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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.

#712 Chuck’s Place: Chuck—The Capitalist?

In a dream, I find myself working diligently on the renovation of a living room. In the center of the room is a round pool, actually the replica of a small 36″ deep pool that Jan and I put in the backyard this year. I am concerned about the cover being firmly in place, sealed, to allow the heat to be retained in the pool. Along one wall of the room I meet a man from India, studiously reading. I am aware that he is brilliant. I ask him a question. His answer goes way over my head, but I stare as if I am following him. He has advice for me: Just focus on inputting things, like into a computer. Next he tells me he appreciates the Capitalists. I am taken a bit aback and ask: “What about Gandhi, wasn’t he a God?”

“Oh yes, he replied, “he too was a God.” And then, affectionately, he puts his arm around me and talks about the history of other Capitalists, whom I’d never heard of.

I awaken, immediately recognizing the mandala in my dream: the circle of the pool in the square of the room. It was Jung who identified the mandala as the archetypal symbol of the SELF. I understood, with the appearance of the mandala, that I was being offered specific guidance about my own individuation process, that is, the completion and fulfillment of my true self in this life. But, what was I being shown?

Become a Capitalist?! I don’t think so!! Improve my computer skills? True, they are not so hot, but is that really what my deepest self wants me to work on?

As I contemplated this dream over breakfast, I appreciated the alchemical symbol of the tightly sealed pool—a container with rising heat. That is exactly the theme I wrote about last week, Bearing the Tension. Then, all of a sudden, I thought about what had preoccupied me the night before. I had opened an old file that Jeanne and I had kept from our early days in Tensegrity, back in the mid-1990s, of experiences and newsletters and publications from that time. I was struck by comments that Carlos and his female cohorts (Carol, Taisha, and Florinda) had made about don Juan’s world. They could not stress enough don Juan’s contention that the seers’ world was full of practicalities geared toward achieving definite results. They disputed any spiritual, intangible dimension to his world.

That night, I recapitulated how both the impact of the shaman’s world and Jeanne’s death had delivered me to a level of detachment that has made it impossible for me to be satisfied with the goals of an ordinary life in this world. I don’t say this from a place of self-importance; it is simply a fact, a major shift in my life. I know that I am a being who is going to die and preparation to enter that mystery is the central focus of my life. Constructs of romance and family, the things that keep us most attached to this world, though once very important have given way to a new reality. Love has deepened and become far more inclusive, appreciative of the shared journey we are all on. I attribute this shift largely to the accrual of energy previously spent on specialized attachments.

As I read through an old interview that Carlos gave to the magazine Uno Mismo, Chile and Argentine, February 1997 by Daniel Trujillo Rivas, my attention was drawn to the following question and answer:

Q: What’s the aim of you not allowing yourself to be photographed, having your voice recorded or making your biographical data known?

A: With reference to photographs and personal data, the other three disciples of don Juan and myself follow his instructions. For a shaman like don Juan, the main idea behind refraining from giving personal data is very simple. It is imperative to leave aside what he called ” personal history”. To get away from the “me” is something extremely annoying and difficult. What shamans like don Juan seek is a state of fluidity where the personal “me” does not count. He believed that an absence of photographs and biographical data affects whomever enters into this field of action in a positive though subliminal way. We are endlessly accustomed to using photographs, recordings and biographical data, all of which spring from the idea of personal importance….

For the seers of don Juan’s lineage encounters with infinity and preparation to enter it in full awareness was the central goal of their lives. To achieve this they discovered that you needed energy, plain and simple. Those seers determined that the number one waste of energy in human life is self-importance. That is why Carlos remained so anonymous, refusing both photos and recordings. In today’s world we might consider the world wide obsession with facebook as reflecting perhaps the number one drain of energy: obsession with self-importance.

As I continued to look through the old file the other evening I also came across some questions posed to the women seers, one of which drew my attention—from an interview with Florinda, Taisha and Carol by Concha Labarta from an article in Mas Alla, April 1, 1997, Spain:

Q: It seems that the key to expanding our capabilities for perception lies in the amount of energy we have at our disposal, and that the energetic condition of modern man is very meager. What would be the essential premise for storing energy? Is this possible for someone who has to take care of a family, go to work every day, and participate fully in the social world? And what about celibacy as a way of saving energy, one of the most controversial points in your books?

A: Celibacy is recommended, the old nagual told us, for the majority of us. Not for moral reasons, but because we don’t have enough energy. He made us see how the majority of us have been conceived in the midst of marital boredom. As a pragmatic sorcerer, the old nagual maintained that conception is something of final importance. He said that if the mother wasn’t able to have an orgasm at the moment of conception, the result was something he called “a bored conception.” There is no energy under such conditions. The old nagual recommended celibacy for those who have been conceived under such circumstances.

Another thing he recommended as a means of storing energy was the dissolution of patterns of behavior that lead to chaos, such as the incessant preoccupation with romantic courtship; the presentation and defense of the self in everyday life; excessive routines and, above all, the tremendous insistence on the concerns of the self.

If these points are achieved, any one of us can have the necessary energy to use time, space and the social order more intelligently.

I am struck by the thought, how many people would be willing to ask their mothers if they orgasmed when they were conceived?! I think it is fair to say that many of us were conceived outside of orgasm and did not inherit a large storehouse of energy. Tensegrity practitioners always challenge the suggestion of celibacy as a means to store energy. It is a personal choice. But the women seers do suggest other practices to revamp and accrue energy, namely, recapitulation, freeing oneself from incessant patterns i.e. groundhog days, whether they be romantic preoccupations or otherwise, and elimination of self-importance.

Finally, back to my dream. It suddenly dawned on me that my deepest self was urging me to continue to input energy into my pool. That is, to contain it, store it, and let it accrue. My Indian guru guide encouraged me to become a Capitalist—the ultimate symbol of the energy miser: he who amasses vast sums of money (energy) for himself. The practices of the seers’ world are all geared to the very pragmatic goal of retrieving and storing one’s vital energy toward the ultimate goal of taking the definitive journey in infinity as an energetic being in full awareness.

My Indian guru is encouraging me to continue to input, that is, to store my energy. This is the path to my fulfillment, completion, and INTENT to enter the mystery fully prepared. I am simply blown away by the continual juxtaposition of Carl Jung’s and don Juan’s guidance in my life, both in dreams and waking dreams.

P.S.: I walked in the door from work and Jan greeted me with an anxious: “We have a serious issue to address.” A call had just come in from Citibank. Apparently, a suspicious donation to an Indian mission of some 299,000 Rupees had been charged to our credit card. I immediately called a Citibank service representative. I spoke to Rajeesh, I suspect a highly educated Indian of advanced computer skills, working from India for an outsourced division of Citibank. He calmly and warmly reassured me, as if he had his arm around me, that this matter would be straightened out, at no charge… Such is the humor of the synchronistic universe we live in!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,