“The things that are holding you up personally are the negative things that have happened to you.” (Richard Rose)
The technique of recapitulation (“recap”) is found in all ancient traditions. It is also called purification, throwing off the world, being reborn into the world, the inventory and the little death. It is the remembering, or more precisely, the reliving and recovering of all our past experiences. It is claimed that prior to death our entire life flashes before our eyes to allow us to review it, see how every event was interconnected, and see the challenges we did not embrace and overcome. Because it shows us the truth, many will find it hard to undergo this review. Ancient wise men and women realized that this process “cleaned” us before leaving the world of form, thus to do the review while still alive, we would gain the benefits that we normally wait until death to receive.
We choose the practice of recap to regain the energy we lost from the interactions from our entire life while still alive. In every interaction of our life there has been some exchange of energy. In “would you like fries with that” encounters, the exchange was so minimal that it was barely noticed. With people we have spent a lot of time with, a great deal of each other’s energy has been exchanged. In fact, many people are carrying so much of someone else’s energy they act like other people (parent, first grade teacher, first lover) without even realizing it. On a larger scale, during very painful events of our life, we gave away our energy and power to try and make the event stop. Recap is about regaining all of our own energy. No one else can use it, as it only gives others a false feeling of strength. We also must give back all the energy of others that we may have for it does nothing for us either, only keeping old events alive that we need to release. Great healing comes from regaining our lost energy and letting go of what is not ours. In a sense this aspect of recap is like a soul retrieval (bringing back a lost part of ourself). In recap, the memory of the event comes first which causes the return of the lost energy; while soul retrieval brings back the energy first, often sparking the memory of the event that caused the “loss.”
Recap as a process is also used to deconstruct the story of “me.” A true recap involves reliving all hidden memories, patterns and feelings. Thus, for some it can take years, for others less time to fully see the underlying foundational patterns. Though it seems like one can never make it through the review of every moment of their life, there is a catch, for most of our life is one giant repeated habit. The more we find a particular pattern of experiences, we will find them repeated in our past and as such can go through many areas of time rather quickly once the pattern is finally witnessed. For example, early in the review of my life I noticed that at the start of three relationships I was doing the exact same thing, even going to the same places on the dates.
Our mind is constantly interpreting the present based on the past. We don’t realize that we have created a mental past that allows our ego to live its habits and use the excuse of “look what happened to me.” The tough part of recap occurs as people begin to see that what they thought was their life, is just a mythological past that we keep repeating. Without a recap there is always some event to blame for where we are now. “I can’t get into a relationship because of what my mother said, I can’t show you affection because my last boyfriend was a jerk, I can’t be successful because I failed when I was 14.” That is why mind loves the past. No matter how ugly it was, it gives us a great excuse. Our past is like a stone. We drag it with us through our life and are attached to it with hooks. Every hook we release turns that part of the stone into Styrofoam. The load itself never goes away—just gets much lighter. Many people review parts of their life with a psychologist, but that does little. To retell an event the way we think it happened just reinforces the story our mind has created. The psychologist wants to fix your mind, make us normal. But we don’t want to be normal, we want to be sane.
Every time we try to change our life for the better “something” stops us, which is our unseen hooks, dialogue, and promises to the past. It is not just the big events that have an impact. From my own recap I found some very small events were a catalyst. Our entire life may have gone off track from one simple event, something so small and insignificant that we can’t consciously remember it, but the unconscious has. It may seem like nothing the time our brother threw our favorite toy on the roof, but that event may have caused us to make a secret promise to never trust anyone again.
A recap is done by starting at the present and working backwards to birth. This does two things. First, it helps to unwind our life, like a tape, and free up space on it. We go backwards because it is easier to remember details of what happened yesterday than when we were four. We can’t use our normal mind, for it will only show us what it wants us to see, what it wants us to remember. Recap only works when we can get past our normal memory to a much deeper place, our True Mind and True Memory. It is not designed to hide you from your past, quite the opposite, it wants you to see it fully. It wants you to grieve where you should have grieved, laugh where you should have laughed. Lost events will surface that we have no memory of, as we wonder how we could have ever forgotten something so important. We don’t eliminate the event or pretend it never happened, we take back the emotional energy we used to give it life. It then becomes just an event, and in time you may see your whole life as though it were a series of events that happened to “someone else.” While self-importance is still in command, recap often brings out a giant dose of self-pity, thus one will also have to stop indulging in the need to be a victim. Remember that to be challenged by an event is far different than to be victimized.
Any drug users, heavy smokers or drinkers will have their recap (as well as their whole life) hampered by the intake of these substances. It is recommended to stop for at least 30 days to let the system clean out before beginning. If someone during this 30 days takes time to look at why they drink, smoke or take drugs—they are engaging in an early form of recap even while waiting for the system to clear.
Recap has many layers, but the actual steps are few. One of the ancient ways was to tell your life story aloud to Grandfather Fire. The process of talking aloud forces you to hear the truth and hear lies from the sound of your voice. A warm up practice is to review the day just experienced before going to sleep. Review the day backwards from the end of the day until the time you woke up (in forward motion of course, no need to see people walking backwards). Review the key events, and then see if anything forgotten arises. It will help you regain your lost energy from the day, thus you will often sleep better. Many of our dreams are simply the way of the mind to rehash the events of the day that were ignored, but by recapping we will have less normal dreams and more that would be classified as “dreaming.” This is a good warm-up for a few weeks.
Active recap is the specific exercises, while passive recap comes spontaneously without warning, when hearing a song on the radio or a car backfiring brings up a forgotten memory. We use active recap to wake up spontaneous recap. Active recap is dull, boring and monotonous, but don’t give up. It can take a lot of heat to make a pot of water boil, so don’t turn off the stove too quickly if it seems like not much is happening.
To perform active recap first one must find their place to practice. We need complete silence and solitude, thus it is best done in the hours when most people are asleep so that we are not affected by other people’s sounds or thoughts. It can be done in the wilderness or a secluded cabin to be away from people entirely. Some suggest the need for a box, the symbolic coffin found in ancient pyramids and tombs, used by the living who want to die to their old self. The idea is to stay night after night in the box until one’s whole life has passed before their eyes, then symbolically break the box as a symbol they are no longer locked to their old limitations.1 However, One does not need a box for effective recap, but what seems to help is an enclosed space to squeeze the energy body and better help with the recall. A closet is good, under blankets, in a big cardboard box, even in your car-as long as the space is small and that you are alone.
Once you have found a place, the next stage is to make the list. On this list you write down the name of everyone you have ever met. A daunting task for many right there. Create this list any way that helps you.2 You can use headings of where you worked, went to school, people you dated, and as you make each list, the names will trigger the names of people associated with them. This list needs to include anyone you had any meaningful interaction with. I looked at it as if there was someone I met whose name I tried to remember when I met them, was deserving for the list. When complete, place the names in chronological order with the most recent person you have met at the top of the list, and mom and dad at the bottom. For each person add an event or two (maybe 10 for key people) to act as a basic guide. Make a short note on that encounter like: dinner, mountains, swimming, fall down stairs, movie etc. to be a memory aid, and place those memory aids in chronological order for each person. You won’t remember every encounter with a person, and that is ok, but the more you can get the more you will help jog your memory to get to the events you have forgotten.
You will recap your life following this list. You will also want to jot down key events that happened when you were alone—walking through the woods or driving on a country road. In fact, creating the list itself will be a form of recap as many forgotten events and people rush to the surface, and will give you a burst of energy upon completion. Generally, I recommend for your first recap you just do the most important 30 people you had interactions with. That allows you to get to some of the big stuff right away, then later if you want to do the entire list, that is fine, but at least you will get to some of your most important events a bit quicker.3
Whatever list you have chosen, begin at the top. I recommend not to start with your current close relationships. Every person you recap will create some form of change, so give your current partnerships some time. Don’t be afraid to recap them, but for most people I suggest some leeway. This is why many people are afraid to recap, they know deep down relationships and friendships are not based on trust and kindness, and they want to hide from it. A recap may show you that you should no longer be in a relationship, or may show you how to totally love that other person. The manifested world is all about change. To want to try and keep something exactly as it is, is in fact a form of manipulation. If you are afraid of losing a friendship or a lover, what kind of friendship do you really have?
With a complete and ready list, one must now decide how much time they want to invest. My suggestion is to start with one hour a day for a week or two to get used to the work. Once you get comfortable, the usual way to do recap is to begin at 9 or 10 at night, and recap all through the night until morning. It is best not to stop because you are tired and go to “bed” to sleep. It is your mind trying to force you to stop. Some will do such recaps over a weekend or for a week, or until they have completed one phase of their life (such as “university experiences). Sleep really won’t be needed because as you are recapping you are regaining energy. I remember several times falling asleep in the closet around 5 AM, then getting up with my alarm at 7 feeling great. You will find your own way that is best for you. It seems that longer sessions for less days (say 8 hours a night for a week) reap more benefits than 1 hour a night for 56 nights. The longer sessions keep the process focused. I also suggest you make a choice of how many events you are going to recap in one night, say you are going to recap 7 nights and you have 140 events to go through, that means 20 a night. After a little practice get to know just how many events you can get through.
Prepare your space to not be disturbed. During your session you could yell or cry or laugh as experiences are relived. Usually you will make no sound at all, but you don’t want someone coming to check on you to see if you are all right and break you out of a key recap experience. Find the first person on your list, and the first event for that person. Get a mental picture of what they looked like at that event. Next set the place you were in, the more detail the better. If you were at dinner, what was on the table? What was the waiter wearing, what pictures were on the walls? Don’t analyze any of this, just observe it in all its detail. Doing so you are focusing your intent to be back at that event. When you feel that you have a good remembrance of the space and the people there, now try to observe the event exactly as it happened. For many people they may see themselves at this point, as if they were watching a movie. That’s fine. You’re still in your normal mind here, but you have to get the event rolling somehow. As the event plays, one now needs to use the emotions, for it is the emotions that were generated that will lead us to find out what really happened in the encounter. As you continue to watch the event keep asking, what am I feeling? What is happening around me that I missed? Try and be there fully. If other events come up, just let them pass.
Play the event right through. Most events will just need this one look (the simple movie-like view), but if the event seemed important or intense, then see it a second time, now not as a movie but try to see it through your own eyes. Be “in” the event, relive the experience. To assist yourself you can talk (even in a whisper) everything you actually said or was being thought to help get you more there, you may repeat the name of people at the event over and over, move your body if necessary—anything to get you to stop thinking and go into feeling mode. Now see the event for a third time, again as a movie, but this time you focus on your healing breath and to balance and harmonize the energy from the event—healing the “self” in the movie, and the “Self” watching it. An added help with your recap sessions can be to include breath work. Breathing helps to rebalance our energy. The suggested method is to begins with a deep breath with the chin on the right shoulder, then the head is moved to the left shoulder with the in-breath. On the exhale the head moves to the right finishing that out-breath on the right shoulder. I found this only tired me when done through an entire event, and simply used an in an out breath with intention, then at the end made a couple of such passes to focus the bringing back of lost energy. On the in breath we breathe back our energy that we gave away at the event, and on the out-breath we give back all the energy we have from that event. See what works for you.
This third watch can be the hardest of all, for this is the real healing, where the energy hole gets filled. The ego wants to stay locked in the second stage, (crying or feeling hurt) not letting themselves see it once more to heal. The final stage of the process is to “dream” in a not-doing for you to perform in your day to day world later. You are looking for the pattern that helped to create the event, thus find another part to dismantle. Without this, the band aid you just put on your wound will be easily reopened.
The biggest problem with recap is that there is no real way to teach it, because it involves connecting to your lost feelings, and only we know how best to do that. For that reason only the base starters can be given, then each must modify them as they see fit. At the beginning it will seem we are doing nothing—until the usher appears. It is called the usher because it will usher in a whole new period of recap. You will know when the usher has finally appeared when you are no longer seeing the event or even feeling it, you are fully reliving it. The space you are recapping in may be gone, and you are right back at that event—a freaky thing the first time it happens.
Most of the events and people that you recap will only have to be done once because the investment of emotional energy was very small. Others may be part of many life passes (new rounds of recap over years or decades), yet each life pass you make, there will be less remaining events to “re-see”. You know that an event or person is completed when you can remember it or them and have no emotion attached. An example was a woman that I went on a few dates with and had some lingering bitterness towards, but after recapping our time together I felt no emotion, no need to blame her or be upset…the events were now just experiences in the past. I knew that my need to recap her was complete.
After a recap session you may feel light-headed or odd, that is ok it just means that something is changing. Have something to eat and you will likely feel more grounded. Don’t worry about trying to rush the process, go at your own pace. It takes years for the average person to make it through just one complete life pass. A reminder that often when we finish recapping someone we may “run into them” somewhere, or someone may bring up their name when out for coffee. It is an energetic check, do you really want the energy evened, or for some reason do you want to return to the old way of lost energy?
Usually the next day, even after a short hour session, one will feel they have more energy. The problem is that people feel they are “back to normal.” This is more like an energy band-aid. Those energy wasting habits and patterns have been around for a long time, and there are things you will need to change. Another warning. Recap, if you do it well, may make you think that you are have lost your memory. I’m not exaggerating this point. As the deeper events of your past become known, all your history will become like some maddening game being played on you by some unknown force, as you realize that most of what you thought were the events of your life—were not anything like that at all. This is good, it means your True Mind is waking up and showing you the truth of your life events, and normal mind has no idea how to deal with it. It takes a while for the confusion is lessen, and clear seeing to take its place. Just part of the process.
As a foreshadowing, a few years after completing a first life pass (which will take years in itself) someone might feel they wish to do a second review (to see events and people not totally cleared). The second review will be very different. For me the second was like only tiny parts of the event were focused on, as if the entire event itself is no longer important, only a few seconds of it. There were lots of bursts of unremembered feelings. You are working now directly at the level of the energy. No real need to focus on it now, I just mention it for those who have completed one pass and may wonder what to do next.
Recap practitioners will often continue to review for their whole life what are called omens, synchronicity, when they felt a meeting with the Spirit, or any time where there was a strong presence of death (illness, serious accidents, close calls). What are called “Meetings with the Nagual” (discussed later) should be recapped as often as possible.
1 For info on the box and how to build one you can see Victor Sanchez’s Toltec Path of Recapitulation
2 You can use yearbooks or old phone directories to help find names of all those you have met.
3 You can also create a list of people that you had sexual encounters with. They will still be on your main list, but this second list is only the sex experiences, which recapped first. So if you went for three dinners with Sue and sex once, you recap the one sex experience on list two- and when you get to Sue back on list one, you review the three dinners. People will also likely find how boring their sex life has been, or manipulative or how unaware they have been through it all. You can start here because we give away a lot of energy during sexual encounters, so getting this energy back at the beginning of the work will give us the extra boost that will allow us to go through the more “mundane” encounters on the first list.