Tag Archives: “Not I”

Chuck’s Place: Losing The Weight of Possession

Entities are everywhere…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

To be elevated or lowered in thought and emotion is generally the consequence of identification with a power other than the self. There are many not-I influences that, unknowingly to consciousness, usurp identity, mental processes, moods, and actions.

On a collective level, we are in the midst of a world rapidly seized by a contagion of beliefs and intense emotions sparking heated rhetoric and threatening behavior. On one level this is the consequence of archetypal projections upon leadership.

The ruler of the personality is predisposed to absorb and mirror the attitudes of outer rulers, be they royalty, presidents, or popes. Even personalities that reject identification with leadership figures are not immune to infection, as they find themselves obsessed with revolutionary, depressed, or helpless overreactions.

Within the personality, beyond the I of the known self, are layers of influence that emanate from genetic predisposition, karma, and the collective unconscious, replete with its powerful archetypes seeking to infiltrate daily life. Contrary to the gods of yesteryear, who were housed on some faraway mountain, these archetypes quake from within, generating anxiety, terror, rage, and euphoria.

We might, for instance, awaken with a questioning thought about the meaning of the words another person had spoken in an encounter the day before. Subtly and suddenly, the thought mushrooms into a powerful conspiracy that ignites tremendous emotions of anger, fear, and protest. The ego then becomes intensely focused on plans to survive, attack, or circumvent the imagined onslaught.

In fact, the ego might find itself under the spell of an inner archetype that has dressed outer reality in the garments of the drama it seeks to enact. And what role will ego be assigned, victim or hero?

If we have the presence of mind to not get overly entranced by the lure of the drama, and revisit its status later in the day, we might find ourselves exclaiming, “What could have possessed me to see it that way? Wow, did I blow that out of proportion!”

In this case, the ego, by not succumbing to the coup of the archetype, retains its energy for reflection, differentiation, and control of the personality. Though impulse might at times save the day, it often masks the will of not-I influences that are seeking a play in human life.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico characterize these extraneous energies as entities, who feast upon the high frequency energy of human emotion. They counsel that entities have largely only the power to infiltrate thought and perception, which may indeed generate intense fear, but have no real power to harm.

Whether seen as activated archetypes or actual entities, the guidance to the ego is the same: stay sober and grounded. Archetypes and entities seek our energy, our life force. They are merchants of exaggeration who cater to our boredom and our weaknesses. Refuse their offerings, shoo them away, turn in another direction, breathe, use dialogue to affirm the self.

Address boredom by aligning with your own personal Spirit: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Practice bringing ego to the guidance of the heart center. There it will be energized by its true path of heart.

Our weaknesses are demonstrated to us by the archetypes and entities that play and prey upon us. Archetypes offer to solve human dilemmas when ego is at an impasse, or is simply in a lackadaisical state. Entities, as well, can only hook our attention where there is a gap in our adaptation, its opening to enter and play upon our fears and wants.

Refuse the archetypes, refuse the entities, but do have gratitude for being shown by them what needs to be addressed.

When we shore up our weaknesses, through the guidance of our true spirit, we are freed to journey, weightlessly, on a most fulfilling journey in this life, in this world, and beyond.

With gratitude,



Chuck’s Place: Compulsion

Pulse=Heartbeat=Life force

If we fractionate the word compulsion into its component parts, com-puls-ion, we arrive at its literal root meaning: the condition of being with a pulse. A pulse is generated by a heartbeat. Where there is a heartbeat there is a living thing—a compulsion is a living thing with a life of its own.

When we experience a compulsion we are contending with an independent life force active within ourselves. Our conscious minds are challenged to become aware of the needs, habits, and expectations of this compelling life force we house within us, to cave to it or allow for its influence upon our lives, and, ultimately, to discover who or what it is, why we have it, and finally reach a reconciliation with it.

Long before we discover the who and why of a compulsion, we must deal with its power and pressure; its coursing pulse energetically demanding that we do something for it.

“I want _____!” it demands.

If we fill in the blank it might be that it wants food, wine, sex, objects, a job, activity, thought, feeling, or behavior. The categories are endless, but the common thread is consistent: a compulsion wants something from us; it insists we acquiesce to its demands and spend our lifetime and energy on its agenda.

Our first challenge is to become aware that we are under the spell of a compulsion and then suspend judgment that we are the compulsion or that we are flawed because we have it. Those kinds of judgments drain our energy and distract us from managing this “Not-I” within.

Our first goal is to stand up to the compulsion with the message: “I don’t know who you are or why you are here, but I’m willing to find out and see how I might help you or fit you into my life, but I refuse to be trammelled by your demands anymore! I come in peace, I come with respect, I come to reconcile with you, but I also come with firmness. I will not allow you to take control of my life without my consent.”

What is "I" and what is "Not-I"?

Many an author has expressed that the books “they” have written are actually the artifacts, the by-products of a reconciliation with their inner “Not-I;” compulsions that are given life in the stories they need to tell. Often, once the book is complete, the compulsion is satisfied and life, previously galvanized by the compulsion, is released to be enjoyed by conscious goals.

Compulsions may also be the artifacts of our genetic history. Perhaps, at the level of our collective inheritance, we house an artist, a musician, a drunk, a thief, a liar, or a philanderer. Again, we must suspend judgment and suspend victimhood if we are to directly encounter the “Not-I” of our inheritance. Our challenge, with our genetics, is to decide what we will give life to and what we can finally master and put to rest.

Perhaps it is our turn to solve the challenge of an addiction or compulsion that has dogged our ancestry for generations—it’s our turn, our chance, to bring things to resolution and closure. It’s not our fault we have an addiction or compulsion, it’s our opportunity to solve it or finally realize it, as in the case of letting the artist or musician in us finally live.

Sometimes compulsions are, in fact, living parts of our “I,” hidden from consciousness due to traumatic splintering. Often, in this case, the compulsion becomes the voice, the language of a hidden truth, as it pressures the conscious self to recognize it and bring it home in acceptance. This can lead to great confusion for the conscious mind, as it must contend with impulses, interests, and desires it deems unacceptable or destructive. If these influences are decoded as the hidden truths of life already lived, they take on a different meaning and can lead to inner reconciliation through healing dialogue.

What is hidden?

Active imagination is a powerful tool that Jung devised to meet and reconcile the inner “I” and “Not-I.” In active imagination we welcome our inner parts—those we house consciously and those we house unconsciously—to meet us in open dialogue. We don’t speak for the compulsion; we allow the compulsion to speak freely, though not act freely. Action is off the table at this point. Action must be a conscious decision, made in sobriety, when all truths have been revealed. This must be the stance of consciousness toward all inner parts: “I’ll listen fairly to anything, but I reserve full decision making power over action. However, I will acquiesce to right action.”

In this circumstance, a compulsion is offered respect and allowed to fully state its case. The final disposition of its needs may be quite challenging and may ultimately find life in fantasy and story, but not in the world of everyday life.

The full realization and reconciliation of all that we are and all that we house is quite mysterious and worthy of a lifetime—a true lifetime achievement award. Compulsions are living forces within us that, when properly understood and reconciled, are major contributors to a life fully lived.

From the beat,

A Day in a Life: Recapitulation & The “Not I”

Once again I take up the subject of inorganic beings. Last week, in Recapitulation & Inorganic Beings I stressed the importance of familiarizing ourselves with our own energy and being able to recognize the good inorganic energy that is present in our lives, such as my own connection to Jeanne, an inorganic being on a mission of aiding those of us who are seeking to evolve, whom I am energetically compatible with. I also stressed the importance of recognizing the incessant chatter of the mind as inorganic energy. Today, I write about another type of inorganic being from the seers’ world of ancient Mexico, energy that wants something from us. Though it also wants to teach us something, its main intent is first and foremost to find a means of attaching to us, the ultimate goal being to siphon our awareness, our energy, for its own survival. However, our ultimate challenge, in all of these cases, is to train our awareness so that we may be in a position that is energetically strong, grounded, utterly sober and pragmatic, so that we may be able to navigate all worlds.

In The Active Side of Infinity and The Art of Dreaming don Juan teaches Carlos Castaneda about the power of inorganic beings. He tells him that they exist as outside forces, predatory beings that seek control of human awareness. He calls them scouts, probes from the universe looking for awareness. They are always present in some form. As I wrote about last week even our thoughts are considered, by the seers of ancient Mexico, to be inorganic beings, which they call Flyers and when they are busy chomping away at us, our thoughts swirling and driving us crazy, they refer to us as being in the throes of the Flyer’s Mind. The only recourse we have is to learn how to manipulate them to our best advantage, but this takes work in strengthening our awareness. On page 217 in The Active Side of Infinity don Juan says:

“There are scores of outside forces controlling you at this moment,” he says. “The control that I am referring to is something outside the domain of language. It is your control and at the same time it is not. It cannot be classified, but it can certainly be experienced. And above all, it can certainly be manipulated. Remember this: It can be manipulated, to your total advantage, of course, which again is not your advantage, but the energy body’s advantage. However, the energy body is you, so we could go on forever like dogs biting their own tails, trying to describe this. Language is inadequate. All these experiences are beyond syntax.”

During recapitulation we are given the opportunity to train our awareness through re-experiencing our pasts. This is the ultimate gift of doing a thorough and fearless recapitulation; our awareness not only grows, but eventually becomes a seamless and natural accompanist as we navigate our lives. During my own recapitulation I often met inorganic beings in dreams, often frighteningly odd creatures that captivated my attention. One day when I mentioned them to Chuck he told me not to focus on them. “They are the scouts in the universe looking to grab your awareness,” he said, “and take you back to an old place, attempting to usurp your energy for their own use.” I took this very seriously. Don Juan basically tells Carlos the same thing in The Art of Dreaming. On page 28 he says:

“…Dreaming has to be a very sober affair. No false movement can be afforded. Dreaming is a process of awakening, of gaining control. Our dreaming attention must be systematically exercised…”

Lately, perhaps because I have been reading and writing about them, inorganic beings have been appearing in my dreams. In one dream, Chuck and I travel to a Mexican desert town by car. Upon arrival at a crowded bus station we come upon two strange men covered from head to toe with yellow dirt. I know that they have been fighting and that we are in the midst of drug-related gang territory, that everyone at the bus station is somehow connected to a drug cartel. Chuck tosses them a towel from the car so they can wipe the sand off. At this point my awareness kicks in and I am immediately cautious. It is then that I begin to notice that everyone in this town is odd in some way and many of the people have large pumpkin shaped heads on skinny bodies. I thwart my gaze so that I do not look at anyone directly. The dream goes on, but the point I am making is that my awareness took note of the oddness of the situation and without hesitation took appropriate action to protect my energy. As opposed to earlier dreaming during my recapitulation when my awareness would speak to me, saying, “Don’t look!” at such times (essentially warning me, as Chuck had, to not get caught), now my awareness and I are in synch.

In a second dream, a tiny naked man, about a foot tall, appears several times, crossing slowly and suggestively back and forth in front of me, obviously trying to get my attention. He looks like a tiny skinny naked Waldo from the Where’s Waldo series of books. Once again my awareness takes note and without hesitation, my guard kicks in and I shift my gaze. I do not focus on him, though at an earlier stage in my awareness training I might have been very drawn to his comical appearance.

In a third dream, my mother appears, looking very odd, her head large, her features distorted, acting in an uncharacteristic manner. I immediately know that the inorganic beings are trying to trick me. They know that we are drawn to attach to those who are most familiar, yet my awareness is immediately aroused by this strange version of my mother. I do not fall for the attempted trickery. Again, I turned my gaze downward and watch sideways through my eyelashes as this odd being does some exceedingly strange things, not at all like my mother in her true form. Eventually she meets up with two strange looking men whom she links arms with and the three of them go wildly dancing and skipping down the street, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz prancing down the yellow brick road with the lion and the scarecrow. Without attachment I turn away and go back into the dream that had been unfolding before I was interrupted.

In these examples, I stress the importance of being aware, of training our awareness. And how do we do that? The first thing is to understand the “Not I” of our dreams. Jung suggests that everything in our dreams is us, but he also cautions that we must learn about archetypal energy so that we do not get caught by it. In essence, he warns us to not engage the collective unconscious, inorganic beings, until we are ready, even though archetypal energy seeks us out all the time. As don Juan suggests to Carlos regarding inorganic beings: they exist all the time and they are trying to control us; which is equally true for the archetypes that exist in the collective unconscious.

So, by questioning what is “Not I” we begin a process of inner work that eventually will lead to recognizing the scouts, the inorganic beings that come to us in whatever shape or form they may use. Their attempts may be very personal, they may come in the form of our biggest fears or they may be comical, clownish attempts to attract our attention. We can begin training this aspect of recognition by intending this step before we dream or even before we begin our day. Perhaps a simple mantra will do: Please help me to recognize and be aware of that which is “Not I” in my dreams and in my life, or something like that.

The next step is to decide what to do about these inorganic beings once we do recognize them as “Not I.” Don Juan says that it is always an individual’s choice what to do with them, but he also cautions not to engage them until we have enough energy and awareness or we risk getting into trouble. As Jung suggests, engaging the collective unconscious without doing our homework can lead to psychosis. The dangers are that we might get fascinated by them, that we might get inflated and think we can handle them, or that we might underestimate them, seeing them as harmless and funny. It is equally important to not get frightened by them and run away. If we are indeed to gain awareness, we must learn to stand our ground. Here are some practical precautions, as inorganic beings approach in dreaming and perhaps in real time as well:

Don’t play with them.

Don’t stare at them.

Don’t draw them to you.

Don’t engage or speak to them.

Don’t throw yourself at something you don’t understand.

Be suspicious and cautious.

Protect your energy.

Learn to use the inorganic beings that appear in dreaming and in life to strengthen awareness. In strengthening our dreaming awareness we eventually arrive at a place where we can begin to engage what appears so strange and mysterious in our dreams, but from a place of power, just as we train our awareness to recognize the Flyer’s Mind in our everyday reality. This training leads to appropriate detachment and new stores of energy that we can then use for ourselves alone.

When we get to this place of strength, with enough personal power to navigate the world of the inorganic beings and the collective unconscious, when we are naturally more aware, acting from instinct and knowledge, our journey becomes fascinating rather than frightening. When we have worked with our personal energy, successfully contained and trained it, then are we ready to find out why the inorganic beings are present and what they are trying to tell us. For they do in fact have something to teach us, they come to challenge us, but they also want payback. They give, but they also take. There is always an exchange and until we are prepared and strong enough, we may get ourselves into trouble, caught in energy draining unawareness.

I have been aware of the inorganic beings in both my dreaming world and my everyday world for a long time now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get caught by them. Again and again we fall for their trickery, we let them entertain us, and we get caught in old habits of repetitive behavior that keep us stuck. There is always the opportunity to learn from them, but the first challenge is always the same, and it resides in the choices we make. For even though we may have learned to recognize the inorganic beings in our lives, we are still apt to engage them, inflatedly thinking that we can outwit them this time. Or even, as I have been doing in my dreams, avoiding them, perhaps because of an underlying fear of what they might have to tell us about ourselves, or because we fear they may take us into unknown territory.

Fortunately, being the seekers that we are, we eventually get the message that it’s time to confront our nemeses and take our awareness to a new level. And that is what I intend to do next in my dreams. At least I think I might do that, but of course I may decide at the last minute that I’m not ready yet, and that’s okay too!

If you wish, feel free to share or comment in the Post Comment section below.

Sending you all love and good wishes; and watch out for those inorganic beings!

NOTE: Books mentioned in this blog are available in our Store under the Shamanism category.