Chasin’ Meditation: The Step By Step Guide to a Stress-Free Life Through Meditation
Written by C. Chase Carey
Reviewed by Matthew Fike, PhD
Accelerated Change Concepts, Alpharetta, Georgia
“The absolutely most important thing to each and every human being,” writes C. Chase Carey in Chasin’ Meditation, “should be their connection with themselves and Nature” (65; emphasis in the original). A Devic connection with nature is briefly mentioned later on, but Chasin’ Meditation focuses on one’s ability to connect through meditation to one’s inner nature and to the 95% of information that is unseen. Meditation—defined as “relaxing your mind and body by quieting your nervous system and then being in an expanded state of awareness” (13)—can be either passive or active. That is, one remains receptive or engages with Inner Essences via guided imagery and purposeful dialogue. The latter method is conducive to problem-solving and will appeal to the corporate executives who are among the book’s main audience.
Chasin’ Meditation has four sections: the nature of meditation; stress removal (especially the Stress Domino: how to make stress fall like dominoes so that all barriers fall as well); advanced meditation techniques (especially Inner Essence MeditationTM), and an appendix containing meditation scripts for specific purposes. These sections emphasize a number of significant points. Meditation, Carey argues, takes us back to our “natural blueprint” (5), and he might well have likened it to the reset button that renews a device’s factory settings. Its benefits, he believes, are easily achievable in short order via such means as slow breathing, proper body position, mantras, and chanting. Carey maintains that regular practice of meditation is the key to positive change in our everyday lives, that we should shift from doing to being, and that the changes meditation enables in external life are more important than what happens during meditation itself. Most of all, he emphasizes three fundamental truths that characterize a desirable mindset and facilitate meditative practice: everything is connected; there are enough resources for everyone; and one cannot be harmed or die, notwithstanding the inevitability of physical decay. This triad is considered so important that it repeats at the end of most chapters.
Throughout Chasin’ Meditation there are references to The Monroe Institute® and echoes of its methods and terminology. Carey mentions Hemi-Sync® as a fast track to expanded states of awareness and weaves echoes of the “Gateway Voyage® Affirmation” into his method. For example, “You are more than your physical body” appears as the epigraph to chapter 4; and later he states, “You are not your body and you are not your mind” (94). “I ask their guidance and protection from any influence or any source that might provide me with less than my stated desires” becomes “I ask for protection from non-beneficial influences” (56). Further borrowing from TMI includes “Thought Balls,” a Distraction Box (the Energy Conversion Box), the usefulness of chanting om (Resonant Tuning), and the state of Mind Awake/Body Asleep. More broadly, Chasin’ Meditation conveys a sense that meditators will need to work through their blockages and negativity before the inner world will open to them (a cleansing process that often happens at Gateway Voyage®). The book also mentions Metamusic®, and the specific purposes of the meditations in the appendix are somewhat reminiscent of the Human Plus® series.
Whereas the borrowings from TMI are within reason, Inner Essence Meditation is problematic because it haphazardly appropriates (but never cites) Carl Jung’s theory of the archetypes. The diagram on page 105 features a human figure, with its outline labeled Outer Essences (more properly: ego, conscious awareness, bodily sensation), while Inner Essences appear in the torso area: Male, Female, Body, Judge. Since Male and Female obviously correspond to Jung’s animus and anima archetypes, the claim that Inner Essences “represent Archetypes” is on the right track (106; emphasis added); however, Carey should have noted that interaction with these Essences is thus a personifying process.
Other elements of the diagram make less sense. One may initially suspect that Judge resembles Sigmund Freud’s superego, which operates by repressing the id into the unconscious. In Jungian psychology, one represses the shadow (our less-savory side, which we desire to hide from the public). But neither Judge nor Body is an archetype, and it is not clear how Judge itself can be shadowy or how either can be an inner essence. Nevertheless, the text mentions the Essences as “the subconscious aspects of ourselves” (103; emphasis added). The subconscious is the unconscious in Freud and the personal unconscious in Jung, versus his theory of the collective unconscious, the realm of the archetypes. If at least the Male and Female Inner Essences are (or personify) archetypes, then the transpersonal and collective dimension of the unconscious ought to be mentioned because it underlies the author’s sense—his fundamental truth—that everything is connected.
Carey’s diagram further identifies a “Higher Essence” (above the head) as “an Advanced Being” (107), which the TMI reader will recognize as the Inner Self-Helper (ISH), Guidance, or Higher Self (Jung’s term is superconsciousness). “Personality” is the term given for the sum of all the Essences, higher and lower, inner and outer (in Jungian theory the proper terminology is psyche or perhaps the Self, the archetype of wholeness). This aggregate “is cradled within the loving energy egg of the soul” (106); the terminology’s nonreligious nature is the author’s conscious choice.
One can have a conscious dialogue with Inner Essences, but the lack of any reference to Jungian active imagination (calming the mind so that one can have an inner dialogue, for example, with a personified archetype) or to the imagination at all (Carey mentions guided imagery but not imagination) is unsatisfactory. Whereas some sources, like TMI, are usually acknowledged, the mainstream psychological antecedents remain unacknowledged except for Carey’s hint that “it’s worth doing a search on” the term archetypes (106). In short, Inner Essence MeditationTM repackages previous theory and methods.
In addition, contradictions pockmark the text. First, Carey states, “There is no best way to have your body positioned when you Meditate; chose [sic] the position that is best for you” (48). Then he urges readers “to work on the ability to Meditate sitting up or gently reclining” (49). Despite his TMI training, he is against meditating in a supine position. Second, to his fundamental truth that one cannot be harmed he adds this flippant remark: “OSHA has reported absolutely NO accidents at work due to Meditation. It just cannot get safer than that!” (63; emphasis in the original). Yet, by acknowledging that there are “darker areas of yourself” and “some influences that do not want you there” (116), he implies that meditation carries some risk of psychological harm. Third, he states, “Past Life experiences are the experience [sic] of the Male and Female Inner Essences, but not of you, the Outer Essence” (107). Five pages later, however, he describes a vision of his own past life that seems to be anchored in the Outer realm. Perhaps the missing point is that conscious experience in one lifetime (Outer Essence) gets carried unconsciously into the next and becomes an Inner Essence that one can access through meditation.
Along with issues of attribution and consistency, lower-order errors (missing or misplaced words as well as faulty punctuation and spelling) appear throughout Chasin’ Meditation. The worst example appears early in the book: “You are not hear [sic] to change the masses: you are only hear [sic] to change yourself” (7). Besides including a spelling mistake, the sentence expresses a false dichotomy. As Jung understood, changing oneself plays an important role in changing society. Even the name of “The Monroe Institute” is improperly rendered without a capital “T” most of the time. As these examples demonstrate, the book, which was self-published at the author’s own company, was not subjected to proper quality control.
Although there is little doubt that Carey, an expert meditator who trained at The Monroe Institute and within other meditational traditions, has valuable things to say about meditation and its benefits, Chasin’ Meditation is a seriously flawed book. His clear and helpful analogies have to be weighed against the book’s tendentious and self-celebratory features (the pun on his name in the title, epigraphs by “C. Chase Carey, MBA,” and a whole chapter devoted to his own credentials). The fact that 98% of the material appears in chapter 9—that is the author’s own statement, not a random guess by the reviewer—seems to diminish the value of the other material. Most seriously, the meditational methods’ derivative nature casts a shadow over the entire project. Although Chasin’ Meditation may well help many people learn to establish a meditative practice and benefit from expanded states of awareness, advanced meditators such as most TMI alumni should give it a pass because there is little here that is new and much that is problematic.
Matthew Fike is a Professor of English at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
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Written by C. Chase Carey