Tag Archives: archetypes

Chuck’s Place: We Can’t Escape the Archetypes

Archetypes are nature’s prompts to action. In the animal world archetypes are the counterpoint to inertia. When the archetype is activated the target image, goal, and energy for action appear: the sleeping cat suddenly pounces!

Archetypal horse in nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Although the human animal shares with all of nature its pre-programmed reactions to life, these archetypal calls to action are often muddled by consciousness, which allows for freedom of choice. As the #MeToo perspective has charged, sexual arousal needn’t result in automatic behavior. Consciousness can restrain, reflect, and negotiate versus simply act out an archetypal impulse.

The archetypes in nature can be opposed and transformed by human consciousness. This evolutionary power of choice is facilitated by the prefrontal lobe hegemony of the human brain, particularly the left brain that organizes what it perceives and experiences into a logical space-time order. This thinking function has the ability to override nature.

The power to act upon its own decisions is associated with the ego, the center of human consciousness. As powerful and advantageous as it may be to oppose nature, it comes at quite a cost. At the level of the brain, the ego tends to dismiss the wisdom and fuller interconnected knowledge of the right brain, the seat of our vaster spirit selves, that perceives and lives outside the confines of space-time in infinity. This greater center of knowing could be and often is a valuable contributor to the ego’s decision making processes.

However, as is quite evident in the time we live, the world ego seems to have reverted to a more primitive #MeOnly perspective that completely dismisses our interconnected reality and chooses to act on its personal survival and needs alone. For many, this is a most satisfying respite from the altruism born of a higher interconnected concern for world survival. For others this is nothing less than a total disintegration of civilization, our collective effort to function cohesively as one world.

Ironically, the world ego is now actually being controlled by deeper archetypal forces that are colluding with the ego in a major world ego inflation. World leaders are emboldened and possessed by their primitive instincts to care only about themselves and their own national interests. What is emerging is a rapid takedown of the morals and principles that have held the world together.

Perhaps this is the result of nature, having been opposed for too long, exacting an exaggerated compensatory reaction to a spirit driven world. Even Obama questions if he came too soon.

The archetypes have destructive sides. Life in space-time begins and ends. Archetypes usher life both in and out.  One only need consider nature’s storms that destroy communities and nations in a heartbeat. This destructive side of archetypal nature is ruling the behavior and decisions of many world leaders at present. Nature is exacting some kind of correction upon the human race under the guise of supporting individualism.

The ego inflation of humankind will likely be leveled by nature’s actual storms and the emotional storms of egos possessed by destructive archetypes. The silver lining to this correction is an evolutionary push to more fully explore and inhabit spirit centered right brain interconnectedness. It’s time for left brain to consider, support, and serve its fuller energetic self, the hard drive of which is centered in the right brain. This is the conjunctio that is necessary as we move forward: left and right brain in complementary communion.

We are the progeny of nature. Nature had long ago decided that it was time to broaden from natural selection and the natural domination of archetypes to allow for more efficient guiding decisions from consciousness. Nature is now correcting for its creation, an inflated ego far too dissociated and negating of its all-knowing inheritance. Destruction will lead to evolved life.

As we move into the future now, we will more deeply inhabit our right brain, with all its interconnected knowing, with our left brain, providing time-space orientation and making decisions based on our true interconnectedness. Now that’s progress: ego and archetype, consciousness and interconnected all-knowing on the same team.

Integrating,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Numinous Encounters

Encountering the numinous…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The heart pounds so hard it must be audible to others. The muscles seize in momentary paralysis. The face flushes, the throat tightens, the breath is halted, the body vibrates. This is divine encounter, a  numinous experience.

A man looks at his partner and is overtaken by the beauty of divine glow. So powerful is this encounter with numinous energy that his humanness is overwhelmed with premature ejaculation.

A woman stands before a large gathering. She is there to perform. Looking out at the crowd she is overtaken by the vastness of presence. She straddles anxiety and dizziness. Is she ready to channel the divine through her instrument? Her first challenge will be to steady her smallness in her numinous encounter with the divine as felt through the bigness of the crowd.

An ordinary dream escalates to a nightmare. Before we are able to awaken we are seized by terror as we are cornered by overwhelming odds. Waking with a start, our sleep is finished for the night. Our numinous encounter with the divine terrible leaves us anxiously counting the minutes till daylight.

As helpful as our rational mind may be in orienting us to ordinary predictable life, reason is no match for the power of the numinous. Until the light of day, awakened by the tremendum of a nightmare, we remain in the grip of the monster.

Similarly, in waking life, no amount of reason can free the afflicted from the power of a compulsion. Compulsion is the energy of the numinous imposing itself upon the smallness of ego. Ego can be coached to refuse compulsion’s will, but it cannot escape the resultant crucifixion by anxiety, the consequence of refusing the will of the compulsion.

The smallness of our ego as it is overtaken by the all-consuming energy of a numinous encounter, bidden or unbidden, is the core challenge of this life. For a child, parents loom as the first numinous encounter with a power greater than themselves.

Freud’s vast contributions on the legacy of these early relations attest to the power of these numinous encounters to control and define a lifetime. How are we ever to discover ourselves if the image or actual person of our parents continues to rule and preoccupy life throughout adulthood?

Jung discovered that the numinous character of these encounters originates in the vastness of the collective unconscious, home of the archetypes. Archetypes are the gods of yesteryear that were formerly projected onto Mt. Olympus or some other heaven. Modern humans have conquered space; the gods are now operating internally through numinous encounters within the self, projected outward onto normal humans experienced as gods and goddesses.

The truth is that we are seekers of numinous encounters. They are the experiences of divine communion that lend ordinary life its luster and meaning. They can be found in an impulsive Tinder hookup. They can be experienced in the elevating music of a rock concert or the Philharmonic. They can be experienced in religious or civil rituals, in the union of marriage or the finality of death. They are certainly the draw of most mind-altering substances.

The energy of the numinous at the human animal level is instinct. Animals become instinctually driven to mate, human animals are no exception. The human spirit elevates an instinctual act into an ethereal one. The act of sex can combine with love in union of body and spirit. The projected archetypes of god and goddess imbue the perception of lovers with spiritual depth and awe.

The human challenge is to engage these heightened energy states with sobriety. For some, the attraction to heightened energy is like a moth drawn to a flame. This is addiction, whether it be to substance, sex, a person or the news. The major challenge in addiction is to find a non self-injurious way to numinous encounter. The dry drunk alternative merely relegates one to addiction to negativity, also a powerful numinous force.

The development of control enables the ego to be nourished and broadened in numinous encounter, but not possessed and taken over by it. We start with the reality that we are small and vulnerable, the numinous is large and powerful. No point in inflating, i.e., “I can handle that.” No, the fact remains that numinous anything is more powerful than the ego. Be humble, but be an adult. If the Queen offers an audience with her numinous energy, be the knight who humbly receives her blessing.

The instinctual fear activated by encounters with numinous energy is a natural reaction to the presence of autonomous power greater than one’s ego. Turning to the body to regulate the inner influx of energy is far more effective than turning to the mental plane for support. The mind is likely to be inundated with thoughts that intensify the fear—no help there. A deep breath is a far greater regulator of numinous encounter than rationality, which is already in an experience outside its league.

Pranayama breathing, biofeedback exercises, and the intent to commune in flowing calm are practical technologies for the ego to practice to facilitate its ability to calm and regulate the central nervous system’s ability to go with the influx of heightened numinous energy.

Ultimately, the ego has no choice but to encounter the numinous. Our world now reflects this reality. The numinous is playing outwardly with abandon in the Gotham City world we are now living in. How the collective ego of humankind handles this encounter is a work in progress.

The playing field within the individual is equally as powerful but on that playing field definite progress can be made. Every individual encounters the numinous. Through suffering the encounter and holding one’s own we are nourished and guided to further our individuation and advance the world.

Dreaming it forward,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Will & Intent

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico make an important distinction between will and intent. Will is automatic, intent requires consciousness. Will issues from the land of participation mystique, where individuals or whole nations unconsciously follow the leader. With intent, consciousness taps into that same underlying energy as will, but assumes control of its manifestation.

Intend with the consciousness of a yogi…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

A concrete example of the distinction between will and intent is a Yogi who is capable of assuming conscious control of the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Thus, bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion—generally controlled by the ‘will’ of the body—can be co-opted to function according to the conscious ‘intent’ of the yogi.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that the underlying energy and power of manifestation of both will and intent come from the same source, the greater energy of intent in the universe that manifests all things. The only difference between them is simply who is in charge: nature’s archetypes or consciousness? Like the yogi, the shaman cultivates the power of intent at a fully conscious level, assuming control of what ordinarily happens when we function at the level of participation mystique.

The greatest obstacle to mastering intent, according to don Juan Matus, is limiting beliefs. We simply do not believe that we can manifest simply through intending a change. Abraham, as channeled through Esther Hicks, taught the law of attraction. Simply put, what we think is what we manifest. Thus, if we intend a change but constantly doubt our ability to manifest it the energy of our intent receives an ambiguous message: “change but don’t change, because I can’t change!” This compromised intent manifests a stalemate, no change.

The simplicity of simply stating an intent, of holding an intent as an agent of change, just seems too darned simple to our modern rational sensibility. We either argue about its impossibility, defeat it in doubt, or too meekly state it for it to be heard by the greater intent of the universe, which we personally tap into when we intend.

To not assume conscious responsibility for intent is to largely leave the direction of our lives in the default position of will, where we mystically participate in the rule of the archetypes. These archetypes are then projected upon the outer world where they organize perceptions and mental judgements, in essence manifesting the world we live in.

The incessant voice of ongoing commentary within the mind, what the shamans call the internal dialogue, essentially reinforces the will of the archetypes, which becomes how we experience life. Thus, when the world leader presents his view of the world in a state of the union address, world citizens are unconsciously drawn to project the archetype of the king upon him and assimilate his words as their personal intent or worldview.

The phenomenon of hypnotism illustrates the power of a message to manifest an outside intent. Suggestions from outside of us, like the suggestions we give ourselves, unawarely through our internal dialogue, become the commands we automatically manifest in our beliefs and actions.

Intent itself is impervious to morality. Intent is a pool of energy awaiting a command, a direction to manifest. Thus, for instance, there are ‘good’ shamans and ‘bad’ shamans, as Star Wars so eloquently demonstrates. If the force is equated with intent, the crucial question is, who will command the force, the light or the dark side? Intent can manifest either way, for purposes of good or evil.

It rests with the individual to decide the fate of intent, in fact, the fate of the world. Consciousness itself is the first rupture with the automatic adherence of the individual to the will of the archetypes. The Pope recently pointed to the apple in Eden as the first example of fake news. From this perspective he acknowledges that the intent of consciousness ‘sins’ against the will of the archetypes, or perhaps what he would call the will of God, as the individual is freed to engage in the  ‘fake news’  of consciousness and offered the opportunity to act with intent. His concern is duly noted given the current state of affairs in the world.

With freedom comes responsibility, what the world is faced with assuming right now. It begins within the individual. How will I use my personal power of intent? Many entities have a powerful interest in commandeering my intent for their own ambitions. As malevolent as this might sound and be, simply watch nature; watch the birds. All life feeds upon life. The dark side is part of life.

Nonetheless, with consciousness we are freed to intend balance within ourselves and balance within our world. Balance, like the Tao, finds a place to incorporate all that is, light and dark. Of course, consciousness can equally choose to align itself solely with the dark side, thereby delivering to the light side a great challenge for growth. Here we see the value and necessity of the dark side.

Intent is the message you choose to deliver to the greater pool of energetic intent to manifest in your life and your world. Keep it simple, repeat it often. Grapple with your ambivalence, face the shadow of your intent, incorporate its truth into your intent. When doubt seeks to sell you its wares acknowledge it then shift to stating your intent, incessantly. Don’t attach to outcome, free intent to set the course of the journey, wherever it takes you. Suspend judgement of the current state of manifestation of your intent. Remain persevering. Hold your intent with the lightness of a feather as you gently send it off on the wings of intent.

Peace,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Participation Mystique vs. Consciousness

The nurse hands you the cup and gives you a suggestion: “Turn on the faucet; it will help you to pee.” The image, the sound of flowing water invites your body to do the same and voilà, you mysteriously participate with nature’s flow, becoming the river that fills the cup.

Black sheep leading…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Human beings are social creatures, Barak Obama reminds David Letterman in a recent interview, they are predisposed to mimic what they are exposed to.

Specifically he cited the different worlds we now live in generated by the algorithm we are drawn to that then plays to us, whether it be through social media or news source. Although people might occupy a shared geographical space they live in separate realities, mystically adhering to and mirroring the prompts of their specific algorithm.

Jung was even more basic. He observed that human beings have barely emerged from their state of animal unconsciousness where perception and action are governed by nature’s inherited programs, the instincts and archetypes. Participation mystique is the governing principle of life at this very limited stage of consciousness. As social beings humans unconsciously construct and participate in life by projecting the basic archetypes of hierarchy, order, and meaning upon their fellow humans and behave accordingly.

For example, as Freud keenly observed, there is a fundamental consistency to family structure that includes the hierarchy of parental authority and sibling birth order, as well as the expectation of need fulfillment unconsciously projected upon different family members. His major discovery, the Oedipus complex, which he considered to be universal, governs the human struggle to wrench one’s inherent primary love attachment from within the family to find fulfillment beyond the nuclear family.

This primacy of the family archetype then extends to life beyond the family where issues of authority, loyalty, need and relationship are riddled with or overshadowed by the same archetypal expectations and experiences first encountered in, and greatly colored by, one’s family experience. This unconscious identity between family members projects itself forward into all significant relationships, obliterating the true identity of the individuals engaged with each other.

Thus, issues of problems with authority reflect experiencing one’s boss as one’s parent. The foundational archetypal relation to parent is transferred to characters in the world-at-large who occupy positions of authority. Our bodies and psyches mystically participate in primal reactions when in interaction with authoritative figures.

Similarly, feelings and beliefs of unworthiness with peers or a potential partner often mirror one’s experience with their primary parental love object in childhood, now transferred to new relationships. Irrespective of the actual social reality, an individual mystically participates with others according to archetypal patterns that generate a worldview and sense of self that may have little truth in actual objective reality.

In effect, participation mystique means that we unconsciously assume roles and react to the world according to innate responses activated by environmental cues just like the body responds to the cue of flowing water and fills the cup.

The world’s human population now struggles with its natural state of participation mystique with the ultimate authority on earth, the United States president. At a profoundly unconscious level all are influenced, like involuntarily peeing in a cup, to mimic the mood, world view and expectations of the United States president.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico saw the Earth, Gaia, as a sentient being encased in its own cocoon. All life upon the Earth mystically participates as parts of her living cocoon, like a flock of birds automatically flying in prescribed formation.

The human population appears to be the brains of Gaia with the human tribal leader, the United States president, directing the show. The rest of the human population, influenced at the level of participation mystique, follows the leader.

To deviate from participation mystique is to assume consciousness, which has the ability to pause, reflect, and decide upon a course of behavior. This course of action might be the exact opposite of nature’s archetypal promptings. This is the sin of consciousness, the ability to deviate from our inherent psychic laws, the archetypes, that have unconsciously governed life for eons.

Who put us up to consciousness, the ability to think and act freely, separate from the promptings of the natural order, the instincts and archetypes? It appears that nature herself advanced her psyche to the possibility of consciousness to improve  evolutionary efficiency. Rather than wait through eons of natural selection we now have the ability to change the conditions of life on Earth in a heartbeat.

As we can see in our lifetime, this ability to consciously choose our destiny is functioning at a highly immature level. Global warming is a perfect example. I imagine that Gaia scratches her head as to why she allowed consciousness at all, as participation mystique may have managed much better to preserve balance upon the planet. Gaia is now correcting our errors through nature’s storms. How far she will need to go to humble our inflated consciousness remains to be seen.

In psychotherapy, healing requires a combination of consciousness and participation mystique. Consciousness enables us to oppose our automatic instinctual reactions, participation mystique gives us nature’s healing experiences to truly cross the bridge to new life.

When Carl Jung told Bill W’s friend, Roland H., to go and find a religious cure, as he could not cure him of his alcoholism, he was guiding him to tap into the power of nature’s archetypes—a power greater than consciousness—to lift the compulsion of his disease through a participation mystique experience with God. AA is the consequence of his transforming participation mystique experience.

On the other hand, if we follow our sheepish unconscious participation mystique promptings to follow our world tribal leader without consciousness, nature will be compelled to challenge us with a much greater survival scenario that forces consciousness to a more truthful and responsible level. This is the learning curve our world consciousness is currently engaged in.

Participation mystique and consciousness are actually partners in a fulfilling life. Once again the spirit of consciousness must reconcile with its human animal nature, with its unconscious power of participation mystique. May they arrive at the right relationship for the sake of our planet!

Peace,

Chuck

No Worries!

Who put that cloud there?
– Art by Jan Ketchel © 2018

My father was a chronic worrier. He worried about everything! It drove me and my siblings crazy! He could not let anything go. He’d nag and natter about a thing he’d decided to worry about, usually something minor that he just could not let go of, until he’d spun it into a massive worry storm, leaving us all exasperated and exhausted.

Once, when I was in college, he called me at 3 in the morning, waking me and my roommates from a sound sleep to ask me if I had eaten. I had made an off-the-cuff remark about not having any food in the house as I headed home after a holiday visit, saying that I would have to shop once back in the city. He only heard the part about having no food in the house and his worrisome mind spun that tiny remark into a whole devastating story. By the time 3 AM came around he had decided that I was starving to death!

I was so angry at him that I didn’t speak to him for weeks, but during those weeks I could feel his worry hanging over me like a dark cloud, dragging me down. When I finally spoke to him about it we joked, but I talked honestly about how frustrated and drained I was by his constant attention on me. I told him to lighten up, that I could take care of myself, that I wanted to live my own life and to please leave me alone. His worry energy actually dampened my spirit and added a burden I didn’t need when I had so much else going on in my life.

I now understand this dynamic between parent and child as the archetypes of the parent/child relationship, the structures and dynamics that every parent and child must contend with as they go through life, as the child seeks to individuate and become independent, and as the parent seeks to let them go.

As a parent myself I have had to learn the lessons I tried to teach my father so many years ago. My own experiences with him have helped me to back off and let life take my children onward without me, but sometimes it can be very hard. When we see our children struggling our first reaction is to jump in and help, but that may not be the best course of action to take. The same can be said for any relationship.

To underscore the dilemma, I had a dream the other night. I was carrying large chunks of construction debris, huge lumps of concrete. I stood on the edge of a vast landfill, looking down into a vast pit filled with similar debris. A man stood on the opposite side of the landfill, a foreman. He yelled at me to throw the debris into the pit. I worried that it was wrong, that it would hurt the earth.

“Nah,” he said, “it’s how it’s done. Just throw it away!”

And then I wondered just what the heck I was doing. The concrete was clearly useless and clearly burdensome. It wasn’t toxic material either, it was just heavy, cumbersome old building material.

“Let it go!” I yelled, and then I threw it into the pit and walked away unburdened, lighter and freer than ever.

“What am I carrying around inside me?” I wondered when I woke up. “What concrete thing, idea, or issue am I attached to?

As the day went on the dream stayed with me. I thought about it, seeking to analyze its message and purpose. I determined it was not about memories. Those have all been recapitulated, so it was not anything from my past. I finally realized it was worry, the worries of everyday life, the worries about others, the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night but is just empty chatter in your head, stuff you can’t do anything about and if you tried you’d have no luck at all.

As I thought about it I discovered that those worries had no real meaning or necessity in my life. They were not building blocks to something new but old construction materials that were no longer useful. I was right to chuck them into the landfill where they would soon be covered over, bulldozed into the earth to disintegrate and become part of the landscape.

Just as I had asked my father to let go of the burdensome archetypes of parent and child, so too did I have to let go of such archetypes within myself, along with the concrete ideas that I have to do and be the end-all for someone else. In letting go of the archetypes we are allowed to each grow and mature in our own ways, taking responsibility for ourselves and the decisions we make, for our present and future issues, and for our own joys and freedoms in life too.

Just because I might want to give advice, I realized, it isn’t always helpful or wanted. I have to take my own advice that I gave my father so many years ago and step back and let life resolve life. In the end, we have to let things go so things can proceed as they will and as they must.

I learned from my father that if you put your attention on another person they will sense you in some way, and you may actually be harming them, even if you think your worry is justified and you only want the best for them. The best for them is to send them positive, self-motivating, and loving energy that sends them off on their own journey through life under their own steam, rather than burdening them with your guilt, worry, regret, resentment, or good intentions. As I learned from my father, it’s just not fun having those kinds of energies hanging over you, having to bear another person’s unresolved issues while you are trying to figure out your own life on your own terms.

My father never did fully remove his worry energy from me. It followed me right into adulthood and he remained a solid worrier right up to the end of his life. But he taught me how not to do what he did, and as my dream points out it’s a lesson that never grows old.

I have had to remind myself to remove my worries about my own kids’ lives countless times, so as not to burden them with a cloud of my worries hanging over their heads! After being the lifelong subject of someone else’s worries, whether justified or not, I know that it’s just not a nice thing to do to someone! Even if I may want to give valuable but unasked for advice, I also know that the best advice I can give myself is to remember my young adult self telling my father to just step back and let me live my own life.

Life itself is the best guide. We all have to go out into the world and learn how it really works. It’s how we learn and how we grow. The happiest people in the world seem to be those who have had to work hard for what they have, and there is no greater satisfaction than having done it on their own. And no worries either!


A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries