Chuck’s Place: The Shamanic Journey of Innocence

We are beings who enter this world needing personal attachment in order for life to take root and grow. Failure to experience personal love and care at a basic level results in a failure to thrive, leading to death. Less fatal woundings with our primary attachments can severely compromise our ability to love and receive love throughout our lives.

The strange twist of personal love in this world is that, even under the best of circumstances, it is ultimately unsustainable. Everything personal comes to an end. Early in life we can be shielded from this fact through the veil of a world without death, however, like Siddhartha, someday, we all must stray beyond the walls of this illusion and confront the truth of impermanence.

To encounter impermanence is to brush up against the impersonal, the coldness of that which is not a person, that which is not of this personal world. Where we came from, before we came into this world, and where we will go, when we leave this world, is in the realm of the impersonal: beyond the person we are while in this world.

Reconciling our personal life in this world with both our impersonal underpinnings and ultimate destination, is the core challenge of life. Foundational to this challenge is the ability to give and receive love in full awareness of the personal and impersonal dimensions of our reality. So challenging is this task that many would prefer death itself to the vulnerability that full openness to love requires.

To love, we must access our pure innocence. This is the innocence that, in its infancy, entered this world with the blind trust that it would be welcomed and cherished. This early stage of innocence inevitably suffers the fall of disappointment. However, innocence, with its tenacious need for love, remains quite resilient. These early woundings in our personal lives are encounters with the impersonal, encounters that shake us out of our tender narcissistic shells.

Then may come more serious brushes with the impersonal: deep disappointment, neglect, loss, or downright abuse. Some of these encounters are brushes with pure evil, a cold predatory energy that mercilessly feasts upon innocence, completely smashing our shells of safety.

Under these crushing blows, and for pure survival, our innocence fragments and takes refuge deep within, seeking protection in the body. This is a wise strategy for survival, but a major freeze to the challenge of giving and receiving love.

Strangely though, it is the shattering of our secure personal world that pushes us into the non-personal dimension of reality. This shattering mimics all shamanic journeys, where ritualized woundings push the initiate beyond the personal into the infinite. These may be journeys beyond the body, or some form of dissociated experience. In traumatic experiences we dissociate to protect our precious innocence.

The resulting fragmentation, caused by dissociation, may be necessary to maintain for decades, as we plunge into life with our lost innocence buried beneath causes, careers, and relationships of discontent. We might even convince ourselves of our unique ability not to ever need love in this life.

Eventually, however, our triggers and seasons of discontent overwhelm us, as we are ushered to awaken to the fullness of our journeys already taken, as well as the need for completion in our continued journey. Thus we begin the recapitulation journey where we reconstruct and relive the full truth of our lives.

Recapitulation restores our connection to our lost innocence, as it is freed from old beliefs, confusions, and blame. The adult self, that we have accrued through our other journeys, is the traveling companion that helps our innocence withstand the full truth as it emerges during our recapitulation.

Our innocence matures through this process and is now challenged to reenter life from this new mature, knowing place. Here, innocence sheds its earliest illusions and needs for personal protection. Rejections, endings, and woundings no longer result in dissociation and a retreat from life as innocence has moved beyond the personal and embraces the full impersonality of life; the shamanic initiation complete.

From here, we are poised for fulfillment in this life. We can know that we have loved before; that we have completed many lives; and that we will leave this life and go into new life where everything will be different. We can love with total openness in human form, without needing to possess or hold onto anything. At this point, our innocence is open to experiencing the relativity of our personal life and equally open to the journey in infinity. Perhaps even open enough to experience that infinity now!

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Until we meet again,

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