Tag Archives: consciousness

A Day in a Life: Gazing—A Self-Realization Technique

Chuck and I recently read about a rare, little-known meditation technique* used by Tibetan monks to train young monks in more quickly gaining lucidity. It involved sitting and gazing into a highly polished wall of various metals, chiefly copper, as well as a mirror. Gazing into one’s own image sets a series of hypnagogic images going.

Chuck and I have used a similar technique many times, both gazing into a mirror to see our own auras, as well as simply gazing into each other’s eyes. What transpires, and usually rather quickly, is just that, a series of fleeting images. Sometimes animal, sometimes human, they tell us a story of who we are, where we have been, and who we are to become. It is both a challenging and an enlightening process.

In all the fleeting images I was always recognizable! - Detail of artwork by Jan Ketchel
In all the fleeting images I was always recognizable!
– Detail of artwork by Jan Ketchel

Twice this past week I decided to engage in Gazing. Just as I presented Netting—An Energy Clearing Technique in last week’s blogpost, I share my experiences with Gazing as an effective means of self-realization. First, I present the processes I used and then the insights that inspired me to share this with you.

The first day I tried Gazing, I stood before a well-lit bathroom mirror, fairly close, so that my face and shoulders were clearly visible, about a foot and a half away. With softened gaze, as if looking through myself, I stared into my eyes reflected in the mirror. My intent was to see myself as energy, as waves of energy. It didn’t take long before my image in the mirror began to shift. It took a while to keep my focus, to hold a steady gaze, but the longer I stood there the better I got at it. In the bright light, I watched as my face began to vibrate and eventually crumbled into mere particles, as I became older and older and eventually began to disappear altogether. In the bright light I saw my eyes clearly as they held the gaze, as they became penetrating rocks of light. I noticed that although the rest of my image shifted and changed, my eyes remained steadily the same. Except for changes in their color they did not alter. I stood there for perhaps 30 or 40 minutes. During this time I became completely unaware of my body. I was out-of-body. I was consciousness only, awareness gazing at the image that I perceive of as “me” in this life. A lot of other things transpired as well, but that was the gist of the experience.

The second time I did Gazing, I sat on the floor in a dimly lit room before a full length mirror. This time I was about 6 feet away. Most of my body was visible, though in the subdued lighting not as clearly as it had been in the harsh bathroom light. This time I asked for access to my High Self, to be able to see it and, through Jeanne and our guides in the universe, to be granted the means of “seeing” myself through my many lives.

This time I gazed at my third eye, the spot between and slightly above the eyebrows. I was repeatedly directed to bring my gaze back to this spot, to use my peripheral vision to see the rest of me and what was going on. Before long, just as the time before, things started to shift. My intent was to just have an experience, so I was pretty open to whatever happened, but of course the mind tries to control things, wants things to happen. I learned rather quickly that it wasn’t going to work if I got in the way, if my ego got in the way. And because I had asked my High Self for help, I began to receive messages to aid me in the process.

I was repeatedly told, let the body relax and be empty... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I was repeatedly told, let the body relax and be empty…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

“Relax, shed the ego, you are just an image,” said my High Self. “Everything is possible. Just be.” And so began another out-of-body experience. Once again, I became consciousness only. As I gazed into the image of myself in the mirror it began to shift. It was as if slide after slide was being projected onto the mirror, images of myself throughout this lifetime, from earliest days, through youth and midlife, to now and then they went beyond. I saw myself age in rapid succession and when I asked to see my High Self I was granted a glimpse of who I have been talking to for so long in this life, a man, a wise old man in a turban, with a beard! He looked so familiar I could have picked him out of a group photograph rather easily. But then he too shifted and I saw another image, a shaved head. “Oh, is that you too?” I asked. “Yes,” came the answer, “even your High Self has evolved, coming from many traditions.”

At times I would think about my body, as I sat there for about 45 minutes. But once again I noticed it was practically non-existent. I did not feel it or any attachment to it. It was empty. I noticed my breathing was very slow. I knew I would return to my body when I was done, but it did not matter at the moment, and so it was easy to leave it and go back to conscious communication with my High Self. Once again, I had many other experiences, but that is the gist of the second experience.

I noticed similarities and differences in the two experiences. Gazing in light may produce one effect while gazing in shadow another. In both instances, however, I experienced myself as energy, lots of energy, and I was invigorated by the experiences. I experienced flickering images both times, and the answer to my question that naturally arose, “Are they all me?” was “Yes, they are all you.” Now I move on to the insights I received.

First Insight: All thoughts are ego; shed the ego. I heard this over and over again, every time my mind drifted or I thought of something. “Shed the ego. Shed the ego.” It became a mantra that my High Self spoke repeatedly. Not only are thoughts ego, I learned, but everything else that we attach to is ego as well. Even attachment to the shifting images was ego. Illness is ego, fear is ego, depression is ego, doubt is ego, judgments are ego, hungers are ego, attachments to body image are ego, desires are ego. The High Self has none of those qualities. The High Self is pure, unadulterated, egoless wisdom. It waits for us to finish our work of the ego and join it. “Shed the ego.” That is a very important insight. It opens the door to being able to access our High Self more fully and allows for useful access to the idea that “everything is possible.”

You are also your High Self... What does that image look like? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
You are also your High Self…
What does that image look like?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Second Insight: You are an image projected into life by your High Self. As the Bible tells us: God created man in his own image. Our High Self, the God particle that we are, created us. We are an image that we created, an image of an idea manifested, a thought form, no different from an image in a mirror. Our High Self selected and gave us form. We decided a very long time ago what we would look like and we have lived as that same image throughout our many lifetimes. I did notice that in all the fleeting images I saw of myself I looked pretty much the same. My facial features were always recognizable as me, even the male faces. I have always looked like this, like me! This, I believe is how people recognize us from previous lives. Have you ever seen someone you felt you knew intimately, but just could not place? Or been approached by someone saying they know you? Perhaps it was from a previous life. This insight leads to the next one; the two are inseparable from each other.

Third Insight: Learn to love yourself. The image that we are is the image our High Self, our Soul, has selected. We must learn to love it so we can shed it too and evolve. We will only advance by learning to love who we are, every part of us. That is our challenge in our life, in every life, to learn to love who we are. No matter what we may “think” about ourselves, it doesn’t matter, we’re only an image. Keep that in mind as you learn to love yourself: You are only an image. As an image, that YOU created, you also have the power to alter that image, to play with it in any way you want. You can change it! You will always be you, your facial features will remain recognizable, but you are in full control of the image you live your life in. Now that is pretty powerful information!

To follow through on that insight, don’t get all tied up in, “I can’t!” That’s ego. Shed it! Instead, begin to work with your image. What character does your image want to play today? What costume does your image want to wear? What lines will your image speak? What actions will your image take? Will you be the usual image you reflect, or will you choose to go out of character and dare to alter your image? And keep in mind, that your image was created by you and you can do anything you want to it, with it. You are totally in charge. But first shed the ego of course!

There is a distinct difference between ego play and spirit play. In learning to play with the image that we are, we must shed the ego so that the door to spirit opens. And when spirit takes over, that’s when things begin to change. We must open a dialogue between our High Self and our consciousness, that part that we are outside of our body, the part that I experienced and you will too as you do Gazing. This is the self that is fully aware and can fully detach from the body self and the image self. We must be careful to discern and recognize real consciousness because ego too is consciousness. Ego that identifies itself as spirit, however, gets in the way of pure consciousness. Ego that has shed its inflation is pure consciousness, and this is what the first insight guides us to.

I saw a cardinal and wondered: Did his High Self create his image? - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
I saw a cardinal and wondered: Did his High Self create his image?
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

The message I got was, have fun! Your High Self is eager for you to explore who you really are. And don’t forget: You may not be what you “think” you are! Remember, that’s ego!

Try Gazing. Be patient. Relax and let it happen. Breathe. I also found that if I held my breath things happened more quickly, because if you hold your breath you can’t really think, and that’s the whole point to this exercise, to stop thinking and just go for the experience. See what happens!

As always, with thanks and gratitude,

* Thanks once again to Dr. Elmer Green for his brilliant work, The Ozawkie Book of the Dead, where we read about this meditation training process.

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.


Chuck’s Place: Participation Mystique

What is that mysterious thing that we are struck by? - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
What is that mysterious thing that we are struck by?
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Magically and mysteriously we are emotionally struck by and drawn to the energy of another. That being, whom we hardly know, ruptures our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual homeostasis. We become riddled with fear, obsession, anxiety and awe.

This experience is not under conscious control; this is a seizure of the ego by energies much deeper and infinitely more powerful than our meagre bastion of rationality. We cannot talk ourselves out of it; we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

The energies that take possession of us are the energies of individuation, the deepest truths of who we are, driving us to rapturously discover our wholeness. However, these energies require the full participation of consciousness if we are to truly become fulfilled in our human form. In mandala terms, we must consciously “square the circle” if we are to become our wholeness. We begin to square the circle by becoming aware that we are in a state of seizure.

In a state of seizure our unconscious energies have bonded and melded with the energies of another. That is the inner experience and sometimes it is the outer experience as well—sometimes two people meet in an equal state of seizure. More often, though the inner experience is compelling, the seizure is one-sided. We are blindsided by the unconscious power of projection that mysteriously binds us with the soul and substance of another being. It matters not whether the experience is one of adoration, exaltation, love, or utter disgust—we are mysteriously and inseparably enmeshed with this other being. We are completely distraught, as a vital part of our own living essence walks freely and separately in the world apart from us in this other person. Our minds and hearts obsess as we fear the loss of our soul.

Our projection might be something else entirely! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Our projection might be something else entirely!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Though that person may be on the other side of the earth, though they may not even know we exist, it matters not; we are inseparably entwined. Years might pass, but our utter devotion to this soulmate is undaunted. Time is meaningless in our timeless commitment to this transcendent experience; and that experience allows no other soulful being in. We may even marry another, but our soul remains faithful to its nemesis, on the deepest level never embracing our official partner. Such is the mystical participation of our soul with its chosen other.

Consciousness of our state of seizure cannot change the power of our unconscious emotional bondage, but it does afford us the ability to not blindly act in accordance with our unconscious mandate that lies at the root of our passion. The decision to hold back an action may throw us into great despair, or even depression, as the unconscious reacts by withdrawing its energies from even the simplest tasks of daily life. But such a decision does affirm our intention to act responsibly and with consciousness, even if it means banishment to the desert for a spell. The goal here is to establish a conscious relationship with the unconscious, based on a partnership versus a blind allegiance to the dictates of instinct and compulsion.

For consciousness, the task is to unearth and resolve the reason for the compulsive, mysterious tie to an other. This might mean facing issues from earliest childhood or deep woundings from other times in our lives, asking the inevitable questions that might lead to conscious clarification. Why has the unconscious chosen this being? Why am I being asked to take this journey with this person? Why is the unconscious insisting that something about this person so mirrors something about myself? Am I willing to take this journey and consciously face the facts as they unfold? Do I need to completely oppose the outer journey, and cloister myself to a direct inner encounter with the root of my desires?

Participation mystique, ultimately, is the language of the unconscious. It engages us in entanglements with beings in the world whom reflect the jewels of our own wholeness. If we read this language concretely, and passionately act out its energies as they possess us, we are strewn about the ocean waves without the benefit of a navigating vessel.

Consciousness gives us our vessel to navigate the ocean of infinity with. Consciousness gives us the choice to learn our lessons in the outer world or in the inner world. Consciousness allows us to shorten our terms of bondage to obsessive projection. Though we can’t consciously lift the obsession, we can oppose blind allegiance to it, whereby introverting the playing field and allowing for symbolic resolution within the self.

The alchemy of love... - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
The alchemy of love…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Ultimately, love is a conscious process. True, the energies of the deepest human needs must enter a love relationship, but passion without consciousness can never equate to love. To be free to love, we must first be freed of the lessons of compulsion, that which is mysterious participation without consciousness.

Obsessions eventually lift as we integrate into our wholeness our genuine ability to love and be loved, as we square the circle of our being with consciousness. The unconscious will always communicate its secrets, but as full-fledged conscious partners we are freed to mystically participate in ongoing adventures of life and love.

From the mystique of it all,

Note from Wikipedia regarding what Carl Jung said about the subject: “PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity. (Jung, [1921] 1971: paragraph 781).”

Random Act of Guidance #2: Saleph

Today we present another channeled conversation. A long time ago Jeanne had told Jan that her new name was Saleph. And so we questioned her about its meaning and usage. In the conversation the word “consciousness” was used many times and each time Jan had the sense of its different levels of meaning—higher levels, choice levels, awareness levels—all of them multileveled too. See if you sense the same.

We hope you enjoy the conversation! Here it is, about 15 minutes long:

July 19, 2014-Random Act of Guidance #2: Saleph

A Day in a Life: The Yellow Jacket & Me

I am a human being. How am I going to use my gift of consciousness today? Am I awake? Am I aware? Am I advancing myself and my world in some way, small or large? These are the things I ask myself this morning as I awaken before dawn. I’m tired, I don’t really want to get up yet, but I do. I go about my morning routine and before long the sun has risen and I am full of energy. Something has shifted.

Nature being nature...but not at my front door!

I go to the front door and peer into the overhead recessed light, looking for my tiny petty tyrant, the yellow jacket that has been pestering me lately, for days invading our entryway. I am determined that he will not nest there. And so I have become his petty tyrant as well. He is not where I last saw him. I wonder if perhaps I’ve finally out-pestered him.

I see him and his comrades stealing tiny wood fibers from the latticework on the back deck. They scrape tiny filaments off the top frame of the structure and fly to their chosen nesting spots. My yellow jacket flies around to the front yard and right up to the front door. By the time I notice him, he has constructed a tiny nest; a cluster of four or five honeycombs dangles from inside the doorway. When he leaves I knock his nest down.

“Sorry, but you can’t be here,” I tell him. He comes back. Persistent, he begins to build his nest again in the very same spot.

“Don’t you get it? I don’t want you here!” He flies away and, again, I knock the nest down.

I don’t want to harm the insect, yet I don’t appreciate his abode of choice and so this process between us goes on for a few days. Yesterday, after I had knocked the nest down for the billionth time it seemed, he went away and didn’t come back. Or at least that was what I perceived because he didn’t come buzzing angrily at me every time I stepped out the front door, letting me know how disappointed he was at my presence in his life. But then I noticed that I had been tricked! The persistent little devil had only moved a few feet, into the recessed light fixture right above my head.

“Okay, you little trickster,” I said, “I’ll get you yet!” And so I waited until evening, when I knew he would be sluggish. Just as it was getting dark, I asked Chuck to reach up and knock down the tiny nest—this time with the yellow jacket nestled inside it—a little too high for me to reach. Now I’m not a fan of messing with the wasps and bees of this world, so I stepped back inside and let the fearless man in my life take this turn at delivering the message to my nemesis that I just didn’t want him around.

“It’s okay, he’s on the ground,” Chuck called to me a few seconds later. We left him there to struggle and I turned the porch light on, hoping that the heat of the bulb would deter him from settling back into the housing of the light fixture. And so this morning, at first glance, I was pleased to see that he was not there. Does this mean our process as each other’s petty tyrant is over?

I ponder the role of the petty tyrant, always ready to point out something to us. This little guy makes me face the fact that I do not like tiny stinging insects, but, even more than that, he lets me know how some tiny, pesky little thing can blow up into a major battle and soon take over. A good amount of time and energy went into the recent battle between the yellow jacket and me. I tracked him as much as he tracked me. Was it really necessary? Well, yes, I think it was. There was something I had to recapitulate.

The wasp making a nest by my front door reminded me of the two wasp nests that flanked the back door of my childhood home when I was about seven years old. My parents, rarely attentive to such things, had let the wasps take over and two large nests were in full operation on the day that I rushed up to the door a little too fast for the likes of the wasps. As soon as my hand touched the handle to pull open the screen door I was dive-bombed and stung by two wasps simultaneously, on either side of my forehead. Within seconds I had two very painful egg-sized lumps forming high on my temples. Not only did I look ridiculous with my Frankenstein forehead, but I was in agony! In addition, I was furious with my parents. How could they let such a thing happen to me! How could they not have noticed those nests!

I had been dodging the wasps for weeks. Once aware of their presence, I began using the front door, but for some reason on that day I had forgotten! I was in such a hurry that all caution went to the wind and I sailed right up to the door in total forgetfulness.

One evening, a few days later, my father donned his bee-removing gear—a large hat covered in netting that tied under the chin and big leather gloves—and climbed onto a ladder and pried both nests from their perches on either side of the back door. I stood far back in the yard and watched him do this. Now he was my hero, just as Chuck was last night, but at the same time I never forgot the experience. My seven-year-old self has been wary of the painful stingers of those tiny flying tyrants ever since.

Now, in full consciousness, I confront my flying petty tyrants again, this time in an inner process, for I know that I must use what nature brings me for personal growth. I will not allow occupation of my entryway by petty tyrants, I conclude. I will not be controlled by outside forces. I want free access to my outer world and my inner world. I guard and protect my ability to flow freely.

The other nest builders who make me laugh...

Beyond the front door I accept that I have little control over what happens in my yard. Even as I write this, I look out the window and see that the robins have flipped the hose I’ve tucked into the mulch around a newly planted peach tree and are now bathing in its spray. I laugh at those petty tyrants.

I’m not really annoyed by the robins as much as I am by the wasps, and I have to ask myself why. They are all just being nature, doing what they naturally do, but, as I said, I want free access to that which is mine, and so I will not tolerate the pesky yellow jacket so up close and personal.

I pause in my writing and go outside and right the hose, making sure there is a nice puddle of water for the robins to work with. I know they just want it for nest making, for I’ve seen them working as diligently as I’ve seen the yellow jackets scraping the latticework on the deck. For the past few days, I’ve watched the robins dragging nesting material through the mud before flying off with it dripping from their beaks.

The robins and the wasps are nature being nature and I am part of nature too, but a certain degree of consciousness was awakened on the day I was stung by the wasps at the age of seven. I remember thinking that I had gotten through my whole life, until that day, and never been stung by a bee. I knew that it was a momentous occasion, that it was a rite of passage. Now I had been stung and I was no longer the same person. I had experienced something that could never be undone and I could no longer brag that a bee had never stung me. As I experienced the pain of the stings, I was jolted into full body consciousness, leading to awareness of inner transformation.

It was a big moment for my seven-year-old self. I have continued to use the lessons I learned that day. I have never let a wasp build a nest by my entryway. Keeping watch over my doorways became one way I maintained control in a world where we often have very little control. And to this day I still do it, because I know that my child self was right that day, that you don’t let things get so out of hand that they injure you and cause you pain. But I also allowed the stingers in my forehead to awaken me to an awareness of my inner world. I knew that a transformation, an awakening, happened that day as I experienced that jolt of pain.

It took me a long time to really fathom those lessons, and a whole lot of years of pain and suffering had to ensue before I figured out how to use the consciousness raising that occurred that day. I carried the lessons deeply inside though, and have since put them to good use many times, always aware now to not let things get so bad that I am overwhelmed and, in addition, to look for the transformative lesson that is always being presented.

Consciousness, as Chuck wrote about in his last blog, is our unique gift from nature. As I contemplate that yellow jacket, I am aware that we often undertake life with the same repetitive persistence. We continue to do the same things over and over again in spite of the consequences. Our habits control us, until we wake up to the fact that they have been stinging us on the head for a very long time, alerting us to wake up and stay awake. It’s time to act differently, they tell us. It’s time to change. We are no different from the wasps and the robins if we don’t use our most unique gift of consciousness to change.

Nature instructs. Are we awake?

Still watching that entryway, and wishing everyone a transformational week,