Chuck’s Place: Present Without Props

The female cohorts of Carlos Castaneda would laugh mysteriously as they described Carlos’s romance with knowledge. He would lie down and cover his body with books, literally absorbing knowledge through their many points of contact with his body. Carlos had released the prop that reading must happen through the eyes only; he suspended judgment and opened to new channels of learning within himself.

Oftentimes, during recapitulation, people begin to experience all kinds of physical sensations at different places inside and on the outside of their bodies. These sensations can be so unexpected and powerful that many times medical consultation is sought. Once cleared of medical etiology another possibility may be considered. Perhaps the sensation is an active communication of knowledge from some other point on the body self. Perhaps the recapitulation has opened the channels to knowledge that may have been stored by the body self some fifty years ago. Perhaps the body self is inviting us into the full knowledge of the experiences of our life lived through direct sensorial experience.

This is very often the case in recapitulation; a united effort by the body self to fill in the blanks in our memory of life already lived. This experience of recapitulation, whether intentionally sought or unintentionally triggered, asks us to drop the prop of our rationality that tells us that the body neither stores memory nor communicates independently of the mind.

How terrifying it can be to stay fully present and absorb this body of knowledge! The body generally “speaks” through direct sensorial experience that can range from pleasure to overwhelming pain. Often, if we allow ourselves to take the sensation journey with our body, channels may open to smells, temperature, and sounds, as well as triggering images, scenes, and eventually full movies of forgotten experience. The overall experience can range from subtle to riveting—the roller coaster of a lifetime.

Intimacy, in relationship, might also be defined as staying present without the props. How deeply might we allow ourselves to stare into each other’s eyes? How accepting might we be of sitting with each other, fully present, in utter silence? How long before the mind provides a thought to be discussed, a prop of distraction to create conversation, abstraction in place of presence? Can we not do the routines that have formed the crust and definition of our relationship—the props of habit—and open ourselves to new truths of who we are or who our partner is?

Finally, can we be fully present with ourselves, occupying the seat of the observer? Can we let go of the props of music or voice at the ear, computer or TV in the eye, food or drink in the mouth, book or cell phone in the hand?

Can we simply be present without judgment, unattached to thought, experiencing sensation and energy as it flows in the body? Can we notice the sound and vibration of energy? Can we allow it to deepen? Can we journey with it, uninterrupted by props?

Let’s see what happens!

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