Tag Archives: emotions

Chuck’s Place: Tempering the Warrior’s Spirit

The calmness you seek is all around you… and within you…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The intent of the warrior’s spirit is freedom. COVID-19 is a predatory virus that has taken control of the world, vastly limiting freedom. The human spirit is currently gathering steam to blow through the bottleneck of this quarantine retort.

This is a natural reaction of spirit, to push beyond all limitations. Some explorers push beyond the limits of the physical body to explore their spirit potential. Others stay focused on transcending all supposed boundaries and limitations imposed by the physical world.

The warriors of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage discovered that the most valuable practice to obtain freedom was not in great feats of power in this world, or in any other. Freedom can best be obtained through the tempering of spirit, they discovered, through encounters with a formidable tyrant, such as COVID-19.

The first lesson in such an encounter is to willingly accept COVID-19’s power to infect us all. Our human self-importance has been greatly checked, in respect to the deadly power of this smallest of microbes. Our entire world’s familiar way of life has had to be tabled, denying us the basics of human social interaction.

Losing self-importance enables us to more objectively see what we are up against. To be offended by the predator costs us cascades of emotional energy, spent to no avail. The predator thrives on our offense, both in terms of the emotional energy we deliver to it, and in the co-mingling we may engage in, in defiance of necessary limitation, whereby providing potential new hosts to the predator.

Humbling of the warrior spirit equips the warrior to face the unknown, without the veil of self-importance. Freed of prejudice, the scientist in all of us is on the road to solution. However, great detachment is required to not fall prey to the battle cry of unfairness. In a predatory universe, unfairness is a dominant of reality.

The battle with unfairness is formidable. It is our core human predicament. We are all saddled with the reality that we must attach to this world to survive, yet we must fully release it in death. Where is the fairness in these diametrically opposed demands?

The greatest obstacle to our freedom is the emotional energy the predator can drown us in. When we become emotionally activated by the limits imposed by the predator, we may become possessed by fear, sadness, and rage. The warrior, on the other hand, becomes attuned to the triggers of these emotions and, while not denying them, actively refuses to attach to them.

Fear is a natural reaction to perceived threat. Fear, however, is generally greatly augmented by attachment to thought and imagination. The practice of taking charge of the mind, specifically where it exercises its focus and attachment, can keep fear in modest proportion. Thus, a warrior does not let fear take over the mind.

Sadness is a legitimate emotion, however, a bottomless pit of sadness is inhuman. One caught in this place is likely channeling an entity, such as an archetype, that seeks expression through possession of a human life. To dis-identify with such an archetype is to maintain one’s humanness. Thus, a warrior refuses to relinquish personal power.

Rage is the extreme of anger, often sparked by being overwhelmed by feeling offended. Beyond the affront to self-importance, it’s natural to want to take an action, such as setting a boundary, or acting in self-defense during an objective attack. A warrior strives always to act as fits a situation, devoid of feeling offended.

The world’s encounter with COVID-19 offers all warriors on the path to freedom the opportunity to temper their spirits, in preparation for a successful journey into the unknown. The pitfalls of self-importance and emotional extremes are tempered, as clarity, sobriety, and practicality guide the warrior’s  journey instead.

Use this opportunity to go with the flow, and restore the magic of being a warrior in this wonderful world at this awesome time.

Tempering spirit,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: What Is the Meaning Of Diligence & Sorrow?

In Everyday Tao, Deng Ming-Dao states: “One cannot go far in life without diligence.”

Nature is Tao, constantly changing, so like us... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Nature is Tao, constantly changing,
so like us…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

He goes on to say: “It is useless to argue: this life is one of suffering. Nothing can be done except through our efforts. Disasters hit all of us without meaning or explanation. Wars are constant around the globe. Family members abuse and exploit one another. Hard work is often rewarded with betrayal. The government is a haven for those who would oppress others. Despite the great wealth of information, ignorance is ever present. Money is used for selfish gains and not to help others. Spiritual leaders are often shown to be hypocrites. Homelessness is rampant. Most people do not have enough to eat. Those who have enough eat more than their share. We spend our lives looking for love, only to find bitterness. We pin our hopes to distant dreams that never materialize. We listen to teachers who tell us to work hard, only to find that the world has changed by the time we leave school. We hurt ourselves with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and slavery to desires.”

“Prophets disappoint us, priests befuddle us, teachers deceive us, bosses exploit us, parents reject us, spouses desert us, children are taken from us, and at the end, it is just us, staring at the grave.”

“This life is one of suffering. Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. Those who follow Tao know that there are times when things will be very difficult. That is the time to be diligent. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear our troubles until a better day.”

On Sorrow, Deng Ming-Dao writes: “Sadness is part of being human.”

“People describe sorrow as a pain in the heart,” he goes on to say. “They don’t point to the head or anywhere else—they point to the heart. Everyone feels sadness. The ancients believed that different parts of the body held different emotions. But just as we need all our organs in order to be whole and functioning, so too must we accept all emotions as part of the cohesive and balanced whole of our inner lives. Every emotion has a function, and all of them together contribute to our actions.”

“Our emotions are learned; they are inherent. An infant, in the first hours after birth, already has emotions. Throughout childhood, it is apparent that children’s feelings remain integral parts of their personalities. We cannot destroy our emotions any more than we can live without organs. So the best thing to do is to accept them and the role they play in our lives.”

“When sadness comes, we have to accept it. It is here. It is part of our life. We cannot negate it. We cannot avoid it. We need not think that there is something wrong with us if we feel sad. We should accept it as something indelible and necessary.”

“No one likes sadness. But it plays a part in our lives, just as any one of our organs plays a part. But while sadness is indelible, it is not predominant either. Other emotions exist too, and they will inevitably follow sadness. Therefore, those who follow Tao seek to find any advantage sadness may offer.”

Thank you Taoist wisdom!

May you all be well,
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