Tag Archives: animal

Chuck’s Place: Nature’s Bridge

Sixty years ago, C. G. Jung predicted: “…The trend of the time is one-sidedness and disagreement, and thus the dissociation and separation of the two worlds will be accomplished. Nothing will prevent this fact. We have no answer yet that would appeal to the general mind, nothing that could function as a bridge.” *

The sunrise, a natural bridge between night and day…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Through her fury now, nature is forging a path of heart to bridge the great divide. Nature’s floods are pressing the human spirit to rise to the oneness of overarching love.

Nature’s strategy is apparent: Saturation. As one storm passes the next will soon arrive. In rapid succession the floodgates are overwhelmed. Human resistance is leveled as nature exacts her toll and reshapes our world.

Ego is slipping in empty rhetoric. Exhaustion and utter necessity are compelling ego to shift from its tales of power to instead see the true needs of the self, the populace, and the world. Survival now requires dedication to the truth.

In truth, nature teaches that a city founded on the principle of unlimited growth, with such an extreme concentration of resources and toxins, is no longer safe.

The time of the metropolis is over. No walls can hold back nature’s guiding imperative. Human ingenuity must learn humility to make peace with nature. This is living in the Tao. In the Tao one recognizes and occupies one’s proper place. To resist what is is merely a sandcastle bridge. Going with nature’s flow is the only way to go.

Within the self, the fire and fury of the animal disrupts cerebral hegemony. The floods of passion and emotion stir beneath the belt and threaten even the greatest defense, reason. Reason is no match for anxiety and fear. It’s time to bridge the divide within with a sustainable bridge. The ego metropolis is slipping. Time to make way to solid ground.

Would that the fire and fury of aggressive energy could be contained by reason and détente! But the joint rhetoric and escalating nuclear tests join nature’s fury with hair-trigger threat.

The dissociation and separation of worlds that Jung speaks about in the above quotation are the pairs of opposites within the human animal, the inner worlds of the rational ego and the unconscious, nature’s way. Sixty years ago Jung was worried that we would not find our way to reconciliation of these dissociated parts before it was too late. Indeed, the human animal has been neglected for far too long while the ego and reason have ruled. The apocalyptic release of the stored energies of the animal, previously satisfied in the cinema, can no longer be vicariously contained in theatre or fantasy. Nature demands attention.

How can we reckon with nature within our personal hologram?

To begin with, we must claim ownership of our own animal nature. When our boundaries are violated we must recognize the fury of the animal within us. When we are hungry we must recognize the primal hunger of the animal within us that perhaps craves a juicy fat steak on a bone. We must recognize our animal narcissism—me first, I have no interest in sharing. We must acknowledge the depths of our sexual desire, perhaps the most disowned instinct of our modern time. We must acknowledge our insatiable power drive that always wants to dominate, or wants more of something.

If we can acknowledge the passions of the animal within us we can bring it home, as opposed to hating it and projecting it onto those we would like to blame for our woes.

Of course, owning the barbaric, murderous, philandering, self-centered impulses of one’s inner animal creates a tense inner domain when pitted against higher reason and the values of the human spirit. A most tense opposition is sure to arise. But if spirit can suspend judgment and appreciate the instinctual knowledge of  its rowdy animal partner, and safely live its needs, an inner bridge of balance might be achieved.

The technology of the Greek and Roman Dionysian festivals, as well as the Christian traditions that followed them, found a way to ritually act out the orgiastic impulses of sexuality, murder, and eating of the flesh and bring them into spiritual harmony with the higher values of the human spirit. Even today, Carneval is still celebrated in many countries. And Mardi Gras, within the boundaries of our own United States, offers the opportunity to bring into balance the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit, days or weeks of revelry followed by days or weeks of spiritual contemplation.

Nature now is delivering a barbarous onslaught through floods and rage. The human spirit finds itself communing with nature’s impulses  by reacting in loving concern and heroism. Such loving response balances and bridges the divide.

Inwardly, we can personally express the fullness of our passions in our creativity. Perhaps we must allow ourselves to write about or paint the forbidden, the unacceptable. Perhaps we need to commit to the ritual of sacred sex in a contained yet fully lived way. Perhaps we must allow our rageful impulses to be expressed, setting boundaries and allowing our true feelings to be spoken. Perhaps we must devour our food with the frenzy of a wild beast—to hell with civilized decorum! Belches included! Perhaps at least ritually once in a while!

Perhaps, as well, we must learn to sacrifice. Sacrifice is an inherent imperative in our own nature that must also be lived. For parents to let their children go into the world they must sacrifice them to life. Fasting, letting go of something, not acting upon an impulse, acquiescing to the flow of life are all forms of sacrifice. Nature demands limitation and  sacrifice of spirit ambition that is not in accordance with her laws.

Through creating personal rituals we can contain our raw impulses until a set-aside sacred time and space, where we can then allow ourselves to live them out in some ritual symbolic way. Spirit containment of animal impulses that joins sacrifice with lived impulse forms a solid bridge to joining spirit and animal in higher communion.

These are tools for the individual to employ to bring animal and spirit into new balance. Though nature has taken the lead in forging a new bridge with spirit through the storms we face, we are all empowered to contribute to this bridge in the privacy of our own lives. Perhaps we can give Jung the answer he longed for, before it’s too late.

As within, so without,

Chuck

*C. G. Jung, Letters Volume II, p. 385

Chuck’s Place: Being Somebody

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that the real culprit undermining humankind’s survival is the unshakeable quest to be important. In modern terms, this manifests as how many friends we have, who likes our postings, our pictures, tracks our tweets, wants our attention at any moment, day or night.

While the lion’s share of our vital energy is trained to hear the crystal sounding ding on our cellphones, announcing that “I am wanted! I am important!” a predatory dark force rapes the earth of its vital energy and relegates its human inhabitants to being, as don Juan Matus called it, “chickens in a chicken coop.”

Nothing but a little island grounded in the vast everything... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Nothing but a little island grounded in the vast everything…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

For years, I strove to be somebody by cracking the nut of the truth of our existence and sharing it with other seekers. I discovered early on that this naive romance with stardom was barred to me. Advertising generated nothing. Mainstream book publishers had no interest. I had traveled so far from the mainstream that the mainstream had no interest in my “good news.” Perhaps what I was really being taught was the foolhardiness of my own self-importance.

Side by side with self-importance is yet another energetic path that has ruthlessly hemmed humankind in, the path of inaction. Carl Jung noted that the yin and yang of our world are expressed in two different energetic systems: animal and plant.

Animal energy is the energy of action, it is masculine energy. It derives its sustenance from outside of itself, in the world at large. This is extroverted energy. A dominance of animal energy in humankind has led to power, control, and dominance games—that which rules the world at present. This dominance of extroverted Western values has also infected the greatest spiritual strongholds of the East, India and China.

Self-importance, on a global scale, is typified in the likes of Donald Trump who unapologetically mirrors the flippant, egoistic male action reaching, in comic crescendo, for world dominance.

Contrasting animal action is the rooted plant. The plant world, the feminine yin of our planet, is self-contained, deriving its energy receptively from the rays of the sun. Like any pregnancy, it produces from within, needing not to travel about and dominate for its substances and metabolic processes but requiring only nurturing stillness.

In human terms, plant spirituality is the Buddha beneath the bodhi tree, Christ upon the wooden cross tree. Both exemplify rootedness, stillness, the patience of the immobilized tree. In this deep groundedness, in this stillness, comes detachment from the grasp of illusion, detachment from extroverted action, detachment from the actions of needing to be somebody.

By withdrawing energy from attachment to the action of self-importance—the energy of definition and meaning through hierarchy and dominance—we are freed to see beyond the veils of self-importance, retaining our energy to truly evolve, not as being somebody but simply being and becoming what we truly are.

The energetic antidote to the one-sided dominance of human animal energy is human plant energy, the energy of yin, now uprooted from Tibet and planted throughout the world, particularly in America. Even the most prized Western brain science now embraces the technology of mindfulness as the key to neuroplasticity—real change.

Ultimately, the Taoist rebalancing of yin and yang, plant and animal, action and inaction, will evolve us into a new chapter in this Earth dream that we are all sharing. But for now, we must burn through the deluge of self-importance that is exhausting us in our need to be somebody. The ground is prepared to receive our planted energy and the seeds of genuine, needed change.

Becoming nobody,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Encounter The Animal

When we love our pets we are also loving the animal in ourselves. Our pets do not communicate in words, but they do communicate deeply. Though we may never share a verbal dialogue, our ability to love and be loved by our animal friends may be deeper and more trusting than any human relationship we experience.

The hunter acts instinctively... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
The hunter acts instinctively…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

When there is danger or cause for concern our animal friends alert us long before our own consciousness comes on line. The human animal has been sent to civilized behavior school for centuries, the curriculum of which has trained the human animal to suppress its natural instincts. Such training includes learning to dissociate from feelings and emotions, such as anger or intense joy. In fact, some schools advocate the complete suppression of any emotional expression, even sadness, with its physical concomitant in the release of tears.

The sex instinct is still a taboo topic in families and schools, and though it comes on line for all humans it is very awkwardly integrated and frequently dissociated from satisfying human experience. The hunger instinct has long been expropriated by the marketplace, deeply disconnecting the human from its true dietary knowing. Similarly, the instinct of self-preservation has been confiscated by a gun lobby that can only find safety in weapons.

So what has happened to the animal in the human? It appears to be socialized out of existence, but is it really possible to totally lose connection with our animal selves?

Though our pets can and do provide us with a projected connection to the animal in our nature, the animal inside us—though it may appear to have been tamed into oblivion—is still very much alive, residing in our physical body with all its instincts intact, deeply buried though they may be.

When the animal in us becomes frightened it will instinctively react like all other animals; it will freeze, run, or prepare to fight. These options are signaled by the physical sensations we experience in the form of anxiety, paralyzing fear, racing heart, physical constriction of muscles, and shallow breathing. An acute form of vigilant heightened awareness may also activate, as our animal ability to sense the slightest movement or sound informs our animal self of danger that threatens our lives. This heightened awareness might also be accompanied by extreme calmness, as we prepare for our next move devoid of anxious distraction.

Scared bunny rabbit... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Scared bunny rabbit…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In our civilized modern world these physical reactions to threats may be perceived as overreactions, but in spite of all the training it has received the animal in us will automatically react as it always has—instinctively. To the extent that we have been able to suppress our instinctive animal selves, and turn instead to our well-reasoned minds, we may be in a position to act in what is deemed a more appropriate civilized manner when threatened, however, this leads to great internal disharmony and may be detrimental in the long run.

Often, our socialization has been so successful that we don’t even know we have these instinctive reactions, and this is often deemed a sign of maturity. Unfortunately however, more often than not, our completely dissociated animal self takes up residence in the shadow of the unconscious where it lives and acts outside of awareness in the body self, becoming physical symptoms and diseases.

Many bodily symptoms attributed to stress might actually be housing our instinctual reactions to everyday events in our lives. A car quickly approaching from the rear might be experienced as an imminent attack. A criticism from a colleague might trigger rage or terror at the possibility of loss of job/food source. A smile from an attractive person might trigger intense desire or just as easily flip into sheer terror.

Prior encounters with trauma may have put the animal self on constant vigil, seeking to preserve life itself. Approaching the body self with consciousness may be akin to approaching a frightened dog. Consciousness must be patient and gentle, cautious to not excite the defensive aggression of a threatened animal.

Consciousness integrates everything in the light of day... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Consciousness integrates everything
in the light of day…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Consciousness may be very threatened by the emotional intensity of its instinctive self. Consciousness needs to approach these intensities slowly, over time, allowing itself to not be put off by the depth of its feelings, formerly unknown and suppressed. Consciousness is also likely to encounter its own negative judgments toward its body and the instinctive self it was socialized to reject and disown.

Ultimately, the goal is for consciousness to respect and integrate its animal self, seeking to appreciate its reactions as natural, but also to guide its awareness so the animal does not get caught in assessments not accurate to the modern world. Working collaboratively, the conscious and instinctive selves can inform each other of what is happening in ways that lead to deeper fulfillment of instinctual need, as well as a heightened ability to act based on true needs.

Encountering the animal and welcoming it into the fold of self leads to individuation and wholeness of the entire human being.

Woof!
Chuck