Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings

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The Power of Silence



     

At various times I've attempted to name my knowledge for your benefit. I've said that the most appropriate name is nagualism, but that that term is too obscure. Calling it simply "knowledge" makes it too vague, and to call it "witchcraft" is debasing. "The mastery of intent " is too abstract, and "the search for total freedom" too long and metaphorical. Finally, because I've been unable to find a more appropriate name, I've called it "sorcery." You consider if it is accurate or not.
      I've given you different definitions of sorcery, but I have always maintained that definitions change as knowledge increases. Now you are in a position to appreciate a clearer definition.
     
From where the average man stands, sorcery is nonsense or an ominous mystery beyond his reach. And he is right--not because this is an absolute fact, but because the average man lacks the energy to deal with sorcery.
      Human beings are born with a finite amount of energy, an energy that is systematically deployed, beginning at the moment of birth, in order that it may be used most advantageously by the modality of the time.
      The modality of the time is the precise bundle of energy fields being perceived. I believe man's perception has changed through the ages. The actual time decides the mode; the time decides which precise bundle of energy fields, out of an incalculable number, are to be used. And handling the modality of the time--those few, selected energy fields--takes all our available energy, leaving us nothing that would help us use any of the other energy fields.
      The average man, if he uses only the energy he has, can't perceive the worlds sorcerers do. To perceive them, sorcerers need to use a cluster of energy fields not ordinarily used. Naturally, if the average man is to perceive those worlds and understand sorcerers' perception he must use the same cluster they have used. And this is just not possible, because all his energy is already deployed.
      Think of it this way. It isn't that as time goes by you're learning sorcery; rather, what you're learning is to save energy. And this energy will enable you to handle some of the energy fields which are inaccessible to you now. And that is sorcery: the ability to use energy fields that are not employed in perceiving the ordinary world we know. Sorcery is a state of awareness. Sorcery is the ability to perceive something which ordinary perception cannot.
      Everything a teacher puts his apprentice through, each of the things he shows him is only a device to convince him that there's more to us than meets the eye.
      We don't need anyone to teach us sorcery, because there is really nothing to learn. What we need is a teacher to convince us that there is incalculable power at our fingertips. What a strange paradox! Every warrior on the path of knowledge thinks, at one time or another, that he's learning sorcery, but all he's doing is allowing himself to be convinced of the power hidden in his being, and that he can reach it.
      I'm trying to convince you that you can reach that power. I went through the same thing. And I was as hard to convince as you are. Once we have reached it, it will, by itself, make use of energy fields which are available to us but inaccessible. And that, as I have said, is sorcery. We begin then to see --that is, to perceive--something else; not as imagination, but as real and concrete. And then we begin to know without having to use words. And what any of us does with that increased perception, with that silent knowledge, depends on our own temperament.
      Now, I'm going to give you a different and more precise definition of sorcery.
      In the universe there is an unmeasurable, indescribable force which sorcerers call intent. Absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link. Sorcerers, warriors, are concerned with discussing, understanding, and employing that connecting link. They are especially concerned with cleaning it of the numbing effects brought about by the ordinary concerns of their everyday lives. Sorcery at this level could be defined as the procedure of cleaning one's connecting link to intent.
      The task of sorcery is to take this seemingly incomprehensible knowledge and make it understandable by the standards of awareness of everyday life.
      The guide in the lives of sorcerers is called "the nagual." The nagual is a man or a woman with extraordinary energy, a teacher who has sobriety, endurance, stability; someone seers see as a luminous sphere having four compartments, as if four luminous balls have been compressed together. Naguals are responsible for supplying what sorcerers call "the minimal chance": the awareness of one's connection with intent .
      Naguals school their apprentices toward three areas of expertise: the mastery of awareness , the art of stalking , and the mastery of intent . These three areas of expertise are the three riddles sorcerers encounter in their search for knowledge.
      The mastery of awareness is the riddle of the mind; the perplexity sorcerers experience when they recognize the astounding mystery and scope of awareness and perception.
      The art of stalking is the riddle of the heart; the puzzlement sorcerers feel upon becoming aware of two things: first that the world appears to us to be unalterably objective and factual, because of peculiarities of our awareness and perception; second, that if different peculiarities of perception come into play, the very things about the world that seem so unalterably objective and factual change.
      The mastery of intent is the riddle of the spirit, or the paradox of the abstract--sorcerers' thoughts and actions projected beyond our human condition.
      The art of stalking and the mastery of intent depend upon instruction on the mastery of awareness, which consists of the following basic premises:
     

  1. The universe is an infinite agglomeration of energy fields, resembling threads of light.
         
  2. These energy fields, called the Eagle's, or the Indescribable Force 's emanations, radiate from a source of inconceivable proportions metaphorically called the Eagle--the Indescribable Force .
         
  3. Human beings are also composed of an incalculable number of the same threadlike energy fields. These Indescribable Force 's emanations form an encased agglomeration that manifests itself as a ball of light the size of the person's body with the arms extended laterally, like a giant luminous egg.
         
  4. Only a very small group of the energy fields inside this luminous ball are lit up by a point of intense brilliance located on the ball's surface.
         
  5. Perception occurs when the energy fields in that small group immediately surrounding the point of brilliance extent their light to illuminate identical energy fields outside the ball. Since the only energy fields perceivable are those lit by the point of brilliance, that point is named "the point where perception is assembled" or simply "the assemblage point."
         
  6. The assemblage point can be moved from its usual position on the surface of the luminous ball to another position on the surface, or into the interior. Since the brilliance of the assemblage point can light up whatever energy field it comes in contact with, when it moves to a new position it immediately brightens up new energy fields, making them perceivable. This perception is known as seeing .
         
  7. When the assemblage point shifts, it makes possible the perception of an entirely different world--as objective and factual as the one we normally perceive. Sorcerers go into that other world to get energy, power, solutions to general and particular problems, or to face the unimaginable.
         
  8. Intent is the pervasive force that causes us to perceive. We do not become aware because we perceive; rather, we perceive as a result of the pressure and intrusion of intent .
         
  9. The aim of sorcerers is to reach a state of total awareness in order to experience all the possibilities of perception available to man. This state of awareness even implies an alternative way of dying.
          * * *
          A level of practical knowledge is included as part of teaching the mastery of awareness. On this practical level are taught the procedures necessary to move the assemblage point. The two great systems devised by the sorcerer seers of ancient times to accomplish this are dreaming , the control and utilization of dreams; and stalking , the control of behavior.
          Moving one's assemblage point is an essential maneuver that every sorcerer has to learn.
         
         

sorcerers consult their past in order to obtain a point of reference. Establishing a point of reference means getting a chance to examine intent and nothing can give sorcerers a better view of intent than examining stories of other sorcerers battling to understand the same force.
      In sorcery there are abstract cores, and then, based on those abstract cores, there are scores of sorcery stories about the naguals of our lineage battling to understand the spirit.
      * * *
      The only way to know intent is to know it directly through a living connection that exists between intent and all sentient beings. Sorcerers call intent the indescribable, the spirit, the abstract.
      * *
      Every act performed by sorcerers, especially by the naguals, is either performed as a way to strengthen their link with intent or as a response triggered by the link itself. sorcerers, and specifically the naguals, therefore have to be actively and permanently on the lookout for manifestations of the spirit. Such manifestations are called gestures of the spirit or, more simply, indications or omens.
      When a sorcerer interprets an omen he knows its exact meaning without having any notion of how he knows it. This is one of the bewildering effects of the connecting link with intent . Sorcerers have a sense of knowing things directly. How sure they are depends on the strength and clarity of their connecting link.
      The feeling everyone knows as "intuition" is the activation of our link with intent . And since sorcerers deliberately pursue the understanding and strengthening of that link, it could be said the they intuit everything unerringly and accurately. Reading omens is commonplace for sorcerers--mistakes happen only when personal feelings intervene and cloud the sorcerers' connecting link with intent . Otherwise their direct knowledge is totally accurate and functional.
      The spirit manifests itself to a sorcery, especially to a nagual, at every turn. However, this is not the entire truth. The entire truth is that the spirit reveals itself to everyone with the same intensity and consistency, but only sorcerers, and naguals in particular, are attuned to such revelations.
      Naguals make decisions. With no regard for the consequences they take action or choose not to. Imposters ponder and become paralyzed.
      * * *
      sorcerers speak of sorcery as a magical, mysterious bird which has paused in its flight for a moment in order to give man hope and purpose. Sorcerers live under the wing of that bird, which they call the bird of wisdom, the bird of freedom. They nourish it with their dedication and impeccability.
      The bird of freedom can do only two things, take sorcerers along, or leave them behind. Don't forget, even for an instant, that the bird of freedom has very little patience with indecision, and when it flies away, it never returns.
     
      When you have been afraid or upset, don't lie down to sleep, sleep sitting up on a soft chair. To give your body healing rest take long naps, lying on your stomach with your face turned to the left and your feet over the foot of the bed. In order to avoid being cold, put a soft pillow over your shoulders, away from your neck, and wear heavy socks, or just leave your shoes on. Follow my suggestions to the letter without bothering to believe or disbelieve me.
      * * *
      Intent creates edifices before us and invites us to enter them. This is the way sorcerers understand what is happening around them.
      I want you to understand the underlying order of what I teach you. It means two things: both the edifice that intent manufactures in the blink of an eye and places in front of us to enter, and the signs it gives us so we won't get lost once we are inside.
      * * *
      At a certain stage, an apprentice enters into heightened awareness all by himself. Heightened awareness is a mystery only for our reason. In practice, it's very simple. As with everything else, we complicate matters by trying to make the immensity that surrounds us reasonable.
      * * *
      The Manifestations of the Spirit is the name for the first abstract core in the sorcery stories. Sorcerers know this as the edifice of intent , or the silent voice of the spirit, or the ulterior arrangement of the abstract.
      Ulterior means knowledge without words, outside our immediate comprehension, not beyond our ultimate possibilities for understanding. The ulterior arrangement of the abstract is knowledge without words or the edifice of intent . The ulterior arrangement of the abstract is to know the abstract directly, without the intervention of language. The abstract is the element without which there could be no warrior's path, nor any warriors in search of knowledge.
      * * *
      Warriors are incapable of feeling compassion because they no longer feel sorry for themselves. Without the driving force of self-pity, compassion is meaningless.
      For a warrior everything begins and ends with himself. However, his contact with the abstract causes him to overcome his feeling of self-importance. Then the self becomes abstract and impersonal.
      * * *
      Dreaming is a sorcerer's jet plane. They can create and project what sorcerers know as the dreaming body , or the Other, and be in two distant places at the same time.
      The spirit makes adjustments in our capacity for awareness. That's a statement of fact. You can say that it's an incomprehensible fact for the moment, but the moment will change.
      While we dream the assemblage point moves very gently and naturally. Mental balance is nothing but the fixing of the assemblage point on one spot we're accustomed to. Dreams make that point move, and dreaming is used to control that natural movement.
      There are two different issues. One, the need to understand indirectly what the spirit is, and the other, to understand the spirit directly.
      Once you understand what the spirit is, the second issue will be resolved automatically, and vice versa. If the spirit speaks to you, using its silent words, you will certainly know immediately what the spirit is.
      The difficulty is our reluctance to accept the idea that knowledge can exist without words to explain it. Accepting this proposition is not as easy as saying you accept it. The whole of humanity has moved away from the abstract. It takes years for an apprentice to be able to go back to the abstract, that is, to know that knowledge and language can exist independent of each other.
      The crux of our difficulty in going back to the abstract is our refusal to accept that we can know without words or even without thoughts. Knowledge and language are separate.
      I told you there is no way to talk about the spirit because the spirit can only be experienced. Sorcerers try to explain this condition when they say that the spirit is nothing you can see or feel. But it's there looming over us always. Sometimes it comes to some of us. Most of the time it seems indifferent.
      The spirit in many ways is a sort of wild animal. It keeps its distance from us until a moment when something entices it forward. It is then that the spirit manifests itself.
      For a sorcerer an abstract is something with no parallel in the human condition. For a sorcerer, the spirit is an abstract simply because he knows it without words or even thoughts. It's an abstract because he can't conceive what the spirit is. Yet without the slightest chance or desire to understand it, a sorcerer handles the spirit. He recognizes it, beckons it, entices it, becomes familiar with it, and expresses it with his acts.
      Think about the proposition that knowledge might be independent of language, without bothering to understand it.
      Consider this. It was not the act of meeting me that mattered to you. The day I met you, you met the abstract. But since you couldn't talk about it, you didn't notice it. Sorcerers meet the abstract without thinking about it or seeing it or touching it or feeling its presence.
     
      The second abstract core of the sorcery stories is called the Knock of the Spirit. The first core, the Manifestations of the Spirit, is the edifice that intent builds and places before a sorcerer, then invites him to enter. It is the edifice of intent seen by a sorcerer. The Knock of the Spirit is the same edifice seen by the beginner who is invited--or rather forced--to enter.
      A nagual can be a conduit for the spirit only after the spirit has manifested its willingness to be used--either almost imperceptibly or with outright commands.
      After a lifetime of practice, sorcerers, naguals in particular, know if the spirit is inviting them to enter the edifice being flaunted before them. They have learned to discipline their connecting links to intent . So they are always forewarned, always know what the spirit has in store for them.
      Progress along the sorcerers' path is, in general, a drastic process the purpose of which is to bring one's connecting link to order. In order to revive that link sorcerers need a rigorous, fierce purpose--a special state of mind called unbending intent .
      An apprentice is someone who is striving to clear and revive his connecting link with the spirit. Once the link is revived, he is no longer an apprentice, but until that time, in order to keep going he needs a fierce purpose which, of course, he doesn't have. So he allows the nagual to provide the purpose and to do that he has to relinquish his individuality. That's the difficult part.
      Volunteers are not welcome in the sorcerers' world, because they already have a purpose of their own, which makes it particularly hard for them to relinquish their individuality. If the sorcerers' world demands ideas and actions contrary to the volunteers' purpose, volunteers simply refuse to change.
      Reviving an apprentice's link is a nagual's most challenging and intriguing work. And one of his biggest headaches too. Depending, of course, on the apprentice's personality, the designs of the spirit are either sublimely simple or the most complex labyrinths.
      * * *
      The power of man is incalculable. Death exists only because we have intended it since the moment of our birth. The intent of death can be suspended by making the assemblage point change positions.
      * * *
      I have given you different versions of what the sorcery task consists. It would not be presumptuous of me to disclose that, from the spirit's point of view, the task consists of clearing our connecting link with it. The edifice that intent flaunts before us is, then, a clearinghouse, within which we find not so much the procedures to clear our connecting link as the silent knowledge that allows the clearing process to take place. Without that silent knowledge no process could work, and all we would have would be an indefinite sense of needing something.
      The events unleashed by sorcerers as a result of silent knowledge are so simple and yet so abstract that sorcerers decided long ago to speak of those events only in symbolic terms. The manifestations and the knock of the spirit are examples.
      For instance, a description of what takes place during the initial meeting between a nagual and a prospective apprentice from the sorcerers' point of view, would be absolutely incomprehensible. It would be nonsense to explain that the nagual, by virtue of his lifelong experience, is focusing something we couldn't imagine, his second attention--the increased awareness gained through sorcery training--on his invisible connection with some indefinable abstract. He is doing this to emphasize and clarify someone else's invisible connection with that indefinable abstract.
      Each of us is barred from silent knowledge by natural barriers, specific to each individual. The most impregnable of my barriers was the drive to disguise my complacency as independence.
      We as average men do not know, nor will we ever know, that it is something utterly real and functional--our connecting link with intent --which gives us our hereditary preoccupation with fate. During our active lives we never have the chance to go beyond the level of mere preoccupation, because since time immemorial the lull of daily affairs has made us drowsy. It is only when our lives are nearly over that our hereditary preoccupation with fate begins to take on a different character. It begins to make us see through the fog of daily affairs. Unfortunately, this awakening always comes hand in hand with loss of energy caused by aging, when we have no more strength left to turn our preoccupation into a pragmatic and positive discovery. At this point, all there is left is an amorphous, piercing anguish, a longing for something indescribable, and simple anger at having missed out.
     
      The third abstract core is called the trickery of the spirit, or the trickery of the abstract, or stalking oneself, or dusting the link.
      * * *
      Perception is the hinge for everything man is or does, and perception is ruled by the location of the assemblage point. Therefore, if that point changes positions, man's perception of the world changes accordingly. The sorcerer who knows exactly where to place his assemblage point can become anything he wants.
      * * *
      The art of stalking is learning all the quirks of your disguise. To learn them so well no one will know you are disguised. For that you need to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet.
      Stalking is an art applicable to everything. There are four steps to learning it: ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. Ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence, and sweetness should not be foolishness. These four steps have to be practiced and perfected until they are so smooth they are unnoticeable.
     
      Knowing what intent is means that one can, at any time, explain that knowledge or use it. A nagual by the force of his position is obliged to command his knowledge in this manner.
      * * *
      A warrior needs focus. Heightened awareness is like a springboard. From it one can jump into infinity. When the assemblage point is dislodged, it either becomes lodged again at a position very near its customary one or continues moving on into infinity.
      People have no idea of the strange power we carry within ourselves. At this moment, for instance, you have the means to reach infinity.
      * * *
      Egomania is a real tyrant. We must work ceaselessly to dethrone it. You can learn to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet. Ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness are the essence of stalking . They are the basics that with all their ramifications have to be taught in careful, meticulous steps.
      * * *
      sorcerers' behavior is always impeccable. Sorcerers, though, have an ulterior purpose for their acts, which has nothing to do with personal gain. The fact that they enjoy their acts does not count as gain. Rather, it is a condition of their character. The average man acts only if there is the chance for profit. Warriors say they act not for profit but for the spirit. We have no thought of personal gain. Our acts are dictated by impeccability--we can't be angry or disillusioned.
      The two masteries: stalking and intent , are the crowning glory of sorcerers old and new. Stalking is the beginning. Before anything can be attempted on the warrior's path, warriors must learn to stalk ; next they must learn to intend , and only then can they move their assemblage point at will.
      * * *
      Words are tremendously powerful and important and are the magical property of whoever has them. Sorcerers have a rule of thumb: they say that the deeper the assemblage point moves, the greater the feeling that one has knowledge and no words to explain it. Sometimes the assemblage point of average persons can move without a known cause and without their being aware of it, except that they become tongue-tied, confused, and evasive.
      * * *
      The very first principle of stalking is that a warrior stalks himself. He stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently, and sweetly.
      Stalking is the art of using behavior in novel ways for specific purposes. Normal human behavior in the world of everyday life is routine. Any behavior that brakes from routine causes an unusual effect on our total being. That unusual effect is what sorcerers seek, because it is cumulative.
      The sorcerer seers of ancient times, through their seeing , first noticed that unusual behavior produced a tremor in the assemblage point. They soon discovered that if unusual behavior was practiced systematically and directed wisely, it eventually forced the assemblage point to move.
      The real challenge for those sorcerer seers, was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates sorcerer seers from plain witches.
      Anyone who succeeds in moving his assemblage point to a new position is a sorcerer. And from that new position, he can do all kinds of good and bad things to his fellow men. Being a sorcerer, therefore, can be like being a cobbler or a baker. The quest of sorcerer seers is to go beyond that stand. And to do that, they need morality and beauty.
      For sorcerers, stalking is the foundation on which everything else they do is built. It is the art of controlled folly.
      * * *
      sorcerers say that heightened awareness is the portal of intent . And they use it as such. Think about it.
      You must reach the point where you understand what intent is. And, above all, you must understand that that knowledge cannot be turned into words. That knowledge is there for everyone. It is there to be felt, to be used, but not to be explained. One can come into it by changing levels of awareness, therefore, heightened awareness is an entrance. But even the entrance cannot be explained. One can only make use of it.
      The natural knowledge of intent is available to anyone, but the command of it belongs to those who probe it.
     
      sorcerers believe that until the very moment of the spirit's descent, any of us could walk away from the spirit; but not afterwards.
      The fourth abstract core is called the descent of the spirit or being moved by intent . It is the full brunt of the spirit's descent. The fourth abstract core is an act of revelation. The spirit reveals itself to us. Sorcerers describe it as the spirit lying in ambush and then descending on us, its prey. Sorcerers say that the spirit's descent is always shrouded. It happens and yet it seems not to have happened at all.
      There is a threshold that once crossed permits no retreat. Every sorcerer should have a clear memory of crossing that threshold so he can remind himself of the new state of his perceptual potential. One does not have to be an apprentice of sorcery to reach this threshold, and the only difference between an average man and a sorcerer, in such cases, is what each emphasizes. A sorcerer emphasizes crossing this threshold and uses the memory of it as a point of reference. An average man does not cross the threshold and does his best to forget all about it.
      sorcerers say that the fourth abstract core happens when the spirit cuts our chains of self-reflection. Cutting our chains is marvelous, but also very undesirable, for nobody wants to be free.
      What a strange feeling: to realize that everything we think, everything we say depends on the position of the assemblage point.
      The secret of our chains is that they imprison us, but by keeping us pinned down on our comfortable spot of self-reflection, they defend us from the onslaughts of the unknown.
      Once our chains are cut, we are no longer bound by the concerns of the daily world. We are still in the daily world, but we don't belong there anymore. In order to belong we must share the concerns of people. And without chains we can't.
      What distinguishes normal people is that we share a metaphorical dagger: the concerns of our self-reflection. With this dagger, we cut ourselves and bleed; and the job of our chains of self-reflection is to give us the feeling that we are bleeding together, that we are sharing something wonderful: our humanity. But if we were to examine it, we would discover that we are bleeding alone; that we are not sharing anything; that all we are doing is toying with our manageable, unreal, man-made reflection.
      sorcerers are no longer in the world of daily affairs because they are no longer prey to their self-reflection.
      * * *
      The universe is made up of energy fields which defy description or scrutiny. They resemble filaments of ordinary light, except that light is lifeless compared to the Indescribable Force 's emanations, which exude awareness.
      Normal perception occurs when intent , which is pure energy, lights up a portion of the luminous filaments inside our cocoon, and at the same time brightens a long extension of the same luminous filaments extending into infinity outside our cocoon. Extraordinary perception, seeing , occurs when by the force of intent , a different cluster of energy fields energizes and lights up. When a crucial number of energy fields are lit up inside the luminous cocoon, a sorcerer is able to see the energy fields themselves.
      Awareness takes place when the energy fields inside our luminous cocoon are aligned with the same energy fields outside.
      Only a very small portion of the total number of luminous filaments inside the cocoon are energized while the rest remain unaltered. The filaments do not need to be aligned to be lit up, because the ones inside our cocoon are the same as those outside. Whatever energizes them is definitely an independent force. We can't call it awareness because awareness is the glow of the energy fields being lit up. The force that lites up the fields is named will .
      Will is the force that keeps the Indescribable Force 's emanations separated and is not only responsible for our awareness, but also for everything in the universe. This force has total consciousness and it springs from the very fields of energy that make the universe. Intent is a more appropriate name for it than will . In the long run, however, the name proves disadvantageous, because it does not describe its overwhelming importance nor the living connection it has with everything in the universe.
      Our great collective flaw is that we live our lives completely disregarding that connection. The busyness of our lives, our relentless interests, concerns, hopes, frustrations, and fears take precedence, and on a day-to-day basis we are unaware of being linked to everything else.
      Being cast out from the Garden of Eden sounds like an allegory for losing our silent knowledge, our knowledge of intent . sorcery, then, is a going back to the beginning, a return to paradise.
      The spirit is the force that sustains the universe. Intent is not something one might use or command or move in any way--nevertheless, one could use it, command it, or move it as one desires. This contradiction is the essence of sorcery. To fail to understand it has brought generations of sorcerers unimaginable pain and sorrow. Modern-day naguals, in an effort to avoid paying this exorbitant price in pain, have developed a code of behavior called the warrior's way, or the impeccable action, which prepares sorcerers by enhancing their sobriety and thoughtfulness.
      sorcerers concern themselves exclusively with the capacity that their individual connecting link with intent has to set them free to light the fire from within.
      All modern-day sorcerers have to struggle fiercely to gain soundness of mind. Sorcery is an attempt to reestablish our knowledge of intent and regain use of it without succumbing to it. The abstract cores of the sorcerer stories are shades of realization, degrees of our being aware of intent .
      * * *
     


It does not matter what our specific fate is as long as we face it with ultimate abandon.
     
      A warrior is on permanent guard against the roughness of human behavior. A warrior is magical and ruthless, a maverick with the most refined taste and manners, whose worldly task is to sharpen, yet disguise, his cutting edges so that no one would be able to suspect his ruthlessness.
      sorcerers constantly stalk themselves. The sensation of being bottled up is experienced by every human being. It is a reminder of our existing connection with intent . For sorcerers this sensation is even more acute, precisely because their goal is to sensitize their connecting link until they can make it function at will.
      When the pressure of their connecting link is too great, sorcerers relieve it by stalking themselves. Stalking is a procedure, a very simple one. Stalking is special behavior that follows certain principles. It is secretive, furtive, deceptive behavior designed to deliver a jolt. And, when you stalk yourself you jolt yourself, using your own behavior in a ruthless, cunning way.
      When a sorcerer's awareness becomes bogged down with the weight of his perceptual input, the best, or even perhaps the only, remedy is to use the idea of death to deliver that stalking jolt.
      The idea of death therefore is of monumental importance in the life of a sorcerer. I have shown you innumerable things about death to convince you that the knowledge of our impending and unavoidable end is what gives us sobriety. Our most costly mistake as average men is indulging in a sense of immortality. It is as though we believe that if we don't think about death we can protect ourselves from it.
      Not thinking about death protects us from worrying about it. But that purpose is an unworthy one for average men and a travesty for sorcerers. Without a clear view of death, there is no order, no sobriety, no beauty. Sorcerers struggle to gain this crucial insight in order to help them realize at the deepest possible level that they have no assurance whatsoever their lives will continue beyond the moment. That realization gives sorcerers the courage to be patient and yet take action, courage to be acquiescent without being stupid.
      The idea of death is the only thing that can give sorcerers courage. Strange, isn't it? It gives sorcerers the courage to be cunning without being conceited, and above all it gives them courage to be ruthless without being self-important.
      sorcerers stalk themselves in order to break the power of their obsessions. There are many ways of stalking oneself. If you don't want to use the idea of your death, you can use poems to stalk yourself.
      I stalk myself with them. I deliver a jolt to myself with them. I listen, and shut off my internal dialogue and let my inner silence gain momentum. Then the combination of the poem and the silence delivers the jolt.
      See if you can feel what I'm talking about with this poem by José Gorostiza.
      ...this incessant stubborn dying,
      this living death,
      that slays you, oh God,
      in your rigorous handiwork,
      in the roses, in the stones,
      in the indomitable stars
      and in the flesh that burns out,
      like a bonfire lit by a song,
      a dream,
      a hue that hits the eye.
     
      ...and you, yourself,
      perhaps have died eternities of ages out there,
      without us knowing about it,
      we dregs, crumbs, ashes of you;
      you that still are present,
      like a star faked by its very light,
      an empty light without star
      that reaches us,
      hiding
      its infinite catastrophe.
     
     
As I hear the words, I feel that that man is seeing the essence of things and I can see with him. I care only about the feeling the poets longing brings me. I borrow his longing, and with it I borrow the beauty. And marvel at the fact that he, like a true warrior, lavishes it on the recipients, the beholders, retaining for himself only his longing. This jolt, this shock of beauty, is stalking .
      Death is not an enemy, although it appears to be. Death is not our destroyer, although we think it is.
      sorcerers say death is the only worthy opponent we have. Death is our challenger. We are born to take that challenge, average men or sorcerers. Sorcerers know about it; average men do not.
      Life is the process by means of which death challenges us. Death is the active force. Life is the arena. And in that arena there are only two contenders at any time: oneself and death.
      We are passive. Think about it. If we move, it's only when we feel the pressure of death. Death sets the pace for our actions and feelings and pushes us relentlessly until it breaks us and wins the bout, or else we rise about all possibilities and defeat death.
      sorcerers defeat death and death acknowledges the defeat by letting the sorcerers go free, never to be challenged again. Death stops challenging them. It means thought has taken a somersault into the inconceivable.
      A somersault of thought into the inconceivable is the descent of the spirit; the act of breaking our perceptual barriers. It is the moment in which man's perception reaches its limits.
      sorcerers practice the art of sending scouts, advance runners, to probe our perceptual limits. This is another reason I like poems. I take them as advance runners. But poets don't know as exactly as sorcerers what those advance runners can accomplish.
      * * *
      As the energy that is ordinarily used to maintain the fixed position of the assemblage point becomes liberated, it focuses automatically on that connecting link. There are no techniques or maneuvers for a sorcerer to learn beforehand to move energy from one place to the other. Rather it is a matter of an instantaneous shift taking place once a certain level of proficiency has been attained.
      The level of proficiency is pure understanding. In order to attain that instantaneous shift of energy, one needs a clear connection with intent , and to get a clear connection one needs only to intend it through pure understanding.
      Pure understanding is a sorcerer's advance runner probing that immensity out there.
     
      The nature of ruthlessness is that it is the opposite of self-pity. All sorcerers are ruthless.
      * * *
      As I have said, the fourth abstract core of the sorcery stories is called the descent of the spirit, or being moved by intent . In order to let the mysteries of sorcery reveal themselves it is necessary for the spirit to descend. The spirit chooses a moment when a man is distracted, unguarded, and, showing no pity, the spirit lets its presence by itself move the man's assemblage point to a specific position. This spot is known to sorcerers as the place of no pity. Ruthlessness becomes, in this way, the first principle of sorcery.
      The first principle should not be confused with the first effect of sorcery apprenticeship, which is the shift between normal and heightened awareness.
      To all appearances, having the assemblage point shift is the first thing that actually happens to a sorcery apprentice. So, it is only natural for an apprentice to assume that this is the first principle of sorcery. But it is not. Ruthlessness is the first principle of sorcery.
      What we need to do to allow magic to get hold of us is to banish doubt from our minds. Once doubts are banished, anything is possible.
      * * *
      Stop thinking by intending the movement of your assemblage point. Intent is beckoned with the eyes.
      * * *
     



The place of no pity is the site of ruthlessness. Let's say that ruthlessness, being a specific position of the assemblage point, is shown in the eyes of sorcerers. It's like a shimmering film over the eyes. The eyes of sorcerers are brilliant. The greater the shine, the more ruthless the sorcerer is.
      When the assemblage point moves to the place of no pity, the eyes begin to shine. The firmer the grip of the assemblage point on its new position, the more the eyes shine.
      A recapitulation of their lives, which sorcerers do, is the key to moving their assemblage points. Sorcerers start their recapitulation by thinking, by remembering the most important acts of their lives. From merely thinking about them they then move on to actually being at the site of the event. When they can do that--be at the site of the event--they have successfully shifted their assemblage point to the precise spot it was when the event took place. Bringing back the total event by means of shifting the assemblage point is known as sorcerers' recollection.
      Recollecting is not the same as remembering. Remembering is dictated by the day-to-day type of thinking, while recollecting is dictated by the movement of the assemblage point.
      Our assemblage points are constantly shifting; imperceptible shifts. In order to make our assemblage points shift to precise spots we must engage intent . Since there is no way of knowing what intent is, sorcerers let their eyes beckon it.
      * * *
      What you feel and interpret as longing is in fact the sudden movement of your assemblage point.
      Ruthlessness makes sorcerers' eyes shine, and that shine beckons intent . Each spot to which their assemblage points move is indicated by a specific shine of their eyes. Since their eyes have their own memory, they can call up the recollection of any spot by calling up the specific shine associated with that spot.
      The reason sorcerers put so much emphasis on the shine of their eyes and on their gaze is because the eyes are directly connected to intent . Contradictory as it might sound, the truth is that the eyes are only superficially connected to the world of everyday life. Their deeper connection is to the abstract.
      Man's possibilities are so vast and mysterious that sorcerers, rather than thinking about them, have chosen to explore them, with no hope of ever understanding them.
      The only advantages sorcerers may have over average men is that they have stored their energy, which means a more precise, clearer connecting link with intent . Naturally, it also means they can recollect at will, using the shine of their eyes to move their assemblage points.
      * * *
      Be a paragon of patience and consistency by fighting for impeccability. Transform yourself daily, restraining yourself with the most excruciating effort.
      It is a rare opportunity for a warrior to be given a genuine chance to be impeccable in spite of his basic feelings. The act of giving freely and impeccably rejuvenates you and renews your wonder.
      * * *
      The eyes of all living beings can move someone else's assemblage point, especially if their eyes are focused on intent . Under normal conditions, however, peoples eyes are focused on the world, looking for food... looking for shelter...
      For sorcerers to use the shine of their eyes to move their own or anyone else's assemblage point they have to be ruthless. That is, they have to be familiar with that specific position of the assemblage point called the place of no pity. This is especially true for the naguals.
      Each nagual develops a brand of ruthlessness specific to him alone. Naguals mask their ruthlessness automatically, even against their will. I'm not a rational man, I only appear to be because my mask is so effective. What you perceive as reasonableness is my lack of pity, because that's what ruthlessness is: a total lack of pity.
      Move your assemblage point to the precise spot where pity disappears. That spot is known as the place of no pity. The problem that sorcerers have to solve is that the place of no pity has to be reached with only minimal help.
      Everything sorcerers do is done as a consequence of a movement of their assemblage points, and such movements are ruled by the amount of energy sorcerers have at their command.
      Inside every human being is a gigantic, dark lake of silent knowledge which each of us could intuit. Sorcerers are the only beings on earth who deliberately go beyond the intuitive level by training themselves to do two transcendental things: first, to conceive the existence of the assemblage point, and second, to make that assemblage point move.
      The most sophisticated knowledge sorcerers possess is of our potential as perceiving beings, and the knowledge that the content of perception depends on the position of the assemblage point.
      * * *
      Enjoy things with no expectation.
      * * *
      When the assemblage point moves and reaches the place of no pity, the position of rationality and common sense becomes weak.
      Silent knowledge is something that all of us have, something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything. But it cannot think, therefore, it cannot speak of what is know.
      sorcerers believe that when man became aware that he knew, and wanted to be conscious of what he knew, he lost sight of what he knew. This silent knowledge, which you cannot describe, is, of course, intent --the spirit, the abstract. Man's error was to want to know it directly, the way he knew everyday life. The more he wanted, the more ephemeral it became.
      Man gave up silent knowledge for the world of reason. The more he clings to the world of reason, the more ephemeral intent becomes.
      * * *
      The origin of the anxiety that overtakes an apprentice with the speed of wildfire is the sudden movement of his assemblage point. Get used to the idea of recurrent attacks of anxiety, because your assemblage point is going to keep moving.
      Any movement of the assemblage point is like dying. Everything in us gets disconnected, then reconnected again to a source of much greater power. That amplification of energy is felt as a killing anxiety. When this happens, just wait. The outburst of energy will pass. What's dangerous in not knowing what is happening to you. Once you know, there is no real danger.
      Ancient man knew, in the most direct fashion, what to do and how best to do it. But, because he performed so well, he started to develop a sense of selfness, which gave him the feeling that he could predict and plan the actions he was used to performing. And thus the idea of an individual "self" appeared; an individual self which began to dictate the nature and scope of man's actions.
      As the feeling of the individual self became stronger, man lost his natural connection to silent knowledge. Modern man, being heir to that development, therefore finds himself so hopelessly removed from the source of everything that all he can do is express his despair in violent and cynical acts of self-destruction. The reason for man's cynicism and despair is the bit of silent knowledge left in him, which does two things: one, it gives man an inkling of his ancient connection to the source of everything; and two, it makes man feel that without this connection, he has no hope of peace, of satisfaction, of attainment.
      War is the natural state for a warrior, and peace is an anomaly. But war, for a warrior, doesn't mean acts of individual or collective stupidity or wanton violence. War, for a warrior, is the total struggle against that individual self that has deprived man of his power.
      Ruthlessness is the most basic premise of sorcery. Any movement of the assemblage point means a movement away from the excessive concern with the individual self.
      Self-importance is the force generated by man's self-image. It is that force which keeps the assemblage point fixed where it is at present. For this reason, the thrust of the warrior's way is to dethrone self-importance. And everything sorcerers do is toward accomplishing this goal.
      sorcerers have unmasked self-importance and found that it is self-pity masquerading as something else. It doesn't sound possible, but that is what it is. Self-pity is the real enemy and the source of man's misery. Without a degree of pity for himself, man could not afford to be as self-importance as he is. However, once the force of self-importance is engaged, it develops its own momentum. And it is this seemingly independent nature of self-importance which gives it its fake sense of worth.
      sorcerers are absolutely convinced that by moving our assemblage points away from their customary position we achieve a state of being which could only be called ruthlessness. Sorcerers know, by means of their practical actions, that as soon as their assemblage points move, their self-importance crumbles. Without the customary position of their assemblage points, their self-image can no longer be sustained. And without the heavy focus on that self-image, they lose their self-compassion, and with it their self-importance. Sorcerers are right, therefore, in saying that self-importance is merely self-pity in disguise.
      * * *
      A nagual in his role as leader or teacher has to behave in the most efficient, but at the same time most impeccable, way. Since it is not possible for him to plan the course of his actions rationally, the nagual always lets the spirit decide his course.
      * * *
      The position of self-reflection forces the assemblage point to assemble a world of sham compassion, but of very real cruelty and self-centeredness. In that world the only real feelings are those convenient for the one who feelings them.
      For a sorcerer, ruthlessness is not cruelty. Ruthlessness is the opposite of self-pity or self-importance. Ruthlessness is sobriety.
     
      sorcerers' increased energy, derived from the curtailment of their self-reflection, allows their senses a greater range of perception.
      The only worthwhile course of action, whether for sorcerers or average men, is to restrict our involvement with our self-image. What a nagual aims at with his apprentices is the shattering of their mirror of self-reflection.
      Each of us has a different degree of attachment to his self-reflection. And that attachment is felt as need.
      It is possible for sorcerers, or average men, to need no one, to get peace, harmony, laughter, knowledge, directly from the spirit--to need no intermediaries. For you and for me, its different. I'm your intermediary and my teacher was mine. Intermediaries, besides providing a minimal chance--the awareness of intent --help shatter peoples mirrors of self-reflection.
      The only concrete help you ever get from me is that I attack your self-reflection. If it weren't for that, you would be wasting your time. This is the only real help you've gotten from me.
      I've taught you all kinds of things in order to trap your attention. You'll swear, though, that that teaching has been the important part. It hasn't. There is very little value in instruction. Sorcerers maintain that moving the assemblage point is all that matters. And that movement depends on increased energy and not on instruction.
      Any human being who would follow a specific and simple sequence of actions can learn to move his assemblage point. The sequence of actions I am talking about is one that stems from being aware. The nagual provides a minimal chance, but that minimal chance is not instruction, like the instruction you need to learn to operate a machine. The minimal chance consists of being made aware of the spirit.
      The specific sequence I have in mind calls for being aware that self-importance is the force which keeps the assemblage point fixed. When self-importance is curtailed, the energy it requires is no longer expended. That increased energy then serves as the springboard that launches the assemblage point, automatically and without premeditation, into an inconceivable journey.
      Once the assemblage point has moved, the movement itself entails moving from self-reflection, and this, in turn, assures a clear connecting link with the spirit. After all, it is self-reflection that has disconnected man from the spirit in the first place.
      As I have already said to you, sorcery is a journey of return. We return victorious to the spirit, having descended into hell. And from hell we bring trophies. Understanding is one of our trophies.
      Our difficulty with this simple progression is that most of us are unwilling to accept that we need so little to get on with. We are geared to expect instruction, teaching, guides, masters. And when we are told that we need no one, we don't believe it. We become nervous, then distrustful, and finally angry and disappointed. If we need help, it is not in methods, but in emphasis. If someone makes us aware that we need to curtail our self-importance, that help is real.
      sorcerers say we should need no one to convince us that the world is infinitely more complex than our wildest fantasies. So, why are we dependent? Why do we crave someone to guide us when we can do it ourselves? Big question, eh?
      The spirit moves the assemblage point. I have insisted to the point of exhaustion that there are no procedures in sorcery. There are no methods, no steps. The only thing that matters is the movement of the assemblage point. And no procedure can cause that. It's an effect that happens all by itself.
      The nagual entices the assemblage point into moving by helping to destroy the mirror of self-reflection. But that is all the nagual can do. The actual mover is the spirit, the abstract; something that cannot be seen or felt; something that does not seem to exist, and yet does. For this reason, sorcerers report that the assemblage point moves all by itself.
      Because the spirit has no perceivable essence, sorcerers deal rather with the specific instances and ways in which they are able to shatter the mirror of self-reflection.
      The world of our self-reflection or of our mind is very flimsy and is held together by a few key ideas that serve as its underlying order. When those ideas fail, the underlying order ceases to function.
      Continuity is the key idea. Continuity is the idea that we are a solid block. In our minds, what sustains our world is the certainty that we are unchangeable.
      * * *
      I've described to you in the past the concept of stopping the world and that it is as necessary for sorcerers as reading and writing are for the average man. It consists of introducing a dissonant element into the fabric of everyday behavior for purposes of halting the otherwise smooth flow of ordinary events--events which are catalogued in our minds by our reason.
      The dissonant element is called not-doing , or the opposite of doing . Doing is anything that is part of a whole for which we have a cognitive account. Not-doing is an element that does not belong in that charted whole.
      sorcerers, because they are stalkers , understand human behavior to perfection. They understand, for instance, that human beings are creatures of inventory. Knowing the ins and outs of a particular inventory is what makes a man a scholar or an expert in his field.
      sorcerers know that when an average person's inventory fails, the person either enlarges his inventory or his world of self-reflection collapses. The average person is willing to incorporate new items into his inventory if they don't contradict the inventory's underlying order. But if the items contradict that order, the person's mind collapses. The inventory is the mind. Sorcerers count on this when they attempt to break the mirror of self-reflection.
      * * *
      Intent is intended with the eyes. I know that it is so. Yet, just like you, I can't pinpoint what it is I know. Sorcerers resolve this particular difficulty by accepting something extremely obvious: human beings are infinitely more complex and mysterious than our wildest fantasies.
      All I can say is that the eyes do it. I don't know how, but they do it. They summon intent with something indefinable that they have, something in their shine. Sorcerers say that intent is experienced with the eyes, not with the reason.
      * * *
      Continuity is so important in our lives that if it breaks it's always instantly repaired. In the case of sorcerers, however, once their assemblage points reach the place of no pity, continuity is never the same.
     
      You are dealing with a new type of continuity. It takes time to get used to it. Warriors spend years in limbo where they are neither average men nor sorcerers. The difficulty is that the mirror of self-reflection is extremely powerful and only lets its victims go after a ferocious struggle.
      * * *
      There is something called a silent protector. It is a lifesaver, a surge of inexplicable energy that comes to a warrior when nothing else works. Sorcerers' options are silent protectors. They are positions of the assemblage point. The infinite number of positions which the assemblage point can reach. In each and every one of those shallow or deep shifts, a sorcerer can strengthen his new continuity.
      The effect of those shifts of the assemblage point is cumulative. It weighs on you whether you understand it or not.
      * * *
      Don't wish for death, just wait until it comes. Don't try to imagine what it's like. Just be there to be caught in its flow.
      * * *
      The sorcerers' struggle for assuredness is the most dramatic struggle there is. It's painful and costly. Many, many times it has actually cost sorcerers their lives.
      In order for any sorcerer to have complete certainty about his actions, or about his position in the sorcerers' world, or to be capable of utilizing intelligently his new continuity, he must invalidate the continuity of his old life. Only then can his actions have the necessary assuredness to fortify and balance the tenuousness and instability of his new continuity.
      The sorcerer seers of modern times call this process of invalidation the ticket to impeccability, or the sorcerers' symbolic but final death.
      * * *
      sorcerers have a peculiar bent. They live exclusively in the twilight of a feeling best described by the words "and yet..." When everything is crumbling down around them, sorcerers accept that the situation is terrible, and then immediately escape to the twilight of "and yet..."
      * * *
      Warriors do their utmost, and then, without any remorse or regrets, they relax and let the spirit decide the outcome. The decision of the spirit is another basic core. Sorcery stories are built around it.
      * * *
      A sorcerer's ticket to freedom is his death. I myself have paid with my life for that ticket to freedom, as has everyone else in my household. And now we are equals in our condition of being dead.
      You too are dead. The sorcerers' grand trick, however, is to be aware that they are dead. Their ticket to impeccability must be wrapped in awareness. In that wrapping, sorcerers say, their ticket is kept in mint condition.
     
      Explanations are never wasted, because they are imprinted in us for immediate or later use or to help prepare our way to reaching silent knowledge.
      Silent knowledge is a general position of the assemblage point. Ages ago it was man's normal position, but, for reasons which would be impossible to determine, man's assemblage point moved away from that specific location and adopted a new one called "reason."
      The place of no pity, being another position of the assemblage point, is the forerunner of silent knowledge, and yet another position of the assemblage point called "the place of concern," is the forerunner of reason.
      * * *
      Death is painful only when it happens in one's bed, in sickness. In a fight for your life, you feel no pain. If you feel anything, it's exultation.
      One of the most dramatic differences between civilized men and sorcerers is the way in which death comes to them. Only with sorcerer-warriors is death kind and sweet. They could be mortally wounded and yet would feel no pain. And what is even more extraordinary is that death holds itself in abeyance for as long as the sorcerers need it to do so. The greatest difference between an average man and a sorcerer is that a sorcerer commands his death with his speed.
      In the world of everyday life our word or our decisions can be reversed very easily. The only irrevocable thing in our world is death. In the sorcerers' world, on the other hand, normal death can be countermanded, but not the sorcerers' word. In the sorcerers' world decisions cannot be changed or revised. Once they have been made, they stand forever.
      * * *
      For a seer human beings are either oblong or spherical luminous masses of countless, static, yet vibrant fields of energy, and only sorcerers are capable of injecting movement into those spheres of static luminosity. In a millisecond they can move their assemblage points to any place in their luminous mass. That movement and the speed with which it is performed entails an instantaneous shift into the perception of another totally different universe. Or they can move their assemblage points, without stopping, across their entire fields of luminous energy. The force created by such movement is so intense that it instantly consumes their whole luminous mass.
      * * *
      Possibly every human being under normal living conditions has had at one time or another the opportunity to break away from the bindings of convention. I don't mean social convention, but the conventions binding our perception. A moment of elation would suffice to move our assemblage points and break our conventions. So, too, a moment of fright, ill health, anger, or grief. But ordinarily, whenever we have the chance to move our assemblage points we become frightened. Our religious, academic, social backgrounds come into play. They assure our safe return to the flock; the return of our assemblage points to the prescribed position of normal living.
      All the mystics and spiritual teachers you know of have done just that: their assemblage points moved, either through discipline or accident, to a certain point; and then they returned to normalcy carrying a memory that lasted them a lifetime.
      The average man, incapable of finding the energy to perceive beyond his daily limits, calls the realm of extraordinary perception sorcery, witchcraft, or the work of the devil, and shies away from it without examining it further.
      Turn everything into what it really is: the abstract, the spirit, the nagual . There is no witchcraft, no evil, no devil. There is only perception.
      Your assemblage point can move beyond the place of no pity into the place of silent knowledge. To manipulate it yourself means you have enough energy to move between reason and silent knowledge at will. If a sorcerer has enough energy--or even if he does not have sufficient energy but needs to shift because it is a matter of life and death--he can fluctuate between reason and silent knowledge.
      At this stage in your development, any movement of your assemblage point will still be a mystery. Your challenge at the beginning of your apprenticeship is maintaining your gains, rather than reasoning them out. At some point everything will make sense to you.
      You have to be able to explain knowledge to yourself before you can claim that it makes sense to you. For a movement of your assemblage point to make sense, you will need to have energy to fluctuate from the place of reason to the place of silent knowledge.
      Your assemblage point can move by itself. You can intend the movement by manipulating certain feelings and in so doing your assemblage point can reach the position of silent knowledge.
      One way to talk about the perception attained in the place of silent knowledge is to call it "here and here."
      * * *
      Intending the movement of the assemblage point is a great accomplishment. But accomplishment is something personal. It's necessary, but it's not the important part. It is not the residue sorcerers look forward to. The idea of the abstract, the spirit, is the only residue that is important. The idea of the personal self has no value whatsoever. Every time I've had the chance, I have made you aware of the need to abstract. You have always believed that I meant to think abstractly. No. To abstract means to make yourself available to the spirit by being aware of it.
      One of the most dramatic things about the human condition is the macabre connection between stupidity and self-reflection.
      It is stupidity that forces us to discard anything that does not conform with our self-reflective expectations. For example, as average men, we are blind to the most crucial piece of knowledge available to a human being: the existence of the assemblage point and the fact that it can move.
      For a rational man it's unthinkable that there should be an invisible point where perception is assembled.
      For the rational man to hold steadfastly to his self-image insures his abysmal ignorance. He ignores, for instance, the fact that sorcery is not incantations and hocus-pocus, but the freedom to perceive not only the world taken for granted, but everything else that is humanly possible.
      Here is where the average man's stupidity is most dangerous; he is afraid of sorcery. He trembles at the possibility of freedom. And freedom is at his fingertips. It's called the third point. And it can be reached as easily as the assemblage point can be made to move.
      This is another of the sorcerers' contradictions: it's very difficult and yet it's the simplest thing in the world. I've told you already that a high fever could move the assemblage point. Hunger or fear or love or hate could do it; mysticism too, and also unbending intent , which is the preferred method of sorcerers.
      Unbending intent is a sort of single-mindedness human beings exhibit; an extremely well-defined purpose not countermanded by any conflicting interests or desires; unbending intent is also the force engendered when the assemblage point is maintained fixed in a position which is not the usual one.
      The distinction between a movement and a shift of the assemblage point is that a movement is a profound change of position, so extreme that the assemblage point might even reach other bands of energy within our total luminous mass of energy fields. Each band of energy represents a completely different universe to be perceived. A shift, however, is a small movement within the band of energy fields we perceive as the world of everyday life.
      sorcerers see unbending intent as the catalyst to trigger their unchangeable decisions, or as the converse: their unchangeable decisions are the catalyst that propels their assemblage points to new positions, positions which in turn generate unbending intent .
      Trying to reason out the sorcerers' metaphorical descriptions is as useless as trying to reason out silent knowledge.
      The world of daily life consists of two points of reference. We have for example, here and there, in and out, up and down, good and evil, and so on and so forth. So, properly speaking, our perception of our lives is two-dimensional. None of what we perceive ourselves doing has depth.
      A sorcerer perceives his actions with depth. His actions are tridimensional for him. They have a third point of reference.
      Our points of reference are obtained primarily from our sense perception. Our senses perceive and differentiate what is immediate to us from what is not. Using that basic distinction we derive the rest.
      In order to reach the third point of reference one must perceive two places at once.
      Normal perception has an axis. "Here and there" are the perimeters of that axis, and we are partial to the clarity of "here." In normal perception, only "here" is perceived completely, instantaneously, and directly. Its twin referent, "there," lacks immediacy. It is inferred, deduced, expected, even assumed, but it is not apprehended directly with all the senses. When we perceive two places at once, total clarity is lost, but the immediate perception of "there" is gained.
      * * *
      A sorcerer, because he has a connecting link with intent , sees an oddity as a vehicle to perceiving--not an oddity, but a source of awe.
      * * *
      Only sorcerers can turn their feelings into intent . Intent is the spirit, so it is the spirit which moves their assemblage points.
      The misleading part of all this is that I am saying only sorcerers know about the spirit, that intent is the exclusive domain of sorcerers. This is not true at all, but it is the situation in the realm of practicality. The real condition is that sorcerers are more aware of their connection with the spirit than the average man and strive to manipulate it. That's all. I've already told you, the connecting link with intent is the universal feature shared by everything there is.
      Being in two places at once is a milestone sorcerers use to mark the moment the assemblage point reaches the place of silent knowledge. Split perception, if accomplished by one's own means, is called the free movement of the assemblage point.
      Every apprentice must consistently do everything within his power to encourage the free movement of his assemblage point. This all-out effort is cryptically called "reaching out for the third point."
      The third point of reference is freedom of perception; it is intent ; it is the spirit; the somersault of thought into the miraculous; the act of reaching beyond our boundaries and touching the inconceivable.
     
      To discover the possibility of being in two places at once is very exciting to the mind. Since our minds are our rationality, and our rationality is our self-reflection, anything beyond our self-reflection either appalls us or attracts us, depending on what kind of persons we are.
      In terms of his connection with intent , a warrior goes through four stages. The first is when he has a rusty, untrustworthy link with intent . The second is when he succeeds in cleaning it. The third is when he learns to manipulate it. And the fourth is when he learns to accept the designs of the abstract.
      Your disadvantage in the sorcerers' world is your lack of familiarity with it. In that world you have to relate yourself to everything in a new way, which is infinitely more difficult, because it has very little to do with your everyday life continuity.
      The specific problem of sorcerers is two-fold. One is the impossibility of restoring a shattered continuity; the other is the impossibility of using the continuity dictated by the new position of their assemblage points. That new continuity is always too tenuous, too unstable, and does not offer sorcerers the assuredness they need to function as if they were in the world of everyday life.
      sorcerers don't resolve this problem. The spirit either resolves it for us or it doesn't. If it does, a sorcerer finds himself acting in the sorcerers' world, but without knowing how. This is the reason why I have insisted from the day I found you that impeccability is all that counts. A sorcerer lives an impeccable life, and that seems to beckon the solution. Why? No one knows.
      Impeccability, as I have told you so many times, is not morality, it only resembles morality. Impeccability is simply the best use of our energy level. Naturally, it calls for frugality, thoughtfulness, simplicity, innocence; and above all, it calls for lack of self-reflection. All this makes it sound like a manual for monastic life, but it isn't.
      sorcerers say that in order to command the spirit, and by that they mean to command the movement of the assemblage point, one needs energy. The only thing that stores energy for us is our impeccability.
      We do not have to be students of sorcery to move our assemblage point. Sometimes, due to natural although dramatic circumstances, such as war, deprivation, stress, fatigue, sorrow, helplessness, men's assemblage points undergo profound movements. If the men who find themselves in such circumstances are able to adopt a sorcerer's ideology, they would be able to maximize that natural movement with no trouble. And they would seek and find extraordinary things instead of doing what men do in such circumstances: crave the return to normalcy.
      When a movement of the assemblage point is maximized, both the average man or the apprentice in sorcery becomes a sorcerer, because by maximizing that movement, continuity is shattered beyond repair.
      You maximize that movement by curtailing self-reflection. Moving the assemblage point or breaking one's continuity is not the real difficulty. The real difficulty is having energy. If one has energy, once the assemblage point moves, inconceivable things are there for the asking.
      Man's predicament is that he intuits his hidden resources, but he does not dare use them. This is why sorcerers say that man's plight is the counterpoint between his stupidity and his ignorance. Man needs now, more so than ever, to be taught new ideas that have to do exclusively with his inner world--sorcerers' ideas, not social ideas, ideas pertaining to man facing the unknown, facing his personal death. Now, more than anything else, he needs to be taught the secrets of the assemblage point.
      * * *
     


The spirit is indefinable. One cannot even feel it, much less talk about it. One can only beckon it by acknowledging its existence.
      * * *
      The position of silent knowledge is called the third point because in order to get to it one has to pass the second point, the place of no pity.
      Every human being has a capacity for that fluidity. For most of us, however, it is stored away and we never use it, except on rare occasions which are brought about by sorcerers, or by dramatic natural circumstances, such as a life-or-death struggle.
      Only a human being who is a paragon of reason can move his assemblage point easily and be a paragon of silent knowledge. Only those who are squarely in either position can see the other position clearly. That was the way the age of reason came to being. The position of reason was clearly seen from the position of silent knowledge.
      The one-way bridge from silent knowledge to reason is called "concern." That is, the concern that true men of silent knowledge have about the source of what they know. And the other one-way bridge, from reason to silent knowledge, is called "pure understanding." That is, the recognition that tells the man of reason that reason is only one island in an endless sea of islands.
      A human being who has both one-way bridges working is a sorcerer in direct contact with the spirit, the vital force that makes both positions possible.
      * * *
      The spirit only listens when the speaker speaks in gestures. And gestures do not mean signs or body movements, but acts of true abandon, acts of largesse, of humor. As a gesture for the spirit, sorcerers bring out the best of themselves and silently offer it to the abstract.
     
      sorcerers count their lives in hours. In one hour it is possible for a sorcerer to live the equivalent in intensity of a normal life. This intensity is an advantage when it comes to storing information in the movement of the assemblage point.
      The assemblage point, with even the most minute shifting, creates totally isolated islands of perception. Information, in the form of experiences in the complexity of awareness can be stored there. But how can information be stored in something so vague? The mind is equally vague, and still you trust it because you are familiar with it. You don't yet have the same familiarity with the movement of the assemblage point, but it is just about the same.
      The information is stored in the experience itself. Later, when a sorcerer moves his assemblage point to the exact spot where it was, he relives the total experience. This sorcerers' recollection is the way to get back all the information stored in the movement of the assemblage point.
      Intensity is an automatic result of the movement of the assemblage point. Intensity, being an aspect of intent , is connected naturally to the shine of the sorcerers' eyes. In order to recall those isolated islands of perception sorcerers need only intent the particular shine of their eyes associated with whichever spot they want to return to.
      Because his intensity rate is greater than normal, in a few hours a sorcerer can live the equivalent of a normal lifetime. His assemblage point, by shifting to an unfamiliar position, takes in more energy than usual. That extra flow of energy is called intensity.
      Beware of a reaction which typically afflicts sorcerers--a frustrating desire to explain the sorcery experience in cogent, well-reasoned terms.
      The sorcerers' experience is so outlandish that sorcerers consider it an intellectual exercise, and use it to stalk themselves with. Their trump card as stalkers , though, is that they remain keenly aware that we are perceivers and that perception has more possibilities than the mind can conceive.
      In order to protect themselves from that immensity, sorcerers learn to maintain a perfect blend of ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. These four bases are inextricably bound together. sorcerers cultivate them by intending them. These bases are, naturally, positions of the assemblage point.
      Every act performed by any sorcerer is by definition governed by these four principles. So, properly speaking, every sorcerer's every action is deliberate in thought and realization, and has the specific blend of the four foundations of stalking .
      sorcerers use the four moods of stalking as guides. These are four different frames of mind, four different brands of intensity that sorcerers can use to induce their assemblage points to move to specific positions.
      Our tendency is to ponder, to question, to find out. And there is no way to do that from within the discipline of sorcery. Sorcery is the act of reaching the place of silent knowledge, and silent knowledge can't be reasoned out. It can only be experienced.
      sorcerers, in an effort to protect themselves from the overwhelming effect of silent knowledge, developed the art of stalking . Stalking moves the assemblage point minutely but steadily, thus giving sorcerers time and therefore the possibility of buttressing themselves.
      Within the art of stalking there is a technique which sorcerers use a great deal: controlled folly. Sorcerers claim that controlled folly is the only way they have of dealing with themselves--in their state of expanded awareness and perception--and with everybody and everything in the world of daily affairs.
      Controlled folly is the art of controlled deception or the art of pretending to be thoroughly immersed in the action at hand--pretending so well no one could tell it from the real thing. Controlled folly is not an outright deception but a sophisticated, artistic way of being separated from everything while remaining an integral part of everything.
      Controlled folly is an art. A very bothersome art, and a difficult one to learn. Many sorcerers don't have the stomach for it, not because there is anything inherently wrong with the art, but because it takes a lot of energy to exercise it.
      By the time we come to sorcery, our personality is already formed and all we can do is practice controlled folly and laugh at ourselves.
      * * *
      Stalkers who practice controlled folly believe that, in matters of personality, the entire human race falls into three categories. Sorcerers long age learned that only our personal self-reflection falls into one of the categories.
      The trouble with us is that we take ourselves seriously. Whichever category our self-image falls into only matters because of our self-importance. If we weren't self-important, it wouldn't matter at all which category we fell into.
      * * *
      The basic cores reveal themselves extremely slowly, erratically advancing and retreating. I can't repeat often enough that every man whose assemblage point moves can move it further. And the only reason we need a teacher is to spur us on mercilessly. Otherwise our natural reaction is to stop to congratulate ourselves for having covered so much ground.
      * * *
      Self-importance is a monster that has three thousand heads. And one can face up to it and destroy it in any of three ways. The first way is to sever each head one at a time; the second is to reach that mysterious state of being called the place of no pity, which destroys self-importance by slowly starving it; and the third is to pay for the instantaneous annihilation of the three-thousand-headed monster with one's symbolic death.
      Consider yourself fortunate if you get the chance to choose. For it is the spirit that usually determines which way the sorcerer is to go, and it is the duty of the sorcerer to follow.
      * * *
      The place of no pity is a position of the assemblage point, a position which renders self-pity inoperative.
      * * *
      Appearance is the essence of controlled folly, and stalkers create appearances by intending them. Intending appearances is exclusively an exercise for stalkers .
      Stalkers call intent . The indispensable part of the act of calling intent is a total concentration on what is intended .
      * * *
      Man has a dark side. It's called stupidity. In the same measure that ritual forced the average man to construct huge churches that were monuments to self-importance, ritual also forced sorcerers to construct edifices of morbidity and obsession. As a result, it is the duty of every nagual to guide awareness so it will fly toward the abstract, free of liens and mortgages.
      Ritual can trap our attention better than anything I can think of. But it also demands a very high price. That high price is morbidity; and morbidity could have the heaviest liens and mortgages on our awareness.
      Human awareness is like an immense haunted house. The awareness of everyday life is like being sealed in one room of that immense house for life. We enter the room through a magical opening: birth. And we exit through another such magical opening: death.
      sorcerers, however, are capable of finding still another opening and can leave that sealed room while still alive. A superb attainment. But their astounding accomplishment is that when they escape from that sealed room they choose freedom. They choose to leave that immense, haunted house entirely instead of getting lost in other parts of it.
      Morbidity is the antithesis of the surge of energy awareness needs to reach freedom. Morbidity makes sorcerers lose their way and become trapped in the intricate, dark byways of the unknown.
      Stalkers who intend appearances are performers who are being coached by the spirit itself. The teacher's reason for training an apprentice as he does is freedom. He wants their freedom from perceptual convention. And he teaches them to be artists. Stalking is an art. For a sorcerer, since he's not a patron or a seller of art, the only thing of importance about a work of art is that it can be accomplished.
      * * *
      Think about the basic cores of the sorcery stories. Or rather, don't think about them, but make your assemblage point move toward the place of silent knowledge. Moving the assemblage point is everything, but it means nothing if it's not a sober, controlled movement. So, close the door of self-reflection. Be impeccable and you'll have the energy to reach the place of silent knowledge.

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Introduction
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