Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings
Tales of Power
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June 26th, 2016
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To be sensitive is a natural condition of certain people. In the final analysis sensitivity matters very little. What matters is that a warrior be impeccable. What matters to a warrior is arriving at the totality of oneself.
* * *
It is not advisable for you to indulge in focusing your attention on past events. We may touch on them, but only in reference.
* * *
You can arrive at the sorcerers' explanation by accumulating personal power. Personal power will make you slide with great ease into the sorcerers' explanation.
* * *
The self-confidence of a warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to himself. You're after the self-confidence of the average man, when you should be after the humbleness of a warrior. The difference between the two is remarkable. Self-confidence entails knowing something for sure; humbleness entails being impeccable in one's actions and feelings.
* * *
You must push yourself beyond your limits, all the time. The only possible course that a warrior has is to act consistently and without reservations. You know enough of the warrior's way to act accordingly, but your old habits and routines stand in your way.
* * *
You say you've heard that the masters of Eastern esoteric doctrines demand absolute secrecy about their teachings. Perhaps those masters are just indulging in being masters. I'm not a master, I'm only a warrior. So I really don't know what a master feels like.
It doesn't matter what one reveals or what one keeps to oneself. Everything we do, everything we are, rests on our personal power. If we have enough of it, one word uttered to us might be sufficient to change the course of our lives. But if we don't have enough personal power, the most magnificent piece of wisdom can be revealed to us and that revelation won't make a damn bit of difference.
I'm going to utter perhaps the greatest piece of knowledge anyone can voice. Let me see what you can do with it.
Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity? And do you know that you can use that eternity, if you so desire?
There! Eternity is there! All around! Do you know that you can extend yourself forever in any of the directions I have pointed to? Do you know that one moment can be eternity? This is not a riddle; it's a fact, but only if you mount that moment and use it to take the totality of yourself forever in any direction.
You didn't have this knowledge before, now you do. I have revealed it to you, but it doesn't make a bit of difference, because you don't have enough personal power to utilize my revelation. Yet if you did have enough power, my words alone would serve as the means for you to round up the totality of yourself and to get the crucial part of it out of the boundaries in which it is contained.
Your body is the boundary I'm talking about. One can get out of it. We are a feeling, an awareness encased here. We are luminous beings and for a luminous being only personal power matters.
* * *
Dreaming entails cultivating a peculiar control over one's dreams to the extent that the experiences undergone in them and those lived in one's waking hours acquire the same pragmatic valence. The sorcerers' allegation is that under the impact of dreaming the ordinary criteria to differentiate a dream from reality becomes inoperative.
The early stage of the preparatory facet, called setting up dreaming, consists of a deadly game that one's mind plays with itself. Some part of yourself is going to do everything it can to prevent the fulfillment of your task.
As soon as the sight of your hands begins to dissolve or change into something else, you have to shift your view from your hands to any other element in the surroundings of your dream.
Something in us is threatened by our activities in dreaming. Each warrior has his own way of dreaming. Each way is different. The only thing which we all have in common is that we play tricks in order to force ourselves to abandon the quest. The counter-measure is to persist in spite of all the barriers and disappointments.
The sorcerers' explanation of how to select a topic for dreaming, is that a warrior chooses the topic by deliberately holding an image in his mind while he shuts off his internal dialogue. If he is capable of not talking to himself for a moment and then holds the image or the thought of what he wants in dreaming, even if only for an instant, then the desired topic will come to him.
* * *
If one is to succeed in anything, the success must come gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.
* * *
You must learn how to stop your internal dialogue at will. At the beginning of our association I delineated another procedure: walking for long stretches without focusing the eyes on anything. My recommendation was to not look at anything directly but, by slightly crossing the eyes, to keep a peripheral view of everything that presented itself to the eyes. If one keeps one's unfocused eyes fixed at a point just above the horizon, it is possible to notice, at once, everything in almost the total 180-degree range in front of one's eyes. That exercise is the only way of shutting off the internal dialogue.
The internal dialogue is what grounds us. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about its being such and such or so and so. The passageway into the world of sorcerers opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off the internal dialogue.
To change our idea of the world is the crux of sorcery, and stopping the internal dialogue is the only way to accomplish it. The rest is just padding. Nothing of what we do, with the exception of stopping the internal dialogue, can by itself change anything in us, or in our idea of the world. The provision is, of course, that that change should not be deranged. Therefore a teacher doesn't clamp down on his apprentice. That would only breed obsession and morbidity.
* * *
A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be, and accepts it in ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as grounds for regret but as a living challenge.
The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of a beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't permit anyone to lower his head to him. I know only the humbleness of a warrior, and that will never permit me to be anyone's master.
* * *
Things are real only after one has learned to agree on their realness.
* * *
You're afraid of me, you say, of the awesomeness of my knowledge, that there is no solace for you, no haven to go to. I represent the warrior's freedom. Solace, haven, fear, all of them are moods that you have learned without ever questioning their value.
* * *
Seeing is a special capacity that one can develop which allows one to apprehend the ultimate nature of things.
* * *
The world had to conform to its description; that is, the description reflects itself. We have learned to relate ourselves to our description of the world in terms of what sorcerers call habits or intentionality, that is, the property of human consciousness whereby an object is referred to, or is intended.
Persist in acting like a warrior. The rest comes of itself and by itself. The rest is knowledge and power. Men of knowledge have both. And yet none of them could tell how they got to have them, except that they had kept on acting like warriors and at a given moment everything changed. A warrior must be calm and collected and must never lose his grip.
* * *
The flaw with words is that they always force us to feel enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without enlightenment. For this reason, a sorcerer seeks to act rather than to talk and to this effect he gets a new description of the world--a new description where talking is not that important, and where new acts have new reflections.
We are luminous beings and everything we are or everything we feel shows in our fibers. Humans have a brightness peculiar only to them. That's the only way to tell them apart from other luminous living beings.
* * *
Seeing happens only when the warrior is capable of stopping the internal dialogue.
* * *
A warrior starts off with the certainty that his spirit is off balance; then by living in full control and awareness, but without hurry or compulsion, he does his ultimate best to gain this balance. In your case, as in the case of every man, your imbalance is due to the sum total of all your actions.
There is nothing in this world that a warrior cannot account for. You see, a warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing for him to lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he's clear and calm; judging him by his acts or by his words, one would never suspect that he has witnessed everything.
Knowledge is frightening, but if a warrior accepts the frightening nature of knowledge he cancels out its awesomeness. Knowledge is a most peculiar affair, especially for a warrior. Knowledge for a warrior is something that comes at once, engulfs him, and passes on.
* * *
I urge you to feel at ease and confident and trust your personal power.
* * *
Any thought that one holds in mind in a state of silence is properly a command, since there are no other thoughts to compete with it.
* * *
Feelings are the gauge that assesses the state of being of the subject you are seeing.
* * *
We are dealing with that immensity out there. To turn that magnificence out there into reasonableness doesn't do anything for you. Here, surrounding us, is eternity itself. To engage in reducing it to a manageable nonsense is petty and outright disastrous.
Whenever the internal dialogue stops, the world collapses and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they had been kept heavily guarded by our words. You are like you are, because you tell yourself that you are that way. You are too heavy and self-important. Let go!
* * *
I'm going to begin telling you about the "double" or the "Other." The double is the sorcerer himself developed thru his dreaming. The double is an act of power to a sorcerer but only a tale of power to you. The double is the self; that explanation should suffice. For a sorcerer who sees, the double is brighter.
Don't take things so seriously. I've told you time and time again that the world is unfathomable, and so are we, and so is every being that exists in this world. It is impossible, therefore, to reason out the double.
A sorcerer can double up, that's all one can say. No sorcerer knows where his Other is. A sorcerer has no notion that he is in two places at once. To be aware of that would be the equivalent of facing his double, and the sorcerer that finds himself face to face with himself is a dead sorcerer. That is the rule. That is the way power has set things up. No one knows why.
By the time a warrior has conquered dreaming and seeing and has developed a double, he must have also succeeded in erasing personal history, self-importance, and routines. So doing is the means for removing the impracticality of having a double in the ordinary world, by making the self and the world fluid, and by placing them outside the bounds of prediction.
A fluid warrior can no longer make the world chronological, and for him, the world and himself are no longer objects. He's a luminous being existing in a luminous world. The double is a simple affair for a sorcerer because he knows what he's doing.
A sorcerer may certainly notice afterwards that he has been in two places at once. But this is only bookkeeping and has no bearing on the fact that while he's acting he has no notion of his duality.
Think of this, the world doesn't yield to us directly, the description of the world stands in between. So, properly speaking, we are always one step removed and our experience of the world is always a recollection of the experience. We are perennially recollecting the instant that has just happened, just passed. We recollect, recollect, recollect.
If our entire experience of the world is recollection, then it's not so outlandish to conclude that a sorcerer can be in two places at once. This is not the case from the point of view of his own perception, because in order to experience the world, a sorcerer, like every other man, has to recollect the act he has just performed, the event he has just witnessed, the experience he has just lived. In his awareness there is only a single recollection. The sorcerer, however, recollects two separate single instants, because the glue of the description of time is no longer binding him. We're always one jump behind.
Does the double have corporealness? Certainly. Solidity, corporealness are memories. Therefore, like everything else we feel about the world, they are memories we accumulate, memories of the description.
The only way to counteract the devastating effect of the sorcerers' world is to laugh at it. It's your duty to put your mind at ease. Warriors do not win victories by beating their heads against walls but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over the walls; they don't demolish them.
There are three kinds of bad habits which we use over and over when confronted with unusual life situations. First, we may disregard what's happening or has happened and feel as if it had never occurred. That one is the bigot's way. Second, we may accept everything at its face value and feel as if we know what's going on. That's the pious man's way. Third, we may become obsessed with an event because either we cannot disregard it or we cannot accept it wholeheartedly. That's the fool's way. There is a fourth, the correct one, the warrior's way. A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn't believe in anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value. He accepts without accepting and disregards without disregarding. He never feels as if he knows, neither does he feel as if nothing had ever happened. He acts as if he is in control, even though he might be shaking in his boots. To act in such a manner dissipates obsession.
You must cultivate the feeling that a warrior needs nothing. You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life. I have tried to teach you that the real experience is to be a man, and that what counts is being alive; life is the little detour that we are taking now. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. A warrior understands this and lives accordingly; therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being a warrior.
If a warrior needs solace, he simply chooses anyone and expresses to that person every detail of his turmoil. After all, the warrior is not seeking to be understood or helped; by talking he's merely relieving himself of his pressure. That is, providing that the warrior is given to talking; if he's not, he tells no one.
You indulge. You feel that indulging in doubts and tribulations is the sign of a sensitive man. Well, the truth of the matter is that you're the farthest thing from being sensitive. So why pretend? I've told you, a warrior accepts in humbleness what he is.
We confuse ourselves deliberately. All of us are aware of our doings. Our puny reason deliberately makes itself into the monster it fancies itself to be. It's too little for such a big mold, though.
No one develops a double. That's only a way of talking about it. All of us luminous beings have a double. All of us! A warrior learns to be aware of it, that's all. There are seemingly insurmountable barriers protecting that awareness. But that's expected; those barriers are what makes arriving at that awareness such a unique challenge. You are afraid of it because you're thinking that the double is what the word says. A double, or another you. I chose those words in order to describe it. The double is oneself and cannot be faced in any other way.
The double is not a matter of personal choice. Neither is it a matter of personal choice who is selected to learn the sorcerers' knowledge that leads to that awareness. Have you ever asked yourself, why you in particular? I don't mean that you should ask it as a question that begs an answer, but in the sense of a warrior's pondering on his great fortune, the fortune of having found a challenge.
To make it into an ordinary question is the device of a conceited ordinary man who wants to be either admired or pitied for it. I have no interest in that kind of question, because there is no way of answering it. The decision of picking you was a design of power; no one can discern the designs of power. Now that you've been selected, there is nothing that you can do to stop the fulfillment of that design.
A warrior is in the hands of power and his only freedom is to choose an impeccable life.
You're in a terrible spot. It's too late for you to retreat but too soon to act. All you can do is witness. For you there is only witnessing acts of power and listening to tales, tales of power.
The double is one of those tales. You know that, and that's why your reason is so taken by it. You are beating your head against a wall if you pretend to understand. All that I can say about it, by way of explanation, is that the double, although it is arrived at through dreaming, is as real as it can be. It is the self. It is the awareness of our state as luminous beings. It can do anything, and yet it chooses to be unobtrusive and gentle.
* * *
A man of knowledge cannot possibly act towards his fellow men in injurious terms.
* * *
A warrior is always ready for anything. To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born a reasonable being. We make ourselves into one or the other.
* * *
Jog on this spot, facing the west. The idea is to draw power from the impending twilight by raising one's arms to the sky with the fingers stretched, like a fan, and then clasp them forcefully when the arms are in the mid point between the horizon and the zenith.
* * *
I'm going to tell you about the dreamer and the dreamed. The double begins in dreaming. The double is a dream. I am referring to the first emergence of the awareness that we are luminous beings. Each one of us is different, and thus the details of our struggles are different.
The steps that we follow to arrive at the double are the same, though. Especially the beginning steps, which are muddled and uncertain. A dream in which one is watching oneself asleep is the time of the double. Rather than wasting power in wondering and asking questions, one should use the opportunity to act. When you have the chance you should be prepared.
* * *
A warrior never lets his guard down. What matters is what can you use as a shield? A warrior must use everything available to him to close his mortal gap once it opens. So, it's of no importance that you really don't like to be suspicious or ask questions. That's your only shield now.
There is no flaw it the warrior's way. Question without fear, without suspicion and without draining yourself. Assemble what you learn, without presumptuousness and without piousness.
The self dreams the double. Once it has learned to dream the double, the self arrives at this weird crossroad and a moment comes when one realizes that it is the double who dreams the self. Your double is dreaming you. No one knows how it happens. We only know that it does happen. That's the mystery of us as luminous beings. You can awaken in either one.
Storing sufficient personal power will enable you to turn your will into a functioning unit. As I've said, will is a force that emanates from the umbilical region through an unseen opening below the navel, an opening called the gap . Will is cultivated only by sorcerers and gives them the capacity to perform extraordinary acts.
The will develops in a warrior in spite of every opposition of the reason. You are the one who's learning, therefore you yourself must claim knowledge as power. You must find out whether or not your will works. You must prove to yourself that you are in the position to claim knowledge as power. In other words, you yourself have to be convinced that you can exercise your will.
The body must be perfection before the will is a functioning unit.
* * *
You feel irked with yourself because you are so helpless, you say. There is nothing wrong with the feeling of being helpless. But to indulge in protesting and complaining is another matter.
* * *
What exactly is an ally? There is no way of saying, just as there is no way of saying what exactly a tree is. Just like in the case of a tree, the only way to know what an ally is, is by experiencing it.
Your reason cannot accept the possibility of such a thing to begin with. Fortunately, it is not the reason which puts ally together. It is the body. An ally is perceived in many degrees. Each of those perceptions is stored in one's body. The sum of those pieces is the ally. I don't know any other way of describing it.
Our reason is petty and it is always at odds with our body. This, of course, is only a way of talking, but the triumph of a man of knowledge is that he has joined the two together.
The ally is waiting for you, that's for sure. It is right here, or there, or in any other place. The ally is waiting for you, just like death is waiting for you, everywhere and nowhere. It's waiting for the same reason that death waits for you, because you were born. There is no possibility of explaining at this point what is meant by that. You must first experience the ally. You must perceive it in its full force.
The way one understands the ally is a personal matter. There's no need to be confused. Confusion is a mood one enters into, but one can also get out of it. At this point there is no way of clarifying anything. Later we'll consider these matters in detail. It's up to your personal power, so work for impeccability.
I've told you that the true art of a warrior is to balance terror and wonder. Power can be met only with power. The crux of sorcery is the internal dialogue; that is the key to everything. When a warrior learns to stop it, everything becomes possible; the most farfetched schemes become attainable. We are a feeling and what we call our body is a cluster of luminous fibers that have awareness. As long as you think that you are a solid body you cannot conceive what I am talking about.
Warriors keep controlled and aloof. They don't believe anything, but still act efficiently.
We are luminous beings. We are perceivers. We are an awareness; we are not objects; we have no solidity. We are boundless. The world of objects and solidity is a way of making our passage on earth convenient. It is only a description that was created to help us. We, or rather our reason, forget that the description is only a description and thus we entrap the totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime.
We are perceivers. The world that we perceive, though, was created by a description that was told to us since the moment we were born.
We, the luminous beings, are born with two rings of power, but we use only one to create the world. That ring, which is hooked very soon after we are born, is reason, and its companion is talking. Between the two they concoct and maintain the world. So, in essence, the world that your reason wants to sustain is the world created by a description and its dogmatic and inviolable rules, which the reason learns to accept and defend.
The secret of the luminous beings is that they have another ring of power which is never used, the will. The trick of the sorcerer is the same trick of the average man. Both have a description; one, the average man, upholds it with his reason; the other, the sorcerer, upholds it with his will. Both descriptions have their rules and the rules are perceivable, but the advantage of the sorcerer is that will is more engulfing than reason. You must learn to let yourself perceive whether the description is upheld by your reason or by your will. That is the only way for you to use your daily world as a challenge and a vehicle to accumulate enough personal power in order to get to the totality of yourself.
Never dwell on past events except in reference. To emphasize them would mean to take away from the importance of what's taking place now. A warrior cannot possibly afford to do that.
Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain about, or regret, anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges. As is always the case in the doings and not-doings of warriors, personal power is the only thing that matters. The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or as a curse.
A warrior must be fluid and must shift harmoniously with the world around him, whether it is the world of reason, or the world of will. The most dangerous aspect of that shifting comes forth every time the warrior finds that the world is neither one nor the other. I was told that the only way to succeed in that crucial shifting was by proceeding in one's actions as if one believed. In other words, the secret of a warrior is that he believes without believing. But obviously a warrior cannot just say he believes and let it go at that. That would be too easy. To just believe would exonerate him from examining his situation. A warrior, whenever he has to involve himself with believing, does it as a choice, as an expression of his innermost predilection. A warrior doesn't believe, a warrior has to believe.
* * *
It is not so difficult to let the spirit of man flow and take over; to sustain it, however, is something that only a warrior can do.
* * *
Having to believe means that you accept the facts of something, consider all possibilities and possible outcomes, and then choose to believe in accordance with your innermost predilection. Believing is a cinch. Having to believe is something else. If you have to believe, you must use all of an event, account for all possibilities, and consider everything. Before deciding that you believe one way you must consider that it may well be another way.
* * *
A warrior, or any man for that matter, cannot possibly wish he were somewhere else; a warrior because he lives by challenge, an ordinary man because he doesn't know where his death is going to find him.
* * *
Death is the indispensable ingredient in having to believe. Without the awareness of death everything is ordinary, trivial. It is only because death is stalking us that the world is an unfathomable mystery. Without an awareness of the presence of our death there is no power, no mystery.
Having to believe that the world is mysterious and unfathomable is the expression of a warrior's innermost predilection. Without it he has nothing.
You are aware of everything only when you think you should be; the condition of a warrior, however, is to be aware of everything at all times.
* * *
Now it's time to talk about the totality of oneself. Some of the things I am going to point out to you will probably never be clear. They are not supposed to be clear anyway. So don't be embarrassed or discouraged. All of us are dumb creatures when we join the world of sorcery, and to join it doesn't in any sense insure us that we will change. Some of us remain dumb until the very end. What I'm about to say is meant only to point out a direction.
I'm going to tell you about the tonal (pronounced, toh-na'hl) and the nagual (pronounced, nah-wa'hl). Every human being has two sides, two separate entities, two counterparts which become operative at the moment of birth; one is called the "tonal" and the other the "nagual."
The tonal is the social person. The tonal is, rightfully so, a protector, a guardian--a guardian that most of the time turns into a guard.
The tonal is the organizer of the world. Perhaps the best way of describing its monumental work is to say that on its shoulders rests the task of setting the chaos of the world in order. It is not farfetched to maintain, as sorcerers do, that everything we know and do as men is the work of the tonal. At this moment, for instance, what is engaged in trying to make sense out of our conversation is your tonal; without it there would be only weird sounds and grimaces and you wouldn't understand a thing of what I'm saying.
I would say then that the tonal is a guardian that protects something priceless, our very being. Therefore, an inherent quality of the tonal is to be cagey and jealous of its doings. And since its doings are by far the most important part of our lives, it is no wonder that it eventually changes, in every one of us, from a guardian into a guard. A guardian is broad-minded and understanding. A guard, on the other hand, is a vigilante, narrow-minded and most of the time despotic. I say, then, that the tonal in all of us has been made into a petty and despotic guard when it should be a broad-minded guardian.
The tonal is everything we are. Anything we have a word for is the tonal. Since the tonal is its own doings, everything, obviously, has to fall under its domain.
Remember, I've said that there is no world at large but only a description of the world which we have learned to visualize and take for granted. The tonal is everything we know. I think this in itself is enough reason for the tonal to be such an overpowering affair.
The tonal is everything we know, and that includes not only us, as persons, but everything in our world. It can be said that the tonal is everything that meets the eye.
We begin to groom it at the moment of birth. The moment we take the first gasp of air we also breathe in power for the tonal . So, it is proper to say that the tonal of a human being is intimately tied to his birth.
You must remember this point. It is of great importance in understanding all this. The tonal begins at birth and ends at death.
The tonal is what makes the world. However, the tonal makes the world only in a manner of speaking. It cannot create or change anything, and yet is makes the world because its function is to judge, and assess, and witness. I say that the tonal makes the world because it witnesses and assesses it according to tonal rules. In a very strange manner the tonal is a creator that doesn't create a thing. In other words, the tonal makes up the rules by which it apprehends the world. So, in a manner of speaking, it creates the world.
The tonal is like the top of a table--an island. And on this island we have everything. This island is, in fact, the world.
There is a personal tonal for every one of us, and there is a collective one for all of us at any given time, which we can call the tonal of the times. It's like the rows of tables in a restaurant, every table has the same configuration. Certain items are present on all of them. They are, however, individually different from each other; some tables are more crowded than others; they have different food on them, different plates, different atmosphere, yet we have to admit that all the tables are very alike. The same thing happens with the tonal. We can say that the tonal of the times is what makes us alike, in the same way it makes all the tables in a restaurant alike. Each table separately, nevertheless, is an individual case, just like the personal tonal of each of us. But the important factor to keep in mind is that everything we know about ourselves and about our world is on the island of the tonal.
What, then, is the nagual ? The nagual is the part of us which we do not deal with at all. The nagual is the part of us for which there is no description--no words, no names, no feelings, no knowledge. It is not mind, it is not soul, it is not the thoughts of men, it is not a state of grace or Heaven or pure intellect, or psyche, or energy, or vital force, or immortality, or life principle, or the Supreme Being, the Almighty, God--all of these are items on the island of the tonal.
The tonal is, as I've already said, everything we think the world is composed of, including God, of course. God has no more importance other than being a part of the tonal of our time.
The nagual is at the service of the warrior. It can be witnessed, but it cannot be talked about. The nagual is there, surrounding the island of the tonal. There, where power hovers.
We sense, from the moment we are born, that there are two parts to us. At the time of birth, and for a while after, we are all nagual. We sense, then, that in order to function we need a counterpart to what we have. The tonal is missing and that gives us, from the very beginning, a feeling of incompleteness. Then the tonal starts to develop and it becomes utterly important to our functioning, so important that it opaques the shine of the nagual, it overwhelms it. From the moment we become all tonal we do nothing else but to increment that old feeling of incompleteness which accompanies us from the moment of our birth, and which tells us constantly that there is another part to give us completeness.
From the moment we become all tonal we begin making pairs. We sense our two sides, but we always represent them with items of the tonal. We say that the two parts of us are the soul and the body. Or mind and matter. Or good and evil. God and Satan. We never realize, however, that we are merely paring things on the island, very much like paring coffee and tea, or bread and tortillas, or chili and mustard. I tell you, we are weird animals. We get carried away and in our madness we believe ourselves to be making perfect sense.
What can one specifically find in that area beyond the island? There is no way of answering that. If I would say, Nothing, I would only make the nagual part of the tonal. All I can say is that there, beyond the island, one finds the nagual.
But then you say, when I call it the nagual, aren't I also placing it on the island? No. I named it only because I wanted to make you aware of it. I have named the tonal and the nagual as a true pair. That is all I have done.
We sense that there is another side to us. But when we try to pin down that other side the tonal gets hold of the baton, and as a director it is quite petty and jealous. It dazzles us with its cunningness and forces us to obliterate the slightest inkling of the other part of the true pair, the nagual.
The nagual has consciousness. It is aware of everything. In order to talk about it we must borrow from the island of the tonal, therefore it is more convenient not to explain it but to simply recount its effects.
The reading of my compilation of Carlos Castaneda's books continues from here on this MP3
Are the nagual and the tonal within ourselves? you ask. You yourself would say that they are within ourselves. I myself would say that they are not, but neither of us would be right. The tonal of your time calls for you to maintain that everything dealing with your feelings and thoughts takes place within yourself. The sorcerers' tonal says the opposite, everything is outside. Who's right? No one. Inside, outside, it doesn't really matter.
To explain all this is not that simple. No matter how clever the checkpoints of the tonal are the fact of the matter is that the nagual surfaces. Its coming to the surface is always inadvertent, though. The tonal's great art is to suppress any manifestation of the nagual in such a manner that even if its presence should be the most obvious thing in the world, it is unnoticeable.
Let's say that the tonal, since it is keenly aware of how taxing it is to speak of itself, has created the terms "I," "myself," and so forth as a balance and thanks to them it can talk with other tonals, or with itself, about itself.
Now when I say that the tonal forces us to do something, I don't mean that there is a third party there. Obviously it forces itself to follow its own judgments.
On certain occasions, however, or under certain special circumstances, something in the tonal itself becomes aware that there is more to us. It is like a voice that comes from the depths, the voice of the nagual. You see, the totality of ourselves is a natural condition which the tonal cannot obliterate altogether, and there are moments, especially in the life of a warrior, when the totality becomes apparent. At those moments one can surmise and assess what we really are.
When we die, we die with the totality of ourselves. A sorcerer asks the question. "If we're going to die with the totality of ourselves, why not, then, live with that totality?"
* * *
A warrior treats his tonal in a very special manner. Life can be merciless with you if you are careless with your tonal.
To see a man as a tonal entails that one cease judging him in a moral sense, or excusing him on the grounds that he is like a leaf at the mercy of the wind. In other words, it entails seeing a man without thinking that he is hopeless or helpless. You know exactly what I am talking about. One can assess people without condemning or forgiving them.
Youth is in no way a barrier against the deterioration of the tonal. You say you think there might be a great many reasons for one's condition. I find that there is only one, our tonal. It is not that our tonal is weak because, for example, we drink; it is the other way around, one drinks because one's tonal is weak. That weakness forces one to be what he is. This happens to all of us, in one form or another.
But aren't I also justifying our behavior by saying that it's our tonal ? No, I'm giving you an explanation that you have never encountered before. It is not a justification or a condemnation, though. Our tonals are weak and timid. All of us are more or less in the same boat.
There is no need to treat the body in an awful manner, but the fact is that all of us have learned to perfection how to make our tonal weak. I have called that indulging. Only a warrior has a "proper tonal." The average man, at best, can have a "right tonal."
The nagual is not experience or intuition or consciousness. Those terms and everything else you may care to say are only items on the island of the tonal. The nagual, on the other hand, is only effect. The tonal begins at birth and ends at death, but the nagual never ends. The nagual has no limit. I've said that the nagual is where power hovers; that was only a way of alluding to it. By reasons of its effect, perhaps the nagual can be best understood in terms of power.
* * *
One of the acts of a warrior is never to let anything affect him. Thus, a warrior may be seeing the devil himself, but he won't let anyone know that. The control of a warrior has to be impeccable.
* * *
A proper tonal is a tonal that is just right, balanced and harmonious. There are, roughly speaking, two sides to every tonal. One is the outer part, the fringe, the surface of the island. That's the part related to action and acting, the rugged side. The other part is the decision and judgment, the inner tonal, softer, more delicate and more complex. The proper tonal is a tonal where the two levels are in perfect harmony and balance.
* * *
You say you are puzzled because I have never talked about women in relation to my knowledge. You're a man, therefore I use the masculine gender when I talk to you. That's all. The rest is the same.
* * *
For a proper tonal everything on the island of the tonal is a challenge. Another way of saying it is that for a warrior everything in this world is a challenge. The greatest challenge of all, of course, is his bid for power. But power comes from the nagual, and when a warrior finds himself at the edge of the day it means that the hour of the nagual is approaching, the warrior's hour of power.
One bids for power and that bidding is irreversible. I wouldn't say that at the time power comes, that one is about to fulfill his destiny, because there is no destiny. The only thing that can be said then is that, at that point, one is about to fulfill his power.
* * *
The best of us always comes out when we are against the wall, when we feel the sword dangling overhead. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Men are very frail creatures, who make themselves even more frail with their indulging.
* * *
Seeing must be direct, for a warrior can't use his time to unravel what he himself is seeing. Seeing is seeing because it cuts through all that nonsense. In the beginning seeing is confusing and it's easy to get lost in it. As the warrior gets tighter, however, his seeing becomes what it should be, a direct knowing. A warrior asks a question, and through his seeing he gets an answer, but the answer is simple.
A rule of thumb for a warrior is that he makes his decisions so carefully that nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise him, much less drain his power.
To be a warrior means to be humble and alert. When you come to see me you should come prepared to die. If you come here ready to die, there shouldn't be any pitfalls, or any unwelcome surprises, or any unnecessary acts. Everything should gently fall into place because you're expecting nothing.
It's not that you have to live with all this. You are all this. A warrior doesn't ever leave the island of the tonal. He uses it. This is your world. You can't renounce it. It is useless to get angry and feel disappointed with oneself. All that that proves is that one's tonal is involved in an internal battle; a battle within one's tonal is one of the most inane contests I can think of. The tight life of a warrior is designed to end that struggle. From the beginning I have taught you to avoid wear and tear.
The warrior's way is harmony--the harmony between actions and decisions, at first, and then the harmony between tonal and nagual.
It is the tonal that has to relinquish control. The tonal is made to give up unnecessary things like self-importance and indulging, which only plunge it into boredom. The whole trouble is that the tonal clings to those things when it should be glad to rid itself of that crap. The task then is to convince the tonal to become free and fluid. That's what a sorcerer needs before anything else, a strong, free tonal. The stronger it gets the less it clings to its doings, and the easier it is to shrink it.
The tonal shrinks at given times, especially when it is embarrassed. Once the tonal has shrunk, the nagual, if it is already in motion, no matter how small that motion is, will take over and achieve extraordinary deeds.
The affairs of the nagual can be witnessed only with the body, not the reason.
We are fluid, luminous beings made out of fibers. The agreement that we are solid objects is the tonal's doings. When the tonal shrinks, extraordinary things are possible. But they are only extraordinary for the tonal.
The nagual, once it learns to surface, may cause great damage to the tonal by coming out without any control. Your tonal has to be convinced about all of this with reasons, your nagual with actions, until one props the other. As I have told you, the tonal rules, and yet it is very vulnerable. The nagual, on the other hand, never, or almost never, acts out; but when it does, it terrifies the tonal.
The tonal must be protected at any cost. The crown has to be taken away from it, but it must remain as the protected overseer. Any threat to the tonal always results in its death. And if the tonal dies, so does the whole man. Because of its inherent weakness the tonal is easily destroyed, and thus one of the balancing arts of the warrior is to make the nagual emerge in order to prop up the tonal. I say it is an art, because sorcerers know that only by boosting the tonal can the nagual emerge. That boosting is called personal power.
My advantage over you at this moment is that I know how to get to the nagual, and you don't. But once I have gotten there I have no more advantage and no more knowledge than you.
* * *
In moments of great danger, fear, or stress, push your belly down by pushing the diaphragm down while taking four sharp gasps of air through the mouth, followed by four deep inhalations and exhalations through the nose. The gasps of air have to be felt as jolts in the middle part of the body. Keeping the hands tightly clasped, covering the navel, gives strength to the midsection and helps to control the gasps and the deep inhalations, which have to be held for a count of eight as one presses the diaphragm down. The exhalations are done twice through the nose and twice through the mouth in a slow or accelerated fashion, depending on one's preference.
* * *
The nagual is only for witnessing. When one is dealing with the nagual, one should never look into it directly. The only way to look at the nagual is as if it were a common affair. One must blink in order to break the fixation. Our eyes are the eyes of the tonal, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our eyes have been trained by the tonal, therefore the tonal claims them. One of the sources of an apprentice's bafflement and discomfort is that his tonal doesn't let go of his eyes. The day it does, his nagual will have won a great battle. Your obsession or, better yet, everyone's obsession is to arrange the world according to the tonal's rules; so every time we are confronted with the nagual, we go out of our way to make our eyes stiff and intransigent. I must appeal to the part of your tonal which understands this dilemma and you must make an effort to free your eyes. The point is to convince the tonal that there are worlds that can pass in front of the same windows. Let your eyes be free; let them be true windows. The eyes can be the windows to peer into boredom or to peek into that infinity.
All you have to do is to set up your intent as a customs house. Whenever you are in the world of the tonal, you should be an impeccable tonal; no time for irrational crap. But whenever you are in the world of the nagual, you should also be impeccable; no time for rational crap. For the warrior, intent is the gate in between. It closes completely behind him when he goes either way.
Another thing one should do when facing the nagual is to shift the line of the eyes from time to time, in order to break the spell of the nagual. Changing the position of the eyes always eases the burden of the tonal. This shifting should be done only as a relief, though, not as another way of palisading yourself to safeguard the order to the tonal .
* * *
If there are too many unnecessary items on your island you won't be able to sustain the encounter with the nagual. No one is capable of surviving a deliberate encounter with the nagual without a long training. It takes years to prepare the tonal for such an encounter. Ordinarily, if an average man comes face to face with the nagual the shock would be so great that he would die. The goal of the warrior's training then is not to teach him to hex or to charm, but to prepare his tonal not to crap out. A most difficult accomplishment. A warrior must be taught to be impeccable and thoroughly empty before he could even conceive witnessing the nagual.
The island of the tonal has to be swept clean and maintained clean. That's the only alternative that a warrior has. A clean island offers no resistance; it is as if there were nothing there.
Nothing that we may have gained in the course of our lives can reveal to us the designs of power. A warrior must struggle like a demon to shrink his tonal; and yet at the very moment the tonal shrinks, the warrior must reverse all that struggle to immediately halt that shrinking.
After the tonal shrinks, the warrior is closing the gate from the other side. As long as his tonal is unchallenged and his eyes are tuned only for the tonal 's world, the warrior is on the safe side of the fence. He's on familiar ground and knows all the rules. But when his tonal shrinks, he is on the windy side, and that opening must be shut tight immediately, or he would be swept away.
As a rule the tonal must defend itself, at any cost, every time it is threatened; so it is of no real consequence how the tonal reacts in order to accomplish its defense. The only important matter is that the tonal of a warrior must become acquainted with other alternatives. What a teacher aims for, in this case, is the total weight of those possibilities. It is the weight of those new possibilities which helps to shrink the tonal. By the same token, it is the same weight which helps stop the tonal from shrinking out of the picture.
The nagual can perform extraordinary things, things that do not seem possible, things that are unthinkable for the tonal. But the extraordinary thing is that the performer has no way of knowing how those things happen. The secret of the sorcerer is that he knows how to get to the nagual, but once he gets there, your guess is as good as his as to what takes place.
Let's say that the warrior learns to tune his will, to direct it to a pinpoint, to focus it wherever he wants. It is as if his will, which comes from the midsection of his body, is one single luminous fiber, a fiber that he can direct at any conceivable place. That fiber is the road to the nagual . Or I could also say that the warrior sinks into the nagual through that single fiber. Once he has sunk, the expression of the nagual is a matter of his personal temperament.
One of the aims of the warrior's training is to cut the bewilderment of the tonal, until the warrior is so fluid that he can admit everything without admitting anything.
* * *
The yell of a warrior is one of the most important issues of sorcery. You can focus on your yell, using it as a vehicle.
A warrior follows the dictums of power.
* * *
The only way to fend off the nagual is to remain unaltered. The nagual is only for witnessing. So, we can talk about what we witness and about how we witness it. You want to take on the explanation of how it is all possible, though, and that is an abomination. You want to explain the nagual with the tonal. That is stupid. We make sense in talking only because we stay within certain boundaries, and those boundaries are not applicable to the nagual.
To be a perfect tonal means to be aware of everything that takes place on the island of the tonal. It takes a gigantic struggle to clean the island of the tonal.
We interpret any unknown expression of the nagual as something we know. The nagual might be interpreted as a breeze shaking the leaves, or even as some strange light, perhaps a lightning bug of unusual size. If a man who doesn't see is pressed, he would say that he thought he saw something but could not remember what. This is only natural. The man would be talking sense. After all, his eyes would have judged nothing extraordinary; being the eyes of the tonal they have to be limited to the tonal's world, and in that world there is nothing staggeringly new, nothing which the eyes cannot apprehend and the tonal cannot explain.
In order to be an average tonal a man must have unity. His whole being must belong to the island of the tonal. Without that unity the man would go berserk; a sorcerer, however, has to break that unity, but without endangering his being. A sorcerer's goal is to last; that is, he doesn't take unnecessary risks, therefore he spends years sweeping his island until a moment when he could, in a manner of speaking, sneak off it.
The whispering of the nagual will come at times and then vanish. Don't be afraid of it, or of any unusual sensation that you may have from now on. But above all, don't indulge and become obsessed with those sensations.
A warrior is, let's say, a prisoner of power; a prisoner who has one free choice: the choice to act either like an impeccable warrior, or to act like an ass. In the final analysis, perhaps the warrior is not a prisoner but a slave of power, because that choice is no longer a choice for him. He cannot act in any other way but impeccably. To act like an ass would drain him and cause his demise.
An immortal being has all the time in the world for doubts and bewilderment and fears. A warrior, on the other hand, cannot cling to the meanings made under the tonal's order, because he knows for a fact that the totality of himself has but a little time on this earth.
A warrior cannot be helpless, or bewildered or frightened, not under any circumstances. For a warrior there is time only for his impeccability; everything else drains his power, impeccability replenishes it.
Impeccability is to do your best in whatever you're engaged in. The key to all these matters of impeccability is the sense of having or not having time. As a rule of thumb, when you feel and act like an immortal being that has all the time in the world you are not impeccable; at those times you should turn, look around, and then you will realize that your feeling of having time is an idiocy. There are no survivors on this earth!
Turn off your internal dialogue and let something in you flow out and expand. That something is your perception, but don't try to figure out what I mean. Just let the whispering of the nagual guide you.
* * *
There's no future. The future is only a way of talking. For a sorcerer there is only the here and now.
Everything that I've done with you was done to accomplish one single task, the task of cleaning and reordering your island of the tonal. I've told you countless times that a most drastic change is needed if you want to succeed in the path of knowledge. That change is not a change of mood, or attitude, or outlook; that change entails the transformation of the island of the tonal.
Once that transformation has been accomplished a teacher would usually say to his disciple that he has arrived at a final crossroad. To say such a thing is misleading, though. In my opinion there is no final crossroad, no final step to anything. And since there is no final step to anything, there shouldn't be any secrecy about any part of our lot as luminous beings. Personal power decides who can or who cannot profit by a revelation; my experiences with my fellow men have proven to me that very, very few of them would be willing to listen; and of those few who listen even fewer would be willing to act on what they have listened to; and of those who are willing to act even fewer have enough personal power to profit by their acts. So, the matter of secrecy about the sorcerers' explanation boils down to a routine, perhaps a routine as empty as any other routine.
At any rate, you know now about the tonal and the nagual, which are the core of the sorcerers' explanation. To know about them seems to be quite harmless. We are talking innocently about them as if they were just an ordinary topic of conversation. But before we venture beyond this point a fair warning is required; a teacher is supposed to speak in earnest terms and warn his disciple that the harmlessness and placidity of this moment are a mirage, that there is a bottomless abyss in front of him, and that once the door opens there is no way to close it again.
The years of hard training are only a preparation for the warrior's devastating encounter with whatever lies out there, beyond this point. What will happen in that encounter depends on whether or not you have enough personal power to focus your unwavering attention on the wings of your perception, so let's review what we've done.
The first act of a teacher is to introduce the idea that the world we think we see is only a view, a description of the world. Accepting that seems to be one of the hardest things one can do; we are complacently caught in our particular view of the world, which compels us to feel and act as if we know everything about the world. A teacher, from the very first act he performs, aims at stopping that view. Sorcerers call it stopping the internal dialogue, and they are convinced that it is the single most important technique that an apprentice can learn.
In order to stop the view of the world which one has held since the cradle, it is not enough to just wish or make a resolution. One needs a practical task; that practical task is called the right way of walking. It seems harmless and nonsensical. As everything else which has power in itself or by itself, the right way of walking does not attract attention.
Walking in that specific manner saturates the tonal , it floods it. You see, the attention of the tonal has to be placed on its creations. In fact, it is that attention that creates the order of the world in the first place; so, the tonal must be attentive to the elements of its world in order to maintain it, and must, above all, uphold the view of the world as internal dialogue.
The right way of walking is a subterfuge. The warrior, first by curling his fingers, draws attention to the arms; and then by looking fixedly, without focusing his eyes, at any point directly in front of him on the arc that starts at the tip of his feet and ends above the horizon, literally floods his tonal with information. The tonal, without its one-to-one relation with the elements of its description, is incapable of talking to itself, and thus one becomes silent.
The position of the fingers does not matter at all. The only consideration is to draw attention to the arms by clasping the fingers in various unaccustomed ways. The important thing is the manner in which the eyes, by being kept unfocused, detect an enormous number of features of the world without being clear about them. The eyes in that state are capable of picking out details which are too fleeting for normal vision.
Together with the right way of walking, a teacher must teach his apprentice another possibility, which is even more subtle: the possibility of acting without believing, without expecting rewards--acting just for the hell of it. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I told you that the success of a teacher's enterprise depends on how well and how harmoniously he guides his apprentice in this specific respect.
Stopping the internal dialogue is, however, the key to the sorcerers' world. The rest of the activities are only props; all they do is accelerate the effect of stopping the internal dialogue. There are two major activities or techniques used to accelerate the stopping of the internal dialogue: erasing personal history and dreaming.
The secret of all this is one's attention. All of this exists only because of our attention. This very rock where we're sitting is a rock because we have been forced to give our attention to it as a rock.
Erasing personal history and dreaming should only be a help. What any apprentice needs to buffer him is temperance and strength. That's why a teacher introduces the warrior's way, or living like a warrior. This is the glue that joins together everything in a sorcerer's world. Bit by bit a teacher must forge and develop it. Without the sturdiness and levelheadedness of the warrior's way there is no possibility of withstanding the path of knowledge.
In order to help erase personal history three other techniques are taught. They are: losing self-importance, assuming responsibility, and using death as an adviser. Without the beneficial effect of those three techniques, erasing personal history would involve the apprentice in being shifty, evasive and unnecessarily dubious about himself and his actions.
By now there is no way for you to recollect the immense effort that you needed to establish self-pity as a feature of your island. Self-pity bore witness to everything you did. It was just at your fingertips, ready to advise you. Death is considered by a warrior to be a more amenable adviser, which can also be brought to bear witness on everything one does, just like self-pity, or wrath. Obviously, after an untold struggle you have learned to feel sorry for yourself. But you can also learn, in the same way, to feel your impending end, and thus you can learn to have the idea of your death at your fingertips. As an adviser, self-pity is nothing in comparison to death.
There is seemingly a contradiction in the idea of change; on the one hand, the sorcerers' world calls for a drastic transformation, and on the other, the sorcerers' explanation says that the island of the tonal is complete and not a single element of it can be removed. Change, then, does not mean obliterating anything but rather altering the use assigned to those elements.
Take self-pity for instance. There is no way to get rid of it for good; it has a definite place and character in your island, a definite facade which is recognizable. Thus, every time the occasion arises, self-pity becomes active. It has history. If you then change the facade of self-pity, you would have shifted its place of prominence.
One changes the facade by altering the use of the elements of the island. Take self-pity again. It is useful to you because you either feel important and deserving of better conditions, better treatment, or because you are unwilling to assume responsibility for the acts that brought you to the state that elicited self-pity, or because you are incapable of bringing the idea of your impending death to witness your acts and advise you.
Erasing personal history and its three companion techniques are the sorcerers' means for changing the facade of the elements of the island. For instance, by erasing your personal history, you deny use to self-pity; in order for self-pity to work you have to feel important, irresponsible, and immortal. When those feelings are altered in some way, it is no longer possible for you to feel sorry for yourself.
Your self-pity will still be a feature of your island; it will be there in the back in the same way that the idea of your impending death, or your humbleness, or your responsibility for your acts has been there, without ever being used.
Once all those techniques have been presented, the apprentice arrives at a crossroad. Depending on his sensibility, the apprentice does one of two things. He either takes the recommendations and suggestions made by his teacher at their face value, acting without expecting rewards; or he takes everything as a joke or an aberration.
If you use those four techniques to clear and reorder your island of the tonal they lead you to the nagual. Power provides according to your impeccability. If you seriously use those four techniques, you will store enough personal power, you will be impeccable, and power will open all the necessary avenues. That is the rule.
* * *
We function at the center of reason exclusively, regardless of who we are or where we come from. Reason can naturally account in one way or another for everything that happens within its view of the world. Sorcerers have learned after generations to account in their views for everything that is accountable about them. I would say that sorcerers, by using their will, have succeeded in enlarging their views of the world. Some though are not man of knowledge. They never brake the bounds of their enormous views and thus never arrive at the totality of themselves.
Only if one pits two views against each other can one weasel between them to arrive at the real world. That is, one can arrive at the totality of oneself only when one fully understands that the world is merely a view, regardless of whether that view belongs to an ordinary man or to a sorcerer.
What matters is not to learn a new description but to arrive at the totality of oneself. One should get to the nagual without maligning the tonal, and above all, without injuring one's body.
* * *
The tonal doesn't know that decisions are in the realm of the nagual. When we think we decide, all we're doing is acknowledging that something beyond our understanding has set up the frame of our so-called decision, and all we do is to acquiesce.
* * *
In the life of a warrior there is only one thing, one issue alone which is really undecided: how far one can go on the path of knowledge and power. That is an issue which is open and no one can predict its outcome. I once told you that the freedom a warrior has is either to act impeccably or to act like a nincompoop. Impeccability is indeed the only act which is free and thus the true measure of a warrior's spirit.
I've taught you the three techniques that help dreaming : disrupting the routines of life, the gait of power, and not-doing. Disrupting routines, the gait of power, and not-doing are avenues for learning new ways of perceiving the world, and they give a warrior an inkling of incredible possibilities of action. The knowledge of a separate and pragmatic world of dreaming is made possible through the use of those three techniques.
Dreaming is a practical aid devised by sorcerers. They were not fools; they knew what they were doing and sought the usefulness of the nagual by training their tonal to let go for a moment, so to speak, and then grab again. This statement may not make sense to you. But that's what you're doing: training yourself to let go without losing your marbles. Dreaming, of course, is the crown of the sorcerers' efforts, the ultimate use of the nagual.
We're at the end of our review. All in all, then, you have been being led into the nagual. But here we have a strange question. What is being led into the nagual ? Not reason. Reason is meaningless there. Reason craps out in an instant when it is out of its safe narrow bounds. Your tonal ? No, the tonal and the nagual are the two inherent parts of ourselves. They cannot be led into each other. Your perception!
We're coming now to the sorcerers' explanation. It won't explain anything and yet...
Sorcerers say that we are inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has sealed us in. That bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all of our lives. And what we witness on its round walls is our own reflection.
If what we witness on the walls is our own reflection, then the thing that's being reflected must be the real thing. The thing reflected is our view of the world. That view is first a description, which is given to us from the moment of our birth until all our attention is caught by it and the description becomes a view. The teacher's task is to rearrange the view, to prepare the luminous being for the time when the spirit opens the bubble.
The bubble is opened in order to allow the luminous being a view of his totality. Naturally this business of calling it a bubble is only a way of talking, but in this case it is an accurate way.
The delicate maneuver of leading a luminous being into the totality of himself requires that the teacher reorder the view of the world. I have called that view the island of the tonal. I've said that everything that we are is on that island. The sorcerers' explanation says that the island of the tonal is made by our perception, which has been trained to focus on certain elements; each of those elements and all of them together form our view of the world. The job of a teacher, insofar as the apprentice's perception is concerned, consists of reordering all the elements of the island on one half of the bubble. By now you must have realized that cleaning and reordering the island of the tonal means regrouping all its elements on the side of reason. My task has been to disarrange your ordinary view, not to destroy it but to force it to rally on the side of reason.
The art of a teacher is to force his disciple to group his view of the world on the right half of the bubble. That's the side of the tonal. The teacher always addresses himself to that side. By presenting his apprentice with the warrior's way he forces him into reasonableness, and sobriety, and strength of character and body. The other half of the bubble, the one that has been cleared, can then be claimed by something sorcerers call will .
We can better explain this by saying that the task of the teacher is to wipe clean one half of the bubble and to reorder everything on the other half. The spirit then opens the bubble on the side that has been cleaned. Once the seal is broken, the warrior is never the same. He has then the command of his totality. Half of the bubble is the ultimate center of reason, the tonal. The other half is the ultimate center of will, the nagual. That is the order that should prevail; any other arrangement is nonsensical and petty, because it goes against our nature; it robs us of our magical heritage and reduces us to nothing.
We have one single issue left. Sorcerers call it the secret of the luminous beings, and that is the fact that we are perceivers. We men and all the other luminous beings on earth are perceivers. That is our bubble, the bubble of perception. Our mistake is to believe that the only perception worthy of acknowledgment is what goes through our reason.
* * *
To be ready for the sorcerers' explanation is a very difficult accomplishment. It shouldn't be, but we insist on indulging in our lifelong view of the world.
The mystery, or the secret, of the sorcerers' explanation is that it deals with unfolding the wings of perception.
The nagual by itself is of no use, it has to be tempered by the tonal. The sorcerers' secret in using the nagual is in our perception.
There's no way to get to the sorcerers' explanation unless one has willingly used the nagual, or rather, unless one has willingly used the tonal to make sense out of one's actions in the nagual. Another way of making all this clear is to say that the view of the tonal must prevail if one is going to use the nagual the way sorcerers do.
Order in our perception is the exclusive realm of the tonal; only there can our actions have a sequence; only there are they like stairways where one can count the steps. There is nothing of that sort in the nagual. Therefore, the view of the tonal is a tool, and as such it is not only the best tool but the only one we've got.
This is the sorcerers' explanation. The nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feelings and beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful, unaltered, forever. Then the glue of life binds some of them together.
When the glue of life binds those feelings together a being is created, a being that loses the sense of its true nature and becomes blinded by the glare and clamor of the area where beings hover, the tonal. The tonal is where all the unified organization exists. A being pops into the tonal once the force of life has bound all the needed feelings together.
I said to you that the tonal begins at birth and ends at death; I said that because I know that as soon as the force of life leaves the body all those single awarenesses disintegrate and go back again to where they came from, the nagual.
What a warrior does in journeying into the unknown is very much like dying, except that his cluster of single feelings do not disintegrate but expand a bit without losing their togetherness. At death, however, they sink deeply and move independently as if they had never been a unit.
There is no way to refer to the unknown, one can only witness it. The sorcerers' explanation says that each of us has a center from which the nagual can be witnessed, the will. A warrior can venture into the nagual and let his cluster arrange and rearrange itself in any way possible.
I have called that cluster the bubble of perception. I have also said that it is sealed, closed tightly, and that it never opens until the moment of our death. Yet it could be made to open. Sorcerers have obviously learned that secret, and although not all of them arrive at the totality of themselves, they know about the possibility of it. They know that the bubble opens only when one plunges into the nagual.
The secret of the double is in the bubble of perception. The cluster of feelings can be made to assemble instantly anywhere. In other words, one can perceive the here and the there at once.
You are a nameless cluster of feelings. There is another center of assemblage, the will, through which it is possible to judge or assess and use the extraordinary effects of the nagual. One can reflect the nagual through the will, although one can never explain it.
The conviction that there is a real you is a result of the fact that you have rallied everything you've got around your reason. At this point your reason admits that the nagual is the indescribable, not because the evidence has convinced it, but because it is safe to admit that. Your reason is on safe ground, all the elements of the tonal are on its side.
To make reason feel safe is always the task of the teacher. The teacher tricks the apprentice's reason into believing that the tonal is accountable and predictable. I have labored to give you the impression that only the nagual is beyond the scope of explanation; the proof that the tricking was successful is that at this moment it seems to you that there is still a core that you can claim as your own, your reason. That's a mirage. Your precious reason is only a center of assemblage, a mirror that reflects something which is outside of it.
The last piece of the sorcerers' explanation says that reason is merely reflecting an outside order, and that reason knows nothing about that order; it cannot explain it, in the same way it cannot explain the nagual. Reason can only witness the effects of the tonal, but never ever could it understand it, or unravel it. The very fact that we are thinking and talking points out an order that we follow without ever knowing how we do that, or what the order is.
Sorcerers say that through the will they can witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing.
The wings of perception can take us to the most recondite confines of the nagual or to inconceivable worlds of the tonal.
The tonal of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable unknown filled with order; the nagual of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable void that contains everything.
You have nothing except the force of your life that binds that cluster of feelings. Turn off your internal dialogue; gather the power needed to unfold the wings of your perception and fly to that infinitude.
You need nothing except impeccability. What really matters is being an impeccable warrior. Your only chance is your impeccability. You must wait without regrets. You must wait without expecting rewards. If you don't act impeccably, if you begin to fret and get impatient and desperate, you'll be cut down mercilessly by the sharpshooters from the unknown.
If, on the other hand, your impeccability and personal power are such that you are capable of fulfilling your task, you will then achieve the promise of power. And what's that promise? you ask. It is a promise that power makes to men as luminous beings. Each warrior has a different fate, so there is no way of telling what that promise will be for you.
You have learned that the backbone of a warrior is to be humble and efficient. You have learned to act without expecting anything in return. Now I tell you that in order to withstand what lies ahead of you beyond this day, you'll need your ultimate forbearance.
A warrior must be always ready. The fate of all of us here has been to know that we are the prisoners of power. No one knows why us in particular, but what a great fortune. We are all alone, that's our condition. We are alone. But to die alone is not to die in loneliness. What a wonderful thing it is to be in this beautiful world! In this marvelous time!
A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn't indulge in it. Thus the mood of a warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of sadness; on the contrary, he's joyful because he feels humbled by his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and above all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior's joyfulness comes from having accepted his fate, and from having truthfully assessed what lies ahead of him.
* * *
I am going to disclose to you a warrior's secret. Perhaps you can call it a warrior's predilection. The life of a warrior cannot possibly be cold and lonely and without feelings because it is based on his affection, his devotion, his dedication to his beloved. And who, you ask, is his beloved? I will show you now.
His love is the world. He embraces this enormous earth. The earth knows that he loves it and it bestows on him its care. That's why his life is filled to the brim and his state, wherever he'll be, will be plentiful. He roams on the paths of his love and, wherever he is, he is complete.
This is the predilection of a warrior. This earth, this world. For a warrior there can be no greater love. Only if one loves this earth with unbending passion can one release one's sadness. A warrior is always joyful because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the earth, embraces him and bestows upon him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings.
This lovely being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me freedom.
Listen to that dog's barking. That is the way my beloved earth is helping me now to bring this last point to you. That barking is the saddest thing one can hear.
That dog's barking is the nocturnal voice of a man. It comes from a house in that valley towards the south. A man is shouting through his dog, since they are companion slaves for life, his sadness, his boredom. He's begging his death to come and release him from the dull and dreary chains of his life.
That barking, and the loneliness it creates, speaks of the feelings of men, men for whom an entire life was like one Sunday afternoon, an afternoon which was not altogether miserable, but rather hot and dull and uncomfortable. They sweated and fussed a great deal. They didn't know where to go, or what to do. That afternoon left them only with the memory of petty annoyances and tedium, and then suddenly it was over; it was already night.
The antidote that kills that poison is here; this earth. The sorcerers' explanation cannot at all liberate the spirit. Look at yourself, you have gotten to the sorcerers' explanation, but it doesn't make any difference that you know it. You're more alone than ever, because without an unwavering love for the being that gives you shelter, aloneness is loneliness.
Only the love for this splendorous being can give freedom to a warrior's spirit; and freedom is joy, efficiency, and abandon in the face of any odds.
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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