Tag Archives: participation mystique

Chuck’s Place: Will & Intent

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico make an important distinction between will and intent. Will is automatic, intent requires consciousness. Will issues from the land of participation mystique, where individuals or whole nations unconsciously follow the leader. With intent, consciousness taps into that same underlying energy as will, but assumes control of its manifestation.

Intend with the consciousness of a yogi…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

A concrete example of the distinction between will and intent is a Yogi who is capable of assuming conscious control of the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Thus, bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion—generally controlled by the ‘will’ of the body—can be co-opted to function according to the conscious ‘intent’ of the yogi.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that the underlying energy and power of manifestation of both will and intent come from the same source, the greater energy of intent in the universe that manifests all things. The only difference between them is simply who is in charge: nature’s archetypes or consciousness? Like the yogi, the shaman cultivates the power of intent at a fully conscious level, assuming control of what ordinarily happens when we function at the level of participation mystique.

The greatest obstacle to mastering intent, according to don Juan Matus, is limiting beliefs. We simply do not believe that we can manifest simply through intending a change. Abraham, as channeled through Esther Hicks, taught the law of attraction. Simply put, what we think is what we manifest. Thus, if we intend a change but constantly doubt our ability to manifest it the energy of our intent receives an ambiguous message: “change but don’t change, because I can’t change!” This compromised intent manifests a stalemate, no change.

The simplicity of simply stating an intent, of holding an intent as an agent of change, just seems too darned simple to our modern rational sensibility. We either argue about its impossibility, defeat it in doubt, or too meekly state it for it to be heard by the greater intent of the universe, which we personally tap into when we intend.

To not assume conscious responsibility for intent is to largely leave the direction of our lives in the default position of will, where we mystically participate in the rule of the archetypes. These archetypes are then projected upon the outer world where they organize perceptions and mental judgements, in essence manifesting the world we live in.

The incessant voice of ongoing commentary within the mind, what the shamans call the internal dialogue, essentially reinforces the will of the archetypes, which becomes how we experience life. Thus, when the world leader presents his view of the world in a state of the union address, world citizens are unconsciously drawn to project the archetype of the king upon him and assimilate his words as their personal intent or worldview.

The phenomenon of hypnotism illustrates the power of a message to manifest an outside intent. Suggestions from outside of us, like the suggestions we give ourselves, unawarely through our internal dialogue, become the commands we automatically manifest in our beliefs and actions.

Intent itself is impervious to morality. Intent is a pool of energy awaiting a command, a direction to manifest. Thus, for instance, there are ‘good’ shamans and ‘bad’ shamans, as Star Wars so eloquently demonstrates. If the force is equated with intent, the crucial question is, who will command the force, the light or the dark side? Intent can manifest either way, for purposes of good or evil.

It rests with the individual to decide the fate of intent, in fact, the fate of the world. Consciousness itself is the first rupture with the automatic adherence of the individual to the will of the archetypes. The Pope recently pointed to the apple in Eden as the first example of fake news. From this perspective he acknowledges that the intent of consciousness ‘sins’ against the will of the archetypes, or perhaps what he would call the will of God, as the individual is freed to engage in the  ‘fake news’  of consciousness and offered the opportunity to act with intent. His concern is duly noted given the current state of affairs in the world.

With freedom comes responsibility, what the world is faced with assuming right now. It begins within the individual. How will I use my personal power of intent? Many entities have a powerful interest in commandeering my intent for their own ambitions. As malevolent as this might sound and be, simply watch nature; watch the birds. All life feeds upon life. The dark side is part of life.

Nonetheless, with consciousness we are freed to intend balance within ourselves and balance within our world. Balance, like the Tao, finds a place to incorporate all that is, light and dark. Of course, consciousness can equally choose to align itself solely with the dark side, thereby delivering to the light side a great challenge for growth. Here we see the value and necessity of the dark side.

Intent is the message you choose to deliver to the greater pool of energetic intent to manifest in your life and your world. Keep it simple, repeat it often. Grapple with your ambivalence, face the shadow of your intent, incorporate its truth into your intent. When doubt seeks to sell you its wares acknowledge it then shift to stating your intent, incessantly. Don’t attach to outcome, free intent to set the course of the journey, wherever it takes you. Suspend judgement of the current state of manifestation of your intent. Remain persevering. Hold your intent with the lightness of a feather as you gently send it off on the wings of intent.



Chuck’s Place: Participation Mystique vs. Consciousness

The nurse hands you the cup and gives you a suggestion: “Turn on the faucet; it will help you to pee.” The image, the sound of flowing water invites your body to do the same and voilà, you mysteriously participate with nature’s flow, becoming the river that fills the cup.

Black sheep leading…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Human beings are social creatures, Barak Obama reminds David Letterman in a recent interview, they are predisposed to mimic what they are exposed to.

Specifically he cited the different worlds we now live in generated by the algorithm we are drawn to that then plays to us, whether it be through social media or news source. Although people might occupy a shared geographical space they live in separate realities, mystically adhering to and mirroring the prompts of their specific algorithm.

Jung was even more basic. He observed that human beings have barely emerged from their state of animal unconsciousness where perception and action are governed by nature’s inherited programs, the instincts and archetypes. Participation mystique is the governing principle of life at this very limited stage of consciousness. As social beings humans unconsciously construct and participate in life by projecting the basic archetypes of hierarchy, order, and meaning upon their fellow humans and behave accordingly.

For example, as Freud keenly observed, there is a fundamental consistency to family structure that includes the hierarchy of parental authority and sibling birth order, as well as the expectation of need fulfillment unconsciously projected upon different family members. His major discovery, the Oedipus complex, which he considered to be universal, governs the human struggle to wrench one’s inherent primary love attachment from within the family to find fulfillment beyond the nuclear family.

This primacy of the family archetype then extends to life beyond the family where issues of authority, loyalty, need and relationship are riddled with or overshadowed by the same archetypal expectations and experiences first encountered in, and greatly colored by, one’s family experience. This unconscious identity between family members projects itself forward into all significant relationships, obliterating the true identity of the individuals engaged with each other.

Thus, issues of problems with authority reflect experiencing one’s boss as one’s parent. The foundational archetypal relation to parent is transferred to characters in the world-at-large who occupy positions of authority. Our bodies and psyches mystically participate in primal reactions when in interaction with authoritative figures.

Similarly, feelings and beliefs of unworthiness with peers or a potential partner often mirror one’s experience with their primary parental love object in childhood, now transferred to new relationships. Irrespective of the actual social reality, an individual mystically participates with others according to archetypal patterns that generate a worldview and sense of self that may have little truth in actual objective reality.

In effect, participation mystique means that we unconsciously assume roles and react to the world according to innate responses activated by environmental cues just like the body responds to the cue of flowing water and fills the cup.

The world’s human population now struggles with its natural state of participation mystique with the ultimate authority on earth, the United States president. At a profoundly unconscious level all are influenced, like involuntarily peeing in a cup, to mimic the mood, world view and expectations of the United States president.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico saw the Earth, Gaia, as a sentient being encased in its own cocoon. All life upon the Earth mystically participates as parts of her living cocoon, like a flock of birds automatically flying in prescribed formation.

The human population appears to be the brains of Gaia with the human tribal leader, the United States president, directing the show. The rest of the human population, influenced at the level of participation mystique, follows the leader.

To deviate from participation mystique is to assume consciousness, which has the ability to pause, reflect, and decide upon a course of behavior. This course of action might be the exact opposite of nature’s archetypal promptings. This is the sin of consciousness, the ability to deviate from our inherent psychic laws, the archetypes, that have unconsciously governed life for eons.

Who put us up to consciousness, the ability to think and act freely, separate from the promptings of the natural order, the instincts and archetypes? It appears that nature herself advanced her psyche to the possibility of consciousness to improve  evolutionary efficiency. Rather than wait through eons of natural selection we now have the ability to change the conditions of life on Earth in a heartbeat.

As we can see in our lifetime, this ability to consciously choose our destiny is functioning at a highly immature level. Global warming is a perfect example. I imagine that Gaia scratches her head as to why she allowed consciousness at all, as participation mystique may have managed much better to preserve balance upon the planet. Gaia is now correcting our errors through nature’s storms. How far she will need to go to humble our inflated consciousness remains to be seen.

In psychotherapy, healing requires a combination of consciousness and participation mystique. Consciousness enables us to oppose our automatic instinctual reactions, participation mystique gives us nature’s healing experiences to truly cross the bridge to new life.

When Carl Jung told Bill W’s friend, Roland H., to go and find a religious cure, as he could not cure him of his alcoholism, he was guiding him to tap into the power of nature’s archetypes—a power greater than consciousness—to lift the compulsion of his disease through a participation mystique experience with God. AA is the consequence of his transforming participation mystique experience.

On the other hand, if we follow our sheepish unconscious participation mystique promptings to follow our world tribal leader without consciousness, nature will be compelled to challenge us with a much greater survival scenario that forces consciousness to a more truthful and responsible level. This is the learning curve our world consciousness is currently engaged in.

Participation mystique and consciousness are actually partners in a fulfilling life. Once again the spirit of consciousness must reconcile with its human animal nature, with its unconscious power of participation mystique. May they arrive at the right relationship for the sake of our planet!



Chuck’s Place: Participation Mystique

What is that mysterious thing that we are struck by? - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
What is that mysterious thing that we are struck by?
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Magically and mysteriously we are emotionally struck by and drawn to the energy of another. That being, whom we hardly know, ruptures our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual homeostasis. We become riddled with fear, obsession, anxiety and awe.

This experience is not under conscious control; this is a seizure of the ego by energies much deeper and infinitely more powerful than our meagre bastion of rationality. We cannot talk ourselves out of it; we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

The energies that take possession of us are the energies of individuation, the deepest truths of who we are, driving us to rapturously discover our wholeness. However, these energies require the full participation of consciousness if we are to truly become fulfilled in our human form. In mandala terms, we must consciously “square the circle” if we are to become our wholeness. We begin to square the circle by becoming aware that we are in a state of seizure.

In a state of seizure our unconscious energies have bonded and melded with the energies of another. That is the inner experience and sometimes it is the outer experience as well—sometimes two people meet in an equal state of seizure. More often, though the inner experience is compelling, the seizure is one-sided. We are blindsided by the unconscious power of projection that mysteriously binds us with the soul and substance of another being. It matters not whether the experience is one of adoration, exaltation, love, or utter disgust—we are mysteriously and inseparably enmeshed with this other being. We are completely distraught, as a vital part of our own living essence walks freely and separately in the world apart from us in this other person. Our minds and hearts obsess as we fear the loss of our soul.

Our projection might be something else entirely! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Our projection might be something else entirely!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Though that person may be on the other side of the earth, though they may not even know we exist, it matters not; we are inseparably entwined. Years might pass, but our utter devotion to this soulmate is undaunted. Time is meaningless in our timeless commitment to this transcendent experience; and that experience allows no other soulful being in. We may even marry another, but our soul remains faithful to its nemesis, on the deepest level never embracing our official partner. Such is the mystical participation of our soul with its chosen other.

Consciousness of our state of seizure cannot change the power of our unconscious emotional bondage, but it does afford us the ability to not blindly act in accordance with our unconscious mandate that lies at the root of our passion. The decision to hold back an action may throw us into great despair, or even depression, as the unconscious reacts by withdrawing its energies from even the simplest tasks of daily life. But such a decision does affirm our intention to act responsibly and with consciousness, even if it means banishment to the desert for a spell. The goal here is to establish a conscious relationship with the unconscious, based on a partnership versus a blind allegiance to the dictates of instinct and compulsion.

For consciousness, the task is to unearth and resolve the reason for the compulsive, mysterious tie to an other. This might mean facing issues from earliest childhood or deep woundings from other times in our lives, asking the inevitable questions that might lead to conscious clarification. Why has the unconscious chosen this being? Why am I being asked to take this journey with this person? Why is the unconscious insisting that something about this person so mirrors something about myself? Am I willing to take this journey and consciously face the facts as they unfold? Do I need to completely oppose the outer journey, and cloister myself to a direct inner encounter with the root of my desires?

Participation mystique, ultimately, is the language of the unconscious. It engages us in entanglements with beings in the world whom reflect the jewels of our own wholeness. If we read this language concretely, and passionately act out its energies as they possess us, we are strewn about the ocean waves without the benefit of a navigating vessel.

Consciousness gives us our vessel to navigate the ocean of infinity with. Consciousness gives us the choice to learn our lessons in the outer world or in the inner world. Consciousness allows us to shorten our terms of bondage to obsessive projection. Though we can’t consciously lift the obsession, we can oppose blind allegiance to it, whereby introverting the playing field and allowing for symbolic resolution within the self.

The alchemy of love... - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
The alchemy of love…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Ultimately, love is a conscious process. True, the energies of the deepest human needs must enter a love relationship, but passion without consciousness can never equate to love. To be free to love, we must first be freed of the lessons of compulsion, that which is mysterious participation without consciousness.

Obsessions eventually lift as we integrate into our wholeness our genuine ability to love and be loved, as we square the circle of our being with consciousness. The unconscious will always communicate its secrets, but as full-fledged conscious partners we are freed to mystically participate in ongoing adventures of life and love.

From the mystique of it all,

Note from Wikipedia regarding what Carl Jung said about the subject: “PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity. (Jung, [1921] 1971: paragraph 781).”