“Little did we know that every moment of every day we were immersed in it, in God, in Experience, and we were not, nor were we ever, separate from it.”: The Mind’s True Liberation
“…that pool of experience is connected with the entire Universe, which is all Experience. We are one with it. And it is God. God, certainly, different than the way w e pictured it. Being separate ourselves, we pictured another being. Little did we know that every moment of every day we were immersed in it, in God, in Experience, and we were not, nor were we ever, separate from it.”
– from Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation
See also, Experience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor by Michael Adzema at
For any of Michael Adzema’s books, go to Michael Adzema at Amazon at
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“Like you have done to all else in the Universe … these wannabe spiritual adepts have reduced the most alive thing in the Universe — Aliveness Itself, or God — into another thing, another accomplishment.”
The Planetmates reveal wannabe spiritual adepts, “new age” thoughts, technology of consciousness, children and human tool use, Tower of Babel: “Want to know how to make God laugh? Tell Her your plans”:
“…it brings to bear their good practice elsewhere in their “positive” thinking, which keeps learning and personal growth from happening and strives to be witless. Similarly, this concoction of “blessings” requires a skill in keeping out the contrary thoughts and doubts which are part of growing in wisdom in life. So these “miracles” are in no way the result of any kind of morality, kindness, compassion, or love.These folks think they can get what they want and perform miracles by the concentration of thought — the limiting of thoughts, again, not allowing any “bad” thought or “doubt” in — so, again, God has no say in it. It is another magical prescription, another hocus pocus not much different from black or white magic, voodoo, or science.
“There is also a version of, so-called, spirituality that applies here as well. Adherents of it often think of the Divine as being assimilable through various techniques of consciousness.They would “raise their vibration,” spike or jolt their pineal gland, use the correct crystals, say the correct magical words or mantras or prayers in exactly the correct manner…. In this way of thinking, whether one is kind, compassionate, loving, authentic, generous makes no difference, as long as one has the correct “recipe” for Divinity. Like in your mythology of a Tower called Babel, they think they can, through their own effort and using their own will and determination, reach God, or a “higher consciousness.”
“And, just like the people of Babel — as well as the evangelicals, scientists, and black magicians — they think God should have no say in it. God will “obey” and come to one if one uses the correct “technique,” stumbles across the magical password to open the gates of heaven. God is no different from the forces of Nature, like electricity. And It will “obey” and do what you want as long as you find the secret “trick” that“controls” It.
“So, like you have done to all else in the Universe outside of yourselves, these wannabe spiritual adepts have reduced the most alive thing in the Universe — the aliveness of the Universe Itself, which is God — into another thing, another accomplishment, another attainment — manageable with the correct magic strings. Like the rest of Nature, God also is given no intention, will, consciousness. How ironic that such folks, in expanding their Ego above all, can operate on an assumption that God, Itself, has no soul. But that they do. And that they will deign to raise Divinity up to where they, in their magnificence, are.
“Do they really think God might not have input into their plans? We know the answer to that. For even as some of you say, “Want to know how to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” That is an indication that some of them, having attempted it, are now laughing at their foolishness. So we see that even this mistake — like everything else — can lead one forward … but only if one is open to learning from it and not keeping that awareness from happening by labeling its appearance in consciousness as a“doubt” or a “bad” thought.
“We see that it is no coincidence that such evangelical and “new age” thoughts abound in your materialistic, scientistic, and supremely controlling modern world. For as much as science deals with only a material world — and ignores the spirituality and aliveness of the Universe to do so — it does so because it only deals with the things that can be controlled, whether for good or ill. That is why your science is interconnected with technology. Technology’s meaning is techniques for controlling. With science behind it and feeding it, your technology has expanded your Egoic, fear-based, drive to control into all corners of Earth and even beyond. But such, so-called, spiritual paths, as we are mentioning, would seek to bring the same thing into the realm of the non-material, the spirit, the soul, the Alive. Some speak of a “technology of consciousness.” This implies man as controller, again, even in the inner realms. Do you see that technologies only reveal that which they set out to? How can Awakening be confused with coming to know more of what one already believes? With no real change or transformation of the person?
“Finally, does it not seem odd that, if a God exists, It would want to deprive billions of people living over the course of all of history from contact with Him — in a sense, “waiting” all those hundreds of thousands and even millions of years — till humans had developed their technology enough and stumbled across the correct techniques required to meet Her?
“At any rate, in addiction to your ego and blinded that way, categorizing all of Nature as “wild,” including God, and denying any separate intention or will, or soul, to It — soul having become associated only with that which is controllable — and seeking to have It submit to you, you see your children as “wild,” as things without souls until you give it to them, and so needing to be controlled and “tamed.” And being as they are soulless and wild “things” only, you allowed yourself any means to bring this about … “for their own good,” you say. So, you proclaim, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Making of yourself a king or a god in your homes and classrooms you, not God, would be responsible for breathing soul, and morality, into the unformed clay, which you saw your children as. Conveniently, you would not notice that what you would consider morality and soul would coincide with what would please you — not God — and, additionally, would be of use to you.
“Thus, seeing your children as things, and soulless, and as “wild” — after your fall into sedentary-hierarchical ways — you would seek, under the guise of child-“raising” or “rearing,” but also, we see, of “morality,” to make of them things of utility to serve you. You would, essentially, fashion tools of them.You pride yourselves as humans as being above Nature in your tool use; you say that fashioning tools is one of the things that makes you human. From this perspective, however, perhaps now you can see the roots of that urge to fashion tools, for tools magnify your power in controlling things. They expand your abilities to act upon and rearrange Nature and its ways. Just like your “technologies” and your rituals and recipes for bringing Nature and the Divine to heel, as mentioned above, human tool use is a manifestation of your controlling obsession. And children got swept up into that singular mania….”
[Pt 2 of 29th Prasad — Tool Use. More coming….
To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirdsupdated), go to http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …
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“Described by shamans as being cut up into many pieces … this experience is only the collapse of the shell in which you existed”
Latest from the Planetmates … on the experience of leaving the “matrix,” a-mazing culture, Edenal existence, more:
“…when one is reversing that trance state … indeed, right now, for you, this might be occurring … and this message is the equivalent of the red pill for you … one goes through a shock, as the crutch of culture is removed.
“Leaving aside the fact that in this space, this liminal one, your early deprivations can be felt and healed, still in the beginning this is a horrifying vision of unreality, emptiness, and meaninglessness. One feels that one is seeing deeply into the nature of reality and following it down to its foundations and they are … nothing. One might have the sensation of dissolving, of becoming de-atomized, or of melting. One certainly feels like one has lost all bearings and supports and cannot “hold oneself together,” any more. One might have that oh-so-dreaded feeling that one might be losing control of oneself, be going “out of control.” One might feel one is going to soar off into space, that having completely lost gravity and one’s connection to Earth one will be thrown or sucked back into an endless, random Universe. One often feels like one is falling.
“One feels like one is falling, falling, seemingly endlessly and into a darkness, a Void, an abyss. One might say that one is looking into an abyss or Void, and one feels vulnerable. One often feels open to outside energies and conceives of these negatively as being devils and demons, or simply negative energy … all of which these most certainly are not. They are simply the repressed and unapproved aspects of one’s own experience arising to be integrated again in the Universe’s perpetual movement to become whole again … and this time through you.
“This experience has been described by shamans down through the millennia as being cut up into many pieces. It has been called depersonalization, by your modern psychiatrists. It has also been called identity loss, and the event has been termed an identity crisis, by psychologists, at times; at other times, a breakdown … the old fashioned-term being, anervous breakdown — which terms, by the way, misunderstand the break through quality of the event simply out of the fact that it is not experienced as pleasantness. Indeed, one will often fear one is “going insane,” or is going to “lose one’s mind.” Later in life it might be contained within the experiences of the mid-life crisis.
“What it is, however, is simply the vision of the emptiness behind all actions and events in one’s life. It is the apprehension — however clearly or not one understands it as emanating from infancy and birth — that all that one does is a product of truly inauthentic forces within oneself. It is a perception that everyone and oneself are like windup dolls, or robots, mechanically acting out directives from another place over which one has no control, regardless how insistently one had been previously that one had that control and “free will.” It is, however, only the collapse of the shell in which you existed; it is its disintegration and falling away as you become the greater self, beyond Ego, that you are capable of being.
“You see, your gradual changes from Natural Life involved two things, basically: A growing ability to survive biologically, physically at whatever cost to your happiness, along with a separation from your natural inclinations and felt Divine guidance. And your ever-widening separation from the Divine meant a constant hole in the felt meaning of your existence.
“Lacking roots in Nature or the Divine, you were like a weed without roots, growing madly above ground, reaching out vainly in all directions for sustenance because of the lack of direct connection to your deeper truth. This expanding outward desperately in all directions creates your culture — which is the artificial substitute and the dim empty reflection of existence.
“Culture — your “matrix” — is the “much ado about nothing” and the “strutting and fretting upon the stages of life” and “sound and fury signifying nothing” of which our mutual friend Shakespeare wrote, having learned much from us. Culture is your magnification of the overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence, and it is the overblown array of your defenses to keep at bay your realization, your “enlightenment.” Culture brings meaning to your lives, but it is a false one. It provides you motives, and it supports and sustains your efforts; but they are vain and empty goals and futile and meaningless rituals, only.
“So, after the fall into sedentary-agrarian ways which multiplied the branches of culture a-mazingly, providing the opiate for your feelings of loss and the substitute for more natural ways, more of your newborns would live. As we have said, they would be given economic value — as a commodity — within that trance life or matrix you have erected. Your children would be allowed to live, but what was distributed among them was this watered-down offering, of a life drained of meaning and “juice” but mostly lacking the “colors” or “flavors” of experience we planetmates enjoy and containing instead the apprehension of the outlines of living not the immersion in its profound and lush plenitude.
“This tendency for your lives to be bleached of real appreciation but multiplied maniacally grew steadily over time coinciding with the aforementioned rise in the predominance of the traits of controlling, conforming, sycophantic and desperate striving to please and to be appealing, and nonexpression of needs become repression of personality and cobbling of ability to participate in existence’s Divine creative stream. You built increasingly a false matrix in which to dwell, substituting it for the richness of experience of our Edenal existences.
“So, driven by this inner abyss of unknowing, your outer behavior expanded in spurious and fanciful activity and productions of all kind. With time, your vapid nature would spin out unnecessary personality traits, hollow and unsatisfiable needs, fetid desires, furious but vain behaviors, insubstantial wants, blind obsessions, uncontrollable compulsions, fantastical beliefs, painfully burning visions, and tortured thoughts … of all kinds and all of it magnified, then multiplied, then repressed and fought, then struggled with … and all this in grandiose dramas that are further multiplied, exaggerated, over-dramatized, and so on round again.
“Such an overcomplication of life’s simple existence and beingness you create to keep from knowing the horror of you. Such a fury you unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep you from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of your horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside you.
“In all of these, you journeyed ever further from your roots in Nature and the Divine and made Edenal existence the most distant memory and the most certain component of everyone’s Unapproved and Hidden….”
“[Pt 5 of 27th prasad — Culture. More coming…
“To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …
To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.
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“The Great Reveal is meant to ennoble you … to free you to take your grand and fulfilling role in the exciting and profound Divine Play before us”
Give the Universe a chance; synchronicity; shamans and priests. The Planetmates reveal religion, mysticism, and spirituality; meaning of Prasad:
“…you think that you “please” this Phantom — which you mistakenly call “God” but who is not (for it is not Good) — by taking up arms against the Phantoms of others and their allies. You have projected your early family drama as a child onto the heavens. And you seek to use Conforming Underling behavior — sycophantic, mindlessly obedient, repetitive, most often nonsensical (to you), expressive of “love,” devotion … what you call “worship” … and alliance against all others … which you mistakenly link with faith, as in “keeping the faith” and “defending the faith” — to procure “boons” to alleviate the anxieties you have created for yourself about this life as well as to relieve your overblown fear of death and an afterlife. You seek relief from the misery you have created for yourselves — unique to all planetmates — from this Phantom in this life as well as afterward. This is the real meaning of your ritual and prayer.
“And by the way, if you ask then how we can disembowel ritual and prayer — the essence of religion — this way, yet still allude to an All That Is with a Benevolent Consciousness? If you wonder how we could even be communicating with you if such Phantoms are only projections of unmet need, you are not remembering what we have been telling you about your sense of a separated self. For while the essence of religion is appeasement and appeal, the essence of what you refer to as spirituality and mysticism is surrender and mergence … re-union.
“Religion is a product of the separation from unity with the All That Is or the Divine, and its individual observances of ritual and prayer only reinforce that separation. Whereas, the essence of mysticism and spirituality is to dissolve that barrier to the Divine — existing in your perturbed mind — and to re-acquire your true identity, which is at-one with that … to achieve at-one-ment (atonement).
“To this end you have priests and some of those you call shamans who encourage your separation — what you call religion; and you have another kind of shaman — as well as guides and helpers of all kind around you everywhere (as “provided” by that Divine) — whose conscious as well as unconscious intents and behaviors serve to aid you in removing that separation. You call this spirituality.
“If you should, finally, question the existence of the Divine Itself, thereby removing the separation artificially by removing, in one’s beliefs, that Other from which one has become separated — if you remove the separation by simply denying the existence of half of it — then “the proof is in the pudding,” as they say. For while religion depends on believing the unbelievable, which can’t help but be constantly under assault from Reality Itself in that it is erected against and in opposition to that Reality, which you mistakenly refer to as faith, spirituality requires no sycophantic obedience. Since the Truth is that Ultimate Reality cannot be anything but helpful in that It is you — and why wouldn’t you help yourself? — why would it withhold anything that would aid you in tossing off your enslavement?
“So it is that by simply trying out the idea that there is a benevolent Universe, one finds that one receives help, assistance, and experiences that reveal that Other and, although it does not need to at this point, proves it. This is what is meant by, “Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you … .” Reality does not require of you blind obedience and sycophantic worship. Now why would a Benevolent God — one you say correctly is all-merciful, all-compassionate — want that of you? No, the Divine — your denied Self — is as accessible to you as it is to us. And, as we have said, it is part of a felt knowing of our consciousness that we cannot doubt.
“As for evidence for this, how do you account for the very things you are hearing right now? This Great Reveal we bring to you is meant to relieve your unnecessary suffering and free you. Of course it is meant to have you turn to and face an actual discomforting problem. But even then it is only meant to ennoble you and free you from the diminished life and futile dramas you have created as substitutes for such a grand and fulfilling role and script — one that is part of a more exciting and profound Divine Play that is being offered you.
“Still, how do you account for hearing these words right now, so at odds with so much of what you have been taught and so promising to you … but most of all from a source that in your Reality would not even be possible? Consider the blessing of the prasads themselves, as evidence of this Benevolent Reality, this God. For indeed that is the meaning of prasad: it is a blessing from Divinity or a Divine Being. Why would you be receiving these helpful words — right at this moment especially, which you know is just perfect for you — if Reality is not Benevolent? Does it not feel like a blessing to you? A prasad? And how could you be receiving this message from this consciousness that is not you as you have defined yourself? Is that not proof that this Benevolent Thing is also “higher” than you — a higher power?
“But these are only the faintest glimmerings of the evidence in your experience, the blessings and guidance, the teachings and knowings that come — miraculously it seems — to you once you give the Universe a chance … once you give the Universe a chance to reveal it as it is … not as you want it to be, out of your fevered mania. Once you give the Universe a chance to actually be benevolent, not just as you are coerced into saying it is in your current unaccepting-of-actual-blessedness state, you find that It is, more so than you have ever imagined it could be….”
[Pt 2 of 26th prasad — Arrogance. More coming….
To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …
Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness — Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.
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A Smaller Number of Us Can Make All the Difference in the World, Literally, by Tipping Our Course One Way as Opposed to Another: Moving the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? A Smaller Number of Us — Standing in the Right Place and With a Lever Big Enough — Might Be All That Is Needed to Move the World
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen:
To Move the World – A Race Against Time
Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth?
The Evidence for Change Occurring
Finally it is time to answer the question posed by this book: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth? Knowing apocalypse, we can now declare a hearty No! to apocalypse.
Our answer begins by pointing out that we have discovered, in this book, that there are things that can be done to prevent our extinction and, on the contrary, bring in a new dawn of harmonious cooperation with the forces of Nature. In the last five chapters we have seen that there is evidence of a collective change in consciousness occurring. A radical change in our attitudes to war, racism, the environment, and even spirituality—and thus to the very way we live our lives—is manifesting in our culture, the youth of the world, our children, and is even popping up in our collective dreams.
In addition we are aided by some fundamental processes of natural and cosmic law. In preceding chapters I have pointed out how both our nature inside and Nature outside seem to be conspiring to force us into the changes necessary. From this perspective we are in the hands of natural law, and its homeostatic mechanisms may bring us into line in ways unimaginable, beyond even the speculations I put forth in our attempt to see “through Gaia’s’ eyes” in Chapter Seven.
Visible and Invisible Allies
Furthermore we may be aided by unseen forces and entities of which we know not and may be incapable of knowing. Though I think it foolhardy to sit on our hands and hope that some intergalactic or spiritual cavalry will arrive to save the day at the last moment. Still it is eminently reasonable, considering the minuscule knowledge we have in relation to the immensity of All That Is, to put aside our familiar hubris and at least consider the possibility of aid from higher forces or entities.
Perhaps it is because our interconnectedness with Everything requires that we not fail, for it would have detrimental effects on things of which we do not know. I must confess that I myself have received knowledge of such help being given us. [Footnote 1]
Similarly there are others who believe that God will not allow His/Her creation to be destroyed and did indeed come in the flesh to ensure its success. [Footnote 2]
And there may even be cosmic laws at work. “Truth has its own momentum,” said one of our workshop participants. My wife and I conducted workshops in what we call primal breathwork, which is based on the Holotropic Breathwork™ of Stanislav Grof. In these workshops, which involve access to all aspects of the unconscious, including the spiritual/transpersonal, the biographical-psychodynamic, and the sensory, as well as the perinatal, it is not unusual for us to witness people being motivated, because of their profound transformative experiences, to commit themselves with all their being, talents, and resources, to aid in the processes of renewal on this planet.
But Is It Enough?
Don’t Expect to See It on Cable News
But some might argue that there are not enough people changing. You might easily get that impression if your prime source of information is the mainstream media of the cultures of the world. For it is in the interest of the dominant media of all lands to support the status quo—for economic, as well as political reasons. They are not likely to report the new and controversial.
In fact, the proof of this is that when truth is truly democratized and shared freely, as on the Internet, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen the social media and the Internet leading in many areas, from Wikileaks to Mideast revolt, everywhere and anywhere. Like a tail wagging a dog, the Internet has been the first to expose information that the controlled media, who knew of it but repressed the information, only afterwards were forced to present.
So don’t expect the paid-for media to give you an accurate portrayal of what is truly new and breaking or for them to accurately reflect cultural changes as they occur. And don’t either expect for them to present the news of positive developments occurring—especially when those positive developments threaten an entrenched status quo. No, the official information sources of the status quo are the last to report such changes, and they do so only when they absolutely have to.
The Peace Symbol—Moratorium—Reversed
Meanwhile, from my vantage point, I would answer the query that there are not enough people changing by reiterating that, in fact, there are many of us who are integrating this emergent material, who are regaining our truth and the truths of this Earth and the Universe, who are expanding our consciousness to include this information, and who are carrying that information forward into positive action to heal ourselves, the people around us, humanity at large, and the planet.
This response of constructive action is exquisitely expressed when the peace symbol is reversed and symbolizes a human figure with arms upstretched—meaning the expression into the external world of what was discovered within.
Putting Out Our Hand By Creating Healthy Alternatives
An answer to the question of what will happen is that we can hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and reaction in the face of this influx of material, for one thing. In addition, those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier for others less fortunate to face and deal positively with their environmentally enforced psychological transitions.
Those of us who can should put out our hand to our struggling sisters and brothers. If we can set up and provide accessible alternatives to the ones of reaction and acting out that now exist, we’re going to make it more likely that those more prone to reaction and avoidance will instead also grow in response to these eco-apocalyptic, bio-noetic changes.
Facing the Monster Is Always Better, Often Beautiful
For, contrary to what many believe, the evidence from the experiential modalities involving the perinatal, and my own experience, concludes that the dangers of not accessing the perinatal unconscious are much greater than the ones of attempting to access them. For our residual birth issues influence us one way or the other. If we deny them, we can be deluded into acting them out, completely unconsciously, without an insight or a clue, in a “fetal trance state,” in the form of war, social violence, spouse abuse, sexual promiscuity resulting in the contraction of AIDS, and a myriad of other destructive and self-destructive ways.
Whereas if we turn to face this supposed “monster,” with only a tad of insight into these forces that direct our life, we are at least able to avoid the most horrific of the destructive acts that keeping it unconscious can cause us to participate in.
And then, on the more positive side, fully working through these seemingly hellish inner traumas can result in a transformation of the person and a lightness, peace, beauty, and fulfillment of life unlike anything that can be imagined beforehand.
A Race Against Time
Regardless of whether we succeed, we must try. As Stanislav Grof put it in his conclusion to an article on this global crisis: For our very survival,
We seem to be involved in a race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of deep inner transformation; we might reach a level of consciousness evolution that will bring us to the point of deserving the name given to our species, Home sapiens, i.e., wise humans.
“The Leaven In the Dough”
Of course, I do not expect that the sort of application of experiential techniques Grof hopes for above can occur on the massive scale that would seem to be necessary to avoid apocalypse in the short period of time that we have left. Yet it might be that we would be lucky enough for that not to be necessary.
It is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
1. See “Some Cosmic Encouragement: I Was Told “Once There Lived ‘Noble’ Beings” and Now Is the Time for a Regeneration of Peoples to Regain What We Lost,” which is the prologue of the book that follows in line from this one. Wounded Deer and Centaurs expands and elaborates on some of the central concepts introduced here.
3. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 25. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.
Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
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When Everything Appears to Be Conspiring Against You, You Might Want to Stop Fighting Rebirth: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions and a Different Hero’s Journey
How Can You Be Borne Up, If You Won’t Let Go? Spiritual Experience Is Distorted by One’s Birth Trauma … The Necessary Hero Descends Into the Perinatal Below
Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions
The Necessary Hero and Descent Into the Underground–When There’s “Nothing But Trouble,” You Know You’re in The Perinatal Below
A Different Kind of Hero’s Journey for Our Times Is Depicted in the Cult Classic, “Nothing But Trouble”
A Perinatal Flick
A film of postmodern times that is bold with revelation for us is the cult classic, “Nothing but Trouble,” which was released in 1991. It is an especially potent example of the rising pre- and perinatal influence in the media we’ve been discussing as well as the different heroic response required in these strangest of days because of it. It is all this, plus a twist: As a comedy it represents an unlikely approach to such material and themes. More about that later.
It was produced and written by Peter and Dan Aykroyd and stars Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, and John Candy.Its reception by modern audiences mirrors exactly the perception in general, to date, that has been had of the perinatal material it depicts so well. For despite the movie’s star power and the popularity of its co-creator, Dan Aykroyd, it was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews and received six Razzie nominations, garnering one. I fully expect that until we know better I can expect much the same kind of reaction to this book, because of the perinatal perspective it is revealing of the dark underside of everyday pleasantries and sugar-coated media realities. Yet there is hope for all that we will integrate this hard-to-face yet redemptive material in the fact that the movie does have a strong following among some in our population, just as at present there are some who are not in denial of the bittersweet perinatal vision being revealed.
The Lure Into the Underworld and Call to Adventure
The perinatal adventure of “Nothing but Trouble” begins innocuously with the main characters “leaving the beaten path” on a rather ordinary trip out of the city. Interestingly, the Brazilian couple who have forced themselves on the main characters of Chevy Chase and Demi Moore in making the trip act as impish other-worldly instruments in the change of route.
Joseph Campbell pointed out that the “call to adventure,” which marks the beginning of the descent into the transformative nether regions, may be instigated by the merest chance or blunder. [Footnote 1]
Campbell also writes that the heralds of such a rite of spiritual passage are often loathly and underestimated characters. The Brazilian couple—as gaudy, overbearing, quirky, and from “down under”—perform just this function of luring into the underworld. Thus, they remind us that it is the quirky yet underestimated element in our familiar daily experience that opens us up to the process whose ramifications are huge by comparison.
The Merest Blunder, The Adventure Begins
Sure enough, this innocent-appearing outing is soon disturbed. The merest blunder of map reading results in an ominous tour of an eerie town and its somber and menacing-looking inhabitants. This is followed by a high-speed car chase as the police attempt to pull the innocents over for a bogus traffic violation.
In the tour of the town, it is as if the ego is shown getting a preview or having a precognition of what lies ahead and attempts to flee back into its safe familiar environs. But of course, this emerging piece of unconscious material will not be denied and is able to capture the fleeing ego that we see safely ensconced in its trappings of status and power—symbolized by the BMW with car phone. At this point the main characters, representing the ego, are led, under guard, into the bizarre town of Valkenvania—the encounter with unconscious perinatal begins.
The Junkyard of the Psyche
Campbell says that in the unconscious deep, to which one is beckoned, “are hoarded all the rejected, unadmitted, unrecognized, unknown, or undeveloped factors, laws, and elements of existence.” [Footnote 2]
Likewise, the set in “Nothing But Trouble” is replete with refuse. Bits of history—of rusted and broken refrigerators, automobiles, kitchen appliances, assorted junk, and pieces and parts of all the preceding…the wreckage of the past—are strewn about as well as heaped in clusters to construct the architecture and delineate the outlines of the drama. The correlation with subconscious remnants of forgotten memories and past emotional experiences is obvious.
Thus the drama evolves in the dumping ground and junkyard of the psyche—where all the rejected tidbits of experience have been relegated.
Stripped of Ego, Perinatal Begins
After being separated from the automobile—that is to say, the ego stripped of defensive trappings of status and worldly position—the characters are rather quickly shuttled into encounters with a myriad of perinatal elements. A few of the obvious ones are as follows:
- Mr. Bonestripper, which is a roller-coaster type ride whose entrance is a large vagina dentate mouth that swallows, chews up, and kills. Notice the roller-coaster ride aspect of Mr. Bonestripper, which reflects the emotional extremes and changingness of perinatal, specifically Basic Perinatal Matrix III (BPM III), events. [Footnote 3]
- The chutes inside the house and of Mr. Bonestripper indicate birth canal symbolism.
- Sexual elements, indicating BPM III influence, are manifest in the scantily clad heroine and the penis-nose of the judge.
- The dark foundry symbolizes the foundation work of the psyche as well as the ominous and eerie aspects of perinatal experience.
- The slave labor surroundings represent similar feelings in the enforced and helpless character of doings just prior to and at the time of birth.
- Notice that the body—the car, the “Beamer”—gets trimmed down, the excess removed, symbolic of the cutting away of past attachments and concerns of a worldly nature, one’s “status” reduced.
- Chevy Chase as the main character is at one point forced into a marriage with a huge woman, who is tellingly androgynous in that she is played by John Candy. In her threatening and suffocating embraces we see symbolism of the crushing womb.
- The entire site of these doings is surrounded by a watery trench. This obviously reflects the amniotic surround in the womb.
- Police and guns point to the authoritative character of perinatal doings—in other words, do, or else!
- Death/rebirth symbolism of the perinatal exists in the form of skeletons and huge piles of skulls and bones.
- Scatological, that is to say, fecal symbolism is seen in the “bat-room,” which contains an enormous pile of wet bat-shit…excuse the wording, but it really is shit and not feces.
- The arbitrary nature of justice in the courtroom speaks to that perinatal feeling that one tiny thing, event, or action, has huge and horrifying ramifications.
The most obviously perinatal element, however, is the gargantuan and grotesquely flabby infant twins in diapers. Perinatal feelings are indicated in their extreme crying neediness. Their freshly newborn quality is evident in their fleshiness, which reminds one of the overweight appearance of some newborns, which is usually lost a little later on in infancy. The glossy, waxy sheen on their bodies is reminiscent of the skin of a newborn, which, fresh out of the womb, is wet and slippery, covered in amniotic fluid and cervical mucosa.
A Spiritual Interface
An interesting aspect that indicates the transpersonal, or spiritual, interface with the perinatal is an attic room—a higher mind of memory, kind of like an Akashic record—where all past IDs—identifications—and reports of them—newspaper clippings—are displayed.
Though, interestingly enough, in true perinatal fashion, a macabre lens is used to view these lives—only the reports of their tragic disappearances are seen. I believe that this is a wonderful depiction of how transpersonal information is distorted by perinatal material—the implications of which are far reaching for the pronouncements of so-called spiritual, or psychological, authorities who have not dealt with their perinatal undersides.
Trusting Higher Forces: Say “Good Night,” John Wayne, and How Can You Be Borne Up If You Won’t Let Go? When All Seems Lost…. You Might Want to Stop Fighting Rebirth
When It Appears the Whole World Has Been Conspiring Against You, You Might Want to Let Yourself Be Blessed
Just When You Thought….
However an important element in this movie, “Nothing But Trouble,” which is different from artistic representations that deal with only the personal or psychodynamic, is the way the ending opens up under it to a new level, a whole new arena, of issues. Those of us in experiential therapies or breathwork are only too aware of how the perinatal opens up to one, revealing a greater expanse and pervasiveness of dis-ease, at a certain point after dealing with the personal and the psychodynamic.
This layered, or multilevel quality of the movie is shown when the main characters, having heroically escaped through personal effort, find themselves returning to the perinatal realm. Thinking that they have the forces of authority and light on their side, they expect this time to be able to put the evil away once and for all.
But When All Seems Lost….
To their immense surprise, it appears that the whole world has been conspiring against them—a telling perinatal feeling. The evil is discovered to be pervasive, as if infiltrating every corner of the universe—another perinatal feeling. Even the thoroughly trusted elements of light turn out to be on the side of the darker forces—a vantage point that is part of the hopelessness that characterizes the classic no-exit BPM II scenario. And just like in the womb, then, when all seems lost, something new happens, an explosion or eruption of sorts, which brings down the old world and its structures in a violent conflagration.
Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions
This hopeless and futile aspect of the perinatal realms — as opposed to the merely personal or psychodynamic ones—lends itself to its distinctive response—which is surrender, not resistance. Unlike the hero of Campbell’s hero’s cycle whose task is to slay the dragon using the sword of analytical or cognitive powers, the correct solution here at the perinatal is to let go of all designs, manipulations, and attempts at control and to put oneself into the hands of the seemingly irrational and chaotic Universe, come what may.
How Can You Be Borne Up, If You Won’t Let Go?
The Universe’s response in the movie — the upsurge of fire from below the earth that brings down the evil structures—demonstrates the theme of being saved by higher forces when one finally is able to surrender. In the same way, in our perinatal experiences, we find ourselves “borne up” and elevated when we once are able to submit to the upsurge of fear-evoking perinatal emotion.
Indeed, when Chevy Chase is seen rolling and setting fire to barrels of oil in a superhuman nick-of-time rescue attempt—in typical “hero’s journey” style—I had an odd disjointed sense that we had switched modes. The element seemed incongruous.
Say “Good Night,” John Wayne
But, then again, not so. For the movie shows that the successful escape performed through one’s own effort is, in actuality, futile. In perinatal terms, such heroics are illusory “atman projects” that ultimately fail against the onslaught of perinatal material, which must be surrendered to, not heroically resisted or conquered.
Interestingly, the eventual surrender solution is echoed earlier on when Chevy Chase is about to go through the chomping jaws of Mr. Bonestripper, the devouring womb. His response, at the prospect of his imminent failure, is to pray—to call on higher forces.
Trusting in Higher Forces
Amazingly, the machine breaks at that moment, signaling the response of such “external” or higher forces. He alone, of all the others who have faced that fate, goes through the machine unscathed. Notice also that he says “Thank you, Lord” afterwards.
Thus it is not on one’s own powers that one makes it through perinatal material, rather it is by the relinquishing of such attempts at control and the relying and trusting in higher forces. We are reminded that Dante required the angelic Beatrice to show the way through purgatorio and inferno to paradisio.
In the next chapter, we will use another postmodern film to expand on these themes. This will allow us to fill out an emerging pattern, as we then compare it with “Nothing But Trouble” and other perinatal evidence.
So let us watch, now, as the pattern, like a photo emerging in solution, reveals to us its features, thus delivering to us the message it has come to bring.
3. As a reminder, BPM III events (Basic Perinatal Matrix III events), using the typology set forth by Stanislav Grof in his many works, are the events surrounding the actual birth struggle of the infant during delivery. These parts on the perinatal in film make mention also of BPM II, which is related to the time of severe compression and constriction of the fetus in the latter stages of pregnancy and prior to the actual onset of delivery—which are characterized by feelings of “no-exit”; of BPM IV, which is concerned with the feelings of release, triumph, being saved, and whatever else occurs immediately after delivery; and of BPM I, which is related to the state of the fetus earlier in pregnancy—prior to compression—which is often conceived to have “oceanic” and “blissful” qualities, though not always.
Continue with You Just Can’t Slay a Volcano: The Necessary Hero Uses Surrender, not Struggle … For Why Would You Not Be Borne Up by a Universe That Is You
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The Cycle of All Events, the Evolution of Parenting, and Auspicious Collective Regressions: Being Crazy in an Insane World Might Mean You’re the Sane One
What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide and the Necessary Mess of Transformation: Hard to Believe, But We’re Getting Saner
Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope
The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope
Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals
In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.
If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.
Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.
In acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.
So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.
Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process. It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]
For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.
A “Spiral Dance”
These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components
- Periods of feelings of expansion
- Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.
The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives
The reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.
Where There Is Real Hope
It would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior or we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.
We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways of dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.
Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Progress Requires Regress, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
Railing Against the Darkness, The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, and Social Progress Requires Regression
The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”
What we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them. Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.
What We Call “Reason” Is Largely Just Rationalization
This impotence of intellectual understanding in the face of these patterns of self-destruction occurs because these schemas are rooted in memories existing in an emotional and entirely dissociated part of the brain, which is hardly touched by neocortical admonishing of any kind. As deMause correctly points out,
[The fetus’s] “early experiences have been found to be recorded in a separate early neural network—a dissociated emotional memory system centering in the amygdala, quite distinct from the declarative memory system centering in the hippocampus that is established in later childhood.” [Footnote 2]
Disclaiming these cycles, which inevitably pass through darkness, and reliance on “will-power” to change one’s patterns, which includes self-sabotage, has been exposed in its impotence in modern times. We see as evidence the growing acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness and, indeed, counter-effectiveness of psychoanalysis. [Footnote 3]
Railing Against the Darkness
So the question begging to be asked is “What do we do about it?” What do we do about these pernicious cycles?
And when these elements erupt in society in harmless, possibly healing ways, how do we view them? Do we, as Mayr and Boelderl do in their article, “The Pacifier Craze: Collective Regression in Europe,” decry the regression…as if by disclaiming it we could somehow keep the cycle from happening? [Footnote 4]
Mayr and Boelderl write, for example, that the situation of collective regression in Europe “strikes us as being high-explosive [sic] and bitter enough.” [Footnote 5]
In another place they exclaim, “What is horrible about this insight [about the increasing collective regression in Europe] is the additional observation that regression is becoming still more radical.” [Footnote 6]
This response of railing against the “Darkness” is a Freudian response. Yet it is not even a neo-Freudian one, since regression in the service of the ego—which began to be seen as ever more important by neo-Freudians—is not acknowledged, let alone considered.
Social Progress Requires Regression
That regression in the service of the ego is not considered is confirmed by Mayr and Boelderl in their statement that “[R]egression by definition is a process of repression and a defense mechanism.” [Footnote 7]
These are surprising words, in light of the concept of regression in the service of the ego and awareness of the clinically based evolution of psychotherapeutic theory since Freud’s original postulations, over a half-century ago.
They are even more awry if one considers the universal, cross-cultural, implementation by societies of rebirthing rituals to handle the same kinds of forces we are confronted with. The anthropological literature is rife with these accounts.
Further, Grof has meticulously shown that regularly going into altered states of consciousness where one confronts this material is a prime function of cultures, and it occurs nearly universally although it is woefully lacking in Western culture for the most part.
Moreover, these words by Mayr and Boelderl indicate a conflict with or ignorance of the fact that deMause’s theory of evolution of historical change requires regression on the part of parents, while parenting their children, as the primary “engine” of sociopsychological progress.
For deMause writes,
“[T]he ultimate source of all historical change is psychogenesis, the lawful change in childrearing modes occurring through generational pressure…. Psychogenesis depends upon the ability of parents and surrogates to regress to the psychic age of their children and work through the anxieties of that age better the second time than in their own childhood.” (op. cit., 1982, p. 135, emphasis mine.)
But this mistake by these two social scientists would not be all that important if it was not the perfect example of the kind of uninformed attitude we have, generally speaking, in Western societies about these forces. This attitude is reinforced by a Judeo-Christian tradition of specialness and scapegoating in the West. It is a pervasive feeling about these things; specifically it, itself, is the actual defense. While this is a widespread reaction to our inner realities it is far from science, and even further from the truth or reality about these things.
“Stop It!” … Yeah, That’s Gonna Work
At any rate, if we adopt this Western, Judeo-Christian, Freudian tactic of decrying the darkness, we are as effective in derailing the cycle of violence and war as Freudians are in what amounts to admonishing their clients to “stop it!” when it comes to their neurotic self-sabotaging.
For people cannot will themselves to merely stop their cycles of neurotic self-sabotage and self-destruction, which are the individual manifestations/ acting out of their birth traumas. As mentioned these directors of action operate out of a different part of the psyche, and brain, than one’s conscious willing part. They are simply not accessible, so hardly amenable, to rational or willful input. And changing one’s thoughts to affect them is about as helpful as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.
People Who Have It All Figured Out Are the Ones to Watch Out For … Emotional “Sickness” Might Indicate More “Wellness”
Regression in the Service of the Ego
With the exposure of the ineffectiveness of the Freudian tactic of intellectual understanding has come the Freudian movement’s disintegration into schools advocating various other strategies for change.
These schools/strategies include the psychiatric—the use of drugs; the neo-Freudians who acknowledge and use regression in the service of the ego and abreaction; the humanistic-existential approaches, stressing the “experiential”; and the Jungians and neo-Jungians, who would seek the resolution of these cycles in their inner archetypal acting out, resulting in an eventual rootedness of the ego in a higher Self (a spiritual center) beyond or transcending the cycles. [Footnote 8]
Other approaches include the bulk of the spiritual, new-age, or transpersonal means that are flourishing these days. These alternative paths basically differ from all others in their belief that one can simply bypass these perinatal pulls and pushes and go directly to the Light or the Self by dismissing the birth cycles, or the Darkness or Shadow, through affirming the Light, meditating the Darkness out or the Light in, changing one’s thoughts, creating one’s reality, and various combinations of these.
Finally, these newer schools and strategies for healing include those of what might be called experiential psychotherapy, which includes primal therapy, holotropic breathwork, some forms of (experiential) meditation (Vipassana meditation, for example), Reichian and bioenergetic approaches, some forms of hypnotherapy—experiential ones—ones that involve reliving traumas—and virtually all the techniques, treatments, and correctives that are espoused in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology.