Introduction to the practice of Recapitulation

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Nikola Tesla

Who are we really? The more we learn, the more understanding we have about the fact that we don’t really know who our real self is. 

This concept is ancient, and I will take a moment explaining what it means, just in case you’ve never come across it before. 

From the very first day, we are conceived, we are exposed to countless amount of various energies, events, experiences. In your mother’s womb, you were exposed to all the vibrations that she was exposed to from the outside world, which in turn most likely lead her to change her vibrations in response to the ones she was receiving: all her feelings, her emotions and the emotions of the people around her. 

I am using the term “vibrations” because, at the end of the day, that’s all it gets down to. 

Once we are born, we are bombarded with the “real world facts”. We quickly learn that the sky is blue, grass is green, and our parents get annoyed when we’re naughty. Basic stuff. We gradually learn survival skills of our own particular environment: we learn that for every action there is a reaction. We learn how to behave to keep ourselves in our little comfort zone, whatever it might be. That’s how we are gradually shaped into “who we are today”.

The choices that we make based on those experiences undoubtedly lead us to where we are now. Some of us are happy with it, some of us are not.

Now let me tell you a well-known secret, that some of you might be sick of hearing by now: you can be whoever you want to be. If you are familiar with some self-development methods, you would have heard this phrase a million times. But one thing I found, is that almost none of them actually explain how or why that is, and that kind of makes all these exercises of tirelessly convincing yourself that you are a white crow until you become one, feeling like they are completely pointless, which in turn makes them pointless. 

That might not apply to all of you, but I found that there are plenty of people like myself, who without actually understanding the concept of how this works, feel like a circus clowns when they try following the route of affirmations.

Don’t get me wrong, I think affirmations are great. They do help an awful lot of people, but I personally have found that so many things that work on crowds of people like magic, don’t tend to stick to some enquiring minds who don’t have it in them to just unconditionally believe whatever they are told. Religion is a good example of that – I’m not labelling it as a strength or weakness, in fact, I happen to think there are strengths and weaknesses both ways, both from merely intellectual or self-development point of view.

I’m  not going to say that once I explain how this works, everyone will "get it." Is belief essential for this to work? The answer, contrary to so many self-help specialists, is actually “no”. Belief is just one of the methods to get to the main part: vibrations.

Talking about beliefs – we all have them. We form them based on our personal experiences from the very day we are born. They are strong because we lived them. They make sense to us. Some of them are so deeply rooted in our system, that even an opposite experience in our lives cannot shatter the shield of an old one that made us form it. They are logical. We not only make them facts, but we also forge them into or weapons of survival, and that’s where we very often fall flat on our faces. 

There is one very important point I need to make before we continue down the garden path with “we are who we are because of our experiences”. False statement.

We are who we are, because of the choices that we make. The choices we make are mostly based on our beliefs. If you think you made those choices because you were forced by the circumstances, just think of yourself as a nine-year-old. Given the same choices you had to make since that time, how many would you like to change? If your answer is none – congrats – you are not only past the state of self-pity and regret, you are happy with where you are today without wishing you were where you are today ten or twenty years earlier. If your answer was anything other than “none”, I hope you can still think of plenty of good and beautiful gifts you received, no matter how small, as consequence of not being where you are today many years earlier.

Either way, if you are reading this, you are in a good place – not because you’re reading my article, but because by choosing to read it you are stepping on a path of a most exciting magical journey: finding your true self. 

So how do we become who we want to be? Follow the logic: if our actions, decisions and behavioural patterns are formed by our beliefs, what happens if one by one, we start eliminating them out of our life? 

We start trusting our instincts. We start listening to our true feelings, not the ones created by our beliefs. We are gradually reaching deep down into our system and finding another dimension to our being. This is the place, where all of our most beautiful dreams have room to flourish without being dumbed down by realities that we merely made up out of self-importance and self-pity. That’s where we start getting a grasp of understanding of what is truly possible in this world. 

How do we eliminate these belief systems? Recapitulation: a practice as ancient as meditation itself, only mostly unknown to the modern world. Meditation is hugely beneficial on its own, however if you're truly serious about personal development, you can only get so far with this practice alone. 

There are many misconceptions about this practice, and most information online associates recapitulation with American Indian shamanism. No surprise there, as this term was first popularised by Carlos Castaneda. Other associations can be made with Christian theology, where one has to confess his or her sins to the priest. However in Christian practices, this process often involves only your sins and feelings of guilt and regret, while Toltec (Indian) recap is focusing on eliminating emotions from influencing memories. 

Recapitulation is only one name for this therapy that is masked by thousands of others - like the more appropriate term today would be "elimination of limiting beliefs". It's the same practice, masked under different coats. Just like the practice of meditation, which for a long time was only associated with mysterious Buddhist monks, recapitulation has a lot to prove to the sceptical modern world. 

The difference between what is associated with "elimination of limiting beliefs" and what I call "recapitulation", is that the latter does not rely on knowing which exact memory is causing which belief. 

Let's look at it as Mindfulness and Meditation. Just like mindfulness incorporates the first stages of a broader, more inclusive practice of meditation, elimination of limiting beliefs is the first step towards recapitulation.

Link to Meditation

If recapitulation is so overlooked, why do we never hear about it from Buddhists perspective? Asian philosophies seem to never mention such thing! 

The truth is, that most eastern mind practices incorporate recapitulation as a part of their meditation practice. People who practice Buddhist meditation know, that recapitulation process eventually enters their domain. 

In some ways, meditation and recapitulation are inseparable practices, and recapitulation without meditation does not have the same effect as the same practice on its own. If you practice meditation diligently and with clear intent for a good amount of time, recap is forced to happen. But it is extremely beneficial to intentionally practice both.

How does it work?

Simple - you through your memories and take your emotions away from them. Essentially, by taking the emotions away from these memories, you remove their power to affect your future actions. 

There are many methods of recapitulation. I will be covering them in detail in my further articles. Once posted, the links will appear in this article. My mission here, is to take away the mysticism from this practice, and let it make sense to more people. For the time being, I will leave you with a link to one of the simplest implementations of recapitulation:  the Lefkoe Method.

Life becomes different once you start practising this method. Nuisance stresses stop bothering you. Meditation practice becomes something else all together - more powerful, more effective and completely limitless in it's potential.

This may not be for everyone. Some of us are quite comfortable sleeping inside the magician's hat. Some rabbits just aren’t ready to wake up yet. Are you?

Your feedback, questions, and comments are always appreciated! You can reach me through my contact form.

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