Chuck’s Place: Simply Sacred

We can create mandalas anywhere, to trace or walk, to calm or intend change... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We can create mandalas anywhere,
to trace or walk,
to calm or intend change…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The borders of the world are swiftly evaporating as we swirl ever so rapidly into our One World family. This transformation has been heralded by the diaspora of formerly-cloistered knowledge and practices of the world’s most ancient spiritual traditions.

Tibet is a regular at the White House now, in the form of the Dalai Lama’s chats with the President. Mindfulness has infiltrated into the core of brain research at major universities and is at the heart of modern psychotherapeutic treatment. The technologies of the Upanishads and the wisdom of the ancient Hindus is available in most adult ed programs, and in storefronts in most cities in the world, in the form of yoga practice. The energetic medicine of the ancient Chinese, in the practice of acupuncture, is now covered under most health insurance plans. The knowledge and methods of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico are readily available, to anyone seeking to deepen their energetic evolution, through the published works of Carlos Castaneda.

The age of exclusive godly gurus and saviors is over, at least in projected form. Even the Catholic Pope admitted to his human frailty when having to prematurely retire. The Dalai Lama’s successor is dubious; Carlos Castaneda ended his shamanic line; India is steeped in desecration of the feminine, and China has forgotten the I Ching.

The legacy, the deepest gold of these ancient fading traditions, lies in their technologies, offering pathways to the soul. These methodologies, stripped of their proprietary and ritual wrappings are now available to anyone who chooses to engage in their practices. It is true that we still need teachers and guides as we experiment with these ancient practices. For instance, Kundalini, the powerful instinctive energy that lies coiled like a snake at the base of the spine in all of us, once activated, can wreak havoc with the central nervous system, such as triggering a physical recapitulation that may confusedly land one in the emergency room! It is wise to proceed with caution and seek out experienced guides and helpers for these practices.

But, by and large, our greatest guide is our own resonance. The teachers and teachings that are synchronistically drawn to us and resonate with our own energy are most likely to be trusted. We are all guided now by our own inner Naguals—the title afforded, in earlier times, to the leader of a shamanic party. No one else’s rules or resonances necessarily apply to our own journey. And that journey can take many different roads.

Many people value the concept of meditation. In fact, it’s at the top of many a New Year’s resolution scroll. Most, however, find its actual practice daunting or frustrating. When TM, Transcendental Meditation, was the rave in the 1970s, Dr. Herbert Benson, in his lab at Harvard, discovered the Relaxation Response, a simplified, demystified 10 minute practice that achieved the same physical and emotional benefits as the ancient esoteric mantras of TM. There are many simple roads to meditation, like washing the dishes with full mindful presence.

A calm walk on a simple path... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
A calm walk on a simple path…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The ancient Tibetans and Navaho Indians used sand paintings of mandalas to heal and commune with deep spiritual forces. Carl Jung had his patients paint mandalas to connect with the healing support of their own deep unconscious during analysis. When I seek such a connection, I will simply walk slowly in a circle, then in a square, touching four points of that circle. In this simple gesture the energetic pathways to the deeper self are opened. A calm walk on a simple labyrinth can facilitate a similar experience.

The other day, Jan offered a recorded hypnosis to easily shift awareness and access deep calm from the sacred within. Hypnosis is one of those ancient practices: “En arche en ho lógos (John 1:1);” “In the beginning was the word.” And with words we construct our worlds and commune with our deepest spiritual forces. When we choose our words wisely, the words we take in and the words we exhale can invite in benevolent and compassionate energies to support and guide our journeys. It’s all in the word. A simple calm word can change the structure of water and what it does to us; it can become healing balm.

Partake in the simply sacred with the guides and practices that resonate. Trust your inner Nagual. Peace.

On the simple path,

A Day in a Life: You Are A Calm & Radiant Being!

ALERT: What follows is a hypnotic recording. A hypnotic recording should never be listened to while driving!

Morning sun hitting a window... Reminding us that we too are radiant! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Morning sun hitting a window…
Reminding us that we too are radiant!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Hypnosis is a natural state. We go into hypnosis all the time, though we don’t often give it this name. There is a term, highway hypnosis, meaning a deep sense of detachment that naturally happens as we do something that is automatic, such a driving, especially as we drive the same route each day. Often we can’t remember passing any of the familiar landmarks. All of a sudden we are at our destination unaware of how we got there! We go into hypnosis when sitting in a movie theatre, our attention focused on the movie so that our surroundings disappear. It’s a good writer and director who can put us so deeply into hypnosis that we enter the world of the movie and forget everything else for a few hours, even the person sitting next to us! When plugged into our music, when reading, when engaged in creative endeavors such as painting, playing an instrument, dancing, etc., we also go into states of hypnosis, also known as trance.

We hypnotize ourselves all the time by going into emotional states of fear and worry, by letting the mind take over. Unconscious habits may also be states of hypnosis as well, as we eat in trance, putting food or drink that we don’t really need or want into our mouths, seeking to fill a void, or as we physically push ourselves, avoiding something, refusing to face what is nagging at us. So, if you’ve never experienced hypnosis in a clinical setting, you have nothing to fear as you listen to the following recording, as it’s a perfectly natural state!

The ten minute hypnosis that follows is a gentle, calming hypnosis, allowing the mind, body, emotions and spirit to relax and release normal tensions and interruptions, allowing you to be more present in your body. The body speaks to us all the time, but can we hear it? Do we listen? A few minutes of calming relaxation and hypnosis, with beneficial and healthy suggestions to the mind and body, can make a world of difference, setting us on a new healthy path to communication within the totality of who we are, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

ONCE AGAIN: What follows is a hypnotic recording. A hypnotic recording should never be listened to while driving! Please keep this in mind. Instead, take some time to sit calmly, preferably lying down, with legs, hands and arms uncrossed to allow for good circulation. Listening with headphones may enhance the experience. Perhaps a blanket to cover you and keep you warm will make you more accepting and calm as you allow yourself to have an experience like no other, the experience of hypnosis!

To reinforce and achieve the full benefit of any hypnosis, repeated listening—at least once a day—will work wonders! So take some time each day over the next few weeks to sit and listen to the hypnotic recording that follows, and reap the benefits. Remember: You are a calm and radiant being!

I send you my very best, and may you enjoy the experience!

Here is the recording:

A Day in a Life: You Are A Calm & Radiant Being

Readers of Infinity: Your Daring True Self

Living from the true self? Drumming your own rhythms? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Living from the true self?
Drumming your own rhythms?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Here is today’s channeled message from Jan and Jeanne. Hope it’s helpful as we go into this week, the energy of which seems to ask us all to stay present and focused on where we are at all times. A good place to stay focused and aware is always on the true, the deeper, self, as Jeanne recommends. Arms are open to receive you!

February 24, 2014-Your Daring True Self

Chuck’s Place: Synchronistic Mirrors

What does this synchronicity mean??? - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
What does this synchronicity
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

A wise yogi once shared his hard-earned wisdom with me: “Beware the allure of asanas. The heart of yoga is in pranayama, the breath.” My humble wife, earnest student of svaroopa yoga for many years, warned me long ago that I should approach inverted asanas with great caution and support.

Since young adulthood I have enjoyed inversions, particularly halasana, plough. Over a year ago, as I descended from that asana I strained my sacral muscles, initiating a long journey with back issues. Eventually, at my daughter’s hinting, I sought guidance from a teacher of the Alexander Technique. Most recently, particularly through the heart of the snow storms, I was amazed at the strength and resilience of my fully healed back.

The other morning, as I dressed, I was buoyant with energy, balancing on one foot as I raised the other to put on socks while standing. I quickly lifted my right leg, excitedly thinking how powerful I’d become, when suddenly a powerful pain shot through my sacrum. OW! I’d done it again!

I was thrown into immediate deflation, filled with negative judgments about my cocky stupidity. I was also in the midst of reading some lectures that Carl Jung, my intellectual nemesis, had given at the Tavistock Clinic in London in 1935. Ironically, he spoke of his own struggle with inferiority when a frequent guest at his home, Albert Einstein, would come and speak to him about his Theory of Relativity. Not being himself gifted in math, Jung said he “sank fourteen feet deep into the floor and felt quite small,” as Einstein tried desperately to communicate his thoughts. As I found myself sinking, I evoked Carlos Castaneda’s #1 dictum: “Suspend judgment!” That simple mantra is profoundly useful in allowing us to get to the deeper meaning of synchronistic events in our lives.

Of course I feel foolish for hurting my back so carelessly. But what is the significance of the event? What am I being shown? To get to the deeper meaning of events we can’t stay stuck in judgment, it too limits and clouds our view.

I am stirred to consult the I Ching to deepen my knowledge. I obtain hexagram #37, The Family. This hexagram speaks to the correct relationships within the family as the microcosm for all relationships in the world. I get a moving line in the 4th place: She is the treasure of the house… It is upon the woman of the house that the well-being of the family depends. Well-being prevails when expenditures and income are soundly balanced.

What is this telling me? Not sure yet.

We watch the documentary Cutie and the Boxer, about a married Japanese artist couple. I immediately don’t like the Boxer, he’s out of control, refuses to be limited. Cutie is held in check, keeping balance as best she can in their lives.

Time for the moon to shine a little brighter... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Time for the moon to shine a little brighter…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I pull the 5 of Wands card from the Tarot deck, Strife, as well as the Moon card. Strife results from the energetic clash when Leo, the fiery energetic creative lion, is inhabited by Saturn, the planet of limitation, discipline and boundary. The lion held in check creates strife.

The Moon is the universal principle of choice-making, particularly around karmic issues, that is, work that needs to be done. The moon is also the universal feminine symbol, yin.

Back to the I Ching. I’m being shown that the yin line in the 4th place—the Moon of the Tarot—must take the ascendancy. The strife lodged in the spine is the clash between the fiery creative energy that, like the Boxer, abhors limitation. This leads to structural defeat that throws the body out of the Tao.

The Moon, the yin, the internal feminine, must come to the ascendancy. Cutie is not to be subordinated to a subservient role but must take charge of internal affairs, asserting balance and limitation, making choices in accordance with the restoration of order, allowing for return to the Tao. If this is achieved, the future of The Family is Fellowship with Men, hexagram #13, depicting the restoration of order—balance and inner harmony—strife resolved.

This series of synchronistic phenomena all mirror each other. Yang energy must be properly complemented and balanced by yin energy. Dominance of the creative over the receptive might lead to a broken back!

Acquiescing to the Moon,

A Day in a Life: Snakes Alive!

Sometimes we wake up to a different world... not by choice,  but by the power of nature... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sometimes we wake up to a different world…
not by choice, but by the power of nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

During my recapitulation there came a point in the process where I literally felt like I was shedding my old self and transforming into a new self. My body did not feel right. I didn’t fit into it anymore, even my clothes didn’t fit, and nothing about what was going on inside me fit either. Simultaneously, I began having dreams about snakes. Upon awakening from a snake dream I was immediately fearful. Snakes, after all, scared me. I noticed, however, that my dreaming self wasn’t afraid of the snakes, in fact she was quite calm in their presence.

I began to experience these snake dreams as supportive of my recapitulation, as part of the natural flow of my transformative process. I began to see snakes as offering healing venom and healing energy, rather than signifying something negative. I began to see them as giving back to me what I had lost, my own energy. Snakes became an integral part of my process as I shed the old self and became a new self, as I went through a viscerally real death and rebirth.

I pulled the Death card from the Tarot deck this week. It always appears so ominous, so negative, until I remember that it signifies this same process of transformation, as I shed the old self—old ideas, old habits and behaviors—and more fully embrace my greater potential. Life is full of transformational moments. Here I am thirteen years after beginning my recapitulation, still shedding the old self, even the self who evolved out of my three-year-long recapitulation process has been shed, as over and over again, I face myself and what life presents me with. In fact, the Death card, number 13 in the major arcana, is my growth symbol this year, so I know I must pay extra attention to this card overall. Each time it appears, it reminds me that I am changing all the time, and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

The thought that I am transforming all the time permeates my existence. We are, after all, nature, and nature constantly changes, in very obvious ways. One day the weather is calm and sunny. The next day we are buried under two feet of snow! Overnight things change. One day we are calm; the next day we might be agitated or moody. This is nature inside us, as we flow from day to day, just the way Mother Nature does, just as the stars and planets constantly move, align and realign, just as the oceans rise and ebb.

According to Angeles Arrien in her Tarot Handbook, the Death/Rebirth card symbolizes “the universal principle of detachment and release. It is through letting go that we are able to give birth to new forms… The snake reminds us that in order to transform, we must let go of old identities in order to be able to express new ones, much like the snake that sheds its skin…”

In Animal Speak, Ted Andrews presents a myriad of snake symbolism, but basically he too says that the snake is a symbol of alchemy—transformation—and healing. “Before the snake sheds its skin,” he writes, “its eyes begin to cloud over, as if to indicate it is entering into a stage between life and death.” I know this stage very well too, because during the time of my recapitulation my eyes repeatedly clouded over, in fact, they stayed cloudy for days as I remained in a dreamy in-between world, not quite the old self, yet not quite the new self either. I floundered between worlds, seeking to gain clarity on what had happened to me in childhood, while also seeking to gain clarity on who my future, authentic self might possibly be. It was a crucial time in the process.

It's all about transforming  and expanding consciousness... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
It’s all about transforming and expanding consciousness…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Everyone who recapitulates goes through this same shedding and until the shedding of the old is done true clarity will not reign. But once the old skin has shed, the eyes clear and new life really begins as one enters a world that was previously blocked from view. As fear sheds with the old self a new self emerges into a world that, all of a sudden, is different. It’s not, however, the world that’s really different, it’s our perception of the world that’s changed. Our consciousness has expanded.

As I entered my own world of expanded consciousness, my vision literally changed. The blurry vision I’d experienced during my recapitulation did clear; my nearsightedness practically disappeared too. Now I see more clearly than I ever have in my entire life. And what was once so clear to me, the details of my past self—what I peered at so closely during my recapitulation—are no longer as clear; they don’t need to be. In fact, my vision has totally shifted from nearsightedness to farsightedness. My eyes are free to turn outward now and receive the world with new clarity. My snake dreams pointed all of this out to me so long ago, letting me know that one day I would navigate life without my old fears inhabiting and inhibiting me.

Snakes and death are healing and transformational aspects of nature. I see the old people in my life losing their visual clarity, and I know they are in transition, soon to be reborn. In the throes of recapitulation, as in the throes of death, there is the certainty of new life. Every day, we too have the opportunity to be reborn simply by the decisions we make and in how we choose to see and perceive the world around us.

We are all free to change, but it requires giving energy to questioning who we really have the potential to become and trusting that we will eventually receive the answer. It’s our choice to decide to commit to deeper work on the self. Are we ready to make this lifetime a meaningfully transitional lifetime? Are we ready to finally do it? Are we ready to face our fears and suffer through the shedding of who we are to become our true authentic self?

In the throes of death and rebirth we are offered opportunities to transform and expand our consciousness and enter new life!

Using snake medicine all the time,