Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Today, Chuck’s Place is graced by a guest improviser, Jan Ketchel, who will take us out of the familiar cognitive system we use to discuss and share knowledge and ideas, into the world of inner silence and direct knowledge.
Inner silence, according to don Juan, is an evolutionary possibility available to us all through which we can access direct knowledge. Direct knowledge is a unique form of knowing, which arises from a faculty completely independent of the brain and its cerebral processes. In order to reach inner silence, with its companion, direct knowledge, we must arrive at a place where we can shut down our incessant internal dialogue, which is the constant companion of our cerebral construction of the world.
The shamans of ancient Mexico maintained that every individual has a unique threshold of accrued moments of silence that must be reached before they automatically and unexpectedly stop the world of ordinary perception and cognitive functioning and, instead, see energy directly, as it flows in the universe, from their energy body state. This is achieved in full waking awareness, and from this perceptive position direct knowledge becomes accessible.
This notion of accruing moments of silence is very important. This means, literally, that every time we are able to stop the internal dialogue, even if but for a few seconds, these seconds are in the bank; they count toward reaching our individual threshold, whatever it might be, twenty seconds or two minutes. This notion of accruing time relieves us of the construct of failure based on, for instance, not achieving a successful meditation practice. Being able to shut down the internal dialogue for four seconds while walking down the street automatically accrues toward our individual threshold, regardless of the success or failure of our ongoing meditation effort. Break the attachment to that cognitive structure of success and failure. Hold, instead, the persistent intent of silencing the internal dialogue, through whatever practice or non-practice resonates or is presented in the moment; any opportunity to silence the mind.
Know that, at an unexpected moment, you will have reached your threshold and, suddenly, the world as you knew it will stop, and you will enter the world of energy and direct knowledge. Here is Jan’s example of entering inner silence and receiving direct knowledge, an energetic improvisation on reality:
I am at a family gathering, my mother’s eightieth birthday party. My sister has, for several years, taken on the tradition of writing a poem and reading it to celebrate the parents at their annual birthday events. I am in the living room, having been called there by my sister as she prepares to read. I am reluctant. I would rather stay in the other room than have to listen to another poem and experience yet another family event, a boring ritual, known and predictable. I am in the middle of my three-year recapitulation and I have been sorting through a whole host of personal issues and feelings, so this feels especially restrictive to me. I have been in the process of detaching and releasing the debris of many things. I want to refuse the repetition of a known world; I feel that I am being forced into a lifeless place that is no longer energetically engaging to me.
I pay attention to the first few lines as my sister begins to read her poem, but I refuse the familiar and resist being caught up in the communal reaction. I don’t want to be here. I stop my participation in that world. I am aware that the accolades are only half true, that underneath another meaning is true, when all of a sudden a shift occurs.
The floor at my feet suddenly becomes a river of energy, perhaps a foot or two deep of swirling, vibrant, flowing energy. My sister’s voice recedes; the laughter becomes muffled. I am so stunned I have to sit down. I sit on the step leading down into the sunken living room, my feet in the river, and watch the floor of energy. I become aware of my sister’s underlying thoughts and motives as she reads. I perceive my mother’s thoughts as she hears what is being presented to her. I see her hand pushing away the accolades, refusing them, and at the same time keeping the swirling river of energy down and away from her. I wonder: Can I hear what others are thinking? I slowly pan the room, going from one person to another, connecting to and receiving their thoughts. They just flow to me and I understand where everyone has gotten to, all these adult siblings, and how detached or attached to my mother they are at this point in their lives. I return my gaze to the river of energy at my feet, curious about it, perceiving everyone’s pain and sorrow pouring into it, flowing through the room, and my own dreamlike sense that we are all just energy and here it is lying at my feet, a thick river of it, a river of energetic perception. I want to stay here, remain open to it and hold onto it, aware. Suddenly, the reading is complete. I reluctantly let the energy go and come back to a familiar place. My brothers continue the festivities, singing songs for my mother, while I retreat to the kitchen to wash some dishes before I leave, wanting to retain as much of the experience as possible by detaching myself from the old recognizable process a little longer.
Jan and I welcome your comments. Should anyone wish to write, we can be reached via Chuck’s email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until we meet again,