Tag Archives: definitive journey

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: Invitation to a Dream

When we say good night to the world and drift into sleep, the golden person, the immortal one, the energy body, the soul, gently moves away from the nest of the physical body, though still safely attached by a thin silver ethereal cord, to begin its night journey in the daybreak of a dream.

Those journeys beyond the body, beyond the dense energy of the physical world, are our natural opportunity to dip into and explore the world of pure energy, infinity itself. This is why the Hindus and the Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo of the dream the bardo of death.

In dying, our incarnate essence leaves its nest for the final time, this time with its umbilical cord severed, as it is born into the greater world of energy. To the Buddhists and Hindus the ability to smoothly make that transition, that is, to be able to sustain a sense of cohesion and awareness beyond the body, to be ready to continue life beyond the physical world, determines what comes next. Will we choose to reincarnate in this world, in another carnate round of preparation, or, from an enlightened place, continue the journey beyond the carnate, beyond the body, in infinity?

Buddhists, Hindus and the Seers of Ancient Mexico spend much of their energy in this life becoming familiar and comfortable with life in the bardo of the dream to prepare for their definitive journey at the time of their death in this world.

Every night we do die to this world when we enter sleep and life beyond the body. I recall, as a child, when I first became aware of this truth. I realized that when I closed my eyes to sleep I could not be certain I’d return, the terror of which interrupted my going to sleep for weeks. Every person must pass this gate of challenge in this life. Many get waylaid at this gate, starting in childhood as we cling to parents, lights, and rituals to assure safe passage through the night and rebirth the next morning.

Children are not fully socialized, that is, they have yet to be talked out of their knowing perceptions of energetic life that they encounter beyond the physical world. They are challenged to reconcile with these ‘imaginary friends’ or stand up to scary projections. Seniors, as they prepare to die, often have clear visitations with evolved energetic beings—people they once knew, though long gone from this world—who come to prepare them for safe transition into the next life. Dying people may experience the lifting of the socialized rational veil that once blocked these perceptions and find themselves in a condition professionals often call dementia.

In between childhood and the dusk of life we are all challenged every night to let our physical bodies go to rest and open to a world of energy. So awesome is this task that it’s no wonder we remember so little of where we’ve been and what we’ve done during our nighttime adventures.

When I prepare to sleep at this stage of my life, I simply note when I need to return to this world, with the total confidence that I will be dropped off—that is, awoken—at the exact moment I’ve asked to arrive. What happens in between leaving and arriving is sheer magic, mystery, and adventure. Time and space are nonexistent in that world. I can awaken from but a moment of dreaming and recall endless dream journeys in what was only a minute or two of actual time. The only question is how aware I will be in the dream, or really, how much I will allow myself to remember.

It’s all about remembering. That is the essence of recapitulation in waking life. The more we remember the more we recover of ourselves. It’s not really about the skill of memory. It’s more about our readiness to expand our knowing of ourselves. Can we accept aspects of ourselves that seem foreign and uncomfortable and unfamiliar to our working sense of self? Are we ready to allow ourselves to experience the energetic world that is generally checked by the filter of rationality, keeping us fixated on the dense world of solid objects?

We owe to psychoanalysis the resuscitation of the dream, a modern attempt to reclaim the value of the night. There is indeed much to be gained by the analysis of dreams, much to be discovered about the shadow dimension of ourselves in the unrestricted playground of the dream. Again though, the challenge: how prepared are we to accept the unacceptable or unknown aspects of ourselves? Despite the analytical value of the dream, this approach does lend itself to domination by the ego with its monkey mind that quickly and associatively springs away from the dream itself.

Native American approaches to dreaming and the night became popularized and made accessible to the masses by Patricia Garfield with the publication of her book Creative Dreaming in 1974. She researched how the dream in the Native American world functioned as an active playing field that was valued as much as that of waking life. A father instructs his son, awoken by a nightmare, to return to the dream and actively confront the bear who chased him.

Carlos Castaneda’s publication of The Art of Dreaming in 1993 opened the gate to the active side of infinity through the step by step development of conscious dreaming. Don Juan made it clear that our dreaming attention was a dormant ability simply awaiting our attention. If we merely call to it, it will awaken, and with it our growing ability to venture into the bardo of the dream with awareness.

For myself, I am well aware that most of what I know comes to me in my nightly journeys. Though I don’t always remember the experiences, I clearly retain the lessons. Deja vu is really just a moment of remembering. I know that my dreaming partners, Jan and Jeanne, are amused at my reluctant remembering.

I offer these rudimentary steps to those who wish to accept the invitation to a dream:

1. Know that you are already a dreamer.

2. Put a pen and dream notebook next to your pillow with a handy light. Better yet, as Jan suggests, learn to write in the dark, in your sleep!

3. State your intent to remember your dream. Say it out loud—I intend to remember my dream!

4. When you awaken, no matter how tired and certain you are that you can’t possibly forget your dream, write it down!

5. Dismiss not the tiniest fragment of a dream. Every morsel is a golden nugget.

6. Know that you are safe and protected; you can always wake up if you need to.

7. If you don’t want to be in the dream you are in, change it! State your intent, change the dream, or wake up.

8. Treat your dream as a lesson of some sort. When you review the dream keep it simple. Imagine your dream was a movie you had just seen. Say to yourself: What do I feel, what do I take from it? What possible relevance might this have for my life? If nothing comes, let it sit, take another look later. Watch what happens in the day. Perhaps the dream will suddenly make sense in an encounter you might have.

I conclude with a story and a song. Carlos Castaneda and don Juan Matus enjoyed going to the movies together. One movie struck don Juan’s fancy: You Only Live Twice. I’m not certain it was the Bond girls don Juan liked. I think it was the song of the same title, sung by Nancy Sinatra. Here’s the link.

Sweet dreams,
Chuck

A Day in a Life: Life & Death

Last week, while strolling the length of the deck in the morning sunshine, enjoying the last day of beautiful summer weather before the heat wave hit, I looked down into the yard below and saw a young fawn staring up at me. She seemed to have been there for a long time, just standing and observing me. I had been combing and drying my hair in the sun as I walked at a slow, meditative pace. I wondered if my white hair had attracted her, if it looked like the white on the underside of her mother’s tail, the white tail that went up and said, come, follow me.

I stopped walking and stood looking back at her, her spots large and white on her slender back, her ears pricked as she listened to the sounds around her. I saw her mother further down in the yard, nibbling at the bushes where the grass slopes down to meet the tree line. She was walking on one of the paths we’d cut through the tall grass back there, munching on the black caps that we too have been enjoying. Turning on her thin but sturdy legs, the young fawn ran to her mother, frisking about, happy, not alarmed at all. In a moment she reappeared at the top of the yard with her mother in tow. Now the two of them stood and looked up at me standing on the deck looking back at them.

We stood unmoving for several minutes, just observing each other. I sent silent messages that I would not harm them, that they were perfectly safe grazing in my yard and eating the delicious, juicy fruits. I sent energetic feelings of love and compassion to those two wild animals, allowing it to pour out of me and float down upon them in a wave of appreciation for their presence on this day, my birthday. I asked them to stay awhile and just enjoy this moment with me.

The fawn, bored with staring, began to nurse. The doe, feeling safe enough too, began licking her fawn, cleaning her as the fawn bucked and pushed against her. Occasionally the mother would prick up her ears at the sounds in the neighborhood, a car door slamming, a hawk screeching, a saw buzzing down the road, but she stood her ground, not fearing, just alert, aware.

As I watched this little vignette of nature in action, I knew that through all the disasters that mankind does and could put Mother Earth through, the earth and nature will continue. We are not so powerful as we think we are, for here is something that will go on long after we are gone, I thought. Here was life itself, having birthed anew, letting me know that nature will survive, that life will continue with or without man’s interference or man’s participation, that nature can go on just fine without us. And this doe and this fawn did not fear me, for although they were in my yard, eating my berries, they were letting me know that I did not own any of it, that the earth belongs to all living creatures. And I, in turn, fully accepted this, knowing that my own technologically advanced life paled in comparison to nature, for they were showing me what life is really all about.

Monday came and I channeled a message from Jeanne. When I had finished typing and posting the message on the website, I decided to do as she suggested and take a few minutes of quietude before I started my day. I went out into my sunny studio. It was early enough that the room was still cool, the morning sun not yet pouring through the skylights, and the open windows around the room let in a gentle breeze. It was the perfect time to be there because by the afternoon, with temperatures expected to climb into the nineties, it would have been almost unbearably hot. I sat in a comfy chair, settling in for a quiet fifteen minutes of peace when a racket arose outside the window.

Our yard is full of nesting birds this year. It seems as if almost every bush and tree is occupied by robins, blue birds, phoebes, doves, nuthatches, catbirds; you name it. In a small bush outside the window a pair of robins were nesting. They had been busily tending and feeding their young for many weeks. Now they began squawking and screeching, dive-bombing at their own nest, flying to the gutter above the window I was sitting beside and then back at their nest again. I wondered what the heck they were doing. They were acting crazy, their voices shrill and piercing. Over and over again they flew directly at the bush, as if to knock something out. My first impression was that maybe this is how they get their kids out of the nest, perhaps they force them out, but it didn’t appear very likely, not at all like nature, which in my observation is much more gently nudging.

I noticed that other birds were also getting into the act. A pair of catbirds flew to the base of the bush and mewed and snarled, flapping their wings. Blue jays circled around in the yard, cruising like blue and white patrol cars, their voices like sirens sending out calls of distress. A tiny wren perched on a branch of the bush and chirped loudly, fluttering up and down, having a hissy fit. What is going on, I wondered, why are they all attacking this nest? And then it dawned on me that they were protecting it, or trying to, and then I saw it: a long tail hanging down. A cat? It sort of looked like our cat’s tail, but how could a cat get up into that tiny bush? Then it moved and I saw that an enormous snake was entwined around the bush, obviously after the baby robins.

As I ran out of the room, first to grab my camera, and then to go outside to get a better look, I remembered don Juan admonishing Carlos Castaneda to let nature take its course, to not interfere. In The Second Ring of Power, on page 301, Carlos says that don Juan told him that, “every effort to help on our part was an arbitrary act guided by our own self-interest alone.” Don Juan once laughed at Carlos as he removed a tiny snail from a sidewalk and tucked it under some vines because he was afraid the snail might get stepped on. Don Juan suggested that perhaps the snail had spent all day getting that far across the sidewalk and here came this idiot putting him back were he’d started from. Perhaps he was escaping sure death by poison from the leaves of that very vine, or perhaps he had enough personal power to cross the sidewalk. I knew I would not interfere in what was happening, but I also was intent on observing it. For some reason this was what was unfolding before me on this day when my intention was to simply sit quietly.

I stood a respectable distance from the bush, trying to get close enough to get a shot of the snake but also far enough back so I did not interfere in the attempts of the birds to unseat this most uninvited guest. The noise and fury coming from the robins was intense. They flew back and forth numerous times, sweeping the top of the bush, their extended wings like knives cutting into it, but their attempts were to no avail. As many times as they dove at the snake in the bush it was not going to cease the hunt. The other birds, come to help this family in crisis, set up a loud lament, crying and screaming, a Greek chorus pouring out there sorrows.

I am not frightened of snakes but I find them unpredictable, unknown entities. This snake had obviously crawled up into the bush while the robins were out foraging. By the time I saw it, it was well entwined around the bush and, from the lump a few inches along its length, it was obvious that it had already swallowed at least one baby bird. I could see its head moving around in the area of the nest. Suddenly it swung down, a gray snake about four feet long, a tiny bird clamped in its mouth, the small feather covered creature half consumed already. Its yellow legs dangled limply, surely already suffocated. The snake held firmly as it began swinging and unfolding itself from the bush. The birds continued to fly at it, but it would not drop its prize. As I watched, it dropped from the lowest branches of the bush into the ivy below and disappeared.

The robin parents continued to wail and express their deep sorrow at the invasion of their nest, their children taken by this creature of nature, death coming unexpectedly. The other birds soon disappeared and only the stunned robins remained. I sent energetic sympathy to these two birds, feeling their grief, as they cocked their heads in disbelief, keening and pining for their young. And yet I knew that this too was nature in action, the other side of life.

Death is as natural as birth; it is part of the natural order of things. Indiscriminately selecting, coming like the snake in the grass, it will spare none of us. This is what modern man has chosen to ignore, that death is a natural part of life. We must all take our definitive journey as the seers call it, but I feel we have lost our reverence for and our curiosity about its transformational process, and we have forgotten that we are as innocent as those baby birds in the nest, all of us.

Eventually, the mother robin returned to the bush. When I peaked in at her she was sitting perched on the edge, guarding the last of her babies. She voiced a gentle protest at my intrusion, though by now she knew I would not harm her. On Tuesday, each time I looked into the bush, she no longer feared me, but sat silently, just the thing I intended to do before death came so unexpectedly to my yard. I knew she was waiting for two things, for her young fledgling to mature enough so it could leave the nest, and she was also waiting for the snake, for it would soon be hungry again. Death will come again.

If you wish, feel free to respond in the comment section below.

Wishing you all a good week,
Jan

NOTE: The book mentioned in this blog is available for purchase through our Store.

# 673 Chuck’s Place: Thank You Petty Tyrants!

Why are we here? One thing is certain: our time is limited. Our life here is only a visit. In the end, we must leave on what the shamans of ancient Mexico call, our definitive journey.

Unlike other journeys we may take in this world, in preparation for our definitive journey there are no bags to pack and only one appointment to keep, our appointment with death. At that appointment we are required to relinquish our bodies and our attachment to all things material as we enter the unknown in pure energetic form.

Throughout their physical lives shamans enter their energy bodies and take journeys into infinity. Upon returning they report that, though they discover amazing things on these journeys, the true preparation for facing the unknown is in this world, in the form of our encounters with petty tyrants. One major reason for our being in this world is, as I see it, to encounter and master our petty tyrants, the true proving ground for our definitive journey in infinity upon dying.

Petty tyrants can be defined as anything in this world that interrupts or shatters our expectations. Examples may include a crying baby that won’t allow us to sleep, a defiant teenager, an unloving parent, an exploitive boss, a ruthless ex-spouse, a rejecting lover, a condescending partner, a prejudiced teacher, a violent psychopath who physically or sexually abuses, etc. Petty tyrants can also come in the form of natural or unnatural disasters such as earthquakes and wars. In fact, the examples are endless and range from annoying everyday interactions to traumatic experiences. Petty tyrants are not fair, they don’t play by the rules; they devastate us, they use and abuse us, they take what they want, they destroy what they want. Our experiences of petty tyrants force us to relinquish our expectations of common decency, respect, love, or basic entitlements. Although these expectations may be our preferences in this world, they are, by far, not the true nature of reality, which is unpredictable. When faced with a petty tyrant we are thrust into a completely unpredictable, uncontrollable reality where anything can happen, anything goes.

Shamans say that our encounters with petty tyrants provide us with the necessary training to face the true nature of energetic reality; this is our destiny, this is why we are here. Energetic reality is fluid, ever changing. To maintain cohesion in energetic reality we must be able to flow without requirements, that is, preconceived expectations. Petty tyrants force us out of our world into the unknown. If we refuse to accept the unknown and choose instead to cling to our expectations of reality then we are not prepared for our definitive journey. If we insist upon a world that conforms to our expectations, we are not ready to enter the unknown. The Buddhists point out that if we cannot detach from our expectations upon dying, we must re-materialize; that is, reincarnate in the material world for more classes on detachment, with our petty tyrants as teachers. In fact, petty tyrants are our greatest teachers in this world.

The process of mastering our petty tyrants requires that we recapitulate. In recapitulation we face, squarely, all our experiences in life, releasing any attachment to them in the form of anger, resentment, fear, regret, hatred, sadness, self-pity, etc. Staying attached to unfairness, for example, would keep us attached to a predictable world that follows the rules. As long as we hold to the position that we are undeserving of the petty tyrants in our lives we remain deeply attached to creating our own world, a world of illusions, what the Buddhists call maya. Through recapitulation we arrive at a place of complete neutrality toward all our petty tyrants. We let go of any sense of being special or deserving of anything, we simply accept all the experiences in our lives as part of the journey, without judgment. Experiences are simply facts, they happened. With recapitulation we are released to completely let them go, with appreciation for lessons learned. We arrive at a place of readiness to enter an unpredictable world, our tyrants having prepared us well!

When we arrive at the place of utter neutrality, what the shamans call the place of no pity, we are offered the opportunity to thank our petty tyrants for journeying with us and preparing us for our final appointment with death, as we embark upon our definitive journey in infinity.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,
Chuck