Tag Archives: affection

A Day in a Life: Shock

I pull this card a lot... It's always deeply meaningful... From the Thoth Tarot Deck, the 2 of Disks.
I pull this card a lot… It’s always deeply meaningful… From the Thoth Tarot Deck, the 2 of Disks.

I go to the Tarot for advice and guidance. “What is the most important thing to write about in my blog today?” I ask. I shuffle the deck. Holding the stack of cards against my heart, I pull a card, the 2 of Disks: Change. I read that this card represents external change. It’s about achieving external balance by remaining always fully aware that change is constant, cyclic, unending. The number 2 is also significant, implicating that we must change now, within a matter of a few minutes, days, weeks or, at the most, months. There is no time to waste.

Change comes to aid us on our journeys, to help us evolve, to spur us out of our inertia. And so I must ponder what this card is trying to alert me to on this day especially, as I am poised to write something that others will read. I say that not in self-importance, but only in humility, for I am aware that words have power. Even my own words have power; all words do. They can inspire or they can hurt.

In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, I am aware of goodness, selflessness, courage, heroism. I am also aware of evil, hatred, fear, anger. This is a sensitive time for us. We are hurt, confused, afraid. We want to blame. We want there to be a bad guy, a villain. We ask why, why would someone do such a thing? We feel the pain of others, the maimed, the lost, the grieving. We want answers and yet the answers are slow to come. We might even ask: “What would I have done?”

The 2 of Disks asks us to change ourselves, to get ourselves in balance with nature. It asks us to enact external change that will be lasting, based on what we know about human nature and the cyclicity of nature itself. It asks us to become responsible for change in our lifetime—now.

The symbol on the Tarot card is the oroborus, the snake eating its tail, the figure eight, representing infinity. It also represents the repetition of behaviors and habits internally that keep us static externally. The card suggests that it’s time to question our deeper selves as to why these things keep happening, the mass shootings and bombings as well as the other horrors: the raping of woman and girls, the starving of children, the insatiable greed. Why do we keep hurting each other? Why are our ideologies more important than our truths? Why will we not stand up for what is truly right? These are the questions from the oroborus.

From the reactions of people at the bombing scene it’s apparent that we care deeply about each other. Who knows, perhaps one of the injured was the bomber, unknowingly aided by a good samaritan, simply because it’s in our human nature to help one another. No one questioned if the injured were worthy of saving, they simply acted to help other human beings in pain. On that day there were many actively engaged in enacting the oath of humanness that we all took upon entering this life, the oath of affection.

I must look for myself reflected in this image... I know I'm there somewhere... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I must look for myself reflected in this image… I know I’m there somewhere… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the Golden Rule says. It’s good to see that it’s still alive. But why do so many of us turn our faces and run from horror, rather than look it in the eye, take in the gory details, knowing that we too will suffer and die one day? Why are so many of us afraid of truly living our lives to the fullest? Why are we so afraid to meet our fellow human beings face to face? Why are so many of us afraid to look at our own deepest fears?

I think these are some of the things we are being asked to confront today. As the Shamans of Ancient Mexico state: We are beings who are going to die. Why is this so hard for us to think about? Why do we pretend that we alone are invincible when we are shown every day, from around the world and in our own country, that death will come. We must use death this time as an advisor, this is what the 2 of Disks is saying.

We must dare ourselves to take in the grisly truth. We must look at what has happened, knowing full well that we are not immune, and let it shake us awake. The pictures of horror must burn holes in us so that we do not forget what we human beings are capable of, both the good and the evil.

Perhaps we have come so far from our true humanness that we must be shocked awake before we will change how we perceive the rest of humankind and the world we all share. If we Americans are to change, we must first recognize that we are the same as all other human beings around the world. We are no more or less than the good and evil that resides in the people of the Middle East, India, Africa. We are no more or less human than our staunchest opponents, our perceived enemies, than those who wish to destroy us. We all have some aspect of aberrant behavior that rules us. We are all in need of balance, and external change is what brings that to us. Just as the seasons change, bringing the balance that nature needs in order to regenerate, so do we need external shocks in order to change too. This, I believe, is what the 2 of Disks implies, that external change will come to rock us back into true balance.

We are all both light and dark, yin and yang, good and evil, etc. - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We are all both light and dark, yin and yang, good and evil, etc. – Photo by Jan Ketchel

As the 2 of Disks implies, we are all the oroborus, cyclic beings, endlessly eating our tails. We must accept this. We are all going to die. And so we must accept what comes from without to help us change within, so that change can happen without that is lasting and good. We must once again retake the oath of humanness and truly live as affectionate beings, without self-importance, knowing that we are all capable of the most horrific of deeds, but also the deepest affection. This is the balance of the 2 of Disks.

We must seek balance without, in all ways, now. But we must also constantly deal with the evil bombers within. The shamanic practice of recapitulation offers a method of deep self-investigation that leads to selflessness and true affection. As we constantly recapitulate, we shed our fears and lose our personal self-importance. If we do this as individuals, our nation may lose its fears and self-importance as well. If we recapitulate until we are nothing more than beings who are going to die, when it comes our turn to act externally, only the affectionate beings that we truly are will immediately respond.

Offered in humility, with thanks to the guidance from the universe, today in the form of the Tarot,

Chuck’s Place: Love & Affection

Bring the heart out of the shadows of love and into the light of true affection... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Bring the heart out of the shadows of love and into the light of true affection… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

The other night we watched Bruce Wagner’s 1998 film I’m Losing You. It packs a shamanic wallop. We’re left with the emptiness of a group of characters ruthlessly chasing love amidst a harrowing set of losses, exposing the love compulsion at its most hideous. Most disturbing is the power of that compulsion to preempt a genuine participation in life and relationship. Last night we watched another movie with a similar theme, the 2011 film, The Newlyweds.

I know the world that Bruce Wagner was immersed in when he wrote the novel, in 1996, upon which the screenplay and movie I’m Losing You are based. I was totally consumed by that same world, the world of Tensegrity and Carlos Castaneda. Bruce, alias “Lorenzo Drake,” was in the inner shamanic circle, and in fact married the nagual woman Carol Tiggs. This was at the time that Carlos was mercilessly poking fun at the search for love that dominated our world. Carlos would constantly point out that we seek love, but underneath we are really merchants caught in the contract of what we are getting from, or what we are owed in, our loving interactions.

I’m Losing You glowingly highlights that even in the midst of extraordinary opportunities to avail ourselves of the shaman’s greatest wake up call—to use death as an advisor—we are trumped by the flyer’s mind that seeks refuge in a zombie-like pursuit of love.

After the movie, I dreamed of being on an old treelined parkway rest stop on Long Island in between the northbound and southbound lanes. Traffic streamed by in both directions without letup. I was crouching at the curb of the north side picking up garbage. I came across an old, well-worn, 33 RPM album entitled, “I Love You.” I picked it up, read the label, and then pushed it vertically into the mushy sod so that it stood up straight in the grass. I then walked over to the picnic area in the grassy median where two tables had been pushed together. People were anxiously awaiting their reserved time to have their children’s birthday parties there. One parent was haggling over not paying 18 dollars for an extra umbrella for the table. The sense of the scene was that it was a pedestrian, quick drive-thru birthday party factory.

My dream seemed to validate the well worn love recording at the energetic highway of our lives, with its cookie cutter rituals defining our behaviors.

Carlos stated that the Shamans of Ancient Mexico saw that love had been co-opted and corrupted by the flyer’s mind of self obsession. (See last week’s blog Don’t Ask Why.) Those shamans linked instead to affection, an independent wave of energy accessible to all, our true birthright. Once accessed, affection naturally flows through us.

To access such affection, Carlos suggested that we learn to love by giving with a blank check. That is, affection means giving without ever expecting a return on the investment: Giving without attachment to the outcome. This kind of affection takes the “me” out of the equation. You owe me nothing in return for my gesture of affection. I give it freely, no strings attached. I require not even an acknowledgement. You truly owe me nothing.

This is the true nature of affection: Selfless love, conscious acts of affection without self-reflection. I feel it; I give it; I don’t look back.

With affection,