At the center of who you are is a powerful essence that is connected to the Source of all things. This essence, unobstructed, is capable of creating and shaping all manner of experiences. It is something that does not function from a place of judgment, or morality, or attachment, or desire. It answers to something much greater than all of these things. These things (the judgment, morality, attachment, desire) are brought about by the designs of the ego-identity. By that part of you that has been indoctrinated to live in accordance with socially-determined ideas of what it means to be alive, in this body and in this time.
What keeps you separate from the core essence of who you are is the limited amount of energy that you have to perceive it. Your energy is limited because it is occupied in the maintenance of the world around you. This is one of the foundational Toltec teachings.
In order for you to engage with the world, you have to first create it out of your thoughts, emotions, and presuppositions. These are shaped by the experiences that you had during your earliest years. They are shaped by the things that you were taught to believe about yourself and about the world. Your experiences have been filtered through the lens of these beliefs as far back as you can remember. Which means that your only way of interpreting the world is to filter it through the belief structures that you have been taught. Most of these are imprinted so deeply within you that you are not even aware of what they are. You have become so accustomed to them, actually, that you might even believe that they are you.
To reclaim your true essence, you have to uproot these interpretations of the world. You have to be able to track them back to their source, and witness them. Witness the way that they were first introduced into your thoughts and emotions. Witness the way that these thoughts and emotions then went on to create your experiences with the outside world. The more the experiences mirrored the expectations, the more the expectations were validated. The more the expectations were validated, the more you came to believe that they are “just the way it is.”
But “it” is many other ways as well. And so are you.
You have a creative capacity in you that is greater than anything you could possibly imagine. The proof of it is that you could, at this moment, imagine the most amazing thing that comes to mind for your life. Then, once you’ve imagined that amazing thing, you can stretch farther and imagine an even more amazing thing. And on and on and on. The only limitation to your imagination is the one you impose on it, and your imagination is a gateway into shaping the direct experiences of your life.
The problem is that your imagination is unconsciously engaged in creating the world you live in based on the past experiences, judgments, fears, and hopes that have shaped you and your life up until this point. If, for example, at a certain point someone that you trusted demonstrated to you that you were not worthy of their love or approval, let’s say when you were a child, that belief becomes one of the patterned beliefs that then shape the entire course of your relationships for the rest of your life. So, for the rest of your life you find yourself noticing any and every indicator that that belief is true because it confirms the vision of the world that you have become accustomed to.
This may be challenging for you to wrap your head around. For some people it is. But everything that you perceive in the world and as the world is woven together by your unconscious thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. So, in a sense, the world you live in is a prison of your own making. Or a paradise of your own making.
One of the most important teachings that I have been given over the years is that, in order to become active shapers of our lives and our experience, we have to consciously undertake the task of freeing ourselves from the unconscious stories we have of how the world is. We do this by retracing our steps, or ohtli necuapalli in Nahuatl. Another name for this is recapitulation.
If you think about who you are, you will find that you are a collection of stories. These stories are selectively chosen to create your identity. Some of them you are consciously aware of. Others, the more powerful ones, are unconscious. Whether they are conscious or not, you are attached to them because they have an emotional charge to them. The stories of your life that have emotions bound up in them are the ones that remain present in your life. Because of the emotions. Because the emotions have not freely run their course. When the emotions remain, you are bound to maintain them on an energetic level, which means that you are unconsciously expending energy to keep these events with you, as a part of how you perceive the world, day in and day out. This happens until you free the emotions and reclaim the energy that was bound in them.
Recapitulation, or retracing your steps, is a process of cleansing your emotional and energetic body of the unnecessary attachments of your past. It is done through a combination of breathwork and internal vision. You literally retrace the steps of your life with your inner vision while using your breath to release any trapped emotions. At the same time, you absorb into your energetic body the energy that was bound in maintaining the experience where the emotions were trapped.
This practice has transformed my life. I started the work of recapitulation years ago. My first teacher came to me at one of the lowest points in my life. At a point when I had, for the most part, given up on life. Without realizing it, my life was being ruled by past experiences of wounding. I believed that I was worthless. That the world not only rejected me, but it violently opposed me. I was enraged at the world but, more importantly, I was unconsciously enraged at myself. So, without being conscious of it, I attracted painful experiences, and the entities that feed off of them in droves, to my life. And I confused this psychic and energetic devouring that I was experiencing with life.
Recapitulation taught me to track the origins of these experiences back to the earliest years of my life. Not only did it help me to disentangle the parasitic patterns and entities that had become entangled with my being, it helped me to start harvesting the moments of beauty in me and in my life. As I gathered these tiny jewels of the many blessings I had received and been previously unconscious of, my entire life started to change. My entire outlook on the world and on what was possible for my existence began the process of shifting.
I started dreaming entire new realities and possibilities for myself and for my world. As I changed, I my world changed. But, while this process started over fifteen years ago, the growth and unfolding of the Mystery of it never ends.
This is what I wish for you. That you may free yourself from the unconscious binds that have kept essential parts of you prisoner. That you may reclaim your power and live a life that exceeds your wildest dreams. That each moment, until and including the one of your death, be a triumph.