Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings
The Active Side of Infinity
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I suggest that you gather a collection of the memorable events of your life. The shamans of ancient Mexico conceived of the collection of memorable events as a bona-fide device to stir caches of energy that exist within the self. They explained these caches as being composed of energy that originates in the body itself and becomes displaced, pushed out of reach by the circumstances of our daily lives. In this sense, the collection of memorable events is the means for redeploying our unused energy.
The prerequisite for this collection is the genuine and all-consuming act of putting together the sum total of one's emotions and realizations, without sparing anything. The shamans of our lineage were convinced that the collection of memorable events was the vehicle for the emotional and energetic adjustment necessary for venturing, in terms of perception, into the unknown.
The total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that we are handling is the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. Through their discipline and resolve, shamans are capable of retaining their individual awareness and purpose after death. For them, the vague, idealistic state that modern man calls "life after death" is a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order than the practical affairs of daily life, yet bearing a similar functional practicality. To collect the memorable events in their lives is, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region which they call the active side of infinity.
* * *
Every warrior, as a matter of duty, collects an album that reveals the warrior's personality, an album that attests to the circumstances of his life. Above all, it is like an album of pictures made out of memories, the recollection of memorable events -- memorable because they have a special significance in one's life. Put in it the complete account of various events that have had profound significance for you.
Not every event has a profound significance for you. There are a few, however, that I would consider likely to have changed things for you, to have illuminated your path. Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet are extremely personal.
Don't think about this album in terms of banalities, or in terms of a trivial rehashing of your life experiences.
* * *
Every one of us human beings has two minds. One is totally ours, and it is like a faint voice that always brings us order, directness, purpose, The other mind is a foreign installation. It brings us conflict, self-assertion, doubts, hopelessness: it's ourselves as the me-me center of the world.
Let's put the topic of our two minds aside and go back to the idea of preparing your album of memorable events. Such an album is an exercise in discipline and impartiality. Consider this album to be an act of war. As such, it has all the meaning in the world.
* * *
We are not naturally petty and contradictory. Our pettiness and contradictions are, rather, the result of a transcendental conflict that afflicts every one of us, but of which only sorcerers are painfully and hopelessly aware: the conflict of our two minds! One is our true mind, the product of all our life experiences, the one that rarely speaks because it has been defeated and relegated to obscurity. The other, the mind we use daily for everything we do, is a foreign installation.
To resolve the conflict of the two minds is a matter of intending it. Sorcerers beckon intent by voicing the word intent loud and clear. Intent is a force that exists in the universe. When sorcerers beckon intent, it comes to them and sets up the path for attainment, which means that sorcerers always accomplish what they set out to do.
Intent can be called, of course, for anything, but sorcerers have found out, the hard way, that intent comes to them only for something that is abstract. That's the safety valve for sorcerers; otherwise they would be unbearable. Beckoning intent to resolve the conflict of your two minds, or to hear the voice of your true mind, is not a petty or arbitrary matter. Quite the contrary; it is ethereal and abstract, and yet as vital to you as anything can be.
Your album, being an act of war, demands a super-careful selection. It is a precise collection of the unforgettable moments of your life, and everything that led you to them. Concentrate in it what has been and will be meaningful to you. A warrior's album is something most concrete, something so to the point that it is shattering.
Sit down, alone, and let your thoughts, memories, and ideas come to you freely. Make an effort to let the voice from the depths of you speak out and tell you what to select.
The selection is not an easy matter. This is the reason I say that making this album is an act of war. You have to remake yourself ten times over in order to know what to select.
Don't include stories that relate exclusively to you as a person who thinks, feels, cries, or doesn't feel anything at all. The memorable events of a shaman's album are affairs that will stand the test of time because they have nothing to do with him, and yet he is in the thick of them. He'll always be in the thick of them, for the duration of his life, and perhaps beyond, but not quite personally.
In my time, not only did I not know what to choose, I thought I had no experiences to choose from. It seemed that nothing had ever happened to me. Of course, everything had happened to me, but in my effort to defend the idea of myself, I had no time or inclination to notice anything.
The stories of a warrior's album are not personal, not assertions about you as the center of everything. You feel, you don't feel; you realize, you don't realize. All of that type of story is just you.
The memorable events we are after have the dark touch of the impersonal. That touch permeates them. I don't know how else to explain this.
* * *
Don't explain yourself to much. Sorcerers say that in every explanation there is a hidden apology. So, when you are explaining why you cannot do this or that, you're really apologizing for your shortcomings, hoping that whoever is listening to you will have the kindness to understand them.
Every one of us, young and old alike, is making figures in front of a mirror in one way or another. Tally what you know about people. Think of any human being on this earth, and you will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that no matter who they are, or what they think of themselves, or what they do, the result of their actions is always the same: senseless figures in front of a mirror.
* * *
Listen to your inner voice. Don't listen to the superficial voice that makes you angry. Listen to that deeper voice that is going to guide you from now on, the voice that is laughing. Listen to it! And laugh with it. Laugh! Laugh!
* * *
It is the nature of infinity, once we cross a certain threshold, to put a blueprint in front of us.
* * *
Don't waste your energy worrying about things. Everyone is locked in a vicious cycle. We all have our magic cure which we trust will cure everything, and resolve every one of our problems. At the moment, perhaps we can't afford it, but we have great hopes that we eventually will be able to.
* * *
Sorcerers' aspirations are to reach infinity, and to be conscious of it. The task of sorcerers is to face infinity. They plunge into it daily, as a fisherman plunges into the sea. It is such an overwhelming task that sorcerers have to state their names before venturing into it. In this manner, they assert their individuality in front of the infinite.
What makes human beings into sorcerers is their capacity to perceive energy directly as it flows in the universe. Human beings are not only capable of seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe, but they actually do see it, although they are not deliberately conscious of seeing it.
"Awareness" is energy and "energy" is constant flux, a luminous vibration that is never stationary, but always moving of its own accord.
* * *
The nagual Elias and The nagual Julian were astoundingly alike in that there was nothing inside them. They were empty. The nagual Elias was a collection of astounding, haunting stories of regions unknown. The nagual Julian was a collection of stories that would have anybody in stitches, sprawled on the ground laughing. Whenever I tried to pin down the man in them, the real man, the way I could pinpoint the man in my father, the man in everybody I know, I found nothing. Instead of a real person inside them, there was a bunch of stories about persons unknown. Each of the two men had his own flair, but the end result was just the same: emptiness, an emptiness that reflected not the world, but infinity.
The moment one crossed a peculiar threshold in infinity, either deliberately or, unwittingly, everything that happens to one from then on is no longer exclusively in one's own domain, but enters into the realm of infinity.
Infinity is everything that surrounds us: the spirit, the dark sea of awareness. It is something that exists out there and rules our lives.
My steps and yours are guided by infinity. The circumstances that seem to be ruled by chance are in essence ruled by the active side of infinity: intent. What put you and me together was the intent of infinity. It is impossible to determine what this intent of infinity is, yet it is there, as palpable as you and I are. Sorcerers say that it is a tremor in the air. The advantage of sorcerers is to know that the tremor in the air exists, and to acquiesce to it without any further ado. For sorcerers, there's no pondering, wondering, or speculating. They know that all they have is the possibility of merging with the intent of infinity, and they just do it.
* * *
A nagual is empty. That emptiness doesn't reflect the world, it reflects infinity.
A nagual has no boisterousness on his part, or assertions about the self. There is not a speck of a need to have either grievances or remorse. His is the emptiness of a warrior-traveler, seasoned to the point where he doesn't take anything for granted. A warrior-traveler who doesn't underestimate or overestimate anything. A quiet, disciplined fighter whose elegance is so extreme that no one, no matter how hard they try to look, will ever find the seam where all that complexity has come together.
* * *
What's happening to you is the workings of infinity. Your sensation of nervousness is due to the subliminal realization that your time is up. You are aware of it, but not deliberately conscious of it. You feel the absence of time, and that makes you impatient. I know this, for it happened to me and to all the sorcerers of my lineage. At a given time, a whole era in my life, or their lives, ended. Now it's your turn. You have simply run out of time.
Your malady is a very simple one: your world is coming to an end. It is the end of an era for you. Do you think that the world you have known all your life is going to leave you peacefully, without any fuss or muss? No! It will wriggle underneath you, and hit you with its tail.
* * *
But an era doesn't really come to an end until the king dies. You are the king.
* * *
Every one of us has an energetic fissure, an energetic crack below the navel. That crack, which sorcerers call the gap, is closed when a man is in his prime.
Normally, all that is discernible to the sorcerer's eye is a tenuous discoloration in the otherwise whitish glow of the luminous sphere. But when a man is close to dying, that gap becomes quite apparent.
I once say a man's gap that was wide open. The significance was a deadly one. The spirit was signaling to me that something was coming to an end. I thought it was my life that was coming to an end, and I accepted it as gracefully as I could. It dawned on me much, much later that it wasn't my life that was coming to an end, but my entire lineage.
You bypass things like this. It's youth. So many things to do, so many people around you. You are not alert. You never learned to be alert, anyway.
To be alert doesn't mean to be watchful. For sorcerers, to be alert means to be aware of the fabric of the everyday world that seems extraneous to the interaction of the moment.
Don't hide yourself behind banalities. Stand up, assume responsibility for what you know. Don't get lost in the extraneous fabric of the world around you, extraneous to what's going on. Don't be so concerned with yourself and your problems. Watch the scenery around us: the mountains in the distance, or the riverbed, or the desert. Sorcerers do that and then nothing counts except what their eyes can absorb. In this way they unburden themselves of everything superfluous.
Sorcerers never say things idly. I am most careful about what I say to you or to anybody else. The difference between you and me is that I don't have any time at all, and I act accordingly. You, on the other hand, believe that you have all the time in the world, and you act accordingly. The end result of our individual behaviors is that I measure everything I do and say, and you don't.
You're looking for a sorcerer's medication to remove everything annoying from you, with no effort at all on your part. You want results -- one potion and you're cured.
Sorcerers face things in a different way. Since they don't have any time to spare, they give themselves fully to what's in front of them. Your turmoil is the result of your lack of sobriety.
As for your friend, you didn't have the sobriety to thank him properly. That happens to every one of us. We never express what we feel, and when we want to, it's too late, because we have run out of time. It's not only your friend who ran out of time. You, too, ran out of it. You should have thanked him profusely. But the moment when you should have thanked him, you were angry with him -- you were judging him, he was nasty to you, whatever. And then you postponed seeing him. In reality, what you did was to postpone thanking him. Now you're stuck with a ghost on your tail. You'll never be able to pay what you owe him.
Your friend knew that he was dying. Now you say that the weight of my words is too much for your shoulders, that you want to leave, to be in the city and get lost in its noise. You are having a taste of infinity. I know it, because I have been in your shoes. You want to run away, to plunge into something human, warm, contradictory, stupid, who cares? You want to forget the death of your friend. But infinity won't let you. It has gripped you in its merciless clutches. The only thing you can do is to keep the memory of your friend fresh, to keep it alive for the rest of your life and perhaps even beyond. Sorcerers express, in this fashion, the thanks that they can no longer voice. You may think it is a silly way, but that's the best sorcerers can do.
Sadness, for sorcerers, is not personal. It is not quite sadness. It's a wave of energy that comes from the depths of the cosmos, and hits sorcerers when they are receptive, when they are like radios, capable of catching radio waves. The sorcerers of olden times, who gave us the entire format of sorcery, believed that there is sadness in the universe, as a force, a condition, like light, like intent, and that this perennial force acts especially on sorcerers because they no longer have any defensive shields. They cannot hide behind their friends or their studies. They cannot hide behind love, or hatred, or happiness, or misery. They can't hide behind anything.
The condition of sorcerers is that sadness, for them, is abstract. It doesn't come from coveting or lacking something, or from self-importance. It doesn't come from me. It comes from infinity. The sadness you feel for not thanking your friend is already leaning in that direction.
* * *
Inner silence is a peculiar state of being in which thoughts are canceled out and one can function from a level other than that of daily awareness. Inner silence means the suspension of the internal dialogue -- the perennial companion of thought -- and is therefore a state of profound quietude.
The old sorcerers called it inner silence because it is a state in which perception doesn't depend on the senses. What is at work during inner silence is another faculty that man has, the faculty that makes him a magical being, the very faculty that has been curtailed, not by man himself but by some extraneous influence.
Inner silence is the stand from which everything stems in sorcerer. In other words, everything we do leads to that stand, which, like everything else in the world of sorcerers, doesn't reveal itself unless something gigantic shakes us.
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico devised endless ways to shake themselves or other sorcery practitioners at their foundations in order to reach that coveted state of inner silence. They considered the most far-fetched acts, which may seem totally unrelated to the pursuit of inner silence, such as, for instance, jumping into waterfalls or spending nights hanging upside down from the top branch of a tree, to be the key points that brought it into being.
Inner silence is accrued, accumulated. I've guided you to construct a core of inner silence in yourself, and then add to it, second by second, on every occasion you practice it. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico discovered that each individual has a different threshold of inner silence in terms of time, meaning that inner silence must be kept by each one of us for the length of time of our specific threshold before it can work.
Inner silence works from the moment you begin to accrue it. What the old sorcerers were after was the final, dramatic, end result of reaching that individual threshold of silence. Some very talented practitioners need only a few minutes of silence to reach that coveted goal. Others, less talented, need long periods of silence, perhaps more than one hour of complete quietude, before they reach the desired result. The desired result is what the old sorcerers called stopping the world, the moment when everything around us ceases to be what it's always been.
This is the moment when sorcerers return to the true nature of man. The old sorcerers also called it total freedom. It is the moment when man the slave becomes man the free being, capable of feats of perception that defy our linear imagination.
Inner silence is the avenue that leads to a true suspension of judgment -- to a moment when sensory data emanation from the universe at large ceases to be interpreted by the senses; a moment when cognition ceases to be the force which, through usage and repetition, decides the nature of the world.
Sorcerers need a breaking point for the workings of inner silence to set in. The breaking point is like the mortar that a mason puts between bricks. It's only when the mortar hardens that the loose bricks become a structure.
From the beginning of our association I have drilled into you the value, the necessity, of inner silence. You must do your best to follow my suggestions by accumulating inner silence second by second. You have no means to measure the effect of this accumulation, nor do you have any means to judge whether or not you have reached any threshold. Simply aim doggedly at accruing it. The act of accumulating it is a challenge in itself.
Every sorcerer I know, male or female, sooner or later arrives at a breaking point in their lives. Not a mental breakdown or anything like that. Mental breakdowns are for persons who indulge in themselves. What I mean is that at a given moment the continuity of their lives has to break in order for inner silence to set in and become an active part of their structures.
It's very, very important that you yourself deliberately arrive at that breaking point, or that you create it artificially, and intelligently.
Your breaking point is to discontinue your live as you know it. You have done everything I've told you, dutifully and accurately. If you are talented, you never show it. That seems to be your style. You're not slow, but you act as if you were. You're very sure of yourself, but you act as if you were insecure. You're not timid, and yet you act as if you were afraid of people. Everything you do points at one single spot: you need to break all that, ruthlessly.
I think everything boils down to one act: you must leave your friends. You must say good-bye to them, for good. It's not possible for you to continue on the warrior's path carrying your personal history with you, and unless you discontinue your way of life, I won't be able to go ahead with my instruction.
Your friends are your family, they are your points of reference. Therefore, they have to go. Sorcerers have only one point of reference: infinity.
You must simply leave, leave any way you can.
You have never been alone in your life. This is the time to do it. I don't want your body to die physically. I want your person to die. The two are very different affairs. In essence, your person has very little to do with your body. Your person is your mind, and believe you me, your mind is not yours.
I'll tell you about that subject someday, but not while you're cushioned by your friends.
The criteria that indicates that a sorcerer is dead is when it makes no difference to him whether he has company or whether he is alone. The day you don't covet the company of your friends, whom you use as shields, that's the day that your person has died.
* * *
I ran away from the sorcerers' world once, and I had to nearly die to realize my stupidity. The important issue is to arrive at a breaking point, in whatever way, so that inner silence will become real for you.
You have no time to lose. For infinity, the only worthwhile enterprise of a warrior is freedom. Any other enterprise is fraudulent.
* * *
The end of an era is an accurate description of a process that shamans go through in dismantling the structure of the world they know in order to replace it with another way of understanding the world around them. I've endeavored, from the very instant we met, to introduce you to the cognitive world of the shamans of ancient Mexico.
The world of the sorcerers of ancient Mexico is different from ours, not in a shallow way, but different in the way in which the process of cognition is arranged. In our world our cognition requires the interpretation of sensory data. The universe is composed of an infinite number of energy fields that exist in the universe at large as luminous filaments. Those luminous filaments act on man as an organism. The response of the organism is to turn those energy fields into sensory data. Sensory data is then interpreted, and that interpretation becomes our cognitive system.
The end of an era means that the units of a foreign cognition are beginning to take hold. The units of your normal cognition, no matter how pleasant and rewarding they are for you, are beginning to fade. A grave moment in the life of a man!
* * *
Don't admire people from afar. That is the surest way to create mythological beings. Get close to them, talk to them, see what they are like as people. Test them. If their behavior is the result of their conviction that they are a being who is going to die, then everything they do, no matter how strange, must be premeditated and final. If what they say turns out to be just words, they're not worth a hoot.
Human beings are beings that are going to die. Sorcerers firmly maintain that the only way to have a grip on our world, and on what we do in it, is by fully accepting that we are beings on the way to dying. Without this basic acceptance, our lives, our doings, and the world in which we live are unmanageable affairs.
The acceptance of this is far-reaching. However, it's not the mere acceptance that does the trick. We have to embody that acceptance and live it all the way through. Sorcerers throughout the ages have said that the view of our death is the most sobering view that exists. What is wrong with us human beings, and has been wrong since time immemorial, it that without ever stating it in so many words, we believe that we have entered the realm of immortality, We behave as if we were never going to die -- an infantile arrogance. But even more injurious than this sense of immortality is what comes with it: the sense that we can engulf this inconceivable universe with our minds.
Sorcerers don't admire people in a vacuum. They talk to them; they get to know them. They establish points of reference. They compare.
Sorcerers view any kind of activity with people, no matter how minute or unimportant, as a battlefield. In that battlefield, sorcerers performed their best magic, their best effort. The trick to being at ease in such situations is to face our opponents openly. Abhorrent are the timid souls who shy away from interaction to the point where even though they interact, they merely infer or deduce, in terms of their own psychological states, what is going on without actually perceiving what is really going on. They interact without ever being part of the interaction.
Always look at the man who is involved in a tug of war with you. Don't just pull the rope; look up and see his eyes. You'll know then that he is a man, just like you. No matter what he's saying, no matter what he's doing, he's shaking in his boots, just like you. A look like that renders the opponent helpless, if only for an instant; deliver your blow then.
When the sorcerers talk about the cognitive world of ancient Mexico they are talking about things for which we have no equivalent in the world of everyday life.
For instance, perceiving energy directly as it flows in the universe is a unit of cognition that shamans live by. They see how energy flows, and they follow its flow. If its flow is obstructed, they move away to do something entirely different. Shamans see lines in the universe. Their art, or their job, is to choose the line that will take them, perception-wise, to regions that have no name. You can say that shamans react immediately to the lines of the universe. They see human beings as luminous balls, and they search in them for their flow of energy. Naturally, they react instantly to this sight. It's part of their cognition.
The practicalities that scientists are interested in are conducive to building more and more complex machines. They are not the practicalities that changed an individual's life course from within. They are not geared to reaching the vastness of the universe as a personal, experiential affair. The stupendous machines in existence, or those in the making are cultural affairs, the attainment of which has to be enjoyed vicariously, even by the creators of those machines themselves. The only reward for them is monetary.
Perhaps you can recall what I said to you about one of our biggest flaws as average human beings. The big flaw I am talking about is something you ought to bear in mind every second of your existence. For me, it's the issue of issues, which I will repeat to you over and over until it comes out of your ears.
We are beings on our way to dying. We are not immortal, but we behave as if we were. This is the flaw that brings us down as individuals and will bring us down as a species someday.
The sorcerers' advantage over their average fellow men is that sorcerers know that they are beings on their way to dying and they don't let themselves deviate from that knowledge. An enormous effort must be employed in order to elicit and maintain this knowledge as a total certainty.
Why is it so hard for us to admit something that is so truthful? It's really not man's fault. Someday, I'll tell you more about the forces that drive a man to act like an ass.
Many of us make sense when we talk because we are prepared to use words accurately. But most of us are not prepared to take ourselves seriously as men who are going to die. Being immortal, we wouldn't know how to do that. It makes no difference what complex machines scientists can build. The machines can in no way help anyone face the unavoidable appointment: the appointment with infinity.
The nagual Julian used to tell me about the conquering generals of ancient Rome. When they would return home victorious, gigantic parades were staged to honor them. Riding with them was always a slave whose job was to whisper in their ear that all fame and glory is but transitory.
If we are victorious in any way, we don't have anyone to whisper in our ear that our victories are fleeting. Sorcerers, however, do have the upper hand; as beings on their way to dying, they have someone whispering in their ear that everything is ephemeral. The whisperer is death, the infallible advisor, the only one who won't ever tell you a lie.
Warrior-travelers don't leave any debts unpaid. It is time that you square certain indebtedness you have incurred in the course of your life. Not that you will ever pay in full, mind you, but you must make a gesture. You must make a token payment in order to atone, in order to appease infinity.
What you intend to do is something very simple, and yet nearly impossible. You want to cross over the threshold of personal indebtedness and in one sweep be free, in order to proceed. If you cannot cross that threshold, there won't be any point in trying to continue with me.
I have told you over and over that warrior-travelers are pragmatists. They are not involved in sentimentalism, or nostalgia, or melancholy. For warrior-travelers, there is only struggle, and it is a struggle with no end. If you think that you have come here to find peace, or that this is a lull in your life, you're wrong. This task of paying your debts is not guided by any feelings that you know about. It is guided by the purest sentiment, the sentiment of a warrior-traveler who is about to dive into infinity, and just before he does, he turns around to say thank you to those who favored him.
You must face this task with all the gravity it deserves. It is your last stop before infinity swallows you. In fact, unless a warrior-traveler is in a sublime state of being, infinity will not touch him with a ten-foot pole. So, don't spare yourself; don't spare any effort. Push it mercilessly, but elegantly, all the way through.
* * *
If you don't have self-importance, you have only feelings.
Do the following simple and direct exercise that could mean the world to you: Remove from your memory of a past interaction with someone any statements that you make to yourself such as 'He said this or that to me, and he yelled at me!' and remain at the level of your feelings. If you hadn't been so self-important, what would you have had as the irreducible residue at that level of your feelings; and is that feeling any less today than it was? Now, embrace them from your silence. Don't be meager, embrace them totally for the last time. But intend that this is the last time on Earth. Intend it from your darkness. If you are worth your salt, when you make your gift to them, you'll sum up your entire life. Acts of this nature make warriors airborne, almost vaporous.
What we usually feel is merely the result of indulging and self-pity. In order to say good-bye and thank you, and really mean it and sustain it, sorcerers have to remake themselves.
Vanquish your self-pity right now. Vanquish the idea that you are hurt; and what you have as the irreducible residue is your feelings. Not in the spirit of renewing anything, or harming anyone, including yourself, but in the spirit of a warrior-traveler whose only virtue is to keep alive the memory of whatever has affected him, whose only way to say thank you and good-bye is by this act of magic: of storing in his silence whatever he has loved.
* * *
Don't indulge in being fatigued. Your fatigue is, more than fatigue, a desire not to be bothered. Something in you resents being bothered. But it's most important that you exacerbate that part of you until it breaks down.
* * *
There is an enormous premium on time. For sorcerers in general, time is of the essence. The challenge I am faced with is that in a very compact unit of time I must cram into you everything there is to know about sorcery as an abstract proposition, but in order to do that I have to build the necessary space in you.
The premise of sorcerers is that in order to bring something in, there must be a space to put it in. If you are filled to the brim with the items of everyday life, there's no space for anything new. That space must be built. Do you see what I mean? The sorcerers of olden times believed that the recapitulation of your life made the space. It does, and much more, of course.
The way sorcerers perform the recapitulation is very formal. It consists of writing a list of all the people they have met, from the present to the very beginning of their lives. Once they have that list, they take the first person on it and recollect everything they can about that person. And I mean everything, every detail. It's better to recapitulate from the present to the past, because the memories of the present are fresh, and in this manner, the recollection ability is honed. What practitioners do is to recollect and breathe. They inhale slowly and deliberately, fanning the head from right to left, in a barely noticeable swing, and exhale in the same fashion.
The inhalations and exhalations should be natural; if they are too rapid, one enters into something called tiring breaths: breaths that require slower breathing afterward in order to calm down the muscles.
Begin making your list today. Divide it by years, by occupations, arrange it in any order you want to, but make it sequential, with the most recent person first, and end with Mommy and Daddy. And then, remember everything about them. No more ado than that. As you practice, you will realize what you're doing.
* * *
I am sure that you have bouts with intent. You intended something and anything that was opposed to it you had to let go. The touch of warrior-travelers is very light, although it is cultivated. The hand of a warrior-traveler begins as a heavy, gripping, iron hand but becomes like the hand of a ghost, a hand made of gossamer. Warrior-travelers leave no marks, no tracks. That's the challenge for warrior-travelers.
The power of the recapitulation is that it stirs up all the garbage of our lives and brings it to the surface.
I'm going to delineate the intricacies of awareness and perception, which are the basis of the recapitulation. I am going to present an arrangement of concepts that you should not take as sorcerers' theories under any conditions, because it is an arrangement formulated by the shamans of ancient Mexico as a result of seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe. I will present the units of this arrangement to you without any attempt at classifying them or ranking them by any predetermined standard.
I'm not interested in classifications. You have been classifying everything all your life. Now you are going to be forced to stay away from classifications. Classifications have a world of their own. After you begin to classify anything, the classification becomes alive, and it rules you. But since classifications never started as energy-giving affairs, they always remain like dead logs. They are not trees; they are merely logs.
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico saw that the universe at large is composed of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments. They saw zillions of them, wherever they turned to see. They also saw that those energy fields arranged themselves into currents of luminous fibers, streams that are constant, perennial forces in the universe. The current or stream of filaments that is related to the recapitulation was named by those sorcerers the dark sea of awareness, and also the Eagle.
Those sorcerers also found out that every creature in the universe is attached to the dark sea of awareness at a round point of luminosity that was apparent when those creatures were perceived as energy. On that point of luminosity, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called the assemblage point of human beings, zillions of energy fields from the universe at large, in the form of luminous filaments, converge and go through it. These energy fields are converted into sensory data, and the sensory data is then interpreted and perceived as the world we know. What turns the luminous fibers into sensory data is the dark sea of awareness. Sorcerers see this transformation and call it the glow of awareness, a sheen that extends like a halo around the assemblage point. I'm going to make a statement which, in the understanding of sorcerers, is central to comprehending the scope of the recapitulation.
What we call the senses in organisms is nothing but degrees of awareness. If we accept that the senses are the dark sea of awareness, we have to admit that the interpretation that the senses make of sensory data is also the dark sea of awareness. To face the world around us in the terms that we do is the result of the interpretation system of mankind with which every human being is equipped. Every organism in existence has to have an interpretation system that permits it to function in its surrounding.
The reading of my compilation of Carlos Castaneda's books continues from here on this MP3
The old sorcerers saw that at the moment of death, the dark sea of awareness sucked in, so to speak, through the assemblage point, the awareness of living creatures. They also saw that the dark sea of awareness had a moment's, let's say, hesitation when it was faced with sorcerers who had done a recounting of their lives. Unbeknownst to them, some had done it so thoroughly that the dark sea of awareness took their awareness in the form of their life experiences, but didn't touch their life force. Sorcerers had found out a gigantic truth about the forces of the universe: the dark sea of awareness wants only our life experiences, not our life force.
Sorcerers believe that as we recapitulate our lives, all the debris, as I told you, comes to the surface. We realize our inconsistencies, our repetitions, but something is us puts up a tremendous resistance to recapitulating. Sorcerers say that the road is free only after a gigantic upheaval, after the appearance on our screen of the memory of an event that shakes our foundations with its terrifying clarity of detail. It's the event that drags us to the actual moment that we lived it. Sorcerers call that event the usher, because from then on every event we touch on is relived, not merely remembered.
Walking is always something that precipitates memories. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico believed that everything we live we store as a sensation on the backs of the legs. They considered the backs of the legs to be the warehouse of man's personal history.
Walking will have you ready to begin this sorcerers' maneuver of finding an usher: an event in your life that you will remember with such clarity that it will serve as a spotlight to illuminate everything else in your recapitulation with the same, or comparable, clarity. Do what sorcerers call recapitulating pieces of a puzzle. Something will lead you to remember the event that will serve as your usher. Give it your best shot; do your best.
* * *
To recount events is magical for sorcerers. It isn't just telling stories. It is seeing the underlying fabric of events. This is the reason recounting is so important and vast.
Warrior-travelers roll with the punches. They go wherever the impulse may take them. The power of warrior-travelers is to be alert, to get maximum effect from minimal impulse. And above all, their power lies in not interfering. Events have a force, a gravity of their own, and travelers are just travelers. Everything around them is for their eyes alone. In this fashion, travelers construct the meaning of every situation, without ever asking how it happened this way or that way.
Today, you may remember an event that sums up your total life. We are always faced with a situation that is the same as one that we never resolved. Infinity always puts us in this terrible position of having to choose. We want infinity, but at the same time, we want to run away from it. You want to tell me to go and jump in a lake, but at the same time you are compelled to stay. It would be infinitely easier for you to just be compelled to stay.
* * *
Something in you will begin to collapse for sure. It has been collapsing all along, but it repairs itself very quickly every time its supports fail. I've told you already, we have two minds, and only one of them is truly ours. There is a secret option to the recapitulation. Just like I told you that there is a secret option to dying, an option that only sorcerers take. In the case of dying, the secret option is that human beings could retain their life force and relinquish only their awareness, the product of their lives. In the case of the recapitulation, the secret option that only sorcerers take is to choose to enhance their true minds.
Any haunting memory of your recollections can come only from your true mind. The other mind that we all have and share is, I would say, a cheap model: economy strength, one size fits all. But this is a subject that we will discuss later. What is at stake now is the advent of a disintegrating force. But not a force that is disintegrating you -- I don't mean it that way. It is disintegrating what the sorcerers call the foreign installation, which exists in you and in every other human being. The effect of the force that is descending on you, which is disintegrating the foreign installation, is that it pulls sorcerers out of their syntax.
I know how difficult it is for you to deal with this facet of your life. Every sorcerer that I know has gone through it. The males going through it suffer infinitely more damage than the females. I suppose it's the condition of women to be more durable. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico acting as a group, tried their best to buttress the impact of this disintegrating force. In our day, we have no means of acting as a group so we must brace ourselves to face in solitude a force that will sweep us away from language, for there is no way to describe adequately what is going on.
Sorcerers face the unknown in the most common incidents one can imagine. When they are confronted with it, and cannot interpret what they are perceiving, they have to rely on an outside source for direction. I've called that source infinity, or the voice of the spirit. If sorcerers don't try to be rational about what can't be rationalized, the spirit unerringly tells them what's what.
Infinity is a force that has a voice and is conscious of itself. Consequently, I have prepared you to be ready to listen to that voice and act efficiently always, but without antecedents, using as little as possible the railings of the a priori.
* * *
Infinity is a conscious force that deliberately intervenes in the lives of sorcerers. You will seek explanations with linear cause and effect. Each of your recollections will become more and more vivid, more and more maddening to you, because as I told you already, you have entered an irreversible process. Your true mind is emerging, waking up from a state of lifelong lethargy.
Infinity is claiming you. Whatever means it uses to point that out to you cannot have any other reason, any other cause, any other value than that. What you should do, however, is to be prepared for the onslaughts of infinity. You must be in a state of continuously bracing yourself for a blow of tremendous magnitude. That is the sane, sober way in which sorcerers face infinity.
Everything you do has to be an act of sorcery. An act free from encroaching expectations, fears of failure, hopes of success. Free from the cult of me; everything you do has to be impromptu, a work of magic where you freely open yourself to the impulses of the infinite.
The sorcerers of my lineage considered that one of the most coveted results of inner silence is a specific interplay of energy, which is always heralded by a strong emotion. Such an interplay manifests itself in terms of hues that are projected on any horizon in the world of everyday life, be it a mountain, the sky, a wall, or simply the palms of the hands. This interplay of hues begins with the appearance of a tenuous brushstroke of lavender on the horizon. In time, this lavender brushstroke starts to expand until it covers the visible horizon, like advancing storm clouds.
A dot of a peculiar, rich, pomegranate red shows up, as if bursting from the lavender clouds. As sorcerers become more disciplined and experienced, the dot of pomegranate expands and finally explodes into thoughts or visions, or in the case of a literate man, into written words; sorcerers either see visions engendered by energy, hear thoughts being voiced as words, or read written words.
There's nothing gentle about sorcerers or sorcery. The first time that infinity descends on you it may be a total takeover of your faculties. Insofar as the speed of your visions is concerned, you yourself will have to learn to adjust it. For some sorcerers, that's the job of a lifetime. Energy may appear to you as if it were being projected onto a movie screen. Whether or not you understand what's projected is another matter. In order to make an accurate interpretation you need experience. My recommendation is that you shouldn't be bashful, and you should begin now. Your true mind is emerging, and it has nothing to do with the mind that is a foreign installation. Let your true mind adjust the speed. Be silent, and don't fret, no matter what happens.
Anyway, infinity chooses. The warrior-traveler simply acquiesces to that choice. But above all, don't be overwhelmed by the event because you cannot describe it. It is an event beyond the syntax of our language.
* * *
We can speak a little more clearly now about inner silence. Dreaming is the act of changing the point of attachment with the dark sea of awareness. If you view it in this fashion, it's a very simple concept, and a very simple maneuver. It takes all you have to realize it, but it's not an impossibility, nor is it something surrounded with mystical clouds.
Dreaming is a term that weakens a very powerful act. It makes it sound arbitrary; it gives it a sense of being a fantasy, and this in the only thing it is not. I tried to change the term myself, but it's too ingrained. Maybe someday you could change it yourself, although, as with everything else in sorcery, I am afraid that by the time you could actually do it, you won't give a damn about it because it won't make any difference what it is called anymore.
Dreaming is an art, discovered by the sorcerers of ancient Mexico, by means of which ordinary dreams are transformed into bona-fide entrances to other worlds of perception. Dreaming attention, is the capacity to pay a special kind of attention, or to place a special kind of awareness on the elements of an ordinary dream.
Don't set out deliberately to have a desired dream, but fix your attention on the component elements of whatever dream presents itself.
The assemblage point is displaced very naturally during sleep. To see the displacement is a bit difficult because it requires an aggressive mood. Such an aggressive mood was the predilection of the sorcerers of ancient Mexico. Those sorcerers found all the premises of their sorcery by means of this mood
It is a very predatory mood. It's not difficult at all to enter into it, because man is a predator by nature. You could see, aggressively, anybody around you, or perhaps someone far away, while they are asleep; anyone would do for the purpose at hand. What's important is that you arrive at a complete sense of indifference. You are in search of something, and you are out to get it. You're going to go out looking for a person, searching like a feline, like an animal of prey, for someone to descend on.
The difficulty with this technique is the mood. You can't be passive in the act of seeing, for the sight is not something to watch but to act upon.
Sorcerers are divided into two groups: one group is dreamers; the other is stalkers. The dreamers are those who have a great facility for displacing the assemblage point. The stalkers are those who have a great facility for maintaining the assemblage point fixed on that new position. Dreamers and stalkers complement each other, and work in pairs, affecting one another with their given proclivities.
The displacement and the fixation of the assemblage point can be realized at will by means of the sorcerers' iron-handed discipline. The sorcerers of our lineage believed that there were at least six hundred points within the luminous sphere that we are, that when reached at will by the assemblage point, can each give us a totally inclusive world; meaning that, if our assemblage point is displaced to any of those points and remains fixed on it, we will perceive a world as inclusive and total as the world of everyday life, but a different world nevertheless.
The art of sorcery is to manipulate the assemblage point and make it change positions at will on the luminous spheres that human beings are. The result of this manipulation is a shift in the point of contact with the dark sea of awareness, which brings as its concomitant a different bundle of zillions of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments that converge on the assemblage point. The consequence of new energy fields converging on the assemblage point is that awareness of a different sort than that which is necessary for perceiving the world of everyday life enters into action, turning the new energy fields into sensory data, sensory data that is interpreted and perceived as a different world because the energy fields that engender it are different from the habitual ones.
An accurate definition of sorcery as a practice would be to say that sorcery is the manipulation of the assemblage point for purposes of changing its focal point of contact with the dark sea of awareness, thus making it possible to perceive other worlds.
The art of the stalkers enters into play after the assemblage point has been displaced. Maintaining the assemblage point fixed in its new position assures sorcerers that they will perceive whatever new world they enter in its absolute completeness, exactly as we do in the world of ordinary affairs. For the sorcerers of our lineage, the world of everyday life is but one fold of a total world consisting of at least six hundred folds.
What we can do from inner silence is very similar to what is done in dreaming when one is asleep. However, when journeying through the dark sea of awareness, there is no interruption of any sort caused by going to sleep, nor is there any attempt whatsoever at controlling one's attention while having a dream. The journey through the dark sea of awareness entails an immediate response. There is an overpowering sensation of the here and now. Some idiotic sorcerers gave the name dreaming-awake to the act of reaching the dark sea of awareness directly, making the term dreaming even more ridiculous.
When one thinks that they have had the dream-fantasy of going to a town of their choice, they have actually placed their assemblage point directly on a specific position on the dark sea of awareness that allows the journey. Then the dark sea of awareness supplies them with whatever is necessary to carry on that journey. There's no way whatsoever to choose that place at will. Sorcerers say that inner silence selects it unerringly. Simple, isn't it?
Choice, for warrior-travelers, is not really the act of choosing, but rather the act of acquiescing elegantly to the solicitations of infinity.
Infinity chooses. The art of the warrior-traveler is to have the ability to move with the slightest insinuation, the art of acquiescing to every command of infinity. For this, a warrior-traveler needs prowess, strength, and above everything else, sobriety. All those three put together give, as a result, elegance!
The universe has no limits, and the possibilities at play in the universe at large are indeed incommensurable. So don't fall prey to the axiom, "I believe only what I see," because it is the dumbest stand one can possibly take.
You must deliberately journey through the dark sea of awareness but you'll never know how this is done. Let's say that inner silence does it, following inexplicable ways, ways that cannot be understood, but only practiced.
* * *
You are not unique in your pettiness. It is a condition in which human beings are trapped, a condition that is not even human, but imposed from the outside.
A break in the continuity of time. That is what inner silence does.
The interruption of that flow of continuity that makes the world understandable to us is sorcery. You journey through the dark sea of awareness, you see people as they are, engaged in people's business. And then you see the strand of energy that joins specific lines of human beings. You witness something specific and inexplicable. You understand what people are saying, without knowing their language, and you see the strand of energy that connects human beings to certain other beings, and you select those aspects through an act of intending it. This intending is not something conscious or volitional; this intending is done at a deep level, and is ruled by necessity. You need to become cognizant of some of the possibilities of journeying through the dark sea of awareness, and inner silence guides intent -- a perennial force in the universe -- to fulfill that need.
* * *
You already know that there exists in the universe a perennial force, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called the dark sea of awareness. While they were at the maximum of their perceiving power, they saw something that made them shake in their boots. They saw that the dark sea of awareness is responsible not only for the awareness of organisms, but also for the awareness of entities that don't have an organism.
The old shamans discovered that the entire universe is composed of twin forces, forces that are at the same time opposed and complementary to each other. It is inescapable that our world is a twin world. Its opposite and complementary world is one populated by beings that have awareness, but not an organism. For this reason, the old shamans called them inorganic beings.
I told you that it's our twin world, so it's intimately related to us. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico didn't think like most do in terms of space and time. They thought exclusively in terms of awareness. Two types of awareness coexist without ever impinging on each other, because each type is entirely different from the other. The old shamans faced this problem of coexistence without concerning themselves with time and space. They reasoned that the degree of awareness of organic beings and the degree of awareness of inorganic beings were so different that both could coexist with the most minimal interference.
We can perceive those inorganic beings; sorcerers do it at will. Average people do it, but they don't realize that they're doing it because they are not conscious of the existence of a twin world. It has never occurred to them that their fantasies have their origin in a subliminal knowledge that all of us have: that we are not alone.
The difficulty with your facing things in terms of time and space is that you only notice if something has landed in the space and time at your disposal, which is very limited. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have a vast field on which they can notice if something extraneous has landed. Lots of entities from the universe at large, entities that possess awareness but not an organism, land in the field of awareness of our world, or the field of awareness of its twin world, without an average human being ever noticing them. The entities that land on our field of awareness, or the field of awareness of our twin world, belong to other worlds that exist besides our world and its twin. The universe at large is crammed to the brim with worlds of awareness, organic and inorganic.
Those sorcerers knew when inorganic awareness from other worlds besides our twin world had landed in their field of awareness. As every human being on this earth would do, those shamans made endless classifications of different types of this energy that has awareness. They know them by the general term inorganic beings.
If you think that life is to be aware, then they do have life. I suppose it would be accurate to say that if life can be measured by the intensity, the sharpness, the duration of that awareness, I can sincerely say that they are more alive than you and I.
If you call death the termination of awareness, yes, they die. Their awareness ends. Their death is rather like the death of a human being, and at the same time, it isn't, because the death of human being has a hidden option. It is something like a clause in a legal document, a clause that is written in tiny letters that you can barely see. You have to use a magnifying glass to read it, and yet it's the most important clause of the document.
Death's hidden option is exclusively for sorcerers. They are the only ones who have, to my knowledge, read the fine print. For them, the option is pertinent and functional. For average human beings, death means the termination of their awareness, the end of their organisms. For the inorganic beings, death means the same: the end of their awareness. In both cases, the impact of death is the act of being sucked into the dark sea of awareness. Their individual awareness, loaded with their life experiences, breaks its boundaries, and awareness as energy spills out into the dark sea of awareness
For a sorcerer, death is a unifying factor. Instead of disintegrating the organism, as is ordinarily the case, death unifies it.
Death for a sorcerer terminates the reign of individual moods in the body. The old sorcerers believed it was the dominion of the different parts of the body that ruled the moods and the actions of the total body; parts that become dysfunctional drag the rest of the body to chaos, such as, for instance, when you yourself get sick from eating junk. In that case, the mood of your stomach affects everything else. Death eradicates the dominion of those individual parts. It unifies their awareness into one single unit.
For sorcerers, death is an act of unification that employs every bit of their energy. You are thinking of death as a corpse in front of you, a body on which decay has settled. For sorcerers, when the act of unification takes place, there is no corpse. There is no decay. Their bodies in their entirety have been turned into energy, energy possessing awareness that is not fragmented. The boundaries that are set up by the organism, boundaries which are broken down by death, are still functioning in the case of sorcerers, although they are no longer visible to the naked eye.
I know that you are dying to ask me if whatever I'm describing is the soul that goes to hell or heaven. No, it is not the soul. What happens to sorcerers, when they pick up that hidden option of death, is that they turn into inorganic beings, very specialized, high-speed inorganic beings, beings capable of stupendous maneuvers of perception. Sorcerers enter then into what the shamans of ancient Mexico called their definitive journey. Infinity becomes their realm of action.
My sobriety as a sorcerer tells me that their awareness will terminate, the way inorganic beings' awareness terminates, but I haven't seen this happen. I have no firsthand knowledge of it. The old sorcerers believed that the awareness of this type of inorganic being would last as long as the earth is alive. The earth is their matrix. As long as it prevails, their awareness continues. To me, this is a most reasonable statement.
You ask if there is a possibility that ghosts and apparitions really exist. Whatever you may call a ghost or an apparition when it is scrutinized by a sorcerer, boils down to one issue -- it is possible that any of those ghostlike apparitions may be a conglomeration of energy fields that have awareness, and which we turn into things we know. If that's the case, then the apparitions have energy. Sorcerers call them energy-generating configurations. Or, no energy emanates from them in which case they are phantasmagorical creations, usually of a very strong person -- strong in terms of awareness.
* * *
The inorganic beings who populate our twin world are considered, by the sorcerers of our lineage, to be our relatives. Those shamans believed that it was futile to make friends with our family members because the demands levied on us for such friendships are always exorbitant. That type of inorganic being, who are our first cousins, communicate with us incessantly, but their communication with us is not at the level of conscious awareness. In other words, we know all about them in a subliminal way, while they know all about us in a deliberate, conscious manner.
The energy from our first cousins is a drag! They are as messed up as we are. Let's say that the organic and inorganic beings of our twin worlds are the children of two sisters who live next door to each other. They are exactly alike although they look different. They cannot help us, and we cannot help them. Perhaps we could join together, and make a fabulous family business corporation, but that hasn't happened. Both branches of the family are extremely touchy and take offense over nothing, a typical relationship between touchy first cousins. The crux of the matter, the sorcerers of ancient Mexico believed, is that both human beings and inorganic beings from the twin worlds are profound egomaniacs.
Another classification that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico made of the inorganic beings was that of scouts, or explorers; that is, the inorganic beings that come from the depths of the universe, and which are possessors of awareness infinitely sharper and faster than that of human beings. The old sorcerers spent generations polishing their classification schemes, and their conclusions were that certain types of inorganic beings from the category of scouts or explorers, because of their vivaciousness, were akin to man. They could make liaisons and establish a symbiotic relation with men. The old sorcerers called these kinds of inorganic beings the allies.
The crucial mistake of those shamans with reference to this type of inorganic being was to attribute human characteristics to that impersonal energy and to believe that they could harness it. They thought of those blocks of energy as their helpers, and they relied on them without comprehending that, being pure energy, they didn't have the power to sustain any effort.
I've told you all there is to know about inorganic beings. The only way you can put this to the test is by means of direct experience.
* * *
Energy is the irreducible residue of everything. As far as we are concerned, to see energy directly is the bottom line for a human being. Perhaps there are other things beyond that, but they are not available to us.
The inorganic beings' essence is impersonal energy aware of itself.
You must realize that it is our cognition, which is in essence an interpretation system, that curtails our resources. Our interpretation system is what tells us what the parameters of our possibilities are, and since we have been using that system of interpretation all our lives, we cannot possibly dare to go against its dictums.
The energy of those inorganic beings pushes us and we interpret that push as we may, depending on our mood. The most sober thing to do, for a sorcerer, is to relegate those entities to an abstract level. The fewer interpretations sorcerers make, the better off they are.
From now on, whenever you are confronted with the strange sight of an apparition, hold your ground and gaze at it with an inflexible attitude. If it is an inorganic being, your interpretation of it will fall off like dead leaves. If nothing happens, it is a worthless aberration of your mind, which is not your mind anyway.
* * *
In the course of this training you may find yourself in a total quandary as to how to behave in the world. The world around you will not have changed. It definitely would stem from a flaw in you. My influence and all the activities stemming from my practices, into which I have engaged you so deeply, may take their toll on you and may even cause in you a serious incapacity to deal with your fellow men. The flaw would be your compulsion to measure everyone using me as a yardstick.
I am a being who lives my life professionally, in every aspect of the term, meaning that every one of my acts, no matter how insignificant, counts. You are surrounded by people who believe that they are immortal beings, who contradict themselves every step of the way; they are beings whose acts could never be accounted for. You are accustomed to the Nagual's unalterable behavior, to his total lack of self-importance, and to the unfathomable scope of his intellect; very few of the people you know are even aware that there exists another pattern of behavior that fosters those qualities. Most of them know only the behavioral pattern of self-reflection, which renders men weak and contorted. Consequently you may find yourself having a very difficult time.
I've recommended to you that warrior-travelers should have a romance with knowledge, in whatever form knowledge is presented.
Warrior-travelers are sorcerer who, by being warriors, travel in the dark sea of awareness. Human beings are travelers of the dark sea of awareness, and this Earth is but a station on their journey; for extraneous reasons, the travelers have interrupted their voyage. Human beings are caught in a sort of eddy, a current that goes in circles, giving them the impression of moving while they are, in essence, stationary. Sorcerers are the only opponents of whatever force keeps human beings prisoners, and by means of their discipline sorcerers break loose from its grip and continue their journey of awareness.
* * *
What is important is the exercise of discipline. It doesn't make any difference, for example, how good a reader a student is, and how many wonderful books he can read. What's important is that he has the discipline to read what he doesn't want to read. The crux of the sorcerers' exercise of going to school is in what you refuse, not in what you accept.
* * *
Warrior-travelers don't complain, they take everything that infinity hands them as a challenge. A challenge is a challenge. It isn't personal. It cannot be taken as a curse or a blessing. A warrior-traveler either wins the challenge or the challenge demolishes him. It's more exciting to win, so win!
You say that that's easy for me to say but that to carry it out is another matter, and that your tribulations are insoluble because they originate in the incapacity of your fellow men to be consistent.
It's not the people around you who are at fault; they cannot help themselves. The fault is with you, because you can help yourself, but you are bent on judging them, at a deep level of silence. Any idiot can judge. If you judge them, you will only get the worst out of them. All of us human beings are prisoners, and it is that prison that makes us act in such a miserable way. Your challenge is to take people as they are! Leave people alone.
You may not understand what I'm talking about. If you're not conscious of your desire to judge them you are in even worse shape. This is the flaw of warrior-travelers when they begin to resume their journeys. They get cocky, out of hand.
You admit to me that your complaints are petty in the extreme. You say that you are confronted with daily events, events that have the nefarious quality of wearing down all your resolve, and that you are embarrassed to relate to me the incidents that weigh heavily on your mind.
Come on, Out with it! Don't have any secrets from me. I'm an empty tube. Whatever you say to me will be projected out into infinity.
You say that you have only complaints and that you are exactly like all the people you know. That there's no way to talk to a single one of them without hearing an overt or a covert complaint.
In the ups and downs of daily living, you win, and you lose, and you don't know when you win or when you lose. This is the price one pays for living under the rule of self-reflection. There is nothing that I can say to you, and there's nothing that you can say to yourself. I could only recommend that you not feel guilty because you fail, but that you strive to end the dominion of self-reflection.
* * *
Every human being has the potential to see energy directly. Every human being already sees energy directly but doesn't know it.
* * *
Anything is possible if one departs from inner silence. The clear view, or losing the human form is the time when human pettiness vanishes, as if it had been a patch of fog looming over us, a fog that slowly clears up and dissipates.
The sorcerers' world is not an immutable world like the world of everyday life, where they tell you that once you reach a goal, you remain a winner forever. In the sorcerers' world, to arrive at a certain goal means that you have simply acquired the most efficient tools to continue your fight, which, by the way, will never end.
* * *
The energy body is a conglomerate of energy fields, the mirror image of the conglomerate of energy fields that makes up the physical body when it is seen as energy that flows in the universe. It is smaller, more compact, and of heavier appearance than the luminous sphere of the physical body. The body and the energy body are two conglomerates of energy fields compressed together by some strange agglutinizing force. The force that binds that group of energy fields together is according to the sorcerers of ancient Mexico, the most mysterious force in the universe. My personal estimation is that it is the pure essence of the entire cosmos, the sum total of everything there is.
The physical body and the energy body are the only counterbalanced energy configurations in our realm as human beings.
By means of discipline it is possible for anyone to bring the energy body closer to the physical body. Normally, the distance between the two is enormous. Once the energy body is within a certain range, which varies for each of us individually, anyone, through discipline, can forge it into the exact replica of their physical body -- that is to say, a three-dimensional, solid being. Hence the sorcerers' idea of the other or the double. By the same token, through the same processes of discipline, anyone can forge their three-dimensional, solid physical body to be a perfect replica of their energy body -- that is to say, an ethereal change of energy invisible to the human eye, as all energy is.
I've not described a mythical proposition. There is nothing mythical about sorcerers. Sorcerers are practical beings, and what they describe is always something quite sober and down-to-earth. The difficulty in understanding what sorcerers do is that they proceed from a different cognitive system.
The energy body is of key importance in whatever has been taking place in your life. It is an energetic fact that your energy body, instead of moving away from you, as it normally happens, is approaching you with great speed. It means that something is going to knock the daylights out of you. A tremendous degree of control is going to come into your life, but not your control, the energy body's control.
There are scores of outside forces controlling you at this moment. The control that I am referring to is something outside the domain of language. It is your control and at the same time it is not. It cannot be classified, but it can certainly be experienced. And above all, it can certainly be manipulated. Remember this: It can be manipulated, to your total advantage, of course, which again, is not your advantage, but the energy body's advantage. However, the energy body is you, so we could go on forever like dogs biting their own tails, trying to describe this. Language is inadequate. All these experiences are beyond syntax.
If you pay close attention to the darkness of the foliage without focusing your eyes, but sort of look at it from the corner of your eye, you will see a fleeting shadow crossing your field of vision.
Early night is the appropriate time of day for doing what I am asking you to do. It takes a moment to engage the necessary attention in you to do it. Don't stop until you catch that fleeting black shadow, fleeting black shadows all over the place. That's the universe at large, incommensurable, nonlinear, outside the realm of syntax. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were the first ones to see those fleeting shadows, so they followed them around. They saw them as you will see them, and they saw them as energy that flows in the universe. And they did discover something transcendental. They discovered that we have a companion for life. We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so.
It's pitch black around us, but if you look out of the corner of your eye, you will still see fleeting shadows jumping all around you.
You have arrived, by your effort alone, to what the shamans of ancient Mexico called the topic of topics. I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico.
There is an explanation which is the simplest explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops. Therefore, their food is always available to them.
Well, you haven't heard it all yet. Wait a bit longer and see how you feel. I'm going to subject you to a blitz. That is, I'm going to subject your mind to tremendous onslaughts, and you cannot get up and leave because you're caught. Not because I'm holding you prisoner, but because something in you will prevent you from leaving, while another part of you is going to go truthfully berserk. So brace yourself!
I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal.
In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver -- stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.
I know that even though you have never suffered hunger you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.
Sorcerers see infant human beings as strange, luminous balls of energy, covered from the top to the bottom with a glowing coat, something like a plastic cover that is adjusted tightly over their cocoon of energy. That glowing coat of awareness is what the predators consume, and when a human being reaches adulthood, all that is left of that glowing coat of awareness is a narrow fringe that goes from the ground to the top of the toes. That fringe permits mankind to continue living, but only barely.
To my knowledge, man is the only species that has the glowing coat of awareness outside that luminous cocoon. Therefore, he became easy prey for an awareness of a different order, such as the heavy awareness of the predator.
This narrow fringe of awareness is the epicenter of self-reflection, where man is irremediably caught. By playing on our self-reflection, which is the only point of awareness left to us, the predators create flares of awareness that they proceed to consume in a ruthless, predatory fashion. They give us inane problems that force those flares of awareness to rise, and in this manner they keep us alive in order to them to be fed with the energetic flare of our pseudoconcerns.
There's nothing that you and I can do about it. All we can do is discipline ourselves to the point where they will not touch us. How can you ask your fellow men to go through those rigors of discipline? They'll laugh and make fun of you, and the more aggressive ones will beat the crap out of you. And not so much because they don't believe it. Down in the depths of every human being, there's an ancestral, visceral knowledge about the predators' existence.
The reading of my compilation of Carlos Castaneda's books continues from here on this MP3
Whenever doubts plague you to a dangerous point, do something pragmatic about it. Turn off the light. Pierce the darkness; find out what you can see.
You saw the fleeting shadows against the trees, that's pretty good. I'd like you to see them inside this room. You're not seeing anything. You're just merely catching fleeting images. You have enough energy for that.
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico saw the predator. They called it the flyer because it leaps through the air. It is not a pretty sight. It is a big shadow, impenetrably dark, a black shadow that jumps through the air. Then, it lands flat on the ground. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when it made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man.
What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat. There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
This predator, which, of course, is an inorganic being, is not altogether invisible to us, as other inorganic beings are. I think as children we do see it and decide it's so horrific that we don't want to think about it. Children, of course, could insist on focusing on the sight, but everybody else around them dissuades them from doing so.
The only alternative left for mankind is discipline. Discipline is the only deterrent. But by discipline I don't mean harsh routines. I don't mean waking up every morning at five-thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until you're blue. Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations. For them, discipline is an art: the art of facing infinity without flinching, not because they are strong and tough but because they are filled with awe.
Sorcerers say that discipline makes the glowing coat of awareness unpalatable to the flyer. The result is that the predators become bewildered. An inedible glowing coat of awareness is not part of their cognition, I suppose. After being bewildered, they don't have any recourse other than refraining from continuing their nefarious task.
If the predators don't eat our glowing coat of awareness for a while, it'll keep on glowing. Simplifying this matter to the extreme, I can say that sorcerers, by means of their discipline, push the predators away long enough to allow their glowing coat of awareness to grow beyond the level of the toes. Once it goes beyond the level of the toes, it grows back to its natural size. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico used to say that the glowing coat of awareness is like a tree. If it is not pruned, it grows to its natural size and volume. As awareness reaches levels higher than the toes, tremendous maneuvers of perception become a matter of course.
The grand trick of those sorcerers of ancient times was to burden the flyers' mind with discipline. They found out that if they taxed the flyers' mind with inner silence, the foreign installation would flee, giving to any one of the practitioners involved in this maneuver the total certainty of the mind's foreign origin. The foreign installation comes back, I assure you, but not as strong, and a process begins in which the fleeing of the flyers' mind becomes routine, until one day it flees permanently. A sad day indeed! That's the day when you have to rely on your own devices, which are nearly zero. There's no one to tell you what to do. There's no mind of foreign origin to dictate the imbecilities you're accustomed to.
My teacher, the nagual Julian, used to warn all his disciples that this was the toughest day in a sorcerer's life, for the real mind that belongs to us, the sum total of our experience, after a lifetime of domination has been rendered shy, insecure, and shifty. Personally, I would say that the real battle of sorcerers begins at that moment. The rest is merely preparation.
Discipline taxes the foreign mind no end, so, through their discipline, sorcerers vanquish the foreign installation.
I am going to give the flyers' mind, which you carry inside you, one more jolt. I am going to reveal to you one of the most extraordinary secrets of sorcery. I am going to describe to you a finding that took sorcerers thousands of years to verify and consolidate.
The flyers' mind flees forever when a sorcerer succeeds in grabbing on to the vibrating force that holds us together as a conglomerate of energy fields. If a sorcerer maintains that pressure long enough, the flyers' mind flees in defeat. And that's exactly what you are going to do: hold on to the energy that binds you together.
You are fearing the wrath of God, aren't you? Rest assured, that's not your fear. It's the flyers' fear, because it knows that you will do exactly as I'm telling you.
Don't worry, I know for a fact that those attacks wear off very quickly. The flyers' mind has no concentration whatsoever. You're being torn by an internal struggle. Down in the depths of you, you know that you are incapable of refusing the agreement that an indispensable part of you, your glowing coat of awareness, is going to serve as an incomprehensible source of nourishment to, naturally, incomprehensible entities. And another part of you will stand against this situation with all its might.
The sorcerers' revolution is that they refuse to honor agreements in which they did not participate. Nobody ever asked me if I would consent to be eaten by beings of a different kind of awareness. My parents just brought me into this world to be food, like themselves, and that's the end of the story.
The more you think about it, and the more you talk to and observe yourself and your fellow men, the more intense will be the conviction that something has rendered us incapable of any activity or any interaction or any thought that doesn't have the self as its focal point. Your concern, as well as the concern of everyone you know or talk to, is the self.
Focus your attention on the fleeting shadows that you actually see. The flyers' mind has not left you, it has been seriously injured. It's trying its best to rearrange its relationship with you. But something in you is severed forever. The flyer knows that. The real danger is that the flyers' mind may win by getting you tired and forcing you to quit by playing the contradiction between what it says and what I say.
You see, the flyers' mind has no competitors; when it proposed something, it agrees with its own proposition, and it makes you believe that you've done something of worth. The flyers' mind will say to you that whatever Juan Matus is telling you is pure nonsense, and then the same mind will agree with its own proposition, "Yes, of course, it is nonsense," you will say. That's the way they overcome us.
The flyers are an essential part of the universe and they must be taken as what they really are -- awesome, monstrous. They are the means by which the universe tests us.
We are energetic probes created by the universe, and it's because we are possessors of energy that has awareness that we are the means by which the universe becomes aware of itself. The flyers are the implacable challengers. They cannot be taken as anything else. If we succeed in doing that, the universe allows us to continue.
It's time for another kind of maneuver. I want to propose a weird idea to you. I have to stress that it's a weird idea that will find endless resistance in you. I will tell you beforehand that you won't accept it easily. But the fact that it's weird should not be a deterrent. Your mind is always open to inquiry, isn't that so?
The weird idea is that every human being on this earth seems to have exactly the same reactions, the same thoughts, the same feelings. They seem to respond in more or less the same way to the same stimuli. Those reactions seem to be sort of fogged up by the language they speak, but if we scrape that off, they are exactly the same reactions that besiege every human being on Earth. I would like you to become curious about this and see if you could formally account for such homogeneity.
A task for you one day will be to see the predator. It is one of the most mysterious things of sorcerer, something that goes beyond language, beyond explanations. The mystery of sorcerer must be cushioned in the mundane. It must stem from nothing, and go back again to nothing. That's the art of warrior-travelers: to go through the eye of a needle unnoticed. Someday, when you are ready, sit and brace yourself by propping your back against something. Cross your legs and enter into inner silence. Enter into inner silence, but don't fall asleep. This won't be a journey through the dark sea of awareness, it will be seeing from inner silence.
When you can see from inner silence, the predator may appear as a gigantic shadow, leaping in the air and then landing with a silent thud. They are really heavy. Don't be frightened. Keep your inner silence and it will move away.
The predator is not something benevolent. It is enormously heavy, gross, indifferent. You can feel its disregard for us. Doubtless, it has crushed us ages ago, making us weak, vulnerable, and docile. You have your unbending intent, not to let them eat you.
* * *
Soon you will be entering into infinity by the force or your personal power. Once you have entered into infinity, you can't depend on anyone to bring you back. Your decision is needed then. Only you can decide whether or not to return. I must also warn you that few warrior-travelers survive this type of encounter with infinity. Infinity is enticing beyond belief. A warrior-traveler finds that to return to the world of disorder, compulsion, noise, and pain is a most unappealing affair. You must know that your decision to stay or to return is not a matter of a reasonable choice, but a matter of intending it.
If you choose not to return, you will disappear as if the earth has swallowed you. But if you choose to come back, you must tighten your belt and wait like a true warrior-traveler until your task, whatever it might be, is finished, either in success or in defeat.
Today you are going to fulfill a concrete task, the last link of a long chain; and you must do it in your utmost mood of reason.
The backbone of a warrior-traveler is humbleness and efficiency, acting without expecting anything and withstanding anything that lies ahead of him.
We are alone. That's our condition, but to die alone is not to die in loneliness.
The great issue with us males is our frailty. When our awareness begins to grow, it grows like a column, right on the midpoint of our luminous being, from the ground up. That column has to reach a considerable height before we can rely on it. At this time in your life, as a sorcerer, you easily lose your grip on your new awareness. When you do that, you forget everything you have done and seen on the warrior-travelers' path because your consciousness shifts back to the awareness of your everyday life. I have explained to you that the task of every male sorcerer is to reclaim everything he has done and seen on the warrior-travelers' path while he was on new levels of awareness. The problem of every male sorcerer is that he easily forgets because his awareness loses its new level and falls to the ground at the drop of a hat.
Don't worry about verbalizations. You'll verbalize all you want in due time. Today, you must act on your inner silence, on what you know without knowing. You know to perfection what you have to do, but this knowledge is not quite formulated in your thoughts yet.
It is obligatory that a warrior-traveler say good-bye to all the people he leaves behind. He must say his good-bye in a loud and clear voice so that his shout and his feelings will remain forever recorded.
Warrior-travelers can't owe anything to anyone. Warrior-travelers pay elegantly, generously, and with unequaled ease every favor, every service rendered to them. In this manner, they get rid of the burden of being indebted.
* * *
You have recapitulated your life thoroughly, but you are far from being free of indebtedness. You cannot confuse solitude with solitariness. Solitude for me is psychological, of the mind. Solitariness is physical. One is debilitating, the other comforting.
* * *
We must have something we could die for before we can think that we have something to live for. If you have nothing to die for, how can you claim that you have something to live for? The two go hand in hand, with death at the helm.
* * *
Loneliness is inadmissible in a warrior. Warrior-travelers can count on one being on which they can focus all their love, all their care: this marvelous Earth, the mother, the matrix, the epicenter of everything we are and everything we do; the very being to which all of us return; the very being that allows warrior-travelers to leave on their definitive journey.
Let's put it this way. In order for me to leave this world and face the unknown, I need all my strength, all my forbearance, all my luck; but above all, I need every bit of a warrior-traveler's guts of steel. To remain behind and fare like a warrior-traveler, you need everything of what I myself need. To venture out there, the way we are going to, is no joking matter, but neither is it to stay behind.
We will never be together again. You don't need my help anymore; and I don't want to offer it to you, because if you are worth your salt as a warrior-traveler, you'll spit in my eye for offering it to you. Beyond a certain point, the only joy of a warrior-traveler is his aloneness. I wouldn't like you to try to help me, either. Once I leave, I am gone. Don't think about me, for I won't think about you. If you are a worthy warrior-traveler, be impeccable! Take care of your world. Honer it; guard it with your life!
Forget the self and you will fear nothing, in whatever level of awareness you find yourself to be.
* * *
A male sorcerer who is the nagual perforce has to be fragmented because of the bulk of his energetic mass. Each fragment lives a specific range of a total scope of activity, and the events that he experiences in each fragment have to be joined someday to give a complete, conscious picture of everything that has taken place in his total life.
That unification takes years to accomplish. I have been told of cases of naguals who never reached the total scope of their activities in a conscious manner and lived fragmented.
The world of sorcerers is not an immutable world, where the world is final, unchanging; it's a world of eternal fluctuation where nothing should be taken for granted.
How could all this be possible? Who are we really? Certainly not the people all of us have been led to believe we are.
A sorcerer weeps when he is fragmented. When he's complete, he's taken by a shiver that has the potential, because it is so intense, of ending his life.
There is nothing to mourn, nothing to feel sad about. Nothing matters. All of us are warrior-travelers, and all of us have been swallowed by infinity.
We are warrior-travelers. Only energetic facts are meaningful for us. All the rest are trimmings that have no importance at all.
Our normal cognition requires a linear explanation in order to be satisfied, and linear explanations are not possible. That is the crux of the interruption of continuity. That interruption is sorcery. In order for you to stay behind, you need all your strength, all your forbearance, and above all, a warrior-traveler's guts of steal.
1. The Teachings of don Juan
2. A Separate Reality
3. Journey to Ixtlan
4. Tales Of Power
5. The Second Ring of Power
6. The Eagle's Gift
7. The Fire From Within
8. The Power of Silence
9. The Art of Dreaming
12. The Active Side of Infinity
13. Appendix A thru E
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