Tag Archives: shamanism

Chuck’s Place: The Currency of Attention

Sign of the times…

“Pay attention” is a frequently delivered command. Indeed, when we pay with our attention we deliver our energy to the object of our focus. Attention is a powerful energetic currency.

Notice, for instance, the impact on your personal energy when you tune into the news, or some form of social media. The impact can be either depleting or empowering. Either way, we spend our energy in our emotional reaction to the news. That expended energy is delivered, on a subtle level, to the person we are reacting to in the news.

Children, most dramatically, seek our attention. Child educators know that getting attention is the child’s goal, good or bad. Once the child has our attention, they thrive on the energy of our focus, as well as on our emotional reactions. Tantrums are energetic goldmines for the tantruming child.

Even inanimate objects can absorb our energy. A trip to a museum is a case in point. Though fascinating and educational, objects of art demand our attention and can deeply drain our energy. We could say that a sculpture at a museum is imbued with self-importance. Were it not so, it wouldn’t be on display. Be careful how much attention you give it!

Self-importance measures the quantity and quality of attention we are paid for being alive. The ego, as the orphaned ruler of the personality, seeks the attention of others to validate its worthiness. This extrinsic dependency is the consequence of the ego’s separation from its wholeness, at the time of birth into this world. A blank slate seeks the approval of others to find its worth.

Shamans have astutely addressed this energetic stalemate. The fragmentation from Spirit-self, that accompanies finite life in a physical world, has led to obsessive dependence upon the attention of others to replace one’s lost Spirit. This attention-seeking behavior is considered by shamans to be humankind’s greatest energy drain.

Shamans discovered that a shift in focus, like the social isolation the world is currently experiencing, can result in the accrual of vast sums of energy within the self. That energy, combined with the intent to reconnect to one’s Spirit, can result in a deeply healing, inner soul retrieval.

To be connected to the life of one’s Spirit is to become guided by omens, the synchronicities from infinity that guide and inform life; to be in the world but not of the world, at an attention-seeking level. Attention-seeking is then completely replaced by the pursuit of right action, the best decision to be made under the presenting circumstances.

To dance with omens is to feel constantly renewed by participation in a fuller life, one that includes one’s essence, at a cosmic level. Attention received is not attention sought, but it is attention provided to guide the way to right action.

Save the currency of your attention for that which truly guides you to your wholeness. This is the world we are morphing into, a world of interconnected oneness. Let’s attend to that!

Attending Spirit,


Chuck’s Place: The Economics of Changing Dreams

We must begin by assuming personal responsibility for the world’s current dream. Last week, I proposed that we are in the Time of the Usher, the dream changer. That lead role mysteriously fell upon Donald Trump.

Our very own Petty Tyrant!
– Art by Jan Ketchel

If we face the deeper truth that our world is spinning out of balance and requires a radical shift to survive, perhaps we can appreciate why we have called upon such a ruthless sorcerer from the dark side to usher in change. This sorcerer fits the bill of what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call the petty tyrant.

Petty tyrants rank as extreme narcissists and psychopaths who wield the power of life and death over others. For shamans, encounters with petty tyrants are fundamental to their training. Most importantly, since tyrants lack any capacity for empathy for the cruelty they perpetrate upon their victims, shamans are offered a golden opportunity to lose their self-importance when dealing with them. Those indulging in self-pity under the reign of the petty tyrant exhaust their energy quickly and unwisely, as the petty tyrant has absolutely no concern for their needs.

Instead, shamans learn how to hone and revamp their energy, wasting none in seeking sympathy or validation for the hardships and cruelty directed at them by their petty tyrants. This energy saving training has the secondary benefit of preparing them to face future onslaughts from the unknown.

In this time of changing dreams that we are now experiencing, we are all at a distinct advantage, as it is very clear who the petty tyrant is. We can choose to stand up to him, by deciding to have all our energy available to meet the unexpected challenges and shifts that are occurring daily, with a minimum of energy expense.

Shamans ultimately seek the defeat of the petty tyrant but realize that getting caught in the traps of indignance and being offended both exhaust energy and cloud the ability to observe and plan strategically. The bigger the tyrant the greater the challenge to preserve  one’s energy and stay centered on the task. This is the position of the assemblage point that the shamans call the place of no pity. This position requires extreme mindful presence without ego attachment. The only question to ask oneself is, what is the appropriate action now, all personal attachment removed from view.

Since January 21st of this year I have limited myself to one minute per day of taking in the news. I came to this practice after observing the energetic impact that one hour of news was having on my energy as I went through the day.

Donald Trump, our news tyrant, seduces with outrageous antics and threats, which literally suck the energetic life out of a person. The emotional volatility evoked, and the attention given, literally feed the tyrant entity, who clearly has an insatiable hunger for attention.

I observe a tremendous energy savings with my one minute per day limitation. Each morning, I quickly receive the bullet points of necessary information, intentionally avoiding the trappings of emotional reactivity and seduction to track, think about, react to , and talk about the stories that are circulating in the news throughout the day—all energy-zapping practices. As a result I am free to decide if I need to do something or if I can just move on.

I don’t spend my energy on worry, fear, or rage. It simply depletes too much energy. Being offended by Trump is a waste of energy! Refusing to give him the attention he feeds off of, starves him of my energy and I get to keep it for myself. Having detachment from his outrageousness allows me to see clearly and to strategically navigate now.

Thus, I see Trump’s role as the usher, who has disrupted the familiarity and security of our world, as the role of the petty tyrant as well. He offers himself as the one to help us hone our energy and prepare for the real changes that we will invariably face as the world changes dreams again.

It’s a dangerous situation!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Please don’t misconstrue my perspective as a benevolent casting of Donald Trump. He is a tyrant and he is dangerous. Many people will be and have been crushed by his ruthlessness. However, the world must evolve now into a new dream in order to survive, and the silver lining in Trump is that, though he appears the antithesis of survival, he has had the ability to interrupt the status quo of the world. This interruption of energy flow is a move of a sorcerer and it allows us all an opportunity to hone our own energy and prepare for the challenges on the horizon. These challenges may be hastened by Trump, but they hardly originate with him.

The deeper dream we are leaving is the self-centered dream where it’s all about “me” and “us” (U. S.)! Trump’s embodiment of that dream is the catalyst for the new dream, the one centered at the heart level: the real truth, transparency, and all-inclusiveness.

For us to prepare for this new dream, we must learn the economics of saving our energy resources by losing the self-importance of being offended and raising our consciousness to the truth of the heart.

The heart stays in alignment with the soul/energy body—spirit—call it what you will, but it is that divine center within us all that tells us the truth, the real truth, and whose guidance will lead us forward into a truly sustainable dream, the dream we are really preparing for, a heart-centered world dream.

From an energy miser,


Chuck’s Place: News For The New Year

Keeping the light alive…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Our blogs will venture into new arenas in 2017. My usual blog, Chuck’s Place, will continue to explore psychological, physical, and social interplays and synchronicities at individual and world levels. Jan and I will occasionally publish a blog on relationships, which we are affectionately naming The Monogamy Dialogues. Finally, I will be adding a new blog entitled Guidance From The Shamanic Line, which will address suggestions to those of our readers who are shamanically inclined and looking for guidance on an energetic dimension.

On that note, I offer this New Year’s suggestion: watch the new Netflix series, The OA. This series is like the shamanic Theater of Infinity, filled to the brim with jolts to the socialization system that keeps us in bondage. Outwardly, the world is rapidly moving into an extraordinary time of bondage with the forces of truth and light held in check. Powerlessness, however, opens up portals of extraordinary discovery. This is what the shamans call shifts of the assemblage point and discovering of the energy body.

In The OA the insinuation of the magical passes of Carlos Castaneda’s Tensegrity is blatant. The extraordinary sense of physical and emotional wellbeing achieved through rigorous practice, as well as a means to accessing the energy body, is beautifully captured. The value of the Petty Tyrant, the victimizer, as the one who forces the captives to lose their self-importance and become impeccable warriors in their intent is clearly outlined. Finally, the collective energy accessed through the magical passes to heal and overpower the dark side is strongly hinted at. These are evolutionary tools in a time of great planetary shift.

Of course, The OA is fiction, but what is fiction anyway but truth reimagined. If it grabs you, it may hold some truths to be discovered. The OA captures truths that are inherent in the human body, simply waiting to be accessed. These are not cognitive truths; these are experiential, energetic truths. And everyone must discover all truth for themselves.

The OA is intense, only go there is you are shamanically inclined. There are many roads to freedom. This is one of powerful adventure, no different from the most shattering of recapitulation journeys. In fact, it’s what the show clearly demonstrates, a recapitulation journey of outstanding impact.

Finally, we all look forward to the publication of Jan’s fourth book in the Recapitulation Diaries series, Place of No Pity, due in late February.

A Happy and Peaceful New Year to all,


Chuck’s Place: The New Religion

C. G. Jung suggested that a living religion for the future would accent the embodiment by all humans of their divine nature. He anticipated that the Christian projections of a redeemer, a God/man “out there” who carries the weight of the human shadow would evolve into an internalized divinity reckoning with its own humanness.

Sunrise reflection of the divine within... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sunrise reflection of the divine within…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In shamanic terms, this would represent the awakening of the energy body to live alongside the human body. Experientially, this is the appreciation and cultivation of the energy body in dreaming, as well as in waking life. Presently, the energy body is dominated by the mental plane with its centralized leitmotif of reason. The mental plane is actually part of the energy body, though our physical focus and reason would have us locate it only in the brain and central nervous system. However, there are other ideas on the matter.

A preponderance of documented traumatic out-of-body experiences—remote viewing of one’s body or another’s body on the other side of the room or the other side of the world—clearly demonstrate that the mind operates independently from the physical body.

The Hindus have long pointed out that the outermost shell of the energy body is the mental body. When we leave our body for good, at physical death, we leave as mental beings, as consciousness. This mental spirit, as we experience it in everyday life, is monopolized by our ego as it uses its powers to uphold and reinforce the validity of the solid physical world we live in for the duration of our physical lives. Only that which is solid is real, the ego says.

However, if we willingly or unwillingly undergo the crucifixion of that fixated hold on the solid world and move from ego consciousness to energy consciousness, the world softens. And as the world softens we move into the greater ability of our energy body to broaden our knowledge of life beyond the ego’s familiar boundaries. As we move into an enhanced energy body perspective, what the shamans call a shift in the assemblage point, all that once bound us, like our petty resentments and our fears, melt away as we move into a state of transcendent awe. We simply can’t stay attached to a personal solid world once we’ve experienced its total lack of solidity; we leave that nailed to the cross as we experience a far more interconnected world of energy.

This dissolving of solidity allows for the erasing of personal history, the state of detachment that the shamans describe as being one of the most important aspects of an evolutionary life. It’s not unfeeling detachment; it’s utter love for everything, all beings equal. Whereas once, in solid form, we held so tightly to our personal love, our personal family, our personal tribe, we are now totally detached and yet totally loving of all that is. This detachment is not a sacrifice of those we love, but an evaporation of the boundaries of our separate love, for all, we discover, is love.

And we can continue to walk upon the earth calmly owning our dual nature: as spirit/energy beings living in, in relation with, a physical body that temporarily houses this spirit self. We can indeed continue to fulfill all the human roles we have been in, but we must now also learn greater cohesion when in our spirit state, which gives us the fluidity to maintain our calmness as we experience the expanded awe of our interconnectedness and living oneness with all that is.

We can learn to playfully flit between the two awarenesses, solid and energy, but it’s really all preparation for the moment when the exclusive personal ego accepts its final crucifixion, when the relativity of personal human life is reconciled with the greater expanded view, and the energy body is finally set to more fully explore beyond the limits of space and time.

Jung’s suggestion as to where religion might find itself in the future is well prepared. Perhaps Eastern religions, shamanic practices, and modern science may eventually find their rightful places in redeeming the God/human schism of our time.




Chuck’s Place: Mindfulness & Journeying in Healing

We publish Chuck’s blog today. Look for Jan’s later in the week!

Like the inevitability of the season's change so too are there things we do not control... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Like the inevitability of the season’s change so too are there things we do not control…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The deepest truth of the human psyche is that we are only partially rational beings. There are forces within and around us that act upon and through us without our conscious awareness. Reckoning and reconciling with these forces lies at the heart of achieving balance, happiness and fulfillment in this life.

Modern sensibility seeks to reduce our struggle with these outside forces to chemical imbalance and structural flaw in our brains, largely correctable through psychopharmacological input. As valuable and supporting as these interventions might be, they cannot, by any means, address the intense emotionally charged feelings and thoughts that daily barrage our conscious foothold in this world.

Psychotherapy has been charged with treating the “mental illness” we see violently acted out in mass shootings that we witness almost daily. Thankfully, the tools of psychotherapy have been greatly enhanced over the past several decades by the influx of mindfulness practices introduced to the world as a result of the Tibetan diaspora. DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, owes its structure and methodology directly to mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness practice empowers us to gain control over our central nervous system and to generate neuroplasticity—a remapping of neural pathways—in the brain. The contribution of mindfulness and meditation practices, to our ability to stay focused and develop detachment from the destructive impulses and moods we experience, cannot be overestimated. Through the exercise of these tools we become grounded, able to function, and able to explore the deeper reality of who we are and who we are not. Without grounding, we are woefully ill-equipped to handle that deeper journey into our unknown selves.

Much more recent than the Tibetan diaspora has been the Shamanic diaspora of the teachings of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico through the published works of Carlos Castaneda and his cohorts and the public release of Tensegrity. Pragmatic tools have been introduced from these Shamans to enable seekers to journey into the deeper layers of self and reality.

In a recent Amazon book review of J.E. Ketchel’s The Man in the Woods, Gary Siegel, LCSWR states, “We have seen in recent times the integration of many concepts and approaches from Buddhist traditions into the mainstream of clinical work and psychotherapy. It seems to me that if techniques and awareness of Buddhism are especially well suited for things like acceptance, letting go, being in the moment, compassion and forgiveness, then the techniques and awareness of Shamanism – with their concourse with altered states of awareness, and dissociation would be perfectly suited for work with those very states that are the hallmark of trauma victims.”

Sometimes the crow of recapitulation rests among the tangled web of memory... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sometimes the crow of recapitulation rests among the tangled web of memory…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In facing trauma, specifically, a seeker is challenged to reconcile with a highly emotionally charged event, or series of events, that has been stored in an altered state within the psyche. Consciously, the seeker may have little or no awareness of the contents of that altered state and may only feel the conscious tremblings or intrusions of this material through associatively triggered encounters in the flow of everyday life. From a Shamanic perspective, for healing to take place, a journey must be taken to retrieve and reintegrate the lost parts of the self encapsulated in that altered state. In addition, the journey entails the release of extraneous energy—outside energy, perhaps in the form of ideas and beliefs—that has held one’s personal energy captive in that altered state.

The Shamanic tool of Intent empowers the conscious self to engage the supports, dreams and synchronicities that initiate and lead the journey. Although stating one’s intent initiates the journey, the path will unfold outside of the control of reason.

Recapitulation is the very conscious reliving of past events. From a Shamanic perspective, reliving a past event means entering another world, a world one was once in but has subsequently left. The Shamanic practice of recapitulation enables the seeker to consciously—in the world of now—reenter an old world and take from it whatever part of the self splintered off while caught in an experience in that prior world. That energy is then brought forward and reintroduced into the self of now, where it belongs, freed of its prior entanglements. From a Shamanic perspective, this is total healing.

Shamanic journeying requires groundedness. As don Juan Matus put it, we need “nerves of steel,” if we are to journey into the unknown. Hence, the contribution of Buddhism, with its mindfulness practices, offers the perfect complement to the contributions of Shamanism with its journeying practices in healing. In fact, groundedness is a prerequisite to successful journeying. We must be able to stay present with that which once splintered us if we are to truly retrieve the lost parts of ourselves.

Meditation hones the mind, like the light seeking the flower... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Meditation hones the mind, like the light seeking the flower…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The Shamanic journey of intent, however, is unpredictable. Sometimes it pushes us into journeys we feel ill-prepared for. At other times, it gives us long stretches of respite to shore up our groundedness. In reality, Buddhist mindfulness and Shamanic journeying are perfect complements, the yin and yang of wholeness and healing.

On the mindfulness journey of intent,