Tag Archives: Robert Monroe

Chuck’s Place: Beyond the Shadow of Doubt

The shadow is everywhere…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Reason is the dominant tool of the first attention, what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call everyday life. Beyond the first attention is the second attention, the world of energetic life, which is replete with all things irrational.

The Hindus note, for instance, that the emotional body component of the energy body, which is the home of powerful emotions and passions, is a prominent feature of the second attention.

Jung calls the second attention the collective unconscious, which lacking consciousness to guide volition, operates through the activation of powerful archetypes that can overwhelm the reasonable ego of the first attention, causing it to perform outrageous acts. To preserve the order and decency of normalcy, Jung asserts that these deeper dimensions of the psyche are repressed and housed in what he called the shadow, a component of the second attention.

Reason and shadow are mortal enemies, hence the natural tendency to keep them separated. Reason insists upon the rules of logic and fairness for decision making. Shadow insists upon the release of intense emotions and passions as its modus operandi, reason be dammed. Reason, in its own condescension, snubs the irrational shadow, misjudging the power of the repressed.

The history of humankind reflects the occasional reckoning of these two dominants in the clashes of world wars. Our current world predicament is a prime example of reason clashing with the formidable energy of the irrational. The world is rapidly disintegrating into such a primal clash at this very moment.

At a fundamental level the worlds of the first and second attention are layers of the same onion. As humans we are both consciously reasonable, solid beings, as well as irrational, energetic spirit beings. The totality of ourselves requires that we integrate these worlds despite their inherent opposition. Evolution is absolutely requiring such an advance at this time. How can we achieve this integration without the ultimate disintegration, Armageddon?

To begin, reason must address the limitations of its own belief system: “Things aren’t that bad… no one would let that happen…” In fact, the shadow thrives on letting anything happen that offers it powerful release.

Next, reason must recognize that shadow is a dimension of its own self. Reason often doubts this, despite the many addictions or obsessions that it notices in its own functioning. Does it also notice its fascination and vicarious excitement with the emotional outbursts of now?  Reason always believes that it has things under control, or that things are, ultimately, under control.

Reason must accept responsibility in developing a relationship with the energetic world of the second attention. When people discover the out-of-body world, they are often at first driven by insatiable desires, repressed in the first attention of everyday life. Maintaining the operation of reason, with the intents available in the second attention, is critical for deep responsible exploration.

I strongly recommend Robert Monroe’s three books, which detail his own journeys into the second attention with the evolving accompaniment of his first attention, reason. With his success and guidance, he is truly deserving of the title of American Shaman.

Exploration and reconciliation with the deeper dimensions of the self offer a playing field of deep soulful satisfaction, which checks the tendency of the shadow to need to project itself upon habits and outer events that mesmerize the ego and take over consciousness.

Ego must humble itself to the existence of energies within the self that are far more powerful than ego itself. Ego has reason, but that’s no match for the irrational. Ego, in its humble smallness, can say no however. What change would happen overnight in the world if all individuals just said no, not driving today, not consuming today? Such a world strike of no would force a different relationship with power.

Nonetheless, ego must not be unreasonable in its demands. The world of the irrational, the world of passion and spirit must be lived. Beyond the shadow of doubt, reason must join with its passionate, spirited, irrational self in deep exploration and life, beyond reason.

Living the irrational, with reason,


Chuck’s Place: From Specialness To Super Love

One of our animal co-inhabitants... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
One of our animal co-inhabitants…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

What distinguishes us from our animal co-inhabitants on this planet is ego. Animals live and limit their lives through their neatly defined instincts, which tell them when it’s time to eat, procreate, and defend, and when it’s time to turn off those instinctive drives. Animals don’t overeat, overpopulate, or over defend.

In contrast, the human animal, burdened with the added instinct of ego, must contend with the ego’s instinct to exert its power over the other basic instincts, as well as obtain a high level of validation from others as to its value, lovability, and importance.

Being the newest instinct on the evolutionary block, ego suffers from a basic immaturity in self-regulation and a deep insecurity as to its true worth as it takes up its place among the older, more well-established instincts housed in the human body.

The ego longs to feel special in an effort to override its deep uncertainty over its ability to manage the personality, the body, and the overall direction of its human life. Its insatiable need for validation draws it to seek constant attention from the world to assure it of its worth and desirability.

In fact, what we call love, co-opted by ego, is often an attempt to fill this deep hole of insecurity with a sense of specialness mirrored through the attention obtained through a partner. In fact, ego considers it its inalienable, birth-given right to feel special. The ego’s litmus test for true love is the ability of another to make it feel special.

Often the ego gives with the hidden motive of being validated for its “selflessness,” as well as to be given to in return. Carlos Castaneda never tired of pointing out this merchant mentality underlying our definition of love. He challenged us to consider that true love was a blank check, given not from a place of codependency but from a purely loving place, no strings attached.

Robert Monroe defined this refinement of love as Super Love (SL). He writes: “SL is a continuous radiation, totally nondependent upon like reception or any other form of return whatsoever. SL is.”

Super Moon Love... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Super Moon Love…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Monroe learned, during his many explorations of life beyond the body, that SL is an energy that exists throughout the dimensions, beyond life in this world.

However, life in this world offers one of the best places to access and refine SL, through the experiential evolutionary learning opportunities available through our many incarnations in this world.

The raw material of Super Love is to be found in the nurturing, sexual, romantic, and dependent relationships we long for and experience in our many lives and roles in this world.

The utter necessity for emotional attachment to begin life and to thrive in this world, coupled with the ego’s long path to maturity as it grapples with its identity and value, causes it to grasp for love with its brand of specialness for many lifetimes.

Ultimately, the insatiability of its quest and the emptiness of its fulfillment set the stage for the ego to come clean and admit the difference between its neediness and true Super Love.

Once this is realized, the ego it also ready to realize that the latent energy of SL has been veiled behind its quest for specialness all along. Ego comes to understand that attachment is really an attempt to solve its insecurities and that being special has really been all about assuaging those insecurities.

Once ego is ready to give up its ventures in specialness it gains access to the radiance of Super Love.

What it's all about... - Art & Photo by Jan Ketchel
What it’s all about…
– Art & Photo by Jan Ketchel

Super Love is totally detached from specialness and reciprocity. Super Love is. It radiates. It isn’t offended. It encompasses all.

We all have it. We all are it. And if we are here, we are also deeply engaged in the process of refining it.



Quote from Robert Monroe, Far Journeys, p. 257.

Chuck’s Place: Melding

“…I lead not one but three lives, hers, mine, and our meld…” Robert Monroe writes these words as he recapitulates another lesson from sleep school where he encounters the death of his partner and the depth of his love for her. As I read his description I know his experience.

I have never missed Jeanne since she left physical form. Her transition was our completion for this physical leg of our journey together. It was our graduation. The truth is, what Monroe calls “our meld” is right here and now, with me in every decision I make and every action I take.

Meld of heaven and earth... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Meld of heaven and earth…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I turn to our meld, that energetically merged being we created, and know “we” are in agreement as I come to a decision. At other times, I experience my separate self venturing into new life, kindling love in a new meld. Likewise, her separate self ventures in infinity on journeys I’m not privy to. From our original meld we granted each other the freedom to continue to evolve in both our separateness and our meld.

Our physical completion birthed new separate lives, and though the labor had its challenges the births we delivered ourselves to have been filled with joy. The results of our willingness to let go of where we once were has enabled our three selves—the meld of hers, mine, and ours that Monroe speaks of—to continue to evolve and circle back in the new constellations of the Soul Sisters of Jan and Jeanne, each of whom has shared separate journeys with me in this physical world and yet are joined in a new energetic relationship that allows us to live a magical possibility and share it with others. Anything is indeed possible!

What is required to achieve the magical, however, is detachment. I define detachment here as total acquiescence to the truth: Everything changes. If we can flow with the changes we remain connected and spawn new life and new adventures. If we resist and insist on holding onto an old relationship that has been completed, through death or in some other fashion, we simply are not ready to enter the next magical phase of relationship possibility and evolution.

Okay, you might say, but where’s the union, the sex, when your partner is no longer with you, no longer in the dense physical body state? How can a relationship evolve beyond physicality? Robert Monroe takes up this issue as well. As he explains in his out-of-body night school lesson:

“…that physical sexual drive is not the fundamental of this energy I don’t know what else to call but love, but one of the most common inducements to kindle the process… once the full flame is created, the inducement (sex) is not even the fuel that feeds it, but instead (becomes) a multileveled minor physical note in an infinite cord…”

Perhaps the greatest challenge of our species upon dying is letting go of the idea of our physical body’s desire for union. Many beings are so attached to this need that their energy bodies seek physical union after death, unaware that they have died and no longer have a physical body. Monroe states that of all the energetic bands that surround the earth this is the loudest and densest in population, a band of writhing energy populated by beings desperately seeking sexual union. Their insatiable desire for physical sexual union will only be fulfilled by new life in physical form, though they may writhe in this energy band for centuries before that new life occurs.

There is always the possibility of golden melding... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There is always the possibility of golden melding…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The lesson Monroe brings back from his encounter with this above mentioned energy band is the actual minor role of sexual union in the true experience and development of love. He calls sex an inducement to, but not actually a vital component of, the process of evolving love. And love is the greatest natural resource of our planet, but it must be refined and evolved to its true grandeur—beyond the inducements of sex and romance—to become a multileveled vehicle for deepening journeys beyond the physical, into infinity.

Of course, while in physical/animal form we must reckon with the instinctual need to reproduce the species and experience the fulfillment of the carnal desires of the body. It is part of life here. However, as Monroe discovers, the true fuel for love is the development of conscious relationship after the romance has relaxed. The creation of meld requires commitment, deep transparency, acceptance, compassion, respect, honesty, resonance, sharing, and a mutual desire for ongoing growth.

Perhaps most important for meld is total acceptance of change. If we can love in full acceptance that things will not stay as they are now then nothing stands in the way of creating a meld that seeds separate lives and a deepening magical adventure in infinity.


Robert Monroe quotes from: Far Journeys p. 119

Chuck’s Place: A Lesson In Action

No one can control the weather... so why worry! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
No one can control the weather…
so why worry!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Master out-of-body explorer Robert Monroe discovered, in his inter-dimensional travels, that when we sleep we attend school.

The energy body of human beings leaves its physical body partner every night and goes to classes where it is taught, by those more advanced, on how to wake up to its greater wholeness and advance to fulfillment during its life on earth.

Most of us transition back into our physical body and, as we awaken, quickly forget where we’ve been and what we’ve been taught. Often the lessons take the form of vaguely recalled dreams.

We may reencounter our nightly lessons later on as we move through our day, as they come in deja vu experiences or simply “knowings” that inform our perspective, decisions and actions.

Robert Monroe shared a valuable lesson from one of his nightly classes that he recapitulates in his book, Far Journeys:

“The major underlying cause of human worry relates to the Law of Change. All human conflict relates to this law. Some worry that change will take place, others that is will not. Wars are fought to resist change or to accelerate it.”

“At the individual level,” he goes on, “this translates into various forms of indecision. Fear enters into the pattern, fear of the consequences of any decision or action. The pressure builds up, intensifies as the decision is put off, delayed. The result accumulates toxins in all parts of the human system until there is failure or severe reduction in operating efficiency. Indecision is the Killer.” *

Monroe’s suggests an antidote to indecision by making three lists. On list A, we write all the things we are worried about but can do absolutely nothing about, for example, worrying about what the weather will be like tomorrow. Our task then is to destroy this list. Why spend energy on worrying about things we cannot control?

On list B, we are instructed to list all the items we are worried about that we can do something about today. We are then asked to immediately take some action, however small, on items on this list. These actions will release the flow of damned energy within us.

On list C, we are to write all the hopes, needs, and desires, however large or small, that have yet to be fulfilled. Then we are asked to take one item from this list and perform at least one action today, however small, that advances us toward the fulfillment of this hope, need, or desire.

An alternative, and perhaps more user-friendly approach to the list method is to simply notice when we find ourselves in a state of worry or emptiness and identify what the core issue is and what list it belongs on. If we can’t do anything about it, we throw it away by taking our attention off it, i.e., by focusing on breathing. If we can do something about it, we define and take action, however small, that advances it in its accomplishment.

A few decisions and we could be soaring along on our own revitalized energy... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
A few decisions and we could be soaring along on our own revitalized energy…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we follow either of these programs we will indeed reclaim and revitalize energy that has festered in a toxic pool of indecision and inaction. Furthermore, we will emotionally find ourselves on a path of serenity, as our definitive actions will move us closer to unburdening ourselves of worry and advance us more swiftly toward fulfillment.

Whether we remember our nightly lessons or not, we can advance ourselves every day by simply making our lists and taking action. It’s a sure way of releasing toxic energy and taking control of the life we are in, while simultaneously setting us on the path to creating a new, more fulfilling life.

In action,

* Quote from: Far Journeys, Robert Monroe, p.80

Lessons in a Life: The Great Unknown Known

Before sleep I call upon Robert Monroe, great out-of-body explorer and author of several books as well as guided meditations on the subject. “Will you take me on as your apprentice?” I ask. Before long I am asleep and dreaming.

Girl on beach, drawn as we all are... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Girl on beach, drawn as we all are…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I stroll along a boardwalk. On my left side is an endless row of doorways to video arcades, to adventures and games, places to learn and test skills. On my right is the ocean, dark and brooding.

I pop into one arcade after another, through wide doorways into big rooms, through narrow doorways, no wider than a sheet of paper, into rooms equally narrow. All doorways are accessible; no matter how thin, I simply slip in. I have many adventures in these various rooms, partaking in games of skill, learning how to manipulate and master everything that comes at me.

Every now and then I step back out onto the boardwalk and walk out onto the beach and step into the waves of the ocean. As opposed to the busyness of the arcade scene, all is calm and quiet here. I am calm and at ease here too.

All night long, while I dream, I partake in life along the boardwalk and in the arcade rooms. I play all the games. I am enticed, challenged, gain insights, skills, and a sense of power and prowess, and yet it all soon becomes repetitive and boring. At the end of the night, just before I wake up, I walk one more time out to the ocean’s edge and realize that this is what matters, this is what’s meaningful, this is the whole point of everything. I wake up in utter calmness.

The boardwalk is the path through life. We make many trips along that boardwalk, through many lifetimes, selecting how we want to live, being drawn here and there, walking the narrow planks over and over again.

The arcade rooms represent the many adventures we have, the choices we make to play one game or another, the things we are challenged with and the things we learn. Here all the desires, the wantings, the needs, the things of this world that we find so enticing are supplied, encountered, and experienced.

The ocean is the Great Unknown Known. I call it this because although it is dark and brooding and hard to see what lies in its depths, we sense such affinity with it. There is familiarity in its mystery and we are constantly drawn to it. We are drawn there by the High Self, our spirit urging us to discover what it offers, just as I was drawn in my dream. We go to it throughout our lifetimes, perhaps not as often as we go to the arcade rooms, but often enough that we all have a sense of its presence and significance in our lives.

Life's repetitions keep us going in circles... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Life’s repetitions keep us going in circles…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Our sense of familiarity with it, hard to pinpoint at first, becomes more realized as we get to know it better. For some, the unconscious, that Great Unknown Known, is frightening. To others it is calming though still mysterious. It will remain a mystery until we dive deeper into its depths and discover what it holds for us. Once we have gone into its depths enough times we gain a certain prowess and ease, equal to that which we gain in the reality of this world, as we engage in it, walking the boardwalks of our many lifetimes.

The more we explore the ocean, the more we feel its resonance, its energy so like the energy of our spirit. The more we enter it the more we gain a certain prowess in its waters. We might even experience the great depths of calm that came over me at the end of my dream as we dive deeper into the mysteries of the inner self. Even as we become calm in its waters, we are also aware that we have still much to learn, as its mysteries are endless. It is the vastness of infinity, and just that, infinite.

Each time I took a break from the arcade rooms and stepped into the ocean in my dream calmness came over me, and yet I always went back to the boardwalk and the arcades. By the end of the night, however, I got the message. It’s not the boardwalk and the endless supply of games, one more bedazzling, enticing and challenging than the next, but the deep and broody ocean that is important. It is where our spirit takes us over and over again. Our spirit knows it’s what we are really seeking, and that it offers all the adventure we really need.

The ocean, the Great Unknown Known, is the big draw. It offers the wonder and mystery of what lies beyond the boardwalk, beyond this world, enticing us to discover it for ourselves, asking us to test its waters as eagerly as we jump into another arcade game.

In the end it’s the balance between the two that we seek. We must let ourselves fully experience what the boardwalk offers, on both sides. We must fully live in this world, the arcade rooms, but also fully avail ourselves of the world of the Great Unknown Known. And that really means that we soon discover that it is not so unknown at all, but just another part of who we really are.

Where our heart knows we must go... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Where our heart knows we must go…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

There are many ways to go to the ocean every day, in sitting calmly, in simply breathing, in meditation, in just being, in refusing to do what we might normally feel we must do, in what the shamans call “not doing.” In “not doing” we refuse to go into the arcade rooms. Instead, we go to the other side of the boardwalk, slip into the ocean for a moment or two and wait for it to show us something. You too might ask for Robert Monroe’s help. I think he’s out there waiting.

For now, we must return to the boardwalk because that’s where we live, but the ocean is always right there.

Not doing,