Tag Archives: unconscious

Chuck’s Place: Human Complexity

Working on unity…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carl Jung defined a psychological complex as a ‘feeling toned idea’ that acts quite autonomously in the human psyche. When Jung was performing his word association tests he observed that certain words triggered delayed reaction times and emotional reactions in his experimental subjects. Something ‘else’ was interfering.

This led to his discovery that there are autonomously functioning parts of the psyche acting outside of consciousness. Jung called these influences ‘complexes’. Freud spent his entire career highlighting the Oedipal complex, which he considered the greatest unconscious influence upon the human psyche.

Today we have terms like alters, ego states, fragmented parts or archetypes to depict these autonomous influences upon consciousness. Robert Monroe took Western psychology a step further with his research into out-of-body (OBE) states, where consciousness discovers non-material parts of the self that regularly influence consciousness from subtler planes of existence.

Monroe’s discoveries concur with Hindu science with respect to the emotional/desire body as the first to be encountered in an OBE state. Many OBE explorers report an encounter with excess sexual desire in their early explorations. Monroe also discovered a preponderance of sexual preoccupation by many travelers who had left human form through physical death, as they remained fixated on sexual activity, though lacking a physical body.

Monroe’s discovery certainly lays credence to Freud’s emphasis upon the overarching significance of sexuality for human beings. Sex may be the major karmic issue that sends disembodied spirits back into human life. Monroe also reported encounters on the astral plane with the energy body of sleeping human beings, equally preoccupied with sex in their dream states.

Beyond sex are the many emotional attachments that humans, in their energy body OBE states, are found to be preoccupied with. Civilization, with its emphasis upon reason, uniformity and conformity, has suppressed and repressed the spontaneous living of impulse. What we previously considered as repressed and contained within the psyche in the physical body may be very actively living on the astral plane outside of human consciousness.

The current polarized attitudinal split in the human race might actually reflect this polarized split within the human psyche, manifesting as an outer collective opposition. If we distill this opposition, it could be reduced to, simply, reason vs impulse. Resolution of this opposition is fundamental to unified progress.

Shamans introduced the practice of recapitulation as one’s individual soul retrieval journey. If one can bring consciousness and reconciliation to all of one’s parts, one can achieve wholeness while in human form. To the extent that this remains incomplete will determine one’s karma. After all, how can one go forward as a fragmented soul. One must first discover and gather together all of one’s parts.

Elmer Green served as his wife Alyce’s shamanic guide in her journey through Alzheimer’s disease. Alyce had spent her entire adult life immersed in the highest of spiritual principles. As her energy body journeyed into the astral plane, as she went the course of Alzheimer’s, she encountered her shadow self, the repressed and unloved side of herself, for the first time.

Besides her memory loss, she became paranoid and rageful much of  the time. These experiences were largely driven by her encounters with her unknown self. With extreme patience, Elmer helped her to get grounded and reconcile with her fuller self. This enabled her to enter infinity at an advanced level, well beyond the shadow bardos, when she physically died in this world.

Jung’s choice of the word complex to denote autonomous parts of the psyche truly holds up. Humans are complex beings! The key challenge in human form is to resolve all of one’s complexes and become one’s true wholeness. With wholeness one’s energy is fully united, as everything becomes possible.

From complex to unity,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Power of Belief

“There is nothing that is not divine.” – Aurobindo
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

From a shamanic perspective, the cosmic dance of now lays bare the power of belief in generating the reality we live in. Our belief system is largely shaped by the messages we internalize from the outside world that become the internal dialogue that interprets our reality. The belief system we sign up for becomes our reality.

At present, the mass of humanity is engaged in a civil war of conflicting belief systems. The consequence of such disagreement is an instability of worldview that threatens basic security, both within the individual and in the world at large. Without a collective boundary of belief, the world is subject to a barrage of all that has been suppressed and repressed in the individual and in the collective human psyche as well.

Civilization has, at its root, civility, defined as a politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. Clearly we are in a time that has overturned politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech. What’s been unleashed is the repressed energy that lies beneath the surface ripple of civilization, what Freud called the Id and what Jung called the shadow. Civilization is currently overrun by the power of these discontented parts of its psyche.

Our fragile civilization is charged with addressing the truth of its discontents. A new balance is called for. This balance must consider the animal within the human being. That animal has long been the sequestered Minotaur, lost in the labyrinth of the unconscious.

That shameful human, with animal head and tail, is filled with rage toward the civilized human it blames for its rejection. Meanwhile, its human counterpart is both terrified by its power and hungry for its passion. Clearly these two spheres of existence have a place in human reconciliation. Domination of the unconscious as a defense strategy to protect civilization is unstable and cuts off a wellspring of vital energy needed for a fulfilling life.

The opportunity of now is to construct a belief system that values and reconciles all parts of being human. Thus the human animal and human spirit are recognized as valid parts of a human being that both contribute to and enhance human life. Both centers of being are valued for their inherent knowledge and creative potential.

Alexander Lowen, Wilhelm Reich’s protege, pointed out that human beings rarely experience full orgasm in their sexual contact because they have lost their connection to their animal core that truly knows how to physically move. Thus, human sexuality is rarely fulfilling, dominated as it is by the ego’s mental control and expectations.

A belief system that incorporates both our inherited nature and our ability to elevate it to the spiritual heights of love, offers a reconciliation of the human condition that may better serve our evolving civilization.

As always, be empowered to begin within. All the forces without that both attract and repel us are also our own projections from within. All that we hate and fear are as much a part of us as all that we love and long for. A belief system that accepts this equation is poised to find true stability and wholeness within. Wholeness within, wholeness without.

Optimistically,

Chuck

NOTE: Taking a week off, so no writings from either Jan or I next week, including Soulbytes. We look forward to reconnecting starting the week of September 14, 2020.

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

Chuck’s Place: Beyond Story

I remember the moment in my recapitulation when I realized that the story I’d always told myself about my life was utterly false. That’s the shattering moment of surrender to the truth.” Quote from Jan Ketchel during a recent morning discussion.

Beyond story, simply perceiving what is... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Beyond story, simply perceiving what is…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We are a story loving species. Can’t get enough of a good story. Our days are spun into archetypal dramas that draw us like moths to a flame. And when we encounter the unknown in our daily lives, our thoughts rapidly fill in the blanks, hand us a plausible explanation, a reality to uphold, the fictional novel of our life and times.

In 1931, in one of his Vision Seminars, Jung described a patient’s vision: “I looked into his eyes and saw therein a great river full of writhing bodies. A few men stood upon the bank and called with a loud voice to the struggling masses in the rushing water. The water cast a few souls upon the bank. Then the men who stood there lifted them up and showed them a star and a sun. This I saw in the eyes of the old man. The old man said: “You have perceived” and he sank into the earth.”

This vision reveals the possibility of true perception, simply what is beyond the veils of our stories. Jung interpreted the river of writhing bodies as, “Like the wheel in Buddhistic philosophy, death and rebirth, the curse of that eternal illusory meaningless existence. In this vision we find the same principle as in Buddhism, the consciousness of what is happening as a redeeming principle.”

Jung goes on to say: “…that river only makes sense if a few escape and become conscious, that the purpose of existence is that one should become conscious. Consciousness redeems one from the curse of that eternal flowing on in the river of unconsciousness.”

Jan’s opening quote about her detachment from the novel of her life, as it devolved into the collapse of the world she had always known, landed her into the bowels of truth that ultimately released her from the current of unconsciousness, spitting her out upon the shore to become a riverwalker, one who walks along the river’s edge consciously grounded in the truth.

Consciousness is pure perception. Consciousness is life outside the story. Total acceptance of what is, of what was, is the bridge beyond the confines even of the story of time. Timelessness is infinity, and freedom from story releases us to perceive all that is beyond story time. In Buddhism this state is known as diamond mind, the true nature of mind.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico called this state inner silence, the springboard to infinity. For them the storyteller within is the incessant internal dialogue that interprets, that is, puts into story format all that we encounter. Freedom from the mesmerizing spells of the internal dialogue is both simple and the hardest thing to achieve.

Suspend judgment, the Shamans recommend. You don’t have to stop the story, but with consciousness you simply acknowledge what it is—a story—and cease to give it attention. You step outside the river, the current of thought, label it for what it is, and like Buddha, don’t attach. Simply perceive what is, beyond story.

Riverwalking,

Chuck