Something is missing. The old guard has left and the new guard arrived, but something is lacking. The old had something of value to offer; years of discipline, the will of accumulated practice, ancient knowledge that only an old warrior can accumulate and use properly. It is not appropriate to completely throw out the old. Learn from the old, even as you strive for the new, and all will not be lost. You are not forsaken but only eager, and you have quickly forgotten what you truly know; the beauty of kindness, the spirit of compassion, the wonder of love, even for yourself. These ancient powers still work and their magic must still prevail. Rely on them and all will be well, within and without.
When it’s time to make a big change you will finally know. You will have no doubt. Set your intent, firm up your will, and declare to yourself alone that it is time. And then take your first step. It need be only small, but even the smallest step in a new direction will bring on more than you know. A whole new journey awaits you. Let it begin.
My first encounter with the shamanic practice of Recapitulation was at The Westwood Seminar in Los Angeles in 1997, that year’s annual summer intensive for Tensegrity practitioners. Carlos Castaneda stressed the seriousness of this ancient shamanic Magical Pass, which required a complete reliving of one’s life in preparation for the freedom to fly free, into infinity, at the time of the death of one’s human form.
For Jeanne and I, our ancient Catholic foundation was stirred, as we feared the equivalent of going to Hell if we did not complete our recapitulation before death! Well, I know that Jeanne did indeed make the cut when she left her human form, though she did have to touch back briefly to clear up some unfinished business with her birth mother before she could fully move on. (See the final chapter in The Book of Us for a recount of this unfinished business.)
When Jan and I discovered that recapitulation could actually serve as a total healing tool for complex PTSD, we realized that recapitulation had vast application beyond the shamanic preparation for one’s definitive journey.
In addition, I was synchronistically drawn to EMDR at the same time I was introduced to Recapitulation. I realized that recapitulation and EMDR shared a bilateral feature as their processing mechanism. I also realized that REM sleep shared this same bilateral mechanism, the processing function of ordinary dreaming.
I have capitalized on the innate biological mechanism of bilateral processing in much of my clinical work, but I have also come to discover that intent itself is really at the crux of everything.
When an individual sets the intent to recapitulate, that is, to fully retrieve energy that is sidelined or frozen, by incomplete processing or resolution of prior or inherent experience, something takes over and turns the totality of current life into experiences of what needs to be recapitulated.
Many clients, who are recapitulating traumatic events of which they have no current memory but which form the etiology of their complex PTSD, have discovered that memories begin to appear in no apparent order, haphazardly and from many different periods of their lives, which absolutely insist upon being processed.
Memories may be triggered by bodily pains, dreams, current interactions, smells, sounds—almost anything serves as a projective screen for a memory to reveal itself. Once fully recapitulated, another memory begins to flesh out, of its own non-conscious accord, often from a totally different time and circumstance, perhaps skipping over many other traumas that occurred in between.
The point here is that the intent of recapitulation itself, once engaged, becomes the director of the actual remembering, determining the sequence, frequency, and unique presentation of new memories and how they are brought to consciousness. I have come to trust intent’s illusive logic in directing an unfolding recapitulation, because the necessary healing appears to require its own idiosyncratic, sequential building blocks, constructed through the order of one’s personal unfolding memory triggers and encounters.
Though I hardly suggest that anyone embark upon the journey of traumatic recapitulation without a seasoned guide, I cannot deny anyone the knowledge of their birthright, their own access to the intent of recapitulation, the ultimate soul retrieval journey. To fully retrieve one’s energy is to be fully present to facing oncoming time.
Finally, when I learned the magical passes for intent in the shaman’s world, we practiced yelling the word, “Intent!” very loudly and firmly. And so, I simply recommend firmly stating, out loud, one’s intent to recapitulate, thus affirming one’s conscious decision to partner with the intent of recapitulation, a most worthy higher power.
Keep your intent strong. Mark your own words and abide by them. Hold yourself accountable, for only you are responsible for yourself, your decisions, and how far you go with your intentions. If you want something, you are perfectly capable of making it happen, step by step, holding your intent strong and not wavering from your path. With your intentions firmly stated, your will strong, and your focus forward, you will not fail. Intent!
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico make an important distinction between will and intent. Will is automatic, intent requires consciousness. Will issues from the land of participation mystique, where individuals or whole nations unconsciously follow the leader. With intent, consciousness taps into that same underlying energy as will, but assumes control of its manifestation.
A concrete example of the distinction between will and intent is a Yogi who is capable of assuming conscious control of the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Thus, bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion—generally controlled by the ‘will’ of the body—can be co-opted to function according to the conscious ‘intent’ of the yogi.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that the underlying energy and power of manifestation of both will and intent come from the same source, the greater energy of intent in the universe that manifests all things. The only difference between them is simply who is in charge: nature’s archetypes or consciousness? Like the yogi, the shaman cultivates the power of intent at a fully conscious level, assuming control of what ordinarily happens when we function at the level of participation mystique.
The greatest obstacle to mastering intent, according to don Juan Matus, is limiting beliefs. We simply do not believe that we can manifest simply through intending a change. Abraham, as channeled through Esther Hicks, taught the law of attraction. Simply put, what we think is what we manifest. Thus, if we intend a change but constantly doubt our ability to manifest it the energy of our intent receives an ambiguous message: “change but don’t change, because I can’t change!” This compromised intent manifests a stalemate, no change.
The simplicity of simply stating an intent, of holding an intent as an agent of change, just seems too darned simple to our modern rational sensibility. We either argue about its impossibility, defeat it in doubt, or too meekly state it for it to be heard by the greater intent of the universe, which we personally tap into when we intend.
To not assume conscious responsibility for intent is to largely leave the direction of our lives in the default position of will, where we mystically participate in the rule of the archetypes. These archetypes are then projected upon the outer world where they organize perceptions and mental judgements, in essence manifesting the world we live in.
The incessant voice of ongoing commentary within the mind, what the shamans call the internal dialogue, essentially reinforces the will of the archetypes, which becomes how we experience life. Thus, when the world leader presents his view of the world in a state of the union address, world citizens are unconsciously drawn to project the archetype of the king upon him and assimilate his words as their personal intent or worldview.
The phenomenon of hypnotism illustrates the power of a message to manifest an outside intent. Suggestions from outside of us, like the suggestions we give ourselves, unawarely through our internal dialogue, become the commands we automatically manifest in our beliefs and actions.
Intent itself is impervious to morality. Intent is a pool of energy awaiting a command, a direction to manifest. Thus, for instance, there are ‘good’ shamans and ‘bad’ shamans, as Star Wars so eloquently demonstrates. If the force is equated with intent, the crucial question is, who will command the force, the light or the dark side? Intent can manifest either way, for purposes of good or evil.
It rests with the individual to decide the fate of intent, in fact, the fate of the world. Consciousness itself is the first rupture with the automatic adherence of the individual to the will of the archetypes. The Pope recently pointed to the apple in Eden as the first example of fake news. From this perspective he acknowledges that the intent of consciousness ‘sins’ against the will of the archetypes, or perhaps what he would call the will of God, as the individual is freed to engage in the ‘fake news’ of consciousness and offered the opportunity to act with intent. His concern is duly noted given the current state of affairs in the world.
With freedom comes responsibility, what the world is faced with assuming right now. It begins within the individual. How will I use my personal power of intent? Many entities have a powerful interest in commandeering my intent for their own ambitions. As malevolent as this might sound and be, simply watch nature; watch the birds. All life feeds upon life. The dark side is part of life.
Nonetheless, with consciousness we are freed to intend balance within ourselves and balance within our world. Balance, like the Tao, finds a place to incorporate all that is, light and dark. Of course, consciousness can equally choose to align itself solely with the dark side, thereby delivering to the light side a great challenge for growth. Here we see the value and necessity of the dark side.
Intent is the message you choose to deliver to the greater pool of energetic intent to manifest in your life and your world. Keep it simple, repeat it often. Grapple with your ambivalence, face the shadow of your intent, incorporate its truth into your intent. When doubt seeks to sell you its wares acknowledge it then shift to stating your intent, incessantly. Don’t attach to outcome, free intent to set the course of the journey, wherever it takes you. Suspend judgement of the current state of manifestation of your intent. Remain persevering. Hold your intent with the lightness of a feather as you gently send it off on the wings of intent.