For the first time in ten years I decided to truly stalk the role of student. I’d selected an advanced seminar in Stamford, CT. My intent for the weekend was to clear the way for learning, to remove all the filters of identity and judgment that don’t allow for something new, that keep us frozen in the familiar.
I was driving a rental car with Rhode Island plates, our own car still in the body shop since a recent fender bender. I had a new trac phone with an unmemorized number. I arrived at my destination with the hope that I would know no one and that I would share nothing unnecessary about myself that might freeze me in an old identity or tug at my self-importance. “I’m simply a therapist here to learn.”
After parking my car a woman approached me on the walk to the college, obviously headed to the same seminar. After some smalltalk about the weather she asked me where I was from. I went to tell her, but drew a complete blank. I stumbled, slightly embarrassed, but actually quite fascinated. No matter how hard I tried, I had no idea where I was from!
I knew my name was Chuck Ketchel, as I easily picked out my name tag at the registration desk, but for several minutes I couldn’t swim my way back to the surface of Red Hook, NY. The best I could laughingly say to her, finally, was that I was from the Hudson Valley. She smiled and disappeared. I didn’t see her again for the duration of the seminar. Or, if I did, I didn’t recognize her.
My experience in the training was magical: I learned, my intent fully realized. Don’t have concerns about early Alzheimer’s for Chuck! This was a shamanic move—what the shamans would call using INTENT to STALK a different position of the assemblage point.
For the shamans of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage, the assemblage point refers to a point on our energetic body where the energy fields that impact us are assembled. This assemblage of energy becomes our description of reality, how we see and define the world we live in.
When the assemblage point moves to a different position on our energy body, new energy fields are assembled and with that we experience a new world. A new world can mean something as simple as achieving a new perspective on life or as drastic a perception as encountering strange entities in a never-before experienced world.
Engaging intent, as I did when approaching this seminar, is one way to shift the assemblage point. My intent to leave my old world behind, suspend judgment, and simply learn something new, shifted me and I became a stalker. In shamanic terms, stalking is maintaining the ability to calm the self and hold together when confronted with an unfamiliar reality.
Every time we recapitulate, we shift the assemblage point to a world of prior experience. When we dream, the assemblage point moves freely, allowing for experiences in many worlds, particularly outside the body. Many jolts in ordinary life can move our assemblage point as well, including traumatic incidences and subsequent flashbacks.
The other night, my daughter startled me awake with a phone call and a frightened voice, which she has given me permission to describe.
“Dad, I’m so upset! I feel so homesick,” she said. “I just watched a movie with Joel—Faces in the Crowd—about a woman who suffers from face blindness. Suddenly I looked at Joel and I didn’t recognize him! I didn’t want him to touch me. It was really freaky. I knew who he was and yet I didn’t! I feel in my body like I have at other times. I might be at a supermarket on the deli line when suddenly the voices around me seem very loud and my body becomes very light, like I’m disappearing.”
I assured Erica that these are normal events and that at such times we are being challenged to experience different worlds. Her experience describes that of being at the gates between worlds when energetically vibratory experiences and unfamiliarity reign and we might experience faintness, nausea, buzzing, fear, and a longing for home.
In these states, infinity is beckoning to us. As the shamans say, we are experiencing a shift in the assemblage point, asked to assemble and enter a new world with a consistency of awareness far more heightened than normal. At such times we are challenged to hold onto awareness in two worlds at once, to not forget who we are, but to take in the far vaster knowledge that we are presented with as reality shifts. We are challenged to remain present and aware while we allow ourselves to have the experience of being infinite beings and take in the truth who we really are, where we’ve been, and where we are going.
The other night, while Jan was in trance—a shift of the assemblage point—I asked her to go to the place she was in just before she was conceived in this life. Her awareness took her to a vast ocean, accompanied by the sound of deep breaths, long inhales and long exhales, in concert with the amplitude and rhythm of the gently rocking waves of this unending ocean. She sensed her awareness shifting to a dark, contained space as I asked her to move on to conception, where a more constricted breath ensued.
Jan’s experience—her shift in her assemblage point to the vast sea of awareness before the stalking of a new life, that is, an identity to be constructed by the circumstances she was born into—reveals the true holographic nature of reality. No matter how many pieces you cut a holographic image into, under the right lighting conditions the original whole is revealed. Everyone of us is part of the same hologram—we all belong to the same vast sea of awareness.
When we enter this world, our awareness shifts from sea to container. We become a definite thing, born out of an infinite sea of interconnected possibility. And when we become that definite being, we forget our vast roots, our previously infinite lives.
Our task in this life is to solve the riddle—the specific challenges of the life we are in—and then to go beyond and recover all our truths, all of ourselves, and truly find our way home, back to awareness of the vastness of it all. This is the true essence of homesickness of which my daughter spoke. But oh, how we want to cling to the comfort of unchanging familiarity and the security of home in this life!
Shifts of the assemblage point, promptings from infinity to awaken to our true fullness, are rampant in our time. The familiar world is rattling us daily, as new worlds are finally being allowed to become known. We live in an exceptional time for mass evolutionary advancement, as the world continually bombards the fixation of our assemblage points, prompting them to move, and jolting us to awaken to a new reality as well.
As much as it may assault our senses, our feelings, and our sense of safety, we can now hear the words: “anal intercourse in the showers of Penn State between a coach and a child.” This is a real world that exists, spanning way beyond the walls of Penn State. The truth of that hidden world, with all its discomforts, is now a world we can know exists. We can live with the truth of that world. We can stalk that position of the assemblage point. By allowing ourselves to know and validate the truth of that world we can change, and indeed change the world we live in.
However, the process of allowing the truths of other worlds to be let in—shifts of the assemblage point—is indeed unsettling. Reactions range from nausea, dizziness, sadness, fear, homesickness, vibratory energy states, to yes, actually forgetting where you come from!
These are all transitory states. The real challenge is to achieve cohesion when you find yourself in another world. That is: calm yourself, recognize and actually be in awe of the experience while maintaining a dual focus.
As I stood in the lobby of the University of Connecticut last weekend—a man with no home—I knew who I was. I knew I had a foot in this world. I knew I’d return to it when the seminar was over. But, I especially knew that I was on an adventure to learn something very important—and that I did! We always do if we allow ourselves, or intend ourselves, into new or old worlds of discovery, what the shamans call shifts in the position of the assemblage point.
Chuck, from ???