bring everyone I touched to this loving world. I also wished for a wand, because the world of Light seemed to have a will of its own and I was sure if it was there when needed.
In 1971 we moved to the Caribbean island Curacao. In 1972, we spent our summer holiday in Colombia, which was not that far away from our little island. We went there because my father had heard rumours about archaeological excavations in the high mountains of the Andes, near a small village called San Augustin. In the surroundings of that community, temple ruins of an unknown origin were discovered. The stories stimulated both my father's curiosity and his love of adventure.
After a tiresome journey, we arrived in San Augustin. Once we got used to the altitude, we made a day trip to the plateau with the most important finds, called Alto de los Idolos (Height of the Giants). Of course, we immediately went to explore the location and what we saw was spectacular.
We were standing on a vast plateau above a wide valley, surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Andean highlands. Huge stone blocks laid scattered around the terrain. Some of them stood slightly erect and had figures carved into them. In many of those ancient sculptures, we recognized human and animals figures.
I looked around curiously, and wandered off from my family.
All of a sudden, it was as if I stepped through a veil into another world on another plateau. Overlooking the valley, I felt a strange, gentle excitement coming over me and instantly, I knew:
'I am standing on my own grave.'
Simultaneously with this knowledge, I felt my body change. It was as if I became an adult woman dressed in a ceremonial robe with a feather headdress. My white skin turned into brown. The power of this appearance got hold of me.
At the same time, I 'saw' that in my heart (was it my heart?) the gates of heaven opened, and the Light of Love radiated outward. This Light flooded the whole world and in return, let everything drift inside. It was the Light I knew from the kite-rope, and it was not just meant for me, but for all people in the world.
All countries, cities, and races drifted into this light of Love. Fear and pain were not resistant to it and automatically fell apart and disappeared. Everything that remained was accepted with gratitude and without judgment.
All I had to do was opening myself and breath.
I could not recall how long I had been in this state, but after a while, I heard the voices of my relatives, and I started looking for them.
The epiphany that I was standing on my grave, and the picture shown to me was amazingly clear and reassuring. I heartfelt it profound truth, even though at that time, I had no idea what it was about. I promised myself; 'When I am grown up, I will return.'
Of course, this experience I also carefully preserved in my particular 'Corner for nice things.'
It would take years before I was mature enough to go back.
Light and dark, good and bad
After the profound experience in Colombia, it became quiet in that regard. As if growing up laid a layer of dust over the 'Corner for nice things.' The world at the other end of the kite rope seemed lost forever. Until my firstborn was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Right from the start, I knew that he would not survive, and this would change my life beyond my imagination. All this turned out to be true.
I cannot deny that the grief about my son robbed me from all my energy. I felt as if a part of my heart was amputated. In the end, I was so exhausted that some doctor even suspected me to have leukaemia myself. This was not the case. However, there something else to it; it seemed that my exhaustion blew away all the collected dust in one thorough swoop.
In effect, my treasure box was in plain sight and wide open, and suddenly, I could see angels surrounding my son. And at his deathbed, I saw the Light of Love that I knew so well, enveloping and caressing my child. That comforted me more than any person could have done.
Shortly after Bart's funeral, something happened to me that was similar to a Near Death Experience. It happened like this:
On a weekday morning, while I was tidying up the breakfast table, I heard a voice inviting me to sit down. I thought I could trust this voice, and after I installed myself on the couch, I closed my eyes in anticipation of what would happen.
Not long after that, I felt as if falling through a dark tunnel. Being there was a daring thing, but at the end of it, I saw the Light of Love I had seen before. In that wonderful light, I was welcome to rest, and all my stress, self-doubt and fear of the future disappeared. I was utterly my true self, and there was no judgment about me.
After some incredible moments, I heard the voice saying: "It is time to go back." On my way back, the Light of Love accompanied me, and the tunnel was not so daring anymore.
In retrospect, it seemed to me that I had been in the 'Hand of God.' Although I had no idea who, what or where that should be. Being in that comforting, loving Light, I knew that God was and will always be there. Not only for me, but for all people of the world. In the hand of God I realized we have been away from God, and he has never left us on our own.
Experts state that it can take years to integrate an NDE in one's ordinary life. It took me more than a decade.
Back to the Andes
Bart's passing and had disrupted our lives totally, and not long after I divorced. Strangely enough, next to all my loss and grief, these events had brought my treasure box back in sight, and I began to think of my childhood promise.
More than a year later, I went back to the Andes. Due to the terror of the FARC Colombia was a no-go area. Instead, I journeyed to Lake Titicaca in the high mountains on the border of Peru and Bolivia. I hoped that during the trip I could unwind a bit, as if it were a long stay at the other end of the kite rope. But that was not meant to be, because on the day of my arrival, it became clear that my trip would have a theme; dealing with life's dynamics and finding balance.
Besides, Titicaca turned out not to be just any lake because as "Lady Titicaca" she was my travel guide. She spoke with me, gave me assignments and insights on the journey's theme.
In the nineteen days of my stay at Titicaca angels spoke to me, I heard the soothing sound of Mother Earth, was blessed by the ruins of Tiahuanaco and in a mysterious way came in contact with the people who helped me to do what had to be done.
However, not everything Titicaca presented to me was friendly or pleasant. In a horrible way, she let me know what pain and fear in this world really mean. She did so by making me feel what it was like to live as a mother in a war zone. The fear I felt was indescribable.
At the same instant, I was aware of the deep hurt of the warriors. They were utterly confused, had lost all capability to compassion, and were totally out of balance because of the war they were fighting.
It was heartfelt that war is a gigantic ego clash, a difference in opinion that entirely got out of hand. Moreover, war has no heroes but only victims. It robs women and men of their dignity and promotes hatred instead of love.
The whole war experience made me nauseously and shiver to the bone for the rest of the day. To free myself from the fear, I had to cleanse myself in the icy water of the lake. On a small beach, Lady Titicaca spoke to me with the following words:
"Indeed, Jessica, I am cold, and that is good. Your society is overheated. You don't allow it to cool down. It is time to admit me to your world".
After hearing the words, I suddenly saw myself running through a big city with a bucket full of ice-cold fire extinguishing water, trying to stop the raging fire.
During the journey, the phenomena, appearances, and experiences alternated at a rapid pace, this utterly confused me. I could not think of any reason why this happened to me, being a mourning mother. At the same time, I knew that Titicaca acted with high efficiency and precision
From the demanding journey, I came home sick. Besides, I was annoyed by the fact that the trip that had been very confusing indeed. Moreover, everything seemed so meaningless and totally missing the point because my ordinary life was still in ruins.
A few weeks after returning home, I was meditating as usual. Suddenly the Munay symbol appeared before my mind's eye. It was presented as a postcard; a card from someone who says hello to you from a distant vacation paradise. The poem came to me a few years later.
I didn't recognize the symbol, and I was merely confronted with it and its request. Once again, I thought timing was not the best skill of Lady Titicaca. It would have helped me more if I had received clear instructions for redesigning my life.
If I was honest, the symbol left me behind with contradicting feelings; it made me happy that Lady Titicaca had not forgotten me, yet, another part of me was still struggling with all that happened in the two years before and not ready for something like a spiritual assignment.
Thanks to my severe training in dealing with mixed feelings, I succeeded to tuck away my frustration about the whole thing once more. However, I made some attempts to meet the request of the symbol, but they caused me more stress than anything else.
Years later, a period of tranquillity arrived, and life seemed to smile on me. I remarried, my partner and I had a lovely house, and we had nice friends.
This relaxed atmosphere was just what the content of my 'Corner for annoying things' had been waiting for, and with a loud blast, the locked door of it broke. The hidden emotions of grief and frustration had become overheated behind that closed door, and my unprocessed feelings were thrown out. Once again, I was nauseous, but I realized this time it was a fight in myself that caused it.
The Inca's in ancient Peru would have called the content of my 'Corner for annoying things' hucha. Hucha about frustration, the idea that you are not good enough. My little panic attacks were hucha. Old patterns and assumptions that block one's way to fulfilment are hucha. Hucha is pure energy that has become ballast. Every human being has to deal with hucha. We address hucha as the dark side of life.
After the door was unlocked, I was in a miserable state. In search for counsel, I found an experienced Jungian psychotherapist. In no time she got to the heart of my problem and told me briefly and concisely: "Your access to the spiritual world you call Light is clear, however, you have to learn to cope with the world of ordinary life.
This world is simply a place where dark and light coexist and egos develop and collide. That sometimes hurts, and sometimes not. However, fleeing to the other end of the kite rope does not make the hurt go away. You have to try to address everything that troubles you; that is the only way to know what you are dealing with. And only then you learn to handle them, and let them go. "
Gradually I began to understand what was going on; From the moment I left my cradle, I found myself in the human world. In this world growing up and thus the development of my ego, as well as the building of hucha began. I had tried to resisted the confusion this caused, and had made attempts to escape from the painful feelings and frustration, I now call hucha. I had tried to balance hucha by desperately clinging to the touches of Love. However, both worlds, the good and the bad, proved unpredictable and random. Both happiness and tears were feelings that come and go in everyone's life. In fact, they are life, and they shape it. There is no high without a low.
In therapy, I learned to accept my hucha as being a part of my life. A considerable part of my hucha was about the thought I was not good enough because as a kid, I annoyed my parents. My fear to feel the pain of my son's passing caused a lot of hucha. So did my assumption that divorcing made me a bad mother and person. Also, the constant disappearing of Light caused a lot of hucha too because I was ashamed of being unsuccessful in integrating it with my life. Needles to see that my constant self-doubt created a lot of hucha.
Facing my fears was not an easy process because old thoughts and patterns had caused a lot of pain and are very persistent. However, since it was clear to me that I had to really face everything and not try to hide any of it, there was no going back. I really longed to be free of my hucha, even when that meant I had to take full responsibility it. Something I found a huge challenge at first.
Taking responsibility also meant I had to develop an inner attitude in such a way that I was no longer considered myself being a victim of thoughts and events that can cause hucha. Besides, taking responsibility meant that every day, I had to choose whether to allow myself to experience hucha or to try to hold on to love. Regardless of what took place.
I practiced holding to love with discipline. That may sound strict, but it just meant that I had to do what it takes to feel good. Developing my will to choose for love and not for hucha, made me decide to baptize the symbol Munay, the will to love.
Eventually, it came clear to me that I was searching for forgiveness. I wanted to forgive myself my feelings of unworthiness and shame. Somehow, I realized that the Munay-symbol had something to do with that.
Over time, munay transformed the 'Corner for annoying things' in a room for love and compassion. Because forgiving hucha is as clearing a messy closet, and making room for something new.
The development of munay was the fire-extinguishing water that cooled the heat of my pain and anger; it showed me the way of forgiving.
Munay made it clear to me that the biggest obstacles on my way through life were my self-doubt and lack of belief in love. Although I had seen the Light quite a few times, I did not dare to accept it as mine.
In my process, I studied various ways to be free myself of hucha ballast. In the end, I found my way into a mental exercise that I named 'The munay technique.' It shows a way to forgiveness.
Practicing the munay-technique leads me to the experience at Alto de Los Idolos and the NDE. It opens my heart and shows me that the Gods love will be always there, not just for me but all people.
The munay-technique consists of some steps which I recognize in the symbol. Practicing munay goes as follows: I sit down in a quiet place and relax. When my breath becomes calm, I enter my heart, my home of love. Being secure in my heart, I open it and look at my world where good and bad always alternate. Out of my heart, I can look at the hucha in my life. Hucha is like a dark spot on my heart that hinders my Light of Love to shine. I pick a piece of hucha, acknowledge it belongs to me and it hinders me in feeling love, and then let that go. Because I let go of my grip, it can dissolve. This way, I clean up my hucha and make room for love.
After some time, I realized that by practicing forgiving and making room for compassion, I had cracked the code of the symbol. I was ready to share it with the world, as she requested.
Munay the symbol and the poem
Since ancient times the square symbolizes Earth with her four wind directions. Earth is both the planet we live on and the world we live in.
The heart of the Munay-symbol depicts the Love of the light with a spot of Hucha on it.
Black and white represent both the darkness and the light that we experience in our dual world. Every person must find her or his balance in an endless stream of alternating events and emotions that come and go.
In a lifetime, every person tries to reach the golden middle way, the diagonal in the symbol.
The two triangles represent the three pillars under a healthy relationship as Inca cosmology teaches: Equality, reciprocity, and the will to love.
The poem talks about choice. The choice is about clinging on to the dark Hucha of fear, sadness, and pain or choosing to let go of all that and hold on the light of Love.
Munay Willaq; my message, mission, my life
Sometime after my first journey to Lake Titicaca, I went back. In Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire in Peru, I was drawn to the Corincancha, the most important temple of that time. There I received my calling; Lady Titicaca instructed me to use my voice. From that time on, I am "Munay Willaq," Voice of Munay.
Munay Willaq is about interrelated matters.
-Since my calling, my voice can guide people to the heart of the munay-technique. This can be like standing at Alto de los Idolos, and this is often on a level of awareness one has never experienced before.
It happens to be that in connection with a group, the power of my voice increases to an even deeper level.
-In lectures, workshops and private counselling I explain about the Munay-symbol, and teach the Munay-technique
-Also, I consider it my responsibility to make the symbol and its message known to the world. However, I do not view on the symbol as being my property. It came from a source that is not mine, and it was given to me.
I am ever so grateful that I am not the only one who speaks and teaches forgiving, that I am not the only one who talks about love. Speakers of love come from everywhere. Some of them well know, many of them not. Now we all have a symbol which we can use with our work. Using a symbol which with a particular message makes it often much easier to communicate.
We, speakers of love, have all the same message; it is possible to change your view on life and regard yourself as a worthy member of the multifaceted family of humanity
For many people, it is hard to look at oneself this way, as I know from my own experience. We don't learn this at school, and the world seems to tell us that we are not good enough.
We live in an inverted world, a mirrored reality. Somehow, e have become to believe that we are unworthy of love. And this is going on for ages. We do not dare to believe we're wonderful beings, and love accepts us as we are. We think love is conditional, but that is not true. The truth is that we are all children of God. None of us is the same, and there is nothing wrong with that. We do not have to compete with each other and may let go of the stress and frustration that this generates because everyone is worthy of love. Forever and ever.
That is the message of the munay-symbol which I long to share with the world.
Munay is not a magic wand; It means you have to work on yourself. I do this every day, and often more than once.
The munay- technique helped me to overcome my little shame attacks. I learned to accept the dread these generated, and then let go of it. It turned out to be, paying attention to my feelings, instead of tucking them away, made all disappear and dissolve into nothing. Indeed, those feelings held not truth, because they were made up by the wrong assumptions. Those were based on assumptions and behaviour of people that struggled with more or less the same feelings as I did. So, in fact, my shame attacks were based on hucha and thus only could produce more.
Here the choice of which the munay-poem speaks pops up: The space left behind by forgiving myself for believing I was unworthy and letting go of the hucha I fill with love and compassion. I do so with munay, my will to choose love.
Now I regard every feeling of shame as a reminder of who I really am; A child of God (whatever he or she might be) and an unique human being on her way through life. To keep that in my attention, graphics of the symbol are found at several places in the house.
Practicing munay is worth every minute it takes. It brings peace in stressful situations and reveals your true self. It allows you to really connect with your neighbour, and this is a gift I want to share with every soul in this world.
While writing this chapter, I had a lucid dream. It went as followed:
I stood on a high mountain, just breathing in and out. Instead of a heart I had the munay-symbol in my chest. Fine red threads came out of it and they encompassed and interconnected the whole world. The threads weaved themselves into a web which transmitted vibrations of love.
At a round table, some politicians were discussing peace conditions. The munay-symbol placed in their midst.
End of dream.
The beginning of a new reality? Who knows.
Last, but not least
The symbol is not my propery. It was given to me by a unknown sours.
I consider being Munay Willaq as an exceptionally gift, and as a gesture gratefulness and for the sake of reciprocity, I want as many people as possible to benefit from it.
However, I do charge money from those who can afford it. People living on a tight budget I help for free or a donation. From experience, I know living in lack provides a considerable challenge.
If you feel you want to
- support, share, or use the munay-symbol in your own work
- find more information about my workshops lectures and counselling
- purchase my book 'Becoming Munay Willaq.'
- book a session
ou are most welcome to contact me.