Tag Archives: detachment

Chuck’s Place: Unbending Detachment

Look to the skies for guidance on how to remain detached and yet fully energetically connected!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The key to actualizing our human potential is energy. If you have enough energy you can do just about anything. Recognizing the value of conserving and retrieving energy, shamans discovered that the human being’s most lethal energy drain is offense.  Being offended, by anything and everything, costs humans the lion’s share of their vital energy.

When we feel offended by the words and deeds of others we have emotional reactions, like anger, fear, and resentment that tax the central nervous system. We lose our balance, as we become emotionally charged, seeking relief in some kind of action. Often, obsessive thinking continues to replay the offense, which sustains and feeds this state of emotional tension.

Is it possible to have an objective reaction to another’s offensive behavior without being personally offended? Yes, through gaining conscious control of our instinctive emotional reactions and deciding, on the mental plane, to not be offended by the behavior of others, regardless of how ruthless it might be.

Who could forget Robert De Niro’s “Are you talking to me?” in the movie Taxi Driver? Instinctively, we feel the growing tension of his mounting anger, as he incessantly repeats this famous line. Truthfully, many are drawn to such unabashed expressions of rage and contempt, which vicariously satisfies our own unexpressed rage and resentment.

Now, if Robert De Niro had simply walked away, the movie would have flopped. On the other hand, if we want to start saving our vital energy, we must be willing to let go of the many dramas our internal dialogue ignites through its constant interpretation of offense, throughout our everyday lives.

This is not to say that there is not significant horrific behavior that must be addressed. At issue is the subjective state of offense that accompanies one’s reactions to those behaviors. One can assess a situation and decide upon a course of action, unencumbered by emotional reaction. In fact, this is a core teaching of all martial arts.

When one becomes emotionally offended by an opponent’s move, one loses one’s edge, fights poorly, and generally loses. As in shamanism, in the martial arts the key to success is to not become attached —offended— by one’s opponent’s behavior. The objective is to stay present to what is and completely conserve one’s energy in order to be fully engaged in one’s most efficient counter response.

In fact, when one becomes offended one actually gifts the opponent one’s own energy. Offense can lead to hopelessness, powerlessness, and surrender, as one’s vital energy reserves become depleted. Bullying behavior is actually a strategy to catch one’s opponent in the net of offense, weakening their game. Muhammed Ali was a striking example of such tactical behavior leading up to a fight, as he would mercilessly insult and demean his opponents.

Instinctive reactions can be, and often are, life saving. What we take as an instinctive reaction, however, is very frequently the ego’s decision to be offended, whereby calling forth the troops of passionate reactions to exact retribution, in some form. This is a hybrid, instinctive reaction that serves only the ego, not the true needs of the self.

Ego must learn to be a servant to the true needs of the whole self, rather than just its own self-aggrandizement. Even if the ego has been directly insulted, the ego must consider the energetic impact on its central nervous system, and its energy reserves, before determining its course of action.

If the ego faces the fact that we live in a world where life feeds upon life, it can come around to the fact that we live in a predatory universe and not get offended by it. Of course, this does not stop our need to defend ourselves, but how much stronger and more clearheaded we would be if we didn’t burden ourselves with being offended.

When the shamans speak of detachment, they are targeting what we typically judge to be offensive behavior. They promote inner silence to avoid offensive dramas when navigating oncoming time, to best be prepared to respond appropriately, with the least taxing of our energetic reserves. Inner silence entails quieting the mind, pulling into the heart center, and waiting patiently for the guidance that shows us how to act in a way that is truly right.

In addition, they recommend a thorough recapitulation of one’s relationships in life, particularly circumstances that left one feeling offended. Recapitulation frees one’s energy stored away in offense, but also frees one from being triggered by current circumstances that reflect one’s unresolved past.

The truth is that there are highly sadistic, abusive people who commit horrific acts. Recapitulation does not change this fact, but it does free one from draining one’s vital energy by being eternally offended by them. Detachment means accepting the truth of what was, and fully harnessing one’s freed energy to be redeployed in new life.

I send out the intent for unbending detachment, as we collectively advance our world into new life, beyond offense.

With Unbending Detachment,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Extraverted Meditation

Buddha sending out the right vibration…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

At first glance, the title, Extraverted Meditation, would appear to be a contradiction in terms. Typically, extraversion is understood as an individual’s dominant orientation to focus on the outside world, particularly as pertains to relationships and the opinions of others. In contrast, meditation is generally viewed as an introverted practice that deeply withdraws from the sensations and influences of the outer world.

In Jung’s time, when East truly began to meet West, particularly as regards spiritual practice, he warned that the extraverted orientation of the Western psyche was ill-suited for rapid wholesale adoption of Eastern meditation practices. Nonetheless, as he himself encountered the depths of the collective unconscious, in the visions and active imagination he documents in The Red Book, he practiced yogic asanas to ground his ego.

In fact, despite the almost total focus on the brain of modern Western psychological research, the bottomline focus and interventions prescribed by most Western therapists come straight out of Tibetan mindfulness and Yogic meditation practices.

These are the assignments given to ego to still the central nervous system into a state of calm. Nonetheless, the reigning mantra and New Year’s resolution from most people is, “I have to get back to my meditation.”

The power of outer world events, particularly in the time we are in, is impossible and perhaps inadvisable to fully screen from one’s attention. This, coupled with the dominant extraverted orientation of Western civilization, undermines the coveted but under-practiced aspiration to meditate. How can the Western psyche, perhaps even the world psyche, adapt the powerfully beneficial practice of meditation in the flux of such an unsettled outer world?

The key, as in all meditation, is to begin with focus on the body. If the goal of meditation is detachment from the ill effects of outer world sensory impressions upon the sanctity of the self, the body can be seen as the central registry of all sensory inputs.

All of our senses receive input through the physical body. Our thoughts, with their associated emotions, register in the body as well. Thus, active inner attention to the body in outer activity and interaction is a valid playing field for meditation.

Place the index finger of one hand upon the wrist of the other hand. Keep awareness upon the index finger experiencing the sensations within itself as it meets the solid boundary of the wrist. Notice the vibration of touch.

Shift awareness exclusively to the wrist. Notice its sensations of being touched. Feel the vibration of being touched. Alternate awareness slowly from toucher to touched. Now, allow these two distinct perspectives of touch to merge into a single vibratory union of touch, union of self.

Carry awareness of body into the world. Open to an image in the media. Notice its vibration; study its energy. Shift awareness to the body. Notice its impact upon the heart, upon the muscles, upon the breath. With awareness, restore the body’s organs to calm. Release all clenching; intend deep peace. Embrace the integrity of self in calm vibration.

Return gaze to the outer image, notice its vibration, its intent. Return awareness to the body. Notice any impact of image upon inner vibration. Restore the integrity of calm vibration. Repeat dual attention until outer image is completely neutralized, your inner vibration a steady flame.

Interact with the world. Notice the impact on the body in encounter with other. Use awareness to calm the heart, unclench the muscles, and silence the mind. The mind is silenced with awareness focused on body sensation, intended to calm.

Notice the words, the emotional intensity, the intent of the other. See the vibration of the other’s motive. Notice the inner impact of that vibration upon one’s body. Choose to maintain one’s inner vibration of calm. Use the breath to steady the body. Use intent to maintain inner calm, with attention given to where the body feels impacted. Dissolve into love of the oneness of everything.

These are some suggestions for extraverted meditation. Allow every moment, whether innerly or outerly focused, to become a meditative opportunity. Gradually expand the oneness of self with the oneness of everything. “Got to keep those vibrations, vibrations a happening to me…”

Good good good, good vibrations!

Chuck

Check out Brian Wilson’s live enhanced Good Vibrations from his album Smile. Notice the South African insert.

Chuck’s Place: The Currency of Attention

Sign of the times…

“Pay attention” is a frequently delivered command. Indeed, when we pay with our attention we deliver our energy to the object of our focus. Attention is a powerful energetic currency.

Notice, for instance, the impact on your personal energy when you tune into the news, or some form of social media. The impact can be either depleting or empowering. Either way, we spend our energy in our emotional reaction to the news. That expended energy is delivered, on a subtle level, to the person we are reacting to in the news.

Children, most dramatically, seek our attention. Child educators know that getting attention is the child’s goal, good or bad. Once the child has our attention, they thrive on the energy of our focus, as well as on our emotional reactions. Tantrums are energetic goldmines for the tantruming child.

Even inanimate objects can absorb our energy. A trip to a museum is a case in point. Though fascinating and educational, objects of art demand our attention and can deeply drain our energy. We could say that a sculpture at a museum is imbued with self-importance. Were it not so, it wouldn’t be on display. Be careful how much attention you give it!

Self-importance measures the quantity and quality of attention we are paid for being alive. The ego, as the orphaned ruler of the personality, seeks the attention of others to validate its worthiness. This extrinsic dependency is the consequence of the ego’s separation from its wholeness, at the time of birth into this world. A blank slate seeks the approval of others to find its worth.

Shamans have astutely addressed this energetic stalemate. The fragmentation from Spirit-self, that accompanies finite life in a physical world, has led to obsessive dependence upon the attention of others to replace one’s lost Spirit. This attention-seeking behavior is considered by shamans to be humankind’s greatest energy drain.

Shamans discovered that a shift in focus, like the social isolation the world is currently experiencing, can result in the accrual of vast sums of energy within the self. That energy, combined with the intent to reconnect to one’s Spirit, can result in a deeply healing, inner soul retrieval.

To be connected to the life of one’s Spirit is to become guided by omens, the synchronicities from infinity that guide and inform life; to be in the world but not of the world, at an attention-seeking level. Attention-seeking is then completely replaced by the pursuit of right action, the best decision to be made under the presenting circumstances.

To dance with omens is to feel constantly renewed by participation in a fuller life, one that includes one’s essence, at a cosmic level. Attention received is not attention sought, but it is attention provided to guide the way to right action.

Save the currency of your attention for that which truly guides you to your wholeness. This is the world we are morphing into, a world of interconnected oneness. Let’s attend to that!

Attending Spirit,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Commodity of Attention

Where are you putting your attention, on the chaos or the calm?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Advertisers scramble for it. Politicians pay and compete for it. Children crave it. All of us long for it. More valuable than money itself is the commodity of attention. More important than anything  to the stock markets of the world, at the current moment, is where investors place their attention. Attention is the prime mover of humanity.

We enter the world at birth, archetypally programmed to receive  attention. Attention is critical for us to, literally, come on line. Without the attention of good enough receivers we perish soon after entry.

With the outside validation of attention, good or bad, our attention is cultivated to fill out our personality, as our inner nature is sculpted through the process of socialization. Our attention is consolidated into an identity, a consistent sense of self. ‘I’ is molded through the solidification of our commodity of attention.

In school we are taught to cultivate our attention, to focus it upon the task of learning and creating. This training introduces us to the power of attention that we all possess. However, we are also heavily constricted by the rules of how attention should be practiced and upon what it should be focused.

Our freedom to exercise our attention is highly controlled by forces seeking the energy of our attention to uphold the primacy of their own belief systems. Without the mass attention of believers, belief systems have no currency to influence the world.

The consensus reality we live in requires a critical mass of attention to remain solid. This consensus means that we give our attention in support of its premises and leadership. If we withdraw that support it loses the commodity that upholds it, our attention.

Attention is more powerful than a vote or the ability to win an argument. Attention is focused energy, a powerful commodity. When we develop our dreaming attention, we develop the ability to explore and consciously exist as a substantial, multifaceted being in many dimensions of life.

When we are in command of our attention in waking life we can navigate the world with ease. Meditation is nothing other than full command of one’s attention. Intent is immediately drawn to the beacon of our attention. To command attention is to command intent.

To simply give one’s full attention to the meal one is eating, void of conversation, outside stimulation, and internal dialogue, connects one deeply to the needs and workings of the body. One remains in- body, knows how long to chew, when to swallow and when the body has had enough. The power of this attention reshapes the body and heals its ailments. Yes, the power of attention in such a simple task can radically change one’s state of health.

Come into your full power. Cultivate and store your precious commodity of attention. Be mindful not to spend it all on social media or obsession with world dramas seeking to bind and steal your attention.

No one can ever take away your freedom to place your attention where you want without your consent. And with that freedom, and a critical mass of the commodity of attention, the possibilities for life in all worlds is exponential.

Happy Savings,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: A Shift of the World’s Assemblage Point

Being Intent, no matter what…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carlos Castaneda faced the most ego-crushing fact. His role, as dictated by Spirit itself, was to end rather than continue his shamanic lineage, a lineage that had spanned twenty-seven generations.

Carlos’ dilemma mirrors the energetic configuration of our time, a time of endings.

Earth herself is in a time of major reshaping as she violently shakes free of the shackles of inertia that have bound her in place. Shamans would call the place of her frozen fixation, the world’s assemblage point, the place where the Earth’s energy is assembled into a consensus reality, the everyday world as we have known it.

The Earth abounds now with dismantling events, be they earthquakes, Senate trials, or viruses. Reality, as we have known it, is being rocked at its core. Institutions are falling like dominoes. Many dreams are vying to become the new consensus reality, the world’s new position of the assemblage point.

As I see it, the destructive phase of now will not be of short duration. The dream currently dominating is the ultimate completion of a one-sided American dream. That dream demands full expression. Perhaps that is the true contribution of our time, to not suppress and pass along that unfulfilled dream for future generations to have to complete. I believe this current dream has been long in the making. That dream spares not even a brush with apocalypse to fulfill its hunger for power and domination.

More comprehensively put, America is completing the ultimate ego over everything dream. This is actually a universal dream, not just America’s. The universality of that dream reflects a world developmental process that tests the viability of fixation at the level of total narcissism.

The current strain of the coronavirus has presented a most interesting challenge to the most populated country on Earth, China, the ancient home of the Book of Changes, the I Ching. Could an alternative dream be unfolding where China shakes off its materialistic dew and gets down to its Taoist roots, action in accordance with Inner Truth (hexagram #61)?

A totalitarian regime has chosen to lose face. No hiding its blemish; it is currently the home of a deadly virus. Superhuman efforts are being made to construct necessary hospitals, isolate large masses of people, and provide accurate safety precaution to all. Economic considerations pale next to the cooperative needs of survival.

Who knows what will happen, but at present this unfolding dream appears to attempt to stalk a position beyond the narcissism of damage control to face the actual danger, with rationality untempered by narcissism. Planet Earth is steadily insisting on a movement that assembles such a reality.

More dreams will  fill the world stage in the coming months; these are the trials of transformation. When Carlos Castaneda was confronted with deciding what to do with the hidden knowledge of his shamanic lineage, as he closed its door, he dreamed forward Tensegrity, offering anyone who wanted it the practical knowledge of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico.

Carlos, while still in this world, would marvel at Tensegrity workshops, that he was able to observe perhaps a thousand people practicing in unison the Magical Passes of his lineage. This was a sight no other Nagual—the shamanic leader of a group of no greater than 16 apprentices in each generation—had ever witnessed: the power of the mass impact of these Magical Passes performed in unison.

Carlos Castaneda believed that the time had arrived where a new power of the mass, spirit warriors from all nations and traditions, would energetically combine their forces of intent  to shift the world’s assemblage point to a new, more comprehensive position to ensure a solid foundation for survival.

The ending of Carlos’ line marked the end of the self-importance of any one tradition holding the exclusive keys to the kingdom. The mass movement of this growing collective intent is fueled by truth, love, and pragmatism. It includes movements such as minimalism, clean energy, small cooperative organic farming communities, respect for the Earth as a living planetary being, as well as the all-inclusive values and practices of all spiritual traditions, none excluded.

The traumas upon the face of the Earth now, though tragic, reflect a shaking loose of the current heavy inert fixation of the assemblage point that has long been preparing for a necessary move. Carlos demonstrated the necessity of letting go of old ways, particularly the dominance of the narcissism of self-importance, to make room for a new position grounded in the greater common good.

We are lured to give over our attention, our hopes and fears, to quick fixes or idealistic dreams that could stem the tide of this destruction. Best to do this with what shamans call controlled folly: detached passion; rather than deplete one’s energy through futility and defeat. Much more important is to place one’s intent upon joining with the Earth’s intent, as she aggressively shifts her own body to a new and necessary position of the assemblage point.

May all beings join in the intent of this new position of the assemblage point, where reason is stripped of its narcissistic veils and applies itself wholeheartedly to the pragmatism of world survival.

being INTENT,

Chuck