Thoughts on Episode #3 with Ernest Chapman
I had a great conversation with my friend Ernest Chapman last time I saw him.
He is subtly magnetic (and possibly a bonafide genius). He is a “dot connector”, a tranceformationalist, and the father of a young family.
In talking with him we went over some of his personal views about change (which are subject to change), or how he says it: “Tranceformation”. He has been through some very tranceformational periods in life and continues to seek out ways to evolve himself. He told me his whole life he had looked for masters or mentors from which to learn
Not only did he say that but said he continued to do so. This is a mark of wisdom because the smartest man in the room knows that he knows nothing.
I was glad to have Ernest on the show to talk about his 5 M’s for tranceformation:
Ernest tells us that trance states are used for transformation - tranceformation. Trance states are used in any kind of ritual- Music, Dance, Plays, Church, Movies, Other…
He speaks about his memory as a child of going to Schermerhorn conduct a symphony and experiencing a music trance which left an indelible imprint. “I could still hear the music” talking about leaving the show that night. He could still hear the music of Beethoven in his head. Ernest can build whole songs in his mind now.
(One could say Schermerhorn initiated Ernest into trance states)
Ernest says “Magick is the art of causing change to occur in conformity with ones will.”- How true is that? I think it’s magic every time I make myself get out of bed and shower.
I have been very taken with the archetype of initiation. I feel like the American culture is lacking in initiatory rites which have been around in one form or another since time immemorial. We now have cultural initiations which hold no moral value or philosophical revelation. Yeah getting a driver’s license is an initiation but it never told you how to manage your inner life in any way. Real initiatory rites were given not only as markers of when someone was recognized as a fully complete person in the community, but also gave those people the responsibility of becoming more wise and mindful.
So I asked Ernest about what initiation means to him.
”Initiation is flipping on the on switch” He said. Initiation is the beginning of something greater- the introduction of a new set of symbolism.
Later he said “There may be just a few steps to get you ready for initiation that you have to take before you can knock on the door”. He also said initiatory experiences are practiced in a safe, sacred space. This is so important because initiation is as much about death as it is life. It is the death of the old and the life of the new.
“Initiatory experiences are practicing for the moment of truth when the world happens to you.” - Ernest was speaking duly about the world at large and his personal experiences of having to make life changing decisions about his sick infant. He goes on to say that the real trancfeormation is what you do with the system you received from your initiations and training.
I asked him how people can change themselves if they desired to and he said to find the pain that makes you want to change and use your training to manage the emotional and psychological resources you have.
Having training provides something to fall back on to as a safety net which creates more confidence in your self.
“You can create a lot of the elements of your reality with your mindset.” Ernest said, talking about magick. He manifested for himself a life that transformed him from poor musician, to talk of the town entrepreneur. It’s not by accident. He knows that if you know you can, you can.
He spoke of the importance of mentors - someone who will throw you off balance. He said to “find teachers who make you uncomfortable and push you off the cliff”. A mentor is someone who has gone through the heroes journey and can teach you things about the path.
You have to be able to follow the leader though. Submitting yourself to a mentor or master should not be taken lightly. He said to master the fundamentals to be able to learn at a higher level. “So when you’re with the grand master they don’t have to waste time teaching you the fundamentals.” Well said.
Ernest talked a little about what Freemasonry has done for him- “Freemasonry is a system of self transformation.” and “To be able to sit in a room with a whole bunch of different guys from all walks of life that are all gathered together to improve themselves through this set of rituals and teachings and practices and pass it on to another generation- thats a powerful experience.”
We talked a little about how through symbolism, we can anchor our awareness into a functional relationship with what is happening. Coming to terms with mortality is important for anchoring yourself in reality. You only have one shot to live your life.
“If I’m going to spend a lot of time internalizing a system of self transformation, I want that to work for me in a lot of different situations” Ernest talks about his own journeys in initiation and tranceformation. He did not choose lightly it would seem. “As my level of mastery in certain areas increases, I’m always looking for someone who’s way ahead of me who I can show them what I’m doing and have them completely kick my ass.”
This is when he said “I went and found people who had mastered these different things and sat at their feet. And I continue to do so.” Which is humility and willingness to learn (a mark of wisdom)
When I asked why people don’t change most of the time he said “We have a natural defense mechanism of avoiding being aware of the pain that we are in. So there is a little bit of coping that happens- and if you’re not careful it can allow you to settle for something that’s not good enough”
He later says “Your subconscious knows the truth”.
We all need to be identifying patterns of coping mechanisms. These mechanisms were developed out of necessity because they dealt with an emotional disturbance from the past. If these coping mechanisms are not addressed they become toxic to your present state. Finding these mechanisms and breaking them down to observe reality more objectively is what spiritual Alchemy aims to do.
Later he hit me in the chest when he said “What if you lived every moment in your life as if someone else was watching you and they were going to copy you, and you could give them something to copy that could literally save their life?” - We all need to live a life of good both privately and publicly.
I later asked him what philosophy he would teach the world if he could speak to everyone. In typical fashion he broke down what it meant to teach the world and what would be needed for people to actually learn the philosophy. He spoke of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These are needs which have to be met before you can teach anyone any thing.
“How can we convert the perennial wisdom into something that can be received and acted upon by people who are starving?”
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Physiological (Food, Air, Water, Warmth)
Safety (Is something/someone hunting me? Do I have shelter? will I fall?)
Social Belonging (Family and Friends)
Self-Esteem (Why should you do anything if you don’t love yourself?)
Self-Actualization (Becoming the individual you are meant to be)
(Added later in Maslow’s life)
Transcendence (Becoming one with everything, actualizing the Jungian Self)