Tag Archives: OCD

Chuck’s Place: OCD, ADD & the Energy of Manifestation

My daughter was 4 years old. Her nursery school class sat in a circle as they prepared for their Halloween parade while parents and spectators waited on the grounds of the Randolph School.

I arrived early and decided to put on a scary mask before entering the school. I was immediately accosted by two warrior women teachers who chided my innocence, insisting I remove the mask to not freak out the children.

In nursery school, and for most of childhood, children are socialized to a world of predictable, familiar, routine behaviors. This consistency enables a sense of security that fosters the building of a solid self capable of taking on the world. An unexpected adult wearing a mask, even on Halloween, is too shattering for a child’s fragile ego in its formative stages.

For many reasons our energy gets blocked in…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Taken to its extreme, a perfectly predictable world of supreme order is the intent of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). When we are in the OCD part of our being we are protecting ourselves from disruptive intrusions that threaten our security. Turning to habit and prescribed patterns of ordering our lives and environment promise to ward off danger.

When life becomes dominated by adherence to routine our entire energy reserves are deployed to uphold our familiar, safe, and secure world. In such times we have no energy available to manifest something new. In fact, regardless of what we might wish were different, our actual energy deployment is actively blocking any change. It continues to seek solace in the known and familiar, however unhappy that makes us.

Manifestation requires that we free our energy from our routines. The shamans teach us that all the energy we will ever have in our lifetime is the energy we were born with. If we want our energy for something new, we have no choice but to shift the way we employ our inherent  energy and point it in a new direction.

The greatest consumer of our inherent energy is self-importance. In modern times this translates into our relentless pursuit of attention and validation. Withdrawing our habits of seeking approval and validation for our appearance, be it our clothing choices, hairstyle, Instagram photos or Facebook comments, would provide a huge deposit of energy into our savings bank for manifestation.

Withdrawing our rigid attachment to our daily habits is another source of energy for redeployment in manifestation. Something as simple as getting up because you happened to wake up 10 minutes before the alarm can shift the entire day into new possibilities of manifestation. Of course such an occurrence should not become a habit; perhaps it will be equally important not to hear the alarm the next day and awaken to a whole new set of possibilities!

ADD, the acronym for Attention Deficit Disorder is at the exact opposite pole of OCD. When we are at our ADD pole we are completely at the mercy of our impulses, all our vital energy exhausted with what captures our attention in the moment.

Such a depletion of vital energy also precludes any energy reserve for manifestation. The challenge at the ADD pole is to actually invite routine and habit to provide a structure that conserves energy waste. Thus, the person who lives life completely spontaneously might benefit from rigidly setting the alarm and conforming to some level of routine. In this case routine supports energy conservation.

It remains for each individual to assess which pole they naturally favor and institute the necessary changes to conserve energy. With manifestation it truly is all about the energy. To hold an intent with no available energy for manifestation is to get caught in an energetic whirlpool of wishful thinking.


From an old energy miser,


Chuck’s Place: The Opus of OCD

Alchemy in nature... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Alchemy in nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be viewed as the psyche’s attempt to achieve its wholeness through the ego’s encounter with its projections upon the outside world. On the surface this might appear contradictory to the debilitating impact of obsessions and compulsions, but a deeper understanding of the psyche’s drive for perfection, through the challenge of sorting through this disorder, may serve to redirect the focus of these powerful debilitations toward the far greater opus of achieving wholeness.

Carl Jung spent much of his professional career rescuing the archaic texts of alchemy from obscurity and through channeling alchemical information from the Akashic Records through various alchemical characters of his active imagination. Many astute clinical scholars have been utterly perplexed at the clinical usefulness of these musings. Jung never cared much for making his discoveries easily understood; he was an avid explorer of the unconscious who left for the future the task of discerning their pragmatic utility. Hardly a scholar, I find myself nonetheless tasked with making some of his discoveries relevant. And so, with OCD I find incredible alchemical relevancy.

Alchemy was, in an outer sense, the precursor of modern chemistry. But at its inner core, alchemy was the mystical tradition of many renowned scientists—Sir Isaac Newton among them—who sought to experience and resolve the mysteries of the soul. The opus of the alchemist was to take matter and transform it through a series of processes into gold, the symbol of ultimate value. These processes involved the differentiation, purification and synthesis of opposing elements into a cohesive whole. Similarly, the goal of human life is to reconcile the great polarities of living in this world with the energetic dimension beyond this world to achieve a golden wholeness of completion.

The alchemist started with matter in all its impurities—called the nigredo—that is, matter in its completely contaminated, mixed up state. It was then subjected to a series of alchemical operations to reach the full purity of gold. These purification processes included such functions as solutio, the dissolution of matter in water, as well as calcificatio, the burning off of impurities by fire. Jung saw these steps in the process as the alchemist’s projection of their own psyches onto the matter, and their ultimate art as a process of transformation. Transformation requires a sealed container where these operations can be securely housed.

In OCD, the psyche frequently projects the impurity of its internal polarities onto the contents of the material world. This intermingling is analogous to the mixing of the contaminated material at the beginning of the alchemist’s opus. In OCD, powerful compulsions elicit behaviors to separate out this contamination through ritual practices. An individual under the influence of these powerful projections is tormented by the potential danger of contamination and frequently engages the alchemical function of solutio—excessive hand washing, for instance—to rid the self of the impurities of contamination. Eventually, these unconscious projections inundate and ultimately overwhelm and severely restrict even the simplest of functions in daily life.

Beginnings of transformation... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Beginnings of transformation…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The opus for OCD treatment becomes one of detaching from the control of, and the automatic infliction of, the projections onto the outer world. The ego cannot control the projections, but it can take a behavioral stand against the compulsions that issue forth from the unconscious. Thus, although an obsession insists that “I’m contaminated” after a handshake, I can refuse to do the cleansing behavior that the compulsion insists upon as a means of relief. The true cleansing, the true purification process rests here, in the ego’s stand for reality over the projective veils of illusion. Here the ego acts as the sealed container for the alchemical process by bearing the tension of the urges of the projective psyche through not following its commands.

In its contained retort, the ego seals in the energy of the projective psyche and bears the mounting tension of its energetic pressure. This mounting pressure, seeking release, is the fire that then burns through the veils of the projective illusions. The substance is clarified and true reality is readied for synthesis into gold. The ego, thus having passed its test, accrues a piece of its lost wholeness. The Opus of OCD meanwhile moves on to its next mysterious projective challenge.

Eventually, the energies of the psyche transform OCD itself into a fact of a former life, no longer an energetic determinant. When that happens, the clarified energetic awareness thus achieved moves forward, freed to see and be in the world as it truly is.

Everything matters,