There are many paths to take, many healing journeys. We must find what suits us best and stick with it if we are to overcome our issues and anxieties and evolve.
As Deng Ming-Dao* writes: “We are increasingly aware of the many different spiritual practices all over the world. And new practices are being created out of the resulting diversity. That is right. It only stands to reason that all, even the most tradition-bound practices were originally created at one time. There should be no stigma attached to spiritual practices that evolve in our lifetime—methods don’t have to be from dead people in order to be valid. But once we find a way, we should stay with it resolutely and not have anxieties about other people’s paths.“
He goes on to say: “It is healthy to explore other disciplines. If nothing else, the elements in common can give you fresh and interesting perspectives on your own practices. But we should not flit from one discipline to another. Ecumenical explorations are fine, but they are best done from a firm base of the practices that best suit you.“
No other psychotherapist that we know of has linked the ancient practice of recapitulation in a clinical setting the way Chuck has, a process that naturally evolved as he studied the Magical Passes of Tensegrity as introduced to the world by Carlos Castaneda. Castaneda, for his part, released them to the public, to anyone who was interested. In so doing, he sent them on their way, energetically, into new life. Recapitulation has found new life in a clinical therapeutic setting, even though Castaneda’s group distinctly stated that recapitulation was not psychotherapy. As Chuck discovered, however, it surely does have its place within the context of a holistic therapeutic setting.
We are all spiritual beings, made up of energy. As we are born, grow up, and live our lives in human form we gradually lose touch with the essence of who we truly are. From birth we are indoctrinated with the idea that there is only one reality—this one on earth—and that when we die, if we do things right, we will go to heaven. That’s pretty much the standard fare offered by all religions around the world. But who are we really? What are we really?
We are multidimensional beings. We are thinking, feeling, conscious beings as Chuck wrote about in his last blog. We know ourselves, however, most commonly as dense matter. We can get caught there and forget that we are vibrant energy, awareness eager to escape the confines of the human condition, open to exploration beyond the body and beyond the confines of our indoctrination. Though we all have access to this energetic self in out-of-body exploration as we sleep and dream, our experiences often do not cross over into daily awareness. They lose their magic upon awakening, for the most part lost to conscious consideration. Some people are peripherally aware that there is something else to life, others more so, actually exploring, while still others just can’t quite go there yet, wanting surety, scientific proof. But that kind of proof can only come in daring the self to continually explore and to hold onto the experiences as the truth of who we really are.
As I write about in my books, I suffered well into adulthood thinking that there was something wrong with me. Indeed there was! I was caught in my human form. All that it had been through weighed on me like a ton of bricks. I believe we all feel the same way, that we all feel isolated, afraid, ashamed and vulnerable. It wasn’t until I found my way to the process of recapitulation, within that clinical setting that Chuck had realized was possible, that I also began to experience exploration beyond the body in a totally new, acceptably healthy way.
So what is this path of recapitulation? It is a pathway to going into the body self to explore and resolve all issues and beliefs so that seamless, unattached transcendence from the physical self may occur. It is, simply put, a means of shedding the physical form—in all its multidimensionality—so that we may gain access to our awareness, our spiritual essence, the truth of who we all really are. This essence has no form, no belief system, no agenda; it simply is. That might sound pretty abstract, but once the shedding begins all of that starts to make a lot of sense. The big step along the path is the first one, to simply let the self begin the journey, to be open to where it leads.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico did recapitulation in a cave or other remote dwelling, isolating themselves from the world so they could be undisturbed as they recapitulated. Taisha Abelar,* a cohort of Carlos Castaneda’s, used a cave and then a tree house, writing a fascinating book about her experiences. Victor Sanchez, a controversial progenitor of Castaneda’s works, suggests constructing and sitting in a box. I, on the other hand, believe that we ourselves are the cave, the tree house or the box, that everything we need is inside us, that our human form, that which we seek to transcend, is also the gateway to our transcendent experiences.
It’s pretty impractical for most of us to disappear into a box for any length of time, or to find a cave to repeatedly return to. And, much as we might like to, how many of us are really ready to climb a tree and live in a treehouse for months on end. We may not have been chosen to train in the traditional fashion, but that does not mean that it is not our path as well. We are still free to choose the path of recapitulation if we come upon it and it feels right.
In fact, we recapitulate all the time, in the course of living our everyday lives. We recall memories, get triggered, have sensory experiences. If we think about it, recapitulation is really a natural part of life, flowing through us daily. How often have we sat, lost in a memory, really there, sensing and feeling it again. Recapitulation asks us to do just that, but this time to be the observer as well as the participant, to look at everything from a new and fresh perspective. Over time we begin to see our past experiences as part of the network of our lives, fitting neatly into the fabric of who we are, what has made us the beings we are today. As we weave that network together from a new perspective, a bigger picture develops, and we begin to experience ourselves as more than just our human self and our experiences. We actually begin to experience ourselves as energy.
As Deng Ming-Dao states, there are many spiritual paths and we must choose one that suits us. Then we must resolutely walk it. I personally have found my deepest and most rewarding path out of the physical to indeed be recapitulation. I use it daily so that my practice of meditation—my cave/tree/box—takes me beyond the body with ease and gentleness. The physical human form that we all reside in on this plane is our transformational vehicle, yet how can we sit and meditate if we are tormented by a mental state that does not let us sit still for very long!
In my experience, recapitulation offers a most valuable tool. It is the first gateway to accessing our energetic essence. Beyond that, with practice, resolutely walking the path of our choice, we can and will achieve our energetic essence. It’s just a matter of daring ourselves to take the journey, that first step the hardest and most frightening, and then sticking with it!
On the recapitulation path,
*Notes and Quotes: Deng Ming-Dao’s book is Everyday Tao and Taisha Abelar’s book is The Sorcerer’s Crossing.