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: The Change Has Come

At least the sun still rises in all its glory…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We have been future shocked. In our time, before our eyes, the world has shifted to extremes. It’s really a lateral move, nothing new, simply a move to the outermost edge of the known, a comic book version of a familiar world.

We have become an alternative permutation of the reality we once knew, now overtly dominated by impulse and self-importance, supported by the speed and breadth of social media’s reach.

As a therapist, I see the pall of powerlessness and depression run through the lives of many. Often, I point out this collective dimension of these mood states, which many people tend to locate more in the immediate events of their own lives. The animal within us feels the threat we all live with, the mind interprets it more personally.

The truth is that we are in a time of great change. The wild politicians merely reflect the wild natural forces transforming the globe. The world is being reshaped into a sustainable homeostasis by nature itself. Humanity’s inflation is being schooled.

As individuals, what can we do? First, see the truth of the bigger picture. The Earth is transforming. The UN report on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, released last week, states that at least a million species are on the verge of extinction.

The human species, though hardly on the verge of extinction, is more than double what the Earth can sustain in a balanced way. The great migrations of our time reflect this truth, as natural resources dry up. Unlimited growth is not only not an option but is already being curtailed by nature’s storms.

Seeing these truths, we must practice compassion, detachment, and self-regulation. The Earth’s transformation is causing great suffering.  Compassion and kindness lessen the suffering and warm the heart. Detachment, with love and empathy, gives sanctuary to the Spirit, so vital in guiding us in these dark, uncertain times. The Spirit is optimistic, as it sees the relativity of now: all things must and do change.

Self-regulation is mind, the mental body, in partnership with its own Earthly home base, the physical body. The mind that acquiesces to right action for the self, limits the desire body’s control of the physical body. Unburdened by unnecessary wants, the physical body is available to exercise its magical abilities under the direction of consciousness.

The ego-Soul, under the mentorship of the heart chakra, can tell the body to extinguish unhealthy habits and institute evolutionarily productive behaviors. This was the real reason humans became conscious, to speed up nature’s decision making in a responsible way. At present, the ball has swung back into nature’s court, as humans have yet to mature into this privileged position.

Finally, at the heart chakra we know that we are all inseparable parts of the same whole, individual cells of the same body. As such, we have the power to influence the whole, through the living of our individual lives.

One person who finds true balance in the context of their individual life, sends out a balanced energetic wave to all who surround them. That person, as well, becomes an energetic partner of healing at a subtler level, with all the healers of the world. You may never physically meet those other healers, but energetically you are connected to and contributing to the greater good.

Yes, the change has come. See the truth, live the truth, and be empowered to advance true healing.

With eternal optimism,

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

Chuck’s Place: Kundalini Rising

We are in the time of the great healing crisis…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Tragic, the burning of Notre Dame. It takes us to the heart and the intent to rebuild. The energy, contained for centuries in this monolithic structure of Catholicism, has been released and will be reformed in its reconstruction.

Pope Benedict spoke from retirement last week, proclaiming, in a letter, the source of sexual abuse in the Church to be linked to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the free love of the 1960’s. His prescription for reformation is in keeping with similar calls throughout the world for conservatism as the solution.

His letter reflects, at the highest level, the schism within the Church. Pope Benedict reflects the power of control at the third chakra, will. Pope Francis calls for love at the fourth chakra, all-encompassing. The mounting energy of this schism can be depicted as kundalini energy rising and bursting forth, in flames, in the split between these two chakras.

In America, the same schism is being exploited and the fires stoked. Some hold to the true spirit of the American Dream, the heart chakra. Others hold that that dream is over, that America is full, back to an old conservatism, the third chakra. The same schism confronts Israel. And though Netanyahu emerges victorious, Beresheet crashed into the moon.

At the deepest level, all these local tragedies are signs of the earth’s healing crisis. That crisis is the earth’s reformation, as the farmers of the Midwest can well attest. Healing will require rising to the objective truth of what is needed to survive at a fully interconnected level, beyond all special interests.

Consider Katie Bouman’s modest contribution to the algorithm that made possible the first viewing of a black hole. The key was to bring all telescopes on the earth together as one. The ability to merge the data as one produced the light of consciousness that takes us deeper into the mystery of us all.

The fires rage and the destruction is painful. Nonetheless, the healing crisis, well underway, portends new life, on more solid ground.

Present,

Chuck