I recall, as a young boy, the delight of constructing Lincoln Log forts, safe places on the outposts of the American frontier. I could play alone for hours, fully engaged in the interplay of battle and retreat to safety.
Perhaps the number one obsession of the current world leader is the construction of the Great Wall of America. His supporters often break into a deafening chorus at his rallies, exclaiming: “Build that Wall!” My intent in this blog is to find the place in our current state of evolution where that battle cry might indeed find its rightful home. We all need to find the safety behind the walls we call home.
Perhaps the number one focus of any psychotherapist is to enable clients to ground themselves and withstand being overtaken by powerful forces, both within and outside the psyche. Plainly speaking, that is, to shore up the ego; to build a strong wall to withstand a psychotic coup, which could swallow up or permanently fragment identity, consciousness, and a consistent reality-based sense of self.
Biology teaches us that we are constantly under assault by predatory viruses and bacteria that seek our energy for their own sustenance. Thus, our immune systems are programmed to build walls around these invaders, blocking their access to our vital energy.
Structurally, this self protection is also reflected in the two separate hemispheres of the brain. Roughly speaking, the left hemisphere provides the physical operating system for the intrapsychic ego, the etheric executive in charge of decision making in time/space. By carving out a rationally based interpretation system, the left brain creates walls around energy and transforms its interpretation of it into a predictable world of discreet solid objects. The ego grounds itself, categorizes the world it lives in, identifies its operations in terms of cause and effect, and defends itself against thoughts and perceptions that threaten its control.
In contrast, the right hemisphere of the brain remains open to the far more inclusive, free flowing, interconnected energy that exists outside of the left brain’s categorization system. This is the home of creativity, psychic knowing, and the Soul that lives beyond space and time, that is interconnected with and communicates with everything. Although both hemispheres of the brain interrelate and contribute to a balance in life, the left brain dominates in ordering how we interpret reality.
The right brain is the physical operating system of the energy body, or the Soul, that assumes dominance of our being when we sleep. During dreaming the energy body separates from the physical body and ventures into infinity, the true home base of our energetic existence. Though the energy body appears largely dormant in waking life, access to it can be cultivated or spontaneously reached under extraordinary circumstances, such as through blunt trauma or ecstatic experience.
When psychics or remote viewers utilize their parapsychic abilities, they relax the typically dominant left brain and enter into the timelessness of the right brain, while still maintaining left brain awareness. From there they can delve into the Akashic record of all life lived, or to be lived, as they have access to the oneness of everything.
Interestingly, to navigate this sojourn in infinity it is necessary to have access to left brain consciousness, with its wall of identity and its ability to interpret the energy it encounters in these expansive journeys. Short of this, our right brained nightly dreams in infinity are lost to integrative consciousness. Though the mood of a dream may follow us or determine the quality of our response to encounters in waking life the next day, without left brain participation we remain completely unaware of our prior dreamland guidance, lessons, and experiences that prepared us for the day.
This amnesic effect of crossing the bridge from infinity to waking consciousness serves the great wall of ego that authoritatively directs waking life. This creates a veil over the infinite underpinnings of Self/Soul that the ego has no time for. The ego must get up and direct real, solid life in time/space. Until the ego is ready to discover its true lineage in infinity it must maintain its blank slate wall. For the ego there is nothing beyond its concrete interpretation of reality in time/space.
Of course, this kind of ego stance must rely upon a good variety of defenses. Ultimately, however, for growth to proceed, ego must willingly walk back across the bridge to infinity via a journey into right brain interconnectedness. This generally involves first squarely encountering the experiences ego has pushed into deep storage rather than assimilate their threatening truths. A major pathway for this clearing is the practice of recapitulation, which requires ego intent and participation if it is to be fully accomplished.
Once ego no longer finds it necessary to hide from the fullness of Self—which includes its energy body in infinity—it can bring its boundaried identity and left brain capabilities into practice, to observe, interact, act, and reflect upon its right brained journeys in both dreaming and waking life. Over time, and with practice, this wall of ego actually becomes more permeable, more elastic, more open to new truths being discovered, as life is enriched and enhanced by greater access to one’s fuller potential, left and right brain in full cooperation.
So, yes, we do need walls of identity, but let them reflect the fullness of who we really are: infinite spirits inhabiting finite human bodies. Let the two hemispheres of the brain more consciously get to know each other and work collaboratively in the dream of waking life, as well as in those nightly journeys in infinity. No need to be fearful of the unknown with the integrated support of that dynamic duo!
A young child dreams of seven white geese marching down a street. All the people the geese walk past fall down dead. Surprisingly, C. G. Jung suggests that this is a favorable dream, that this is nature, via the dream, introducing the young child to the world of time. Everything passes. To the child’s world of timelessness, still bathed in the myths and depths of the collective unconscious, life and death are introduced, including her own awareness of herself as a mortal being in this world.
Life in this world is a bipolar affair. We all grapple with it. At one pole we feel our link to the timeless, as we often live as if we have forever! Though we may negatively judge this ‘slothful’ attitude, it nonetheless is a link to infinite life in timelessness, as an energy body or spirit. At the other pole is the truth of aging and mortality in a physical body, observed and experienced in fading life within and all around us.
At the beginning of every day the Shamans of Ancient Mexico say: “We are beings who are going to die.” This is their intent to keep their awareness fully present to their limited time and opportunity for life in this world. We are all beings saddled with the bipolar conundrum of life and death.
What Jung highlighted in this young child’s fall from innocence was the introduction of change, which happens when we enter life in time. Everything passes in time. Accepting this basic truth helps us to feel and release a wave of sadness. The pain of loss will eventually pass. In the world of time things mature and change and new possibilities for life will arise.
If we are gripped by a craving or passion, we know, if we hold on, that the compulsion will eventually pass. We may not be ready yet, we may still be too attached to the timeless pole of our being that accepts no limitations, but eventually we may be ready to inhabit our corporeal reality and accept the limitations of life in the body.
The great advantage of life in time, in a physical body, is that we are freed to complete our unique experience of life, what Jung called individuation. In time we unfold into the discovery and fulfillment of all that we are. We begin new things, be they careers, relationships, gardens, or books. We can nurture and live the course of these engagements to completion because in time, for better of worse, everything passes.
In time we can answer the questions of our ancestors and pose new ones for ourselves. To fully individuate in our life in time we must recapitulate. If we leave fragments of our lives unknown to ourselves we will not be able to integrate the full knowledge of our journey and we will leave behind questions that must be answered before completion. Perhaps this is the basis for reincarnation, bardo life, or time in purgatory.
My wife Jan lived in Sweden for several years during her twenties. She always felt she went there to fulfill something unfinished in a past life, to connect with and live out unfinished business with people who had once been very important to her. She was welcomed there with open arms, loved unconditionally, and she loved fully and unconditionally in return. She fully embraced being Swedish, learned the language quickly and fluidly, and did all things Swedish like a true Swede. When it was done, it was done. Time to move on and return to life in present time.
My first wife, Jeanne, also completed unfinished business, though she did it in spirit form, after her physical death, reconnecting with the birth mother she never knew in her life as Jeanne Ketchel. It was the completion of her lives on earth, her final chapter in space and time, described in the final chapter of The Book of Us, channeled through Jan.
For although everything does pass in time, that which is not fully realized must be completed somewhere, somehow before we are fully freed to move on in timelessness. As everything passes, as we complete our many paths of individuation, we enter infinity, enriched by our lives and ready to explore new paths of heart, in and out of time.
We are animals who know that we are going to die. Our animal compatriots who share the planet with us have no thoughts about life beyond life. Life beyond death, or infinity, is a human obsession.
Infinity is what the word says: the absence of finiteness, life beyond the limits of space and time. Though in today’s world this kind of “spiritual focus” is often downplayed as simply wishful thinking, certainly beyond reason, experiences with infinity appear everywhere in everyday life.
Take for instance the simple act of going to sleep at night. All animals that live in a body, and for whom night is the natural time of rest and rejuvenation, go to sleep at essentially the same hour every night. Human beings, however, often suspend time and live in consciousness into the wee hours of the night, whether it be in reading, interacting with screens, thinking, playing music, creating, or fearfully refusing the dread of dying to the day and facing the darkness of the night. As the night progresses and one remains awake, one enters the altered state of timelessness, impervious to the needs of the finite body that must somehow function the next day.
Others make their forays into infinity through massive accumulations. This can take the form of hoarding where the limits of space are suspended and one lives with unlimited stuff. This can take the form of vast accumulations of wealth, wealth way beyond the realistic needs of many lifetimes. Such insatiability, an active pursuit to continuously possess more, touches the limitlessness of infinity.
Falling or being in love is a powerful suspension of space where lovers meet in the experience of oneness, a timeless union that touches the wholeness of infinity. So powerful is the nectar of this infinite experience that many simply cannot commit to a finite relationship because once limitation sets in, the sparkle of infinity dulls and one is prompted to go in search of it elsewhere.
The myriad of addictions of our time are actually spiritual attempts to reach infinity in material form. Take food. The pleasure of food intake without restriction, without boundary, gives entree into the limitless joy of infinity. To drink without limit, to suspend time, drinking through the night without limit, is to enter countless worlds of dreaming possibilities within the confines of a world that is still limited by the 24 hour cycle of day and night.
The preponderance of drug addictions in our time is directly proportional to the hegemony of reason over our lives, which so shuts down an active connection to explorative spirituality. Drugs in their many forms offer experiences beyond the limits of the body, in forms that range from euphoric stupor to access to superhuman abilities of physical prowess, from transcendent communication and creativity to energetic travel and experience unrestricted by bodily inhabitation.
Obviously, these many attempts to experience infinity in human form stress and can kill the human animal that contains the consciousness that seeks to experience MORE. They do demonstrate, however, the human spirit’s quest to experience its infinite potential no matter how spiritually impoverished our lives may be.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico, appreciating this instinctual human need to realize spiritual potential while in human form, squarely call out to and embrace their intent to experience their full potential. That spiritual intent naturally appears in dreaming and in magical experiences in everyday life.
If we can merely suspend judgment and open to what happens to us everyday, as synchronistically magical, we will indeed find our way to human infinity, safely, soberly, and fully.
A man was angry all the time. He drank every night to numb his anger. He wanted to change so he decided to meditate. His intent set, he got up early in the morning, took a shower and sat at his desk. Before long his consciousness left his body, taking him out of his apartment and the city he lived in. It withdrew further and further from the earth. Soon he was in outer space looking down at the world, seeing it in its entirety as his awareness expanded and expanded. He entered infinity and experienced the endlessness of it and the knowledge that he was part of it all, that all life was energetically connected and infinite. When he returned to his body he was a changed man, his perception of life and the world transformed forever. Even so, he knew that in order to hold onto what he had learned, to keep experiencing himself as infinite, he had to shed his anger. Even though he had experienced the light, he knew he still had to face the darkness within.
Not everyone has such an experience when they sit down to meditate for the very first time, but many meditators eventually have this same kind of experience, the experience of the self as energy, interconnected to and a part of all energy. During such experiences the issues of the self pale in comparison to the ecstatic experience. If we are to truly evolve, however, the angry man was right; we must face our darkness.
Last night I dreamed. I was traveling on a train beside the ocean. There was a voice speaking throughout the dream, instructing, chanting a calming mantra, saying that meditation must happen all the time. From the train window I could see a small island with a Greek style temple on it not too far from the coast. I could see that it was possible to get there and I desired to go, but each time I saw the temple the ocean was churning up gigantic waves, fierce and threatening. Many times throughout the night I rode this train. The scenario was always the same. I’d hear the voiceover, see the temple and wish to be on it, notice the dark and threatening waves impossible to traverse. I’d get off the train and enter a large hotel where a gathering was taking place. A lot of people were there, walking around, keeping their energy to themselves, not talking or interacting. Everyone was meditating where they were. I did the same. Outside the vast windows of the hotel I could see the churning ocean and the temple on the island. The voiceover still said the same thing, “Meditate all the time.”
When I woke up, I knew that the message in the dream was that in order to get to the temple we must endure the struggles that we are faced with, the darkness within—the churning ocean. Just like the angry man who wished to change, deep inner work is necessary in order to attain and maintain the transcendent experience—the temple.
During my recapitulation this was exactly what I learned. In spite of the most amazing experiences that literally cracked through reality and presented me with the most stunning view of my life and the world, I knew I still had to face my deepest secrets and challenges if I was to have full access to my energetic self and be able to actually live as the changed being I was working so hard to become. Having a deep and meaningful spiritual practice was as important as doing my recapitulation and, in fact, became the perfect companion to the shamanic work I was doing. It was essential to the entire process.
The true work of recapitulation is reconciliation with the fragments of self, healing the wounds of life, and even lifetimes, so that the true self, the spirit, may finally take its rightful place as the true self in the world. The goal of my recapitulation was to find the means to live from my deeply spiritual self all the time. I could only do that by giving that spiritual self a practice that was as deeply meaningful as the recapitulation. And so, my lifelong practices of yoga and meditation deepened as a result, becoming the prefect companions to my shamanic work.
I encourage everyone to develop a spiritual practice. If you desire to fully experience and embrace your spiritual self, to live as a changed being, from that place of deepest truth, then a spiritual practice is imperative. A spiritual practice will accompany you through life, bringing you constantly back to experiences of yourself as an energetic being, bringing fulfillment of our deepest interconnectedness. (In fact, if everyone was doing a deep spiritual practice all the time our world would surely change, but that’s another blog!) Meditation, as instructed in my dream, can be done all the time. It’s simple and everyone can do it. It doesn’t take equipment or a gym pass. It only takes mindfulness.
For instance, right now I am sitting and writing this blog, but I am also meditating. I am writing; I am only writing. I am mindfully focused only on writing and honing the message of this blog. When I get up, I will focus on getting up. Perhaps I will say: “I am getting up now. I am walking away from my computer. I am breathing. I am walking.”
These are mindful messages to the self that cancel out the constant thoughts that circulate and defeat us. At the same time that I am doing this mindful thought-erasing activity, I am also mindful that at another time I will examine those other thoughts. I will find out where they come from, how they came into my head, who said them to me, and why I still carry them. I will face what is dark and disturbing within myself, mindfully, just as I mindfully remain present in my daily life, focusing on everything I do throughout the day. To have peace of mind, I must constantly and mindfully work on myself. But to remain a balanced and present being, sometimes it’s appropriate to have a calm mind, and at other times it’s appropriate to pay attention to the mind and confront our issues and thoughts. As our mindfulness practice grows we become better able to manage our minds and maturely handle what comes to challenge us.
A practice of mindful meditation is the perfect way to gain balance. To periodically shift our thoughts away from negativity, we simply state what we are doing, over and over again. As the voice in my dream said to me during the night: we can meditate all the time. We might say: I am sitting at my desk working now. I am eating now. I am reading now. I am driving now. I am walking now. I put my foot down, I breathe and I walk, one step at a time, mindfully. I am walking.
A mindfulness practice offers the opportunity to gain balance and calmness even in the midst of turmoil. If we do it often enough, we eventually do it without even thinking. We can turn off bad thoughts by introducing mindful thoughts.
I am good. I am writing. I am breathing. I am love. I am sending you love.