From a shamanic perspective, the cosmic dance of now lays bare the power of belief in generating the reality we live in. Our belief system is largely shaped by the messages we internalize from the outside world that become the internal dialogue that interprets our reality. The belief system we sign up for becomes our reality.
At present, the mass of humanity is engaged in a civil war of conflicting belief systems. The consequence of such disagreement is an instability of worldview that threatens basic security, both within the individual and in the world at large. Without a collective boundary of belief, the world is subject to a barrage of all that has been suppressed and repressed in the individual and in the collective human psyche as well.
Civilization has, at its root, civility, defined as a politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. Clearly we are in a time that has overturned politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech. What’s been unleashed is the repressed energy that lies beneath the surface ripple of civilization, what Freud called the Id and what Jung called the shadow. Civilization is currently overrun by the power of these discontented parts of its psyche.
Our fragile civilization is charged with addressing the truth of its discontents. A new balance is called for. This balance must consider the animal within the human being. That animal has long been the sequestered Minotaur, lost in the labyrinth of the unconscious.
That shameful human, with animal head and tail, is filled with rage toward the civilized human it blames for its rejection. Meanwhile, its human counterpart is both terrified by its power and hungry for its passion. Clearly these two spheres of existence have a place in human reconciliation. Domination of the unconscious as a defense strategy to protect civilization is unstable and cuts off a wellspring of vital energy needed for a fulfilling life.
The opportunity of now is to construct a belief system that values and reconciles all parts of being human. Thus the human animal and human spirit are recognized as valid parts of a human being that both contribute to and enhance human life. Both centers of being are valued for their inherent knowledge and creative potential.
Alexander Lowen, Wilhelm Reich’s protege, pointed out that human beings rarely experience full orgasm in their sexual contact because they have lost their connection to their animal core that truly knows how to physically move. Thus, human sexuality is rarely fulfilling, dominated as it is by the ego’s mental control and expectations.
A belief system that incorporates both our inherited nature and our ability to elevate it to the spiritual heights of love, offers a reconciliation of the human condition that may better serve our evolving civilization.
As always, be empowered to begin within. All the forces without that both attract and repel us are also our own projections from within. All that we hate and fear are as much a part of us as all that we love and long for. A belief system that accepts this equation is poised to find true stability and wholeness within. Wholeness within, wholeness without.
NOTE: Taking a week off, so no writings from either Jan or I next week, including Soulbytes. We look forward to reconnecting starting the week of September 14, 2020.
In Roman law, addiction was the term applied to restitution or punishment for a crime. The convicted criminal was addicted, or bound to servitude or slavery, to their master, the offended party in the criminal case.
Spirit beings, who either choose or become trapped by a fascination with physical matter, become attracted to, attached to, and bound to, or, as Roman law dictates, addicted to, the constraints of such matter. In this case, that concentration of matter is a physical body, our animal form, what we define as a human being. Human beings are spirit beings addicted to being human. Addiction is the price for the “crime” of becoming human. Certainly, this notion has resonance with the plight of Adam and Eve, banished for their crime of human adventure.
Once the addiction sets in, what ensues is lifetimes of spirit (pure consciousness) living, in experiential detail, the full range of physical possibilities associated with inhabiting a material master (the body) or masters (many bodies), as one may reincarnate in a variety of lifetimes in earthly time/space.
Thus, life in the human form becomes one of various permutations of addiction, or compulsive servitude, to the wants and appetites of one’s physical host, the human body. Freedom from addiction would then ultimately require releasing one’s attachment to human form and returning to Oneself, to original spirit wholeness—what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico called a Magical Being or Energetic Being—freed from addiction, or fixation upon life in a physical body.
Energetic beings flow. Human beings fixate on all things human. Thus, even the most altruistic, giving, loving human can still be defined as an addict. That kind of addiction might take the form of luxuriating in the good feelings of giving. Perhaps the addiction might also belie an underlying attachment to the self-importance of being a selfless, giving being. Perhaps the addiction might simply be one’s final go-round in time/space, the attachment to saying goodbye and releasing from physical life in this dimension forever.
As with the high failure rate of all addiction rehabs, it’s hard to skip grades in Earth School. Each class generally lasts at least a lifetime, and it must be fully lived and fully completed to truly move on, to really be done with that particular addiction in the human form. In AA terms, one who skips over completion of an addiction becomes a dry drunk, not drinking but still equally addicted to the coveted substance in the form of nasty resentment.
The mastery of an addiction is the completion of one’s course with it. The final exam asks you to answer to your exploration of every facet of the addiction. Does it still hold you in its grip? Are you repressing knowledge of your continued attachment? Can you stare it in the face, smile, and say, “I know you! We had quite a journey together, but, truthfully, we are no longer traveling companions. I wish you the best. I love you, but I must move on now. Thanks for the fullness of our journey together.”
This level of completion advances one to the next class, the next level of fixation in the human form. The addiction might shift from substance to money, from victim to abuser, from moral heights to trickster depths, from straight to gay, or from man to woman, as one’s soul explores and gets to know and fully experience its addiction to all the possibilities in human form. The road to freedom may indeed require lifetimes of habitual patterns on a similar fixation until one becomes really bored, often a sign of true mastery and true doneness.
The process of advancement to Earth School graduation involves spirit’s deepening mastery of its addictions. Mastery ultimately leads to real detachment from the addictive fixation that was chosen as the experience in any given lifetime. Real detachment ultimately includes a complete release of emotional attachment to all things physical.
Thus, one bears, upon completion, no resentment, entitlement, anger, negative thoughts about, judgments toward, or obsession with anyone or anything they have been attached to in their lives. One can be thankful toward all the characters, both villains and lovers, for the full range of experiences shared with them, or acted upon them, in their various lives upon the Earth. In true detachment, the overriding feeling is one of love and compassion for all fellow travelers.
Love is indeed the Alchemist’s gold of Earth go-rounds, harnessed and purified in the addiction retort of a human lifetime. The experiment begins with tumultuous attachment, where love is first encountered in its most possessive animal form, with what we call being born. Non-attachment at this stage in human form results in death via failure to thrive, psychosis—where spirit can’t fully humanize—or psychopathy, where spirit serves shadow alone.
As Freud observed, this humanized primal animal energy slowly becomes sublimated throughout childhood, as spirit advances toward civilization. As recent Senate hearings suggest, the fallout for this is what Jung called the acting out of the shadow, where the imprisoned animal can overtake its civilized ego, and pounce.
For love to advance, and be enhanced, it must travel the path of the energy chakras throughout its various lifetimes, finally reaching the heart chakra, the tipping point toward spirit hegemony in human life. Reaching the heart center signifies the human emergence from the primary narcissism of the lower chakras. At the heart center, spirit is able to burn through the veils of illusion that have been generated by the ego’s journey through power, possession, and control in the lower chakras.
From the heart center, spirit is granted its unique opportunity for existence, and love is experienced in transparent sharing, seeing, and communicating. And, yes, the human sexual animal is fully incorporated at this level, entwined in the fullness of love.
From the level of the heart center, the human spirit is finally ready to lighten the heavy burden of its animal survival instinct. That survival instinct transitions from fixation on animal survival to preparation for finally returning to pure spirit form, the human sojourn in Earth time/space completed.
The chakras above the heart center further raise love to its highest human form, pure unattached love. This enhancement is the product of successfully mourning all the required losses of time/space existence, including family, friends, and all the loved ones and things of this world, most especially one’s animal self, the physical body, which must be freely surrendered to death for spirit to move on.
Completion of addiction to human is the shedding of all special attachment to all of the characters, in all of the lives lived in human form, all equally loved in unattached super love. Absorbing and surrendering this fullness lightens the spirit, advancing it to its true state as a Magical Being, ready to take with it enhanced super love, as it launches into its next journey in infinity, curious as to what comes next.
Now, that’s one worthy reason to suffer the human addiction! To put it succinctly: Curiosity is the spirit’s mother of exploration.
Addiction is the thorough exploration of new territory. Repetition is the technology of addiction. Boredom marks the first signs of completion; depression, the precipitant to actual completion. The technology to emerge from depression is recapitulation. During recapitulation, old attachments are released, and energy reclaimed from those attachments is accrued for the next spirit launch.
With the magic fully gathered, off we go, having enriched that which we explored, taking forward all the love, deeply enriched, deeply curious…
Sweetly suffering the human addiction, and curious,
Trial is ordeal. Fire is passion! Trial by Fire is enduring the ordeal of passion, a deeply challenging encounter, the encounter of now.
Human passion emanates from the root of our instinctual animal being. When activated our faces redden, our voices growl and howl, our bodies thrash and react involuntarily, seized by the heat of passion. Like flames in a fire, passion flails recklessly.
One step above this hot core of our fiery roots are emotions, which, though flushed with the fire of passion, are somewhat tamed by our ego as they churn in the furnace of our solar plexus. These are the more manageable emotions of anger, frustration, desire, craving, competitiveness, and narcissism.
Finally, at the mental region of the civilized self, are feelings, which have rationally transformed the fire at the root into energetic units of valuation. Here we have our feeling judgments: I like, want, need, am attracted to, am saddened by, repulsed by, made happy by, etc. These rational feelings bear little resemblance or relationship to their passionate roots.
Jung observed that the Christian era, which correlated with the Piscean Age of the past 2000 years, contributed greatly to the advancement of this mental plane in humanity, however, this at the expense of its connection with its earthly passions, which became the province of the rejected devil. Though this internal civil war was won at the spirit mental plane its resulting hegemony is wearing thin upon its devils below.
That brings us to today, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, where those rejected devils have risen up in uncontrollable flames of passion as they sweep the Earth in actual fires, political uprisings, wars on social media, conflict in human relationships, and warring splits within the human psyche. From the outermost perspective the Earth itself has become an alchemical retort with fire its catalyzing agent, as all warring opposites are pitted against each other in a Trial by Fire indeed.
This appears to be the first spiritual challenge of the Aquarian Age: to take on the reconciliation of its formerly disowned passions, at its human animal core, with its high reaching values generated from its abstract mental plane. Apparently, the main technology of the Christian era, keeping separate the animal and mental selves, with the mental plane maintaining superiority, can no longer contain the needs of the self, or the world, as both push for a more comprehensive wholeness.
The unleashing of previously contained fiery passions upon the world stage, with wild abandon and without regret, is the approach stoked by those most in charge of world policy today. Many in the world populace now model this unleashing of fiery passion without restraint upon any who would oppose their positions. This Trial by Fire is producing many casualties. Justified or not, the fact is that these flames are rapidly burning down the foundation of modern civilization.
All must be where they are in the trial. For many participating in the fiery war of words, the outside world becomes the furnace of their transformative process. No one can be convinced to give up what they are attached to. When we argue and fight, our passions embody us, often at great cost to our energy reserves and inner balance. These battles are renewed in seemingly inexhaustible intensity as the world fights itself on social media.
Nonetheless, detachment is not a choice, it must be achieved. One method is through sheer exhaustion where passion exhausts the body and psyche and survival forces us to ultimately let go. Though a costly energetic approach, many are convinced that outer protest and confrontation are critical to change.
For those more innerly inclined, the furnace of transformation is the hologram of the self, which makes its worldly contribution through the axiom, as within so without.
To contain within the self all the warring passions of animal and spirit in a heated process—that looks not outside the self for the relief of blame—is a formidable furnace of transformation. Therapy is one such vessel for this process as we confront and own all that we are—passion and spirit—in a journey whose destination is greater wholeness vs. greater domination. As with the outer playing field, the inner playing field must itself arrive at a true place of detachment where truth prevails, special interests burned through.
Trial by Fire is where we are. Know that there is always sanctuary in the human heart. All must have their safe place to release and rejuvenate. Love is the most inclusive respite, as love can even love the part of the self that hates, but we must burn through much before we can truly inhabit it.
Nonetheless, heart-centered breathing heals the wounds and calms the nerves. Take advantage of it.
Guilt is the emotional consequence of knowing, on some level, that we are not the mask we portray ourselves to be in the world. We are guilty because we know we fail to meet the standard of perfection. We are aware of our inferiority and our darkness hidden within.
Actually, this knowing is a saving grace, because despite having to suffer the torture of guilt, we are owning the existence of our dark side. We encounter and suffer inwardly the dilemma that in a less conscious individual is only known through the disowned projection of one’s dark side onto a scapegoat that reflects the hidden darkness within. In projection, guilt is avoided because the real problem is projected “out there.” It can be eliminated and controlled by imprisoning or killing off the bad guy “out there.”
Our time is rife with mass projections of evil onto Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, women, Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Palestinians; the list is endless. The world is currently completely divided into separatist camps that see themselves as morally superior to all others. They completely project their inferior dark side onto some other camp “out there.”
The preponderance of these polarized camps in our time is the surface repercussion of a more deeply brewing clash between the collective unconscious that contains all our darkness with the idealized moral superior values that our egos identify with in our religions and modernistic lifestyles. Would that the collective consciousness of the world could feel guilty, that is, own more fully and grapple with the true depth of its nature versus continually locating it outside where it destroys its neighbor and the world in order to be delivered from its own evil.
Unfortunately, though the world must arrive at this deeper truth to survive now, it is the individual that must lead the world in this task. The individual who faces their own shadow is the advance guard of a transformed world. On the other hand, how fortunate that every individual who faces the true depth of their own shadow advances the world on its path of survival. How empowering!
How do we own our shadow? How do we resolve our guilt? To begin with, as long as we only identify ourselves as light beings, or as beings who must be purified of or relieved of our own darkness, we will always suffer guilt. As Erich Neumann states:
“Just as light cannot be extinguished by the superior power of darkness, so too there is no evidence to show that darkness can ever be abolished by any superior power on the part of light.” *
Light requires the contrast of shadow to be defined; dark requires the contrast of light to be known. One cannot be separated from the other and be whole. The two are inextricably opposite sides of the same wholeness.
Human beings are beings of light in their spirit, as reflected in mental processes and consciousness. Human beings are beings of darkness in the depths of their instinctual, animal natures. Spirit beings could not be in this world without their animal bodies. Animal and spirit are inextricably linked in a partnership in this world, saddled with the challenge of developing a relationship which acknowledges and finds life for both animal and spirit.
If we identify with an ethic that says passion and pleasure are evil, we will suffer guilt. Our wounded animal self will torture, ad nauseum, our morally superior controlling ego with depression and “bad” fantasy. We must abandon this old ethic. Our new ethic must grant the human animal its basic human right: The right to pursue happiness. With this gesture, our spirit consciousness acknowledges its animal partner, though the challenge of true integration and reconciliation with the fullness of who we are is indeed the greatest human challenge.
Guilt can be relieved when we accept that the animal hungers, lusts, and rages. The fact that the animal has these experiences does not make it bad; it simply makes it a human animal.
Of course, it is equally appropriate for its spirit counterpart to require of the animal a bit of refinement and restraint. Once the animal energies can find satisfaction and expression, with conscious consent and collaboration that allows for a fuller expression of all that we are, we advance.
What ultimately will relieve us of our guilt, is to embrace a new human ethic: Integrated wholeness versus perfection based on suppression or repression of the animal—that which has led us to our current status: a crumbling civilization with its discontents!
May we all herald in this new ethic, beyond guilt, as brave pioneers taking full responsibility for our individual wholeness in our interdependent one world.
Going beyond, Chuck
* Reference: Erich Neumann, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 46.
Note: I am grateful to Erich Neumann and his book, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, which has inspired much of this blog.
The human body is an animal. The human animal is the host of the energy body, the mental and emotional part of ourselves that generates the thoughts and desires that largely determine the fate of our physical, animal body.
It is the energy body that leaves our physical form upon physical death. Yet, while in physical form, this separate energy body—or soul—controls, like a dog on a leash, the activities of the physical body in daily life, determining its health and care.
Our food choices are not made by the physical body; they are made by the desires and rules of the energy body. Our sleep patterns too are largely determined by the wants and interests of the energy body.
Our obsession with pets is largely a projection of empathy and love for our animal physical body selves, largely dominated by the whims of our energy body. Our energy body is a more subtle body that tends to use the physical body to experience its wants and ideas through the sensory systems available in the human body, thus the pleasures of excitement can be played out in the sweets and spices we consume in our food and drink.
Left to its own natural predilection, the human animal self might select food that it really needs to remain in optimal health. Mental constructions, however, result in behaviors that often override the body’s true needs, either through restriction or overindulgence. Rarely is the human animal body ever included in decisions that reflect its wellbeing, rather it simply goes along with the dictates of the subtler energy body.
Last week, fifteen buffalo herded together and broke through the confines of a ranch in Rensselaer County in upstate New York. They swam across the Hudson River and then sauntered across a major interstate highway until they were finally slaughtered in nearby woods. They utilized the power of their innate archetypal herding instinct to break through their condition of servitude. I can’t help but applaud those buffalo soldiers as they danced their final dance in this world in utter freedom.
Two days later, Gaia herself violently shook her body self as thousands were swallowed in Nepal, that most ancient holy country. What is the message here, in these two recent examples of energy gone wild?
We are all energy beings entwined with physical animal bodies, our hosts while in physical life, charged with treating the earth with spiritual leadership. When we tyrannize the earth, the animals, and even our own animal selves, treating them as playthings for our ethereal pleasures, then Gaia, the buffalo, and our own physical bodies rebel and refuse to be partners on our spiritual journey.
Our mission as energy bodies entwined with our animal host selves, on a spiritual level, is to resolve our karmic challenges with the materials that life on earth offers us. Our gift to the earth in exchange is to enliven the spirit potential of this physical world to evolve itself in new directions.
The problem for humans is that their purest spirit intentions, as they come into physical life, get clouded over in the rich darkness of earth’s soil. It’s our journey in this life to release our karma as we journey from the darkness to find our way back to the light of spirit—pure consciousness of the truth. This morning Jan awoke with a dream that clarifies and illustrates the drama of this dilemma.
Here is Jan’s dream as she described it to me: “Come on, I said, let’s take a walk. I thought I was walking with another person. My observer self, who hovered behind and above me, however, pointed out: It has no legs! As I turned to look at the being beside me, I saw that I was walking beside a large paper-thin black square out of which hung a tendril of root. The root almost touched the ground as the sheet of blackness floated beside me. I realized that this black shadowy figure was my ego. Then I realized that everything that I am and seek to be is inside me; I am all I need. Ego was a shadow entity that inhabited me, clearly not human. I realized I no longer needed it. I knew that I just had to follow the Tao.”
The shadow square of Jan’s dream is a mandala, the representation of the spirit embodied in the energy body who then projects its ethereal self into the physical body as an ego. The ego is the spirit, or energy body representative, rooted in the physical body. But the truth is, it has no legs. It’s really an empty shadow. However, in human life it becomes the active force, the ruler of life. In its shadow state it is not oriented to spirit and uses the energy body for its own desires and appetites. This exploitation has resulted in the protests of Gaia and her buffalo, who bravely contest our inferior leadership.
The resolution of our human karmic dilemma is for the spirit’s energy body representative in human form, the ego, to find its way and eventually acquiesce to the dictates of the heart chakra, where the true intent of the spirit resides in what Aurobindo called the Psychic Being.
The quest for freedom requires that the ego self, like the buffalo, must lead itself out of the confines of servitude to the physical and into the light, graciously giving up its life for the evolution of the spirit. In the final analysis, the march for freedom is always death of the physical, ego included.
The heart chakra center of the energy body is grounded in the Tao and knows only truth, compassion, and right action. The Tao elevates everything to a spiritual level. Humanity elevated to this level sheds its shadow ego and aligns with the light of spirit, burning through its karma and leading earth into proper balance and evolution. It is the goal of all our spirits.
Our dear animal friends, the buffalo, teach us that tyranny is wrong action and that the quest for freedom is all that matters. This is spirit lived at the highest level, life shedding the tyranny of illusion, marching forward into the unknown, bringing light into new frontiers.