Tag Archives: Carlos Castaneda

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

Chuck’s Place: The Magic of the Internal Dialogue

At the dawning of each new day allow a new internal dialogue to light the way…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The internal dialogue is the Energizer Bunny that never quits. Where would we be in these unraveling times without the incessant voice within that constantly reminds us of who we are, as it judges and organizes how we see and feel about everything, especially ourselves. For better or for worse, this voice provides us with a consistent sense of self, and other, that gives us a secure basis upon which to hold together as we approach every new day in this life.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico acknowledged the magic of the internal dialogue. They saw it as the core technology that generated a consensual reality, which in fact our world really is. On a collective level we all share in an agreed upon interpretation of energy that molds that energy into the physical world we live in. Without such agreement, as dictated by the internal dialogue, our world would lose its cohesion and disintegrate into energy without definition.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico also pointed out that the single most limiting factor in our accessing the full breadth of our inherent potential is the internal dialogue. It fixates us in a narrowly defined closed system that restricts exploration of our fuller potential. This was why Carlos Castaneda repeated endlessly, and taught, the technology for expanded awareness: Suspend Judgment.

The internal dialogue then, like everything else in our world, has dualistic properties. On the one hand, it shapes and protects our world. On the other hand, it locks us in, keeping us from the freedom to explore our fullest potential.

The fiery energy that sweeps the globe presently is the byproduct of the splitting apart of agreement upon the basic tenets of our consensual reality. For centuries humanity stalked the heart center as its moral guide. The technology that supported this was reflected in Christianity’s technology of sacrifice. The animal in humanity was restrained for the sake of its rising spirit. As today’s newspapers once again report—this time in parishes in PA—the shadow of this technology, sexual abuse, has been acted out widely, with impunity, upon the young and innocent.

Politically, we find ourselves in Gotham City, surrounded by archetypal characters of all persuasions freed to express themselves and enact policies that fly in the face of a heart-centered consciousness. The primal energies of sex and power are freed, with impunity, in a governing elite that has lost its moral compass. The external dialogue of leaders is governing the internal dialogue of many whom are reveling in the possibility of generating a new world more to their liking.

In actuality, evolution has required that we take stock of the illusion we have been living; it’s wearing too thin to house all that we are. We are sexual beings. We are power driven beings. We are spiritual beings. We are energetic beings. The splitting apart we are now undergoing reflects all these released energies acting out in disconnected ways. This disintegration was inevitable. No blame. Every time we lock into a definition, we live in illusion. They may be necessary illusions for a time, but ones that must give way if we are to evolve.

On an individual level, it’s time to examine the myth we have personally lived by. A common example: “I am unworthy of love.” For many people this is the deepest tenet of the internal dialogue. It  molds the perceptions of self and other to fit its definition. It delivers a consistent sense of self and protects the self from the potential dangers inherent in stepping out of that reality, thus generating a self-fulfilling reality.

Accessing Carlos Castaneda’s tool, to suspend judgment, we suspend the internal dialogue’s judgment of unworthiness. We study it and appreciate its protective functions to deliver us a consistently reliable sense of self, protecting us from rejection and being hurt.

We acknowledge the true self, held in restraint for so long as it upheld that limiting illusion. We allow ourselves to gently stray beyond the boundaries of that familiar unworthy self. We feel love for the being we are, for the life we are in. We allow ourselves to validate our right to be in this world. We allow ourselves to take in nature, in its myriad of forms, speaking to us, validating our existence.

We allow ourselves to become sexual, powerful, spiritual, and energetic beings, whose new internal dialogue brings all these parts together in a balanced way. This is the internal dialogue of our future consensual reality, one that allows a fuller expression of all that we really are, in a truly balanced way.

Take up the challenge on an individual basis, the tallest of orders indeed. Let this time of disintegration serve your personal individuation by daring yourself to step beyond the limiting beliefs of your familiar internal dialogue. Bring in a truer dialogue. Be empowered; love yourself. See what happens as your new internal dialogue remolds your old consensual reality into a far more fulfilling life.

I am worthy,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: From Rescue to Empowerment

Don Juan comments to Carlos Castaneda in The Art of Dreaming: “Your unbiased reaction is that you can’t stand chains, and you would forfeit your life to break them.”

Watch out for those spirit entities, you never know where they’ll lead you!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carlos had been tricked in his dreaming, as he explored a world of spirit entities. Those entities have much to teach a journeyer, but they exact a huge price for sharing their knowledge. In this case, they sought to entice Carlos to stay in their world, as his high frequency energy provided much entertainment to the more stationary beings of that realm. He survived their obvious attempts to cater to his curiosity but hadn’t bargained for their trickery, which targeted his unbiased reaction that Don Juan spoke of.

What Carlos hadn’t anticipated was an encounter these spirit entities set up for him in their world, contact with a trapped being presenting as a seven-year-old girl, with powerful blue eyes, seeking his help. Spontaneously, he shouted his intent to merge his energy with that prisoner child and set her free. With this impulsive move he became the prisoner, nothing more than a limp figure lying at the bottom of an empty pit, his vital energy completely exhausted.

Carlos was rescued by his warrior cohorts, but his journey marked a turning point for the future of his shamanic line. Carlos and his warrior party ultimately decided to end the shaman’s code of silence and anonymity, launching Tensegrity, freely giving away the technology and knowledge of the Ancient Shamans of Mexico, and formally ending their shamanic line. These actions formatted ancient knowledge to gain footing and have utility in our changing times.

Shamans have always been the spirit journeyers who healed others through soul retrievals, finding lost parts and returning them to the victim, effecting the cure of restored wholeness. Thus, those afflicted with illness depended upon the shaman to provide their cure. In our time it has become clear that healing effected by the hands of another does not hold up if the individual has not inwardly solved the challenge presented by the illness.

The evolutionary shift Carlos and his cohorts made was to offer the tools of empowerment and healing to all to heal themselves. In my psychotherapy practice the tool of recapitulation that I learned in the shaman’s world has proven most effective in the total cure of PTSD. That tool offers every individual the opportunity to completely restore their own lost wholeness as they encounter and integrate split off parts of themselves that were previously lost to traumatic experience.

Through this method, rescue is transformed into self-empowerment. The role of helper becomes one of teaching and supporting this healing practice. The role of healer is transferred to the seeker who is empowered to truly know and reconcile the whole truth of their lives. This is healing through self-empowerment versus the tentativeness and dependence upon the actions of another.

Thus, Carlos transformed his proclivity to rescue into giving away his knowledge that all who truly seek to heal be empowered to heal themselves. In this time of great instability we are empowered to find stability in the consolidation of our wholeness through our personal practice of recapitulation. Thank you, Carlos, for this evolutionary gift.

With affection,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Shamanic Journey of Now

Beyond the crust of the known world lies the journey…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

A shamanic journey is one that ventures beyond the crust of the known world into the heart of darkness where hidden influences upon ordinary life are revealed. The journey is initiated through a breakdown of the dominant normal perceptions and expectations of the world that then opens the door to the fuller reality underlying the prevailing worldview.

At this moment the world finds itself in the midst of the breakdown phase of a collective shamanic journey. The shaman responsible for catalyzing this phase of the journey is the president of the United States, Donald Trump. Wikipedia defines a shaman as “someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.” Donald Trump’s ritualistic trancelike tweets and the influences he exposes the world to qualify him as a shaman.

I would argue that Donald Trump has opened the porthole to “other worldly spirits” by systematically breaking down the agreed upon decorum that has for a long time ruled the central office of world power, the United State’s presidency. In prior administrations a high values decorum of behavior set a leadership standard agreed upon by a majority of the world’s nations and populations that generated a strong border wall to fend off possession by malevolent spirits.  That wall has been completely shattered with the “shithole” adjective President Trump has applied to some other nations.

Rather than debate the ethics of Donald Trump’s behavior I focus on the disintegrating influence his actions accelerate upon our long held consensus reality. In shamanic terms, the rigid fixation of our collective agreed-upon world reality is currently in free fall. On an individual level basic security is severely threatened and has given  rise to a host of acute psychiatric disturbances.

Though many might point to the removal or defeat of Donald Trump as an antidote to the current madness, and this may be a necessary or helpful action, I think he is a representative or a pawn of a much greater process of transformation.

The world prior to Donald Trump’s presidency was unsustainable. Human population with its ever expanding needs can no longer be accommodated within the confines of balance upon this planet. Donald Trump did not cause climate change, though he certainly has made every effort to undue efforts to address the crisis it has generated. The reality that our consensus world needs reconfiguring transcends who the current leaders of the world are. This reconfiguring involves all of nature, which is, quite independently of human action, molding a new world.

The dependence upon a world leader to mesmerically fixate human consciousness upon an agreed upon reality is an outdated technology. Carlos Castaneda was the last shaman leader of a shamanic line that extended back 16 generations. His teacher, the nagual don Juan Matus made it abundantly clear to him that infinity had determined that Carlos was the end of the line, that there would be no new nagual, or shamanic leader, to direct the future for his shamanic line.

With that, Carlos and his shamanic party altered the course of future direction of the line by birthing a virtual internet of shamanism. All the secrets were revealed, all the shamanic technology to journey beyond the confines of ordinary reality was made available to everyone, regardless of age, race, sex, creed or color. All that is required to initiate the journey is the intent to evolve. And that journey is an individual experiential journey, available to all who live in this world.

That intent to evolve is the intent for total freedom unfettered by the materialistic preoccupation of our current old world consensus reality. The technology of this shamanic perspective frees its energy from being offended by world tyrants and instead deploys it in the exploration of the much broader world of energy and the possibilities there that facilitate a new balance within each individual and here upon the earth as a whole.

Donald Trump’s behavior leads us to the same shamanic reality: we all must assume responsibility for our own journeys, the era of paternalistic security is over. We have all been launched on a collective shamanic journey and must decide individually what spirits, benevolent or malevolent, will influence our present lives. Though malevolent spirits have a definite role in the breakdown phase of change, they are not the foundation of a sustainable new balance.

For that we need both our intent to evolve and the support of benevolent spirits.

May they bless us all,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Beyond Special

A warm heart indeed!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

To be special warms the heart; to be special tears us apart. Why this contradiction?

Both Carlos Castaneda and his teacher, don Juan Matus, who’s lineage stemmed directly from the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, taught with both humour and piercing seriousness that the greatest scourge of humankind was the need to be special. They pointed to the internal dialogue we all experience that constantly judges everyone and everything, particularly the self, which is judged as either less than or better than everyone else.

From an adaptive perspective those shamans speculated that our ability to make these rapid judgements serves well our ability to survive as we navigate our predatory world. Less benevolently they point to the lion’s share of personal energy that all humans spend grooming and protecting their self importance. This energy is then lost to the evolving human potential, which to access requires a shutting down of the overarching investment we make in feeling and being judged as special.

And yet, feeling genuinely special is thought to be one of the most necessary prerequisites to feeling worthy enough to be in this world and to feeling secure enough to partake of its bountiful opportunities. Hence, the field of mental health places a premium on  attachment and the quality of care in foundational relationships in childhood.

Unarguably, the quality of attention children receive in childhood places a powerful imprint on the incessant internal dialogue they will repeat to themselves as they form an identity and strategy for living. A neglected child might become the adult whose internal dialogue incessantly reminds them that they are not worthy to live other than to serve the needs of others and that they should be grateful that they are even tolerated by others.

The overly valued child might constantly be reminded by their internal dialogue that they are superior, really of royalty, entitled to the adoration and respect of the mere mortals that surround them.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico would argue that the true culprit here is the internal dialogue itself that channels our energy into defining and upholding our self importance, good or bad, for the better part of our lives. Rather than focus on challenging the message of the internal dialogue those shamans encourage eliminating the dialogue itself, which then frees our energy to explore our true innate potential, unbiased by the judgements that usually limit our sense of self.

From this perspective there is no advantage to having had a special versus neglected childhood. Either way we are saddled with the limiting judgements that steal away our vital energy for life. The real culprit is the internal dialogue, the true dungeon master of our lives. Rich and poor alike are saddled with the same enslavement. In fact, it could be argued that a neglected childhood may offer the advantage of seeking versus merely indulging in life.

The question of specialness is at the forefront of our current world fixation. Our world leaders express entitlement for their special interests and needs over and above the needs of others. Truthfully, persons of different cultures and religions share the same attachment to their own specialness over the needs of competing or just plain other groups.

Family, the foundation of a society, is perhaps the greatest perpetrator of specialness. “Blood is thicker than water” is the adage that summarizes this fixation of the internal dialogue. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico considered it crucial to break this fixation in order to free the trapped energy spent upholding it, to then have it available to be employed in the full realization of selfhood beyond the border of specialness.

Their methods to achieve this coup may sound severe, but they actually coalesce with the Buddhist practice of detachment. The shamans call their practice “erasing personal history.” The practice is to separate the special significance afforded family and loved ones, merely because of their family ranking and role, as well as to reduce emotional attachments. While not denying any of the truths of these relationships, the goal is to reduce them to the level of all human experiences, all entitlements removed.

Thus if someone has failed me, I fully face my feelings, but by removing the pressure of my entitlement, due to familial bonds, I am freed to see all my family and neighbors equally. A world where all is viewed equally is the template for the world we are evolving into, despite current appearances!

Freedom from the constraint of specialness is the practice that readies us for a world built on true universal love. Override the internal dialogue that creates hierarchy and special groupings with universal compassion for all beings.

Love liberates,

Chuck