#705 Chuck’s Place: Necessary Encounters

We are here for a reason. I base that statement not on a belief but on experience: my own and that of the many people who have shared their journeys with me. We discover our reason for being here in hindsight. We have to be here for quite a while before we awaken to the core drama we have been starring in. The resolution of that drama is why we are here.

The process of waking up to our reason for being here is what sets the stage for our necessary encounters, knocks at the door of our awareness. Necessary encounters are the cast of characters and life circumstances that make up our many groundhog days in this world. We are necessary prisoners to our dramas. This point is critical in suspending judgment about ourselves, for the quagmires we find ourselves in.

Of course, we find ourselves in, put ourselves in, create and author the repetitive, redundant, dysfunctional circumstances of our lives. It is necessary that we do so in order to accomplish, through resolution of our core drama, our reason for being in this world. There is no blame for being in the dysfunction we are in. We need to be there and repeat it as long as we need to, until we are ready to awaken to the drama we are in, take responsibility for it, and resolve it.

Solution may or may not come in this lifetime. From my experience with past life regressions, our present life circumstances are the necessary dramas recast from unresolved past life issues. This, if I understand it correctly from a Buddhist perspective, is the essence of why we reincarnate.

If, upon death, there is no drama left in this world that we are attached to, we will no longer reincarnate. To incarnate is to hold onto an issue or a need upon dying, which then becomes the nucleus of a restructured life in this world, as it encodes the instructions to recreate life circumstances that provide necessary encounters with the unfinished issue. Hence, reincarnation is the process of gathering the necessary materials, people, and circumstances to be born into, in order to relive the drama in another attempt at resolution and completion.

Though our individual dramas may vary from person to person, I’ve come to the conclusion that the overarching drama or reason for being in this world, is to reconcile total love with total detachment. I come to this conclusion from the following facts:

1. We are born into this world and must, in infancy, attach to another through a love connection or we will die through a failure to thrive. Granted, that “attachment” and “love” may be severely twisted and dysfunctional, but there must be some taste of it, however dysfunctional, to stake a claim to life in this world.

2. At the other end, we must die and relinquish everything we have attached to, physically and emotionally, in this world.

Of course, we have the right of refusal to detach from our physical and emotional attachments upon dying, though we cannot refuse death itself. Yet, in a sense, since we can refuse to detach, which triggers reincarnation, we could view reincarnation as its own form of eternal life upon this earth. This is so because refusal to detach results in repeating old dramas in new lives, a cosmic groundhog day where we refuse to die and change form; we refuse to evolve into energetic beings.

There is no judgment here, as once again we must stay in the lives we are in, with their necessary encounters, until we are ready to awaken, take responsibility, completely detach and move on. This can only happen if we have also achieved the place of ultimate love. For short of it, we are left with longing—the essence of a need to reincarnate to find fulfillment and completion.

In the end, love and detachment are the opposites, the cross we bear in this world that we must reconcile to find completion on this plane. With completion we continue our journey in infinity, as energetic beings graduated from this lovely world of special love and attachments.

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

Until we meet again,

A Day in a Life: Recapitulation & Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

In the introduction to The Wheel of Time Carlos Castaneda writes about don Juan teaching him how to perceive energy and that the recapitulation was an important aspect of learning this process. He states: “One of the most important units, he called the recapitulation, which consisted of a systematic scrutiny of one’s life, segment by segment, an examination made not in the light of criticism or finding flaw, but in the light of an effort to understand one’s life, and to change its course. Don Juan’s claim was that once any practitioner has viewed his life in the detached manner that the recapitulation requires, there’s no way to go back to the same life.” (p. 4)

As Chuck wrote about in his blog, The Power of Experience, the unconscious is a major player in the recapitulation process. Within a lifetime the unconscious offers us many opportunities to access its hidden treasures. It offers us protection when we need it the most. It offers us insight and guidance when we need it, and it also prods us to grow when the time is right for that too.

Many of us fear what the unconscious has kept stored for us, perhaps initially experiencing it as frightening impenetrable darkness. It is indeed the shadowy side of ourselves, often a part that we rarely allow to emerge, or a part of ourselves that we reject as not the real self. The unconscious is in fact present to help us grow, as don Juan teaches Carlos. If accessed, thoroughly explored, allowed to be present in our lives we discover that it is not a frightening alien entity after all, but the most fascinating side of ourselves.

As an artist and writer I have always had a certain relationship with my unconscious, at least the part of it that I used in my creative endeavors. There were other darker aspects of it that often emerged in the creative process, and otherwise, that scared me. Often I would wonder where certain things came from, how I, a shy and gentle soul, could produce such dark and disturbing images, and sometimes truly frightening ones as well. I knew there was a dark side to my personality, but I had no clue as to how it got that way. As much as I allowed myself to creatively explore my unconscious, I was not fully aware of what it held in store for me until I met Chuck and began a process of deeper exploration of it. In that process, which, as it began to unfold, became entitled a recapitulation, I, slowly at first and then quicker as I got the hang of it, explored the depths of that disturbing and frightening inner darkness.

In the beginning, I often felt as if I were falling into an abyss, much like the experience of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Many times I felt as if I would shatter as I took the plunge downward, fearing that the velocity of the fall itself would annihilate me, a brittle person made only of thin glass, as I rocketed into unknown territory. Other times I feared that I would crash and die upon impact, but these were mental imaginings that eventually gave way to curiosity and amazement as the plunge would invariably bring me to an experience of my past that I had no idea even existed.

The unconscious is both a mighty opponent and a mighty partner. When we fear it we see only the darkness, the possibility of death, the annihilation and the end of who we perceive ourselves to be. But when we engage it as a vital part of life, in dreams, in confronting it and asking it to show us something about ourselves, when we allow it to lead us into that darkness, we begin to understand that it is present not as an adversary but as a true companion who only wants us to grow. When we truly open up to the experience of recapitulation—greeting what the unconscious brings us to, points out to us or challenges us to investigate—we offer ourselves the opportunity to change the course of our lives, as Carlos suggests.

If, as I believe, we are each of us challenged to work through one core issue in a lifetime we will also, I believe, be presented with the means of working through that core issue as our life unfolds. We are invited to the process of confrontation in many ways, but it may not be until we are finally ready to tackle it that we will allow ourselves to take the plunge down the rabbit hole and find out what truly lurks in our inner darkness.

The choice to explore our unconscious is ours alone. Perhaps in the past we did not understand what we were being called to, but once we finally gain a clear understanding of our core issue, do we still refuse the call of the unconscious, as we have done so many times before? Do we elect to push it away, avoid it, die without resolving why we are here? In turning from the call of the unconscious we put ourselves in a position of having to grapple with it on many levels and in many forms, because once we acknowledge awareness of our core issue the unconscious, that wily opponent/partner, knows that we are awakening to the fact of its existence and beginning to understand the power it holds in our lives. During this period of grappling, our unconscious often becomes the leader, offering us what we need in order to get to that point of change that Carlos writes about.

Of course, there is so much more to the process, to the unconscious, and to the conscious self as well that I am not discussing today, but I wish to jump ahead to what Carlos states, that once we have reached a place of detachment “there’s no way to go back to the same life.” This might seem like a frightening prospect as well, but really it is what we are all here for, to keep going forward and eventually to evolve into new life. We won’t feel the need or the desire to go back if we truly allow ourselves to confront our darkness, to recapitulate, to free ourselves of the fear of falling down the rabbit hole. In fact, as the process unfolds we might find ourselves leaping down that rabbit hole, eager for the next experience, eager to see what is in store, because eventually we come out the other side and into a whole new world.

If you wish, feel free to share or comment in the Post Comment section below.

Sending you all love and good wishes,

#704 Stay Centered, Focused & Detached

Jan Ketchel channeling Jeanne Marie Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
What is the challenge that we must all face this week? We seem to be energetically dealing with a lot of restless energy and although I know very little about astrology I do know that the full moon, a phase we are in now, generally offers some intense energy shifts. So, what advice do you offer us as we step into this new week?

The challenge that all must face this week will be to stay centered, focused, and detached while outside energy attempts a major coup.

You note, correctly, the restlessness of this time, and although it may attempt to draw the impatient side out of you, I advise closing the doors of the self to the impact of this draw. Restlessness itself must not become a motivator, but it can be used wisely if centered balance is maintained. In order to use such energy for betterment, I suggest turning inward to a reminder of your personal plan, your greater purpose, and your eventual goal in life.

Restlessness may be used creatively. It may be channeled into meaningful activity if it remains focused inward, but such practical usage of it requires turning away from that which comes from outside, for it carries upon its back much that you do not need.

Be aware of your inner focus now as you begin this week. Find your calm center and return to it often. Within this calm center place your mantras, your intentions for the week, and anchor yourself in them today, and continually throughout the week, in order to remain firmly set in your personal energy.

For all practical purposes, outside energy is to be avoided at this time. That is my firm contention at this energetic time. Inwardly you will find all you need, especially if you find yourself greatly attached to the outside energy for whatever reason. If this is so in your case, understand that you are attached to it because you are being strongly urged to turn away from it! By turning inward you will not be avoiding anything, but in fact using its restless power to more forcefully anchor yourself, allowing it to push you more firmly in an inward direction.

Practice detachment throughout the week. Go with the flow of your inner energy rather than the pull of the outer energy. Find your true calm flow, attach to it, and do not let go of it for long, as you ride the energy of this, indeed, restless time.

There are many storms brewing. There are many enticing outer activities planned, presented, and popping up for your entertainment, but I suggest that you attend to your inner self in asking for guidance. Your inner energy will tell you how to handle it.

Do not feel obligated to honor non-growth oriented activities. Of course, play is always a necessary aspect of life, but I suggest, in this coming week, that a more serious attitude be adopted. A time of confrontation, if successfully handled, may lead to a much-needed shift and this is what you must attempt. This is what you are always attempting: to gain in awareness of energy, and to learn how the self handles it, so that you may shift and gain a new perspective on your personal life and your world at large. This is what you are being presented with now: the option to remain innerly attached to the energy of self and outerly detached from being drawn into restless and non-productive activities, using the energy to advance.

It’s not really that hard to do. It just involves staying focused on the one task at hand and that is, as always, inner growth.

#703 Chuck’s Place: The Power of Experience

“I only went downhill skiing once in my life, Chuck, many years ago,” states a client who has graciously given me permission to share her experience. “I was with a friend who kept telling me to lean. Every time I did, I fell. I just couldn’t get what her words meant. Eventually, I shifted my weight and didn’t fall. I realized, oh, that’s what she means by lean! You’ve been telling me I need to detach for years; I think I’m finally getting it.”

Next she shared what she described as a very powerful dream. “I’m with my son, (currently twenty-four years old, incarcerated in the New York prison SHOCK program) only he’s eight years old, at a summer camp, yet it’s also the SHOCK program. He seems removed. He’s playing with other kids. I’m furious and confront him. There is no outlet for my anger. The scene changes, I’m with an old best friend and her husband who moved down south years ago. I want to vent my feelings to her, but she doesn’t want to listen. Her husband has started a small fire behind a door. I fan the flames of the fire. He gets angry and chastises me. His wife tells him to leave me alone, but he forces his knuckles against my throat so tightly it cuts off the air and I begin to suffocate. I awaken, deeply sobbing, gasping for air. My first thought: my son will die in my arms; I can’t cope with the pain.”

She went on to explain that she realized that she’d been holding onto her son, frozen in time at eight years of age, and felt terror that he’d never stand on his own as a man in this world; that he would die, a boy, in her arms.

Since the dream experience she has received two letters from her son and noticed a marked shift in her own attitude as she read his words. “I finally am experiencing what you mean when you tell me to detach,” she said. “Something is definitely different. I love him, he’ll always be my son, but I’ve let go.”

I went on to suggest to my client that she had been approached by her dream shaman, in the form of the friend’s husband. Her preparatory work of long-suffering having been completed, she was ready to be grabbed, killed, and reborn, and ushered through the rite of passage where parents release their children to be adults in their own right. This rite transformed her inner experience, a transformation far more comprehensive than a rational understanding of letting go. She is changed. Our work together had been part of her necessary preparation for this rite, but this mystical rite was performed by her own unconscious, which had determined the time and the method for this terrifyingly necessary ritual.

Jung pointed out how the modern rational world had stripped away the ancient rites of passage that once ushered humankind through the stages of life. These rites had a social context where the entire community participated and acknowledged the shifts and new roles in the community for the newly initiated. Inwardly, the initiate experienced a profound and permanent change, a recasting of self. No one in the community was exempt from rites of passage. What is left in the modern world are mere vestiges of these rites, watered down and nearly meaningless, in the form of sacraments in our various religious institutions. Jung realized that the collective unconscious inside all of us had become the home of these necessary rites of passage and, when activated, provide an experience so powerful that we can’t help but be changed by them. This is why the rational mind fears the night and sleep, where conscious control can be usurped by the powers of the deep; yet this is the healing power of the instinctual psyche, which, if held back, results in psychic disequilibrium and unpreparedness for the unfolding journey of life.

In truth, the loss of the collective rites of passage leaves the vast majority of people emotionally unprepared for adulthood, especially since a living relationship with the unconscious has been subsumed by a modern scientific focus on brain chemistry as the solution to psychic disturbance. In the absence of genuine transformative experiences, we move into adult roles faking maturity and preparedness or dallying in a prolonged adolescence of lawlessness, irresponsibility, and addiction. Ironically, my client’s son has been participating in the SHOCK program, a program within the prison system where participants are ushered into adulthood along the lines of an ancient rite of passage. Participants are taken out of society and forced to submit to an arduous period of suffering where they are subjected to the whims and irrationalities of those in control. There are no mommy and daddy protectorates, and life is not fair. If you are to succeed, you must die to your infantile fixations and become an adult, prepared to take responsibility for self in the real world.

Amazingly, as my client now reads her son’s letters, she sees a maturing man behind his words. He is no longer her eight year old boy. She has released him and he has released his dependence upon her. In the truest sense, he is completing the “graduate school of life” and despite the fact that he will be saddled with a mark on his record, much like a scarlet letter, it pales in comparison to his solid maturity, hard won, as he is fully capable of taking on the challenges of adult life. This “degree” is far more valuable, in my judgment, than a graduate degree from Harvard in the hands of an immature, uninitiated personality. Of course there are no guarantees of success in life, but if I was a betting man, I’d put my money on him.

We must all go through our own SHOCK program. Unfortunately, there are far too few societal institutions capable of providing the necessary rites of passage. However, as my client’s experience demonstrates, the collective unconscious will come forth and perform the necessary rites. However, the prerequisites for a successful transformation are often a long period of suffering, including many groundhog day experiences, as well as a softening of ego control, as ego often alienates or devalues the deeper instinctual psyche. This experience of my client’s was well prepared for, and thus was transformative. I ask that we all energetically congratulate her!

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

Until we meet again,

A Day in a Life: The Stubborn & The Curious

Today, I switch from the subject of nature outside of us, which I have been writing about for the past few weeks, to nature inside, as it exists in its many forms inside our physical bodies. I define nature as that which is simply present, that which we are born with, and that which we cannot stop.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, while watching a doe and her fawn in my backyard, I see nature as unstoppable. It lives and it dies and it lives again. I also feel that we humans have this same unstoppable force of nature inside us. Much as the seasons recur, we are positioned, over and over again, to encounter things about ourselves. Often these are things we do not like about ourselves but know we must confront in order to change. They may be well known issues, perhaps already acknowledged but conveniently ignored until we are ready to go more deeply into them, or they may only exist in our subconscious, blocked, suppressed, and left to smolder. In either case, nature has a way of revealing them to us, in ways that are really quite personally relevant.

First I must state that I believe we are all born with a core issue, one core issue, and although there may be many surrounding and resounding issues, each of us is challenged in our lifetime to resolve this one issue. It may even be an issue or challenge that we have carried over many life times. I feel that nature, our inner nature, in collusion with the forces of nature outside of us, is bound and determined to challenge us to confront this issue, teach us how and why it belongs to us, and ask us to evolve beyond it. This is the basic tenet of recapitulation, to recognize the core issue that is holding us back in life, to confront it, to leave it behind without regret or attachment after being fully relived and resolved, and to move on to new life.

At this point, I must make note of Chuck’s recent blog regarding the contention of the seers of ancient Mexico that everything resides within the human body. This is what I write about today, how our bodies tell us, over and over again, just what our core issue is. We can find out everything we need to know about ourselves by contemplating, studying, and paying attention to our own natural state, our physical body. Our bodies contain all the answers, in our physical, in our psyche, in our energy. Our bodies can tell us where we are blocked, why we are afraid, what our spirit asks of us, and why we are here. Of course, it is much easier to see where others are blocked, to guess at their core issues, and wonder why they so stubbornly refuse to change. I will give some personal examples.

In my family, I am dealing with two very old women, one in her eighties and the other in her nineties, who are nearing the ends of their lives. One of them is in denial, stubbornly pretending that everything is fine; this has always been her way. The other is curious, eagerly attentive to anything she can find that may help her understand where she is going; this has always been her way. When I look at them I have to admit that I see myself in both of them. In the stubborn one, I see my own potential to dig in my heels and kick and scream that I don’t want to go; essentially I see my own fear. In the curious one, I see my enlightened self, eager for the adventure ahead, because this side of me has always known that there is something exciting beyond the veils of this world. In these two women, I see the duality of nature, two very powerful forces in a grand tug-of-war, and they are inside all of us.

It’s natural to be afraid, to fear the unknown, but it’s equally natural to be curious. As I watch these two women struggling through old age, maintaining their dignity while confronting their natural and inevitable physical deterioration in their own ways, I know that nature will win out, but I also know that nature is both sides of this process. In spite of the strong desire to remain in control, nature does not allow us to hold onto anything, it forces us out of the physical body. However, nature also gives us the option of capitulating to our energy body, to finally evolving beyond our need to continue reincarnating in the physical human form with our core issues. It offers our curious selves the option to remain alive, vibrant, and engaged in learning about the possibilities that lie ahead. Energy too is the natural way of things, if we care to engage it.

So who wins the tug-of-war? Well, that is up to each of us; it is an individual choice. Do we allow the tug-of-war to hold our energy in eternal conflict, or do we reconcile the opposing forces, confront our core issues this time around, and evolve? Once we recognize what our bodies are trying to tell us, in all our aches, pains, and tensions, and what our psyches are trying to tell us, in our fears, and embrace the experiences that these two opposing natural forces offer us on a daily basis, we come into alignment with nature, with the opportunity for the stubborn and the curious to finally be reconciled.

If you wish, feel free to share or comment in the Post Comment section below.

Sending you all love and good wishes as you take your journeys to reconciliation,