Tag Archives: mandala

Chuck’s Place: Don’t forget To Ask If It’s Right

The Way of the Mandala…
-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

We live in an age where direct access to the tools of manifestation abound. As human evolution has shifted to the psychic plane, we are all waking up to latent powers that allow us to tap into both elemental and subtle resources to manifest our desires.

One question that emerges as we expand our consciousness and deepen our access to psychic powers is, how we might appropriately use them.

Robert Monroe provided explorers with an affirmation in their journeys, “to Use such greater energies and energy systems as may be beneficial and constructive to me and to those who follow me.”

Clearly, Bob is stressing here that we hone our intent to the benefit of all humankind. In fact, the mission of the Monroe Institute is, “Helping people create more meaningful and joyful lives through the guided exploration of expanded consciousness.”

I participated in a recent intensive retreat at the Monroe Institute where the theme of mandalas emerged in many participant’s journeys. I personally, during one journey, came upon the face of my round wristwatch at the center of a rectangular door. A mandala typically includes the juxtaposition of a circle and a square.

Experientially, this encounter with a mandala coincided with a very powerful vibrational energy that I was experiencing at my heart chakra, which provided the energy, via this sensation, to come to acceptance of a disturbing dream image from the prior night.

Carl Jung brought to the attention of the modern world the archetype of the mandala as the central organizing symbol of life. The circle encompasses infinity; the square, our humanness. For Jung, at the center of the circle was the Self, or Spirit, and not the ego, which is the center only of the conscious personality.

The path toward fulfillment in life requires one to square the circle; that is, to align one’s life with the core intent of one’s Spirit. Expropriating one’s psychic resources for ego gain, which is out of alignment with Spirit, would be considered an ego inflation, where ego assumes the identity and authority of Self. Humans have the amazing tool of free will, which all too often leads to ego decisions that throw them out of psychological balance and negatively impact the world.

Mandalas frequently appear in waking life and in dreaming, as trail markers from Self, as we suffer challenging experiences and make decisions in our lives. The mandala in my experience guided me to raise the vibration in my heart chakra to be able to activate love to accept the unacceptable.

Carl Jung’s Red Book is his diary of his journeys into the collective unconscious, which became the foundation of his contributions to the field of psychology. His communications with entities during his discovery process are documented alongside countless mandalas he painted that enabled him to maintain psychic balance throughout this extraordinary process.

Stan Grof, initially through the use of psychedelics and later through holotropic breath work, has deepened the mapping of the transpersonal regions of the psyche. His protocol strongly encourages all participants in his workshops to paint mandalas as they restore inner balance and recapitulate their soul retrievals and adventures in infinity.

The highlight of the mandala in my recent retreat was a collective reminder to be sure to not forget to ask if it’s right. It refers to one’s intent, decision or ambition for manifestation.

The Self often spontaneously and creatively provides some semblance of a mandala-like symbol to provide guidance. These can take the form of a dirty, heads-up penny on the ground, or a circular or rectangular pool, or a grouping of 4 objects or people—the permutations are endless.

One may also have to wait patiently for this guidance or validation to appear. Sometimes the Self requires that the ego go it alone, taking full responsibility for decisions made. The effects of decisions and actions taken are often the best teachers.

When mandalas do show up, give the ego the worthy job of contemplating their messages. Or, to get in alignment with Self, simply start drawing a mandala. Or use a finger in the sand, and like the Tibetans and Native Americans sculpt a mandala with the intent to align with Spirit.

See what happens. Remember Bob Monroe’s affirmation to make constructive and beneficial one’s use of greater energies and energy systems.

Aligning with mandala,

Chuck’s Place: The Way Of The Mandala

The Way…
-Illustration © 2022 Jan Ketchel

The appearance of a penny on the street in a dream is a healing trail marker. Follow that coin! A four-sided rectangle, a box, or simply the number four showing up in waking life, or dream, may be another communication from our High Soul that we are involved with something that furthers our intrinsic unfolding of Self.

The circle and the square, separate or in combination, form a mandala,  the archetype of wholeness. Our individual mandala blueprint, at the core of our Soul, attracts to us the raw material circumstances and relationships needed to fully realize our wholeness in this life. The mandala archetype is the central organizing archetype for all life.

Jung pointed out that the primary atom for all organic life is carbon, whose outermost ring has a valence of four electrons that form the chemical bonds to create the basic building materials of life. Thus, at the material level of existence, the mandala is the central organizing blue print for physical life.

Our inner mandala, operating at the spiritual dimension of our life, accentuates activities we are engaged in, with synchronicities or images of mandalas, as suggested in the dream images mentioned above, when we are heading in the right direction or when we need a course correction in our decisions and behaviors.

Sometimes a broken, messy, round public toilet of a mandala appears in a dream. In this case, we are shown that our path to wholeness requires that we face that which we seek to flush away and be rid of. Our mandala of wholeness forces us to face that which humiliates us, as it refuses to allow us the release of repression. The mandala will insist that we claim and own all of our wholeness, regardless of how bad it smells!

The precursor to the number four, on the number line, is three, which, as a geometric image, forms a triangle. A triangle has integrity but is a volatile energetic force of change, like the Bermuda Triangle.

In the shamanic lineage of Carlos Castaneda, the leader, or Nagual, was always a human being with four energetic compartments, until Carlos came along. Though he was pointed out as the next Nagual, he had only three energetic compartments, foreshadowing the coming of great change for his shamanic line.

In fact, Carlos ended his shamanic line’s traditional transmission of knowledge to simply a new generation of selected leaders and apprentices. Instead, he unwrapped the secret, sacred technologies of his lineage and freely offered them to anyone interested in learning them. In Carlos’ new world, everyone needs to become their own personal shaman, taking the soul retrieval journey of their lifetime.

Carlos correctly read the energy of the need for total transparency as our evolutionary destiny. The days of the witch hunt and the need to hide shamanic knowledge from the Conquistadores has ended. The modern era needs all the sacred knowledge of yesteryear to correctly navigate the profound changes of our time.

Carlos’ decision allowed me access to the practice of recapitulation, with its ancient shamanic roots, as a complement to the use of EMDR in modern psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD. Carlos, with his energetic configuration of three, freed ancient shamanic wisdom, allowing it to find new manifestations in the healing of our world.

The number three seeks its mandalic completion. The Christian male God triangle of Father, Son and Holy Spirit points to the need for Mary, as Goddess, to square its mandala. The struggle to achieve this configuration, in many spheres, is the story of our time.

The Catholic Feast of the Assumption never granted Mary true Godly status. The best it could do was offer Mary continued existence in physical form in heaven. The masculine gods of our time continue to devalue, control and exploit the feminine.

The feminine, in the energetic manifestation of the energies of Kali and Isis, are agents of change, using nature and climate change to point humanity toward squaring the mandala, with the inclusion of the feminine principles of relatedness and interconnectedness, to restore order and balance to the world.

Masculine and feminine energies are present in all life. Jung called the feminine energetic compartment in men the anima and the masculine energetic compartment in women, the animus . As individuals, we are all tasked with squaring the mandalas within ourselves by integrating these primal masculine and feminine energies within our own psyches into fruitful evolution.

Women can be animus dominated and as devaluing of the feminine as abusive, controlling men. Men can be anima dominated, overwhelmed by moods and resentments that dominate impulsive decisions.

All people are charged to follow the way of the mandala now, as it seeks resolution, inwardly and outwardly, in true integrated wholeness.

Tracking the Mandala,


Chuck’s Place: Multiple Personality In Order

In the dreaminess of the dream, what do you see? -Photo by Jan Ketchel
In the dreaminess of the dream, what do you see? -Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carl Jung brought our attention to nature’s use of the mandala as a symbol of our wholeness. Whenever some configuration of a circle and a square appears in a dream, follow that trail. Pick up that lowly copper penny inside a box, something of your valuable wholeness lies there. Follow that bouncing ball as it hits the square pavement stones. It may lead you to the next piece of the puzzle of self.

Typically, the mandala is divided into four sections, symbolic of our divided selves. Wholeness requires that we discover, develop, relate to, and bring into an integrated life, our very divided and separated inner selves.

Perhaps at the deepest level our divided selves reflect our lives lived through infinity, our incarnations in different worlds at different times. Sometimes in my consulting room clients are compelled to visit and integrate the challenges and lessons of past lives. More often than not, however, this deeper integration awaits as a final task to completion of our present life, as we prepare for transition into new life.

Division within the self is often a function of trauma. In childhood trauma especially, our developing selves are confronted with challenges beyond our ability to emotionally and cognitively master. Such experiences are split off, frozen in time, stored in the body for future reconciliation when our evolving self has greater mastery and an ability to meet the challenges of its lost self or selves.

All individuals experience splintering of self through the normal socialization process known as education. During schooling we are sharply molded into more uniform beings, despite personality differences. Unacceptable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are relegated to what Carl Jung called the shadow personality that takes up life in the darkly impersonal unconscious mind and body.

That shadow personality seeks life in our fantasy, in our less than conscious states where it can seize control in psychic projections and obsessions that dominate our attention, regardless of conscious rational intent. Even predatory behaviors may be viewed as compensatory states of shadow possession, reactive to the dominating power of socialization. It’s no wonder we have a society up in arms about limitation of its arms, so aware are we of the destructive power of the shadow. Would that we were equally aware of the nature of projection; where the shadow is so easily disowned within the self, only to be feared and projected, placed out there, in the dangerous other.

The truth is, we are a multiplicity of beings, in fact a multiplicity of energetic beings. As Jan hints in her blog, we may indeed all be the same being. Wow, the integration of that realization is indeed of the highest order!

Our challenge, as Jung’s discovery of the archetypal mandala suggests, is to find all our missing parts and fit them into a unified whole. These parts all come with their challenges, ranging from facing a past life to facing down the tyrants of trauma and freeing the lost children of the self, to finding one’s voice in song or finding one’s rhythm in body movement.

The shamanic tool of recapitulation, like following the bouncing ball of the mandala in dreaming, is a time worn tool to putting in order the multiple personalities we call Self. That task is a journey of a lifetime. It’s why we’re here.

I end with a quote from The Book Of Us, Jeanne speaking of taking the road to life’s completion, channeled by Jan on May 30, 2008:

The ultimate purpose and reason for living in that realm is to complete your evolution at that level of learning, and to prepare the self to move on to the next level. Completion entails taking into consideration every bit of who you are, and putting together the puzzle of the self, holding the self responsible for finding what you need to make this completion happen …To achieve completion must you be prepared to leave your recapitulated self upon the shores of that world and advance to a new level where only completed souls may go..

Following that bouncing ball and dreaming on,

Excerpt from page 207 in The Book Of Us.

A Day in a Life: ALL

Into the center of Self...

I study Tao. I pull into my center, into the mandala of self, closing out all else. One morning I read the following: Always complete your actions.

I read further: When you do something, don’t hold back. Shoot for it all, go for it all. Don’t wait for a “better time,” because the better times are built on what you do today. Don’t be selfish with your skills, because the skills of tomorrow are built upon the performances of today.

To be with Tao is to live a creative life, I continue reading. To live a creative life always means that you express who you are. And expression is never helped by suppression. Expression always benefits from coming out. Then more inspiration will come from that source.

When you act, the advice is, act completely. Follow through. Do everything that has to be done. Be like the fire that burns completely clean: only from this pure stage can you then take the next step.

My early morning reading stays with me throughout the day. I ponder myself. Am I fully expressing myself every day, not holding back? Am I truly burning the fires within completely clean, so that I am free to take the next step unattached to the old? I recapitulate recent life events, and without hubris know that I am fallible, yet I am also intent on continually studying how to be more aware each day, even as I repeat old mistakes. Lessons are learned every day. I know this. I set my intent to give my all, to live and express to the fullest, to constantly follow through and complete my actions.

In the afternoon, I write. Working on the second book in The Recapitulation Diaries series, I face my old self of ten years ago. I see how much I have changed, and I also see where I still fall back into some old habits, not too often, I humbly say, and not too deeply, but just enough to let me know I have not completely burned through some rather tiresome old issues.

Inner fire...

Paying attention to the Tao reading I have gotten earlier in the day, I sit in stillness and go deeply into my present self. I sit in the center of my being, at the center of my mandala of self, and build a little fire. I intend to completely burn away the old self still lingering, to fully express it so that I may return to balance, to the mandala of self with its geometrical symmetry in calmness once again. I intend that new expression birth out of the old.

I am an observer. I can’t help it. It is my nature. I am a sensation type. Like a camera, I constantly take photographs of the world around me. I report on what I see. The world has always been “out there,” separate from my inner world. As an artist the two meet nicely, my talent offering a means of expression for how my outer world observations meet my inner world.

During my recapitulation, I learned how to turn my observer self inward upon myself, to train my camera on my past and zoom in on everything that came from deep within. My inner world turned cauldron-like as I recapitulated, as my camera honed in on the truths that lay at my core. The embers of the fire within flared up repeatedly until a nice fire was burning. Eventually, I burned off enough of the past that I was able to emerge out of the flames of recapitulation into new life, transformed, a totally different person.

During the fiery process, I discovered that recapitulation is not a one-time thing, but a lifelong process of study. Like Tao, it requires constant attention to deep inner truths, constant release and constant rebalancing, to achieve new, fresh life.

While pondering all of this, I hear a loud racket outside the window. Observer that I am, I cannot help but get up from my inner ponderings and take my camera self outside. Standing on the deck, I see my inner world, my morning’s study of Tao, in action. Nature, the grandest guide of all is playing out the very reading I have spent my day studying innerly.

Fluffy baby robins nesting under the deck...

As I watch, a shiny black crow swoops down into a tree and snatches a baby robin. I watch the robin parents and many others—birds of all kinds, even the tiny wrens—come to the rescue. An army of birds dive-bombs the crow, attempting to knock the fluff of baby bird from its beak. Shrieking and screaming, they fly at the crow repeatedly. Instinctively knowing that every second counts, they do not hold back. The crow, seemingly oblivious to the attacks, flies up to a branch and holding the baby beneath its claws, gives a loud and sharp CAW! Then it picks the baby up again and flies off with it in its beak. Flying directly over my head, I see the baby bird firmly clenched, most likely dead already. I accept this fact. It’s dead. The robins will never get it back. They have to give up, I think, just let it go. But do they “just let it go?” No! They chase after the crow! They do not accept defeat yet.

Shrieking, they fly after the crow, furiously attacking with sharp beaks. With stiffened wings, like knife cuts, they attempt to knock the baby loose. They do not give up, but complete their attempts to save the baby. They give it their all! And then, only when it is truly clear that there is nothing left to do, when the crow has flown off, do they then take the next step. Even now, they don’t simply “let it go.” Not yet!

There is still something else to do in order to complete this most traumatic event in their lives. Now they grieve! I hear them crying loudly. Horrific, heart-wrenching sobs of grief and mourning, the most gut-wrenching sounds of sorrow, erupt from their wide-open beaks. Their deep sadness, like a moaning Greek chorus, reaches the heavens and then back to me where I stand on the deck. I take in this profoundly moving process. The robins of nature are not holding back, not suppressing a thing, they are fully expressing their loss and the great depths of their sadness.

This deeply affecting wailing goes on for several minutes. Only when they are completely done, when they have fully expressed themselves and fully emptied themselves of their sorrow, do the robins return to their nest, to the tree where their baby was snatched from, perhaps back to tending other babies that may still remain, or to take the next step. There is always a next step, new life to experience.

Return to Tao...

In shock, I step back inside. In awe, I realize I have been given an example of Tao in action, of ALL. This is how to complete a task, how to give all to a situation, and then, only when truly done, to move on. In fighting as fiercely as they did, in not giving up, until there was no longer any reason to fight, then in grieving fully, the robins completed their task. Now new life can happen.

In Tao, in life, everything is meaningful. Everything is directed toward evolving. I take my experience seriously. I return to my inner circle of self, turn my camera inward again, and sitting in my calm mandala center, I go ever deeper. I understand more fully now what it means to take everything to its completion, to not hold back, to give my all. I am thankful for nature, once again showing me the way. I am thankful for Tao.

Give ALL. Always complete your intent, express fully, live fully, evolve.

In Tao,

NOTE: Excerpts are from Everyday Tao, by Deng Ming-Dao

A Day in a Life: Creating A Dreaming-Waking Mandala

Dreaming with the Dalai Lama...

I set my intent and then I dream.

For the past week the Dalai Lama has come to me in my dreams. Sometimes when we wake up in the morning Chuck tells me that he has also been dreaming with the Dalai Lama. This is significant. What I am learning from the Dalai Lama is important. He has been teaching me how to handle the energy of now, the pushing, almost volatile energy of late that has been unrelentingly asking us all to face ourselves, what comes to us from within, while simultaneously withstanding the onslaught of the turmoil of what comes to us from without. We have all been suffering lately through the same kind of energy that Buddha encountered during his 49 days under the bodhi tree. And, as Chuck mentioned in a recent blog, the energy is not going to stop, it is coming at us with the speed of light!

This kind of energy circulates through our lives often enough that by the time we are adults we should be pretty used to it, but that doesn’t mean we handle it well. It takes awareness—recognition that we are in this type of energy state again—as well as a concerted effort to achieve balance and calm so we can not only maneuver through it but learn something as well.

In my first dream, the Dalai Lama handed me a fifty-pound bag of sand. He then instructed me to create a circle with it, large enough for me to walk around in. He showed me how to use the sand to build a little wall, just a few inches tall, sloping upward to a point, as if to create a small mountain range. The point, he told me, was to create a barrier between what was outside and what was inside. I worked on building that wall all night long, getting it just right, refining the edges, perfecting the circle. It was satisfying work and by the time I was done I had created what I set out to do.

The next night, the Dalai Lama came again. This time he instructed me to define quadrants within the circle, four equal areas that defined my life. The first quadrant became my inner world, the second my work in the outer world, the third my relationships with others, the fourth my home and my personal life. These quadrants, he said, must always be in balance.

I constructed a mandala...

When I woke up from the first dream it was pretty clear that the Dalai Lama was instructing me in making a mandala, a dream mandala, I thought. Little did I know that it was more than just a dream manifestation. By the third night I understood that it was a working mandala, merging the Shamanic process of recapitulation with a most important Buddhist practice. On this night, the Dalai Lama taught me about detachment, probably the most important practice in both recapitulation and Buddhism.

On this night, the Dalai Lama taught me that I must constantly utilize and hone my practice of detachment as I encounter the onslaughts of energy that are constantly present, whether from within or without. He instructed me to face what comes to me, to dissect it thoroughly, understand it completely for what it is and what it is teaching me, and then to let it go and move on. I sat in the different quadrants of my mandala and did as he instructed. His hand gestures were always prominent in these dreams, but this night they were broad sweeping movements as he demonstrated pushing the finished product of my inner process away, actually expelling the energy beyond the walls of my mandala. “Be done with it!” he said. “And then move on! That is detachment!”

By the fourth night I was beginning to wonder if he would come back. I wasn’t really surprised to find myself in his company once again. This time he spoke of compassion, instructing me in achieving calm within no matter what came from without, but with gentleness and compassion for myself as I went through the process of detachment. He told me that I had to get to a place of detachment in order to fully understand compassion, and that I had to get to a place of compassion for myself if I was going to truly be able to be compassionate toward others. He told me this was an endless process of facing both the inner and outer world, for there will always be something new each day to figure out and detach from with compassion.

Honing my awareness...

The next night, he instructed me, in a final note, to remember that all of this had to happen with awareness that I—my ego self—was not all that important. What was most important in all of this practice was honing my awareness so that I might also hone my energy. This is the ultimate reason and the goal in life. The daily challenge, he told me, is to face what comes in life in full awareness that it is the path to enlightenment, to full awareness and use of energy. How I express my energy through this body that is me—how I meet others in the world, and how I elect to live my life—all matter.

In essence, the Dalai Lama was pointing out that we are already on the path. We have always been on it. Our path is personally significant; we are the only ones who can walk it, taking the journey that we got. We are all, however, equally outfitted with what it takes to make the trek along that path to enlightenment. As my dream encounters suggest, it just takes utilizing a few practical tools in how to use what we innately possess: the means to achieving full awareness in our dreaming and waking lives.

In my dream encounters with the Dalai Lama, I was being reminded that we all face lessons in detachment in our daily lives, every day. The four quadrants of my dream mandala are the places that my personal challenges occur. But the Dalai Lama was also reminding me that we are all Buddha, going through the same kind of suffering that the Buddha went through in his 49 days of suffering. We must learn the same lessons that the Buddha learned, how to withstand the tension of what comes to us, investigate it—in a deep process like recapitulation, for instance—then let it go having learned what is most important. And then move on. There is always something new to move onto.

I learned, once again, that although the process is endless, the rewards are immediate. Each day, as I move around in my dreaming-waking mandala, I find that as I face what comes, the world without eventually changes, meeting me differently too. Where I am, so is the world. If I am in balanced calmness then I meet similar energy without. If I am avoidant, that too is what I encounter without, avoidant energy.

I have already constructed a magical wall...

One day I may find myself in the relationship quadrant and another day I may find myself in the outer world quadrant. It doesn’t matter where I find myself, the work is the same, to face what comes with awareness that my reason for being here is so that I may evolve. What must I face today and how will I face it? Will I remember that I already built a magical protective wall to hold in the energy that is important and to keep out that which is not?

I must remember that I am well prepared. All I really have to do is set my intent. And what was my original intent that brought the Dalai Lama’s energy into my dreaming-waking life? What it always is: to change. I find that there is really no other intent I need to put out there. Every day I ask to change, to keep changing, for I find there is no end to the magic and awe of life in change. “Let me change,” I ask. “Let me change.”

By constantly returning to my mandala, I am offered structure when I often feel that I have no structure, nowhere to turn, or no anchor. I do have it, a gift from the Dalai Lama himself. His own energy utilized far beyond his own physical body. That is his intent.

I sit in my mandala and set my intent to change. Try it. It really works!

Most humbly offered, with love,

See also Chuck’s recent blog: Achieving a Quiet Heart.