Chuck’s Place: Don’t Ask Why

According to whom? Photo by Jan Ketchel
According to whom? Photo by Jan Ketchel

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico were tenacious in their disciplined effort to retrieve their energy and free themselves from the constraints of the social order. These shamans saw the social order as the indexing arm of the interpretive system of our minds, which is both inherited and reinforced through the process of socialization we are all born into. These preset indexing categories interpret and define our fixed reality and deprive us access to our full birthright—access to unlimited worlds of possibility.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that our interpretation system is completely restricted by a biased obsession with self. This constriction manifests in a lifetime obsession with worthiness, attractiveness, lovability, ranking, valuation, and validity.

As a psychotherapist deeply engaged in the intent of healing, I realize that all of these human concerns are profound challenges that require examination and action if we are to free the self from their restrictive reach. I have benefited from the perspective and methodology of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico to free the self to move into its own deeper potential.

The shamans define discipline not as a compulsive commitment to self-improvement routines, but as a persistent and unbiased examination of the self. They suggest that we not begin our inquiry into the self with the question, “Why did this happen to “me?” To those shamans this question is likely to trip us into a victim index of interpretation with follow-up statements like: “It’s not fair!” “I didn’t deserve this!” “I’m entitled to _______!” “I’m so bad!” “I’ll never be good enough!” “It’s my fault!” These statements are likely to further drain energy by entrenching the self in a depressed mood of hopelessness, futility, and surrender. Of course many of these statements may have some validity. However, they tend to bias the self toward an entrenched victim interpretation of reality that can see no world of possibility beyond this fixation.

Examine what is... Photo by Jan Ketchel
Examine what is… Photo by Jan Ketchel

The shamans suggest that we begin our inquiry into our lives with the questions: “What is the situation that I am in?” “What do I need to do to change it?” “What can I learn from the situation I find myself in?”

Beginning the inquiry from this different perspective avoids the trappings of self-pity or self-defeat that the why question is likely to trigger. Such unbiased examination remains descriptive and factual, freed of judgment. Such examination is objective, focusing on what is, not whether I’m good or bad for being in it, whether I’m being punished or rewarded, whether I’m worthy or unworthy, whether it’s fair or whether I deserve it, whether I’ll ever be loved, etc. Those kinds of judgments have no validity in an inquiry into reality that seeks only to know the true nature of what is.

From the perspective of what is, I can examine my life as a being born into a family of characters who socialized me within the greater macrocosm of the social circumstances of the time I was born into, further elaborating that socialization process. From this perspective, I can see the pitfalls of that socialization and identify the opportunities available for learning to extricate myself from the limits imposed by the experiences of that socialization process. From this ability to know reality unfiltered by the judgments of worthiness, fairness, etc., I can retrieve my energy previously encased in such judgments and engage in actions to free myself from the bondage of a constricted reality.

Change what is and become fluid... Photo by Jan Ketchel
Change what is and become fluid… Photo by Jan Ketchel

From this linchpin, I enter the fluid possibility of expanded reality—a life open to fulfillment in unlimited possibility—beyond the why, into the what is of the infinite.

What is,

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