The following are a representative sample of some of the tools I might utilize as appropriate to a clinical need, as well as definitions of terms we typically use on our website and in our various practices. Many of the terms also appear in the channeled messages from Jeanne and, in fact, the term Big Baby has been given to us through her insights. Whenever I speak of shamans or shamanic traditions, I am referring solely to the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, specifically the knowledge taught to Carlos Castaneda by don Juan Matus. This is the only practice of shamanism that I am personally familiar with, having practiced Tensegrity, the magical passes of this lineage, for many years.
This is a technique developed by Carl Jung, where one interacts directly with different parts of the self to achieve reconciliation and balance. The critical component is a real dialogue between two separate entities, not a dialogue played out alone by the conscious mind. Inner child work, ego states, and parts work all utilize this method to consciously access, process, and reconcile, either fragments of the self, or independent parts of a coordinated self.
Big Baby Factor
We have coined the immature, dependent, self-centered needy side, the child within, which exists in all of us, the Big Baby. It can appear as a saboteur, as resistance, teased out in times of stress, or when triggers ignite it, although it can also dominate the adult personality, covertly or overtly. It is an unevolved aspect of the self that overshadows the adult self until it is fully recapitulated, integrated, and laid to quiet rest when the adult self assumes full parental responsibility for the personality. Occasionally the Big Baby wakes up, needs to be acknowledged, tended to, and put back to napping. It interferes in relationships, interactions with others, the ability to function as a mature adult in the world, and often interrupts and delays the inner work. Eventually, when recapitulation is achieved and maintained, the Big Baby recedes, rarely interfering in life. The Jungian analyst Esther Harding coined the term autos, to represent a primitive ego state or a highly narcissistic early ego state, which we feel parallels our concept of the Big Baby.
The ability to channel, to volitionally suspend the ego or rational mind, to allow direct connection to energy or energy bodies no longer in human form, is an innate potential resident in all humans. This non-rational state allows access to more comprehensive truths and understandings than the boundaries of the rational mind can permit. This ability is most often accessed while in a state of trance, but can also be spontaneously achieved with no preconceived effort or intent.
A clinical term, dissociation denotes the separation of ego awareness or control from other states of potential awareness and experience. It is accessed in trauma when the ego is suspended, unable to assimilate an experience. This results in memory loss or fragmentation, which requires recapitulation to access and reassemble the whole self.
“The royal road to the unconscious.” —Freud
All people dream. All have the capacity to remember dreams once they intend to remember them. In classical dream interpretation, dreams are explored and analyzed to discover inner truths previously unavailable to consciousness. The key to such wisdom is resonance, an aha moment, where a truth is known and change is now possible.
Derived from Native American traditions, an individual consciously intends to take on a challenge in a dream, intending and rehearsing a plan prior to sleep. In dreaming, the dream ego remembers and carries out the plan, which then leads to a fundamental change in waking life. Here the dream world is utilized as a valid playing field for real change.
Shamans have a vast knowledge and experience of the energy body, essentially an energetic option for consciousness. Shamans state that we are, at once, both concrete objects and sheer energy. In fact, modern physics now validates this reality. Many people experience this energetic state at a traumatic moment, i.e.: “I watched myself being operated on from the ceiling.” Out-of-body travel is part of our evolutionary potential, which can be accessed through intent. Such exploration allows for travel and experiences that may augment one’s energy and knowledge, aiding in the ability to meet challenges in the realm of everyday life. Dreaming is a natural entry point to the energy body and can be cultivated. Many times, people inadvertently stumble into energy body states in dreaming, which can be frightening if one lacks knowledge of this natural state.
EMDR — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR caught my attention when I was very focused in the shaman’s world. The magical passes for recapitulation included a sweeping breath, incorporating a bilateral head movement as you breathe in and out, reliving your past. EMDR employs a similar bilateral stimulation as one encounters the free flow of experience while processing a past trauma. This mind body technique accesses a definite inborn human potential for resolution and refreshment also evident in REM sleep, where rapid eye movements and dreaming prepare us for the next day. REM deprived sleep for three days creates psychosis. EMDR activates this inborn potential for mind body healing in a conscious state.
Ultimately, everything is energy. The life force of an individual, in its purely energetic state, is often called the energy body. Once this state is reached, it is possible to separate and travel away from the physical body, which exists in solid form or a very dense energetic state. The energy body can be reached in states of heightened awareness, hypnotic trance, and in dreaming. At death, one’s entire energetic being is transformed into the energy body.
The splitting of experience under traumatic impact into manageable components is called fragmentation. For example, an experience might be partially or fully visually recalled, yet have no emotional component attached to it. Fragmented components remain separated for defensive purposes yet seek reintegration with the whole through associative triggers in everyday life. Some components lie dormant for decades and suddenly awaken and intrude into consciousness, apparently signaling the appropriate time for recapitulation and integration.
This is an extraordinary state of direct knowing of the truth, an altered state of awareness, with access to non-rational abilities, such as leaving one’s body while still in the human form. This state of awareness is devoid of ordinary ego participation or processing, which likely accounts for the absence of memory of the experiences encountered in heightened awareness. This state can be reached through intent, hypnosis, in OBE, in dreaming, in meditative trance, and in recapitulation. This state is also reached through major onslaughts to the rational mind, such as in traumatic experience. These are experiences coveted by shamans since they are the gateway to deeper knowledge, which offers the ability to explore other worlds.
Hemi-sync is a patented auditory guidance system developed by Robert Monroe as a means of safely accessing altered states of consciousness, heightened levels of awareness, and even out-of-body experiences. The Monroe Institute, located in Faber, Virginia, is dedicated to the exploration of consciousness as a pathway to personal growth and freedom.
Perhaps the oldest book known to mankind, the I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle, which literally translates as The Book of Changes. Through an in-depth study of nature and the changes in nature, the Chinese sages identified sixty-four archetypal arrangements of nature, each of which can change in six different ways. Through the ages, the sages have commented on identical stages and changes in human life. Through the principal of synchronicity a person can pose the intention of a question, while throwing three coins six times to arrive at the hexagram of change which reflects an answer to their question, or the real question they should be asking. This method, which I have utilized for 35 years, is especially helpful in bewildered moments of not knowing where to go next in treatment, and in life. Personally, it has always drawn my attention to my blind spot, as it presents an objective perspective of now, which reaches beyond the prejudice of subjectivity.
In the shaman’s world, intent is seen as an independent energy which can be accessed through intending it. Other spiritual traditions have discovered methods of repetitive prayer or mantras to galvanize energy for an intention. All thought generates energy. Focused thought can manifest physical change, as is evident in hypnosis. Developing a link to intent, through whatever method, is central to all change.
Discovered by the shamans of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage in dreaming, these are sets of physical movements, which enable the practitioner entrée into alternative states of awareness, such as inner silence and heightened awareness. These passes resemble forms in the Martial Arts, which reconfigure the energy of the human form for fighting purposes. The intent of the Magical Passes is to redistribute energy to achieve heightened awareness, and to gain free access to the energy body.
Martial Arts, Tensegrity, Yoga
These are all physical methods to effect change by accessing energy independently of mental processes. The marital arts connect to ancient forms, or patterns of movement, intended to ground, defend, or assert the self. Tensegrity utilizes ancient passes, like forms, for different intents, such as dreaming or recapitulation. Yoga offers postures, breathing, and meditation to gain deep conscious connection and control of every aspect of the physical self.
Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)
This is an experience of the energy body beyond the confines of the physical body. An innate alternative to the dense physical body, the energy body is reached accidentally through traumatic impact or volitionally through intent. The energy body can also be accessed in dreaming, which is most common, or through hypnotic trance or deep meditative states. In this out-of-body state one can leave one’s physical body, travel in other worlds, and encounter other energetic beings.
This is a dynamic identified by Freud and Jung, where the world becomes the screen and our unknown inner selves the projector. The unrealized potentials and dynamics of the psyche frequently reveal themselves in the people and situations we are either attracted to, or repulsed by, but in either case are obsessed with. This dynamic is especially helpful in disentangling the truth of the self from the limitations we are so frustrated by in others. Relationship therapy must progress to ownership of projections to achieve real growth and resolution.
This is a practice from shamanic tradition, which involves reliving, versus remembering, or reflecting upon, one’s entire life. The goal is to free stuck or frozen energy attached to prior experience for use by the present self. The shamans undertake this practice in an orderly fashion. I approach recapitulation in the flow of everyday life, as it is presented, through the triggers and symptoms in a client’s current experience. These experiences often lead to fragmented parts of the self that were split off in traumatic encounters. Once recapitulated, trauma is resolved, resulting in greater wholeness and freedom in present life.
Shamans are human beings who have gained the ability to access their energy body and non-ordinary states of reality, with fluidity, at will.
This word means literally: same time. Jung applied this term to events he observed happening simultaneously, which were meaningfully related, though not causal to each other. Hence, meaning might be derived, by examining two seemingly unrelated events occurring simultaneously in one’s life. Some physicists believe that synchronicities reveal a hidden connectedness between mind and matter. In treatment, I approach all events in one’s life as meaningful and instructive, manifesting as a result of one’s intent to grow. All events have potential meaning and value, occurring to further our awareness and growth. I always pose the questions: Why did this happen now? What does it mean? What is it attempting to show us? What is the test? What do we need to learn from this?
Trauma is the experience of an unexpected physical, emotional, or cognitive event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to assimilate. This results in a splitting of the psyche into different energy states where awareness favors the dissociated out-of-body state to manage the actual in-body encounter, which can’t presently be assimilated. Unassimilated experience is stored in the psyche and physical body for later attempts at assimilation through associative triggers, dreams, or volitional recapitulation.
Triggers are everyday events which associatively attempt to awaken one to the deeper truths stored in heightened awareness, in the body, or in the protected recesses of the unconscious psyche. Triggers can initiate from a sound, a smell, a location, a face, a time of day or year—the list is endless. Generally, intense emotions, reactions, compulsive thoughts, or flashbacks accompany trauma triggers. Triggers must be managed, but healing requires a thorough recapitulation of associated trauma to end the dominance of triggers.