Chuck’s Place: Stopping the World

I could not get enough of Professor Luther. I took four undergraduate history courses with him. A supreme dramatist, Professor Luther made history come alive. When you sat in one of his lectures, the door to the present world was closed and you were transported into the midst of the Russian Revolution or the Protestant Reformation. Professor Luther stopped the world.

He was always impeccably dressed, conservatively, in a three-piece suit and narrow tie. He was thin, of medium height, with eyes that were shifty with an almost hidden condescension, but truthfully hiding a scholarly knowing, and as his student you knew that he was alone in his knowledge and awareness. You were never going to be his friend; you were always the student of this man who so clearly knew something that you did not know. He would take you on a journey into a different world, but in the end he would leave you back on the shore as he turned and walked away without a backward glance. He was gone, without attachment to his students, until the next journey.

As I sat in the classroom, waiting for class to begin, I would wonder where he was. He always simply appeared, out of nowhere. Calmly and quietly closing the door, he’d walk in measured step, in deliberate trance, to the podium and with a glint in his eyes, his face almost vibrating, he’d shift us, the students, into another time and place. He was a mouse that could roar. He’d whisper and he’d boom in a thundering voice, like an opera singer that could span the vocal range in an instant. Equally, he would pause in dead silence for what seemed like an eternity, as we sat waiting for what came next. We were captivated.

I’ve come to realize that Professor Luther’s dramatics were actually a subterfuge to his real teaching, which was, in his words: It’s not the truth that matters; it’s what people believe to be true that constructs reality. As Professor Luther recapitulated history in his courses, this truth was exposed over and over again. Professor Luther’s technique was to catch our attention through stopping the world, whereby showing us that reality was merely a consensually accepted description or interpretation.

The shamans teach us that it is only through stopping the world that we might glimpse the relativity of what we call reality; that our world is a description we all agree upon. Reality, in shamans’ terms, is: where we decide to place our intent. Likewise, the shamans contend that there are other worlds we might inhabit, other truths we might discover, if we are willing to shift our intent, if we are willing to let go of the description we cling to so desperately in an attempt to consolidate ourselves and feel secure.

As I laid down my pen after writing these words, I next spoke to a journeyer fresh out of the rainforest, having just experienced sacred ayahuasca ceremonies under the guidance of shamans. In synchronistic agreement, this journeyer shared the experience of having the world stop: Reality is where you place your intent. The interpretation that is assigned to an energetic experience becomes that experience. For instance, if we think dark thoughts our world becomes hell. Our beliefs, what we attach to, generate our reality. Our beliefs, our descriptive interpretations of life, create and construct the world we live in.

Within that same hour, in another synchronistic agreement, I read Jan’s blog after it came out on Wednesday. Jan describes how, in her own recapitulation, she completely dismantled her ancient description of herself. She stopped the world, deconstructed and reconstructed herself. She entered a new reality unburdened of past secrets.

America, at this very moment, finds itself poised to stop the world and generate a new reality. The lines are drawn now between the truth and the forces richly investing in influencing what we believe to be true; the simple truth against a total lie; total simplicity versus total greed. What world will we choose to now construct? The truths couldn’t be more apparent—thank you nature! The lies couldn’t be better funded nor more comically presented. The stage is set for the ultimate revolution: Do we evolve into a new sustainable description of reality or do we go down, nobly dancing and singing on the sinking Titanic? Let’s thank both nature and the extreme forces of greed for offering us this amazing opportunity to stop the world.

Stop the world—tolerate the tension of disorientation. Let it be.

Are we going to evolve or are we going to stay the same? This is our collective challenge, but, like all revolutions, it is but the subterfuge, the drama. The real challenge is whether we, as individuals, can look into the mirror of the outer world and take on the responsibility to truly stop the world—the world we signed up for, the world we uphold, the world that must be stopped. It is our extreme attachment to the security of the world we know, regardless of how insane and unworkable that might be, that keeps us the same, merely complaining about the mess we feel powerless to change. The real culprit in all of this is our personal unwillingness to stop the known world we are so attached to and place our intent on a new description, a new viable description of the world.

The shamans have extremely pragmatic tools to accrue the energy to stop the world. One such tool is to erase personal history. The shamans are definite that upholding a uniform description of the world requires tremendous reinforcement. Every day we engage in an incessant internal dialogue that judges and categorizes everything, especially our selves, as we constantly reaffirm the same description of who we collectively are, who you personally are, and how it all fits together.

Socially, we engage in the dialogue of catch-up. “So, what’s new? What have you been up to? How’s so and so, and such and such?” What ensues here is filling each other with the data of each other’s lives, which is then affirmed, categorized and judged. Energetically, we walk away comfortably reinforced in who we are and who they are. We now hold each other to the expectations emanating from the presentations of ourselves. Our world is protected, defined, and known. This is family; this is friendship.

Catch-up ensures consistency and uniformity, as we remain fixated within the known world, the known compound of the self. When shamans suggest we erase personal history they mean to break all the rules of the familiar, in effect, to shatter the uniformity of the known and open the gate to unfamiliarity—the gateway to stopping the world.

If we are used to playing catch-up we might try withholding, not sharing, some or all of our experiences with family and friends, simply allow ourselves to hold them in total aloneness. In contrast, if our familiarity is to withhold everything, we might challenge ourselves to tell all. The operative principle is to break ranks with a familiar definition of self, consciously and mindfully intending and engaging life beyond a static definition: engaging life beyond the veils of illusion. Take a walk on the wild side; inhabit a new description of self. Make room to become a self unknown to the self. Change your name, but be careful not to stay the same, with merely a new name that fits an old description.

Another related tool that shamans employ to accrue energy to stop the world is to disrupt the routines of life. Many people wake up in the night and struggle to return to sleep. Redefine the night. Choose instead to get up, get dressed, and take a walk—outside. We can be assured that within moments we will feel the sensation of stopping the world and stepping into a new reality. We will notice how frightening and exhilarating crossing the threshold from routine into the unknown can be. That is the real challenge. Can we really do it?

Can we eat two meals a day or eight? Furthermore, whatever we do today, can we not repeat it tomorrow? Can we take a different route to work? Sit in a different seat? Watch a different show? Wear our underwear backwards? The possibilities are endless.

Every time we disrupt the routines of life or erase personal history we accrue energy toward a major stopping of the world as we practice becoming comfortable in flux. It is only through becoming comfortable with consciously stopping the world that we can allow for new possibilities. All who individually engage in these practices are stalking life in a new world. This kind of new world is truer to the flow of energy. This new description of the world is sustainable, a description in flux with the true flow of natural energy.

Be empowered, stop the world, and when it comes time to vote, change the world!

In flux,

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