Tag Archives: self-pity

Chuck’s Place: The Predator Teacher

We live in a predatory universe… beware!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Is it diabolical that a mosquito, tick, bacteria, or virus  feeds upon the matter and substance of our physical bodies? A nuisance, and in some cases a lethal nuisance indeed, yet, we begrudgingly accept this negative symbiotic reality as a feature of our physical world.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico concur that our universe is a predatory universe. They describe this dynamic as operational at an even more subtle energetic level as well, that of an inorganic yet living entity that feeds upon the human energy produced by human emotion. Although negative in its draining of human energy, it also serves as a teacher that helps humans evolutionarily advance, if they can learn how to master its parasitic onslaught.

This opportunity, and the need for mastery over it, is ever so obvious in the conditions of our current world predicament. Outwardly, we are bombarded daily with the most outrageous of words and behaviors, incessantly taxing our emotional reserves, resulting in extreme volatility and emotional exhaustion.

These onslaughts fill the airwaves and social media, captivating modern life. Closer to home, beyond the politics of now, are our own personal longings for attention and validation, our own deepest needs compulsively seeking to bind us to screens.

Inwardly, we too are prey to the promptings of self-importance and self-pity, seeking outlet in an upward spiral of ecstatic inflation, or in a downward vortex, sending us into a bottomless pit of tortured longing and sadness. These volatile tendencies within ourselves often manifest in cycles of addictive attachments.

Shamans maintain that these various pathways of emotional activation are generated by an inorganic entity, which they have dubbed the flyer, through the judgments of offense that our internal dialogue incessantly broadcasts. Those judgements are directed toward self and other. They, in turn, generate a wave of emotional energy, the food for the flyer.

To free the self of this depleting symbiotic trap, shamans recommend a furtive effort of detachment, which they call the warrior’s way. The goal of the warrior’s way is to gain freedom from the bindings of attachment, first and foremost to being offended. If one can remain sober and detached in the face of offensive words and behaviors, none of one’s energy is lost in the encounter.

To accomplish this, one must lose one’s attachment to self-importance. Self-importance is generally garnered through validation by others, a highly dependent and vulnerable position, which leads to endless emotional strife. Rather than turn over one’s power to another’s validation, the guidance is to face the truth of one’s self within. Acceptance of, and the ability to laugh at, one’s self, goes a long way in cancelling out the impact of the judgments of others.

Self-esteem becomes acceptance of the whole truth of one’s actual self, good and bad. Inappropriate behavior by others is properly placed as their problem to face and resolve, and not as offense to one’s own self. This does not mean that we don’t strategically decide how to manage inappropriate behavior, however, we do so with truthful sobriety rather than with offense.

Freed of the emotional activation generated by judgments within and without, we advance in maturity. We accrue the energy that grants us the power to act decisively, with precision. No energy is wasted in feeding the predator. The predator is defeated when we deny it the energy of our emotional disgust and defeat.

In this time of flagrant predatory human behavior, we are all offered the opportunity to advance beyond the narcissistic emotional web of the predator, who constantly stirs up and then feeds upon our emotional turmoil. We don’t have to keep playing that game.

I prefer to punctuate the positive opportunity of this seemingly depressed and depressing time. I envision the predator as our ultimate teacher.

The predator, as teacher, shines the spotlight upon our attachment to self-importance, showing us the emotional trap where the greatest work needs to be done, and where the largest storehouse of our energy lies, waiting to be retrieved. Once we close this emotional trap drain, we open ourselves to a whole new world of freedom. Freedom to be.

Being,

Chuck

#661 Chuck’s Place: Compassion is Ruthlessness

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.

Shamans define ruthlessness as the place of no pity. In their nomenclature, the place of no pity represents a shift of the assemblage point where one enters a different reality, which is far more comprehensive than ordinary reality. Shamans assert that the familiar world of ordinary reality is fixated on the position of self-pity. From this place of self-pity we cling to the archetypal roles of family, long beyond actual necessity. We fund these archetypal roles of mother, father, child, spouse, etc., with all our available energy, leaving no energy for life as a separate being on a solo journey of awareness; the journey we are all really on.

We pity the self that ultimately must die alone and so we cling to the illusions that spin what the Buddhists call the Wheel of Life. To quote Esther Harding, from her book Psychic Energy:

When, before his enlightenment, he was meditating under the Bo Tree, he [Buddha] asked himself: Why are there these endlessly repeated lives? Why do people, and animals as well, go on with the senseless round of birth and suffering and death? Why does life continue exactly the same—why do men not outgrow this barbaric and immature stage? His meditation grew deeper and deeper, until at last he had a vision that revealed the answer. He saw the wheel of life, consisting of the endless round of existences, of births and deaths and rebirths, of heavens and hells, and the earth with its many faces.

Buddha saw the illusions we cling to that construct and maintain the world of what the shamans call ordinary reality, a world that strictly adheres to an endless round of living our repetitive archetypal roles.

Buddha arrived at the place of compassion for beings who cling to their illusions. Compassion is not pity. Compassion is the acceptance, without judgment, that all beings must cling to their illusions and go round and round again in their cosmic Groundhog Day,* until they are ready to awaken. That is, to take personal responsibility to face the true nature of reality beyond the archetypal roles; to allow themselves to let go, to detach from the pity that clings to the illusions in a childlike grasp for safety and security. Buddha saw that all must arrive at that place individually. No one can take another’s journey. No one can give another enlightenment. That will always be an individual task. Only when an individual is finally ready will they take the journey, the solo journey, devoid of archetypal props. Compassion, then, is loving all who cling, but remaining unattached, fully stalking the place the shamans call ruthlessness.

Ruthlessness completely stares down pity. Ruthlessness fully allows all beings to be what they truly are: independent travelers on an infinite journey. Ruthlessness sees beyond; it detaches from all the archetypal bindings, lovingly allowing sons, daughters, parents, husbands, and wives, etc., to fully take their journeys. Ruthlessness is compassion. Ruthlessness remains unattached to the illusions; it gets out of the way of others taking the journeys they must. Ruthlessness is compassion without pity. With ruthlessness we stalk the position that lifts the veils. On the one hand, ruthlessness is a loving acceptance of wherever another may be on the wheel of life and, on the other, it is standing as a beacon to the evolutionary journey beyond the wheel.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,
Chuck

* Refers to the Bill Murray movie.