All posts by Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Archetypal Pause

Calm…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Many people believe that the basic security they lack, due to parental neglect early in life, must be subsequently supplied by someone, somewhere, for healing and confidence to be established in their innermost being. When I began my professional career as a therapist at The Linden Hill School, a psychiatric hospital for nonviolent, deeply disturbed adolescents, I was told tales of former therapists who had attempted to compensate for the early neglect of caretakers by literally feeding their adolescent patients on their laps with warmed bottles of milk.

I myself once had a cat who’d been separated from his mother prematurely; we called him Ricky. Every time Ricky was held and petted he immediately attempted to nurse on anything his mouth could reach. No matter how much Ricky nursed through the years, this behavior never changed.

There appear to be critical periods for meeting certain needs through age specific behaviors. In the field of ethology, the study of animal behavior, Konrad Lorenz discovered that there are critical periods for imprinting and attachment. For instance, a mother goose will not bond with a separated chick beyond sixteen hours after hatching. In other words, that chick has just 16 hours to get the mother goose’s attention! If that fails, it’s on its own.

In humans, nursing behavior enacted beyond infancy will not supply the archetypal love as it does for an infant being loved through this form of nurturance. Fixation upon the now outdated archetype might persist, but acting it out merely provides a temporary fix, with powerful dependency on others continuing to be necessary to provide basic security. An internalized sense of being loved, with its resultant feeling of confidence, remains lacking.

How then does one fulfill a missed first chakra need of secure footing in this world? Regardless of the state of integrity of our personality foundation as separate beings, our bodies continue to grow. We are forced to adapt to new situations in life even if we are lacking in confidence. Fortunately, some inner parent, what I call one’s High SOUL, invokes a variety of strategic maneuvers which prioritize continuing to be able to grow, cognitively and emotionally, in spite of the lack of completion of a secure personality foundation.

One such strategy of the High SOUL is to prompt a child to make believe everything is OK. An adult name for this strategy is to act-as-if.  When we act-as-if, or fake it till we make it, we willfully explore a behavior that stretches us beyond the comfort zone of our habitual repertoire. Though acting-as-if may be experienced as a false self, or may not serve deeper personality transformation, it is useful for adaptation in the moment. It may allow one to stay in the moment and actually continue to grow in vital ways.

Another powerful intervention by the High SOUL is the use of amnesia. Frequently, in the trauma of primal neglect, the memory of the traumatic experience is completely lost to consciousness, stored alternatively in the unconscious mind or somewhere in the physical body. Through this dissociation an individual is enabled to stay somewhat present to the experiences and lessons of the current moment.

Interestingly, as I have witnessed in my personal clinical experience, the High SOUL decides when, at some future point in time, the forgotten experience will surface, often decades after the event. This parental wisdom, exercised by the High SOUL, is to wait until a stage of life when adaptive needs are lessened and focus can shift to the integration of lost wholeness. Indeed, I am suggesting here that our true parent is our own High SOUL, always present behind the scenes, supporting our ability to undertake and fulfill our mission in this life.

Addressing traumatic memory or the fulfillment of basic needs requires a strong adult presence. When one opens to need or trauma, the emotional state of the inner child is evoked through the little soul of the subconscious’s connection to the body and its release of powerful hormones and neurotransmitters to activate emotions specific to the state of the trauma or need. The ego-Soul is then asked to stay present to the activated emotional, cognitive, and body states associated with the memory or need of the inner child.

In effect, High SOUL has determined that ego-Soul is now ready to become the parent to its own child self. This is not a matter of going back to some earlier time and fulfilling a need in the form that was missed out on. What is required is for the adult ego Soul to stay fully present and open up to the experience of its formally dissociated inner child. This means feeling it in emotion and body, and knowing it cognitively as the child believes it to be. High SOUL, who raised ego-Soul, now asks it to become the adult parent to its personality in the time and space of this world.

But how to do this? How does one develop such affect tolerance? One approach is deep relaxation. The little soul of the subconscious does what it is told to do. If, in the midst of a highly clenched physical state, ego-Soul can volitionally place its awareness on the points of tension in the physical body and instruct the body, through suggestion to the little soul of the subconscious mind, to relax the body, the body will respond and lessen its grip. Repeated instruction will deepen relaxation and allow ego-Soul to help its child self to regulate its own emotional intensity in the face of the experience it is in the midst of.

This loving act, of staying present to and helping to transform the inner child’s emotional reaction, opens the door to a deeper cognitive perspective where the child state sees the fuller context of the truth of its early experience, which can clear up false negative beliefs it may have held about itself for much of life.

This adult ego-Soul relationship with its younger self becomes the true supplier of the primal nurturance long sought in life. With this foundation, genuine transformations occur that provide for enriched fulfillment in life, within and without.

Whenever stressed, practice relaxation. Pause, take a breath, shift focus to the subconscious with the instruction to release the body tension. Stay present, see what happens! This is love in action, the right mechanism for archetypal completion, now.

Releasing, completing,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: I Am Nothing, I AM

I am nothing, I AM…

We are beings of suggestion. In shamanic terms, what we intend is what we suggest, and that we become.

Our power lies in maintaining ownership of our intent. As suggestible beings, we are subject to the influence of many outside and inside intents, beyond our conscious awareness, that have the power to put us into trance. Once entranced, we manifest the dictates of those prevailing intents.

Take, for instance, waking in the night to a worrisome thought. If we are unable to fend it off that thought commandeers our central nervous system, and we become victim to its drama and a sleepless night. The thought was just a traveler in infinity, seeking an entertaining night in the theatre of a human body.

The truth is that thoughts are just illusory bait with no substance. In and of themselves they cannot hurt us. What does hurt us is our own energy giving them life, if they hook our attention. Their lifeless drama comes alive through the fear and anxiety we lend them as they take over our imagination.

Parasites they may be, but guides they are as well, those thoughts that manage to take root in our fertile soil. We are shown where our weaknesses are when thoughts penetrate our walls. And those weaknesses likely call us to our recapitulation journey, where we are given the opportunity to retrieve a lost part of our Soul and thereby shore up our wall.

We may have to journey through a nostalgia, a sensitive memory or longing, with its requisite emotions. We may need to feel, to release, and to witness the fullness of this nostalgia before its energy can be freed to join us in our current life. This recognition and appreciation  allows for an old nostalgia’s completion, as it gracefully frees its energy to go forward into the self of now. And, with that, a fully permeable wall of total detachment from the nostalgia forms, as there is no longer a vulnerability left in us to cause a trigger or fear.

As beings of suggestion, we must face just how powerful the law of attraction really is, as it manifests the dictates of an intentWe do manifest what we self-hypnotically tell ourselves. When the mind entertains a thought in the night, the little soul of the subconscious delivers us a body riddled with anxiety, the intent of the thought manifested.

Carlos Castaneda taught that a merchant mentality is the ruling intent of our time. This is the ego-Soul fixated at the solar plexus chakra. Even the highest ideals of the New Age, those glimpsed at the heart chakra, are contaminated by fame, self-importance, and the profit motive. On the surface we turn to the light, but beneath the surface we unknowingly cling to security and self-interest, the merchant ego-Soul state.

Our intent is thus unconsciously fragmented, whereby confounding intended outcomes—the groundhog day scenarios of our lives. Without facing the fullness of our personal shadow merchant selves we remain beings of contradictory suggestions, who often then surrender our personal intent to outside influences, to make things happen.

Once a year, in a faraway land, the King, the great world father, stands before his people and proclaims the greatness of his kingdom. “Ours is the richest and strongest kingdom of them all,” he reassuringly proclaims. “The state of our economy is the envy of the world.” Many are moved to tears and applause, even those who would challenge the Gaia-destroying consequences of his policies. Calmly, he warns that the greatest threat to safety and continued success would be to question his rule. This mythological example exemplifies the reality of our current lives.

Many are lulled to surrender their personal intent, to resolve their inner contradictions and find hope and security by internalizing a powerful outer intent and manifesting its demands. The world—inner and outer—is a marketplace of such powerful intents, each vying for the most consumers. We are, by birth, hypnotic beings who must learn the art of consciously taking charge of our own intent!

Taking charge requires the following:

  1. Observe the content of the inner dialogue. Our personal intent, our personality, is a manifestation of the words we repeat to ourselves incessantly. The little soul listens to those words as instructions for the physiological creation of body and emotion.
  2. Change the tense of self-descriptive verbs and adverbs in inner and outer dialogue. “I will never” becomes: “In the past I never.” A further evolution is a positive and definite instruction: “I intend…”
  3. Shield the self from the marketplace of intent, both in the inner and the outer world. If an alien “idea” seeks to seduce from within, stop it in its tracks. This might take the form of identifying it as “thought” and shifting attention away from it, but it might require blatant warfare: “OUT!!!!!!!!” Yes, it may be necessary to return to the issue in recapitulation, but that will be on one’s own terms; never give over being in charge.
  4. Limit exposure to outside intent. Everything we read and listen to has its own intent, even as simple as liking a picture or quote. Liking something is an exchange of energy. Carlos Castaneda actually stressed this point to the level of inanimate objects in museums, where adorned objects feast upon and drain the energy of viewers. Of course this doesn’t mean not to go to museums, he stated, but one must be careful to guard the influences upon one’s energy, even in such an innocuous circumstance as appreciating a work of art.
  5. Archetypes are our true original parents. “I am the Lord, thy God…” These authoritative influences upon one’s personal intent are constantly and automatically projected onto high office holders. Recognize these projections, whose intents so easily supersede one’s own personal intent. Go to the heart center. What is the intent of one’s own High SOUL? Reconcile with that intent, taking full responsibility for life in this world.  

Taking charge ultimately requires raising the ego-Soul’s consciousness from the marketplace arena of the solar plexus to the quiet and clarity of the heart center. The proving ground for this ascent is the assumption of legitimate power by ego-Soul.

The fact is that ego-Soul is an orphan, separated from its wholeness as a condition for undertaking life outside infinity, in the finite space and time of this world. This sets up the foundation for all of humanity: inadequacy and inferiority. The trapping to compensate for this inadequate state of being is to enter the marketplace of self-importance and attach to its offerings to elevate the ego-Soul’s validity. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico countered this trapping with the mantra: “I am nothing.” The intent of this mantra is to refuse  identification with the false gods of the marketplace.

However, this is simply not the full truth. Indeed, “I am nothing” is the counter to the crutch of inflated self-importance, but, despite the fact that I am nothing, I AM! Can I strip away the crutch of self-importance, with its emphasis on validation and esteem, and simply acknowledge the purity of the fact that I AM. And with that acknowledgement of I AM, I am announcing that I am responsible for figuring out and taking charge of the life I am in.

Ultimately, it rests with ego-Soul to take charge of life in this world and that might even, at times, mean having it venture beyond the intent of its own High SOUL. In the final analysis, it is ego-Soul that has taken up this journey in space and time, a life that will end in this form some day. Take charge, refuse the not-I intents of the marketplace, and realize the wholeness of the I AM intent in this life.

I am nothing, I AM,

Chuck


Chuck’s Place: Our Most Intimate Partner

Make no mistake about the grandness of nature and instinct, within and without…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Last week, a mother dolphin off the coast of New Zealand carried her dead calf on her back for days as she obeyed nature’s instinctive spiritual call to grieve her lost child. The religious instinct is inherent in all of nature, dolphins and humans included.

We make a grand mistake when we blame the human animal, with its instinctual underpinnings, for all the egregious sins and excesses of humanity. As our mother dolphin demonstrates, nature’s religious instinct knows how to safely discharge, regulate, and transform its deepest emotions.

Our physical body, our faithful companion for all of our physical life, is born with the highest level of knowledge of how to safely navigate and fulfill life in this world. This is innate archetypal wisdom that we may not be conscious of. Consciousness, which resides in the ego Soul, is separate from the archetypes that govern the physical body and has assumed the role of decision making for the human animal. On all levels, we are alive at a moment in time that truly reflects the errors of that ego Soul’s decision making.

The spiritual instinct in nature, with its imperative for evolutionary exploration, delivered humans the ability to override nature’s accumulated wisdom of archetypal solutions to life’s problems. Thus, contrary to mother dolphin’s laborious journey of mourning, corporate programs structure acceptable time-off to grieve. When ‘consciousness’ overrides archetype the dissonance created often results in mental health problems.

Of course, the overseer of the body at the subconscious autonomic level, whom I have termed the little soul, does not always select the right archetype to solve an issue. Thus, a self-hypnotic suggestion from ego Soul, at the heart center of consciousness, might do well to override a negative belief held by the little soul, which may be generating a physical problem.

The problem with the little soul is that it doesn’t think; it guards the sanctity of the archetypes, its true master. This conservatism is critical to protect life, yet its rigidity might prove fatal. Like a faithful General it follows, never questions, its orders. The problem is, it is susceptible to any orders. Thus, if we insist on constantly thinking about our bondage to negative habits, the little soul makes sure our body experience backs up and fulfills those orders. Hence, we repeat our habits.

This of course can lead to bodily excesses in such instincts as hunger and sex. We may be quick to blame our instincts, but we do well to look more deeply into where little soul received its marching orders. Often, we will discover that the true culprit is ego Soul, lodged at the solar plexus level of consciousness.

Many world leaders currently mirror this fixation of consciousness. The solar plexus is the center of personal power. Needs and wants at this center are exceedingly narcissistic, all about ME. Thus, marching orders from this center reflect entitlement. “I want more” is its general imperative, be it with food, sex, money, clothes, screen time, attention, etc.*

Thus, ego Soul’s powerful wants override the little soul’s archetypes, commandeering the body and its instincts to fulfill its appetites, not the body’s appetites. The body falls victim to the ego Soul’s power play, and though it might react with illness, the disease may lie more in the ego Soul, with its lack of consideration of the body’s true needs.

Unfortunately, the learning curve for ego Soul at the solar plexus chakra is generally a function of karma, the groundhog day law of cause and effect. Many repetitions may be required of self serving destructive behaviors before a light of higher consciousness shines on the truth of the illusion one has been living.

This light issues from the heart center, where ego Soul glimpses the truth of its high SOUL, which reveals the interconnected and true workings of everything. Narcissism is purified at this level, as ego Soul sees clearly right action in conformity with the reality of the situation. Here the high SOUL becomes the ego Soul’s guide, as it delivers to the little soul the correct orders for body maintenance, healing, and action.

May we fully appreciate the wisdom and support of our most intimate partner, our own body, which contains and allows for our Soul’s transformation, as it sojourns through life within its precious physical body.

With love and deep gratitude,

Chuck

*NOTE: Synchronistically, today’s Soulbyte addresses the side of personal power susceptible to taking on outside influences as its own. Outside influences are both the outer personalities and thought currents of our time, as well as inner archetypes that target the ego Soul’s naive will to power, for their own nefarious intentions.

CHUCK’S PLACE: WHO AM I REALLY?

Dreaming the dream…
Art by Jan Ketchel © 2004

At a Tensegrity gathering in Barcelona, 16 years ago, an assignment was given to answer the question, “Who am I?”  A deadline was assigned by which answers were to be submitted via email. No suggestions were given as to how to navigate locating an internet cafe—there was no Wi-Fi in those days—nor how to communicate if you didn’t speak Spanish.

As I recapitulate the experience today, I know what my honest answer should have been, “I’m a terrified little chicken, reticent to assert myself, to be imperfect, to not be on time.” I believe my ‘enlightened’ answer at the time was more like, “I’m an energetic being who is going to die,” taken directly from the Shamanism Catechism 101 crib sheet!

The truth is that though the more honest answer reflects both my survival fears associated with the first chakra, as well as my ego Soul assertiveness issues at the solar plexus chakra, the answer I gave also reflected a center of who I am at the third eye chakra, though at the time this was not a place I could volitionally rest in.

We are beings with several dimensions of awareness. We may habitually occupy but one or two of those centers, but even A Failed Christian, as Nick Lowe sings of himself, can be stirred to a higher spirit center when the choir sings in harmony.

The chakra system of ancient Hinduism is a useful structure to identify the various centers of consciousness in the human body. More precisely, they refer to energy centers in the etheric body, a subtle body that energizes the physical body through the activity of kundalini, the active force in human life. I refer to this subtle body as the Soul, which is comprised of the little soul of the subconscious, the ego Soul, and the high SOUL who resides in infinity.

At the levels of the first and second chakras, we are purely animal instinctive beings, almost exclusively controlled by our DNA, ancestral history, and the archetypes of the collective unconscious. This is the domain of the dweller I have referred to in recent blogs, the conservative autocrat only focused on the rules of survival.

At the level of the third chakra, we have the birth of consciousness where the will and the ability to choose over nature’s dictates are discovered. Nonetheless, ego Soul at this level has a very narrow narcissistic worldview: ME!

At the level of the  heart chakra, ego Soul comes in contact with high SOUL, the love and truth of infinity, which expands its horizons to include itself as only a part of a greater interconnected reality.
The divisiveness of the solar plexus warrior is supplanted by a greater love for all beings as part of a greater wholeness.

The chakras above the heart center are increasingly associated with the high SOUL dimension of our whole Soul being. Consciousness at the third eye or crown chakra offers direct access to interactions with beings in infinity, such as in channeling, as well as provides the respite of deep detachment from the affairs of time and space, as one rests in the perspective of heightened awareness.

Meanwhile, back in time and space, we have Western thinking, which  is obsessed with progress. Goals are broken down into smaller logical objectives, successive stepping stones that culminate in achievement of the established goal. This linear ascent model dominates our definition of progress. We constantly judge ourselves and are judged by others by the quality and status of our ‘progress.’ Perfection is reaching the completion of the goal with maximum efficiency.

The truth is that this measure of progress is only relevant for a part of our multidimensional being, who we really are. Our root chakra is obsessed with survival. Our solar plexus may be obsessed with winning. Our heart may be concerned with doing the right thing with compassion. Our third eye might view the multidimensional synchronicities of this current wave of energy. Our crown chakra might be dreaming the dream we are currently living.

Progress or growth clearly involves an integration and blending of all of these dimensions of awareness to realize the fullness of Self. Furthermore, kundalini herself directs where and how our journey will unfold to discover the fullness of who we really are. The way of kundalini is not simply one of vertical assent or of logic.

In traumatic recapitulation, kundalini might first take one to an early childhood memory and next to adolescence, and then zigzag back to childhood, then forward to early adulthood. If one expects a logical time progression one is sure to be disappointed and, in fact, one can get caught in a depressed mood through a judgment of failure.

Kundalini has its own internal reasoning, which is impervious to the constraints of logical order. This is also experienced physically. The mercurial path of kundalini might go from a third eye intense headache one day to a pain in the big toe the next.

The path seems more about clearing space at one level and then returning to other levels to trigger and address older issues whose time is due. Perhaps the path is similar to a Rubik’s cube, where progress requires movement at different levels at different times. Guidance here is to suspend judgment and trust the process.

So, who am I really? Seems the current working definition is a multidimensional being, whose centers of awareness are getting to know each other. Good luck with solving the puzzle!

Have fun,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Containment and the Journey of Soul

Stay contained…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Last week’s blog culminated with the adjacent image of the dweller contained within the angel, sitting in quiet repose upon a tree stump. The eyes of the angel reflect the agony of the basement dweller, imprisoned within this flighty, heavenly angel, as well as the sadness of the angel, weighted down to Earth by the dweller’s dense energy. Nonetheless, a hint of innocent companionship is felt in their tentative thinking man pose.

This stage of quiet containment reflects the moments in our habitual cycles when we are able to hold within ourselves the dweller’s impulse to action. This action of restraint, nonetheless, generates a condition of great tension within the body.

Inwardly, this is the experience of a combined wild fire and flood, as an electrical charge, called anxiety, races at lightning speed through the central nervous system, accompanied by a clenching vascular action that forces blood to rapidly flush throughout the body. Both the neurological and pulmonary body systems seek immediate discharge from this unbearable tension through physical release, be it through raised voice, aggressive body movement, or outright body flight into spirit, clinically defined as dissociation.

As pictured above, the ego Soul can alternatively choose containment over physical release and, with the support of the angel spirit (SOUL messenger), land in the eye of the body storm, at the heart center, which enables it to hold fast to the knowing that positive transformation will result from this right inaction. Additionally, expansive love is available from this center, enabling greater acceptance of the opposite planes of the self, activated and in conflict in its present struggle.

In a nutshell, the technology employed here is to not take the lid off the pot of water on the stove as the heat rises and reaches the boiling point where energy transitions to a new state, from liquid to gas. In human terms this can be likened to kundalini rising from one chakra to another, opening one up to a new plane of consciousness.

For instance, kundalini rising to the heart chakra opens consciousness to the expanded awareness of a non-egocentric perspective of the world. Rather than the perspective of a willful battle with opposing forces, characteristic of the solar plexus chakra, ego Soul at the heart chakra sees the interconnected value of all things. As well, right action, action in alignment with the high SOUL, becomes obvious and then ego can calmly, from a deep state of detachment, execute appropriate behavior.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico taught the practice of utilizing the petty tyrants in one’s life to achieve this enlightened state of awareness. Petty tyrants are the people and situations in our lives that trigger our anger in defense of our self-worth. Essentially, these are the people that offend us. Being offended evokes the survival fight reaction at the lower chakras, particularly at the solar plexus.

Although, at a certain period of ego development it is necessary to battle, i.e., confront one’s oppressors, to be frozen at this level leaves one permanently vigilant, tense, and dominated by a negative attitude. Shamans practice refusing release of their instinctual reactions to their petty tyrants. In fact, they allow themselves to be used by their tyrants, which causes the resultant contained emotional energy to rise. As that emotional energy rises it burns through the web of feeling offended at the solar plexus level, while purified awareness rises to the clarity of the heart chakra.

From this detached place of not taking anything personally, Shamans gain clear knowing of right action to subdue the tyrant, not from a place of anger but from objective right action. I’m reminded here of the elderly Aikido master who offers the hostile passenger his seat to most efficiently resolve a tense situation on a crowded train. Another example is the Dalai Lama who admits that one must defend oneself, even perhaps having to shoot someone in defense of one’s life, but all the while holding them in a place of loving compassion.

Gaia teaches us this practice of detachment now, as her own kundalini energy rises in our experience of global warming. Her evolutionary objective is to reshape the Earth, with survival practices emanating from the plane of the heart chakra. At core, Gaia’s intent can be summed up as a release from the Dweller-based economy of survival—that which has mismanaged and exploited Earth’s resources—by moving into a Spirit-based alignment with SOUL. This transition will shift humanity’s primary emotional operating system from fear and vigilance to interconnected knowing and right action, based on the true needs of the planet.

The journey of ego-soul through a lifetime on Earth, ultimately culminates in Soul, as energy body, exiting the physical body at the time of death. The trajectory of that Soul’s journey is to bring its experience and knowledge from its just-lived life home to its greater SOUL in infinity. That continued journey may require many stops at other levels of experience, perhaps even subsequent return trips to Earth to fully solve and release attachment to its former life.

A willingness to fully explore one’s life while here, particularly through the practice of containment, allows kundalini, the active energy of the Soul, to rise and open to a fuller and more fulfilled exploration of life while here, and a more direct journey to SOUL when it’s time for that definitive journey.

Contained and rising,

Chuck