A Blog Switch

Dear Readers,

You’ll find Chuck’s weekly blog posted early this week, with some well-needed guidance in this time of energetic intensity! Look for Jan’s blog toward the end of the week.

We have experienced a necessity for a lot of patient waiting as the energy teases and tests. But doesn’t that just make life interesting?

May the waves flow more gently and soothingly over the next few days,
Jan and Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Transparent To The Transcendent

Bowl made by David R. with earth from Abiquiu, New Mexico. -Photo by Jan Ketchel
Bowl made by David R. with earth from Abiquiu, New Mexico. -Photo by Jan Ketchel

We are a great interconnected whole. Collectively, at this moment in time however, we are all confronted with an antagonistic wave of energy that has us all scurrying for cover.

That wave of energy manifests as a fear and a belief that we are not enough, that we have not enough, and that the only defense to our not-enoughness is to batten down the hatches and accumulate as much of a store as we can and then guard it with vigilance.

Our storage warehouses may be filled with food, property, wares and wealth, or prayers, self-flagellant acts of deprivation, or good deeds. Underneath, however, they are all the same; nothing more than stockpiles of defenses to ward off the onslaught of not-enough.

The defenses of consumption and over-consumption have strained the world we are living in to its breaking point, and the question right now is: How do we hold it together?

In hexagram #8 of the I Ching, Pi/Holding Together, we are counseled in Six at the beginning to:

Hold to him in truth and loyalty;
This is without blame.
Truth, like a full earthen bowl:
Thus in the end
Good fortune comes from without

Richard Wilhelm comments that sincerity is the true basis for forming relationships, both within ourselves and with each other. If we are to have sincere relationship within and without, we must be truthful with ourselves about where we grasp and guard in defense. Grasping and defending breaks the interconnected whole within ourselves as much as it breaks our connection to the greater world outside of ourselves. Wanting more and having to defend more causes a breakdown in relationship, within and without.

We must become like earthen bowls instead, filled with the strength of truth, if we are to hold ourselves and our earth together.

We must realize that although we are in a time of mass movements, necessary for massive change to happen, we are all part of the same mass. Every individual in that mass is affected by the same wave of energy. Jan wrote of being affected by such waves of energy in her blog last week as she attended a silent meditation retreat.

Every individual who tackles, with sincerity, the challenge of their own fears and consuming defenses, assumes a leadership role in creating energy that aids in unifying the whole by aligning with like energy. Every energetic advance by every individual synchronistically reverberates throughout the whole. This is the secret of holding together.

In energetic alignment, synchronicities will manifest as thoughts, feelings, and actual physical events that signal advances in holding together. On the other hand, over-consumption will manifest moods of defeat and powerlessness, as well as synchronistic physical events that violently signal annihilation.

The ruler of Pi/Holding Together, the Nine in the fifth place, speaks once again of cultivating purity and strength within the self as the basis for true fellowship vs attempting to woo favor, as currently dominates today’s mass market world. Here again, we are shown the path to not being consumed by our fear of not being enough.

Cultivating the transcendent! -Photo by Jan Ketchel
Cultivating the transcendent!
-Photo by Jan Ketchel

By cultivating purity within—what Joseph Campbell calls becoming transparent to the transcendent—we achieve the energetic influence that restores balance and attracts synchronistically what is truly needed in our individual lives, as well as what is needed collectively. Forget marketing, forget Facebook; become transparent to the transcendent instead!

From this place of transcendence, we become open to the influence of cosmic energy that exists outside the time we live in. We open to the infinite. In transcendence, we shift our assemblage points and resume our journeys along the interconnected route that holds us all together and, in so doing, we become part of the energetic mass that holds our world together.

Over-consumption is merely our world blanketed by an energy that constantly challenges us to find our union through realignment with the truth. Every time one of us realigns with the truth within the context of our personal lives, we send out energetic waves that offer all of us guidance to do the same. We cannot rescue each other, but the mass can’t help but advance by individual efforts.

We are all naguals now. The last nagual, Carlos Castaneda, showed us how to take personal responsibility for our own evolution. Many looked to Obama to be the savior. But we are beyond the time of saviors now; it’s up to each of us to save ourselves. Obama’s election simply mirrored the truth that anything is possible now, even a twice-elected black man to the presidency.

The real work now lies within each of us. We must each stare down the myth of not enough within ourselves and allow our truths and purity to become transparent to the transcendent, as we hold our world together in solid union and continue our journeys on the interconnected waves of infinity.

Riding the waves,

Readers of Infinity: You Are Being Asked To Grow

In this week’s channeled message, I ask Jeanne for guidance as we navigate the energies of now.

It's growing time! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
It’s growing time!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Remain connected to the mysteries of life, to the awe in the unfolding of events and in the confrontation with the deeper issues of self and other. Do not allow the alarmist, the defeatist, the negative mindset to overpower the truths, personal or otherwise.

Maintain stability in the face of all that occurs, whether that means standing calmly before the awesome or before the destructive. Without inner stability all is lost, progress is halted, and a state of non-productive regression may occur.

The energies of now request and remind that maturity and all that you have innerly worked toward be maintained. Too much excess in either direction—going out of balance and into an ascent or a dive—is unhelpful at this time. Stability is called for.

These energies of now are not negative. They are simply honest and straightforward, unavoidably necessary for all to reckon with.

Turn inward and reignite your inner fires, your determination, and your conscious attention to your growth. That’s where you are now, personally and collectively, being asked to grow.

Chuck’s Place: It’s Not Personal—It’s Just A Sign

Don't take it personally! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Don’t take it personally!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I’m reading Jan’s blog and call her regarding typos. She tells me of energetic oddities: faxes won’t go through, computer glitches and, finally, as we talk, a loud noise, a smell. She discovers the true culprit, a motor that has burnt out. And then, to boot, she opens the door to the motor to be met by a swarm of bees!

These might be typical reactions to these events: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to me? Why am I being punished? Notice how immediately the mind—the foreign installation, as the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call it—drops its veil over reality and introduces its self-absorbed interpretation.

For the Shamans of Ancient Mexico this reflexive tendency to insert the self in all interpretations of events is the greatest blockage to seeing things as they really are and to opening to our fullest potential. How can we hope to fulfill ourselves when our vital energy is mired in self-absorbed fixation? This fixation manifests as worry, fear, guilt, blame, and self-doubt. A typical response would likely be a plan to change the self in some way, to improve our, assumed, “negative karma.”

The ancient Chinese sages had a different take on the happenings of natural phenomena. From their perspective, things that occurred together—things that intersected at a particular moment in time—shared some meaning in common. Not that one caused the other, but that each reflected the other. Events that occur together are acausally related, what Jung termed synchronicities. From this perspective, rather than taking events personally, the ancient Chinese sages read the energy of the moment, which became a guide to decision making, cutting out self-absorbed judgment.

Thus, a fax not going through suggests it’s not the right time to communicate something, or that it requires a different method. Or that outside energy was blocking willful intent. Perhaps it signals a time of retreat and patient waiting, not time to force one’s way across the river. These reflections on energetic configurations are beautifully summarized and outlined in the Chinese I Ching or Book of Changes.

Sometimes occurrences are signs showing us that we are approaching things at a time not energetically suited to our intent. If, instead, we read such a sign as a proposal for corrective action—as an opportunity for energetic realignment, such as patient waiting—we spare ourselves the labyrinth of judgment. Remember, it’s not personal. Just read the signs.

Reading the signs,

A Day in a Life: Silent Meditation

Seeking peace and calm... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Seeking peace and calm…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I attended a silent meditation retreat some weeks ago. I am not ordinarily a retreat kind of person. I am not a group person. I am a loner, but occasionally I find that going outside of my container offers the opportunity for new vitality and renewed commitment to my path. For me, it was to be a day of stalking, for I was leaving my known world and entering into an unknown world. I would have to be appropriate. Proper attire was required, white clothing, modestly covering arms and legs. Yoga and meditation, as well as teaching, would be part of the day long retreat. I stalked from the moment I got up in the morning and dressed. I followed the rules, arrived on time, ready to begin.

Things did not happen according to schedule. No one was ready for the arrival of the retreat attendees. We had to be patient. As we stood about, some attendees chanted softly to themselves, others practiced yoga, preparing themselves for the day ahead. I walked the grounds of the retreat center, calmly and slowly, already in silent meditation. Talking seemed unnecessary and inappropriate. I exchanged a few nods.

Three ravens flew into some trees ahead of me. I stood and watched as they landed, as they ruffled their feathers, and as small white down loosened and slowly fell to the ground. I heard more rustling and noticed a couple more ravens sitting on nearby branches. I saw more white down flutter to the ground. Suddenly, I became aware that I was surrounded by ravens. Out of the darkness of the leaves the shapes of perhaps fifty or sixty ravens appeared, materializing a few at a time, as if by magic. Raven energy, I thought, the scavengers who pick away at the dead, transforming empty carcasses into something new. Not a bad omen, I thought. I wondered what the day would bring. New life, new energy perhaps?

I walked slowly among the birds as if walking beside the ocean, the rustling of their feathers, like the sound of gentle waves washing upon the shore, accompanying me. I walked in a large circle, respectfully passing by the ravens several times as I waited for the retreat to begin. Eventually, the doors opened. Leaving our shoes at the door, we entered the coolness of the building.

Eventually a yoga instructor emerged. Pranayama, breathing, was followed by a series of chakra and meridian opening poses. I was quite at home, but it was an experience to do yoga in a room filled with perhaps 60 or more people. I began to experience a gentle energetic vibration as the session progressed, as creative energy coursed through all of us. The yoga ended with shavasana, as we all stretched out on the floor and sank into calm relaxation.

Chanting followed, in Sanskrit, which is foreign to me. I can chant some simple mantras, and my personal yoga practice involves personal mantras, mostly in English. Suddenly, however, it seemed as if everyone else in the room could speak the language. All of the other attendees were chanting away with gusto, the beautiful syllables flowing off their tongues as the room filled with vibrant, lilting energy. I sort of hummed along, but I realized I was an outsider, that most of the people at the retreat were seasoned and dedicated practitioners of a specific yogic path, used to satsang, used to group energy, used to practicing together. But even though I was not a member of this greater community, I felt welcomed into it, and there I was, as I mentioned, stalking.

In stalking, one allows the circumstances to dictate the process, even as one makes the initial decision to stalk. In alignment with my wish to have a personal experience, to see what happened, I had embarked on the day, and so I was open and receptive, perhaps a little too much, for as the chanting grew louder, I began to vibrate even more than I had vibrated during the yoga session.

I realized that I was taking in the energy and that perhaps it was too much. I stopped chanting. As good as the energy in the room felt, I could not accept any more of it. It was group energy, and a lot of people thrive on it, but I do not. I am not like the ravens who live in flocks; I am a solitary bird. And so I was relieved when it was time to take a break before the first meditation session began with the guru.

Soon the guru appeared, a tiny woman, revered by the many practitioners who had come to be in her presence. I knew little about her. I have never felt the need of a guru, but I sensed the deep affection that filled the room as she entered and took her place. She was serious, her energy almost heavy, as if she had to bear the weight of adoration and she was uncomfortable with it. This assessment of her proved true, for later it was revealed that she preferred not to be revered in any way.

Many eyes look back at me... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Many eyes look back at me…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Without further ado, she guided us into pranayama and then meditation. Meditation must be preceded by pranayama, and end with pranayama, she said. Do Yoga, pranayama, meditation, pranayama. Duration, one hour, she stated, as we began. If negative thoughts arise, she said, say your mantra, whatever it is, five times, then silence. Negative thoughts, mantra, silence. One hour.

Thoughts immediately arose. Is that a negative thought? I’d ask myself. Or is it just a thought. Does it matter? A thought is a thought. Mantra, what mantra should I say? Okay, I’ll say that: Mantra, five times, silence. This became the mantra I said as the meditation session began. “Mantra, five times, silence.”

Fifteen minutes passed. My legs hurt. I heard other people moving about, shifting on their cushions, some quite loudly. I carefully moved one leg, then the other, stretched them out for a time. I pulled my knees in and hugged them for a time. I got back into sukasana, sweet pose, with legs crossed. Another fifteen minutes passed. I knew how many minutes had passed by my body, from my years of sitting in meditation. I knew that soon, in the next few minutes, I would level out and not feel a thing, that by the time 45 minutes had passed I’d be floating, effortlessly present in my body. It happened as expected. It was then that I received this mantra: Look into your darkness until you see the eye of God.

I followed the instructions. I looked into the darkness behind my eyes, a place I look into often, a place where I have had some of my most enlightening and magical experiences, in my own darkness. I looked for the eye of God. Almost immediately an eye appeared. I saw the eye of the meditating Buddha head that we have at home. I saw the eye of an elephant. I saw the eye of a snake. I saw the beady eye of a mouse. I saw the eye of a lion. I saw many eyes floating in and out of the darkness, coming and going. Eventually I saw a big bright eye, staring right at me. Is that the eye of God? I wondered, and then I saw that it was my own eye staring at me. As if I was looking into a mirror, my own eye held my gaze, and then it was gone. I had seen the eye of God, and it was my own.

I had peeked at the guru several times during the meditation session. Every time I looked she was sitting perfectly still, a slight smile on her smooth face. Her head was tilted slightly, as if she were listening to someone speaking in her ear.

With the meditation session over, the guru softened, the stern look and the heaviness that she had entered the room with released a little as she smiled and joked. After a while, I began to feel like a student sitting at the foot of the teacher and I did understand why her flock tended to revere her as a guru. I became a part of their community once again, just as I had during the yoga session, the group energy like a blanket hovering just above our heads.

The guru spoke wisely, her concerns for the world in alignment with my own, her healing approach similar to my own as well. In simplicity and alignment with nature, with what we are granted naturally we can save ourselves, we can save the people of the world. Her greatest concern seemed to be with what we put into our bodies, with the contaminated food that is found in every American supermarket. “That’s not food,” she said, “that comes from processing plants. Food is real.” With the right foods in our bodies, we can access greater spiritual practice and we can change ourselves and our world, she said. I felt, for the most part that she was preaching to the choir, so to speak, but perhaps not. Perhaps too many people, even those in deep spiritual practice, dressing the part and knowing all the words, struggle as much as those who have no practice and no words to resort to.

We broke for silent lunch. I was thankful for the gift of silence, to sit and write my thoughts, to eat slowly of the ayurvedically seasoned and balanced meal, food for sitting in meditation—no rajas, no tamas, just sattva—nothing that will interfere with going into silence.

The afternoon started with more teaching by the guru. And then a man got up and stood before a microphone. I didn’t quite hear what he said, as he spoke too quickly, but everyone else seemed to know exactly what was happening as more chanting began. Again I could not keep up, although I hummed along for a time, but I had no sense of what it meant. The words projected on a screen in front of us seemed endless. Surely that’s the last of it, I’d think, and then another screen filled with phrases would pop up. Loud and fervent chanting filled the room, with the shrillness of bells ringing, a radiant energy building. Suddenly, I began to feel ill. Would it never end? Everyone around me seemed transfixed, mesmerized. Then it dawned on me that they were chanting the 108 divine names of the guru. What number were we on, surely we’d already done fifty.

Finally the chanting ended. It was evening, close to the time when the retreat should end. Time for a short break, but there was still the afternoon meditation to come. Shaking, I got up quickly. My stalking time was over. I had to go back to being me. I gathered my things and exited the building. I could not stay another second. I had to get away from the energy. How could I feel like that after being in that beautiful presence? I wondered, for I did feel the beauty and dedication of the guru, dedicated to her life’s task, to bring to the world what she had learned in the manner of her ancient tradition. It was her path. It was not my path. I am on a different journey. We all walk our paths, some parallel to others, some joining for a time, but in the end they are individual paths.

I shifted out of my stalking self and headed home... enlightened... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I shifted out of my stalking self and headed home… enlightened…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

My stalking self shed her persona as I slipped into my sandals at the front door and walked to my car. Shaking off the too good, the too much energy of other, I glanced over at my pals the ravens. They were still there, fluttering their wings, waiting patiently, but for what? Then I saw the dumpsters. They were waiting for food, to pick over the leftovers from the restaurant, to feast upon the energy. They had been there the entire time.

When I got home and told Chuck about the ravens, his first reaction was to remind me of the shaman’s world where they would be seen as predatory energy, also known as entities. We had produced, as a group, a lot of energy that day and the vultures where there to feed off it. As soon as he said this, it all made sense, it had been about energetic exchange, and I understood why the guru had entered with such a heaviness, as she was carrying excessive energy to feed her hungry devotees. She lightened considerably as the day progressed. But it was too much for me. I could not eat another bite of her energy.

When I left, I was more certain of my solitary journey, of my own vital and vibrant energy being enough, of my own spiritual practice, and my own road to freedom. I drove away, thankful for the experience, for it had indeed shifted me and introduced a new vital energy, just as I had hoped. Yet it also sent me right back into myself, back into my darkness, which was exactly where I needed to be, looking for the eye of God inside.

Now, whenever I sit in meditation, I have a new mantra to focus on, to swish away the thoughts, negative or otherwise: Look into your darkness until you see the eye of God. From the energy of the guru, I pass it on to you. Mantra, five times, silence.

Look into your darkness until you see the eye of God.