Lessons in a Life: The Great Unknown Known

Before sleep I call upon Robert Monroe, great out-of-body explorer and author of several books as well as guided meditations on the subject. “Will you take me on as your apprentice?” I ask. Before long I am asleep and dreaming.

Girl on beach, drawn as we all are... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Girl on beach, drawn as we all are…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I stroll along a boardwalk. On my left side is an endless row of doorways to video arcades, to adventures and games, places to learn and test skills. On my right is the ocean, dark and brooding.

I pop into one arcade after another, through wide doorways into big rooms, through narrow doorways, no wider than a sheet of paper, into rooms equally narrow. All doorways are accessible; no matter how thin, I simply slip in. I have many adventures in these various rooms, partaking in games of skill, learning how to manipulate and master everything that comes at me.

Every now and then I step back out onto the boardwalk and walk out onto the beach and step into the waves of the ocean. As opposed to the busyness of the arcade scene, all is calm and quiet here. I am calm and at ease here too.

All night long, while I dream, I partake in life along the boardwalk and in the arcade rooms. I play all the games. I am enticed, challenged, gain insights, skills, and a sense of power and prowess, and yet it all soon becomes repetitive and boring. At the end of the night, just before I wake up, I walk one more time out to the ocean’s edge and realize that this is what matters, this is what’s meaningful, this is the whole point of everything. I wake up in utter calmness.

The boardwalk is the path through life. We make many trips along that boardwalk, through many lifetimes, selecting how we want to live, being drawn here and there, walking the narrow planks over and over again.

The arcade rooms represent the many adventures we have, the choices we make to play one game or another, the things we are challenged with and the things we learn. Here all the desires, the wantings, the needs, the things of this world that we find so enticing are supplied, encountered, and experienced.

The ocean is the Great Unknown Known. I call it this because although it is dark and brooding and hard to see what lies in its depths, we sense such affinity with it. There is familiarity in its mystery and we are constantly drawn to it. We are drawn there by the High Self, our spirit urging us to discover what it offers, just as I was drawn in my dream. We go to it throughout our lifetimes, perhaps not as often as we go to the arcade rooms, but often enough that we all have a sense of its presence and significance in our lives.

Life's repetitions keep us going in circles... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Life’s repetitions keep us going in circles…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Our sense of familiarity with it, hard to pinpoint at first, becomes more realized as we get to know it better. For some, the unconscious, that Great Unknown Known, is frightening. To others it is calming though still mysterious. It will remain a mystery until we dive deeper into its depths and discover what it holds for us. Once we have gone into its depths enough times we gain a certain prowess and ease, equal to that which we gain in the reality of this world, as we engage in it, walking the boardwalks of our many lifetimes.

The more we explore the ocean, the more we feel its resonance, its energy so like the energy of our spirit. The more we enter it the more we gain a certain prowess in its waters. We might even experience the great depths of calm that came over me at the end of my dream as we dive deeper into the mysteries of the inner self. Even as we become calm in its waters, we are also aware that we have still much to learn, as its mysteries are endless. It is the vastness of infinity, and just that, infinite.

Each time I took a break from the arcade rooms and stepped into the ocean in my dream calmness came over me, and yet I always went back to the boardwalk and the arcades. By the end of the night, however, I got the message. It’s not the boardwalk and the endless supply of games, one more bedazzling, enticing and challenging than the next, but the deep and broody ocean that is important. It is where our spirit takes us over and over again. Our spirit knows it’s what we are really seeking, and that it offers all the adventure we really need.

The ocean, the Great Unknown Known, is the big draw. It offers the wonder and mystery of what lies beyond the boardwalk, beyond this world, enticing us to discover it for ourselves, asking us to test its waters as eagerly as we jump into another arcade game.

In the end it’s the balance between the two that we seek. We must let ourselves fully experience what the boardwalk offers, on both sides. We must fully live in this world, the arcade rooms, but also fully avail ourselves of the world of the Great Unknown Known. And that really means that we soon discover that it is not so unknown at all, but just another part of who we really are.

Where our heart knows we must go... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Where our heart knows we must go…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

There are many ways to go to the ocean every day, in sitting calmly, in simply breathing, in meditation, in just being, in refusing to do what we might normally feel we must do, in what the shamans call “not doing.” In “not doing” we refuse to go into the arcade rooms. Instead, we go to the other side of the boardwalk, slip into the ocean for a moment or two and wait for it to show us something. You too might ask for Robert Monroe’s help. I think he’s out there waiting.

For now, we must return to the boardwalk because that’s where we live, but the ocean is always right there.

Not doing,

Soulbyte for Friday July 31, 2015

The solution lies within. So does the question. To “go within” requires nerves of steel, for to dive into the unknown self is always fraught with fear, one of the greatest dangers known to the human being, keeping one from truly living. A warrior knows that to fully “go within” means to be ready to do life’s greatest Q & A test—that which will bring the deepest satisfaction and fulfillment, though the journey to fulfillment may entail many other journeys as well.

The warrior faces the challenge of fear as if it were an illusion, for it does not truly exist except as it is conjured and prescribed importance. Nerves of steel are the warrior’s greatest asset against fear. Something to conjure up and use to full advantage as you take your journey into the unknown, as you go within and face all your inner Q & A tests!

A warrior knows that so much more awaits on the other side. And so a warrior dons nerves of steel every day, keeping always in mind the ultimate goal: freedom from all illusions.

Chuck’s Place: Beyond Story

What stories am I telling myself today? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
What stories am I telling myself today?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Reality awaits us, just beyond the stories that present themselves rapid-fire from the inner “press” of the mind. When the shamans urge us to “suspend judgment,” they are referring to this function of mind that so quickly organizes a story around the scantest detail perceived and fleshed out by the mind. We are then drawn to attach to the story generated by the mind; in other words: to live as if the story were reality.

The “judgment” here is the storyline we have bought into and energetically invested in as emotions and thoughts emerge to guide our actions in accordance with our judgment or interpretation of reality.

So much of our vital energy is bound up in our interpretations of reality that we find ourselves encased in the familiar yet largely false stories we tell ourselves over and over again. Our intent gets bound up in upholding those stories too; or simply put, our intent generates our self-fulfilling story prophecy in our experiences of everyday reality.

For instance, one story might be that I don’t feel valuable or lovable. This story becomes reflected in the eyes of everyone I meet, their actions mirroring the story I tell myself. My intent generates the reality of my story. This story then becomes the filter for my life. All approaching energy, or the unfolding of daily life, becomes automatically formatted and neatly tailored to fit into and validate the truth of my story. This then becomes my reality.

Our stories become knitted together with such regularity or habit that we come to rest our identity upon them, the familiar tales we tell ourselves. They become like family. Thus, regardless of how limiting or unfulfilling our stories leave us, we remain compulsively drawn and attached to them for a sense of known definition in this world.

Tread lightly as you decide to release yourself from the bondage of your core stories. Change, regardless of how beneficial, often feels deeply disturbing to the security of known stories, as they are challenged to reveal their true identity and their true validity in our lives.

Time to spend our energy on what really matters... - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
Time to spend our energy on what really matters…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

On the other hand, every time we stop the flow of energy from attaching to a story that flirts for our attention we accrue that energy in our spiritual savings account. When enough energy has been saved we are indeed freed to discover the true nature of who we really are as we spend our energy exploring true reality, the reality always present and coexistent but generally filtered out by our all-encompassing stories.

Suspend judgment. Explore the true nature of reality as it presents and unfolds in oncoming time. What an amazing true story awaits!

No stories allowed!

Soulbyte for Wednesday July 29, 2015

As you change, everything around you changes. It is the law of nature, of cause and effect. Even the tiniest movement or shift effects everything else. Remember this when you feel stuck. Remember also that YOU are the catalyst to change. When it’s time to change, just do it! You will be amazed by the ripple effect and the changing of everything.