All posts by Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Predator Teacher

We live in a predatory universe… beware!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Is it diabolical that a mosquito, tick, bacteria, or virus  feeds upon the matter and substance of our physical bodies? A nuisance, and in some cases a lethal nuisance indeed, yet, we begrudgingly accept this negative symbiotic reality as a feature of our physical world.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico concur that our universe is a predatory universe. They describe this dynamic as operational at an even more subtle energetic level as well, that of an inorganic yet living entity that feeds upon the human energy produced by human emotion. Although negative in its draining of human energy, it also serves as a teacher that helps humans evolutionarily advance, if they can learn how to master its parasitic onslaught.

This opportunity, and the need for mastery over it, is ever so obvious in the conditions of our current world predicament. Outwardly, we are bombarded daily with the most outrageous of words and behaviors, incessantly taxing our emotional reserves, resulting in extreme volatility and emotional exhaustion.

These onslaughts fill the airwaves and social media, captivating modern life. Closer to home, beyond the politics of now, are our own personal longings for attention and validation, our own deepest needs compulsively seeking to bind us to screens.

Inwardly, we too are prey to the promptings of self-importance and self-pity, seeking outlet in an upward spiral of ecstatic inflation, or in a downward vortex, sending us into a bottomless pit of tortured longing and sadness. These volatile tendencies within ourselves often manifest in cycles of addictive attachments.

Shamans maintain that these various pathways of emotional activation are generated by an inorganic entity, which they have dubbed the flyer, through the judgments of offense that our internal dialogue incessantly broadcasts. Those judgements are directed toward self and other. They, in turn, generate a wave of emotional energy, the food for the flyer.

To free the self of this depleting symbiotic trap, shamans recommend a furtive effort of detachment, which they call the warrior’s way. The goal of the warrior’s way is to gain freedom from the bindings of attachment, first and foremost to being offended. If one can remain sober and detached in the face of offensive words and behaviors, none of one’s energy is lost in the encounter.

To accomplish this, one must lose one’s attachment to self-importance. Self-importance is generally garnered through validation by others, a highly dependent and vulnerable position, which leads to endless emotional strife. Rather than turn over one’s power to another’s validation, the guidance is to face the truth of one’s self within. Acceptance of, and the ability to laugh at, one’s self, goes a long way in cancelling out the impact of the judgments of others.

Self-esteem becomes acceptance of the whole truth of one’s actual self, good and bad. Inappropriate behavior by others is properly placed as their problem to face and resolve, and not as offense to one’s own self. This does not mean that we don’t strategically decide how to manage inappropriate behavior, however, we do so with truthful sobriety rather than with offense.

Freed of the emotional activation generated by judgments within and without, we advance in maturity. We accrue the energy that grants us the power to act decisively, with precision. No energy is wasted in feeding the predator. The predator is defeated when we deny it the energy of our emotional disgust and defeat.

In this time of flagrant predatory human behavior, we are all offered the opportunity to advance beyond the narcissistic emotional web of the predator, who constantly stirs up and then feeds upon our emotional turmoil. We don’t have to keep playing that game.

I prefer to punctuate the positive opportunity of this seemingly depressed and depressing time. I envision the predator as our ultimate teacher.

The predator, as teacher, shines the spotlight upon our attachment to self-importance, showing us the emotional trap where the greatest work needs to be done, and where the largest storehouse of our energy lies, waiting to be retrieved. Once we close this emotional trap drain, we open ourselves to a whole new world of freedom. Freedom to be.

Being,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Where Will Magic Greet Me Today?

Join Chuck on his Magical Tour…
– Thanks to Capitol Records

This is the essential question to ask, as you begin each day: “Where will Magic greet me today?” No room for doubt in this question. Magic will happen. Intend to be aware and present for this most certain encounter.

Magic will happen because it is our other side, our energetic half. How could we not experience, in some way, our mysterious magical side, each and every day?

We live it in our dreams and it makes its appearance at unexpected moments in the day. A sudden deja vu, sounds from the environment that respond to our thoughts, a fleeting glimpse of an entity scooting into the bush, a smile from the moon, a song that appears and engulfs, a phrase spoken to the mind from within, a pressure on our arm, a knowing certainty that something will happen—these are but a few of the infinite possibilities of visitation from our magical side.

Sometimes the magic completely projects itself upon another person. We may be seized with attraction, or thunderstruck with terror to encounter such a powerful being. Feeling inadequate, we may shrink ourselves or doubt our worthiness. In these instances, we experience our magic vicariously, as we are unaware that the magic we feel really emanates from within ourselves.

“Not worthy,” does the smallness within becry? That’s normal, because it is normality that we cling to, as we know how rattling the magic can be. Secretly, we long to merge with our magic, yet we titrate its impact with wishing and hoping to remain safely insulated from direct exposure to its live current. This is fortified by doubting our worthiness.

Magic defies reason. Magic shatters, period. If it be the magic of a soul encounter, it delightfully transports us to an ecstatic world far beyond the world of reason. If it be a dark encounter with black magic, it threatens to devour the self. We never know for certain how or in which form it will appear, hence, the vigilance to seek safety behind the veils of true encounter.

The world stage is replete with magicians at present that excite us with their tricks. They serve to remind us that anything truly is possible, nothing is really as solid and reasonable as we believe. But don’t merely be vicarious spectators at these main events; fully show up for the main events in your own life! And such events are the Magic that awaits you this day.

Reason, our impeccably trained other half, longs to commune with its magical side but is terrified of loss of control to a power greater than itself. All our addictions are sullied pathways to our magic, protected by badness. Reason structures an out-of-control encounter that it can then regret, remaining safely in charge through the feeling of guilt.

Reason itself is magical. To construct a world that can be completely accounted for with reason is one magical feat. The problem for reason is that, in and of itself, it is boring; it lacks the power of magic. This fact might explain our current political reality, where the attraction to irrational impulse has consistently trumped reason.

The real challenge is to bring reason and magic into complementary alignment. Reason is a formidable guide with which to know and navigate the world. Magic, on the other hand, is infinite possibility in many worlds. Reason can steady and affirm the self as it journeys into infinite possibility, whereby supporting one’s quest for wholeness. To do this, reason needs to suspend and refine its normal judging function, granting the self encounters with its magical side in everyday life.

Thus, begin each day with a direct question to magic: “Where will WE meet today?”

Know that you will. Ask reason to guide you to its appearance and to hold you steady in the grip of its encounter. Ask reason to be expanded and blessed by the realness of its communion with magic. Roll up for the Magical Mystery Tour, you won’t regret it!

In the magic,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Guidance for Now

I actually started four blogs this week, none of which feels right at this moment. Finally, my ego turned to a higher power, the I Ching, and asked: “Guidance for the World, NOW?”

The Image: Caught between rising waters…

The result: Hexagram 29, The Abysmal or Danger. Moving lines in the 2nd, 4th and 6th places.

The future: Hexagram 12, Standstill.

Interpretation: A) The context of The Abysmal; B) The activated lines of The Abysmal; C) The future of Standstill.

A) The Abysmal is formed by the doubling of the trigram of water. The image is one of being caught in the rising water of a ravine, a dangerous, yet extraordinary position.

This week, I was standing in a dry ravine. Even in the absence of actual water its energetic current took me off balance, causing a fall into a bush that tore my face. Rather than interpret such an encounter as carelessness, I accepted it as a design of power. I clung not to victimhood nor self-pity, relegating it to a known world, but as an experience to be relished. I am open to life.

The current situation too begs objectivity, from all of us. It is not the consequence of a subjective attitude or foolishness. Do not blame the self. Do not tantrum with reason. The danger is real. And yet the danger is an encounter with power, a most educative experience. To survive and learn from the encounter one must get quiet and remain calm and observant. Be like water that fills the space thoroughly and then moves on. This is impeccability, the right attitude to escape destruction in an encounter with infinity.

B) Specifically, in line 2, instruction is given to not fight the dark forces. Don’t engage in direct conflict; it’s a trap and energy drain. Remain steady, be fully present and observant, in silence. Adapt until the right moment for movement arrives.

Line 4: The challenge is complex. Have great patience, study and wait. Be accepting of gradual change. Avoid impulsive action or attachment. Recognize that this is a learning situation of great consequence; view it from all angles. Water is thorough; it fills every nook and cranny before it moves on, and you can be safely carried on.

Line 6: Beware of getting caught in the prison of illusion. A master conjurer can ensnare one’s full attention, steal one’s energy and manipulate an outcome. Always stare down that conjurer within the self first. Sometimes the prison sentence of illusion is a lifetime. The greatest conjurer of all is the ego itself, who knows everything.

C) The future is Standstill. Do not devalue any moment in time; they are all equal. Treat standstill with reverence. In Standstill, Heaven above moves further away from Earth below. Their energies do not unite but further alienate from each other. Creative union is not possible in a time of stagnation.

Richard Wilhelm writes, in the Judgment of Standstill, “But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting influence is closed to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their principles and withdraw into seclusion.”

Here, ego and mystery separate. Rather than crown ego victorious or inadequate, recognize a time of lull as a necessary preparation for the next true encounter. Focus attention on doing the best you can, in all situations, to prepare for power’s next test.

Follow the path of heart inward, to the place of worth. Avoid being drawn into the egoic opportunism of the moment that seeks one-sided victory. Save the energy for when it counts, then act, decisively.

Be calm,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Always Return to the Heart

Find the heart everywhere…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Sadly, but truthfully, human beings are a truly cancerous species, malignantly acting upon the planet. Actually, to be more precise, it’s the current state of the human ego, not the full human being, that carries the disease.

Oddly, the human ego is capable of a quality of consciousness that affords it freedom to choose action beyond the binding instructions of instinct and archetype, a remarkable freedom. The downside of having this ability is the obvious abuse of its power, which has led to the diseased condition the planet is now plagued with.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico trace this ego malady to the predatory reality of the universe, where all life is sustained by feeding upon other life. From their cosmology, or seeing, what preys upon the human species is an inorganic species that actually feeds upon the energy released by human emotion.

In the case of us humans, this predatory species fixates our human awareness upon worries about survival and self-importance, thus generating waves of frenzied human emotion that serve as food for this inorganic entity. Thus, our human awareness is fixated at a narcissistic level that constantly seeks attention and validation, that constantly gets offended, and is predominantly motivated to act for essentially self-serving purposes. Human behavior, especially at this time, seems to fit this description perfectly.

The shamans suggest that this predatory entity succeeds in securing our obsessive worry by actually giving us its mind, a mental overlay that is obsessed with its next meal and threats to its survival. Thus, the impact of this entity’s mind on human awareness is to generate the obsessive internal dialogue that plagues human consciousness.

The plus side of this condition is what the shamans call our cubic centimeter of a chance to wake up and free ourselves from this parasitic relationship. Although we are prone to obsess, our ego does have the freedom to choose another option. This is our evolutionary birthright, the freedom to choose. Ironically, it is the encounter with the predator that sharpens consciousness and awakens it to this opportunity to evolve. The dark side of the force has its necessary role.

The key to freedom is to choose the option to turn to the heart over the obsessive mind. The heart is connected to the High SOUL, and hence the deepest truth. If one finds oneself in a condition of worry or strife and one shifts one’s attention to the heart center, one’s ego exits the energetic valence of narcissistic influence and opens to the purity of the heart.

The heart holds compassion for all beings, thus strife is cleansed of its preoccupation with self-interest and offense. Even if the other person clings to their narcissistic preoccupation, one is not personally offended. The heart might determine that strong boundaries are necessary, but it assigns no emotional energy to being offended.

The heart will tell us, and asks us to face, the truth. The heart refuses shame and blame. The heart insists we never put ourselves down nor judge ourselves harshly. The heart’s love is expressed in its full acceptance of all that we are and all that we’ve done. The heart guides us to right action, with love.

The heart also holds the awareness that the universe is a bundle of interconnected energy, that everything is part of the same whole. One sees, in the behavior of the other, a reflection of a part of one’s self, with which one needs to reckon with and accept.

Arriving at the heart center frees one of the narcissistic worldview and allows one to see clearly the true needs of the planet, and act accordingly. Thus, the path to the heart is the path to freedom from our current world crisis. All citizens who walk a path of heart are forging a sustainable solution for the planet.

We are currently challenged with a world leadership that incessantly draws us into a depressed mood, as it mirrors and amplifies the collective ego’s struggle with its narcissistic fixation. The resultant negative emotional wave weakens the ego and feeds the predator.

Seek refuge in the broadened perspective of the heart space. Have compassion for leadership’s struggle, but maintain ruthless insistence upon the truth of the heart.

Walk the path of love upon this Earth. Love is the one  powerful emotion that can’t be touched by the predator. Love indeed conquers all.

Breathing into the heart,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Intent of Recapitulation

The gateway to recapitulation is focused intent…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

My first encounter with the shamanic practice of Recapitulation was at The Westwood Seminar in Los Angeles in 1997, that year’s annual summer intensive for Tensegrity practitioners. Carlos Castaneda stressed the seriousness of this ancient shamanic Magical Pass, which required a complete reliving of one’s life in preparation for the freedom to fly free, into infinity, at the time of the death of one’s human form.

For Jeanne and I, our ancient Catholic foundation was stirred, as we feared the equivalent of going to Hell if we did not complete our recapitulation before death! Well, I know that Jeanne did indeed make the cut when she left her human form, though she did have to touch back briefly to clear up some unfinished business with her birth mother before she could fully move on. (See the final chapter in The Book of Us for a recount of this unfinished business.)

When Jan and I discovered that recapitulation could actually serve as a total healing tool for complex PTSD, we realized that recapitulation had vast application beyond the shamanic preparation for one’s definitive journey.

In addition, I was synchronistically drawn to EMDR at the same time I was introduced to Recapitulation. I realized that recapitulation and EMDR shared a bilateral feature as their processing mechanism. I also realized that REM sleep shared this same bilateral mechanism, the processing function of ordinary dreaming.

I have capitalized on the innate biological mechanism of bilateral processing in much of my clinical work, but I have also come to discover that intent itself is really at the crux of everything.

When an individual sets the intent to recapitulate, that is, to fully retrieve energy that is sidelined or frozen, by incomplete processing or resolution of prior or inherent experience, something takes over and turns the totality of current life into experiences of what needs to be recapitulated.

Many clients, who are recapitulating traumatic events of which they have no current memory but which form the etiology of their complex PTSD, have discovered that memories begin to appear in no apparent order, haphazardly and from many different periods of their lives, which absolutely insist upon being processed.

Memories may be triggered by bodily pains, dreams, current interactions, smells, sounds—almost anything serves as a projective screen for a memory to reveal itself. Once fully recapitulated, another memory begins to flesh out, of its own non-conscious accord, often from a totally different time and circumstance, perhaps skipping over many other traumas that occurred in between.

The point here is that the intent of recapitulation itself, once engaged, becomes the director of the actual remembering, determining the sequence, frequency, and unique presentation of new memories and how they are brought to consciousness. I have come to trust intent’s illusive logic in directing an unfolding recapitulation, because the necessary healing appears to require its own idiosyncratic, sequential building blocks, constructed through the order of one’s personal unfolding memory triggers and encounters.

Though I hardly suggest that anyone embark upon the journey of traumatic recapitulation without a seasoned guide, I cannot deny anyone the knowledge of their birthright, their own access to the intent of recapitulation, the ultimate soul retrieval journey. To fully retrieve one’s energy is to be fully present to facing oncoming time.

Finally, when I learned the magical passes for intent in the shaman’s world, we practiced yelling the word, “Intent!” very loudly and firmly. And so, I simply recommend firmly stating, out loud, one’s intent to recapitulate, thus affirming one’s conscious decision to partner with the intent of recapitulation, a most worthy higher power.

Wishing you good luck on your journey.

Intent!

Chuck