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.
Several years ago, at a Tensegrity training in Barcelona we, the practitioners, were assigned to answer, in writing, the question: “Who am I?”. I was sure I had the correct sorcery definition of self: “I am a being who is going to die.” The truth was, however, that I was a being in hiding, terrified to speak a word in this foreign land. My high school Spanish blended with my college German to form a “foreign language,” the same language that comes to me whether in a Spanish speaking or German speaking country. To avoid humiliation my self-importance chose to become mute. In one store I opened my shaking hands filled with change, holding them like a beggar, while the disdainful shopkeeper picked out the appropriate coins for payment of my purchase. In this moment, the tent of my intent was the cloak of the beggar, embodying my fear and shame.
Jan and Jeanne, in Message #606 The Mystery and Magic of Intent, explored the notion of identifying the intent we are attached to and learning to free ourselves from being bound by that intent. Our personal intent creates a tent around us that embodies that intent; we physically become that intent. In Jan’s dream, Carlos Castaneda introduced her to a magical pass to remove this tent of intent as follows:
Removing The Tent of Intent Magical Pass: Imagine that a sheet is draped over your head and your intent is to remove it. Stand with legs slightly bent at the knees, feet comfortably apart. Bending the left arm at the elbow, palm facing up, raise it to the side of the head above the left ear even with the top of the head, elbow pointing straight ahead. Breathing in, hook the sheet with curled fingers and gracefully push it away, with a definite and forceful exhalation, in a downward sweep out to the left, which then rises in a wavelike gesture away from the body ending with left arm fully extended at shoulder level, fingers pointing to the side and palm back. Return arm to left side. Do this on the right side as well. Repeat at least three times.
In shamanistic terms, when we remove the tent of intent we allow for a shift in the assemblage point, a ball of awareness on our luminous body that, depending upon its position, determines how we interpret who we are and the world we live in. However slight that shift, we become a being unfamiliar to ourselves. With that shift our body changes, our thoughts change, our feelings change, our “issues” change, time changes. We step out of the familiar into new possibility, perhaps for a moment, like a deja vu experience, or permanently, a new being.
Sorcerers have many techniques to remove the tent of intent. They propose that the number one reason we remain familiar, ad nauseam, to ourselves, is our incessant internal dialogue that constantly tells us what we think, what we feel, who we are, and how to act, which we then obligingly manifest in our bodies. This creates the tent of our intent. Shamans would argue that we unconsciously perform self-hypnosis all the time to maintain a consistently familiar sense of self. One exception is in dreaming where the tent of our intent is automatically lifted as the assemblage point is dislodged from its habitual position. This is why shamans place a premium on learning The Art of Dreaming, taught in Carlos Castaneda’s book of the same name. To counter the incessant internal dialogue shamans employ practices to achieve a state of Inner Silence. A set of magical passes for inner silence can be found in Carlos Castaneda’s book Magical Passes.
Another sorcery method to remove the tent of intent is the practice of Not Doings. Not doings are behaviors individually selected to interrupt the energetic flow of habitual patterns. For instance, wearing two different shoes, two different socks, underwear turned backwards, or creating an OCD ritual for a day all serve to disrupt the typical self-hypnotic suggestions that we normally operate under to embody our familiar sense of self. Sorcerers embark on more extended not doings in a practice they call Stalking, where they literally embody the habits and behaviors of an unfamiliar personality, freeing themselves from their familiar selves, going so far as to actually change their names and live as new characters, a kind of improvisation gone semi-permanent. This volitional interruption of the habitual energetic flow of the self develops the ability to fluidly remove one’s tent of intent. I would add to these practices the use of conscious self-hypnosis to disrupt the flow of unconscious self-hypnosis. Create your personal mantra, state it incessantly, like saying an unending rosary. Watch what happens!
Shamans and physicists tell us that all things are connected. The thesis of The Holographic Universe, as presented by Michael Talbot in his book of the same name, suggests that infinity exists, all things exist, in every grain of sand. Everything that exists, exists in you and in me. What is it then that gives us definition, our tent of intent? I believe don Juan’s answer to this question would be our predilection, our personal preferences. In other words, what tent of intent do we choose, perhaps forsaking all others, though with fluidity we have access to them all. If we are able to remove the tent of intent we are free to explore and embody infinite possibility, or simply change.
If today I were asked the same question that was posed in Barcelona (Who am I?) my response would be: I am a being intent upon becoming unfamiliar to myself, intent upon removing the tent of intent.
As always, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to post a comment.
Until we meet again,
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