Know yourself. Get to know and understand yourself, how you tend to operate, what triggers you to act or to defend, what causes you to stress out, to overdo, to fall into childish patterns of behavior. In knowing yourself the goal is to confront all those things about yourself that stand in the way of your progress, to free yourself from them so that you may arrive at a place of humility, love and compassion for yourself and others; for in knowing yourself you will know and understand everyone else as well. Get to know yourself in the deepest way so that you may experience life in the deepest way as well.
It is not forgiveness that is needed as you move on in your journey of change but acquiescence to the bigger picture, to acceptance of yourself as part of the whole, which includes you and everything that you’ve done and everything that has been done to you. There are no victims or perpetrators in the bigger picture, there are only actors playing the parts they have been assigned. When you accept your own role in the bigger picture you discover that you were not a pawn but a superb facilitator of that which was and is necessary for your own evolution and the evolution of all those whom played parts in your life’s drama. Well done!
I stood on a steep embankment below a massive felled tree that had been cut into large rounds, ready to be split into firewood. I’d carefully been rolling down one heavy round at a time to a more level spot where I could split the wood. Three large rounds were pressed together at the top of the hill. I reached up, placing my hands on them, and started to rock them. They rocked as a group.
I got excited at their stored energy coming to life and the prospect of rolling the three together, as a unit. A voice inside said, “that’s a bad idea.” Too late. I rocked them and they started to roll toward my head at full force. Somehow I leaped out of the way as they picked up momentum. One crashed into a tree and stopped. The other two speedily descended hundreds of feet to the stream at the bottom of the mountain.
Truthfully, I have not been able to fully recapitulate how I got away. My ego consciousness was instantly supplanted by a more seasoned High Self that took command of my body and applied instinctive knowhow to jump out of the way and survive.
Trauma shifts one into a state of heightened awareness, which records one’s non-ordinary experience and where one is introduced to knowledge and abilities that defy the ego’s rational sensibilities. Oftentimes people have an out-of-body experience during a traumatic situation, as the High Self shields the vulnerable ego from an experience it is ill-prepared to take in.
Four indigenous children were rescued this past week, having survived for forty days in the Amazon jungle after their plane crashed, killing their indigenous leader and their mother four days later. Forty days is the archetypal eon for meeting a great spiritual challenge. In the heightened awareness of their trauma they were surely guided and protected by the spirits of their mother and leader, steadfastly present with them until they were rescued.
Master shamans teach their students in states of heightened awareness. The task of the student is to fully retrieve a memory of an experience, at the level of ego consciousness, in order to be ready and worthy of the knowledge being recapitulated. The same is true in trauma work. When the victim is ready they will become enlightened to the fullness of their previously dissociated experience. That’s when we fully learn our greatest lessons.
It would be convenient and partially true for me to identify an ego inflation, or influence from a parasitic entity, to explain my decision to rock and roll. However, the truth is that I quite knowingly signed up to have that experience. I fully own my impulsive decision.
What wants to be communicated here is that we are both good and evil, devil and angel. To truly become our whole self, we must own and reconcile with all the oppositions within the self. “Resist ye not evil,” said a great Master.
That evil within flirts with adventure, sometimes high stakes adventure. If we never take a risk we’ll be safe, but we’re sure to be saddled with regret. If we don’t approach, we won’t be rejected, but we’ll surely be alone. Everyone is told to be good, but truthfully, good can also be boring.
The human shadow is largely composed of characters and attitudes that compensate for our whitewashed conscious attitudes. So, for instance, if we are shown a highly desirous character in dreaming that we cannot consciously identify with, that character is most likely balancing out a rigid, morally bound, conscious definition of self.
It’s not so much that we secretly are that exaggerated character, but a part of us, that is more honest with the fullness of who we are, resorts to this persona to demonstrate to the ego the depths of its one-sidedness.
Reconciliation of this opposition would be the ego accepting the truth of its fuller self and its fear of living it. This acceptance of the shadow invites the shadow, with all its desirous energies, into a greater partnership with the ego and opportunities to find ways in life to live its fullness. Wholeness is truly a reconciliation with, and inclusion of, all the opposites that we are.
I’m quite certain my crazy stunt with the heavy tree rounds was not a hidden dance with death. Though, at the same time, every moment of our lives might be our inevitable appointment with death. For shamans, keeping this knowing in the forefront of consciousness gives living its fullest realization.
My tale of power and stupidity insisted on being shared to demonstrate that we are all devils and angels. Finding the right balance and creating a working relationship with these component selves is the key to refined, integrated wholeness, and spiritual advancement.
Time to chop some wood, and I promise to be careful, Chuck
Why, in so many Greek myths, are gods having intimate relationships with mortals? Even the Christian narrative has Mary, a mortal human, impregnated by an immortal Holy Spirit!
The human significance of these heavenly stories is their reflection of the mortal and immortal duality of all human beings.
Human individuals are born as twins, each with a mortal body as host to its companion immortal soul. The great world myths and religions offer hints and milestones to traverse this multidimensional adventure of life.
This twinship phenomenon extends further into the soul level itself. Most humans are born with a blank slate, unaware of their immortal or royal history in infinity. This is a constant motif in world mythology: the unknowing prince or princess raised by adoptive humble countryfolk. Many a myth charts the journey of that innocent child to discover and assume its royal birthright.
This is the fate of the human ego as well, the part of the soul which believes itself to be mortal. Born in a blank slate of amnesia, it assumes the identity of its family and its internalized socialization from its milieu. This is Clark Kent before he discovers he is Superman.
Severed from the knowing of its immortal heritage and powers, the ego remains in a realistic state of inadequacy as it struggles to master the ways of the world, seeking to become an adult and assume responsibility for its life.
Ego identifies itself with its mortal body, a being subject to time and space that is young, becomes old, and dies. As the active decision-making center, the ego is the masculine/animus center of the soul.
Meanwhile, the Google part of the soul, the subconscious mind, houses both the deeper knowledge of the soul’s journey through infinity as well as links to all knowledge. Furthermore, the subconscious runs all the workings of the physical body and has great ability to manifest anything.
However, as powerful as the subconscious is, it lacks the consciousness and free will of the ego. It relies on suggestions or inherent programs to take action. The subconscious is the receptive feminine/anima center of the soul.
The High Self is the part of the soul that retains the connection to its immortal being and is largely responsible for arranging the true mission behind the ego’s purpose in this life.
Incarnation into time/space is a chosen opportunity to master a karmic challenge that accrues to the overall soul’s greater evolution. The ego is assigned the task of this karma, and it submits to temporary amnesia as it enters human form to allow the mission to unfold: to master being an ordinary human, a being who is going to die.
The ego protects itself by splitting off and disowning its unacceptable parts, casting them into its shadow. The shadow houses undigested traumas, as well as powerful emotions and instinctual impulses. The shadow also retains an almost visceral sense of its royal roots, which fester as deep entitlement and grandiosity.
Sometimes the ego, in its deep sense of inferiority, can become possessed by its shadow’s entitlement, resulting in a narcissistic grandiosity, also known as ego inflation. As well, the ego may be subject to the shadow’s frustrated state of limitation, due to its alienation from its royal roots, resulting in hopelessness and deflation. Both inflation and deflation trace their roots to divine heritage through over- or under-identification with royalty.
The primary challenge for every ego is to discover and master its real reason for being in this life. Generally this can be ascertained by the central motif it most struggles with in the groundhog day cycles of its daily life.
The most powerful weapons for the ego, as it embarks upon the hero’s journey of mastery, are innocence and truth. By disidentifying with both inflation or deflation, the ego is able to face, master, and integrate its shadow.
The ego must embark upon this night sea journey into its shadow by recapitulating its life thus far lived, descending into the underworld of its shadowland to retrieve its lost soul parts. During the journey, the subconscious, which houses the ego’s shadow, opens its treasure trove of gifts and challenges as the ego ventures into the mythic inner witches’ abode in the forest of self, or the trickster’s labyrinth of dead ends, as it unravels the deeper truths of itself.
Tackling its deepest issues with humility, the ego can suggest positive affirmations to itself, which the subconscious may then go on to manifest. Support is also given from the High Self portion of the soul, which provides guidance through synchronicities that enable the ego to discover its own spiritual nature, which it can then freely choose to align with.
As the ego fulfills its true mission for this life, the High Self and the subconscious deepen the ego’s knowledge of its immortal roots and abilities, opening the door to deeper exploration of its coexistent life on subtler levels of being.
Ultimately, when the mortal twin’s body dies, the immortal energy body that has housed ego, subconscious, and High Self consolidates and continues its fantastic journey of soul into infinity.
Be aware of negative thinking, how you automatically begin the usual pattern of negative self talk, how you can’t seem to shift away from old thoughts simply because they are so ingrained. Investigate them as they arise. Are they actually true? Sometimes they are just old ideas that no longer have meaning or value. Sometimes they point to some other underlying issue that perhaps once had power but no longer does. Combat negativity with positivity and discover that you have indeed changed. Allow things to shift in a new direction because it’s actually the right thing to do.