Tag Archives: divine

Chuck’s Place: The Trickster King In Us All

I recommend a viewing of Netflix’s The Crown. This modern exposition of the sacred transformation of the human being, anointed and born again as the divine queen in the cathedral, portrays the rich and basic archetypal substrate of the human psyche; the same archetypal substrate that has us project onto our president the ordering of the life of our nation, believing the presidency to be the design, for us, of the divine.

Who should wear the crown? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Who should wear the crown?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

America, of course, long shed itself of the silliness of the monarchy, but we could not erase our psychic predisposition to find sacred order and balance in our president. Our coronation at the cathedral is the ballot box, our king is our president, in whose presence we are equally predisposed to encounter the awe and the awful.

With President Obama, the earthy black shadow rose to kingship and he glowed with progressive intelligence. America, having apparently valued its shadow, appeared to be on the cusp of anointing the feminine to her goddess rank, just in time to rescue the ailing Earth. But alas, America was unexpectedly charmed by the Trickster King, Donald Trump.

What becomes evident is that America did not resolve its shadow by electing Obama. The shadow was stored beneath the surface and the trickster took full advantage of exposing it and tapping into its energy. We were not ready for the goddess. We hadn’t truly reckoned with the shadow.

The Trickster King is the full embodiment now of that shadow, and we must reconcile with it. In a nutshell, that shadow is the ultimate ego self who exalts itself in godly towers. This is the ego that truly only cares about itself, its needs, its wants, its security, its power. This is the ultimate individualistic ego that feels no responsibility for the safety and needs of the world, only insofar as it impacts its own interests. It’s alway only about “me and mine,” it says. In fact, “me” has become extremely narrow by definition, as the impetus now is on a “pure” America, where only those truly entitled to the Kingdom may reside.

As a psychotherapist, I have experienced marriages, families, friendships, business relationships, and relationships within the medical caregivers community experiencing major earthquakes as the fault lines of greater connection have been shattered and threatened by the divisiveness of this election. The grassroots impact of this election has indeed infiltrated even the sanctuary of the bedroom.

America is forced to face and reconcile with its huge shadow in all relationships in daily life in order to find its way to genuine connection where the ground will be properly prepared for the election of the feminine. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

We must face the truth, that though we have long espoused in our faiths and politics heart-centered compassion, the truth is, we mostly live at the level of self-centered survival. Apparently, it is necessary for this to be acted out and lived under our current kingship. Let us not make the mistake of an earlier generation that projected as a nation their divine center onto their divine king: “Adolf Hitler is Deutschland, Deutschland is Adolf Hitler.” *

It is not my intention to identify Trump as Hitler but to draw attention to the human tendency to invest leaders with the divine and follow them blindly.

We must thank and respect our trickster president-elect for mirroring our truth to us, but must individually, as true Americans, secede from the monarch, withdraw the projection from the Trickster King and face the truth of our own inner kingdoms. We must face our own ego king self, and ask: Who will rule the personality? The ego, or the  the divine Self within us?

Time to go into the tower and restore balance... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Time to go into the tower and restore balance…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The Self is the divine spark within us all who rests in the truth of our heart center. Our ego’s task is to realign and truly embrace the rule of this heart center and in so doing release us from its own egocentric worldview.

As we succeed in this individual effort we become like the ancient Taoist rainmaker who in restoring balance within triggers the restoration of balance without. As the rains return, the crops are nourished and life thrives anew. Sometimes those rains must provide great floods for life to truly be renewed. Never lose sight of the ark of the heart. It’s near, dear, and a definite lifesaver.

Remaining heart centered,

Chuck

* Quote from C. G. Jung’s Visions Seminars Volume 2, p. 1332

Chuck’s Place: The Child—Demon Or Divine?

Demon or Divine? It's all in the eyes of the beholder... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Demon or Divine? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Just who is that Inner Child we hear so much about? To one onlooker, a child being sternly reprimanded by a parent at the supermarket is a brat receiving just punishment. In contrast, another witness may declare atrocious abuse on the part of the parent as the innocence of the Golden Child is severely shattered by the reprimand. These are diametrically opposing reactions. One person experiences the child as an entitled big baby, the other sees a divine innocent child.

What makes one bystander see a Demon and the other a Divine Child has everything to do with the inner child projection of each observer. One person may harbor a powerful infantile shadow self that was either overly indulged or overly neglected in childhood. Given that this rejected child self remains rejected within the personality, this person might tend to agree with the parent’s stern treatment of this unacceptable Demon Child as a reinforcement of their own conscious attitude toward their own inner child. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that this rejected child projection might go the way of sympathy for the reprimanded child.

Another person may be at a stage of life or in a life circumstance that has become stale, wooden or frozen, lacking connection to the deepest waters of life. On the surface they may be bored and depressed. They may need the renewal of the spontaneity, freedom and innocence of the inner child in their own life to break through the quagmire of their current discontent. For them, the disciplining of the misbehaving child might be experienced as an affront to the Golden Divine Child, a symbol of the Self, their key to renewal.

This duality of possibility frequently shows up in the appearance of a child in a dream. Often we might dream that we have a child we didn’t know about. On the one hand, this child might represent an underdeveloped aspect of ourselves, that we may or may not be aware of, that is ready to emerge into our everyday life, an opportunity to “grow this part up” at this stage of life. In this case, the challenge would be for the ego to acknowledge vs. deny this underdeveloped part and take up the challenge of supporting needed growth.

On the other hand, it might be pointing to an infantile attitude that is overshadowing our lives and behaviors. Once again the challenge for the ego, in this scenario, is to overcome its blindness and take responsibility for becoming a responsible person, not asking others to cater to or compensate for its big baby attitude.

Still another possibility is that the dream child is the Divine Child, a symbol of the Self, that is opening the door to a new stage of our deepest unfolding by reflecting the need to return to pure innocence, dropping our plastic persona and diving naked into an ocean of renewal. The child is completely unencumbered by education and socialization, hence, serves as the best symbol of being closest to nature without the interference of mind. Sometimes, baring ourselves to this level is the only way to find our way back to true meaning in life.

There is golden potential in everyone... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There is golden potential in everyone…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The truth is that our Inner Child, as it appears in dreams, or as it projects itself onto the mirror of children in the world, can be either Demon or Divine. It is the work of consciousness—that is, of the ego—to study the appearance of the child and reflect honestly and deeply to discern who it symbolizes at this time in life, why it has appeared, and then act accordingly.

Mistaken identity can result in disastrous parenting where a child needing firm discipline may be inadvertently groomed as a little prince. Alternatively, an unusual or gifted child might be severed from its golden potential through insistence upon strict conformity and obedience, squelching its creative spirit in the process.

Inwardly, we might make the mistake of allowing the little prince within to rule the personality. Alternatively, the inner child that reflects our deepest flowing nature might hold the key to our spiritual renewal if we let it take the dive.

You make the call: Who is your inner child in its present manifestation? Demon or Divine?

Pondering,

Chuck

 

 

Chuck’s Place: The Divine Power Of Sexuality

Accessing the divine cosmic... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Accessing the divine cosmic…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Human sexuality is the physical manifestation of a far subtler yet powerful cosmic energy whose guiding intent is union. At the highest level that union is oneness with God, or the cosmos. At the most basic level, in the human form, it is unconscious instinctive union that results in procreation. One of the greatest challenges for human beings is to reconcile this divine energy with its physical, emotional, and mental energies in the human body.

I opened the Huffington Post the other day to an article entitled: Saudi Historian: U.S. Women Drive Because They Don’t Care If They’re Raped. This somewhat bizarre argument, to justify the Saudi law that forbids Saudi women from driving, does shine a light, however, upon a worldview that acknowledges the power and dangers of sexual energy. The Saudi solution is to overly protect women from the dangers of male sexual energy that loses control in situations of rape. Their solution is an affront to modern sensibility and progress, yet it nonetheless openly confronts the power and potential dangers of sexual energy.

In the West, the assumption that rationality, maturity, love, and respect insure safety in sexuality is blatantly on trial in our age of internet revelation. Abuse of sexual power is evident in our most sacred religious institutions, our schools and universities, and in our homes. It is quite arguable that for all our technological advances we are extremely naive and underdeveloped in our handling of sex.

In old Tibet, children entered monastic life long before the adult manifestation of sexual energy. Celibacy and the refusal to engage in sexual pleasure, even in masturbation, are fundamental to nuns and monks seeking enlightenment. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discouraged sexual activity, as the energy it exhausted is seen as critical to dream advancement. In these practices we see a respect for the power and vitality of sexual energy, and while it is sublimated it is still utilized, channeled into spiritual advancement. Freud went so far as to suggest that civilization itself was a by-product of sublimated sexual energy.

This scant survey of sexual management throughout the world highlights the power of and the challenge that the carnal and the spiritual dimensions of sexual energy pose. If we can allow the hypothesis that sexuality is of cosmic origin, a blind yet divine energy, sent from “God” to empower union in human form, then it is our greatest human challenge to reconcile this blind, divine energy with full human consciousness. Thus, we can ill afford to lock it away in protectionism, divert it for spiritual aims, or naively assume anything goes simply because we all have rational control.

Trashy Barbie... - Trash Art by Jan Ketchel
Trashy Barbie…
– Trash Art by Jan Ketchel

As humans, we are charged with discovering the full depth and power of our sexual instinct, this divine energy from God, in all its manifestations—physical, emotional, and mental. We are all charged with actively uniting this side of our nature with our consciousness, that which, in our human form, is our ephemeral spiritual center.

This weekend we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day appropriated to pay homage to love in relationship. The intent of this celebration is to merge love—union based on consciousness, driven by what is right—with sexuality, in its most instinctive form, in a harmony that symbolizes wholeness and oneness, as cupid depicts, in divine rapture.

Valentine’s Day is, not coincidentally, the opening day for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. This movie is based on a highly erotic novel that develops the theme of dominance/submission, sadism/masochism in sexual practices. The novel, with all of its steamy sex scenes, has had unprecedented worldwide success. I suggest this success is due to its liberating effects on the exploration of female desire and sexual fantasy, which have been largely undervalued or “protectively” ignored. However, I don’t feel that this fantasy of female sexuality is fully accurate or comprehensive. It may serve for the release and exploration of a largely hidden topic—woman’s sexuality—but I think it actually mirrors the collective frozen states of women’s sexual pleasures and the relationships that reinforce them.

The storyline of the novel allows women pleasure in bondage. Bondage may indeed be a pleasurable experience, but it hardly touches the depths of real pleasure that a woman is capable of experiencing in a truly conscious, loving relationship. The true union of the primal sexual power with consciousness requires the containment of a safe, loving relationship where these primal energies can play and merge in full consciousness.

Bondage, by design, is the antithesis of true freedom. Nonetheless, bondage might be viewed as a more primitive form of commitment. In true commitment, however, a couple freely bonds themselves to each other in a love that allows the full meeting of two beings on all levels. This deep and freeing union, I suggest, is one realization of the divine intent of sexuality. Issued from the highest spiritual plane, it culminates in full realization of the divine in sublime human form.

Rape, in all its manifestations, is the consequence of an aberrant decision to not take up the challenge of humanness and instead to surrender control to the proclivities of the dark side. It’s inhuman. Bondage, in all its manifestations, is a rudimentary experience of trapping and controlling the divine energy. Conscious relationship is the exact opposite, as it seeks to responsibly unite animal and divine.

Will we go through the bardos into the light this time? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Will we go through the bardos into the light this time?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The ultimate challenge awaits us in death itself, where we, as individuals, must completely merge our human energy with divine oneness. Notice, this is not union with another person. This is ourselves, as individuals, uniting with the divine.

Our ultimate, full realization of divine sexuality is in the inner union of self, in the wholeness of all energies merged, physical and divine, transfigured into the oneness of all. Will we resist releasing our body and land in the bardos to continue to work through our attachments to physicality? Or are we ready to fully join with the divine light?

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Bearing The Tension

Like the hot flame emotions flare up... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Like the hot flame emotions flare up…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Intense emotional encounters with rage, desire, joy or love are encounters with powers greater than our ego selves. Whether we seek out or seek to avoid these encounters, they require tremendous ego-forging to successfully receive or withstand the energetic intensity of their impact.

The ancient Greeks were well aware of the otherworldly origin of these higher power emotions, assigning many to the gods and goddesses on Mt. Olympus. Many Greek myths capture the intensity of human seizure by such higher power emotions in romances between the gods and mortals.

This ancient respect for the non-ordinary human origin of intense emotion, with its volatile, ecstatic, and overwhelming impact upon our human selves, is largely lost to the modern world. Now the lone ego self, or rational self, is given the daunting task of owning and managing emotions of great intensity.

Following ancient tradition, Jung’s psychology assigns the numinous energy of intense emotion to the ego’s encounters with the spirit self in the realm of the archetypes of the collective unconscious. This dimension of the psyche exists outside of the parameters of everyday space and time, in the timelessness of eternity. The ego, in contrast, was born in the world of ordinary space and time. Encounters between these two worlds are highly charged energetic exchanges.

For example, to be seized by love is, for the ego, an inner encounter with the archetype or Greek god of love—Eros—who pierces the ego with a numinous arrow of otherworldly spirit energy that then flows into the ordinary confines of human interaction. Some egos, under such seizure, are unable to approach the ‘object of their desire,’ collapsing in frozen awe or feelings of unworthiness. In instances where contact is made, rarely can an individual or couple withstand the energetic impact of the encounter for too long, as the relationship inevitably slips into the stasis of the ungodly boredom of the mundane, into the ordinariness of everyday life. As the light of the divine spark dims, a couple is challenged to search inwardly for divine connection and human partnership.

Bearing the tensions of ordinary reality... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Bearing the tensions of ordinary reality…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Sexuality, as Freud and William Reich researched, is itself an interaction between ego and spirit energy. The ability to channel the highly charged spirit energy of orgasm requires the ego to relax its controls and constructions of ordinary reality to physically receive and commune with the divine energy of orgasm. Alexander Lowen spent his professional life developing Bioenergetics, physical movements to forge the ego’s ability to channel and receive spirit in ecstatic release.

The act of simply going to sleep similarly challenges the ego self to release control and receive spirit contact with its energy body in dreaming. In dreaming, the body self is completely immobilized to allow for this encounter.

In native American vison quests, the ego/body self is contained within a circle, bearing the tension of limitation, as it forges a vessel to receive a visitation from spirit self.

Christianity and Buddhism likewise engage physical stillness and limitation as the means of achieving divine encounters. Christ bound to a cross, bearing the tension of human suffering, is the context for divine connection. Buddha similarly bears the tension of the onslaught of human illusion as he sits in utter stillness, preparing to receive divine enlightenment beneath the bodhi tree.

At the culmination of the Jewish wedding ceremony, as divine energy pours into a couple, they forge a vessel of deeper commitment in human relationship by shattering a glass, in remembrance of the bearing of tension at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. In marriage, the ego self must bear the tension of suffering, as it makes contact with the divine, in joyful energy of union. The ego must be tempered to receive successfully the divine energy of joy.

Even the most modern of psychotherapeutic approaches boil down to forging the ego’s ability to suffer the influx of divine energy. In DBT therapy and Neuroplasticity, where the brain develops new channels to handle higher power emotional energies, treatment requires the ego self to learn to practice mindfulness. In mindfulness, we develop the ability to stay still and present—to manage and channel appropriately—encounters with highly charged spirit emotions.

The struggle to achieve full conscious awareness in spite of the veils of illusion is universal... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
The struggle to achieve full conscious awareness in spite of the veils of illusion is universal…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Vedantic science developed yogic practices to enable the ego and body self the ability to become still and successfully receive contact with the deepest spirit self, the Atman that lives beneath the bliss sheath. In other words, this translates as union with the infinite self in the space and time of ordinary human reality.

The ultimate goal of all spiritual and shamanic practice is: to enter infinity with consciousness, to be able to bear the tension of divine contact without dissolution, to continue the infinite journey beyond human life in full awareness. For this purpose, we are afforded a life in this world.

Everyday life in this world offers us many opportunities to forge the ability to enter infinity with consciousness. As we bear the tension of the reality in this world, we also practice bearing the tension of forging contact with infinity. We practice how to receive it, withstand it, flow with it and, ultimately, to become it, with awareness.

Bearing the tension,
Chuck