Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings
The Fire From Within
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There is no completeness without sadness and longing, for without them there is no sobriety, no kindness. Wisdom without kindness and knowledge without sobriety are useless.
Seeing is a peculiar feeling of knowing, of knowing something without a shadow of doubt.
Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it--what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
Every effort should be made to eradicate self-importance from the lives of warriors. Without self-importance we are invulnerable.
* * *
Self-importance can't be fought with niceties.
* * *
Seers are divided into two categories. Those who are willing to exercise self-restraint and can channel their activities toward pragmatic goals, which would benefit other seers and man in general, and those who don't care about self-restraint or about any pragmatic goals. The latter have failed to resolve the problem of self-importance.
Self-importance is not something simple and naive. On the one hand, it is the core of everything that is good in us, and on the other hand, the core of everything that is rotten. To get rid of the self-importance that is rotten requires a masterpiece of strategy.
In order to follow the path of knowledge one has to be very imaginative. In the path of knowledge nothing is as clear as we'd like it to be. Warriors fight self-importance as a matter of strategy, not principle.
Impeccability is nothing else but the proper use of energy. My statements have no inkling of morality. I've saved energy and that makes me impeccable. To understand this, you have to save enough energy yourself.
Warriors take strategic inventories. They list everything they do. Then they decide which of those things can be changed in order to allow themselves a respite, in terms of expending their energy.
The strategic inventory covers only behavioral patterns that are not essential to our survival and well-being.
In the strategic inventories of warriors, self-importance figures as the activity that consumes the greatest amount of energy, hence, their effort to eradicate it.
One of the first concerns of warriors is to free that energy in order to face the unknown with it. The action of rechanneling that energy is impeccability.
The most effective strategy for rechanneling that energy consists of six elements that interplay with one another. Five of them are called the attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, timing, and will. They pertain to the world of the warrior who is fighting to lose self-importance. The sixth element, which is perhaps the most important of all, pertains to the outside world and is called the petty tyrant.
A petty tyrant is a tormentor. Someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction.
Petty tyrants teach us detachment. The ingredients of the new seers' strategy shows how efficient and clever is the device of using a petty tyrant. The strategy not only gets rid of self-importance; it also prepares warriors for the final realization that impeccability is the only thing that counts in the path of knowledge.
Usually, only four attributes are played. The fifth, will, is always saved for an ultimate confrontation, when warriors are facing the firing squad, so to speak.
Will belongs to another sphere, the unknown. The other four belong to the known, exactly where the petty tyrants are lodged. In fact, what turns human beings into petty tyrants is precisely the obsessive manipulation of the known.
The interplay of all the five attributes of warriorship is done only by seers who are also impeccable warriors and have mastery over will. Such an interplay is a supreme maneuver that cannot be performed on the daily human stage.
Four attributes are all that is needed to deal with the worst of petty tyrants, provided, of course, that a petty tyrant has been found. The petty tyrant is the outside element, the one we cannot control and the element that is perhaps the most important of them all. The warrior who stumbles on a petty tyrant is a lucky one. You're fortunate if you come upon one in your path, because if you don't you have to go out and look for one.
If seers can hold their own in facing petty tyrants, they can certainly face the unknown with impunity, and then they can even stand the presence of the unknowable.
Nothing can temper the spirit of a warrior as much as the challenge of dealing with impossible people in positions of power. Only under those conditions can warriors acquire the sobriety and serenity to stand the pressure of the unknowable.
The perfect ingredient for the making of a superb seer is a petty tyrant with unlimited prerogatives. Seers have to go to extremes to find a worthy one. Most of the time they have to be satisfied with very small fry. Then warriors develop a strategy using the four attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, and timing.
On the path of knowledge there are four steps. The first step is the decision to become apprentices. After the apprentices change their views about themselves and the world they take the second step and become warriors, which is to say, beings capable of the utmost discipline and control over themselves. The third step, after acquiring forbearance and timing, is to become men of knowledge. When men of knowledge learn to see they have taken the fourth step and have become seers.
Control and discipline refer to an inner state. A warrior is self-oriented, not in a selfish way but in the sense of a total examination of the self.
Forbearance and timing are not quite an inner state. They are in the domain of the man of knowledge.
The idea of using a petty tyrant is not only for perfecting the warrior's spirit, but also for enjoyment and happiness. Even the worst tyrants can bring delight, provided, of course, that one is a warrior.
The mistake average men make in confronting petty tyrants is not to have a strategy to fall back on; the fatal flaw is that average men take themselves too seriously; their actions and feelings, as well as those of the petty tyrants, are all-important. Warriors, on the other hand, not only have a well-thought-out strategy, but are free from self-importance. What restrains their self-importance is that they have understood that reality is an interpretation we make.
Petty tyrants take themselves with deadly seriousness while warriors do not. What usually exhausts us is the wear and tear on our self-importance. Any man who has an iota of pride is ripped apart by being made to feel worthless.
To tune the spirit when someone is trampling on you is called control. Instead of feeling sorry for himself a warrior immediately goes to work mapping the petty tyrant's strong points, his weaknesses, his quirks of behavior.
To gather all this information while they are beating you up is called discipline. A perfect petty tyrant has no redeeming feature.
Forbearance is to wait patiently--no rush, no anxiety--a simple, joyful holding back of what is due.
A warrior knows that he is waiting and what he is waiting for. Right there is the great joy of warriorship.
Timing is the quality that governs the release of all that is held back. Control, discipline, and forbearance are like a dam behind which everything is pooled. Timing is the gate in the dam.
Forbearance means holding back with the spirit something that the warrior knows is rightfully due. It doesn't mean that a warrior goes around plotting to do anybody mischief, or planning to settle past scores. Forbearance is something independent. As long as the warrior has control, discipline, and timing, forbearance assures giving whatever is due to whoever deserves it.
To be defeated by a small-fry petty tyrant is not deadly, but devastating. Warriors who succumb to a small-fry petty tyrant are obliterated by their own sense of failure and unworthiness.
Anyone who joins the petty tyrant is defeated. To act in anger, without control and discipline, to have no forbearance, is to be defeated.
After warriors are defeated they either regroup themselves or they abandon the quest for knowledge and join the ranks of the petty tyrants for life.
There are a series of truths about awareness that have been arranged in a specific sequence for purposes of comprehension. The mastery of awareness consists in internalizing the total sequence of such truths.
The first truth is that our familiarity with the world we perceive compels us to believe that we are surrounded by objects, existing by themselves and as themselves, just as we perceive them, whereas, in fact, there is no world of objects, but a universe of the Indescribable Force's emanations.
Before I can explain the Indescribable Force's emanations, I have to talk about the known, the unknown, and the unknowable.
The unknown is something that is veiled from man, shrouded perhaps by a terrifying context, but which, nonetheless, is within man's reach.
The unknown becomes the known at a given time. The unknowable, on the other hand, is the indescribable, the unthinkable, the unrealizable. It is something that will never be known to us, and yet it is there, dazzling and at the same time horrifying in its vastness.
There is a simple rule of thumb: in the face of the unknown, man is adventurous. It is a quality of the unknown to give us a sense of hope and happiness. Man feels robust, exhilarated. Even the apprehension that it arouses is very fulfilling. The new seers saw that man is at his best in the face of the unknown.
The unknown and the known are really on the same footing, because both are within the reach of human perception. Seers, can leave the known at a given moment and enter into the unknown.
Whatever is beyond our capacity to perceive is the unknowable. And the distinction between it and the knowable is crucial. Confusing the two would put seers in a most precarious position whenever they are confronted with the unknowable. Most of what's out there is beyond our comprehension.
* * *
The first truth about awareness is that the world out there is not really as we think it is. We think it is a world of objects and it's not.
You say you agree with me because everything could be reduced to being a field of energy. But you are merely intuiting a truth. To reason it out is not to verify it. I am not interested in your agreement or disagreement, but in your attempt to comprehend what is involved in this truth. You cannot witness fields of energy; not as an average man, that is. Now, if you were able to see them, you would be a seer, in which case you would be explaining the truths about awareness.
Conclusions arrived at through reasoning have very little or no influence in altering the course of our lives. Hence, the countless examples of people who have the clearest convictions and yet act diametrically against them time and time again; and have as the only explanation for their behavior the idea that to err is human.
The first truth is that the world is as it looks and yet it isn't. It's not as solid and real as our perception has been led to believe, but it isn't a mirage either. The world is not an illusion, as it has been said to be; it's real on the one hand, and unreal on the other. Pay close attention to this, for it must be understood, not just accepted. We perceive. This is a hard fact. But what we perceive is not a fact of the same kind, because we learn what to perceive.
Something out there is affecting our senses. This is the part that is real. The unreal part is what our senses tell us is there. Take a mountain, for instance. Our senses tell us that it is an object. It has size, color, form. We even have categories of mountains, and they are downright accurate. Nothing wrong with that; the flaw is simply that it has never occurred to us that our senses play only a superficial role. Our senses perceive the way they do because a specific feature of our awareness forces them to do so.
I've used the term "the world" to mean everything that surrounds us. I have a better term, of course, but it would be quite incomprehensible to you. Seers say that we think there is a world of objects out there only because of our awareness. But what's really out there are the Indescribable Force's emanations, fluid, forever in motion, and yet unchanged, eternal.
* * *
The reason for the existence of all sentient beings is to enhance awareness. The old seers, risking untold dangers, actually saw the Indescribable Force which is the source of all sentient beings. They called that indescribable force the Eagle, because in the few glimpses that they could sustain, they saw it as something that resembled a black-and-white eagle of infinite size. They saw that it is the Indescribable Force that bestows awareness and creates sentient beings so that they will live and enrich the awareness it gives them with life. They also saw that it is the Indescribable Force, that devours that same enriched awareness after making sentient beings relinquish it at the moment of death. For the old seers to say that the reason for existence is to enhance awareness is not a matter of faith or deduction. They saw it.
* * *
A nagual man or woman is someone flexible enough to be anything. To be a nagual, among other things, means to have no points to defend. The description of the Indescribable Force as the Eagle, and what it does, are not truths to defend passionately. Those truths were put together for the delight and enlightenment of warriors, not to engage any proprietary sentiments. When I told you that a nagual has no points to defend, I meant, among other things, that a nagual has no obsessions.
The Indescribable Force is as real for seers as gravity and time are for you, and just as abstract and incomprehensible. The Indescribable Force and its emanations are as corroboratable as gravity and time and the discipline of the new seers is dedicated to doing just that. The Indescribable Force's emanations are an immutable thing-in-itself, which engulfs everything that exists, the knowable and the unknowable.
There is no way to describe in words what the Indescribable Force's emanations really are. A seer must witness them. They are a presence, almost a mass of sorts, a pressure that creates a dazzling sensation. One can catch only a glimpse of them, as one can catch only a glimpse of the Indescribable Force itself.
There is nothing visual about the Indescribable Force. The entire body of a seer senses the Indescribable Force. There is something in all of us that can make us witness with our entire body. Seers explain the act of seeing the Indescribable Force in very simple terms: because man is composed of the Indescribable Force's emanations, man need only revert back to his components. The problem arises with man's awareness; it is his awareness that becomes entangled and confused. At the crucial moment when it should be a simple case of the emanations acknowledging themselves, man's awareness is compelled to interpret. The result is a vision of the Eagle, and the Eagle's emanations. But there is no Eagle and no Eagle's emanations. What is out there is something that no living creature can grasp.
The characteristic of miserable seers is that they are willing to forget the wonder of the world. They become overwhelmed by the fact that they see and believe that it's their genius that counts. A seer must be a paragon in order to override the nearly invincible laxness of our human condition. More important than seeing itself is what seers do with what they see.
The Indescribable Force attracts our consciousness, much as a magnet attracts iron shavings. At the moment of dying, all of our being disintegrates under the attraction of that immense force.
* * *
Seers who see the Indescribable Force's emanations often call them commands. That's what they really are, commands.
Everything is made out of the Indescribable Force's emanations. Only a small portion of those emanations is within reach of human awareness, and that small portion is still further reduced, to a minute fraction, by the constraints of our daily lives. That minute fraction of the Indescribable Force's emanations is the known; the small portion within possible reach of human awareness is the unknown, and the incalculable rest is the unknowable.
The new seers, being pragmatically oriented, became immediately cognizant of the compelling power of the emanations. They realized that all living creatures are forced to employ the Indescribable Force's emanations without ever knowing what they are. They also realized that organisms are constructed to grasp a certain range of those emanations and that every species has a definite range. The emanations exert great pressure on organisms, and through that pressure organisms construct their perceivable world.
In our case, as human beings, we employ those emanations and interpret them as reality. But what man senses is such a small portion of the Indescribable Force's emanations that it's ridiculous to put much stock in our perceptions, and yet it isn't possible for us to disregard our perceptions.
I want you to be very aware of what we are doing. We are discussing the mastery of awareness. The truths we're discussing are the principles of that mastery.
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One of the greatest forces in the lives of warriors is fear, it spurs them to learn.
* * *
The Indescribable Force's emanations cannot be rendered at all in a language of comparisons. Individual seers may feel the urge to make comments about certain emanations, but that will remain personal.
The new seers were terrible practical men. They weren't involved in concocting rational theories.
The new seers, imbued with practicality, were able to see a flux of emanations and to see how man and other living beings utilize them to construct their perceivable world.
The way those emanations are utilized by man is so simple it sounds idiotic. For a seer, men are luminous beings. Our luminosity is made up of that portion of the Indescribable Force's emanations which is encased in our egglike cocoon. That particular portion, that handful of emanations that is encased, is what makes us men. To perceive is to match the emanations contained inside our cocoon with those that are outside.
Seers can see, for instance, the emanations inside any living creature and can tell which of the outside emanations would match them.
The emanations are something indescribable. My personal comment would be to say that they are like filaments of light. What's incomprehensible to normal awareness is that the filaments are aware. I can't tell you what that means, because I don't know what I am saying. All I can tell you with my personal comments is that the filaments are aware of themselves, alive and vibrating, that there are so many of them that numbers have no meaning and that each of them is an eternity in itself.
Perception is a condition of alignment; the emanations inside the cocoon become aligned with those outside that fit them. Alignment is what allows awareness to be cultivated by every living creature. Seers make these statements because they see living creatures as they really are: luminous beings that look like bubbles of whitish light.
The emanations inside and the emanations outside are the same filaments of light. Sentient beings are minute bubbles made out of those filaments, microscopic points of light, attached to the infinite emanations.
The luminosity of living beings is made by the particular portion of the Indescribable Force's emanations they happen to have inside their luminous cocoons. When seers see perception, they witness that the luminosity of the Indescribable Force's emanations outside those creatures' cocoons brightens the luminosity of the emanations inside their cocoons. The outside luminosity attracts the inside one; it traps it, so to speak, and fixes it. That fixation is the awareness of every specific being.
Seers can also see how the emanations outside the cocoon exert a particular pressure on the portion of emanations inside. This pressure determines the degree of awareness that every living being has.
The Indescribable Force's emanations are more than filaments of light. Each one of them is a source of boundless energy. Think of it this way: since some of the emanations outside the cocoon are the same as the emanations inside, their energies are like a continuous pressure. But the cocoon isolates the emanations that are inside its web and thereby directs the pressure.
I've mentioned to you that the old seers were masters of the art of handling awareness. What I can add now is that they were the masters of that art because they learned to manipulate the structure of man's cocoon. I've said to you that they unraveled the mystery of being aware. By that I meant that they saw and realized that awareness is a glow in the cocoon of living beings. They rightly called it the glow of awareness.
The old seers saw that man's awareness is a glow of amber luminosity more intense than the rest of the cocoon. That glow is on a narrow, vertical band on the extreme right side of the cocoon, running along its entire length. The mastery of the old seers was to move that glow, to make it spread from its original setting on the surface of the cocoon inward across its width.
* * *
Seeing is to lay bare the core of everything, to witness the unknown and to glimpse into the unknowable. As such, it doesn't bring one solace. Seers ordinarily go to pieces on finding out that existence is incomprehensibly complex and that our normal awareness maligns it with its limitations.
* * *
Your concentration has to be total. To understand is of crucial importance. The new seers placed the highest value on deep, unemotional realizations. For instance, the other day, when you understood about your self-importance, you didn't understand anything really. You had an emotional outburst, that was all. I say this because the next day you were back on your high horse of self-importance as if you never had realized anything.
The same thing happened to the old seers. They were given to emotional reactions. But when the time came for them to understand what they had seen, they couldn't do it. To understand one needs sobriety, not emotionality. Beware of those who weep with realization, for they have realized nothing.
There are untold dangers in the path of knowledge for those without sober understanding. I am outlining the order in which the new seers arranged the truths about awareness, so it will serve you as a map, a map that you have to corroborate with your seeing, but not with your eyes.
Everybody falls prey to the mistake that seeing is done with the eyes. Seeing is not a matter of the eyes.
Seeing is alignment and perception is alignment. The alignment of the Indescribable Force's emanations used routinely is the perception of the day-to-day world, but the alignment of emanations that are never used ordinarily is seeing. When such an alignment occurs one sees. Seeing, therefore, being produced by alignment out of the ordinary, cannot be something one could merely look at. So, don't succumb to the way seeing is labeled and described.
When seers see, something explains everything as the new alignment takes place. It's a voice that tells them in their ear what's what. If that voice is not present, what the seer is engaged in isn't seeing.
It is equally fallacious to say that seeing is hearing, because it is infinitely more than that, but seers have opted for using sound as a gauge of a new alignment.
The voice of seeing is a most mysterious inexplicable thing. My personal conclusion is that the voice of seeing belongs only to man. It may happen because talking is something that no one else besides man does. The old seers believed it was the voice of an overpowering entity intimately related to mankind, a protector of man. The new seers found out that that entity, which they called the mold of man, doesn't have a voice. The voice of seeing for the new seers is something quite incomprehensible; they say it's the glow of awareness playing on the Indescribable Force's emanations as a harpist plays on a harp.
* * *
The pressure that the emanations outside the cocoon, which are called emanations at large, exert on the emanations inside the cocoon is the same in all sentient beings. Yet the results of that pressure are vastly different among them, because their cocoons react to that pressure in every conceivable way. There are, however, degrees of uniformity within certain boundaries.
Now, when seers see that the pressure of the emanations at large bears down on the emanations inside, which are always in motion and makes them stop moving, they know that the luminous being at that moment is fixated by awareness.
To say that the emanations at large bear down on those inside the cocoon and make them stop moving means that seers see something indescribable, the meaning of which they know without a shadow of doubt. It means that the voice of seeing has told them that the emanations inside the cocoon are completely at rest and match some of those which are outside.
Seers maintain, naturally, that awareness always comes from outside ourselves, that the real mystery is not inside us. Since by nature the emanations at large are made to fixate what is inside the cocoon, the trick of awareness is to let the fixating emanations merge with what is inside us. Seers believe that if we let that happen we become what we really are--fluid, forever in motion, eternal.
The degree of awareness of every individual sentient being depends on the degree to which it is capable of letting the pressure of the emanations at large carry it.
* * *
Seers have seen that from the moment of conception awareness is enhanced, enriched, by the process of being alive. The awareness of an individual insect or that of an individual man grows from the moment of conception in astoundingly different ways, but with equal consistency. Awareness develops from the moment of conception.
Sexual energy is something of ultimate importance and it has to be controlled and used with great care. Don't resent or applaud what I say, thinking that I am speaking of control in terms of morality; I mean it in terms of saving and rechanneling energy. I recommend, therefore, that one control oneself and understand the Indescribable Force's command that sex is for bestowing the glow of awareness. It is the Indescribable Force's command that sexual energy be used for creating life. Through sexual energy, the Indescribable Force bestows awareness. So when sentient beings are engaged in sexual intercourse, the emanations inside their cocoons do their best to bestow awareness to the new sentient being they are creating.
During the sexual act, the emanations encased inside the cocoon of both partners undergo a profound agitation, the culminating point of which is a merging, a fusing of two pieces of the glow of awareness, one from each partner, that separate from their cocoons.
Sexual intercourse is always a bestowal of awareness even though the bestowal may not be consolidated. Warriors know that the only real energy we possess is a life-bestowing sexual energy. This knowledge makes them permanently conscious of their responsibility. If warriors want to have enough energy to see, they must become misers with their sexual energy.
You needn't think this a puritanical attitude toward sex. There is nothing wrong with man's sensuality. It's man's ignorance of and disregard for his magical nature that is wrong. It's a mistake to waste recklessly the life-bestowing force of sex and not have children, but it's also a mistake not to know that in having children one taxes the glow of awareness. Seers have seen that on having a child, the parents' glow of awareness diminishes and the child's increases. In some supersensitive, frail parents, the glow of awareness almost disappears. As children enhance their awareness, a big dark spot develops in the luminous cocoon of the parents, on the very place from which the glow was taken away. It is usually on the midsection of the cocoon. Sometimes those spots can even be seen superimposed on the body itself.
Nothing can be done to give people a more balanced understanding of the glow of awareness. At least, there is nothing that seers can do. Seers aim to be free, to be unbiased witnesses incapable of passing judgment; otherwise they would have to assume the responsibility for bringing about a more adjusted cycle. No one can do that. The new cycle, if it is to come, must come of itself.
The consciousness of adult human beings, matured by the process of growth, can no longer be called awareness, because it has been modified into something more intense and complex, which seers call attention.
At a given time in the growth of human beings a band of the emanations inside their cocoons becomes very bright; as human beings accumulate experience, it begins to glow. In some instances, the glow of this band of emanations increases so dramatically that it fuses with the emanations from the outside. Seers, witnessing an enhancement of this kind, had to surmise that awareness is the raw material and attention the end product of maturation.
Attention is the harnessing and enhancing of awareness through the process of being alive.
The danger of definitions is that they simplify matters to make them understandable; in this case, in defining attention, one runs the risk of transforming a magical, miraculous accomplishment into something commonplace.
Attention is man's greatest single accomplishment. It develops from raw animal awareness until it covers the entire gamut of human alternatives. Seers perfect it even further until it covers the whole scope of human possibilities.
Human alternatives are everything we are capable of choosing as persons. They have to do with the level of our day-to-day range, the known; and owing to that fact, they are quite limited in number and scope. Human possibilities belong to the unknown. They are not what we are capable of choosing but what we are capable of attaining.
An example of human alternatives is our choice to believe that the human body is an object among objects. An example of human possibilities is the seers' achievement in viewing man as an egglike luminous being. With the body as an object one tackles the known, with the body as a luminous egg one tackles the unknown; human possibilities have, therefore, nearly an inexhaustible scope.
Seers say that there are three types of attention. When they say that, they mean it just for human beings, not for all the sentient beings in existence. But the three are not just types of attention, they are rather three levels of attainment. They are the first, second, and third attention, each of them an independent domain, complete in itself.
The first attention in man is animal awareness, which has been developed, through the process of experience, into a complex, intricate, and extremely fragile faculty that takes care of the day-to-day world in all its innumerable aspects. In other words, everything that one can think about is part of the first attention.
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The first attention is everything we are as average men. By virtue of such an absolute rule over our lives, the first attention is the most valuable asset that the average man has. Perhaps it is even our only asset.
Taking into account its true value, the new seers started a rigorous examination of the first attention through seeing. In order to examine and explain the first attention, one must see it. Only seers can do that. But to examine what seers see in the first attention is essential. It allows the first attention the only opportunity it will ever have to realize its own workings.
The first attention is the glow of awareness developed to an ultra shine. But it is a glow fixed on the surface of the cocoon, so to speak. It is a glow that covers the known.
The second attention, on the other hand, is a more complex and specialized state of the glow of awareness. It has to do with the unknown. It comes about when unused emanations inside man's cocoon are utilized.
The reason I called the second attention specialized is that in order to utilize those unused emanations, one needs uncommon, elaborate tactics that require supreme discipline and concentration.
The concentration needed to be aware that one is having a dream is the forerunner of the second attention. That concentration is a form of consciousness that is not in the same category as the consciousness needed to deal with the daily world.
The second attention is also called the left-side awareness; and it is the vastest field that one can imagine, so vast in fact that it seems limitless. It is a quagmire so complex and bizarre that sober seers go into it only under the strictest conditions.
The new seers let the mastery of awareness develop to its natural end, which is to extend the glow of awareness beyond the bounds of the luminous cocoon in one single stroke.
The third attention is attained when the glow of awareness turns into the fire from within: a glow that kindles not one band at a time but all the Indescribable Force's emanations inside man's cocoon. The supreme accomplishment of human beings is to attain that level of attention while retaining the lifeforce.
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Don't let your self-importance run rampant.
* * *
Usually anger is very sobering, or sometimes fear is, or humor.
* * *
Awareness begins with the permanent pressure that the emanations at large exert on the emanations trapped inside the cocoon. This pressure produces the first act of consciousness; it stops the motion of the trapped emanations, which are fighting to break the cocoon, fighting to die.
For a seer, the truth is that all living beings are struggling to die. What stops death is awareness. The new seers were profoundly disturbed by the fact that awareness forestalls death and at the same time induces it by being attracted by the Indescribable Force. Since they could not explain it, for there is no rational way to understand existence, seers realized that their knowledge is composed of contradictory propositions.
For example, seers have to be methodical, rational beings, paragons of sobriety, and at the same time they must shy away from all of those qualities in order to be completely free and open to the wonders and mysteries of existence.
Only a feeling of supreme sobriety can bridge the contradictions. You may call the bridge between contradictions anything you want--art, affection, sobriety, love, or even kindness.
In examining the first attention, the new seers realized that all organic beings, except man, quiet down their agitated trapped emanations so that those emanations can align themselves with their matching ones outside. Human beings do not do that; instead, their first attention takes an inventory of the Indescribable Force's emanations inside their cocoons. Human beings take notice of the emanations they have inside their cocoons, no other creatures do that. The moment the pressure from the emanations at large fixates the emanations inside, the first attention begins to watch itself. It notes everything about itself, or at least it tries to, in whatever aberrant ways it can. This is the process seers call taking an inventory.
I don't mean to say that human beings choose to take an inventory, or that they can refuse to take it. To take an inventory is the Indescribable Force's command. What is subject to volition, however, is the manner in which the command is obeyed.
Although I dislike calling the emanations commands, that is what they are: commands that no one can disobey. Yet the way out of obeying the commands is in obeying them.
In the case of the inventory of the first attention, seers take it, for they can't disobey. But once they have taken it they throw it away. The Indescribable Force doesn't command us to worship our inventory; it commands us to take it, that's all.
The emanations inside the cocoon of man are not quieted down for purposes of matching them with those outside. This is evident after seeing what other creatures do. On quieting down, some of them actually merge themselves with the emanations at large and move with them.
But human beings quiet down their emanations and then reflect on them. The emanations focus on themselves. Human beings carry the command of taking an inventory to its logical extreme and disregard everything else. Once they are deeply involved in the inventory, two things may happen. They may ignore the impulses of the emanations at large, or they may use them in a very specialized way.
The end result of ignoring those impulses after taking an inventory is a unique state known as reason. The result of using every impulse in a specialized way is known as self-absorption.
* * *
The first attention works very well with the unknown. It blocks it; it denies it so fiercely that in the end, the unknown doesn't exist for the first attention.
Taking an inventory makes us invulnerable. That is why the inventory came into existence in the first place.
The first attention consumes all the glow of awareness that human beings have, and not an iota of energy is left free. So, the new seers proposed that warriors, since they have to enter into the unknown, have to save their energy. But where are they going to get energy, if all of it is taken? They'll get it from eradicating unnecessary habits. Eradicating unnecessary habits detaches awareness from self-reflection and allows it the freedom to focus on something else.
The unknown is forever present, but it is outside the possibility of our normal awareness. The unknown is the superfluous part of the average man. And it is superfluous because the average man doesn't have enough free energy to grasp it.
* * *
There is a force that is present throughout everything there is. It is called will, the will of the Indescribable Force's emanations, or intent.
One of the most worthwhile findings of the ancient seers was the discovery that organic life is not the only form of life present on this earth.
For seers, to be alive means to be aware. For the average man, to be aware means to be an organism. This is where seers are different. For them, to be aware means that the emanations that cause awareness are encased inside a receptacle.
Organic living beings have a cocoon that encloses the emanations. But there are other creatures whose receptacles don't look like a cocoon to a seer. Yet they have the emanations of awareness in them and characteristics of life other than reproduction and metabolism; such as emotional dependency, sadness, joy, wrath, and so forth and so on. And the best yet, love; a kind of love man can't even conceive. If we take as our clue what seers see, life is indeed extraordinary.
Those beings make themselves known to man all the time. And not only to seers but also to the average man. The problem is that all the energy available is consumed by the first attention. Man's inventory not only takes it all, but it also toughens the cocoon to the point of making it inflexible. Under those circumstances there is no possible interaction.
* * *
In the life of warriors it is extremely natural to be sad for no overt reason. Seers say that the luminous egg, as a field of energy, senses its final destination whenever the boundaries of the known are broken. A mere glimpse of the eternity outside the cocoon is enough to disrupt the coziness of our inventory. The resulting melancholy is sometimes so intense that it can bring about death. The best way to get rid of melancholy is to make fun of it.
There is nothing more lonely than eternity. And nothing is more cozy for us than to be a human being. This indeed is another contradiction--how can man keep the bonds of his humanness and still venture gladly and purposefully into the absolute loneliness of eternity? Whenever you resolve this riddle, you'll be ready for the definitive journey.
The new seers have found that the only thing that counts is impeccability. That is, freed energy.
Pull yourself together and don't fight your fear, roll with it. Be afraid without being terrified. Put all your concentration on the midpoint of your body--a true center of energy in all of us. Fear does not exist as soon as the glow of awareness moves beyond a certain threshold inside man's cocoon.
* * *
I'll briefly outline the truths about awareness which I have discussed. 1) There is no objective world, but only a universe of energy fields which seers call the Indescribable Force's emanations. 2) Human beings are made of the Indescribable Force's emanations and are in essence bubbles of luminescent energy; each of us is wrapped in a cocoon that encloses a small portion of these emanations. 3) Awareness is achieved by the constant pressure that the emanations outside our cocoon, which are called emanations at large, exert on those inside our cocoon. 4) Awareness gives rise to perception, which happens when the emanations inside our cocoons align themselves with the corresponding emanations at large.
The next truth is that perception takes place because there is in each of us an agent called the assemblage point that selects internal and external emanations for alignment. The particular alignment that we perceive as the world is the product of the specific spot where our assemblage point is located on our cocoon.
In order to corroborate the truths about awareness, you need energy. Dealing with petty tyrants helps seers accomplish a sophisticated maneuver: that maneuver is to move their assemblage points.
* * *
In order for our first attention to bring into focus the world that we perceive, it has to emphasize certain emanations selected from the narrow band of emanations where man's awareness is located. The discarded emanations are still within our reach but remain dormant, unknown to us for the duration of our lives.
The new seers call the emphasized emanations the right side, normal awareness, the tonal, this world, the known, the first attention. The average man calls it reality, rationality, common sense.
The emphasized emanations compose a large portion of man's band of awareness, but a very small piece of the total spectrum of emanations present inside the cocoon of man. The disregarded emanations within man's band are thought of as a sort of preamble to the unknown, the unknown proper consisting of the bulk of emanations which are not part of the human band and which are never emphasized. Seers call them the left-side awareness, the nagual, the other world, the unknown, the second attention.
Normally the glow of awareness is seen on the surface of the cocoon of all sentient beings. After man develops attention, however, the glow of awareness acquires depth. In other words, it is transmitted from the surface of the cocoon to quite a number of emanations inside the cocoon.
A state of heightened awareness is seen not only as a glow that goes deeper inside the egglike shape of human beings, but also as a more intense glow on the surface of the cocoon. Yet it is nothing in comparison to the glow produced by a state of total awareness, which is seen as a burst of incandescence in the entire luminous egg. It is an explosion of light of such a magnitude that the boundaries of the shell are diffused and the inside emanations extend themselves beyond anything imaginable.
Seers who deliberately attain total awareness are a sight to behold. That is the moment when they burn from within. The fire from within consumes them. And in full awareness they fuse themselves to the emanations at large, and glide into eternity.
* * *
I've explained to you that the new seers aim to be free. And freedom has the most devastating implications. Among them is the implication that warriors must purposely seek change. Your predilection is to live the way you do. You stimulate your reason by running through your inventory and pitting it against your friends' inventories. Those maneuvers leave you very little time to examine yourself and your fate. You will have to give up all that.
* * *
Human beings repeatedly choose the same emanations for perceiving because of two reasons. First, and most important, because we have been taught that those emanations are perceivable, and second because our assemblage points select and prepare those emanations for being used.
Every living being has an assemblage point which selects emanations for emphasis. Seers can see whether sentient beings share the same view of the world, by seeing if the emanations their assemblage points have selected are the same.
One of the most important breakthroughs for the new seers was to find that the spot where that point is located on the cocoon of all living creatures is not a permanent feature, but is established on that specific spot by habit. Hence the tremendous stress the new seers put on new actions, on new practicalities. They want desperately to arrive at new usages, new habits.
A matter of great importance is the proper understanding of the truths about awareness in order to realize that that point can be moved from within. The unfortunate truth is that human beings always lose by default. They simply don't know about their possibilities.
The new seers say that realization is the technique. They say that, first of all, one must become aware that the world we perceive is the result of our assemblage points being located on a specific spot on the cocoon. Once that is understood, the assemblage point can move almost at will, as a consequence of new habits.
The assemblage point of man appears around a definite area of the cocoon, because the Indescribable Force commands it. But the precise spot is determined by habit, by repetitious acts. First we learn that it can be placed there and then we ourselves command it to be there. Our command becomes the Indescribable Force's command and that point is fixated at that spot. Consider this very carefully; our command becomes the Indescribable Force's command.
I've mentioned to you that sorcery is something like entering a dead-end street. What I meant was that sorcery practices have no intrinsic value. Their worth is indirect, for their real function is to make the assemblage point shift by making the first attention release its control on that point.
The new seers realized the true role those sorcery practices played and decided to go directly into the process of making their assemblage points shift, avoiding all the other nonsense of rituals and incantations. Yet rituals and incantations are indeed necessary at one time in every warrior's life. But only for purposes of luring one's first attention away from the power of self-absorption, which keeps his assemblage point rigidly fixed.
The obsessive entanglement of the first attention in self-absorption or reason is a powerful binding force, and ritual behavior, because it is repetitive, forces the first attention to free some energy from watching the inventory, as a consequence of which the assemblage point loses its rigidity.
When that happens, if you are not a warrior, you think you're losing your mind. If you are a warrior, you know you've gone crazy, but you patiently wait. You see, to be healthy and sane means that the assemblage point is immovable. When it shifts, it literally means that one is deranged.
Two options are opened to warriors whose assemblage points have shifted. One is to acknowledge being ill and to behave in deranged ways, reacting emotionally to the strange worlds that their shifts force them to witness; the other is to remain impassive, untouched, knowing that the assemblage point always returns to its original position.
If the assemblage point doesn't return to its original position, then those people are lost. They are either incurably crazy, because their assemblage points could never assemble the world as we know it, or they are peerless seers who have begun their movement toward the unknown.
What determines it is energy! Impeccability! Impeccable warriors don't lose their marbles. They remain untouched. I've said to you many times that impeccable warriors may see horrifying worlds and yet the next moment they are telling a joke, laughing with their friends or with strangers.
The mind, for a seer, is nothing but the self-reflection of the inventory of man. If you lose that self-reflection, but don't lose your underpinnings, you actually live an infinitely stronger life than if you had kept it.
The flaw is in our emotional reaction, which prevents us from realizing that the oddity of our sensorial experiences is determined by the depth to which our assemblage point has moved into man's band of emanations.
Man's band of emanations is not like a ribbon, but rather like a disc. The luminous shape of man is like a ball with a thick disk inserted into it. If the ball were transparent you would have the perfect replica of man's cocoon. The disc goes all the way inside the ball. It's a disk that goes from the surface on one side to the surface on the other side.
The assemblage point of man is located high up, three-fourths of the way toward the top of the egg on the surface of the cocoon. Heightened awareness comes about when the intense glow of the assemblage point lights up dormant emanations way inside the disk. To see the glow of the assemblage point moving inside that disk gives the feeling that it is shifting toward the left on the surface of the cocoon.
The transparency of the luminous egg creates the impression of a movement toward the left, when in fact every movement of the assemblage point is in depth, into the center of the luminous egg along the thickness of man's band.
Man is not the unknowable. Man's luminosity can be seen almost as if one were using the eyes alone.
The old seers saw the movement of the assemblage point but it never occurred to them that it was a movement in depth; instead they followed their seeing and coined the phrase "shift to the left," which the new seers retained although they knew that it was erroneous to call it a shift to the left.
The contention of the new seers is that in the course of our growth, once the glow of awareness focuses on man's band of emanations and selects some of them for emphasis, it enters into a vicious circle. The more it emphasizes certain emanations, the more stable the assemblage point gets to be. This is equivalent to saying that our command becomes the Indescribable Force's command. It goes without saying that when our awareness develops into the first attention the command is so strong that to break that circle and make the assemblage point shift is a genuine triumph.
The assemblage point is also responsible for making the first attention perceive in terms of clusters. An example of a cluster of emanations that receive emphasis together is the human body as we perceive it. Another part of our total being, our luminous cocoon, never receives emphasis and is relegated to oblivion; for the effect of the assemblage point is not only to make us perceive clusters of emanations, but also to make us disregard emanations.
The assemblage point radiates a glow that groups together bundles of encased emanations. These bundles then become aligned, as bundles, with the emanations at large. Clustering is carried out even when seers deal with the emanations that are never used. Whenever they are emphasized, we perceive them just as we perceive the clusters of the first attention.
One of the greatest moments the new seers had was when they found out that the unknown is merely the emanations discarded by the first attention. It's a huge affair, but an affair, mind you, where clustering can be done.
The unknowable, on the other hand, is an eternity where our assemblage point has no way of clustering anything.
The assemblage point is like a luminous magnet that picks emanations and groups them together wherever it moves within the bounds of man's band of emanations. This discovery was the glory of the new seers, for it put the unknown in a new light. The new seers noticed that some of the obsessive visions of seers, the ones that were almost impossible to conceive, coincided with a shift of the assemblage point to the region of man's band which is diametrically opposed to where it is ordinarily located.
Those were visions of the dark side of man. It is somber and foreboding. It's not only the unknown, but the who-cares-to-know-it.
The emanations that are inside the cocoon but out of the bounds of man's band can be perceived, but in really indescribable ways. They're not the human unknown, as is the case with the unused emanations in the band of man, but the nearly immeasurable unknown where human traits do not figure at all. It is really an area of such an overpowering vastness that the best of seers would be hard put to describe it.
The mystery is outside us. Inside us we have only emanations trying to break the cocoon. And this fact aberrates us, one way or another, whether we're average men or warriors. Only the new seers get around this. They struggle to see. And by means of the shifts of their assemblage points, they get to realize that the mystery is perceiving. Not so much what we perceive, but what makes us perceive.
The new seers believe that our senses are capable of detecting anything. They believe this because they see that the position of the assemblage point is what dictates what our senses perceive.
If the assemblage point aligns emanations inside the cocoon in a position different from its normal one, the human senses perceive in inconceivable ways.
The new seers are the warriors of total freedom, and their only search is the ultimate liberation that comes when they attain total awareness.
Warriors prepare themselves to be aware, and full awareness comes to them only when there is no more self-importance left in them. Only when they are nothing do they become everything.
* * *
Self-importance is the motivating force for every attack of melancholy. Warriors are entitled to have profound states of sadness, but that sadness is there only to make them laugh.
* * *
The articulation point of everything seers do is stopping the internal dialogue. The internal dialogue is what keeps the assemblage point fixed to its original position.
Once silence is attained, everything is possible. You stop talking to yourself by willing it, and thus you set a new intent, a new command. Then your command becomes the Indescribable Force's command.
This is one of the most extraordinary things that the new seers found out: that our command can become the Indescribable Force's command. The internal dialogue stops in the same way it begins: by an act of will. After all, we are forced to start talking to ourselves by those who teach us. As they teach us, they engage their will and we engage ours, both without knowing it. As we learn to talk to ourselves, we learn to handle will. We will ourselves to talk to ourselves. The way to stop talking to ourselves is to use exactly the same method: we must will it, we must intend it.
Infants are taught by everyone around them to repeat an endless dialogue about themselves. The dialogue becomes internalized, and that force alone keeps the assemblage point fixed.
The internal dialogue is a process that constantly strengthens the position of the assemblage point, because that position is an arbitrary one and needs steady reinforcement.
I have profound admiration for the human capacity to impart order to the chaos of the Indescribable Force's emanations. Every one of us, in his own right, is a masterful magician and our magic is to keep our assemblage point unwaveringly fixed.
The force of the emanations at large makes our assemblage point select certain emanations and cluster them for alignment and perception. That's the command of the Indescribable Force, but all the meaning that we give to what we perceive is our command, our gift of magic.
The new seers say that since the exact position of the assemblage point is an arbitrary position chosen for us by our ancestors, it can move with a relatively small effort; once it moves, it forces new alignments of emanations, thus new perceptions.
Power plants have that effect; but hunger, tiredness, fever, and other things like that can have a similar effect. The flaw of the average man is that he thinks the result of a shift is purely mental. It isn't.
On both edges of man's band of emanations there is a strange storage of refuse, an incalculable pile of human junk.
Any person can reach that storehouse by simply stopping his internal dialogue. If the shift is minimal, the results are explained as fantasies of the mind. If the shift is considerable, the results are called hallucinations.
One of the most mysterious aspects of the seers' knowledge is the incredible effects of inner silence. Once inner silence is attained, the bonds that tie the assemblage point to the particular spot where it is placed begin to break and the assemblage point is free to move.
If the assemblage point moves beyond a crucial threshold, the world vanishes; it ceases to be what it is to us at man's level.
I've explained to you that man has an assemblage point and that that assemblage point aligns emanations for perception. We've also discussed that that point moves from its fixed position. Now, the last truth is that once that assemblage point moves beyond a certain limit, it can assemble worlds entirely different from the world we know.
Without enough energy, the force of alignment is crushing. You have to have energy to sustain the pressure of alignments which never take place under ordinary circumstances.
Warriors are in the world to train themselves to be unbiased witnesses, so as to understand the mystery of ourselves and relish the exultation of finding what we really are. This is the highest of the new seers' goals. And not every warrior attains it.
To be a peerless nagual, one has to love freedom, and one has to have supreme detachment. What makes the warrior's path so very dangerous is that it is the opposite of the life situation of modern man. Modern man has left the realm of the unknown and the mysterious, and has settled down in the realm of the functional. He has turned his back to the world of the foreboding and the exulting and has welcomed the world of boredom.
To be given a chance to go back again to the mystery of the world is sometimes too much for warriors, and they succumb; they are waylaid by what I've called the high adventure of the unknown. They forget the quest for freedom; they forget to be unbiased witnessed. They sink into the unknown and love it.
In order to be unbiased witnesses, we begin by understanding that the fixation or the movement of the assemblage point is all there is to us and the world we witness, whatever that world might be.
* * *
The new seers say that when we were taught to talk to ourselves, we were taught the means to dull ourselves in order to keep the assemblage point fixed on one spot.
* * *
I'll tell you what my teacher said to me when I got to a certain point. He told me that I had been evicted from the home where I had lived all my live. A result of having saved energy had been the disruption of my cozy but utterly limiting and boring nest in the world of everyday life. My depression, he told me, was not so much the sadness of having lost my nest, but the annoyance of having to look for new quarters. "The new quarters are not as cozy," he said, "but they are infinitely more roomy."
My eviction notice came in the form of a great depression, a loss of the desire to live. When I told my teacher that I didn't want to live, he couldn't help laughing.
* * *
The position of the assemblage point on man's cocoon is maintained by the internal dialogue, and because of that, it is a flimsy position at best.
We are going to talk about the great bands of emanations. It is another key discovery that the old seers made, but in their aberration they relegated it to oblivion until it was rescued by the new seers.
The Indescribable Force's emanations are always grouped in clusters. The old seers called those clusters the great bands of emanations. They aren't really bands, but the name stuck.
For instance, there is an immeasurable cluster that produces organic beings. The emanations of that organic band have a sort of fluffiness. They are transparent and have a unique light of their own, a peculiar energy. They are aware, they jump. That's the reason why all organic beings are filled with a peculiar consuming energy. The other bands are darker, less fluffy. Some of them have no light at all, but a quality of opaqueness.
Organic beings belong to the same great band. Think of it as an enormously wide band of luminous filaments, luminous strings with no end. Organic beings are bubbles that grow around a group of luminous filaments. Imagine that in this band of organic life some bubbles are formed around the luminous filaments in the center of the band, others are formed close to the edges; the band is wide enough to accommodate every kind of organic being with room to spare. In such an arrangement, bubbles that are close to the edges of the band miss altogether the emanations that are in the center of the band, which are shared only by bubbles that are aligned with the center. By the same token, bubbles in the center miss the emanations from the edges.
As you can understand, organic beings share the emanations of one band; yet seers see that within that organic band beings are as different as they can be.
There are as many of these great bands as infinity itself. Seers have found out, however, that in the earth there are only forty-eight such bands.
For seers, that means there are forty-eight types of organizations on the earth, forty-eight types of clusters or structures. Organic life is one of them.
The old seers counted seven bands that produced inorganic bubbles of awareness. In other words, there are forty bands that produce bubbles without awareness; those are bands that generate only organization.
Think of the great bands as being like trees. All of them bear fruit; they produce containers filled with emanations; yet only eight of those trees bear edible fruit, that is, bubbles of awareness. Seven have sour fruit, but edible nonetheless, and one has the most juicy, luscious fruit there is.
What makes those eight bands produce awareness is the Indescribable Force ; which bestows awareness through its emanations. To say that the Indescribable Force bestows awareness through its emanations is like what a religious man would say about God, that God bestows life through love. However, the two statements are not made from the same point of view. And yet I think they mean the same thing. The difference is that seers see how the Indescribable Force bestows awareness through its emanations and religious men don't see how God bestows life through his love.
The Indescribable Force bestows awareness by means of three giant bundles of emanations that run through eight great bands. These bundles are quite peculiar, because they make seers feel a hue. One bundle gives the feeling of being beige-pink, something like the glow of pink-colored street lamps; another gives the feeling of being peach, like buff neon lights; and the third bundle gives the feeling of being amber, like clear honey.
So, it is a matter of seeing a hue when seers see that the Indescribable Force bestows awareness through its emanations. Religious men don't see God's love, but if they would see it, they would know that it is either pink, peach, or amber.
Man, for example, is attached to the amber bundle, but so are other beings. To know which beings share those emanations with man is something you will have to find out for yourself through your own seeing. There is no point in my telling you which ones; you would only be making another inventory. Suffice it to say that finding that out for yourself will be one of the most exciting things you'll ever do.
The pink and peach bundles belong to other living beings. I've told you that the glow of awareness in man has different colors. They are not really colors but casts of amber.
The amber bundle of awareness has an infinitude of subtle variants, which always denote differences in quality of awareness. Pink and pale-green amber are the most common casts. Blue amber is more unusual, but pure amber is by far the most rare.
Seers say that the amount of energy that one saves and stores determines the cast. Countless numbers of warriors have begun with an ordinary pink amber cast and have finished with the purest of all ambers.
The three bundles with all their casts crisscross the eight bands. In the organic band, the pink bundle belongs mainly to plants, the peach band belongs to insects, and the amber band belongs to man and other animals.
The same situation is prevalent in the inorganic bands. The three bundles of awareness produce specific kinds of inorganic beings in each of the seven great bands.
You may want me to elaborate on the kinds of inorganic beings that exist, however, that is another thing that you must see for yourself. The seven bands and what they produce are indeed inaccessible to human reason, but not to human seeing.
The great bands are neither flat nor round, but indescribably clustered together, like a pile of hay, which is held together in midair by the force of the hand that pitched it. Thus, there is no order to the emanations; to say that there is a central part or that there are edges is misleading, but necessary to understanding.
Inorganic beings produced by the seven other bands of awareness are characterized by having a container that has no motion; it is rather a formless receptacle with a low degree of luminosity. It does not look like the cocoon of organic beings. It lacks the tautness, the inflated quality that makes organic beings look like luminous balls bursting with energy.
The only similarity between inorganic and organic beings is that all of them have the awareness-bestowing pink or peach or amber emanations.
Those emanations, under certain circumstances make possible the most fascinating communication between the beings of those eight great bands.
Usually the organic beings, with their greater fields of energy, are the initiators of communication with inorganic beings, but a subtle and sophisticated follow-up is always the province of the inorganic beings. Once the barrier is broken, inorganic beings change and become what seers call allies. From that moment inorganic beings can anticipate the seers most subtle thoughts or moods or fears.
The old seers became mesmerized by such devotion from their allies. Stories are that the old seers could make their allies do anything they wanted. That was one of the reasons they believed in their own invulnerability. They got fooled by their self-importance. The allies have power only if the seer who sees them is the paragon of impeccability; and those old seers just weren't.
Inorganic beings are not as plentiful as organic ones, but this is offset by the greater number of bands of inorganic awareness. Also, the differences among the inorganic beings themselves are more vast than the differences among organisms, because organisms belong to only one band while inorganic beings belong to seven bands. Besides, inorganic beings live infinitely longer than organisms.
The old seers also came to realize that it is the high energy of organisms and the subsequent high development of their awareness that make them delectable morsels for the Indescribable Force. In the old seers' view, gluttony was the reason the Indescribable Force produced as many organisms as possible.
The product of the other forty great bands is not awareness at all, but a configuration of inanimate energy. The old seers chose to call whatever is produced by those bands, vessels. While cocoons and containers are fields of energetic awareness, which accounts for their independent luminosity, vessels are rigid receptacles that hold emanations without being fields of energetic awareness. Their luminosity comes only from the energy of the encased emanations.
You must bear in mind that everything on the earth is encased. Whatever we perceive is made up of portions of cocoons or vessels with emanations. Ordinarily, we don't perceive the containers of inorganic beings at all.
The total world is made of the forty-eight bands. The world that our assemblage point assembles for our normal perception is made up of two bands; one is the organic band, the other is a band that has only structure, but no awareness. The other forty-six great bands are not part of the world we normally perceive.
There are other complete worlds that our assemblage points can assemble. The old seers counted seven such worlds, one for each band of awareness. I'll add that two of those worlds, besides the world of everyday life, are easy to assemble; the other five are something else.
* * *
A shift of the assemblage point to the area below its customary position allows the seer a detailed and narrow view of the world we know. So detailed is that view that it seems to be an entirely different world. It is a mesmerizing view that has a tremendous appeal, especially for those seers who have an adventurous but somehow indolent and lazy spirit.
The change of perspective is very pleasant. Minimal effort is required, and the results are staggering. If a seer is driven by quick gain, there is no better maneuver than the shift below. The only problem is that in those positions of the assemblage point, seers are plagued by death, which happens even more brutally and more quickly than in man's position.
My teacher thought it was a great place for cavorting, but that's all. A true change of worlds happens only when the assemblage point moves into man's band, deep enough to reach a crucial threshold, at which stage the assemblage point can use another of the great bands.
How? It's a matter of energy. The force of alignment hooks another band, provided that the seer has enough energy. Our normal energy allows our assemblage points to use the force of alignment of one great band of emanations. And we perceive the world we know. But if we have a surplus of energy, we can use the force of alignment of other great bands, and consequently we perceive other worlds.
This may seem like an oddity to you, but trees, for instance, are closer to man than ants. I've told you that trees and man can develop a great relationship; that's so because they share emanations.
The reading of my compilation of Carlos Castaneda's books continues from here on this MP3
The cocoon of a giant tree is not much larger than the tree itself. The interesting part is that some tiny plants have a cocoon almost as big as a man's body and three times its width. Those are power plants. They share the largest amount of emanations with man, not the emanations of awareness, but other emanations in general.
Another thing unique about plants is that their luminosities have different casts. They are pinkish in general, because their awareness is pink. Poisonous plants are a pale yellow pink and medicinal plants are a bright violet pink. The only ones that are white pink are power plants; some are murky white, others are brilliant white.
But the real difference between plants and other organic beings is the location of their assemblage points. Plants have it on the lower part of their cocoon, while other organic beings have it on the upper part of their cocoon.
With the inorganic beings, some have it on the lower part of their containers. Those are thoroughly alien to man, but akin to plants. Others have it anywhere on the upper part of their containers. Those are close to man and other organic creatures.
The old seers were convinced that plants have the most intense communication with inorganic beings. They believed that the lower the assemblage point, the easier for plants to break the barrier of perception; very large trees and very small plants have their assemblage points extremely low in their cocoon. Because of this, a great number of the old seers' sorcery techniques were means to harness the awareness of trees and small plants in order to use them as guides to descend to what they called the deepest levels of the dark regions.
You understand, of course, that when they thought they were descending to the depths, they were, in fact, pushing their assemblage points to assemble other perceivable worlds with those seven great bands. They taxed their awareness to the limit and assembled worlds with five great bands that are accessible to seers only if they undergo a dangerous transformation. In their aberration they believed it was worth their while to break all the barriers of perception, even if they had to become trees to do that.
It is very easy in the path of knowledge to get lost in intricacies and morbidity. Seers are up against great enemies that can destroy their purpose, muddle their aims, and make them weak; enemies created by the warrior's path itself together with the sense of indolence, laziness, and self-importance that are integral parts of the daily world.
The mistakes the ancient seers made as a result of indolence, laziness, and self-importance were so enormous and so grave that the new seers had no option but to scorn and reject their own tradition.
The most important thing the new seers needed was practical steps in order to make their assemblage points shift. Since they had none, they began by developing a keen interest in seeing the glow of awareness, and as a result they worked out three sets of techniques that became their cornerstone.
With these three sets, the new seers accomplished a most extraordinary and difficult feat. They succeeded in systematically making the assemblage point shift away from its customary position. The old seers had also accomplished that feat, but by means of capricious, idiosyncratic maneuvers.
What the new seers saw in the glow of awareness resulted in the sequence in which they arranged the old seers' truths about awareness. This is known as the mastery of awareness. From that, they developed the three sets of techniques. The first is the mastery of stalking, the second is the mastery of intent, and the third is the mastery of dreaming. I taught you these three sets from the very first day we met.
Stalking had very humble and fortuitous origins. It started from an observation the new seers made that when warriors steadily behave in ways not customary for them, the unused emanations inside their cocoons begin to glow. And their assemblage points shift in a mild, harmonious, barely noticeable fashion.
Stimulated by this observation, the new seers began to practice the systematic control of their behavior. They called this practice the art of stalking. The name, although objectionable, is appropriate, because stalking entails a specific kind of behavior with people, behavior that can be categorized as surreptitious.
The new seers, armed with this technique, tackled the known in a sober and fruitful way. By continual practice, they made their assemblage points move steadily.
Stalking is one of the two greatest accomplishments of the new seers. And stalking is merely behavior with people.
You can now understand that shifting the assemblage point was the reason why the new seers placed such a high value on the interaction with petty tyrants. Petty tyrants force seers to use the principles of stalking and, in doing so, help seers to move their assemblage points.
Stalking belongs exclusively to the new seers. They are the only seers who have to deal with people. The old ones were so wrapped up in their sense of power that they didn't even know that people existed, until people started clobbering them on the head.
The mastery of intent together with the mastery of stalking are the new seers' two masterpieces, which mark the arrival of the modern-day seers. In their efforts to gain an advantage over their oppressors the new seers pursued every possibility. They knew that their predecessors had accomplished extraordinary feats by manipulating a mysterious and miraculous force, which they could only describe as power. The new seers had very little information about that force, so they were obliged to examine it systematically through seeing. Their efforts were amply rewarded when they discovered that the energy of alignment is that force.
They began by seeing how the glow of awareness increases in size and intensity as the emanations inside the cocoon are aligned with the emanations at large. They used that observation as a springboard, just as they had done with stalking, and went on to develop a complex series of techniques to handle that alignment of emanations.
At first they referred to those techniques as the mastery of alignment. Then they realized that what is involved is much more than alignment; what is involved is the energy that comes out of the alignment of emanations. They called that energy will.
Will became the second basis. The new seers understood it as a blind, impersonal, ceaseless burst of energy that makes us behave in the ways we do. Will accounts for our perception of the world of ordinary affairs, and indirectly, through the force of that perception, it accounts for the placement of the assemblage point in its customary position.
The new seers examined how the perception of the world of everyday life takes place and saw the effects of will. They saw that alignment is ceaselessly renewed in order to imbue perception with continuity. To renew alignment every time with the freshness that it needs to make up a living world, the burst of energy that comes out of those very alignments is automatically rerouted to reinforce some choice alignments.
This new observation served the new seers as another springboard that helped them reach the third basis of the set. They called it intent, and they described it as the purposeful guiding of will, the energy of alignment.
As time passed and the new seers established their practices, they realized that under the prevailing conditions of life, stalking only moved the assemblage points minimally. For maximum effect, stalking needed an ideal setting; it needed petty tyrants in positions of great authority and power. It became increasingly difficult for the new seers to place themselves in such situations; the task of improvising them or seeking them out became an unbearable burden.
The new seers deemed it imperative to see the Indescribable Force's emanations in order to find a more suitable way to move the assemblage point. As they tried to see the emanations they were faced with a very serious problem. They found out that there is no way to see them without running a mortal risk, and yet they had to see them. That was the time when they used the old seers' technique of dreaming as a shield to protect themselves from the deadly blow of the Indescribable Force's emanations. And in doing so, they realized that dreaming was in itself the most effective way to move the assemblage point.
One of the strictest commands of the new seers was that warriors have to learn dreaming while they are in their normal state of awareness. Following that command, I began teaching you dreaming almost from the first day we met.
Dreaming has to be taught in normal awareness because dreaming is so dangerous and dreamers so vulnerable. It is dangerous became it has inconceivable power; it makes dreamers vulnerable because it leaves them at the mercy of the incomprehensible force of alignment.
The new seers realized that in our normal state of awareness, we have countless defences that can safeguard us against the force of unused emanations that suddenly become aligned in dreaming.
Dreaming, like stalking, began with a simple observation. The old seers became aware that in dreams the assemblage point shifts slightly to the left side in a most natural manner. That point indeed relaxes when man sleeps and all kinds of unused emanations begin to glow.
The old seers became immediately intrigued with that observation and began to work with that natural shift until they were able to control it. They called that control dreaming, or the art of handling the dreaming body.
There is hardly a way of describing the immensity of their knowledge about dreaming. Very little of it, however, was of any use to the new seers. So when the time of reconstruction came, the new seers took for themselves only the bare essentials of dreaming to aid them in seeing the Indescribable Force's emanations and to help them move their assemblage points.
Seers, old and new, understand dreaming as being the control of the natural shift that the assemblage point undergoes in sleep. To control that shift does not mean in any way to direct it, but to keep the assemblage point fixed at the position where it naturally moves in sleep, a most difficult maneuver that took the old seers' enormous effort and concentration to accomplish.
Dreamers have to strike a very subtle balance, for dreams cannot be interfered with, nor can they be commanded by the conscious effort of the dreamer, and yet the shift of the assemblage point must obey the dreamer's command--a contradiction that cannot be rationalized but must be resolved in practice.
After observing dreamers while they slept, the old seers hit upon the solution of letting dreams follow their natural course. They have seen that in some dreams, the assemblage point of the dreamer would drift considerably deeper into the left side than in other dreams. This observation posed to them the question of whether the content of the dream makes the assemblage point move, or the movement of the assemblage point by itself produces the content of the dream by activating unused emanations.
They soon realized that the shifting of the assemblage point into the left side is what produces dreams. The farther the movement, the more vivid and bizarre the dream. Inevitably, they attempted to command their dreams, aiming to make their assemblage points move deeply into the left side. Upon trying it, they discovered that when dreams are consciously or semiconsciously manipulated, the assemblage point immediately returns to its usual place. Since what they wanted was for that point to move, they reached the unavoidable conclusion that interfering with dreams was interfering with the natural shift of the assemblage point.
From there the old seers went on to develop their astounding knowledge on the subject--a knowledge which had a tremendous bearing on what the new seers aspired to do with dreaming, but was of little use to them in its original form.
Thus far you have understood dreaming as being the control of dreams, and every one of the exercises I have given you to perform, such as finding your hands in your dreams, was not, although it might seem to be, aimed at teaching you to command your dreams. Those exercises were designed to keep your assemblage point fixed at the place where it had moved in your sleep. It is here that the dreamers have to strike a subtle balance. All they can direct is the fixation of their assemblage points. Seers are like fishermen equipped with a line that casts itself wherever it may; the only thing they can do is keep the line anchored at the place where it sinks.
Wherever the assemblage point moves in dreams is called the dreaming position. The old seers became so expert at keeping their dreaming position that they were even able to wake up while their assemblage points were anchored there.
The old seers called that state the dreaming body, because they controlled it to the extreme of creating a temporary new body every time they woke up at a new dreaming position. I have to make it clear to you that dreaming has a terrible drawback. It belongs to the old seers. It's tainted with their mood. I've been very careful in guiding you through it, but still there is no way to make sure.
I'm warning you about the pitfalls of dreaming, which are truly stupendous. In dreaming, there is really no way of directing the movement of the assemblage point; the only thing that dictates that shift is the inner strength or weakness of dreamers. Right there we have the first pitfall.
At first the new seers were hesitant to use dreaming. It was their belief that dreaming, instead of fortifying, made warriors weak, compulsive, capricious. The old seers were all like that. In order to offset the nefarious effect of dreaming, since they had no other option but to use it, the new seers developed a complex and rich system of behavior called the warrior's way, or the warrior's path.
With that system, the new seers fortified themselves and acquired the internal strength they needed to guide the shift of the assemblage point in dreams. The strength that I am talking about is not conviction alone. No one could have had stronger convictions than the old seers, and yet they were weak to the core. Internal strength means a sense of equanimity, almost of indifference, a feeling of being at ease, but, above all, it means a natural and profound bent for examination, for understanding. The new seers called all these traits of character sobriety.
The conviction that the new seers have is that a life of impeccability by itself leads unavoidably to a sense of sobriety, and this in turn leads to the movement of the assemblage point.
I've said that the new seers believed that the assemblage point can be moved from within. They went one step further and maintained that impeccable men need no one to guide them, that by themselves, through saving their energy, they can do everything that seers do. All they need is a minimal chance, just to be cognizant of the possibilities that seers have unraveled.
All that is required is impeccability, energy, and that begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise, and sustained. If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent, which can be applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his full potential. When a warrior understands all of that, it will indeed be a godsent example of the strength that I am talking about. At that point his assemblage point will have shifted, it will have been moved by sobriety to a position that fosters understanding, instead of being moved by capriciousness, to a position that only enhances self-importance.
* * *
The name dreaming body means a feeling, a surge of energy that is transported by the movement of the assemblage point to any place in this world, or to any place in the seven worlds available to man.
The procedure for getting to the dreaming body starts with an initial act which by the fact of being sustained breeds unbending intent. Unbending intent leads to internal silence, and internal silence to the inner strength needed to make the assemblage point shift in dreams to suitable positions.
This sequence is the groundwork. The development of control comes after the groundwork has been completed; it consists of systematically maintaining the dreaming position by doggedly holding on to the vision of the dream. Steady practice results in a great facility to hold new dreaming positions with new dreams, not so much because one gains deliberate control with practice, but because every time this control is exercised the inner strength gets fortified. Fortified inner strength in turn makes the assemblage point shift into dreaming positions which are more and more suitable to fostering sobriety; in other words, dreams by themselves become more and more manageable, even orderly.
The development of dreamers is indirect. That's why the new seers believed we can do dreaming by ourselves, alone. Since dreaming uses a natural, built-in shift of the assemblage point, we should need no one to help us.
What we badly need is sobriety, and no one can give it to us or help us get it except ourselves. Without it, the shift of the assemblage point is chaotic, as our ordinary dreams are chaotic. So, all in all, the procedure to get to the dreaming body is impeccability in our daily life.
Once sobriety is acquired and the dreaming positions become increasingly stronger, the next step is to wake up at any dreaming position. That maneuver, although made to sound simple, is really a very complex affair--so complex that it requires not only sobriety but all the attributes of warriorship as well, especially intent.
Intent, being the most sophisticated control of the force of alignment, is what maintains, through the dreamer's sobriety, the alignment of whatever emanations have been lit up by the movement of the assemblage point.
There is one more formidable pitfall of dreaming : the very strength of the dreaming body. For example, it is very easy for the dreaming body to gaze at the Indescribable Force's emanations uninterruptedly for long periods of time, but it is also very easy in the end for the dreaming body to be totally consumed by them. Seers who gazed at the Indescribable Force's emanations without their dreaming bodies died, and those who gazed at them with their dreaming bodies burned with the fire from within. The new seers solved the problem by seeing in teams. While one seer gazed at the emanations, others stood by ready to end the seeing.
It's perfectly possible for a group of seers to activate the same unused emanations. And in this case also, there are no known steps, it just happens; there is no technique to follow.
In dreaming together, something in us takes the lead and suddenly we find ourselves sharing the same view with other dreamers. What happens is that our human condition makes us focus the glow of awareness automatically on the same emanations that other human beings are using; we adjust the position of our assemblage points to fit the others around us. We do that on the right side, in our ordinary perception, and we also do it on the left side, while dreaming together.
Any warrior can be successful with people provided that he moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him, dislike him, or ignore him.
* * *
The two basic qualities of warriors are sustained effort and unbending intent.
* * *
It goes without saying that the most difficult thing in the warrior's path is to make the assemblage point move. That movement is the completion of the warrior's quest. To go on from there is another quest; it is the seers' quest proper.
In the warrior's way, the shift of the assemblage point is everything. The old seers absolutely failed to realize this truth. They thought the movement of the point was like a marker that determined their positions on a scale of worth. They never conceived that it was that very position which determined what they perceived.
The position of the assemblage point dictates how we behave and how we feel. The way to move that point is to establish new habits, to will it to move.
* * *
The only way to deal with peerless warriors is not to have self-importance, so that one can celebrate them unbiasedly.
* * *
Realizations are of two kinds. One is just pep talk, great outbursts of emotion and nothing more. The other is the product of a shift of the assemblage point; it is not coupled with an emotional outburst but with action. The emotional realizations come years later after warriors have solidified, by usage, the new position of their assemblage points.
The earth itself is a living being. The old seers saw that the earth has a cocoon. They saw that there is a ball encasing the earth, a luminous cocoon that entraps the Indescribable Force's emanations. The earth is a gigantic sentient being subjected to the same forces we are.
The old seers, on discovering this, became immediately interested in the practical uses of that knowledge. The result of their interest was that the most elaborate categories of their sorcery had to do with the earth. They considered the earth to be the ultimate source of everything we are.
The old seers were not mistaken in this respect, because the earth is indeed our ultimate source. It was the old seers who, on discovering that perception is alignment, stumbled onto something monumental. That the magic key that opens the earth's doors is made of internal silence plus anything that shines.
Just cut off the internal dialogue. The key to everything is the firsthand knowledge that the earth is a sentient being and as such can give warriors a tremendous boost; it is an impulse that comes from the awareness of the earth itself at the instant in which the emanations inside warriors' cocoons are aligned with the appropriate emanations inside the earth's cocoon. Since both the earth and man are sentient beings, their emanations coincide, or rather, the earth has all the emanations present in man and all the emanations that are present in all sentient beings, organic and inorganic for that matter. When a moment of alignment takes place, sentient beings use that alignment in a limited way and perceive their world. Warriors can use that alignment either to perceive, like everyone else, or as a boost that allows them to enter unimaginable worlds.
The unknown is not really inside the cocoon of man in the emanations untouched by awareness, and yet it is there, in a manner of speaking. When I say that we can assemble seven worlds besides the one we know, don't take it as being an internal affair.
The portion of emanations inside man's cocoon is in there only for awareness, and awareness is matching that portion of emanations with the same portion of emanations at large. They are called emanations at large because they are immense; and to say that outside man's cocoon is the unknowable is to say that within the earth's cocoon is the unknowable. However, inside the earth's cocoon is also the unknown, and inside man's cocoon the unknown is the emanations untouched by awareness. When the glow of awareness touches them, they become active and can be aligned with the corresponding emanations at large. Once that happens the unknown is perceived and becomes the known.
* * *
A nagual never lets anyone know that he is in charge. A nagual comes and goes without leaving a trace. That freedom is what makes him a nagual.
* * *
When man's assemblage point moves beyond a crucial limit, the results are always the same for every man. The techniques to make it move may be as different as they can be, but the results are always the same, meaning that the assemblage point assembles other worlds, aided by the boost from the earth.
The boost from the earth is the same for every man. The difficulty for the average man is the internal dialogue. Only when a state of total silence is attained can one use the boost. You will corroborate that truth the day you try to use that boost by yourself.
It takes years to become an impeccable warrior. In order to withstand the impact of the earth's boost you must be better than you are now.
The speed of that boost will dissolve everything about you. Under its impact we become nothing. Speed and the sense of individual existence don't go together.
There's one thing you haven't understood yet about the earth's being a sentient being; that the supreme awareness of the earth is what makes it possible for us to change into other great bands of emanations.
We living beings are perceivers. And we perceive because some emanations inside man's cocoon become aligned with some emanations outside. Alignment, therefore, is the secret passageway, and the earth's boost is the key.
Alignment has to be a very peaceful, unnoticeable act. The sobriety needed to let the assemblage point assemble other worlds is something that cannot be improvised. Sobriety has to mature and become a force in itself before warriors can break the barrier of perception with impunity.
The position of the assemblage point is everything, and the world it makes us perceive is so real that it does not leave room for anything except realness.
When the assemblage point assembles a world, that world is total. This is the marvel that the old seers stumbled upon and never realized what it was; the awareness of the earth can give us a boost to align other great bands of emanations, and the force of that new alignment makes the world vanish.
Every time the old seers made a new alignment, they believed they had descended to the depths below or ascended to the heavens above. They never knew that the world disappears like a puff of air when a new total alignment makes us perceive another total world.
To see the Indescribable Force's emanations you must first move your assemblage point until you see the cocoon of man.
Alignment is a unique force because it either helps the assemblage point shift, or it keeps it glued to its customary position. The aspect of alignment that keeps the point stationary is will ; and the aspect that makes it shift is intent. One of the most haunting mysteries is how will, the impersonal force of alignment, changes into intent, the personalized force, which is at the service of each individual.
The strangest part of this mystery is that the change is so easy to accomplish. But what is not so easy is to convince ourselves that it is possible. There, right there, is our safety catch. We have to be convinced. And none of us wants to be.
It is possible for you to intend your assemblage point to shift deeper into your left side, to a dreaming position. Warriors should never attempt seeing unless they are aided by dreaming.
To move the assemblage point away from its natural setting and to keep it fixed at a new location is to be asleep; with practice, seers learn to be asleep and yet behave as if nothing is happening to them.
* * *
For purposes of seeing the cocoon of man, one has to gaze at people from behind, as they walk away. It is useless to gaze at people face to face, because the front of the egglike cocoon of man has a protective shield, which seers call the front plate. It is an almost impregnable, unyielding shield that protects us throughout our lives against the onslaught of a peculiar force that stems from the emanations themselves called the rolling force, or the tumbler.
The tumbler is a force from the Indescribable Force's emanations. A ceaseless force that strikes us every instant of our lives. It is lethal when seen, but otherwise we are oblivious to it, in our ordinary lives, because we have protective shields. We have consuming interests that engage all our awareness. We are permanently worried about our station, our possessions. These shields, however, do not keep the tumbler away, they simply keep us from seeing it directly, protecting us in this way from getting hurt by the fright of seeing the balls of fire hitting us. Shields are a great help and a great hindrance to us. They pacify us and at the same time fool us. They give us a false sense of security.
A moment will come in your life when you will be without any shields, uninterruptedly at the mercy of the tumbler. It is an obligatory stage in the life of a warrior known as losing the human form.
Seers describe the human form as the compelling force of alignment of the emanations lit by the glow of awareness on the precise spot on which normally man's assemblage point is fixated. It is the force that makes us into persons. Thus, to be a person is to be compelled to affiliate with that force of alignment and consequently to be affiliated with the precise spot where it originates.
By reason of their activities, at a given moment the assemblage point of warriors drift toward the left. It is a permanent move, which results in an uncommon sense of aloofness, or control, or even abandon. That drift of the assemblage point entails a new alignment of emanations. It is the beginning of a series of greater shifts. Seers very aptly called this initial shift losing the human form, because it marks an inexorable movement of the assemblage point away from its original setting, resulting in the irreversible loss of our affiliation to the force that makes us persons.
* * *
Seeing is a euphemism for moving the assemblage point. * * *
There are balls of fire that are of crucial importance to human beings because they are the expression of a force that pertains to all details of life and death, something that the new seers called the rolling force.
The rolling force is the means through which the Indescribable Force distributes life and awareness for safekeeping. But it also is the force that, let's say, collects the rent. It makes all living beings die. The ancient seers describe the tumbler as an eternal line of iridescent rings, or balls of fire, that roll onto living beings ceaselessly.
Luminous organic beings meet to rolling force head on, until the day when the force proves to be too much for them and the creatures finally collapse.
By becoming familiar with the rolling force through the mastery of intent, the new seers, at a given moment, open their own cocoons and the force floods them rather than rolling them up like a curled-up sowbug. The final result is their total and instantaneous disintegration.
Move your assemblage point, first by setting up your unbending intent to move it, and second by letting the context of the situation dictate where it should move. Don't worry about procedures, because most of the really unusual things that happen to seers, or to the average man for that matter, happen by themselves, with only the intervention of intent. You are not consciously refusing to let your assemblage point move. Every human being does that automatically.
Something is going to scare the living daylights out of you. Don't give up, because if you do, you'll die. Warriors live with death at their side, and from the knowledge that death is with them they draw the courage to face anything. The worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and since that is already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who have lost everything no longer have anything to fear.
* * *
Your first attention doesn't want to give up control.
* * *
A shift of the assemblage point is marked by a change in light. In the daytime, light becomes very dark; at night, darkness becomes twilight. Don't indulge in fear, especially after you have realized that warriors have nothing to fear. When fear disappears all the ties that bind us dissolve.
* * *
The earth's boost is the force of alignment of only the amber emanations. It is a boost that heightens awareness to unthinkable degrees. To the new seers it is a blast of unlimited consciousness, which they call total freedom.
The tumbler's boost, on the other hand, is the force of death. Under the impact of the tumbler, the assemblage point moves to new, unpredictable positions.
Technically, as soon as the assemblage point shifts, we are asleep. You are absolutely asleep without having to be stretched out.
During normal sleep, the shift of the assemblage point runs along either edge of man's band. Such shifts are always coupled with slumber. Shifts that are induced by practice occur along the midsection of man's band and are not coupled with slumber, yet a dreamer is asleep.
The new seers maintain their assemblage points along the midsection of man's band. If the shift is a shallow one, like the shift into heightened awareness, the dreamer is almost like anyone else in the street, except for a slight vulnerability to emotions, such as fear and doubt. But at a certain degree of depth, the dreamer who is shifting along the midsection becomes a blob of light. A blob of light is the dreaming body of the new seers. Such an impersonal dreaming body is conducive to understanding and examination, which are the basis of all that the new seers do.
I have given you a detailed account of the two forces that aid our assemblage points to move: the earth's boost and the rolling force; plus the three techniques worked out by the new seers--stalking, intent, and dreaming --and their effects on the movement of the assemblage point.
Now, the only thing left for you to do before the explanation of the mastery of awareness is complete is to break the barrier of perception by yourself. You must move your assemblage point, unaided by anyone, and align another great band of emanations. Not to do this will turn everything you've learned and done with me into merely talk, just words. And words are fairly cheap.
When the assemblage point is moving away from its customary position and reaches a certain depth, it breaks a barrier that momentarily disrupts its capacity to align emanations. We experience it as a moment of perceptual blankness. The old seers called that moment the wall of fog, because a bank of fog appears whenever the alignment of emanations falters.
There are three ways of dealing with it. It can be taken abstractly as a barrier of perception; it can be felt as the act of piercing a tight paper screen with the entire body; or it can be seen as a wall of fog.
There is great comfort and ease in seeing it as a wall of fog, but there is also the grave danger of turning something incomprehensible into something somber and foreboding; hence, my recommendation is to keep incomprehensible things incomprehensible rather than making them part of the inventory of the first attention.
Exercises of assembling other worlds allow the assemblage point to gain experience in shifting. The initial boost to dislodge your assemblage point from its usual position comes from intent. Since alignment is the force that is involved in everything, intent is what makes the assemblage point move.
The mastery of awareness is what gives the assemblage point its boost. After all, there is really very little to us human beings; we are, in essence, an assemblage point fixed at a certain position. Our enemy and at the same time our friend is our internal dialogue, our inventory. Be a warrior; shut off your internal dialogue; make your inventory and then throw it away. The new seers make accurate inventories and then laugh at them. Without the inventory the assemblage point becomes free.
* * *
The mold of man is a huge cluster of emanations in the great band of organic life. It is called the mold of man because the cluster appears only inside the cocoon of man.
The mold of man is the portion of the Indescribable Force's emanations that seers can see directly without any danger to themselves.
To break the barrier of perception is the last task of the mastery of awareness. In order to move your assemblage point to that position you must gather enough energy.
Anger is a natural reaction to the hesitation of the assemblage point to move on command. It will be a long time before you can apply the principle that your command is the Indescribable Force's command. That's the essence of the mastery of intent. In the meantime, make a command now not to fret, not even at the worst moments of doubt. It will be a slow process until that command is heard and obeyed as if it were the Indescribable Force's command.
There is an unmeasurable area of awareness in between the customary position of the assemblage point and the position where there are no more doubts, which is almost the place where the barrier of perception makes its appearance. In that unmeasurable area, warriors fall prey to every conceivable misdeed. Be on the lookout and don't lose confidence, for you will unavoidably be struck at one time or another by gripping feelings of defeat.
The new seers recommend a very simple act when impatience, or despair, or anger, or sadness comes their way. They recommend that warriors roll their eyes. Any direction will do; I prefer to roll mine clockwise. The movement of the eyes makes the assemblage point shift momentarily. In that movement, you will find relief. This is in lieu of true mastery of intent.
To see the mold of man on your own, unaided by anyone, is an important step, because all of us have certain ideas that must be broken before we are free; the seer who travels into the unknown to see the unknowable must be in an impeccable state of being. To be in an impeccable state of being is to be free of rational assumptions and rational fears.
The old seers as well as the mystics of our world have one thing in common--they have been able to see the mold of man but not understand what it is. Mystics, throughout the centuries, have given us moving accounts of their experiences. But these accounts, however beautiful, are flawed by the gross and despairing mistake of believing the mold of man to be an omnipotent, omniscient creator; and so is the interpretation of the old seers, who called the mold of man a friendly spirit, a protector of man.
The new seers are the only ones who have the sobriety to see the mold of man and understand what it is; the pattern of every human attribute we can think of and some we cannot even conceive. We are what it stamps us with.
Anyone who sees the mold of man automatically assumes that it is God. The new seers have seen that what we call God is a static prototype of humanness without any power. We are simply the product of its stamp; we are its impression. The mold of man is exactly what its name tells us it is, a pattern, a form, a cast that groups together a particular bunch of fiberlike elements, which we call man.
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Real affection cannot be an investment.
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There are two ways of seeing the mold of man. You can see it as a man or you can see it as a light. That depends on the shift of the assemblage point. If the shift is lateral, the mold is a human being; if the shift is in the midsection of man's band, the mold is a light.
The position where one sees the mold of man is very close to that where the dreaming body and the barrier of perception appear. That is the reason the new seers recommend that the mold of man be seen and understood.
Freedom is like a contagious disease. It is transmitted; its carrier is an impeccable nagual. People might not appreciate that, and that's because they don't want to be free. Freedom is frightening. Remember that. But not for us.
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The dreaming body and the barrier of perception are positions of the assemblage point, and that knowledge is as vital to seers as knowing how to read and write is to modern man. Both are accomplishments attained after years of practice.
The dreaming body is known by different names. The name I like the best is, the Other. We can be in two places at once, we can experience a sort of perceptual dualism. There is no end to the mystery of man and to the mystery of the world.
The only thing that soothes those who journey into the unknown, is oblivion. What a relief to be in the ordinary world!
For warriors, there are two positions of the assemblage point where there are no more doubts. In one you have no more doubts because you know everything. In the other, which is normal awareness, you have no doubts because you don't know anything.
No rational assumptions should interfere with the actions of a seer. Rationality is a condition of alignment, merely the result of the position of the assemblage point. You have to understand this when you are in a state of great vulnerability. To understand it when your assemblage point has reached the position where there are no doubts is useless, because realizations of that nature are commonplace in that position. It is equally useless to understand it in a state of normal awareness; in that state, such realizations are emotional outbursts that are valid only for as long as the emotion lasts.
You can travel by waking up at a distant dreaming position. By moving your assemblage point from normal awareness all the way to the position where the dreaming body appears, your dreaming body can actually fly over incredible distances in the blink of an eyelid. The mystery is in the dreaming position. If it is strong enough to pull you, you can go to the ends of this world or beyond it, just as the old seers did. They disappeared from this world because they woke up at a dreaming position beyond the limits of the known.
There is no way of knowing how it is done. Strong emotion or unbending intent, or great interest serves as a guide; then the assemblage point gets powerfully fixed at the dreaming position, long enough to drag there all the emanations that are inside the cocoon.
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Now you need to have one last clarification: the coherent but irrational realization that everything in the world we have learned to perceive is inextricably tied to the position where the assemblage point is located. If the assemblage point is displaced from that position, the world will cease to be what it is to us.
The reading of my compilation of Carlos Castaneda's books continues from here on this MP3
A displacement of the assemblage point beyond the midline of the cocoon of man makes the entire world we know vanish from our view in one instant, as if it had been erased--for the stability, the substantiality, that seems to belong to our perceivable world is just the force of alignment. Certain emanations are routinely aligned because of the fixation of the assemblage point on one specific spot; that is all there is to our world.
The soundness of the world is not the mirage. The mirage is the fixation of the assemblage point on any spot. When seers shift their assemblage points, they are not confronted with an illusion, they are confronted with another world; that new world is as real as the one we are watching now, but the new fixation of their assemblage points, which produces that new world, is as much of a mirage as the old fixation.
There is probably no way to soothe anyone who realizes the journey of the dreaming body.
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You say that you feel terribly sad. Who cares about sadness? Think only of the mysteries; mystery is all that matters. We are living beings; we have to die and relinquish our awareness. But if we could change just a tinge of that, what mysteries must await us! What mysteries!
Warriors end their training when they are capable of breaking the barrier of perception, unaided, starting from a normal state of awareness.
The only force that can temporarily cancel out alignment is alignment. By intending a new position for your assemblage point and by intending to keep it fixed their long enough, you will assemble another of the seven worlds and escape this one. You'll be separated from your normal world by the very barrier that you have broken: the barrier of perception. But you will remain. That is the mystery.
The wall of fog, the plain with yellow dunes, the world of the apparitions--all are lateral alignments that our assemblage points make as they approach a crucial position.
To assemble other worlds is not only a matter of practice, but a matter of intent. And it isn't merely an exercise of bouncing out of those worlds, like being pulled by a rubber band. You see, a seer has to be daring. Once you break the barrier of perception, you don't have to come back to the same place in the world. See what I mean.
For warriors the danger of assembling other worlds is that those worlds are as possessive as our world. The force of alignment is such that once the assemblage point breaks away from its normal position, it becomes fixed at other positions, by other alignments, and warriors run the risk of getting stranded in inconceivable aloneness.
Breaking the barrier of perception is the culmination of everything seers do. From the moment that barrier is broken, man and his fate take on a different meaning for warriors.
What you are going to do is to make this world vanish. But you are going to remain somewhat yourself. This is the ultimate bastion of awareness, the one the new seers count on. They know that after they burn with consciousness, they somewhat retain the sense of being themselves.
This street, like all others, leads to eternity. All you have to do is follow it in total silence.
Intend the movement of your assemblage point. You must remember that intent begins with a command.
If warriors are going to have an internal dialogue, they should have the proper dialogue. That's the detached manipulation of intent through sober commands.
The manipulation of intent begins with a command given to oneself; the command is then repeated until it becomes the Indescribable Force's command, and then the assemblage point shifts, accordingly, the moment warriors reach inner silence.
The fact that such a maneuver is possible is something of the most singular importance to seers. It means escaping the Indescribable Force by moving their assemblage points to a particular dreaming position called total freedom.
The old seers discovered that it is possible to move the assemblage point to the limit of the known and keep it fixed there in a state of prime heightened awareness. From that position, they saw the feasibility of slowly shifting their assemblage points permanently to other positions beyond that limit--a stupendous feat fraught with daring but lacking sobriety, for they could never retract the movement of their assemblage points, or perhaps they never wanted to.
Adventurous men, faced with the choice of dying in the world of ordinary affairs or dying in unknown worlds, will unavoidably choose the latter. The new seers, realizing that their predecessors had chosen merely to change the locale of their death, came to understand the futility of it all; The futility of struggling to control their fellow men, the futility of assembling other worlds, and, above all, the futility of self-importance.
One of the most fortunate decisions that the new seers made was never to allow their assemblage points to move permanently to any position other than heightened awareness. From that position, they actually resolved their dilemma of futility and found out that the solution is not simply to choose an alternate world in which to die, but to choose total consciousness, total freedom.
By choosing total freedom, the new seers unwittingly continued in the tradition of their predecessors and became the quintessence of the death defiers.
The new seers discovered that if the assemblage point is made to shift constantly to the confines of the unknown, but is made to return to a position at the limit of the known, then when it is suddenly released it moves like lightning across the entire cocoon of man, aligning all the emanations inside the cocoon at once.
The new seers burn with the force of alignment, with the force of will, which they have turned into the force of intent through a life of impeccability. Intent is the alignment of all the amber emanations of awareness, so it is correct to say that total freedom means total awareness.
Freedom is the Indescribable Force's gift to man. Unfortunately, very few men understand that all we need, in order to accept such a magnificent gift, is to have sufficient energy. If that's all we need, then, by all means, we must become misers of energy in order to accept the Indescribable Force's gift ourselves.
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