Category Archives: Chuck’s Blog

Welcome to Chuck’s Place! This is where Chuck Ketchel, LCSW-R, expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Currently, Chuck posts an essay once a week, currently on Tuesdays, along the lines of inner work, psychotherapy, Jungian thought and analysis, shamanism, alchemy, politics, or any theme that makes itself known to him as the most important topic of the week. Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy page.

Chuck’s Place: Controlled Folly to Temper the Spirit

Temper that spirit, you gluttonous bee, and control your folly!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We live in the most spirited of times! Exhilaration is thrilling yet energetically exhausting, and as current events highlight, potentially perilous. Conserving and accruing energy is key to longevity and full self-realization in human form.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico developed a practice they called controlled folly to conserve energy, through tempering the human spirit. The human spirit is actually the ego-Soul portion of one’s greater SOUL. The two are connected, but it is the ego-Soul that lives and acts upon the world stage in our current sojourn in human form. It is the ego-Soul that grasps at life and wants more. Our greater SOUL lives as our silent partner, in infinity, the more comprehensive context of the human life we are currently in.

Controlled folly is engaging one’s ego-Soul in one’s chosen path of heart in this world, with great earnestness, like a true warrior and yet, having NO attachment to the outcome  of one’s actions. This detached edge is possible because one never loses touch with the fuller backdrop of one’s surrounding life in infinity.

The Shamans cite three essential facts, gifts of wisdom from the greater SOUL, as the foundation of controlled folly: (1) All life in human form is transitory and terminal, hence, (2) regardless of the role we play, or story we live, all roads lead to the exact same ending: death in human form, therefore, (3) the greater backdrop of all human life is our full transition into infinity, the ultimate destination of our definitive journey.

Shamans see, in some form, their energetic interconnectedness with everything, glimpses of infinity. Shamans read their journeys in dreaming, and the synchronicities in everyday life, as revelations and promptings from their greater SOUL to wake up to the fuller storyline of their ongoing life in infinity. By inviting the full awareness of ultimate death into their current incarnation, they transform an ordinary life into a magical life.

From this seemingly morbid perspective an individual can recognize that indeed, all the world’s a stage. And, as Carlos Castaneda once recommended, be the best actor you can be in the role you’ve chosen during your present time on the human world stage. Live the life you’ve chosen to the fullest, yet don’t get too attached to its significance; it’s not the main event or the only event.

Practicing controlled folly does not absent us from expressing human emotion. What great actor has not fully lived and expressed the true emotions of their role. Nonetheless, when the show is over the actor disengages from the role and shifts to their true human identity.

Controlled folly allows us to live with passion while knowing that, in the ultimate sense, none of it really matters. Thus, we can simultaneously be incredibly engaged in all that life offers, with utter seriousness, yet ultimately, be completely detached. This dual focus is how we temper our passionate spirit and how we are able to let go when what we have fought for doesn’t come to pass.

Similar to the message of the Bhagavad Gita, Carlos deemphasized the morality of the role you play. No one role is more important than another. To judge harshly another’s role is to get caught in the self-importance of overvaluing the particular play you are in. All roles are parts of the play, angels and demons alike, creating a complete cast. To remember this is how to temper our own extreme emotional reactions to the dance of now, that which is taking place upon our world stage. All spirits are equal actors in the play, and yes, Marianne Williamson, though some are dark psychic forces, they nonetheless have critical parts in the play.

Life in this world is extremely important, why live it as a failed play? But at the same time, it’s all relative when contrasted with forever, the greater reality we will all return to when this play is done. Nonetheless, this is our play now, our moment in time to experience this drama to the fullest, and that matters; and yet, at the same time, it doesn’t. This moment is assured its place in infinity’s ultimate historical record, the Akashic record. It will never be erased, no fake news in infinity’s library. Nonetheless, it is only one moment among infinite moments.

The significance of the play we are currently in is the completion of Kali Yuga, the utter destruction and disintegration of civilization’s  highest achievements. But what is the reality that lies beneath civilization’s false self? Freud really did call it accurately when he called civilization a sublimated id. What has emerged from the depths of the collective human shadow now is the repressed ancient rivalries and conundrums that have never been resolved in our revolving human dream. We’ve all acted in plays together before; this is just one more show. And yet we have an opportunity to finally resolve some things that we’ve left hanging from previous lives.

Where, for instance, on the globe is the core center of volatile unrest? In the lands of the Middle East, of course, where ancient issues have yet to be resolved. Who’s entitled to the land? How does one protect what they feel is their’s? Simple questions, ancient, never-solved dilemmas. We all have them.

And yet, these ancient core dilemmas are impacting the safety of the globe, and they are being mirrored in the dominant politics and daily atrocities in most countries throughout the world, impacting us all. We are coming frightfully close to absolute rulers, outright racism, nuclear winter, concentration camps, and flirtations with final solutions. We’ve lost our perspective on the greater reality we all face.

As the Shamans codified, it is our awareness of death that elevates our time in this world from ordinary life to magical power. Why settle for a redundant, mediocre play when we can elevate our time here to a Tony award performance! Why not let all the actors stand on center stage to deliver their best performances? Why settle for world neurosis as the best compromised dream we can deliver? There is so much more.

Woodstock 50 is cancelled, no time for hallucinogenic reruns, but alas, Marianne Williamson has entered center stage! She is indeed the ticket to call out the dark side of the force. The play we are now in would best be played by such a rivalry; Donald Trump requires such an opponent as Marianne Williamson. He gets bored, and rightfully so, without a worthy opponent to challenge him.

We must all call upon controlled folly here to temper the spirit. We are all here for such a brief moment, such a brief appearance on the world stage. At the end of the day, the curtain falls and it’s the end of an era; this play is over. All of us will exit the stage, where we will shake hands with our fellow cast members, all rivalries dissolved. Only self-importance, the seed of reincarnation, will keep us replaying the same drama.

Controlled folly offers us the opportunity to truly advance the issues that have thwarted humankind for eons. Imagine Marianne’s Department of Peace. Imagine hugs in the Middle East. Yes, John, we can still Imagine, but with the edge of controlled folly we can do it with no attachment to the outcome.

Live the dream, intend it forward, and when it’s time to go, exit the stage, in love with it all.

Don’t hold back,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Awe Over ARMAGEDDON

What’s next? Volcano, new dawn, or both?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As if regressing America to its glory days of industrial giants and fossil fuels weren’t enough, we now have England being spurred to reinstate the dominance of the British Empire. Thank you, Hindu science, for the framework of Kali Yuga as a rational framework with which to understand this fantastical end of an era.

Never underestimate the value of a psychological defense. Of course, defenses obscure reality, but they do provide a perch to rest some cohesion of self upon, especially as we absorb the impact of the meteor of now.

In shamanic nomenclature, we are all experiencing a blow to the world assemblage point, that collective agreement that has for so long provided us with the consensus reality we have known as our world. The impact, however, is not Armageddon, unless one chooses that interpretation. The alternative is to choose awe in the face of sheer magic.

Indeed, the fanciful tricksters in charge now are the circus sideshow performers that incite and attempt to fixate our attention with their boastful charades, but they are not the main event. True, they have some hypnotic powers to peddle their versions of a new assemblage of reality, but their efforts are really just fleeting distractions.

The main event is Nature herself, as she rapidly reshapes the face of the Earth. Denial is one masterful defense. Indulge it while you can, but its foothold is shaking in its boots. At its core, even the human animal senses the mighty changes afoot.

The gift of now is the opportunity for fulfillment in this time of completion, for that is what we are dealing with now, the completion of one cycle before the beginning of the next. As our illusions shatter, the shadow comes to light. Who really could deny that the dark side of the shadow is having its day? But enough of that, it’s actually becoming boring.

Indeed, all must face the suppressed, the repressed, and the fullness of the unknown and unloved self. Nature, in her fullness, demonstrates the way now: from the sunlight of the day to the darkness of the night, it’s time to accept and integrate the dark side of the moon. That which creates also destroys. Without destruction we’d be stuck, replaying Shangri-La forever.

On the other hand, can we face and realize the golden side of our own shadow? The energy of now, in this time of completion, is shattering the limiting beliefs that have held us back from truly growing into the fullness of our beautiful selves.

Fear, doubt, shame, and inertia have provided safe places in our old world habitat, but the new world we are entering is a world governed by the magic of intent. Intend it and it will be so. Intend to realize the fullness of you and allow the energy of now to shape and materialize that dream.

Don’t be fooled by the destruction of now. Without clay, the potter’s wheel cannot throw us a bowl. Our Earth is simply spinning and reformatting its clay. Our intent is the architectural blueprint for our place in the coming new world.

Do your part. Keep it simple. Take full advantage of the gift of now. Face and reconcile with your personal darkness, then allow yourself to become your golden loving self, fulfilled to the brim.

It truly is all about intent. Intend awe over Armageddon!

Intento!

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Right Attitude

Waking up to the news of the world today, the synchronicity that presented itself was this quote from THE MOTHER.*

“If, in the presence of circumstances that are about to take place, you can take the highest attitude possible—that is, if you put your consciousness in contact with the highest consciousness within reach, you can be absolutely sure that in that case it is the best that can happen to you. But as soon as you fall from this consciousness into a lower state, then it is evidently not the best that can happen, for the simple reason that you are not in your very best consciousness. I even go so far as to affirm that in the zone of immediate influence of each one, the right attitude not only has the power to turn every circumstance to advantage but can change the circumstance itself. For instance, when a man comes to kill you, if you remain in the ordinary consciousness and get frightened out of your wits, he will most probably succeed in doing what he came for; if you rise a little higher and though full of fear call for the divine help he may just miss you, doing you a slight injury; if, however, you have the right attitude and the full consciousness of the divine presence everywhere around you, he will not be able to lift even a finger against you…”

“I have had innumerable examples of the power of right attitude. I have seen crowds saved from catastrophes by one single person keeping the right attitude. But it must be an attitude that does not remain somewhere very high and leaves the body to its usual reactions. If you remain high up like that, saying, ‘Let God’s will be done,’ you may get killed all the same. For your body may be quite undivine, shivering with fear: the thing is to hold the true consciousness in the body itself and not have the least fear and be full of the divine peace. Then indeed there is no danger. Not only can attacks of men be warded off, but beasts also and even the elements can be affected.”

Be so empowered,

Chuck & Jan

*Taken from the book POWERS WITHIN, Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, pp. 65-66

Chuck’s Place: Childcare

Childcare 101 prop…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Had a dream the other night, where Jan and I were caring for two young children, a girl and a boy, who had never been cared for by anyone but their parents. Try as I might to do everything right, I’d flushed a toilet in one bathroom, which disrupted the water pressure in another bathroom where the little girl tried to flush. Flushing didn’t work for her and she became traumatized.

We were all once children. Our bodies, and some parts of our psyches, became adult. But parts of us are still the innocent, naive, shy, frightened, excited children we once more fully were. Perhaps those parts never grow up and transform. Perhaps the adults we become must assume childcare for our inner family. Perhaps that’s what it means to become a responsible adult. Perhaps that’s what wholeness and integration really mean.

Of course, this does not mean that adults should be bound to childish entitlements. Needs must be appropriately met, but neediness or demandingness are not to be catered too.

Children, inner and outer, may bear the wounds of trauma and unmet needs, which require adult intervention to provide necessary healing.  However, adults must be careful not to become codependent to victimized parts. The horror of trauma is not healed through reparation or compensation.

The healing of trauma requires adult support as the traumatized child regains equilibrium, as it fully experiences and knows the facts of its personal history. Acceptance of the truth frees the child of the trauma and allows it to blossom. Catering to the dysregulated emotions of trauma only further entrenches one in victimhood.

Adult relationships must contend with child parts. Every adult has inner child parts that projectively feel entitled to attention from ‘parent’ partners or others in life. We may look physically like full-fledged adults, but inwardly we are a composite of many developmental stages.

The challenge is to individually assume parental responsibility for our own inner family. The expectations we place on partners or others frequently originate from our own child parts. Maturity is willingness to acknowledge and assume responsibility for what is ours and not expect another to care for it.

Nonetheless, with consciousness we might agree to be partners to our partner’s healing journey. To hug the wounded child part of another might be a helpful healing support, if voluntarily offered. However, to insist on a partner or another person taking care of a wounded part, or insistently feel entitled to care, entrenches and empowers victimhood. Healing cannot proceed under such conditions.

Ultimately, needed childcare must be provided by the adult self, who becomes the true parent to all the parts of the personality. Parents and partners provide the matrix that activates the issues of the child, but only the adult self can truly care for, heal, and lead the whole self, with all its component parts, to fulfillment.

Caring,

Chuck

Heat wave reading!

The above link explains what is happening in the world environmentally and in terms of the utter disintegration of morals. From a rich Hindu understanding of cycles of time, what we are experiencing now is objective and far transcends the foolishness of blame, which is rampant in our world today. The year 2025, only 6 years away, represents the completion of the Kali Yuga age, the darkest period in human civilization that accompanies major environmental transitions on a planet wide level. What is rapidly changing is inevitable. We are at the completion of the darkest of dark times, which will be followed by a regenerated civilization, whose consciousness will move gradually toward a new Golden Age. This conception of cycles vastly contrasts with the notion of evolutionary progression as linear. From this cyclical perspective evolution progresses in a cycle that ultimately regresses. We are now at its lowest stage of regression. As the last placed 1960s Mets used to say: “The only place to go is up!” And voila! In 1969 the rock bottom Mets became the Miracle Mets, winning their first World Series.
 
Today, we celebrate the landing of the Apollo astronauts on the moon, 50 years ago in that miracle year of 1969, the same year that the Woodstock Music Festival forecasted a world of peace and love. So, don’t despair, the only place we have to go is up!