#661 Chuck’s Place: Compassion is Ruthlessness

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.

Shamans define ruthlessness as the place of no pity. In their nomenclature, the place of no pity represents a shift of the assemblage point where one enters a different reality, which is far more comprehensive than ordinary reality. Shamans assert that the familiar world of ordinary reality is fixated on the position of self-pity. From this place of self-pity we cling to the archetypal roles of family, long beyond actual necessity. We fund these archetypal roles of mother, father, child, spouse, etc., with all our available energy, leaving no energy for life as a separate being on a solo journey of awareness; the journey we are all really on.

We pity the self that ultimately must die alone and so we cling to the illusions that spin what the Buddhists call the Wheel of Life. To quote Esther Harding, from her book Psychic Energy:

When, before his enlightenment, he was meditating under the Bo Tree, he [Buddha] asked himself: Why are there these endlessly repeated lives? Why do people, and animals as well, go on with the senseless round of birth and suffering and death? Why does life continue exactly the same—why do men not outgrow this barbaric and immature stage? His meditation grew deeper and deeper, until at last he had a vision that revealed the answer. He saw the wheel of life, consisting of the endless round of existences, of births and deaths and rebirths, of heavens and hells, and the earth with its many faces.

Buddha saw the illusions we cling to that construct and maintain the world of what the shamans call ordinary reality, a world that strictly adheres to an endless round of living our repetitive archetypal roles.

Buddha arrived at the place of compassion for beings who cling to their illusions. Compassion is not pity. Compassion is the acceptance, without judgment, that all beings must cling to their illusions and go round and round again in their cosmic Groundhog Day,* until they are ready to awaken. That is, to take personal responsibility to face the true nature of reality beyond the archetypal roles; to allow themselves to let go, to detach from the pity that clings to the illusions in a childlike grasp for safety and security. Buddha saw that all must arrive at that place individually. No one can take another’s journey. No one can give another enlightenment. That will always be an individual task. Only when an individual is finally ready will they take the journey, the solo journey, devoid of archetypal props. Compassion, then, is loving all who cling, but remaining unattached, fully stalking the place the shamans call ruthlessness.

Ruthlessness completely stares down pity. Ruthlessness fully allows all beings to be what they truly are: independent travelers on an infinite journey. Ruthlessness sees beyond; it detaches from all the archetypal bindings, lovingly allowing sons, daughters, parents, husbands, and wives, etc., to fully take their journeys. Ruthlessness is compassion. Ruthlessness remains unattached to the illusions; it gets out of the way of others taking the journeys they must. Ruthlessness is compassion without pity. With ruthlessness we stalk the position that lifts the veils. On the one hand, ruthlessness is a loving acceptance of wherever another may be on the wheel of life and, on the other, it is standing as a beacon to the evolutionary journey beyond the wheel.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

* Refers to the Bill Murray movie.

3 thoughts on “#661 Chuck’s Place: Compassion is Ruthlessness”

  1. Hi Chuck,

    It’s always such a pleasure reading your work here.

    OK, the ruthless compassion and detachment is much easier said then done. Especially in this place we live we perceive as our reality. It’s easy to say we’re going to be compassionate. That we can and will detach. I laughed about your comment on the movie “Groundhog Day” as the funny synchronicity of it all is that several groundhogs have inherited and moved into the property where I used to live and still “own”. Does having seven (or is it nine) groundhogs live there symbolize the struggle that ruthlessly chases me down and reveals itself at every turn, at every pause. How can one not want to have dreams, to have a given outcome? What about all the desires, wishes, expectations that go with those dreams? Ah yes, I “own” this property and the groundhog days (all seven of them) that go with it. The absurdity of it all has to make you just step back and laugh.

    I read last night that “No matter what is going on in our life, it is important to be unattached to the outcome. We must dream big, ask for what we want, set our intentions, visualize our desires AND THEN, let go. When we are unattached energetically to the outcome it shows that we trust the process. Remember that what we desire, we already are and what we seek, we already have. This means that what is in our Highest Good will always manifest for us in Divine Time. Be unattached to the outcome so you can free up the energies for the universe to deliver to you exactly what you need. Visualize your intended outcome, let go and be unattached to how it will manifest.”

    It’s so hard to unattached when we are in this place of self pity and the drama that goes with that. Little do we realize that it’s as simple as what the words in your writing and what’s above say, Just let go! But what about those dreams, those desires? The ego and the desire for control of a given outcome pull us back there, constantly, always presenting a new test, a new challenge.
    And then things lighten up and you realize you can laugh about it. That you can let go and detach.

    It’s been along time since I’ve passed through a number of gates of awareness, that took me out into a spiritual wasteland, a desert of the soul. Waving those close to me goodbye and venturing out into the unknown. Letting go of the ties that bind and those we once called friends. Yet how, after many months, years even, can it all be placed back before you just to test you once again? Not from the standpoint of actualization, but from the vice and grip of want, of desires, of dreams and of hoping for an outcome. Well, maybe that desert in the dream, that spiritual wasteland, was not a wasteland at all, but was the emptiness of bliss where the soul, the inner self, the inner work, is free to roam and reveal itself. Unencumbered.

    The art of letting go, the compassion held for others, the ruthless compassion, are necessary gates of passage. Yet there are so many of these gates. The guides, the ascended masters, the signs along the way, all point the way, and maybe even some of them say “stop here” or detour, only to detract from the passage. How does one go beyond? What’s next?

    Ventures into art and creative pursuits help free the spirit and the soul, yet they too become embraced with their attachments, their dreams and their wishing for an outcome.

    Health issues capture you and stop you in your tracks to make you pause and look deeper, inside and for guidance, from powers that be, from the energy, only to make you wonder if you’ve created an illusion of “getting things under control” or having more energy then you’ve had in years”. And yes, maybe it is about the energy. One needed to travel through the void to be open for the energy work ahead.

    The last time, or so, we met, the entrance to the void, the desert, was forthcoming from dreams and visions. It was time to go it alone to see those experiences. Now it is time to ask for help, to look for guidance, to look deeper.

    So I ask of you, where does one go from here? What to the guides and the shamans say? What do they suggest?

    Feeling positive and optimistic. Ready for the challenges and difficult tasks that lie ahead, but have absolutely no idea on the path and what is meant to be. Am ready for those next steps.

    Love and light.


  2. Sounds like you have really begun to consider the possibility of really letting go! The next step, as Jeanne and Carlos would say, is: See what happens! Oh, but what of those dreams? Perhaps a few more Groundhog Days are in order? The ego is not going to relinquish so easily. Of course the shamans would also say: Wake up each day and remind yourself that you are a being who is going to die. The ego clings to its immortality, as did Icarus! Laughter is a jewel. Use it unsparingly, as the gateway to mourning the ego’s demise and the birth of the true self. Just picture the Dalai Lama’s infectious laughter, with his precious Tibet in utter dissolution. It’s evolution, and he is riding the wave. Not a bad plan!

  3. Hi Chuck,

    So what happens when you let go and laugh about those endless egoic challenges — a joyful and blissful state from doing the right thing. It reminds me of the movie scene “I’ll have what she’s having.”

    Yet each day we are confronted with new challenges and opportunities. It’s a daily purpose to be awake and aware and work on these things. But really, when you look at this, this is not really work at all, as when you laugh and bring light and love to each of those difficult or out of balance circumstances, the world will be a better place that grows and expands. We evolve to become better versions of ourselves and bring that energy to everyone around us and the universe evolves exponentially.

    Where the shadows of darkness and light can co-exist in harmony, feeding off of each other. And to remember this is not a dream. Or is it ?

    Really appreciate your response and guidance !

    Love and light,


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