Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.
Clara laughed and took a sip of water. “To change, we need to meet three conditions,” she said. “First, we must announce out loud our decision to change so that intent will hear us. Second, we must engage our awareness over a period of time: We can’t just start something and give it up as soon as we become discouraged. Third, we have to view the outcome of our actions with a sense of complete detachment. This means we can’t get involved with the idea of succeeding or failing.” *
In this quote, Taisha Abelar, a cohort of Carlos Castaneda, recounts her sorcery training with Clara Grau, a sorceress from don Juan’s party. We examine Clara’s three steps to enact change in detail.
1. Literally voice your intent. Shout it out loud.
2. Develop a practice and stick with it, no matter what.
3. Have no attachment to the outcome of your practice.
Intent: The shamans insist that intent is an independent energy that exists in the universe, a vast pool. Shamans engage intent through calling for it out loud, beckoning it as they forge a link between their stated intent and this vast energetic pool of intent. The use of prayer and mantras in other traditions also taps the power of intent.
Practice: Shamans engage in many practices to allow their intent to manifest. These include the execution of magical passes, recapitulation, and the art of dreaming. Sorcerers are extremely pragmatic. They insist that practitioners just do these practices and discover for themselves where they lead. Hence, sorcerers do not profess a belief system, they merely report their experiences that have proven to be consistent over time, thus they have accumulated a cohesive body of knowledge. Again though, each individual must discover for themselves the validity of this knowledge through personal experience. The practices one might select to enact change ought to have personal resonance. Practices such as yoga, martial arts, running, breathing, meditating, etc., are all equally valid paths to change. Clara’s central point is the necessity to persevere in one’s practice. Many intentions imbued with promise wash away like sand castles on the shores of inertia. Repetitive practice is critical to all change.
No Attachment: Clara’s final point that we not attach to the outcome of our practice is, perhaps, the most counterintuitive from the point of view of the ego. Most programs for change emphasize the role of the ego with its attachment to a desired outcome. Consider, for instance, any weight loss or body building program that focuses on concrete results in measurable body change. How many times have we attached to such an outcome and, having partially or fully achieved it, regressed to old patterns, only to fall prey to feelings of failure, self-hatred, depression, low self-esteem, defeatism, negativity, self-pity, etc.? By remaining attached to an ego outcome we conjure a world of success and failure, good and bad. In this world of judgments, based on concrete results, we either harness our energy to maintain our completed goals and objectives or fall prey to ego failure. If the ego is allowed to commandeer intent, although it can achieve its goals, it must do so by becoming a task master and control freak, as we enter a world of dominance, threatened with overthrow by subservient energies within the self. The viability of this kind of change is highly precarious. The shamans do acknowledge that the ego plays a necessary part in change. However they limit its role to selecting a practice, following through with that practice, with perseverance, but without attachment to “achievable goals.”
The more subtle limitation of an ego-dominated approach is that it fails to access the energy body, the counterpart of the ego and the physical body. The energy body is the gateway to the world of energy and unlimited possibility. This is at the crux of all shamanic work, to access the vast resources and capabilities of the energy body that remain completely dormant and unknown to a human being that focuses only on the mind and the physical body. The shamans have discovered that the energy body acts on intent, not by the heavy controls of the self-important ego with its goal of mastery and dominance of the physical world. By removing attachment to outcome, whether success or failure, shamans open to the lightness and abilities of the energy body where all things are possible.
Buddha made this same discovery as he sat beneath the bodhi tree and resisted attachment to all ego fears and desires. He realized that we suffer because we attach our intent to these illusions, creating a material manifestation of them or a concrete world to live in. In this concrete world, the ego and the physical manifestations dominate and we are cut off from our pure energy state. Buddha achieved enlightenment and access to unlimited change through non-attachment. Shamans access their energy state, with all its possibilities, by canceling their attachment to outcome. This is available to all. Though it seems contradictory, what is being suggested is to set an intent, engage in a practice, impeccably, yet attach no importance to the end result. Jan once sat in an intensive hypnosis practice where the presenter brought up the subject of auras. Jan simply asked herself, “Oh, I wonder if I can see an aura?” and in the next instant she saw the aura of the presenter, simply by innocently wondering, lightly throwing out an intent, with no expectation. This is the lightness of the energy body, responding to intent, unfettered by ego.
Succinctly stated, the program for change: intent, practice, non-attachment. Try it! See what happens! It will happen, but have no attachment to that!
As always, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: email@example.com or feel free to post a comment.
Until we meet again,
*The Sorcerers’ Crossing: A Woman’s Journey, Taisha Abelar, p. 62. (Available in our store.)