Tag Archives: shamans of Ancient Mexico

Chuck’s Place: The Truth of the Heart

A path with heart…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Don Juan Matus contended that in the final analysis all paths lead to the same place, death. However, a path with true heart offers fulfillment in the finite life of human form. Thus, to find the truth of the heart is central to life while in human form.

The heart has been popularly associated with the path of romantic love. Romantic love is a spiritualized quest for one’s true soulmate.  That quest is imbued with archetypal energy that generates a heightened state of awareness that erases boundaries and creates the experience of oneness or wholeness between two people.

Most seasoned human travelers come to discover the trickster ally inherent in romantic love. What is experienced in one moment as deep closeness can abruptly shift into great distance in the next.

For the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, an ally was an entity that enabled one to enter the world of non-ordinary reality. Romantic love is indeed entry into a state of non-ordinary reality. However, the ally that works its projective magic to land us there also tests us.

Are we merely hooked on the ecstatic energy of romance or does our relationship truly have heart? If it’s the high we seek, the ally will send us on many journeys of illusion. Despite the highs and lows, we remain hooked compulsively to the pursuit of the next candidate that shines with promise.

Though Cupid, as the Romans named romance’s ally, may be useful to awaken to love’s potential, only the truth of the heart can tell us if we are on the path of love. The truth of the heart is calm and clear. The truth of the heart is not swayed by romance. The truth of the heart is a feeling and a knowing of whether something is right or not.

Thus, our attachment to the heart, as the home of romance, clouds our ability to access the objective truth of the heart. This is the test of the ally. Despite the wonderment of romance, can we get calm and ask our heart the truth about our potential traveling companion?

The true nature of the heart is compassion, rooted in its knowledge of the interconnectedness of all things. Romance is in fact an experience of greater interconnectedness with someone, however, it may be so narcissistically tinged by one’s own needs that one is unable to actually see their partner.

Furthermore, the heart is the meeting place for ego Soul and High SOUL, our ultimate Soulmate. Our High SOUL knows our intent for the life we are in and can guide and support us through the trials and tribulations of life in human form. But we must be able to sacrifice the pressure of our needs if we are to get calm and be open to the truth delivered by our High SOUL.

The truth of the heart is the key to finding one’s path of heart. If a path has heart it resonates in both ordinary and non-ordinary reality. Love is constant in all realities. Romance that does not transmute into the fullness of love in ordinary life fails the ally’s test.

Love, in this higher sense, is the true energy of the heart center, which is connected to the indivisibility and, hence, compassion for all life. As well, the heart center is connected to infinity, which puts into perspective the relativity of life in human form.

From these considerations, the truth of the heart guides the journeyer to their specific path of heart, truly the journey of a lifetime.

From the heart,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Finding Equanimity

Finding equanimity in nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The ability to remain consistently calm, in this time of incessant turbulence and rapid unpredictable bipolar shifts, is a cherished resource. Equanimity greets every moment with equal attention, appreciation, clarity and calm.

Buddhist practice embraces equanimity as the ultimate attitude needed for successful transition from human to infinite life. The ability to be present, to not sow a seed of reincarnation—by distraction or attachment—in the dying process, frees the energy body to evolve in its definitive journey beyond human life.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico also valued the relationship of equanimity and death. They reasoned that any moment in life could be one’s final moment, hence one should be fully present, alive, and equally appreciative of every moment in life, regardless of personal preferences.

The Shaman’s perspective is the ultimate Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all moments are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Shamans cultivate equanimity as a program for living, the Buddhists as the key in dying. Both cultivate an attitude of deep calm in approaching life’s greatest encounter—its final moment.

How can we cultivate equanimity?

The Shamans contribute an attitude shift. Each day they remind themselves, ” My name is ________, a being who is going to die.” Far from being a morbid ‘Good Morning, World,’ this use of death as an advisor heightens one’s awareness to be fully present and engaged in every moment of the day, regardless of the activity.

How often do we lament a Monday morning, or the end of a joyous encounter? Even worse, how often do we dread an encounter or work task, and pray for it to quickly end. The intent of equanimity is to be equally calm and present to each equal moment, regardless of its intensity.

The Buddhists contribute the practice of meditation to still the mind, a great perpetrator of non-equanimity known as worry. Yoga, with its Hindu roots, uses self-regulation of the body to achieve equanimity. The practice of pranayama breathing exercises greatly enhances voluntary control of the autonomic nervous system’s mobilizing defenses, in the face of real or imagined stress, a valuable tool to achieve equanimity.

Autogenic training and self-hypnosis are tools to deepen the conscious relationship between mind and body. When we give the body a specific instruction when in a deeply relaxed state, the subconscious begins to listen and override its genetic, archetypal, or habitual programs.

Thus, we can instruct every part of our body to remain deeply calm while we remain fully awake and present to all conditions. Jan and I recently discovered the gift of Dr. Eleanor Eggers, a 97-year-old  semiretired psychologist, who developed a simple website giving away the secrets of her life’s work. This is her contribution to the greater good.

Her website offers the autogenic phrases that Elmer and Alyce Green developed at the Menninger Foundation, for deep relaxation, as well as other resources from her long and fruitful career. We happily pass on her website link: Dr. Eleanor Eggers.

Though, at present, we may experience limitation in exacting needed changes to our chaotic world, we are all free, as Victor Frankl would say, to assume the attitude we will embody in our encounters with that world. Equanimity ranks highest in our approach to life, in and beyond this world.

May all beings find equanimity.

Peace,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Unlimited Growth

Unlimited growth… this baby sprang up overnight!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Perhaps the one thing the majority of politicians of all political persuasions seem to agree upon is the need for economic growth. This mantra trumps reckoning with the impact of unlimited growth upon the delicate ecosystem of a finite planet.

Last week, moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, in a Washington Post editorial, politely encouraged the President to fund exploration of Mars, seeming to suggest the inevitability of Earth’s inability to house us, a somewhat codependent enabling of the sacrosanct right to unlimited growth.

Perhaps Buzz’s solution of space as the final frontier will come to pass, but I see this as an externalization of the evolutionary spirit in humans, who must turn their unquenchable thirst for growth in a truly sustainable direction.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico recognized that evolution of the human physical body had largely reached its limits and that evolution for humans was a more subtle energetic affair, in the form of the energy body. Exploration of life beyond the physical body is their outlet for the very human need for unlimited growth.

Those shamans begin with the very pragmatic observation that human beings, in physical form, are beings who are going to die. From this fundamental truth, they propose that all human beings are equal, none escape this inevitable transformative appointment with death.

Though they encourage that all find a path with heart in their journey upon this Earth, their central focus is on cultivating the vehicle of the energy body, that which launches into infinity when the physical body is put to rest. Shamans suggest engaging intent and becoming energy misers to amass the energy for this dimension of spiritual exploration, now, while in human form.

Intent is energetic instruction. Intent is the law of attraction. These are my characterizations of intent. Don Juan Matus said, quite simply, we intend by intending. Intend to dream and dreams come. If blocking beliefs prevent intending, intent is not discovered or cultivated, as we simply manifest the same old, same old. If intent is spent on materialism, it will manifest as such. Intent is not about conscience, it’s about utilization.

To intend to find the energy body with perseverance will result in its discovery. The unlimited exploration of reality and infinity is available to everyone, simply through intending it and having enough energy to go there.

Being an energy miser does not mean being selfish, as the name implies. It does mean refusing to spend one’s intent on illusion. The glamour of self-importance, in all its permutations, the black hole of worry and the fixation of power at the level of the solar plexus, are all poor investments of energetic capital. None of these promote the unlimited growth potential of the journey we all share in common.

Heart-centered truths are good investments in energy body growth and exploration, as the heart does not validate illusion, only true energetic facts.

Robert Monroe journeyed with his energy body into the future of planet Earth, perhaps two thousand years from now. He discovered that though humans still had physical bodies they rarely used them, as they had become masters of the art of intent in their energy bodies.

Everyone is invited to discover, for themselves, the unlimited growth potential at the subtler energetic body level of reality. This is particularly apropos at a time when illusion spills out of control at the denser physical level of reality.

Energetic exploration will only enhance physical reality, as energy is withdrawn from exploiting it and invested instead in furthering its evolution, where we are all headed.

Unlimited growth is indeed at the heart of the human spirit. It’s simply time for a course correction. Plant your seed of heart-centered intent and let the growth begin!

Growing,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: MirrorIng, The Heart of Connection

Mirroring in nature…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We can use words to communicate, but connection requires more than words. Connection is meeting in pure transparency.

The intimacy of meeting so directly can be overpowering. The removal of boundaries, at that level, recalls a state of union and oneness that long preceded the notion of a separate self.

The terror of loss of self in such encounters generates ambivalence. Though we might seek the closeness of connection, we seek refuge in the protection of small talk, roles, and prefabricated expectations and interactions. Why do we find it so necessary to hide?

Carlos Castaneda was emphatic that we should avoid looking into the mirror; at most, a brief unfocused gaze for shaving or combing of the hair. For the shamans of his lineage, looking in the mirror results in the fixation of attention upon self-reflection, what the psychotherapist of today calls narcissistic preoccupation with the self.

The more we focus upon the presentation of the self, the more we become alienated from our true selves. The more we stare at our reflection, the more Bobby the Flyer takes command, and we find more and more fault with ourselves, which leads to a state of narcissistic loathing. Why then do we hide? Because we are so damned unacceptable!

Loathing the self is then compensated for by the insatiable attention we seek for our outer presentation of self, what Jung called the persona, or the mask we wear. Regardless of how much attention it receives, it is never enough to erase the underlying belief of unworthiness of the true underlying self.

Mirroring, in the modern psychological sense, happens between two people, not one person viewing their own appearance in the mirror. To mirror with another is to feel, know, and be with the truth of one’s own and the other’s experience in the moment. A meeting of the eyes in that moment reflects an unmistakable acknowledgement of a shared experience.

Mirroring requires no words, though words might be exchanged. Words are not necessary because the knowing of the meeting has already been validated through the mirroring effect. Meetings of this kind crack the mirror of fixation upon self-reflection. Meeting in transparency, with nothing hidden, transcends judgments of self and other.

Mirroring actually requires no special skill. In fact, shamans suggest that we all have access to the direct knowledge experience of mirroring. Direct knowledge is knowledge unfiltered by the mental processing and judging of the mind’s internal dialogue.

The key to direct knowledge is inner silence, a state of mindful presence that shuts down the mental process, that is, thinking. Devoid of thinking we are treated to the experience of what is, unbiased by interpretation.

Connecting at the heart level is mirroring at the level of truth. Of course, this can be experienced as extremely romantic, where “hearts meet as one.” Romance is highly sought after for this mirroring experience of transparent meeting.

Unfortunately, romance soon becomes overwhelmed with archetypal expectations of each other, which quickly engages the judging mind. This closes down the purity of the mirroring channel between partners, who then become utter strangers. The mirroring of romance is co-opted by nature’s underlying intent to simply continue the species, not deepen spiritual connection.

Romance is a limited subset though valuable experience of mirroring. That is, while it lasts. Mirroring is possible in all human and non-human interactions. Mirroring frequently happens between humans and animals, or humans and plants. Mirroring is the basis of successful early parenting. Mirroring is the essence of true bonding.

Mirroring is the active relational tool for the current and coming evolutionary advance of the human species. It springs from the heart because the heart brings us to the true interconnected oneness of everything, which is the active principle in mirroring.

Relax the mind, suspend judgment, and mirror. See what happens!

Mirroring,

Chuck 


Chuck’s Place: To Not Be Offended

Don’t let obstructions get in your way, just let it flow…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The ruling intent of this time is to offend. Energetically, it’s a brilliant system to galvanize and employ human energy to achieve its goals. Indeed, it’s as Machiavellian as the human battery pods of The Matrix. How do we not give away our energy by becoming offended?

There is a distinction between being impacted and being offended. Offensive words generate deeds that definitely impact. The reality of impact should be acknowledged to the self and trusted others.

However, to be offended by a malicious act is a one-way ticket to the black hole of defeatism. In defeatism we lose our vital energy to the oppressor. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico observed that the greatest tyrant of them all had taken up residence in the human psyche.

Carol Tiggs, the Nagual Woman of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage, called that tyrant Bobby the Flyer. Bobby is the self-condemning voice in every human being that sentences us to that black hole of utter defeat. Bobby uses our incessant internal dialogue to keep us unworthy, stuck in our internal prison of inadequacy.

How many times a day do we hear the following words, inside our heads: “I’m bad.” “I’m inadequate.” “I’ll never be able to…”  Or, “I don’t deserve.” The internal dialogue’s commentary on outer events is equally incessantly judging: “They treat me unfairly.” “I don’t matter.” Or “they look better, younger, thinner, more stylish, or, they’re more articulate…than me.”

Thus, outer offense mirrors the inner offense of Bobby the Flyer. Internally, the impact of attaching to offense is to define the boundary of the self with the belief that nothing will ever change. This overarching negative belief keeps our spirit in check.

To free the spirit we must free it from offense. A preponderance of offensive words are being personally intended now. How can we then say that it isn’t personal, when it clearly is? Everything is designed to personally impact and it does; it hurts. Hurt is hurt, but it’s not offense.

Offense is an abstract, subjective interpretation. When Victor Frankl was denied his most basic of human rights, he chose not to be offended by his oppressors. Instead he chose to save his energy, to place his attention on positive thoughts and memories that could sustain him. And he survived where many died, depleted of their vital energy by the black hole of defeatism.

In the martial art of Aikido, much attention is placed on the imbalanced energy of the oncoming attacker and how to strategically receive it. No attention is wasted on being offended by one’s attacker. To be offended is to lose focus, which could be fatal. Martial artists and shamans alike know the value of losing any attachment to self-importance if one is to hone abilities and preserve energy.

Self-importance should not be confused with self-worthiness. Unseat Bobby the Flyer. With meditation or magical passes learn to silence the internal dialogue. Assert your basic worthiness to the self, but don’t get caught in needing others to validate it. That’s a sure ticket to the black hole of defeatism.

Ironically, the biggest petty tyrant of our times is daring us to not be offended by him; it may be the only way to actually defeat him! Beyond that, he offers us the exercise of truly learning to preserve our energy for the deeply challenging times now unfolding upon this planet.

May we all have compassion for all beings.

Without offense,

Chuck