Tag Archives: mastery of self

Chuck’s Place: The Mastery of Terror

How to transmute terror…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Terror registers in the body as uncontrollable heart-thumping anxiety. Mastery of terror is the resumption of voluntary control over the short-circuited nervous system. This mastery involves a transmutation of powerful energies that creates highly resilient nervous system circuitry to handle the emotional impact of the greatest stressors in life.

Voluntary control requires the participation of one’s conscious ego in directing one’s response to terror. Though the order of actions to be taken are unique to one’s personal experience, each of the following are likely to be part of one’s process.

Redirect the racing mind: Oftentimes, the mind responds to anxiety by projecting and imagining scenarios that invite intensified fear to the body. This can generate repetitive cycles of overpowering future projections and ever-heightening anxiety.

The mind, in an attempt to bring order into chaos, gets helplessly trapped on the mental plane, seeking a mental narrative that will extinguish the fire in the body. In so doing, the mind dissociates from the body’s experience, and actually contributes to its distress through its mental imaginings.

Shut down mental processing by redirecting attention to the body.

Direct the breath. Breathe into the abdominal cavity. Allow the stomach to expand, like filling up a balloon. Keep the focus on the breath; refuse to engage thought. Be accepting of any amount of breath that enters the lower part of the body.

Keep breathing into the abdomen, noticing its ability to take in more air. When possible, begin to introduce counting. Occupy the mind with this task: Breathe in to the count of 4. Hold the breath for a count of 8. Exhale to the count of 8. Repeat this cycle, incessantly. Gradually this breathing exercise will shift one’s brainwaves into a more relaxed alpha state.

The Recapitulation Breath. Turn your head as much as you comfortably can to the left. Fully exhale, then immediately begin a full inhalation as you turn your head, in pace with your breath, all the way to the right side. Pause slightly as you reverse direction and begin a complete exhalation, fanning your head back to the left side. Pause, ever so slightly, and begin again a full inhalation as you turn your head back to the right, then exhaling back again to the left. Repeat this pattern as long as you wish, adjusting the pace to what feels right.

Send direct commands to the subconscious. The subconscious is command central for the CNS and all the organs of the body. It operates with default programs on automatic pilot unless redirected by the conscious mind to do otherwise. Speak directly to the heart: “Heart, slow down your beating.” State this command with the cadence you intend it to beat at. Restate this suggestion rotely, adjusting the pace and intensity of the words to the needs of your experience.

Broaden attention and suggestions to the entire body. If possible lie down, allowing the body to be fully supported and able to release. Bring attention to the feet. State: “my feet are calming, my feet are relaxed.” Restate this suggestion. Notice the release of tension, the tingling of warmth in your feet.

Proceed to the legs. Bring present awareness to the sensations in the calf muscles. State the direction: “My calf muscles are calming, my calf muscles are relaxed.” Repeat this suggestion. Notice the body’s response. Move on to the thigh muscles, torso, stomach, heart, shoulders, arms, fingers, back, neck, head, face, eyes, and jaw. When finished, start over again.

At bedtime, direct the mind to place its concerns on the shelf of tomorrow. Now is the time for restorative sleep. Refuse thoughts that tempt reentry into processing. Trust the powers of deep restorative sleep to care for the overall needs of the self. Let go to the higher power of sleep.

If sleep is not possible, or if it is the time to be awake, direct the self to be fully present and engaged in the task it is undertaking. Refuse the mind’s slip into trancelike imaginative thoughts that reactivate fears. Decide when the time will be in the day to take the issue of concern off the shelf for consideration. Remind the self throughout the day to stay present to now, and that one’s appointment with thoughtful consideration of the issue will take place later, at the designated appropriate time.

Show up for your appointment. You have successfully strengthened your CNS circuitry through the above practices. Nonetheless, the completion of mastery requires that you reenter the experience that first generated terror. Valarie Kaur, in her book See No Stranger, presents many examples of successful entry into challenging encounters despite a somewhat accelerated heartbeat.

Oftentimes, terror occurs on the cusp of recapitulating an activated trauma from earlier in life. Mastery of that trauma ultimately requires that we reenter the fullness of that unprocessed experience and tame it. Armed with the above mentioned tools, as well as other needed supports, one’s present-self gradually calms the CNS and neutralizes the emotional intensity of the trauma.

This is mastery. The trauma becomes merely a fact of one’s life that no longer holds one captive to its terror. The energy of terror is now transmuted into the maturity of mastery.



Chuck’s Place: Masters of Intent

Masters of Intent…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

All human beings are Masters of Intent. Intent is the active side of our humanness, that which delivers us a definite identity, that which pronounces, “I AM….  such and such”. And whatever description we provide to ourselves of who we are, we reinforce it incessantly throughout life to maintain a cohesive, consistent sense of self.

Perhaps not until the day we may find ourselves in a nursing home, when that familiar mastery of the intent of self gives way to what is called dementia, may we encounter a broader depth of knowing or encountering ourselves in ways held in abeyance for a lifetime.

Like Elmer Green,* I envision the journey of Alzheimer’s as a time of inner exploration into the fullness of self, perhaps a final opportunity in physical form to reconcile one’s life in preparation for one’s definitive journey in infinity. This dementia journey is often experienced as horror and grief by many loved ones who might only observe the disintegrating faculties and loss of familiarity of their cherished loved one or dear friend.

I would argue that this apparent weakening of the mastery of intent in Alzheimer’s is actually the freeing of the greater intent within the Self to complete its earthly individuation. The seed that we once were is freed to complete its journey here, which may require a temporary or permanent suspension of the narrow identity it assumed in this life that limited its full realization. Of course this process is very difficult to appreciate by most onlookers who might only conclude the obvious picture of physical and psychical disintegration.

The power of intent to manifest even the most bizarre and fantastic behaviors is most evident in hypnosis. In hypnosis the inner master of intent is projected upon the hypnotist who then manifests in the passive subject the suggestion or intent that is proposed while the subject is in trance.

Here we see the clearest expression of the Yin and Yang of our human nature. Our Yin is the waiting material or physical part of our being, which dutifully creates the behavior dictated by the Yang or the master of intent part of our being: the instruction giver.

Freud suggested that a good hypnotic subject displayed the blind obedience to parental authority that the child originally experienced  in early childhood. Thus a good hypnotic subject fully obeys the parental hypnotist.

However, there are many people who do not respond to the suggestions of the hypnotist. This is often seen as a strong ego that simply cannot be hypnotized. To the contrary, I would simply suggest that the inner master of intent is not projected upon the hypnotist and is inwardly powered. But who really is this inner master of intent?

The inner master of intent is what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico called the internal dialogue. The internal dialogue is the incessant voice, the inner commentator that constantly informs us who and what we are, what we feel, what our abilities and limitations are, and constantly judges both ourselves and everyone and everything around us.

This voice is such a constant presence that through its incessant patter we find ourselves in continual trance, perceiving and being what it tells us is and what we ourselves are. So formidable is the trance it puts us in that we find ourselves ‘consciously’ restating to ourselves what it tells us, i.e., “I could never do that…” Or, “I have always been…” Or, “I will never be…” And this is who we become and experience ourselves to be.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico would heartily agree with Freud that this voice is the internalized voice of a child’s socialization that takes on the role of defining the limits of what we become largely due to the limiting beliefs it, the internal dialogue, unceasingly espouses. Here we have the hidden reality that all humans are in a constant state of trance, controlled by the outer masters they project upon, or by the inner master of intent, the internal dialogue.

Shamans discovered that the automatic function of the internal dialogue can be silenced and that this silencing opens the gateway for humans to discover their far greater potential, a potential that is highly different from the one casually accepted as the true self as previously presented by the internal dialogue.

The technology to truly assume ownership for one’s ability to be a master of intent is strikingly identical to the socialization process of early childhood. Shamans state their intent as incessantly as all the authoritative voices of childhood routinely corrected and defined who one should be, eventuating in the internalized internal dialogue. The perseverance of this conscious repetition of intent gradually overrides the prevailing internal dialogue and begins to manifest the consciously chosen intent.

The greatest obstacle to change is the belief that something so simple can’t be enough. We would rather argue the impossibility of such a possibility than actually try it! It simply can’t work, at least not for me!

The second greatest obstacle is lack of perseverance. If things don’t change quickly enough and in ways we deem should happen we give up. Here the guidance is gentle but persistent perseverance, with no attachment to the outcome.

The third obstacle to engaging intent is our attachment to our familiar definition of self. Like a person in the grip of Alzheimer’s we may be threatened to discover the vast aspects of ourselves that have never been known that might force us to consider major uncomfortable changes in our lives.

The process of unfolding of a new intent might also force us into recapitulation experiences that have forged our familiar sense of self by keeping us unaware of the full truth of experiences lived in this life. Intent will insist that we free ourselves from these limiting beliefs to allow greater manifestation of who we truly are. This can be a terrifying process, encountering much that has been repressed in life.

Finally, intent is a powerful force that can be used by both the light and the dark side. We are in a particular world phase where we are witnessing master hypnotists in the persons of political figures giving free license to intent from the dark side. Intent in and of itself is amoral. Intent is an energetic force that operates according to the intent stated.

Our focus has always been upon the conscious use of intent for healing and exploration of our full potential. This conscious use of intent finds resonance with the truth of the heart who carries the full intent of the seed of possibility we were planted with when we arrived here in human form.

May all become true masters of their intent, claiming full conscious control for the manifestation of their lives in alliance with the truth of the heart.



*Elmer Green, PhD, noted biofeedback pioneer is also the author, among other books, of The Ozawkie Book of the Dead: Alzheimer’s Isn’t What You Think It Is