Category Archives: Chuck’s Blog

Welcome to Chuck’s Place! This is where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Currently, Chuck posts an essay once a week, usually on Wednesdays, 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: Calm the Self, Calm the World

Acceleration Fatigue might aptly characterize the mind’s reaction to the  energy of now. Future Shock has become daily shock. Saturated with awful, we can absorb no more. Herein lies the opportunity to: Calm the Self and Calm the World.

Every day offers opportunity for calm reflection…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Begin by refusing the attraction to new news. There’s always excitement to be found, and excitement has its definite place, but too much of anything leads to exhaustion. Save your attention for your breath. Softly breathe in calm, gently melt away tension in soothing release.

Consider the many lives of self, coexisting at increasingly subtler levels of spirit, supporting the body in these rapidly changing times. Allow the messages, teachings, and adjustments from faraway dreams to innervate the self of daily life. Feel the love and support of wholeness of being as it reflects itself throughout the day.

Suspend judgment. Treat the march of events as they arrive at your shore with deep curiosity. Who are these visitors? Do I need to purchase their offerings? Why have they come my way this day? Don’t be offended by their intrusion. Remember, you have total charge of where you place your attention. Choose wisely, choose lovingly.

Love. Love the body, the physical being of this dimension. Love the mind, the spirit partner to the physical self. Love the consciousness that spirit affords. Love the spirit that journeys with all spirits, all parts of the same magnificent whole. Love all thy neighbors as thyself.

Have love for the ego; it’s saddled with self importance. Nonetheless, it remains the ground zero general of this dimension. Realize it must face its petty tyrants in its struggle to be free. And what is freedom? Freedom is serving the true needs of self beyond the veils of illusion. Tall order. Love it well.

Wait patiently. All things change in time. But for things to truly change the time must be ripe. Be with the changes of now, however painful, as precursors, milestones of greater change to come. No need to overly suffer in these suffering times. Be in truth. Eat, drink, and find joy in even these darkest of times. The darkest hour is just before the dawn. A change is gonna come, be patient.

Be like the rainmaker who brings rain when she restores herself to the Tao. Find your way to calm and it will calm the world.

Peace,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Find Higher Ground

Keep the light on love…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As a clinician, I would diagnose the world as currently suffering from Acute Stress Disorder. This diagnosis differs from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder only in time: we are currently encountering the overwhelming stress, and reactions to stress, well-known in PTSD, most acutely in our daily encounters with oncoming world events.

On a psychological level, acute stress is met by the activation of the survival instinct, which manifests in reactions of fight, flight, or freeze. These reactions are archaic responses, universally programmed in all humans, that generally override the thinking, reflective, choice centered part of our brains, the neocortex, which generally goes dormant when we feel threatened. Thus, our behaviors become instinctively, versus consciously, directed reactions to stressors.

We see the fight reaction in the political and social media battles throughout the world. We see the flight reaction in the mass migratory patterns of human populations fleeing the earthly disasters and dangerous political conditions of their familial homelands. We see the freeze reaction in withdrawal into depression, as well as into the numbness of addiction.

Although instinctive reactions are nature’s time-honored survival strategies, they are not always the most efficient or appropriate responses to a crisis, nor do they really penetrate the true depth of an issue. Deeper levels of consideration require the ability to reflect objectively, which cannot happen when the neocortex is offline. Thus, the ability to restore the thinking function to normal capacity is critical. But how?

Breathe. Mindful breathing has the physiological effect of blocking stress producing hormones and inducing a relaxation response to the body. From there, thinking comes back online and can provide a broader perspective. The greatest challenge to breathing when stressfully activated is to separate from the actions dictated by the fight, flight, freeze instinctual program. Sometimes a vigorous walk, run, or private scream is a helpful release before breathing. When battling another person, it is generally best to separate for awhile, rather than try to force a resolution. Not to do so often results in a continued and escalated battle.

Although the neocortex is the biological thinking center of the brain, the mind and consciousness itself are actually part of the soul or energy body. This is most evident in the mind’s ability to act in opposition to its biological programming. When we choose to breathe when deeply stressed, we are acting in opposition to our biological programming. We rise above our animal nature to access spirit consciousness and choice.

The heart center in human beings has its energy body connection in its interconnected relationship to all of life. Thus, from the heart center we are able to feel love, which enables empathy, care, and support beyond one’s instinctive survival drive, which cannot extend beyond the narcissistic province of me and mine. This spirit center elevates the human being from the dominance of the survival drive at its animal level, which we witness pervasively throughout the world at this time.

As Mother Earth continues her drastic reformation of the globe, a major healing crisis, we are likely to see all animal species, particularly the human, responding through instinctual survival programs. For humans, these instinctual survival programs will increasingly pit human against human. These instinctual survival programs lack empathy, love, and a greater understanding of the changes we are all being confronted with.

In spite of the dire state of world affairs, it is possible to consciously rise above these instinctual survival programs and maintain and increase greater love and understanding. The ability to be empathic truly does lie at the heart of the evolved human being. With intent we can find our way to higher ground.

Seek sanctuary in heart-centered breathing to counter pure survival behaviors that lack soul. Find the higher ground of love and understanding, even as our species grapples with major change. As individual cells of this great body of Mother Earth, we can, individually and collectively, introduce soulful healing energy into our planet’s current major healing crisis.

From the breathing heart,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: On The Edge of Narcissism

What does it mean to be living in this time of The Trump Show? This thinly veiled reference to the movie The Truman Show casts no aspersions upon Trump but intends instead to present an incisive understanding of the momentous time we are living in.

There’s a whole new reality out there!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In The Truman Show, Jim Carrey’s character, Truman, lived his complete life on a TV set, totally unaware that he was the only real character in a fabricated story that the rest of the world vicariously watched on their screens. He naively lived this personal illusion, which was completely supported by consumer interest. The climax of the movie was the moment he discovered the boundary of his illusion, a fake ocean in a flat room, and a three dimensional world beyond it that he had never known existed.

Jim Carrey’s moment of revelation is symbolic of the time when human consciousness was confronted with the reality that the world was not flat, that explorers did not fall off the edge of it on their ocean voyages. At that moment, world consciousness realized that it had been locked into a belief system, like Jim Carrey, that kept it insulated from true reality, largely due to its isolated, confined, narrow-minded view of the world. Once that revelation came, everything changed.

That moment of revelation can be characterized as standing on the edge of narcissism and glimpsing the true nature of someone or something other than the mirror of one’s personal belief system, the lens through which one ordinarily perceives the world. It’s that moment on a date, when the one who has talked about him or herself, non-stop for an hour, suddenly looks up and notices the other person at the opposite side of the table, and asks, “And what about you?” The implication: Something beyond me exists, a startling revelation!

Human consciousness is currently nearing such a moment of revelation. Donald Trump is our Truman, bringing us to the edge of narcissism, to the boundaries of our belief systems that veil a more comprehensive view of reality. In one form or another, we are all players on the set of the Trump Show. The main technology of his show is sheer impulse and unpredictability, and we are all gripped and contained in the fiery energy of the drama.

No longer do we have a comprehensive collective belief system about how people should behave, what news is fit to print, how natural disasters or assassinations should be handled. Instead, we’ve  splintered into clusters of opposing views, where even the Commander-in-chief might impulsively, completely reverse himself, at any moment, on any given day.

This plethora of opposing beliefs keeps us locked into warring differences that vie for supremacy, an attempt by each side to install their belief system as the overarching truth. However, the more sublime impact of the Trump Show is the revelation that belief systems are just that, bulwarks of narcissism that veil other truths and realities, and prevent deeper exploration and knowing of those truths and realities.

And now, as we begin to see through the relativity of our limiting belief systems, what is the broader reality that approaches us?

Energetic reality is the new frontier. The Trump Show has laid bare the dominance of the survival drive, at the animal level, as the basis of current decision making. Energetic reality lays bare the existence of spirit as a dominant guiding force for life, in and beyond the physical body.

What all religious traditions have always held space for, is the existence of a soul, an etheric body that separates from the physical body at death to participate in continued life on new terms, without a physical body. Energetic reality offers the means to experience and explore this realm while still in possession of a physical body.

Robert Monroe was a leader in providing a technology of brain hemispheric synchronization that facilitates such exploration. Carlos Castaneda shared a simpler technology toward the same end, that of intent. The potential that each technology offers is direct experience of one’s soul, on an energetic plane beyond the physical body.

This energetic exploration is a means to knowing, versus simply hoping, that life continues beyond physical life. With this knowing, life on the physical plane is no longer encumbered by the fear of death, that which has led to the dominance of the survival drive at the animal level of our human selves.

Opening to energetic reality also exposes us to the true nature of our interconnectedness with all of life, on and beyond the planet, as we encounter the subtler energetic dimensions of being. With this broader view we realize that our thoughts influence others, spoken or unspoken. We discover that we too are deeply influenced by the silent thoughts of others, as well as the collective world thought patterns and beliefs, that on any given day large numbers of people may feel depressed and hopeless, or invigorated and hopeful, as the collective energy is felt on an energetic level.

Energetic reality is transparent and largely nonverbal. In energetic reality, we easily read the intentions of others, as well as ourselves. In energetic reality, the instincts of the human animal are seen, known, and accepted. In energetic reality, with a more honest awareness in place, the human animal is granted life with embodied consciousness. Certainly, in energetic reality, the negotiation of intimacy in relationship has the potential to become one of deeply profound union.

The ability to heal and be healed in energetic reality is exponentially advanced, as the subtler dimensions of thought and intention, as energetic change agents, are incorporated more fully and fundamentally into treatment protocols. The understanding of disease, as indicative of the status of the soul—perhaps being blocked in its intent, or forging its intent through the creation of physical symptoms—will deepen diagnostic and treatment approaches.

In energetic reality, inter- and intra-dimensional travel and communication, with souls no longer in human form, will vastly conserve the dense energetic reserves of the planet, currently being exploited for dense body, physical travel. Obsession with materialistic accumulation will give way to energetic creativity, with its boundless right-brain potential properly attuned with a left-brained attitude freed of egotistic fixation.

Though it may be difficult to imagine these profound changes, as we near the edge of the narcissistic platform that has embodied our beliefs, the possibilities I present are already being experienced by many. One need only decide, in earnest, to experience the soul directly, in an out-of-body experience in dreaming. As the body goes to sleep, the natural time for the soul’s dominant activity in our lives awakens. With but a little perseverance, one will have experiences beyond belief.

And so, with the Trump Show shattering our beliefs, the ground is clearing, as we reach the edge of narcissism and venture into a whole new world of energetic possibility.

Bon Voyage,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Pulling the Sword from the Lake

Sword in the lake…

Once upon a time, in the Age of Chivalry, King Arthur pulled his mighty sword, Excalibur, from the stone, assuring his divine right to the throne. This was the age where the princess and queen were protected by the unrequited, unconsummated love of their devoted knights.

Jung discovered that this masculine warrior, who completely dedicates his life to serving his queen, is actually a living part of a woman’s psyche. This animus, as he termed it, is the masculine part of the inherent structure of a woman’s psyche. Typically, however, a woman encounters this inner character as an outer person, projected upon various boys and men in her life, who reflect, unbeknownst to her, her own inner masculine self.

The masculine in woman is reflected in the symbol of the sword. Aside from its protective function, it wields the ability to slice finely apart the nature of reality in the form of left brain thinking and consciousness: rationality, logic, and the power of discrimination in time and space. When a woman retains versus unknowingly disowns her animus via projection, she is in a position to develop and mature the power and ability of her inherent masculine, as well as her natural right brained feminine nature.

Recently, an eight-year-old girl named Saga pulled a 1500-year-old pre-Viking sword from Lake Vidostern in Sweden.* This saga symbolizes modern woman’s owning her own animus power, as she embodies her voice, tempers her emotions, and keeps possession of her clear thinking.

When I watched and listened to Dr. Ford give her testimony, I heard the voice of a young girl accompanied by the mature mind of an educated woman. Her knowledge of brain science was seamless, her articulation flawless. She knows what many a recapitulating woman knows about sexual abuse, the absolute facts of what happened.

Like many others,  she held this truth in well-guarded secrecy for nearly a lifetime. But the traumatized girl-interrupted in her would never let her forget. Though she tried to barricade her way to safety with two sets of front doors she could not be insulated from the power of the truth.

It was to take the rising of her teenage abuser to the heights of the Supreme Court to break her silence. Her truth resonated for many, though many doubt the definiteness of her memory. Having spent the last 30 years treating many women and men abused decades earlier in their lives, I have had the benefit of witnessing the absolute clarity of visceral memory in recapitulation.

Trauma fragments the self as a means to remain viable. Oftentimes the entire experience is lost to memory for many years, until the adult self is sufficiently ready to face and process the experience. Dr. Ford never lost the memory, but her ability to react, to confront, and to speak her truth were frozen deeply in the body of her fifteen-year-old self. Dr. Ford’s testimony before the Senate melted her frozen-in-time reactions to the assault.

This was the true healing moment, the moment of self-unification and restored wholeness. The outcome of the hearing and confirmation process have no bearing on her healing. Speaking her truth out loud freed her voice. It matters not whether she is believed, she is healed. Though there may be more steps for her to take to complete her healing, she is no longer frozen in time, held in  check by fear.

Our world finds itself divided, in deep polarization, with leadership modeling and fueling threatening and hurtful language and action, which certainly generates new ordeals for Dr. Ford, but nothing can erase the bridge she crossed in her deep personal healing.

Her testimony sheds great light on the ordeal of sexuality in adolescence as well. She has shed intimate light on the hidden truth of many a girl’s experience, blindsided by the uncontrolled sexual advance of pubescent boys and men. We are a race who, for all our technological genius, knows nothing of the most powerful energy in our animal selves, sexual energy. Yes, we must protect our boys, but the real truth is that boys need to be protected from being overpowered by their sexual nature, as it floods their immature egos in adolescence.

Sexual emergence, education, and regulation are simply downplayed, avoided, or underestimated in our thoroughly modern culture. This is the reason for mass sexual abuse in all cultures of the world. Dr. Ford has added to the recent mass sharing of the truths that most women have been too frightened to share. And though we may be entering a brief dark age that threatens every woman’s control over her own body, some young girl is preparing, right now, to take the human race forward, as Ms. Saga’s lifting of the sword portends.

The key for the rising feminine was modeled by Dr. Ford. Yes, the young girl still resides inside—we hear her voice—but her innocence is liberated and protected by her mature adult mind. She presents with clarity, innocence, and knowledge. She needn’t raise her voice; her calm demeanor resonates deeply with all who seek the truth.

In the end, it’s only the truth that matters. It’s the only way we can square with our spirit, the essence of real healing. Power can push it away, but power that ignores the truth is but a castle in the sand.

I look forward to the emergence of the steady feminine hand upon the sword, in both women and men. Watch carefully, and patiently. It is the real saga unfolding before us. I extend pure love to both Christine and Brett, integral parts of our evolving saga.

Honoring the rising Saga,

Chuck

*https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45753455

Chuck’s Place: Addiction to Human

In Roman law, addiction was the term applied to restitution or punishment for a crime. The convicted criminal was addicted, or bound to servitude or slavery, to their master, the offended party in the criminal case.

Addiction to human (and self-importance too!)
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Spirit beings, who either choose or become trapped by a fascination with physical matter, become attracted to, attached to, and bound to, or, as Roman law dictates, addicted to, the constraints of such matter. In this case, that concentration of matter is a physical body, our animal form, what we define as a human being. Human beings are spirit beings addicted to being human. Addiction is the price for the “crime” of becoming human. Certainly, this notion has resonance with the plight of Adam and Eve, banished for their crime of human adventure.

Once the addiction sets in, what ensues is lifetimes of spirit (pure consciousness) living, in experiential detail, the full range of physical possibilities associated with inhabiting a material master (the body) or masters (many bodies), as one may reincarnate in a variety of lifetimes in earthly time/space.

Thus, life in the human form becomes one of various permutations of addiction, or compulsive servitude, to the wants and appetites of one’s physical host, the human body. Freedom from addiction would then ultimately require releasing one’s attachment to human form and returning to Oneself, to original spirit wholeness—what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico called a Magical Being or Energetic Being—freed from addiction, or fixation upon life in a physical body.

Energetic beings flow. Human beings fixate on all things human. Thus, even the most altruistic, giving, loving human can still be defined as an addict. That kind of addiction might take the form of luxuriating in the good feelings of giving. Perhaps the addiction might also belie an underlying attachment to the self-importance of being a selfless, giving being. Perhaps the addiction might simply be one’s final go-round in time/space, the attachment to saying goodbye and releasing from physical life in this dimension forever.

As with the  high failure rate of all addiction rehabs, it’s hard to skip grades in Earth School. Each class generally lasts at least a lifetime, and it must be fully lived and fully completed to truly move on, to really be done with that particular addiction in the human form. In AA terms, one who skips over completion of an addiction becomes a dry drunk, not drinking but still equally addicted to the coveted substance in the form of nasty resentment.

The mastery of an addiction is the completion of one’s course with it. The final exam asks you to answer to your exploration of every facet of the addiction. Does it still hold you in its grip? Are you repressing knowledge of your continued attachment? Can you stare it in the face, smile, and say, “I know you! We had quite a journey together, but, truthfully, we are no longer traveling companions. I wish you the  best. I love you, but I must move on now. Thanks for the fullness of our journey together.”

This level of completion advances one to the next class, the next level of fixation in the human form. The addiction might shift from substance to money, from victim to abuser, from moral heights to trickster depths, from straight to gay, or from man to woman, as one’s soul explores and gets to know and fully experience its addiction to all the possibilities in human form. The road to freedom may indeed require lifetimes of habitual patterns on a similar fixation until one becomes really bored, often a sign of true mastery and true doneness.

The process of advancement to Earth School graduation involves spirit’s deepening mastery of its addictions. Mastery ultimately leads to real detachment from the addictive fixation that was chosen as the experience in any given lifetime. Real detachment ultimately includes a complete release of emotional attachment to all things physical.

Thus, one bears, upon completion, no resentment, entitlement, anger, negative thoughts about, judgments toward, or obsession with anyone or anything they have been attached to in their lives. One can be thankful toward all the characters, both villains and lovers, for the full range of experiences shared with them, or acted upon them, in their various lives upon the Earth. In true detachment, the overriding feeling is one of love and compassion for all fellow travelers.

Love is indeed the Alchemist’s gold of Earth go-rounds, harnessed and purified in the addiction retort of a human lifetime. The experiment begins with tumultuous attachment, where love is first encountered in its most possessive animal form, with what we call being born. Non-attachment at this stage in human form results in death via failure to thrive, psychosis—where spirit can’t fully humanize—or psychopathy, where spirit serves shadow alone.

As Freud observed, this humanized primal animal energy slowly becomes sublimated throughout childhood, as spirit advances toward civilization. As recent Senate hearings suggest, the fallout for this is what Jung called the acting out of the shadow, where the  imprisoned animal can overtake its civilized ego, and pounce.

For love to advance, and be enhanced, it must travel the path of the energy chakras throughout its various lifetimes, finally reaching the heart chakra, the tipping point toward spirit hegemony in human life. Reaching the heart center signifies the human emergence from the primary narcissism of the lower chakras. At the heart center, spirit is able to burn through the veils of illusion that have been generated by the ego’s journey through power, possession, and control in the lower chakras.

From the heart center, spirit is granted its unique opportunity for existence, and love is experienced in transparent sharing, seeing, and communicating. And, yes, the human sexual animal is fully incorporated at this level, entwined in the fullness of love.

From the level of the heart center, the human spirit is finally ready to lighten the heavy burden of its animal survival instinct. That survival instinct transitions from fixation on animal survival to preparation for finally returning to pure spirit form, the human sojourn in Earth time/space completed.

The chakras above the heart center further raise love to its highest human form, pure unattached love. This enhancement is the product of successfully mourning all the required losses of time/space existence, including family, friends, and all the loved ones and things of this world, most especially one’s animal self, the physical body, which must be freely surrendered to death for spirit to move on.

Completion of addiction to human is the shedding of all special attachment to all of the characters, in all of the lives lived in human form, all equally loved in unattached super love. Absorbing and surrendering this fullness lightens the spirit, advancing it to its true state as a Magical Being, ready to take with it enhanced super love, as it launches into its next journey in infinity, curious as to what comes next.

Now, that’s one worthy reason to suffer the human addiction! To put it succinctly: Curiosity is the spirit’s mother of exploration.

Addiction is the thorough exploration of new territory. Repetition is the technology of addiction. Boredom marks the first signs of completion; depression, the precipitant to actual completion. The technology to emerge from depression is recapitulation. During recapitulation, old attachments are released, and energy reclaimed from those attachments is accrued for the next spirit launch.

With the magic fully gathered, off we go, having enriched that which we explored, taking forward all the love, deeply enriched, deeply curious…

Sweetly suffering the human addiction, and curious,

Chuck