Tag Archives: self-importance

Chuck’s Place: Facing Now

Time for your two selves to sit down and have a chat?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

On March 24, 1995, Tony Schwartz phoned Elmer Green to share his frustration that his recently reviewed book, What Really Matters (1995), which chronicled the development of the New Age spiritual movement in America, had sold so few copies. This despite favorable reviews in The New York Times and Fortune, and an upcoming guest appearance on PBS’s Charlie Rose.

When I went on to research Tony Schwartz, I discovered that he was the ghost writer for Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal (1987), the hugely successful, number one bestseller that first made Donald Trump a household name.

The coincidence and cognitive dissonance of Tony Schwartz, who has gone on to be one of the most successful proponents of New Age energetics, as applied to the workplace, being the same Tony Schwartz who first launched Donald Trump, is too compelling to ignore. Regardless of the findings of the Mueller report, Donald Trump was being groomed to become president by the forces of destiny, decades ago, as the prerequisite to the real launching of the Age of Aquarius.

Destiny insists that we reconcile our nature and our spirit selves for evolution to proceed now. Tony Schwartz reveals this polarity within himself in his 1995 call to Elmer Green. His outrage at his poor book sales, and his attachment to self-importance reflect his bottom-line-self, growling from his solar plexus chakra, saying, “what about me!?” On the other hand, the book he wrote speaks to the emergence of the New Age, reflecting a view from his heart chakra self, where the self-serving ego of the solar plexus chakra acquiesces to synchronicity and the importance of interconnected energy, versus self-importance and the will.

The fact that Tony Schwartz bemoans his role in Donald Trump’s rise in his 2016 statement on Good Morning America, where he characterizes his ghostwriting of Art of the Deal, as putting “lipstick on a pig,” suggests to me that he misses the true significance of his contradictory actions. All humans have two selves that must be reconciled with to advance both themselves and the human race.

To project the evil squarely upon a president, who may have stolen an election (even if it is true), is to dissociate from one’s own shadow self, which, as is evident in the Tony Schwartz example, continues to impact one’s life, albeit unconsciously.

The self of the first three chakras is embodied in the caricature of Donald Trump, and we all have that self. The first chakra is all about the wall and core safety. Do I have enough to survive? How much of our lives is spent on this obsession?

Birthright and entitlement spring from this chakra. Did I get the attention, resources, and security promised by the ruling archetypes of family? Have I settled with my core disappointments and resentments, or do I secretly harbor acrid bitterness and jealousy? Why do I really have to share? The bottom line is everything. “I’m all for spiritual enlightenment, just as long as I get my piece of the action,” is the perspective of this chakra.

The second chakra is truly the scourge of humankind. As a therapist of some 35 years, I know for certain that child sexual abuse is a hidden industry in all communities, at all socioeconomic levels of society. It’s an ancient shadow industry that reflects humankind’s inability to face the true depths of its animal sexual nature and, with the turning of a blind eye, relegates the instinct to target the most innocent and vulnerable.

The notion that human beings have mastered and integrated their sexual selves is absurd. Many ‘solve’ the issue of sexuality through dissociation from and repression of their sexual selves. This, of course, only empowers the collective dissociated instinct that flourishes in human trafficking and the hidden corners of spiritual traditions.

Even those moderately engaged with their sexual selves have to question how much of their sex lives are commandeered by manipulation, avoidance, obligation, personal gain, control, or simply a focus on personal desire. How much of the fullness of sexual desire is integrated with true love and meeting of another? To reach this level of refinement, sexual connection must travel to the heart center, where the egg of narcissism is cracked open to reveal the other.

The third chakra is all about personal power, as the ego comes into its own.  At this locale, the ego is all about Me. I want, I need, I deserve, I desire. These are the ego’s marching orders. It’s about agency and will, deeply colored by desire steeped in narcissism. The emboldened ego serves the desires of the physical plane, be they sexual or material. The tendency is to overindulge all the appetites and be granted attention for one’s specialness.

Though many may have settled for a codependent solution here, the shadow of that dissociated will-to-power fuels the energy of a Me First president, regardless of how deeply he may be consciously disavowed.

These concrete, primal, instinctual footings of the first three chakras are the basement foundation of our spiritual being, which resides in the heart chakra. Material accumulation, carnal desire, and personal power are the building block challenges through which our soul must pass. Though we may stalk the higher values of energetic interdependence and love for all beings, at the heart chakra, if we haven’t grappled with and made peace with our own first three chakras, our experience there will be overshadowed by unrequited need.

A well-seasoned warrior is one who has faced the power of the kundalini energy of the instinctual self within, and raises it for further refinement in love, compassion, truth, and right action of the heart chakra. Arrival at this heart-centered place marks the integration of the two selves, that which is needed for evolution to proceed now. As destiny is boldly reflecting to us now, we must cross the divide from the full experience of the lower chakras to the heart chakra for evolution to proceed.

The transformation of our political landscape, that which rules the world, is directly linked to each of us, as we face the fullness of our own natures. Soulful introspection into the truth of our inner opposition, as well as a sacrificial attitude that brings moderation to the heart, as well as acquiescence to the true leadership of the High SOUL, are the keys to this transition. This is our golden opportunity to face, now, with strong foundation, and launch ourselves into the spiritual potential of a truly enlightened New Age.

To be alive in such times as these is the envy of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, who treasured the opportunity for spiritual advancement as they faced the tyranny of the invading Conquistadores. Nothing tempers the spirit more than to shake loose the bindings of self-importance, that which is needed to cleanly arrive at the sobriety of the heart chakra. Owning the tyranny of narcissism, both within and as reflected without, is to find the ark to begin the journey across the great chasm of self-reflection to SOUL purpose.

Taking the journey,

Chuck

Cracking the Mirror of Self-Reflection

Virginia in 1935 at 16, her graduation photo from Julia Richman High School, Manhattan…

My Aunt Virginia, who died in 2012, left me her important papers, a partially written memoir, letters, jottings, and diary entries, which she had severely edited by slicing them out of her journals with a sharp knife, leaving behind only what she wanted posterity to see.

During our recent move to Virginia I came across the box where I had stored her stuff since her death and decided it was time to sort through it. What I found has been a treasure trove of family history, as well as an introduction to a complicated, fiercely intelligent, strikingly independent and delightful young woman.

I knew Virginia intimately my whole life as my aunt, my Godmother, and my spiritual mother, but as I poured over what she chose to leave behind I learned what she had never shared; her deepest struggles to figure out life, to live and love to the fullest, to use and be respected for her intellect. She was determined to not just do what was expected, to marry the first appropriate guy that came along with a decent job. She wanted true love, a soulmate, and she stuck to her guns about it, taking a unique stance for a young woman growing up in the 1920s and 30s, delaying marriage until it was right, in spite of the many attempts to marry her off.

She did meet her true soulmate when she was 30, a vibrant, brilliant young graphic designer who was making a name for himself in the New York graphic design world of 1950. It was a love affair that swept them both off their feet and into a whirlwind of intense love, emotion, and deep spiritual connection. He proposed to her on the first night they met and she accepted, though she was inclined to take things a bit slower than he. It turned out he was right to want to speed things up because it all ended tragically when he died suddenly and unexpectedly two months after they met, on the operating table during an emergency appendectomy of an allergic reaction to an anesthetic.

His death left her desolate, but it didn’t stop her; she sought to recapture that love and intense connection in another, and another. She gained insight and wisdom the hard way, by living and learning, by looking deep into her yearning heart and by using her keen mind. She once said, “It seems that you just keep on and that’s not even so bad, so long as you keep struggling!” The “struggle” she refers to is the soul’s yearning for something that only the heart will recognize when it finally comes around.

Virginia was born in 1919 and lived through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II. She lived most of her life in New York City, though she loved the countryside. When she was growing up the family always had a house elsewhere to venture to on weekends and during the summer months, a shack on the beach at Rocky Point, a farmhouse in Orange county, and later a permanent home in Dutchess County.

She held various positions in publishing, having worked at Harper’s Magazine, McGraw-Hill and the World Press Review. She was active in international relations during World War II, working at the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA), The United Nations Association, and for Professor and Legal Scholar Clyde Eagleton at NYU’s Graduate School of International Affairs during the founding of the United Nations.

Virginia was an insatiable reader, her library was vast and all-encompassing. She found something of interest in every book she ever read and every person she ever met. A prolific letter writer, she maintained lifelong friendships with several international pen pals, from her teen years until her death, or theirs, many of whom she never met in person. And, always, she aspired to being a “real” writer, like many of the great writers she met during her years in publishing.

Recently, Chuck wrote a blog that included insight into one of our most intriguing human psychological traits, one that we all innately possess, that of projection, and the power we have within us to use the mirror of self-reflection to achieve a higher state of self-realization, especially by confronting our feelings of self-importance.

He wrote: We begin by assuming responsibility for the fact that we, as individuals, reflect the reality we see without. Although it may be difficult to face this shadow truth, it is also quite empowering. You can read the whole blog here.

Among my aunt’s papers I found more than a few pieces that directly confronted her own struggles with this most common trait, the power of projection in the search for a soulmate. As Chuck wrote in Soulmate 101: At the psychological, or spiritual dimension, the soul mediates our spirit’s longing for itself in matter. The root of desire is this attractive force of spirit seeking appropriate matter to realize itself, or to manifest as a physical reality. To accomplish this, soul uses the psychological mechanism of projection.

Virginia was a jazz aficionado. As she wrote when she went to her first jazz concert at Town Hall in 1942: “I was struck dumb. I felt exactly as though I had been slugged with a baseball bat… I had come home. This was the music I had longed for, without knowing it. I knew it at once, though.” After that she could not get enough of jazz. She went to as many concerts as she could, read as many books on the subject as she could find, scoured the record stores for albums, learning as much as she could about this new music that was, as she wrote, “something to believe in.”

The following example of soulmate projection and reconciliation was written when Virginia was 38. She was facing the end of one soulmate projection and was soon to meet another soulmate, her husband-to-be, Max Kaminsky. Max was a well known jazz trumpeter and cornetist and she had been one of his biggest fans, meeting him shortly after that first concert she went to in 1942. They lost contact for many years then met again when she was 39 and he was 50. Eventually, they married and wrote My Life in Jazz together, a memoir of his long career as a jazz musician. Their marriage was intense and loving, and it lasted until Max’s death in 1994, the day before his 86th birthday. Here is Virginia’s reflection:

August 9, 1957

“Dad was talking tonight about how much the old-time performers gave of themselves—and it suddenly struck me—more forcibly than ever before in my life—how little I give of myself.

This is one of my worst blocks—I noticed it in myself in the car tonight with the two women [whom she frequently rode from the city with on weekends to visit the family farm in Dutchess County]—all they really want is pleasantness. I used to be so touchy, thinking that if I gave of myself they would have a power over me—is that it— or was it that I expected so much of them that when they misunderstood I became hurt, disappointed and offended.

But it’s a prison—one I’ve made all by myself. I’m a secretary because I act like one—goddammit—a stuffed shirt. What I have to get thru my thick head is that I am free-free-free, just as free as I choose to be and that it’s not those “other” people who are holding me back—it’s me.

I don’t have to believe in the role Jacques [the man she was in love with at the time] has assigned to me. I am perfectly free to love him if I choose—and in that way it’s none of his business—as long as I don’t, overtly or insidiously, ask for his love in return. That’s the counter, [the] balance—you are free just so long and in proportion to how little you try to exact from others.”

In this piece, my aunt reflects beautifully on herself, coming to a deeper realization that she is responsible for how she feels and views the world. In her analysis, she fully owns her own part in the unfolding of her life, deciding that she can choose as she pleases, as long as she doesn’t take what is not freely given, even energetically.

Here she breaks the mirror of her own self-reflection, withdrawing her projection and owning her own inner soulmate, preparing to live it in her physical life. In fact, it was a pivotal moment; without her even knowing it, she was preparing to enter a new reality, opening the way for further true self-realization. And as we know, she did meet her true soulmate, Max, shortly after this, perhaps because she was finally ready.

At the time, she held a limiting belief about herself, that she was only a secretary. Shortly after this, her papers reveal, she decided to give more of herself and volunteered to read to the blind. She ended up as a volunteer reader for many years, reading to law students, to college and high school students, when called upon. But the actual truth is that she grew far beyond the secretary self that she so bemoaned, eventually becoming the senior editor at Harper’s Magazine. I used to see her name on the masthead, third one down from the top, after the editor-in-chief and the managing editor. And she did become the writer she had always yearned to be.

Having opened the box containing my aunt’s things and discovering what she valued and chose to pass on, I too ask myself, do I give enough? Do I do enough? Am I kind enough?

Do any of us give enough? Are any of us kind enough? How much do we hold ourselves back because of our limiting beliefs, because of our entrenched defenses, our sense of entitlement, our regrets or resentments? Why are we so offended all the time?

I thank my aunt for the little bits she left behind, modest and humble in their number yet full of profound insight into a woman’s struggle to find her place in the world, and to matter.

In remembrance of a wise woman,

Jan

Chuck’s Place: The Power of the Small

We are one cell, one bundle of energy in the great mystery of Gaia…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we peek inside one single cell in our body we discover a self-contained universe of differentiated parts, working in unison to maintain the life of that single cell. Thirty-seven-trillion of these micro-universe cells coordinate to form a single human body. The health and well being of each of those individual cells contributes to the overall health and well being of the entire human body.

The Earth, Gaia, has its own biological body, of which humans, as cells, comprise a specialized unit. I would propose that on a macro-level the human race, as a whole, forms the frontal cortex of Gaia’s brain. In simple terms, the human race is Gaia’s ego consciousness center, the youngest part of the brain, that which is associated with the ability to override instinct and act instead with free will and reason.

Thus, when we speak of global warming as a function of human decision making, Gaia’s frontal cortex appears to be acting contrary to its overall survival needs. In fact, to carry the analogy further, the more ancient part of Gaia’s brain, the limbic system—home of powerful instinct and emotion—can be said to be releasing its destructive reaction toward human behavior in the storms, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, and diseases that punctuate our time.

Just as the frontal cortex does not fully come on line in humans until about age 25, the collective human frontal cortex is clearly in its early adolescence, with narcissistic and self-serving behaviors in control of some of its most vital decision making. This reality is wholly reflected in current world politics where leadership is completely self serving, unable to align with both truth and the greater survival needs of the world as a whole.

The good news: as individual cells of the collective human race, we are each in a position to address and impact the very issues confronting our greater world. The operative analogy here: As within, so without.

We begin by assuming responsibility for the fact that we, as individuals, reflect the reality we see without. Although it may be difficult to face this shadow truth, it is also quite empowering. If I can face, and change within myself, the same power dynamics now being acted out in the world, I contribute toward the maturation of Gaia’s frontal cortex. This truly is a healing action.

Turn inward to your own inner universe with new awareness. Recognize that consciousness is the psyche’s youngest acquisition. Whereas human functioning was, for eons, directed by its instinctive, pre-programmed limbic system, consciousness—for better or for worse—can now consult Google and make its own decisions! Furthermore, consciousness can indulge its desires at any time, not just when its stomach says it’s time to eat, or its hormones say it’s time to mate. Consciousness also has the ability to reflect upon itself and question its real motives, i.e., really be honest with itself.

However, this ability to reflect has its dense physical trappings. Consciousness also likes to look in the mirror and  play dress up with life. The shamans call this tendency self-reflection, which, from their experience, absorbs the lion’s share of human motivation and energy. We are currently seeing such a caricature of self-reflection in the behavior of our leader, but can we see it in ourselves?

Every one of us has the responsibility to face our own obsession with the presentation of self in everyday life, as glaringly mirrored in our fanciful leader. I am reminded incessantly of this fact by our male cardinal who continues to peck away daily at every window and car mirror at our home. Can we ever get to life beyond this level of self-reflection?!

For ego to rise above its own reflection and unholy alliance with the appetites of its limbic system, it must find its way to right action. Right action is action based on reason that transcends the trappings of the Me-Me-Me self. Right action issues from a higher spirit, one that considers the true needs of the whole, not just the ego self.

That spirit resides within the heart, but its voice is largely obscured by the ego self’s physical obsessions. Nonetheless, the ego has many opportunities to channel its higher spirit, as it must suffer its failures and defeats in this life. Ego defeats result in deflation and sobriety, where we then have the opportunity to really reflect and then  choose or acquiesce to right action, the insinuation of the spirit.

We have, as well, the ability to invoke the help of our spirit by simply asking. When we set an intent, say a prayer, or ask for help, we are directly soliciting the guidance and support of spirit. The response we get might send us down quite a serpentine path, but it’s also likely to be the path that will best mold our ego to do right action.

Take for instance the most recent presidential election, which forestalled the coming to power of the matriarchy. The more inclusive values of the matriarchy would seem to be the healing balm needed in our time, and perhaps it ultimately will be, but for now we must take the serpentine path before us and deal with what we have delivered ourselves: the ultimate patriarchal trickster. And so, spirit might have had a hand here; showing us that to properly be ready to receive the matriarchy, we must first crack the mirror of our own self-reflection. Without first mastering this challenge, we’d likely just be transferring our childish neediness to mommy!

Be empowered within the walls of your individual cell self. Be compassionate with your ego self’s developmental process. As Gaia’s ego brain, we have a long way to go, but if we can take responsibility for our own leadership role, and reach out to spirit with humility, the power of the small is sure to manifest our healing intent.

Taking responsibility,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Beyond Self-Importance

I am more than my physical body…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel taken at The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia

For many years, we must grapple with our acquired inferiority and  journey to overcome it. All humans become inferior as they grow from a childhood of oneness of connection to everything to a firmly separated ego identity whose consciousness creates firm boundaries between self and other.

This loss of oneness happens gradually as we are socialized into rational thinking, the operational interpretation system of our world. Rationality, with its cause and effect focus, fragments our  wholeness in an effort to bring understanding, order, and control into our lives. Our inherent connection to our soul group and access to the  knowledge of our journeys through infinity, as recorded in the holographic Akashic record of all life, slips away as the challenges of navigating life on earth calls for greater adaptation to the physical world.

This loss of connection to our greater wholeness is the ultimate cause of the collective human condition of inferiority. The truth is that our poor ego is inferior. How could it be otherwise? To go from a condition of interconnected oneness, what many might characterize as the oneness of God, to the puny separateness of an ego disconnected from its source is a built-in experience of inferiority.

Ego has few options to improve its impoverished state of being. One option is to learn and master the rules of the interpretation system of this world that will allow it greater adaptation to the challenges of survival. This track—good schools, good mate, good job—though still powerful, is found wanting in our time of general disintegration. Our planet can no longer house unlimited growth.

Another option for our ego is to employ either deflation or inflation. In deflation the ego keeps itself down, as it sees all others in the world as superior to itself. The advantage to this strategy is to be more accepting of an inferior life by feeling unworthy of receiving more. The downside of this strategy is possible depression and resentment for not having been able to experience or actualize more of one’s inherent potential.

In contrast, inflation fills the ego with a high level of self-importance, as it puffs itself up with an identification with a higher spirit. Narcissism could be understood as the ultimate identification with God: I am all there is! The trap of self-importance is a false assessment of self that is off-putting and generally not up to the job.

So what is a more realistic option for the ego beyond the trappings of self-importance with its artificially low value with deflation or overvaluation with inflation? First, we must actually value the ego for what it truly is: a fragment of our soul that lives in a world of space-time. This unique opportunity has an advantage over infinity. That which is born, lives, and dies can experience a maturing and discovery process while separated from the oneness of infinity.

In fact, it is likely that our greater soul group chooses life in this world to discover and grow through questions and problems that will enhance our soul’s journey in infinity. A sojourn in space-time provides the opportunity for a full exposition and living out of a question in a lifetime that enhances our soul’s knowing of itself outside space-time.

Nonetheless, the cost to our ego in this earthly lifetime is a disconnect from the mothership of our greater soul in infinity. This is simply the necessary byproduct of a life in space-time. However, this ego/greater soul axis remains present throughout our lifetime as a latent potential to be more fully realized and developed. This is the evolutionary shift now happening in the world. This is the key to the ego shedding self-importance as a survival strategy to cover up its inadequacy.

Through its sensory systems the ego is quite capable of bringing to consciousness concrete data perceived in the world, as well as mentally orienting itself to that data. If the ego can suspend the judgements of its socialized operating system, to allow for decoding the world in a broader rather than strictly rational way, it becomes well positioned to collaborate with the wisdom of its greater soul while still in space-time.

An example of this is synchronicity. In every moment of every day the world around us echoes sounds, signs, and messages to guide and supplement our decisions, reflections, and understandings. Nearly every time I reach a conclusion I am treated to an affirmation or tweak in some form by the world around me that supplements my process.

This can take the form of a song in my head, a page in a book I randomly open to, a phone call, or the chirp of a bird. If my ego is humble it immediately considers the feedback the world delivers as it orients itself to decisions at hand. This is not about ego letting go of its rational facility but instead expanding it to include wisdom offered from beyond the rational for inclusion in its processing.

When ego reaches beyond self-importance to shore up its relationship with its greater wholeness the world is moved toward greater wholeness and integration as well. Decisions made by a clear headed ego, acting in consort with its greater soul, are sure to lead us to a real world of stable continuance.

As for our ego, its connection to its greater soul assures its confidence in being fully supported in its soul’s intent in this lifetime. Now that’s support beyond self-importance!

Humbly,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Attention

Energy travels many paths…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Energy is blood at the ethereal level. Blood is the carrier of the vital life source in the physical body. Energy is the active life force in the energy body. As sometimes we may require a blood transfusion to preserve life in the physical body so the energy body seeks energetic enhancement through exchanges of energy at the ethereal level.

Actually, we can notice this energetic transmission of energy on the physical plane through the exchanges of everyday life. Attention is a form of energy. When we give something our attention we transfer some of our vital energy to it, which then enlivens it in some form.

However subtle, we can often feel in some way that someone has their attention upon us. Often it might register as a sudden thought about the person who is thinking about us or actually looking at us, even from behind.

Human beings often interpret attention as a form of validation. Attention is currency. Like money, it fills us with value and worth.  This can result in attention seeking behavior. The greater the attention given, the greater the feeling of personal worth. This was the theorem Mark Zuckerberg exploited with the launching of Facebook: the more friends who like us, the better we feel about ourselves.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico were well aware of the energetic dynamic of attention seeking behavior. In fact, they determined that our human obsession with validation monopolizes the lion’s share of our vital energy through our entire lifetime.

The experience of being validated may deliver a temporary  energetic boost. In actuality it proves to be an energetic drain when factoring in the amount of mental and emotional energy spent each day seeking attention and validation from the outside world.

The shamans teach us to become energy misers. They employ techniques to free themselves of the energy drain of upholding self-importance through external validation. They relish opportunities to release themselves from being offended, a major source of energy drain in human interaction.

If we can release ourselves from being offended by others whose narcissism prevents them from seeing or valuing us, in fact even causes them to bully us, then we are actually storing tremendous caches of energy. Releasing ourselves from any attachment to victimhood is central to this practice.

This doesn’t mean we simply turn the other cheek. In fact, we might have to actually fight back, but our approach is not driven by rage or revenge or preserving self-importance but is simply a pragmatic response to the challenge presented, based on what is possible in a given situation.

The energy gained and stored through losing self-importance allows that energy to be redeployed toward exploration of one’s true purpose for coming into this world, as well as the ability to explore life in other dimensions of infinity while still in physical form.

Best use of attention is to observe the tendency to be offended by others. Identifying it enables a process of detachment that both saves and frees energy for spiritual deployment.

Attentively,

Chuck