Last fall, on the night of October 23, 2009, I asked the women shamans to give me guidance once again while dreaming. I placed the dreaming pillow on my lower abdomen, over the area of the uterus, and asked them to come to me in the night. “I would like to know the next step in learning to become a shaman,” I intended, as I went to sleep. When I woke in the morning I saw that I had written, in big cryptic dream writing, having successfully roused myself out of deep dreaming enough to pick up my pen, the following sentence: My own need to resolve must guide me to redemption beyond the self.
Upon awakening the next morning, I wrote this in my journal:
After I wrote that in the middle of the night I lay back down and thought: Oh, dissolution of ego self is the next step; resolution of all deeper issues related to the ego. Once again I wrote in a half-awake state, but this time there was no inner battle, no laziness. I simply said: Write this down, and I reached for my book, sat up, wrote it and then lay back down without the usual thoughts that of course I would remember it. This step is the recapitulation step. In recapitulating all inner issues all ego resolves as well, because during recapitulation the ego is dismantled. Redemption, true redemption, is completely ego-free. It is a spiritual state of being, of nothingness. Redemption lies beyond all earthly attachments, ego or otherwise, revolving around the self as special or important. To resolve all needs of self is really an inner desire to evolve. In recapitulation one is confronted with what the inner needs are, with what needs to be resolved. The challenge is to release the self to take the recapitulation journey. Getting beyond the self, both the inner needs and outer needs and desires, etc., to a place of utter calm detachment from self is redemption; it is freedom. (End of journal entry.)
Once again, I am struck by the synchronicity of this blog with what Chuck wrote about on Saturday regarding the warrior’s ultimate challenge, which is to lose self-importance. If we stay within the teachings of the shamanic world we are constantly confronted with this idea that, although we are taught to live our lives a certain way by everyone we encounter as we grow and mature into adulthood, once we get there we are often at a loss for what to do with our lives. It was not until I began the deeply challenging process of recapitulation that I began to decide that who I was really was totally up to me to determine. Until then I had lived within a code of acceptable behaviors, pursuing a life that I thought was right, by someone else’s standards, though at the same time I fought deeply within myself over this capitulation, telling myself that I was different, special, talented, creative, any number of attributes and qualities to keep my ego happy. However, once I entered the shaman’s world, under Chuck’s tutelage, everything changed. I began to see the world from a different perspective, but the funny thing was that I also immediately recognized it; it was somehow familiar. When Chuck talks and writes of the shamans he is referring to the shamans of Carlos Castaneda’s line. In the early seventies, when I first read Castaneda’s three early books, I had the same sense of familiarity with the experiences and worlds he entered, though I could not call up from my deeply buried unconscious what that meant. I knew I was not ready for it, though I had an inkling that someday I would come back to it in some form. Now I have been privileged to experience recapitulation and, as Chuck writes about the world of the warriors shattering as they leave their human form, I too have experienced that shattering. In the process of recapitulation, our own world, as we know it, is shattered.
I have also learned that the recapitulation process is a lifelong process, but, once willingly engaged in, it becomes fascinating. At least that has been my experience. Now, having already shifted my perspective on how I view and react to the world, I recall and relive events from my past with a different attitude, more detached and curious than frightened or ashamed. I would not have been able to achieve this had I not accepted the appointment with my unconscious and unrelenting inner self who, after fifty years of trying to tell me that I had to do an inner journey, was finally paid attention to. And what made me finally pay attention? Well, a lot of things, but mostly it was the restlessness that constantly drove me to seek change, to move, to do something, anything, to calm the unrelenting sense that there was something deeply wrong. Finally the restlessness broke through and I couldn’t stop it this time. I knew I couldn’t uproot my family and make one more drastic move. I knew that this time I alone had to change. I alone had to tackle what it was that would not leave me in peace. This was about me, I finally realized, no one else, and I had to have the courage to face myself. I alone had to enter into my hidden self and ask all the questions that needed to be asked, and to allow the answers to come from deep inside me, pushing aside the normal judgments and the flippant remarks that had sufficed up until then.
When I began my inner journey I didn’t even know what a journey was, much less what a recapitulation was. I knew what a life journey was, but I didn’t know what an inner journey, a spiritual journey was, though I had lived a deeply introverted, creative life. I didn’t really know what a shaman was, either. I was curious about all those words that held such mystery, but the true meaning of them was not to come easy. Until I took the journey that my unconscious self had been pushing me toward nothing would make sense in a real way. Everything would remain as illusive as the works of Castaneda until I elected to go beyond the world as I had always viewed it and lived it and decided to go on an adventure of a lifetime.
Thanks for listening to my dreaming and awake experiences. I offer my process, without attachment, I think, purely as an example of what can happen once the decision is made to go in a different direction. At one time, I was one of the most fearful people you could ever have met, appearing quite calm and advanced on the outside, aloof and flowing when comfortable, but utterly terrified on the inside, always aware that the world was not to be trusted, not safe. Facing my fears was quite a process. I know many who are in the midst of charting their way through their own fears now, and I know it is difficult, but I also know that at each step the burden lightens, the fears fall away, the judgments dissipate. Each step of the past and of the journey, the old one and the new one, become understood as totally valid and necessary. Each step is freeing. Each step leads to redemption of self, from attachment to ego. But the first step must, as the women shamans told me in my dream last fall, come from the inner need to resolve the issues of the self. That is the impetus that must finally be invited in to dismantle the old structures that uphold the old self, the old world, the human form that does not really want to live that way any more.
Until next week. Keep dreaming with intent!