Part 1: 'The Predator' & Wholeness
by John Pateros
Reading the news today, oh boy—it’s easy to see that something awful and ugly has infected the human psyche. So, let’s uncover what’s been behind the escalating mass shootings, gang-related and individual violence and murders, domestic violence, the genocides, dictatorships, and deepening political hatreds.
The recent wave of virulent hatred, racism and general inhumanity in world stage politics may have been purposely started by the Russians in their campaign to divide and conquer the western powers. Russian ‘troll factories’ allegedly spewed out highly divisive ‘fake news’ and internet memes. They did this to create division and drive wedges between Britons and Britons and between Americans and Americans, sow fear, suppress votes, and enrage voters in ways that eventually made Brexit and Trump election winners.
But in the bigger picture, this isn’t even what really matters. With or without the Russians intentionally feeding this nefarious psychic virus now easily visible on the world stage, it would be spreading anyway—as it always has. It’s just that the negative effects of the virus have now been discovered and weaponized.
The infection seems to be highly contagious; it affects individuals, families, communities and even nations. We all have it to some degree. In some people, it’s dormant and only surfaces occasionally. In others, it can be full-blown, acting out and spreading itself almost constantly. This psychic virus is a very clever foreign invader that’s been lodged in our minds. And it’s had us hoodwinked into believing its planted thoughts are our own thoughts.
For a very long time, I believed that it was just my conditioning that was keeping me from being strong and resourceful, but I’m getting a little ahead of the story. When I first embarked on the path of healing to wholeness, I realized that to be truly whole, I would have to deeply love and include absolutely every part of myself, and especially all that has been in my ‘shadow.’ For me, this meant that I would be integrating parts of myself that I had lost, split away from in childhood and earlier—and parts of my whole Being that I haven’t yet known in this lifetime.
The healing medicine that is essential for integrating lost parts is love. When my previously disowned parts experience my real, unconditional loving acceptance they can find their way home to wholeness with the rest of me. But the conditioning in my mind would keep directing me away from love and eroding my Will to heal. I found the negative conditioning to be the biggest impediment to fully healing myself. In exploring several new emotional healing modalities, I had already discovered some very problematic mental conditioning that had been instilled in me as a young child—very deep conditioning that has been steadily intensifying ever since.
And I got it that this has been true for everyone else as well. We’ve all been brainwashed by cultural and family conditioning and influenced to adopt some very negative beliefs about ourselves, others and the world.
Even in infancy, we were told all sorts of things about ourselves, about others and the world that we took in and believed to be true, without question. We believed our very survival was at stake unless we came into agreement with those around us, especially our mother and father. Before we could know any better, we took in and adopted some crazy beliefs like:
• I’m not lovable as I am.
• I am a bad person.
• I don’t matter.
• The world is not my friend.
• I should be afraid.
• I cannot have what I want or need.
• I don’t do it right.
• I better not let anyone know.
• I’m stupid.
• Whatever’s going wrong must be my fault.
• I don’t deserve...
• Etc... (Fill in your own special conditioned negative beliefs.)
The hardest realization for me has been that this kind of mental conditioning didn’t change even once we knew better. The very young, traumatized parts of ourselves that took in all of this conditioning are still alive and still here deep within us. And these parts of us are still hanging on to the same old negative beliefs we took on as children—as if they are the true reality now.
These old beliefs continue to get reignited whenever an unhealed child part of us is triggered by an event in present time. However, my conditioning is not who I am. So ‘redeeming’ it or ‘healing’ it are not really options—and besides, there are much better terms than ‘mental conditioning’ to understand what’s been happening to us here.
Have you ever had the experience of doing some good, deep healing work on yourself, and then find it’s all been undone the next day? Or have you ever had the sense of “That wasn’t like me,” after saying or doing something that you later realized was unkind or hurtful?
Well, it most likely wasn’t you! The conditioning has been kept alive by thoughts and beliefs that aren’t actually our own. We’ve been believing our thoughts. But just because I think them doesn’t mean they’re actually mine.
Many of these old thought patterns and beliefs apparently came from my parents, and then later from teachers. When I ask myself, “Where did my parents and teachers get all of their negative conditioning?” I get, “From their parents and teachers, and so on back through the ancestors.”
Genesis of Negative Conditioning
But what is the original source of all these negative, self-limiting and often hostile thoughts? In other words, where did all the negative conditioning begin? It turns out this question has a very good answer. However, the real answer might be hard to swallow at first. I know, because it was hard for me at first. But if you bear with me here, I believe you’ll get it.
Since 20 years or so ago when I made my life’s purpose about healing to wholeness, I’ve been working assiduously to own all of my many split-off and lost parts. And of course, I’ve wanted to include all of myself, even the parts of me that have felt bad and have behaved badly toward the rest of me and others outside of me. In other words, all of the parts that have been in my ‘shadow.’
However, all this time I’d been making the mistake of believing that all of my thoughts are my own. I’ve also made the mistake of believing that so many of these ‘parts’ of myself I’d been trying to heal—were never actually parts of me. On my journey to wholeness, I had believed that if something strange or unpleasant was going on inside of me, there must be a part of me that was involved in doing that. So I was diligently searching for ways of finding and bringing healing to those parts of myself.
But now things have changed. This next realization was shocking and liberating at the same time. I now no longer believe these kinds of thoughts are coming from parts of me. And I no longer believe that ‘healing’ is even possible for whomever or whatever has been generating these thoughts.
I now realize that there’s been an extremely clever foreign invader lodged inside my mind—a hostile, unwanted companion, a parasite who has very often possessed me, taken me over and actually ‘become’ me. And from what I can tell, this has been happening to you too, and everyone else for that matter—and almost always out of our conscious awareness. The psychic virus is a very clever foreign invader that’s had us hoodwinked into believing its planted thoughts are our own thoughts. The shock of this realization has awakened me to an outrageous and gruesome truth that my mind had simply refused to believe before now.
Now I know that inside of you (and me and everyone else) is a foreign entity that has been loading our minds with thoughts to create pain and discomfort by sowing division and separation inside of us and between ourselves and others. I also know that this is a radical idea, for sure. And yet I’m finding it more and more useful in overcoming the ‘inner resistance’ I’ve been facing in my quest for true freedom and complete wholeness.
The good news for me is that I’ve finally been able to swallow the ‘red pill’ (a metaphor from The Matrix movie) and the results have been quite advantageous! So here are three prongs I’ve uncovered of the ‘horrible truth’ of my (our) existence:
1. It hasn’t been just me in here, there’s been something else inside of my mind that’s been opposing my efforts toward wholeness and healing. In fact, it’s been opposing my free Will in virtually every regard.
2. We humans are not really at the top of the food chain. While we are predators that can eat any of the other species on Earth, there’s another predator that doesn’t come from here, but nonetheless can, and in fact, does eat parts of us—every day.
3. The alien predator of humans attacks its prey from inside of us. It’s not our flesh the predator eats, but our vital energies, our inner strength, the sense of our own goodness, our health—and if left unfettered, it will ultimately eat our very souls.
The predator uses our life force energy to nourish itself, much like in The Matrix film where Neo takes the ‘red pill.’ Morpheus then uses a battery as a metaphor to describe the way the cyber-predators use human energy to power 'the Matrix,' a computer-generated illusional world they created to trap and contain humans’ consciousness.
Our souls are our feeling essence, our sentient, feeling awareness—the essence of Free Will. The deeply feeling and magnetic drawing energy of our Will is what puts us in ‘the zone,’ gives us vitality and the sense of certainty of being in the right place at the right time—and the conviction of being truly free to choose what we want for ourselves—and have it. However, the predator also wants our vital energies and our Wills, for its own nourishment. Contrary to popular belief, we haven’t really had much free Will—at least since we were very young before we had thoughts and were taught about ‘the world.’
The big wake-up for many of us has been that this world that we were indoctrinated into and conditioned to believe in—is not actually real, it’s an illusion, a mental construct. It’s something that we’ve each been making up in our minds according to our conditioning. Living only in an illusional mind-made world (like in The Matrix), we haven’t actually been free.
In fact, we’ve been imprisoned in a virtual ‘objective world’ in our minds and deceived into believing it is actual, real reality. And this mind-made reality has been passed down each generation to the next with only remedial outer changes. Now we know that this illusional world has been designed and maintained, not by some quirk in human nature, but by the predator who has been orchestrating all of this from deep within our minds.
This is Not New
As shocking as this realization may seem, none of this information is new. There are scriptures going back more than 1,700 years that make these same points. What we call the ‘predator,’ the ancient Gnostics called ‘archons.’ (It doesn’t matter about singular or plural, both apply.) And it turns out that ‘archons’ and ‘the predator’ are only two of the many terms used to name these foreign invaders.
They’ve also been referred to as ‘flyers,’ ‘wetiko,’ ‘mind parasites,’ ‘the voice of knowledge,’ ‘memory demons’ and ‘spirits of trauma’—to name a few. I’d always trusted my mind to remember the important stuff, but that was before I realized that ‘my mind’ wasn’t really my own. So interestingly, I’d ‘forgotten’ about the predator every time I’d become aware of it. This is SO much like how the predator works!
Although it didn’t stick with me, I first got wind of this phenomenon a couple of years after I began my journey to wholeness when I read The Active Side of Infinity, the final book by Carlos Castaneda. In the chapter titled ‘Mud Shadows,’ Castaneda portrays himself as the incredulous student of the semi-fictional don Juan Matus, a wise old Yaqui shaman steeped in the ancient Toltec traditions of central Mexico. In this account, don Juan frightens Carlos with vivid descriptions of ‘the predator,’ descriptions that are none the less very helpful in understanding how this phenomenon operates in us.
The Big Sleep
However, at the time I read the book, I didn’t make the connection with ‘conditioning’ and soon ‘forgot’ about what don Juan had told Carlos, and all the predator lore that was brought to light in that book. This is where I first went fast to sleep—courtesy of the predator. After reading all of that intense and nearly unbelievable information, I carried on with only a vague sense that there might be something I ought to check into more deeply.
The alarm clock rang again for me five years later when I discovered a trove of deep insights in The Voice of Knowledge, Don Miguel Ruiz’s excellent sequel to The Four Agreements. Here I got another indigenous wisdom perspective on mental conditioning. I got how excellent a metaphor the ‘voice of knowledge’ is for the conditioning I was trying to overthrow.
And again, for some reason shortly after reading and digesting this book—and even recommending it to friends, I ‘forgot’ about how much I wanted to stay aware of ‘the voice’ in my head that had been telling me lies about myself and about others and the world. Don Miguel repeatedly points out that the ‘voice’ in our head is a storyteller—and a liar.
The stories this voice tells us are not at all helpful, in fact, the stories in our minds are lies designed to hurt us and those with whom we relate. The wildest part of this is that at the time I did not connect the dots with ‘the predator’ I’d read about five years earlier in The Active Side of Infinity—even though both books are purported accounts of ancient Toltec wisdom.
And I again went back to sleep about how vitally important this information is. I snoozed on this issue while I paid attention to other topics for another seven years until late 2012. The alarm went off again when I read an article by the Buddhist author Paul Levy titled, The Greatest Epidemic Sickness Known to Humanity. He titled this article with a quote from his ‘Wetiko’ mentor, Jack D. Forbes, Ph.D. In his book, Columbus and Other Cannibals Forbes has written extensively about the viral nature of wetiko and how it spreads like a highly contagious disease.
And in his article mentioned above, Levy unveils the inner workings of the entity that Native North Americans have known about for centuries called ‘wetiko.’ It was in reading this article that I was finally able to connect the dots between ‘the predator,’ ‘the voice of knowledge,’ and now the (new to me at the time) ‘wetiko disease.’ In Spring of the next year, Process Coaching Center held three teleconference classes on Breaking the Spell, and we even had a five-day coaches retreat with the same title.
By this time, I felt fully awake about the predation and the ‘spell’ that has been so expertly cast by the predator, wetiko, the voice of knowledge, or as don Juan describes to Carlos, the “foreign installation” that has been keeping us from realizing our full potential as human beings. And wouldn’t you know, by summer of that year, I’d gone back to sleep! Only this time, I was part of a whole bunch of others in Process Coaching. It seems we all fell into a deep forgetfulness about the dangers of the predator. I (we) had the strong sense that we ‘got it’ about wetiko, the predator—we thought there was nothing more to look at here. So we kept moving.
We became satisfied that we now ‘knew’ all about this topic, so we moved on to other topics and explorations about how to better heal ourselves to wholeness. Never mind that we had known from don Juan’s teachings that the “energetic fact” of the predator made it what he called, “the topic of topics” among the ancient Toltec seers.
It’s easy to see now that there’s definitely been something going on in my mind that’s been obscuring things the predator doesn’t want me to know about or remember. I’m telling this story to underline the point that this entity is very much in control of our minds—and therefore, of course, our memories. Eerily, all those experiences of five years ago had become lost to me—along with their antecedents going back nearly 20 years.
They somehow became enfolded in my memory and were unavailable to me until just a few months ago when we started learning to ‘dream while awake’ to find out more about what’s been preventing quicker, easier and less painful ways of healing ourselves to wholeness. The awake dreaming state can very easily reveal what has otherwise been lost to our everyday normal waking awareness. (More on this in Part Two and Part Three of this article.)
More research has revealed other terms from indigenous cultures for this virus, this parasite of the mind. The list includes ‘Archons’ (the Gnostics), ‘The Djinn’ (Middle Eastern), ‘The Imbulu’ (African), The e'epa (Polynesian), and ‘Spirits of Trauma’ (Mongolian).
However, of all of the terms I’ve heard (and used) that attempt to name this phenomenon, for me ‘the predator’ seems the most fitting. I especially like the term because of the irony in the title of the second part of this article, Stalking the Predator. As there are many names, there are also many facets and aspects, many qualities and tactics of the predator.
All of the terms mentioned above include the ability to hide its presence and activities from our awareness (and our memories!)—and the ability to make us believe its thoughts are our own thoughts. All of the indigenous cultures that have discovered this invader have been aware that the mind is where it ‘catches’ us.
The Predator & Wholeness
Now wait a minute! Isn’t it true that wholeness includes everything—the good and the evil, the light and the shadow? And isn’t the predator just another part of my shadow, waiting for me to redeem it?
Well, yes and no; this depends on who I am, on my identity. If I am all that is, the One, Whole Being, if I ever find myself at the deepest layer of identity, then yes. At this layer the ‘I am’ includes the Universe and all that came before it. So yes, it seems true that this very, very big ‘I am’ will eventually redeem the predator. (We’ll explore this terrain some more in part three of this article, Using the Predator for Healing.)
Meanwhile, here in manifestation, where I live and where healing happens, my ‘I am’ can heal or redeem all of the parts of myself that have been lost in my shadow. With tools and persistence, I can bring back into wholeness parts of myself I’ve projected onto others (or the Universe), even including the lost parts of my deepest transpersonal identity.
The predator, however, is a program in the mind. And because it is in the mind, it’s only virtual and not real in the same sense that my parts are real. Because the predator’s programing seeks to divide and fragment, it actively opposes my desire to bring my parts together in wholeness. So identifying with it or trying to integrate it as a part of myself at this point in my wholing journey zaps my inner resources—which disables me from becoming whole enough to eventually find the ultimate ‘I am’ where I can own and redeem the predator.
I get out of the ‘catch 22’ and become free of this opposition when I clearly see that the predator mind is not a part of me that I can integrate, but rather a form of denial, like negative judgments (that always originate with the predator—knowing good and evil).
However, the denial of the predator mind can be much more underhanded and far-reaching than just judgments—or deep denial energy, for that matter. So trying to find and release the predator in the same ways I’ve released other forms of denial energy simply hasn’t worked for me.
What has worked is keeping the predator at bay by stalking it, noticing it, catching it in the act, and most importantly—disidentifying from it. Separating myself from the predator also helps me disidentify from the mind in general.
Outside of mind, I’m in the present moment where I can truly experience the ‘otherness’ of the predator mind. When I realize that those thoughts weren’t mine and that I am not my mind, and I am not the predator—true healing to wholeness can happen.
The Good News
When we’re grounded in our bodies and feeling (not in the mind), we’re safe from the influence of the predator. And if we’re present in the moment and using our mind, that’s also not a problem. It’s when our mind uses us that problems arise; it’s when we are idly in our minds, drifting in thoughts of the future or the past that we can easily get preyed upon.
With strong intention and some practice, avoiding the predator is very doable. In Part Two of this article, we’ll cover a series of strategies and tactics that are very helpful to avoid the effects of the predator. And there’s something else we can do that’s much more potent than just avoiding predation. Instead of being the prey or just avoiding being preyed upon, we can turn the tables. We can stalk the predator!
I hope we can open a discussion about all of this. You can use the comments section below to weigh in on this topic with your own experiences and understandings.