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.
Carlos Castaneda, like a standup comic, would have us in stitches, poking fun at our obsession with love, “luuuff,” as he pronounced it. This stemmed from the years of humiliating mockery he was subjected to by don Juan, who piercingly attempted to awaken him and dislodge him from his major energetic drain: finding love. Don Juan was definite on this point: if Carlos could not free his energy from this obsession he would never have enough energy to travel beyond the veils into infinity. What Carlos was trying to teach us was that our own obsession with intimacy was, to misquote The Love Guru*, really, at bottom, “in to me, see” or all about me.
The truth is, we enter and exit this world alone. It is, first and foremost, a solo journey. We are, utterly alone. How deeply can we enter this experience? This does not mean simply to be comfortable being alone, but to be able to fully recapitulate, know our deepest truths, and remain in awe of our own magical journey, open to innocently experiencing and truthfully sharing this life. How much of what we attach ourselves to, preoccupy ourselves with, hunger for, or go in search of is really an attempt to distract ourselves from this genuine experience of solitariness? How much of our search for intimacy is, at base, all about me, in the form of escaping me?
Even when we think we have conquered our narcissism; when we think we are “truly available to meet another,” really “able to give,” we must ask ourselves the questions: Is my willingness to go beyond myself and truly be open to another a hidden ploy to escape myself and my dreaded recapitulation? Is my desire to give to another an avoidance of giving myself the true attention I need, not the big baby, but the ability to fully be with all of me, embracing the solitary reality of the journey? Is this really just another well-hidden illusory distraction of selflessness, all about me?
The shamans point out: the bottom line is energy. For most people they suggest years of celibacy and recapitulation to shore up the energy for the solo journey. When Carlos was well into his own solo journey he was quite taken aback when don Juan told him the story of a shaman couple, loves of each other’s lives, making love in a closet. Wasn’t this taboo in the shaman’s world? Carlos wondered. Don Juan laughed. No, of course it’s not taboo, if you have enough energy! I understand this to mean that only if an individual has already accrued enough energy to take the solo journey can intimacy be ventured into without it merely being a distraction from the work, all about me. With enough energy, traveling with a partner has nothing to do with need or distraction. To the contrary, having accepted and prepared for the solo journey frees us to discover intimacy with complete abandon, without need or ulterior motives, known or unknown.
The veil of in-to-me, see drops with sufficient energy to in-to-me-I-see, now available for true intimacy, with abundant energy to fly with ye, free! You see?
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Until we meet again,
*Mike Myers’ movie The Love Guru.