Der dreizackige Nagual (Materialsammlung 2)
Mexico City - January 1996
Tensegrity Workshop mit Carlos Castaneda
Notizen eines Teilnehmers in Spanisch und Englisch
Nosotros no estamos interesados en una confrontacion, no queremos quitarnos la mascara, la mascara de la compasion...
We are not interested in a confrontation, we don't want to take off the mask, the mask of compassion . . .
DJ decia: fijate yo amo a mi espiritu y tu ni a ti mismo te quieres...
DJ said: Look, I love [amar] my spirit and you don't even care for [querer] yourself . . .
DJ: lo mas tenebroso para mi, es la compasion profesional, esa de "te abrazo para que mueras conmigo", escupelos!!!! Cuidar a los ninhos no es lo mismo, eso se aplaude!
DJ: the worst thing for me is the professional compassion, this thing of "I embrace you so you will die with me," spit on it!!!! To take care of children is not the same thing, that's to be applauded!
Premisa del brujo: Todos vamos a morir!
Premise of the sorcerer: All of us are going to die!
DJ decia: no hablen y coman porque les salen pedos!
DJ said: don't talk when you eat because it will make farts!
Parece que como raza total estamos al final, por lo que veo no tenemos manera de ubicarnos... No tenemos ubicacion filosofica, es el augurio de que no hay tiempo...
It appears that as a race [species] we are at an end, from what I see we have no way to situate ourselves . . . We have no philosophical location, it's an omen that we have no time.
pregunta- Necesitamos salir al campo a practicar lo aprendido...? a la sierra...? CC: no necesitas un sitio ad-hoc hazlo aqui! yo aplico todo lo que me ensenho DJ en esto (refiriendose al seminario y andar en la ciudad)
question- Do we need to go out into wilderness to practice what we learned? To the mountains? CC: You don't need some ad hoc site . . . do it here! I apply everything DJ showed me in this (referring to the seminar and walking in the city)
La mujer y el hombre estan hechos para procrear y para evolucionar, uno es capaz de eso y mucho mas!!!!
Women and men are made to procreate and to evolve, one is capable of this and much more!!!!
Los pases magicos no fueron inventos, fueron descubiertos por los brujos antiguos Ellos se dieron cuenta que ciertos movimientos corporales repetian lo que habian sentido en los ensuenhos (para mas energia)
The magical passes were not invented, they were discovered by ancient sorcerers. They realized certain corporal movements reproduced what they had felt in dreaming (for more energy)
pregunta- que hay de cierto del explorador azul? El entra en el mundo de DJ por culpa de el, DJ le dijo que no se metiera con los inorganicos, pero siempre que le decian que no, iba y lo hacia, cuando vio al explorador azul lo vio como una nena de 7 anhos que se parecia mucho a su papa, esta le dijo ayudame, el le dio toda su energia para que saliera. Al explorador azul lo atraparon por explorar. Carol Tiggs le da vida. Es ahora hija de Carol Tiggs. Esa ninha es el epicentro de varios de ellos! puede hacer muchas cosas, pero por lo demas es normal..... casi... La aparicion de ese explorador es la confirmacion de la extincion de DJ
Question- what's for sure about the Blue Scout? It was Carlos' fault she entered don Juan's world, because DJ always told him not to, but he went, and when he saw the blue scout he saw her as a 7-year-old child that looked a lot like his father, she said help me, and he gave all his energy so she could leave. They trapped the blue scout for exploring. Carol Tiggs brought her to life. She's now the daughter of Carol Tiggs. This girl is the epicenter of several of them! she can do many things, but otherwise is normal . . . almost . . . The appearance [coming out] of this explorer is confirmation of the extinction of DJ [DJ's lineage?]
La energia la tienes o no la tienes, nadie te la puede dar! You have energy or you don't have energy, nobody can give it to you!
DJ dice: yo no necesito a nadie, no necesito ensenharle a nadie, pero ... la idea de que Florinda Donner puede volar es un gusto indescriptible
DJ says: I don't need anyone, I don't need to teach anyone, but . . the idea that Florinda Donner can fly is an indescribable joy.
Voladores? Los voladores son conciencias de ser sin organismo Cuando DJ le explica a CC, CC dice que no existen, DJ le dice que como sabe que la conciencia de ser tiene que tener organismo?
Flyers? The flyers are awarenesses without organisms When DJ explained them to CC, CC said they did not exist. DJ asked him how he knew that awareness had to have an organism?
Los voladores se alimentan de la conciencia total The flyers feed on all awareness [or, on total awareness]
DJ no prepara nada todo lo lee en la pared DJ does not prep anything, he reads it all on the wall.
El hombre es la unica especie que no tiene limite, todas las especies tienen limite. Toda nuestra conciencia del ser llega a una franja del dedo gordo, eso es todo!! Toda nuestra conciencia del ser es comida por los voladores, lo unico que nos queda es un pedacito! Todo mundo con yo, yo, yo
Man is the only species without limits [borders], all species have limits. Our entire awareness [of being] amounts to a thumb-wide fringe [band], that's all! All of our awareness is eaten by the flyers, all that's left to us is a little slice (piece)! The whole world goes I, I, I.
CC: El brujo explica que los voladores son como sombras, como grillos saltando.
CC: The sorcerer explains that the flyers are like shadows, like crickets jumping.
La conciencia del ser es como un arbol, si no se poda crece! (los podadores son los voladores)
Awareness is like a tree; if unpruned, it grows! (the pruners are the flyers)
El raciocinio del dedo gordo! es todo lo que nos dejan... si nos comen un poquito mas nos morimos!
Reasoning the thickness of a thumb! That's all that's left to us . . . if they ate a bit more, we would die!
Alguien de los asistentes dice que vio un volador, CC dice que lo que ella tiene es talento, por poder ver voladores, dice: "a los brujos no les gusta el talento, les gusta la disciplina"
One of the people attending says she saw a flyer, and CC says that to see flyers, she must have talent, but: "talent is not what sorcerers like, they like discipline."
Que nos coman no es chiste, es muy serio!! That we are being eaten is no joke, it's very serious!!
A los voladores la disciplina no les gusta! nosotros con 3 dias de no ser comidos es suficiente para ver!!!
Flyers don't like discipline! 3 days of not being eaten is sufficient to let us _see_!!!
Las maniobras de los voladores nos convierten de ingenieros en creyentes! Como es posible que un ser tan inteligente sea tan duro en eso (creer en cualquier divinidad) Quien nos dio esas creencias? los brujos dicen que los voladores!
The maneuvers of the flyers change us from engineers into believers! How is it possible that a being so intelligent can be so stuck in this (to believe in a supreme being)
Los voladores nos dieron la mente, la mente no es nuestra! Flyers gave us the mind; the mind is not ours!
le pregunto a DJ: que pasa si la mente se esfuma? que pasa? DJ: otro nivel, no piensas, hay conocimiento!
I ask DJ: What happens if the mind disappears? What happens? DJ: A different level, no thinking; there's knowledge!
le digo a DJ: 2 y 2 son 4 le entiendo DJ me dice: no entiendes! usas un proceso!
I say to DJ: 2 and 2 are 4, that I understand. DJ says to me: You are not understanding! You are using a process!
El arte del brujo es liberarse de la mente! The art of the sorcerer is to liberate the self from the mind!
Estamos a merced de esas entidades (voladores). Nos comen como nosotros comemos pollos, los cuidamos y luego nos los comemos
We are at the mercy of these entities (flyers). They eat us the way we eat chicken; we raise them and then we eat them.
DJ me hacia usar mi raciocinio para llegar a una opinion negativa de los voladores
DJ made me use reason to arrive at a negative opinion of the flyers.
Sin gritos, sin alardes el guerrero lucha impecablemente Without shouting, without showing off, the warrior fights impeccably.
El intelecto nos fuerza en convoluciones que a veces no........ The intellect forces us into convolutions that at times do not . . .
La mente nos fuerza a conceptualizar! La instalacion extranjera es la mente, pensaron todo los brujos del linaje hacer las cosas sin pensarias mucho, espanta a la mente!
The mind forces us to conceptualize! The foreign installation is the mind; all of the sorcerers of the lineage were determined to perform without thinking a lot, to scare away the mind!
Existen 3 tipos de personas: los pedos, los orines y los vomitos
There are 3 types of people: the farts, the pisses, and the vomits
los pedos son pesadisimos, te dicen vete al carajo, puto, no los puedes respirar los orines son suavecitos, no te mojes los zapatos, los vomitos son los por favor, parece que tienes
Farts are very heavy, they tell you to go to hell, you male whore, you can't get a word out [can't get a breath]. Pisses are smooth, don't get your shoes wet. Vomits are the please, it looks like you have . . .
La complejidad no es cierto, solo es una capa de pintura Los psicologos no sirven para nada
Complexity is not true; it's only a coat of paint. Psychologists aren't worth anything.
CC dice que trata de dirijirse a esa otra entidad de nosotros.
CC says: try to direct yourselves to the other part of ourselves.
CC dice que es el mismo viaje que DJ
CC say that is is the same trip that DJ
La gorda Maria Elena se murio de egomaniatica diciendo que era la mujer nagual, que todos comian de su mano.
La Gorda, Maria Elena, died of egomania saying she was the nagual woman, that everyone ate from her hand.
Aqui es el epicentro! Mexico! (La Cd. de Mexico)
Here is the epicenter! Mexico! (Mexico City)
Una bruja en Mexico lo ayudo! Un dia sera libre, pero ese dia le sera dada! Le falta poco tiempo porque algo le sera dado Otros linajes? debe haber, esa sea, debe ser
A female sorcerer in Mexico City helped him [CC]! Some day she will be free, but that day she'll be given. [?] There is little time left, because something will be given to her... Other lineages? There must be, that is, there should be.
Como se convoca el intento? Llamalo intento, intento, intento!!
How do you call intent? Call it. Intent, intent, intent!!
La idea del suplicante no existe, los brujos no piden, no suplican, ordenan!!!! pero ordenan como un pedido quedito!
Not with the attitude of a supplicant--sorcerers don't plead, don't entreat, they command!!!! But a command like a gentle request!
Nosotros usamos el intento sin darnos cuenta. Si sabemos usar el intento, por que no usarlo de una manera total
We use intent without realizing it. If we know how to use intent, then why not use it totally?
Pensar antes de hablar! en 2 horas la mente la deja
Think before talking! In 2 hours the mind will stop
El brujo puede pensar sin intelectoA sorcerer can think without the intellect.
Nada de lo que dice se pierde, se esta refiriendo al cuerpo energetico de uno! Nothing of what is said is lost; referring to one's energetic body!
En Los Angeles se hicieron seminarios y salieron 40 personas y se ven lindisimas, el seminario en agosto, redujeron su peso, es la tensigridad!
They did seminars in Los Angeles and 40 people showed up [or came out] and they were very beautiful, the seminar in August; they lost weight, it's Tensegrity!
El valle de Mexico es un epicentro, que es como una campana, todo puede suceder aqui!!!
The valley of Mexico [Mexico City valley] is an epicenter, like a bell, everything [anything] can happen here!!!
pa' que esta alharaca del yo yo yo del brujo?
Why this fuss from sorcerers about the I, I, I?
El orden social no toma en cuenta la supervivencia del hombre
The social order does not take into account the survivorship of man.
Los murcielagos estan evolucionando Bats are evolving.
Disonancia cognitiva es el arte de parar el mundo por un instante
Cognitive dissonance is the art of stopping the world for an instant.
Los suenhos lucidos son yo (la mente) si son ello puede ser serio Lucid dreams are about I (the mind); if they are about IT, they can be serious.
Uno adquiere un increible respeto por lo infinito..., por lo inaudito
One acquires an incredible respect for the infinite . . ., for the unknown.
El molde del hombre es el Dios que nosotros conocemos
The mold of man is the God we know.
Nuestra soberbia (los voladores) nos incita a eso.... creer en Dios
Our arrogance [pride] (the flyers) incites us to this . . belief in God
El escrutinio tiene que ser amplio y despiadado
Our scrutiny [self-examination] has to be widespread and pitiless
Solo el hombre esta como si estuviera cortado por un cuchillo, no se por que?
Only man is trimmed as if cut with a knife, who knows why?
Parece que van a hacer el seminario para mujeres aqui. quiza el proximo mes!
It looks like we may have the seminar for women here. Perhaps next month!
DJ cree que es el unico Ser que es victimizado.
DJ thinks he/she is the only Being that is victimized.
Los voladores saben que lo primero que deben atacar, es a la mujer, tienen el poder, tienen otro cerebro.
The flyers know that their first one they must attack is the woman; she has the power; has another brain.
DOMINGO 28 DE ENERO DE 1996 - 9:00 am
SUNDAY JANUARY 28, 1996 - 9:00 am
En un dia la diferencia ya es marcada con los movimientos de tensigridad.
[CC says:] After one day the difference with Tensegrity movements is noticeable.
DJ era tan simple que me asustaba
DJ was so simple that it scared me.
Nuestras ideas hay que sostenerlas, el unico modo de mantenerlas es enojarse.
Our ideas have to be upheld; and the only way to maintain them is to get angry.
El brujo dice nadie quiere se libre.
Sorcerers day no one wants to be free.
Si sigo con este camino mis hijos se van a quedar sin nada... pero que tienen ahora?
If I continue down this road my children are going to wind up without anything . . . but what do they have right now!
El brujo dice nadie quiere se libre.
Sorcerers say no one wants to be free.
El asunto es desviar la confrontacion.... Vivimos de ideologia, la ideologia del yo, nos referimos a una idea de uno mismo Nosotros intrinsicamente no somos asi!!!
The point is to ward off the confrontation . . . We live off of ideology, the ideology of "I," we refer to an idea of ourselves. We are intrinsically not that way!!!
Los voladores nos han impuesto esta idea, pero no podemos darnos cuenta porque no tenemos energia.
The flyers have placed that idea in us, but we can't see it [realize it] because we don't have the energy.
Los brujos son tremendamente simples y directos
Sorcerers are tremendously [frightfully] simple and direct.
Quiere hacer lo mismo que DJ pero en masa, CC dice que no puede hacerlo de 1 a 1.
He wants to do the same thing DJ did, but in mass, CC says. He can't do it 1 to 1.
CC dice alguien va a descubrir la maniobra de los voladores, va a llegar el momento en que esos centros estaran repletos
CC says somebody is going to uncover the maneuver of the flyers; going to arrive at the moment in which these centers are full [loaded, replete].
DJ dice que no tenemos los pies en la tierra Tenemos los pies en idealidades, tenemos miedo, a la disciplina, ni siquiera es nuestro. La mente es la que hace que nos de miedo
DJ says we don't have our feet on the ground; we have our feet on idealities; we are afraid, of discipline, even if it is our own. The mind is what makes us fear.
La mente dice: pero esto no es cientifico, es una estupidez! Si! Tienes que desenganchar la mente! trata! haz esfuerzo!
The mind says: but this is not scientific; it's stupid! Yes! You have to unhook [disengage] the mind! Try it! Make the effort!
!o.- fijarme en lo que estaba diciendo, antes de hablar, piensa tu mente se va a cansar
Or! Take a look at what I'm saying, before I speak. Think, your mind will get tired.
Lo horrible es que tienes que leer libros escritos por volares The worst thing is that you have to read books written by the flyers.
Que pasa cuando se desengancha la mente? no cavilaciones, pensamientos directos
What happens when the mind is disengaged? No fretting [brooding], direct thoughts
No se puede cogitar, se cogita pero se cogita mal No hay pensamiento especulativo, no hay el "que pasaria si...." La mente se convierte en algo tremendamente funcional
One cannot cogitate; cogitating but cogitating poorly No speculative thinking, no "what if . . ." The mind gets converted into something tremendously functional.
Los voladores nos dieron la mente!
The flyers gave us the mind!
Yo creia que la mente eran las experiencias de mi vida, pero DJ me dijo que no Hay un substrato que es el yo, que adquirio todas esas experiencias...
I believed that the mind was my life experiences, but DJ told me no. There is a substrate that is the I, which acquired all those experiences . . .
DJ me invita a esta pelea incesante Esta lucha lo deja a uno nuevo, el oponente vale la pena! si se descuida uno, se lo comen hasta los talones!
DJ invites me to this incessant battle This struggle leaves one new; the opponent is worth the trouble! If one is careless, he gets eaten down to the heels!
Uno es mas sobrio, porque le quita el enojarse con todo el mundo
One becomes more sober, because anger at the world is cleared away.
A los voladores no hay manera de vencerlos! que puede hacer un pollo audaz? se escapa! se sale del gallinero!
There's no way to defeat (conquer) the flyers! What can an audacious chicken do? Escape! Flee the coop!
No tengo nada extraordinario, no tengo nada especial, ya busque en el cuerpo energetico
I am not extraordinary, I have nothing special, I have searched in the energy body
Las ideas ya las puedo manejar con el dedo chiquito DJ dice que nuestros allegados caen con la adulacion Lo que me interesa es la libertad?
Ideas I can now handle with the little finger DJ says that our assertions [declarations?] fall with flattery What interests me is freedom.
Como parar la mente? A patadas!!!
How to stop the mind? Kicking it!!!
DJ decia: para parar a la mente de segundo a segundo.... primero un segundo, otro segundo, 2 segundos, 3 segundos, 4.... 8 segundos... hasta que sucede por acumulacion que tiempo se necesita para que se caiga la mente? No se puede saber! Es una tarea dificilisima pero digna
DJ said: to stop the mind second by second . . . first one second, another second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 . . . 8 seconds until it happens by accumulation How long does it take for the mind to fall? That's something that can't be known! It is a difficult task, but worthy.
no prepare lo que iba a decir, yo no estoy pensando, yo no estoy cogitando, yo les estoy hablando desde ese silencio desde hace 35 anhos
I did not prepare what I am going to say. I am not thinking, I am not cogitating, I am speaking to you from 35 years of silence.
(Varias personas asistentes en la reunion del sabado, hicieron preguntas muy largas y rebuscadas, CC les dijo que esas preguntas eran hechas directamente por voladores, una persona se enojo mucho porque no le respondio su extensa pregunta... mmmm... entendimos mejor de lo que hablaba CC)
(Various people attending the Saturday session asked long and affected [unnatural] questions, and CC said these questions were made directly by the flyers. One person got angry because he did not respond to his extensive question ... mmmm . . . we understood better what CC had been talking about)
Yo le hacia preguntas a DJ como de media hora, te estas haciendo aleman! el verbo al final!
I used to ask DJ questions that were an hour long, you are becoming German! the verb at the end!
DJ era un experto en la disonancia cognitiva
DJ was an expert in cognitive dissonance.
DJ una vez me envio con Florinda Donner a que me ensenhara sobre disonancia cognitiva: Florinda me dice: esta bien, el lunes a las 7, vienes y me coges (estaban en jueves) que!!! me volvi loco pensando, dandole vueltas al asunto, como yo iba a hacer eso....... y pasaban los dias y cada dia era peor....... hasta que llego el lunes... pues me cambie, fui, abrio la puerta y... me desmaye!!! desde ahi me conocieron como el "cumplidor" Florinda Donner le decia: dejate de disonancias y ven a cogerme! yo no tengo chile, esas son pendejadas de los hombres!
DJ once sent me to Florinda Donner [Error! to Florinda _Matus] for her to teach me about cognitive dissonance: Florinda says to me: O.K., Monday at 7:00, come over and fuck me. (this was on Thursday) What!!! I went crazy thinking, turning it over in my mind, how was I going to do this . . . . and the days went by, each one worse . . . . until Monday arrived . . I dress, went over, opened the door and . . . fainted!!! From then on I was known as the "promise-keeper." Big Florinda said: "drop the strife and come fuck me!" I don't have a "chile pepper," these are the pubic ornaments of MEN!
DJ tuvo tiempo de ensenhar, por anhos y anhos, nosotros no!! El nunca tuvo la posibilidad de una masa, si llegamos a ese acuerdo el impulso valdria 30 anhos!!
DJ had time to teach, for years and years; we don't!! He never had the possibility of a mass of people; if we can reach that accord, the impulse [the push of it] would be worth 30 years!!
Aprender de 1 a 1, necesitan sudar tinta, porque tienen la masa pueden aprender mas rapido!!
To learn one on one, you have to sweat bullets [ink], but since you have mass, you can learn much more rapidly!!
Desde que se empiezan a dar los seminarios, cosa bestial!, en segundos...
>From when they first started giving seminars, how wild!, in seconds . . .
Another note: When it said "How do you stop the mind?" I wrote "Kicking it," for "a patadas." "Stomping it out" is the American phrase closer to the Spanish one.
DJ me dijo: tu cuerpo energetico esta en Japon! Tarda anhos juntar el cuerpo energetico!
DJ told me: your energetic body is in Japan! It takes years to unite the energy body.
El final se acerca, tenemos poco tiempo! tengo que esperar para hacer algo... que es? no se!
The final act draws close, we have little time! I have to wait to do something . . . what is it? I don't know!
Es increible en los seminarios he visto que hay gente que puede atraer su cuerpo energetico con solo insinuacion! He visto talento! no se lo que puedo hacer con todo lo que he visto!
It's incredible; I have seen persons in the seminars who can attract their energy bodies from just a suggestion! I have seen talent! I don't know what to do what all I've seen!
El impulso es de la masa!!!! Lo que si puedo decirles, es que aprenden mas rapido! por que? por la masa!
The impetus is from the mass!!!! What I can tell you is that the learning is faster! Why! Because of the mass!
Lo que queremos es la libertad!
What we want is freedom!
-Alguien pregunta sobre las personas de 4 puntos... No vale un pito ser doble!
Someone asks about the 4-compartment person . . . Not worth a tinker's dam!
Nuestra energia esta baja
Our energy is low.
Los gurus te permiten algo o no te permiten Gurus allow you something or don't allow it.
yo le preguntaba a DJ que si donde estaban los voladores DJ decia que la mayoria estan en Argentina 🙂 (broma)
I asked DJ where the flyers are DJ said most of them are in Argentina (joke)
Los voladores era informacion super secreta de los brujos, pero la foto de un volador, tomada por alguien fuera del grupo, sirvio como un augurio... desde ese momento empece a decir de ellos! Los voladores nos quitan la conciencia del ser!
The flyers were a top secret piece of knowledge of the sorcerers, but the photo of a flyer, taken by someone outside the group, served as an augury [omen] . . . From that moment, I began to talk about them! The flyers take away our awareness!
Carol Tiggs en otro seminario hablo de otro mundo (uno de esos 600), llegar a ese mundo, es algo que nos privaron los voladores! pero si nomas tenemos conciencia del ser en el espacio entre los dedos gordos, por eso solo hablamos del yo! entre mas egomaniacos somos, mas comida para los voladores!
Carol Tiggs in one of the other seminars spoke of another world (one of the 600); getting to that world is something of which the flyers deprive us! But if we just have awareness between our big toes, that's why we talk only about "I." The more egomaniacal we are, the more food for the flyers!
Si llegamos a ese acuerdo, podemos llegar a una masa de luminosidad!
If we reach an accord, we can become a luminous mass.
el intento es una fuerza, no es percepcion, nosotros somos intento!! ya somos magos del intento!! por que no somos magos totales?
Intent is a force, not a perception; we are intent!! We are wizards of intent! Why not be total wizards?
La tensigridad es una llave!
Tensegrity is the key!
Un anho sali a buscar gurus y no encontre nada!!
One year I went around looking for gurus and didn't find a one!!
(varias personas hicieron preguntas sobre ensonhar, acecho... CC dijo que para hacer eso primero hay que ganar energia! como? practicando los ejercicios de tensigridad!) Ahorita dedicate a la tensigridad, vamos a llegar a otras cosas pero de una manera no intelectual (no hacer) primero hay que tonificar ese cuerpo!
(various people asked questions about dreaming, stalking . . . CC said first one had to gain energy! how? practicing the exercises of Tensegrity!) Right now, dedicate yourselves to Tensegrity, later we will arrive at other things but in a non-intellectual manner. First the body needs toning (tuning)!
Deja los libros de CC de ladito!
Put the CC books aside!
La tensigridad no la hagas en el viento! Hay vientos que no son viento! No todas las corrientes de aire son viento! algunas son entidades! La tierra es un ser viviente
Don't do Tensegrity in the wind! There are winds that are not wind. Not all currents of air are winds! Some are entities! Earth is a living being.
(alguien pregunta por los aliados) por el momento no vamos a hablar de aliados y cosas asi!
(someone asks about the allies) For now we're not going to talk of allies and things like that!
Los voladores andan por el suelo Se instalan en la mente entre los 10 y 12 anhos.... a veces mas... a veces menos (alguien pregunta como cuidar a los hijos de los voladores) no se pueden cuidar... pero si el padre se cuida, los hijos siempre aprenden del ejemplo
Flyers walk along the ground. They are installed in the mind between 10 and 12 years of age. . . sometimes later . . . sometimes earlier . . . (someone asks how to protect their children from the flyers) you can't protect them . . . but if the father protects himself, the children will always learn by example.
(alguien pregunta por las curaciones) DJ no estaba interesado en curar, decia que es inutil borrar los sintomas de la enfermedad, lo que le interesaba era saltar de carril, era cambiar de cuerpo, a uno que no uso, pues estaba mas joven. como saltar de carril? con energia y proposito! DJ habia saltado 11 veces minimo. al nagual Julian le dio tuberculosis por libertino, siempre estaba al borde de la muerte, pero cambiaba de cuerpo
(someone asks about curing) DJ wasn't interested in curing. He said that it is useless to take away the symptoms of an illness. What interested him was to jump tracks, to change the body, to one not used; since he became younger. How to jump tracks? With energy and purpose! DJ had jumped at least 11 times. The nagual Julian got tuberculosis from his libertinism, was always at death's door, but he changed bodies.
(alguien pregunta por las curaciones de Panchita, la bruja) les hacia cambiar de nivel
(someone asks about the cures of Panchita, the bruja) She makes them change levels.
No puedes dar energia! lo que das es el intento! You cannot give energy! What you can give is the intent!
El cuerpo energetico es el doble
The energy body is the double.
Los brujos son seres super pragmaticos! Asi que para los brujos, espacio y tiempo se convierten en entidades concretas! que los brujos tienen que conocer si se van a mover en espacios....
Sorcerers are super pragmatic beings! So for sorcerers, space and time are converted into concrete entities! They have to know if they are going to change spaces [?] . . .
Nacho Coronado, creador de mascaras... era un genio para hacer mascaras, pero tenia miedo de triunfar y por eso no busco triunfar, aunque el decia que queria triunfar! DJ decia: que tristeza que no puedas ser libre, aunque le importe un pepino la demas gente
Nacho Coronado, mask-maker . . . was a genius in making masks, but he was afraid to succeed, and so he did not look for success, although he said he wanted to succeed! DJ said: How sad that he cannot be free, although he doesn't give a fig about other people.
(pregunta sobre el amor) Nosotros somos inversionistas... te quiero porque me quieres
(question about love) We are investors. . . I love you because you love me.
mamfifas = masturbaciones, mamfifotas
Notes taken by J. Garcia: Sonora, Mexico
Translation to English by Bill Parsons.
Amy Wallace on her life in the tragic cult of Carlos Castaneda
November 8, 2012
By: Jeffery Pritchett
Having grown up reading Carlos Castaneda's books and finding them intriguing and enlightening like many countless others. I was shocked when I stumbled across Amy Wallace's book Sorcerer's Apprentice. Where she tells her story passionately and truthfully of being in the cult of Carlos Castaneda. I cannot recommend this book enough to those out there who are familiar with Castaneda's work. It certainly will change your perspective on the scenario and raise awareness of the horrors of cults. And of how sometimes hell lurks right around the corner, and often with a ferocious appetite. From the abuse within the cult, to the strange behavior of Carlos towards Amy and his followers. I hope you find this interview intriguing. Presenting.
1. In your book Sorcerer's Apprentice you go into your life with Carlos Castaneda and the tragic journey. Would you tell us about how you met Carlos exactly?
AW: My father, Irving Wallace was, circa 1970, one of the most famous authors in the world. Consequently, as a celebrity child, I met everyone from Hank Mancini to Henry Miller to Charles “Sparky” Shultz.
One night, my parents returned from a dinner party thrown by my dad’s agent, who was also Carlos’ agent. They were excited and enthusiastic, and my dad said, “We just met Carlos Castaneda! He’s fantastic – you have to meet him!” I was 15, and on a break from my New England hippie boarding school. I was never scared to meet famous people, they were part of the landscape. When Irving met John Lennon, Lennon was shaking with excitement. Yoko had grabbed him by the sleeve and said, “Look, John, it’s your favorite author, Irving Wallace!” (His favorite book was The Man, about a black man becoming president. Oh, if he had lived to see that dream come true!)
If a Lennon/Ono invitation had been forthcoming, I would have jumped at the chance. But Carlos Castaneda! He would grace the cover of Time magazine, lived in secrecy, and was too famous for me, too awe-inspiring.
I said, “No.”
My father said something very unusual for him: “I insist.”
And so I went to an arranged dinner party, with the agent and his wife, my brother and his fiancée, and Carlos and his mysterious and virtually silent “date,” Anne-Marie. (I would later come to know her by her sorcery name, Taisha Abelar.) When Carlos took my hand in his to say goodbye, he said, exuding warmth, “We will meet again!”
In the years that followed, Carlos would call Irving, and they’d chat, or he’d turn up at the door, looking for me. He always gave Irving a phone number, which he was never at. I was living in Berkeley in my brother’s commune during school breaks, working for my brother on what was to become the #1 bestseller, with our dad: The Book of Lists.
Sometimes Carlos found me in L.A., and we would go out to dinner and for a walk on the Santa Monica beach front. He would quiz me about my education, and talk about sorcery.
2. I have seen many people caught up in the enchantment of Castaneda's books. What are your feelings on the adventures and characters in the books? Fact or fiction?
AW: Of course, I had read all of Carlos’ books, and Anne-Marie had written one two, as had Florinda Donner, two of Carlos’ three closest companions, known as the “witches.” (Irving and I speculated frequently about whether or not Anne-Marie was Carlos’ girlfriend. We decided not, there was something odd about the relationship that we couldn’t put our fingers on.)
Even though I was skeptical at times, I always came around to believing the outlandish things they told me. Now, I believe these things to be fiction, “teaching stories” as some traditions called them. And I believed there was a seed of truth in the tales they wrote and told. Florinda’s book, Shabono, about living with an Indian tribe, was eventually exposed as plagarism. Ironically, she was the best writer in the group, and an avid reader – we got along famously discussing and trading books and ideas. They were all impressed by a novel I’d published. There was one more “witch” in the group, who didn’t write, named Carol. She cried to me years later, when Carlos had announced her forthcoming book, Tales of Infinity, when there was no book.
Carlos was known to them and an inner circle varying from 10 to 20, by a reverent name, “the nagual,” which stood for an all-knowing being. Carol was supposed to have magical powers, and was called “the nagual woman.” Though Florinda was the closest to Carlos, along with a said-to-be adopted daughter, and adult former waitress named Nuri, (originally Patti), Carol was said to be “his other half.” In the end, I found out beyond question that his supposed magical deeds, putting people into trances, was done by hypnosis.
I’ll give you a spoiler: several years later, when I had moved to be near Carlos in L.A. – for he had proposed to me – I found out that I had joined a harem. For details, please read the book, Sorcerer’s Apprentice!
3. When and how did you realize that something was wrong with the lifestyle of being involved in Castaneda's cult, and could you give an example of some red flags that went off for you?
AW: Ah . . . when did I notice that something was wrong in Paradise? For the full answer to this question, one must, again, read the whole story in book form. At first, I was taken to two group luncheons with the women and a few other group members, and I didn’t know it, but I was being “tested.” I failed both tests, by being my sassy, outspoken self. The group manifested sorrow, disgust, and even hatred. For Carlos had begun to tell outrageous lies about me and my sex life and supposed drug life behind my back. I was utterly clueless as to what was occurring. Clearly, they all, except for Florinda and Taisha, resented my having known Carlos for longer than any of them. The envy within the group, especially from the women, who were in the majority, was formidable.
I was invited on a group trip to Mexico City (sans Carlos) – he and I had had a truly romantic trip there, during which I succeeded marvelously and gained the love of his Mexican group.
This time, however, no one told me what to wear, or what kind of luggage was de riguer. I wore light clothes, while the rest of the group was dressed in black from head to toe. Carol made fun of me. I dressed casually, they dressed formally, and black luggage was a must – I had a brown carry-on.
Now all the witches grew literally cruel to me, whereas I was greeted with great love and warmth by the Mexicans. More and more red flags went up, too many to recount here. But . . . I was in love.
4. What do you think went wrong with Carlos Castaneda exactly and what contributed to the insanity so to speak? What contributed to Carlos’ insanity?
AW: He went ballistic when he found out I took Prozac though he waved off my fuse of painkillers for chronic migraines. By then we had made love a number of times, and he claimed (with Florinda, who had been so close to me) chiming in, that I had poisoned him by making love with him while on an antidepressant. He believed he was cursed forever because his penis had entered a Prozac-contaminated body. This is the one time in my life when I truly considered committing suicide… Just remembering how close I came still terrifies me. It was horrific to write about.
In reality, I believe over-consumption of toxic psychedelic plants contributed to his insanity and liver cancer; and possibly he was a secret drinker, though I have no proof of this.
And, of course, his God-complex, general bitterness and rage, and the pressures of managing a cult (there were centers in Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Italy, and maybe more) I believe contributed hugely to his madness.
5. Could you tell us about some of the positive moments and learning periods during your time with Carlos?
AW: The most beautiful story of Carlos’ love and teaching, with me, concerns my mother. My father was virtually a perfect dad – a wonderful, loving man, who did a lot of the things one would expect a mother to do: when I wet the bed at 3:00 in the morning when I was little, he uncomplainingly got up and changed them; he cut out my paper dolls; when I had a nightmare he got up with me, no matter what time, to share a cup of tea and talk about it. My mother was sadistic and for the most part, awful and cruel to my brother and I. She sexually abused me, and verbally abused me constantly, and in public. My father often intervened, but was not always there to do it, and I was too confused to tell him about the sexual interference.
Common cult practice is to separate parent and child, siblings and friends. And Carlos did that with everyone in the group – these are horrific stories. Toward the end of his life Taisha was drinking heavily, and escaping to my home to get away from him – she confessed, crying, that he had ordered her to hit her mother, which she did, to be a good sorceress. The story was told to large groups this way by Carlos, “When she meditated and realized what they’d done to her, she hit her own mother! What courage!” This was far from the truth, and she grieved to the end of her days over this, after her mother was long dead.
Now, for me, he made an exception, thinking it would upset me, I assume. He said, “Why don’t you tell your mother you love her? She’s 80, what’s it to you??? Think how happy you could make her!” Maybe he did this not to upset me, but out of a kind place in his heart. I replied, “Okay, why not?” and began a program of saying, “Mom, I really love you, you’ve been a great mother,” all the time. She lit up like the sun. My brother said, “What are you doing?” I said, “She’s 80, blah blah,” with no reference to Carlos. He said, “Okay, then I’ll do it too.”
Now, most of my mother’s Beverly Hills society friends, the mothers, had children who hated them and were estranged from them. My mother crowed after her success, and told them all what her kids were saying. She felt wonderful, and I was moved to see her so happy.
At the end of his life, Carlos developed dementia, and told me to tell my mother I hated her, etc. I reminded him of his plan for me, and he said, “Oh. . . right. I guess.” I continued to shower her with love, though to be fair, it was my brother who was by her side as she had stroke after stroke.
6. In what ways was Carlos Castaneda abusive to you and others and would you be willing to tell us about some of the negative experiences?
AW: My God! For that have to read the book! There were endless incidents. Carlos made passes at a woman who rejected him, and said he “smelled bad . . . like a sick, old man.” He kidnapped another young nubile, who was rescued by her boyfriend; the verbal abuse was severe and constant. Public humiliation was big. He continued to tell me that I was responsible for his death; he told women they were hideous and fat…it goes on and on.
For a “minor” one, I’m 5’2”, and I weighed perhaps 110 pounds, at the most, and humiliated in front of the group by telling everyone how “fat and disgusting” I was. I wore a size 0 at that time. Florinda stood up for me, and said, “You’re worse than Balanchine!”
7. Carlos went down the guru path and claimed to have a special connection more so than others and called himself the Nagual. It seems throughout history followers of someone with this type of thinking most assuredly usually ends in devastation. Could you go into this and would you say your book is a warning to help people who maybe going through this?
AW: My book is very much a warning. Watch out for people who say the world, and the universe, will die if you make a “mistake,” such as wearing a size 2. Other sins included drinking, and of course sex with him while you took any drugs (he changed his mind a lot) – one woman smoked pot, though not before they had sex, and was kicked out for a long time. She was the sweetest woman in the group. Eating forbidden foods could get some people kicked out: mostly sugar. I, somehow, got away with eating what I wanted to. People were exempt from the oddest things that others were punished for. One woman got in a car accident, and had to go to the hospital. She begged that no one tell Carlos: she knew she could be ejected from the magic circle even though she was the victim in the situation. It would go against her as “a bad omen.” Whereas his favorite, his adopted adult daughter Nuri/Claude, received no end of fussing and treatment if she stubbed her toe, because she was “a special being.”
Since the books’ publication, so many women have thanked me, during readings or with fan mail, for liberating them from ominous cults led by men. After Carlos died, (which made the front page with the wrong photo, on purpose) it soon appeared in the news that a woman in New Mexico had jumped to her death from an orange crate on the edge of a cliff, to “be with him on the other side.” Apparently reading Sorcerer’s Apprentice stopped others from killing themselves. I guess this is the book that will define my career, so far, and beyond providing entertainment, like most of my other 16 published books, it has saved lives. The book is full of warnings about the dangers and tragedy of female envy and competition, all to get a man’s attention. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been a writer. The book provided a huge catharsis, but even now, many years after Castaneda’s death, I am troubled by serious PTSD. I have frequent nightmares about him and the group, and when I’m in our old neighborhood I shiver and feel profoundly menaced. Suffice to say, I moved very far away, while still staying in Los Angeles. I have a boyfriend, and he has not turned into a nagual, thank goodness. He supported me tremendously as I was finishing the book.
Which brings to mind a question you didn’t ask, but seems worth addressing. Carlos was rather pro-lesbianism, turned-on, I suppose, like many men. Florinda, however, said, “What’s the point? There is no feminism at play in these relationships – the women are simply acting out the roles of a heterosexual affair or marriage.”
8. Did you ever experience any spiritual or mystical experiences with Carlos and his followers that made everyone go wow? Would you share some of the personal experiences with us when Carlos perhaps discussed his belief system with you and the group?
AW: I had a "mystical experience"—groggy due to Carol's hypnosis techniques, which she passed off as sorcery. I have proof that she was using hypnosis. explained in Sorcerer's.
Sex with Carlos was mystical, like all great sexual chemistry is, and indeed, we had it! I later found out that many other women closed their eyes and "thought of England," to quote a famous phrase.
He did share his belief systems with us daily, both privately and in lectures, big and small (though almost never from the old books—he was very stern about this, because, he said, "that's old stuff, it's over, everything is always changing." People would come from all over the world clutching those books like bibles, and he'd sneer at them. Many times he gave personal lectures over the phone. Carlos was heterosexual, in fact he was homophobic, though as with many men, girl/girl was exciting to him.
The men in the group were told to be celibate for life—I suppose many, though not all, have given that up by now. We women swore never to have sex with any man besides Carlos—this was contradictory, as usual (Carlos said to a huge crowd, "99% of everything I say is a lie") because he also told me that we lucky women who had received his magic sperm could "pass on" our mystical powers by having sex with lucky partners. I called it (out of his hearing) "the Mileage Plus Program." Think about it, though—I could have set myself up as a money-making guru, giving lectures, with the big prize being sex. But I'm not that mercenary, I would have choked on my own hypocrisy.
In fact, Carlos compared men to hideous insects, and said, "Why would you want an insect masturbating inside you?" I think you understand that this was anything but a hippie free-love commune. We were strictly forbidden not to have sex with each other, I might add, though I quickly realized this was crap and wanted to have sex with one guy in the group who was infatuated with me, and I with him, but he was too scared, and there was, instead, a lot of mutual feeling-up.
9. Was sex ever a big factor in the Cult lifestyle of Carlos was it a free love hippie type environment? Could you go into some of his relationships with his followers when it came to intimacy?
AW: As I said, Carlos and I had that old-fashioned great sexual chemistry. The book goes into great detail about this, and how he abused women who weren't excited for sexual favors—a few were great matches, most were not. I wouldn't know where to begin to explain all this here, except to say that when he had an orgasm in a woman, he claimed to be planting a magic seed, which both granted powers and, as I mentioned, which we in turn could pass on to others.
10. How did you break away from the Cult exactly? Was it after his death or before and could you go into how Carlos passed away exactly and his last moments. Was he ever sorry for his behavior?
AW: I broke away after Carlos' death from liver cancer (which he hid from me, though I found out from many others). When he finally died, I hadn't seen him in a long time, though he sent me jewelery and "magic" objects and furniture via Florinda, and we talked on the phone a lot. Apparently he collapsed in public while trying to lecture, had turned sallow and was visibly dying. Carol tried to pass on to me the absurd story that he and his closest circle had ascended to another plane. I was expected to pimp for Carlos (it took me years to figure this out), and I finally brought him a girl I liked, and who viciously betrayed me, lied about me, etc. Florinda told me it was all because she was so jealous of me, which is probable. She was chosen to join Carol in telling the absurd tales of their "burning and ascendance" to gullible members, and I assume many still believe these fairy tales. Interestingly, the girl I introduced, Haley by sorcery name, was an incredible narcissist, which turned Carlos on, as did her refusal to have sex with him. He attempted to paw her breasts and molest her, and she ran away, crying to my door. I knew better than to do anything besides hug her and tell her to talk about it with Florinda. She lied, of course, and said I'd gossiped, etc., and I was once again disbarred from the group until Florinda fought to get me back in, and succeeded, telling me to ignore the jealous hostility.
His last words to me were on the phone. He said, "Be a fighter! Be a racoon! Live and fight for freedom. You are a special being! Only you understand the metaphor! Only you."
The jewelery was said to have been passed down the sorceric lineage, and many pieces were beautiful antiques, one special one made by Carlos, who's father was a jeweler. The rest was procured by a particularly sad hanger-on, and of course, we all had to give up our jewelery to Carlos when we joined. He would pass it from one to another, along with a fabricated story.
One thing Carlos did not do was pay me for many years of work in his office, in charge of some of the marketing and being a secretary, and managing sales at large workshops. Everyone else but me was paid, I think because he assumed I was rich, which I am not. He split his money and possessions into complicated divisions. For example, he left his large, lovely Westwood house to 6 followers: two of them would receive $10,000 a year for life provided they remained in school forever.
I gave away much of the jewelry, kept a few things, and was left an envelope with jewels from each of the witches when they left.
You ask if Carlos ever said "I'm sorry"—as he was dying, or ever. No. He did not. He was only sorry he wasn't a perfect teacher, he said, but he never felt he had wronged any of us with his abuse.
11. How did people behave when he died? When did I leave?
AW: People freaked out! They wore all their jewelry at once, formed factions, fed each other outlandish stories, named me the villain for blowing open the cult with my book, etc.
Do I have future projects? Of course! I'm publishing short stories these days—I love Roald Dahl style horror literature, and reviving that first love has been wonderful. I have another novel soon to be read by a new agent, if she likes it we'll work together. I have a website: www.catsinplaces.com, which I love, and plan to turn into a book as soon as feasible.
My last word readers: Please don't ever do what I did. Many people wrote to me and said that my book had prevented them from committing suicide to "be with him." Before the book was out, at least one woman made the papers by jumping off an orange crate to her death in a deep gorge below, to join Carlos on "the other side."
Never give your power away to someone else, who claims to have special knowledge. Its the worst mistake I ever made. This is not to say that Carlos' speeches and books do not contain some wisdom, they do indeed, but cults are evil, and I was in a cult. Still suffering from PTSD, nightmares, chills in the old neighborhood, etc. That this book has helped others so much means more than I can ever say. Thank you, all who've written and come to my readings, and chosen other paths to wisdom.
And…while it sounds frivolous, the cat book is very special. Carlos had me give away my two dear cats, and I've never gotten over the pain of this, its my biggest regret aside from joining this group. I just lost a gorgeous 16-year-old rescue cat, and I dedicate this interview to the beautiful Bella, who passed peacefully; and to Hank, her enormous tabby boyfriend who is sleeping (what else?) beside me as I write. Carlos believed cats took energy—I believe the Egyptians were wiser—cats give energy and love.
Letters at 3AM
By Michael Ventura, Austin Chronicle
JULY 13, 1998: A sorcerer died two or three months ago. Liver cancer, they said, but the details are vague. Also vague is why it took so long for word to get out. There are strange rumors. No matter. All this is as it should be for a sorcerer. Strangest of all, in a way, were the obituaries of the media heavies, a blurry photo in The New York Times, tributes that were respectful in a distant and baffled sort of way. It's doubtful The New York Times ever before felt compelled to pay homage to a sorcerer. But that was Carlos Castaneda's mojo. Many who professed not to take him seriously nevertheless read him, remembered, and were haunted. Let them wonder whether he was born in 1931, as he said, or in 1925, as some immigration records said. Let them wonder whether he was Peruvian or Mexican. Wonder, even in such minor matters, will be good for them.
Carlos Castaneda has died. There aren't many to bear witness to or for him, because he didn't allow many witnesses. One met him by invitation, usually, and even that was more fluke than not. Those invited were of all sorts. I happened to be one, for reasons that weren't clear (to me) and probably aren't important. Perhaps I was called to be a witness?
About 12 years ago a friend who worked in a bookstore in Santa Monica called: Carlos Castaneda was giving a talk in the cellar of the store (it would be in the cellar!), by invitation only, would I like to come? Who knew it was really him, I said? My caller, whom I had reason to trust, said, "It's Carlos, alright."
He was a small man. Impossible to tell his age. Didn't look much over 40, but his eyes were older, smiling eyes but deepened by a vague sense of grief. He laughed readily, didn't insist that we take him seriously, stood before us in an attitude of welcome. He wanted us to ask him questions. He said there was something he'd forgotten, and that sometimes he came out of his seclusion and talked to strangers hoping that a question would spark the memory of this forgotten thing. He didn't say this sadly. He was frank and matter-of-fact. That night nobody asked the question he was seeking, but every question brought forth a story of Don Juan, and every story had laughter in it. As in his books, when Castaneda spoke of Don Juan the old Yaqui wizard was near and dangerous, inviting us to adventure. It was Castaneda's laughter, more than his skills as a storyteller, that convinced me of his sincerity and authenticity. He talked for free, had nothing to gain from us, spoke without artifice. People rarely laugh when they lie. At least, in my experience, they don't laugh sweetly. And there was an irresistible sweetness to this man.
He described the most fantastic experiences as though they were almost jokes, but the joke was on him. I had the impression of a desperate man, but a man who knew how to live with desperation in ways that made it something else. He'd transformed his desperation, as a sorcerer must, into a search. (Was I seeing in him the man I would like to be, who, though fated to desperation, could be desperate in a wise and engaging and gentle way? Perhaps.) He was, at the same time, vulnerable and invulnerable: vulnerable in that he seemed a little lost; invulnerable in that he was on his path, a path of heart. If he was lost it was because that path had led him to unknown and unexpected territory. It would have been easier for him to face physical danger than to face that there was something important about Don Juan he'd forgotten. But he was facing it, and in public. More than magic tricks and the Sorcerer's Way, Don Juan had taught him to be brave.
When he finished speaking, and the 20 or so people in that cellar milled around, he greeted a couple of old friends. I didn't want to intrude, didn't introduce myself, wouldn't have known what to say anyway. So, in effect, I met him but he didn't meet me.
Then, about three years ago, another friend called. Would I like to go to lunch with Carlos Castaneda? Why I received this invitation I was never told. It turned out that there were four of us and Carlos. We met at the Pacific Dining Car, one of the best (and most expensive) steakhouses on the West Coast. (Carlos picked up the check.) He had changed, and so had I. We had both lived a lot further into our very different desperations, and carried them with more assurance. He was much thinner, older ó obviously ill. Whereas in the bookstore's cellar he had dressed casually, this day he was decked out in an elegant suit. But for all his fragility he seemed much livelier, happier, and even funnier. The food was very fine, but really we lunched on laughter. Even his saddest stories of Don Juan were, again, like jokes; but this time the joke wasn't on Carlos, wasn't on us ó the joke was between the wizard and God, and a splendid joke it was.
I won't repeat those stories. I wasn't there to record them. They were his to tell or not. Best that anything he chose not to write should die with him.
But two moments caused not laughter but silence. A woman at the table said she loved her job, her husband, and her child, but still she felt a lack ó it was that she had no spiritual life. How could she achieve a spiritual life?
Answering this woman, Carlos didn't change the lightness or generosity of his manner; yet a steely thing came into his voice, a tone that made his words pierce all of us. He said that when she got home at night she should sit in her chair and remember that her child, her husband, everyone she loved, and she herself, were going to die ó and they would die in no particular order, unpredictably. "Remember this every night, and you'll soon have a spiritual life."
Notice that he didn't tell her what sort of spiritual life to have, much less whether it should agree with his. He didn't suggest she read his books more carefully, or attend the movement classes he'd begun to teach. He gave her a practical instruction, something she could accomplish within the parameters of her life as it was, and then assured her that this would set her on her own spiritual path, whatever that might turn out to be. This is the mark of a true Teacher.
Later in the conversation this woman asked how she could discipline herself to follow his advice, deeply follow it, so that it wouldn't be just an exercise. Carlos said: "You give yourself a command."
On the page there's no duplicating how he said it. He spoke quietly, but it was as though he'd suddenly jammed a knife into the tabletop.
"What's that mean?" one of us asked.
"It means you give yourself a command." And that was that.
A command is not a promise. A command is not "trying." A command is something that must be obeyed. His tone invoked something deeper than the idea of mere will. His was a call to action. He wasn't talking about mulling or meditating or analyzing or wishing. To step on the path you step on the path. There is no substitute for that.
After a nine-months-pregnant pause, the conversation took flight again. He told of a party at which a very tall and handsome Native American was saying, with great solemnity, that he was Carlos Castaneda, and revealing all sorts of Don Juan's "secrets." Did Carlos disabuse him of that fantasy?
"No!" he laughed. "He looked the way people expect Carlos Castaneda to look! Not some little round-faced brown man. And he was having such a good time! Why ruin it? Let him be Carlos for an evening!"
About a year later the woman who'd asked those questions at our lunch sent me a pamphlet that Carlos had printed privately. He'd requested she send it on to me. One passage goes:
"Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations. For them, discipline is a volitional act that enables them to intake anything that comes their way without regrets or expectations. For sorcerers, discipline is an art: the art of facing infinity without flinching, not because they are filled with toughness, but because they are filled with awe. ... Discipline is the art of feeling awe."
Any manifestation of the universe, any way in which it behaves toward us, isn't merely about us, isn't merely psychological, but is a movement of the universe, and as such what happens to us, no matter what it is, connects us to everything, and in that connection what can be felt but awe? "A live world," he wrote, "is in constant flux. It moves; it changes; it reverses itself." We try to defend ourselves against that, but we cannot. The only freeing response is awe.
When I saw him years ago in that cellar, an unhappier man than the dying man at lunch, I wrote: His presence was an admission that every truth is fragile, that every knowledge must be learned over and over again, every night, that we grow not in a straight line but in ascending and descending and tilting circles, and that what gives us power one year robs us of power the next, for nothing is settled, ever, for anyone.
Now I would add: What makes this bearable is awe.
Go well, Don Carlos.
Luck Disguised as Ordinary Life
By Nina Wise
My fortieth birthday was approaching like a tidal wave. I was single, childless, and questioning my life as a performance artist with a cult following but no steady income. I lacked the requisite evidence of adulthood: a couch, a dining-room table, a matched set of dishes, a color television. Although I tried to convince myself that this was because I had recently separated from a lover who owned nearly all of the furniture and electronic devices I had used for seven years, I knew the real problem was that I'd dedicated my life to my work and I wasn't getting famous fast enough. There were no book contracts, no movie deals, no television appearances coming my way. I needed help, a map to guide me through the midlife moonscape of defeat.
One of the great benefits of disappointment is that it drives you to religion- usually not the one you were raised with; if that had worked, you wouldn't be in this condition. It would take an exorcism to stave off the demons who had caught wind of my approaching birthday and were flicking their icy tongues in my ear, chanting a liturgy of symphonic discontent. I decided to learn to meditate, discovered a Vipassana Buddhist teacher in my neighborhood, and began to sit every morning on my purple zafu.
One afternoon, my friend Martina called to tell me the Dalai Lama was coming to Santa Monica to give the Kalachakra Initiation. I'd met Martina when she came backstage after one of my performances. "That sex fantasy with the refrigerator was divine," she'd told me later at one of her Pacific Heights dinner parties, while butlers carrying silver trays of smoked salmon and caviar toasties waded through an effervescent crowd of environmentalists, publishers, writers, and philanthropists. Martina had grown up in Argentina, where it was traditional for the wealthy to create around themselves an international milieu of royalty, intellectuals, and artists. Her warm brown eyes exuded confidence, her cheeks were aphrodisiac, and she wore a silver streak in her brown hair to show that, even though she was holding forth on a white rug arrayed with priceless antiques, she was really a rebel. Over champagne, Martina and I discovered that we were both seekers. We began going to retreats, dharma talks, satsangs, and darshans together.
"Do you want to go to Santa Monica with me and be my roommate?" Martina now asked over the phone.
The Kalachakra Initiation is one of the most esoteric and advanced practices in Tibetan Buddhism. During the ceremony, participants vow to devote their lives to altruism and to become bodhisattvas, enlightened people who, instead of stepping off the wheel of incarnation upon their death, return to earth to serve all living beings. Normally, the initiation is given only to students with years of preliminary practice under their belts, but, because the world was in such an escalated state of environmental devastation, the Dalai Lama had decided to offer the transmission to Anyone who felt moved to participate. Many of my friends were heading to southern California for this event. I accepted Martina's invitation without pause.
When I arrived at the Shangri La, an upscale, art deco hotel on Ocean Boulevard, Martina was spread out on the king-sized bed balancing Mothering magazine on her stomach, which rose like a whale from a calm ocean. She was expecting her fifth child after a twelve-year hiatus, and she needed to get current on parenting. I lay down next to her and pulled out the forty-page text we'd been given for the five-day initiation process:
From this time until enlightenment, I will generate the altruistic intention to become enlightened, Generate the very pure thought, And abandon the conception of I and mine.
I wasn't sure I was following this. "Martina, what's 'the very pure thought'?" I asked, hoping for an in-depth dharma discussion.
"It doesn't matter. We'll get it by osmosis. Do you think I should get a diaper service!"
"Definitely", I said, turning back to the incomprehensible text.
In the morning, we waited in a line that stretched around the block until it was our turn to take three mouthfuls of saffron-blessed water and spit out our mental and emotional toxins into an enormous white plastic bucket.
"I'm going to throw up," Martina groaned, covering her eyes so she didn't have to look at the frothy, urine-colored spittle.
We did three prostrations as we entered the hall-- one for the Buddha, one for the teaching, and one for the community of seekers. As we searched for our places in the crowded auditorium, I tried not to stare at the celebrities.
We settled into velvet seats, pulled out our books, and studied the stage, where monks in one-armed wine-colored robes and buttercup yellow chicken-comb headpieces chanted a multi-octave, deep-throated drone, and the Dalai Lama recited detailed instructions in Tibetan.
"What page are we on?" I asked Martina.
"It doesn't matter," she said, waking from a nap. "Just breathe. Meditate."
"But we're supposed to be visualizing some deity with green arms and a flower on his forehead."
"Relax," she said as she closed her eyes again, stretched out her legs, and leaned her head back against the seat.
But I couldn't relax. This was my opportunity to receive an important transmission. I struggled to follow the text:
Within the great seal of clear light devoid of the elaborations of inherent existence, in the center of an ocean of offering clouds of of Samantabhadra, like five-colored rainbows thoroughly bedecked...
At the break, people dashed to the lobby, where sinuous lines radiated like Medusa's hair from the pay phones. Men in denim jeans and Izod shirts paced outside in the Santa Monica sunshine, portable phones pressed against their ears:
"Did you get directions to Richard Gere's party for the Dalai Lama?"
"Has my agent called?"
"Cancel my 2:30. This is tedious, but I think I'll stick it out. Say I had an emergency or something."
"He said he would sign? Fantastic. Maybe this stuff works."
"I hear there are three parties tonight, and a tea somewhere. Isn't Barbra Streisand involved? Find out."
At the sound of the gong, people rushed back into the auditorium. Steeped in the summer heat, we planted ourselves in the plush seats and prayed to be truthful, kind, compassionate. Two thousand of us vowed together to dedicate our lives to the well-being of others.
On the way back to the hotel, Martina whispered in a conspiratorial tone that her friend Carlos Castaneda was coming to join us for tea. "Don't tell anyone. It's just for us. He's a bit finicky about who he hangs out with."
We had only half an hour to prepare. Like college roommates getting ready for a double date, we took turns in the shower, hovered shoulder to shoulder in front of the bathroom mirror with our blow-dryers and lipstick, and finessed each other's outfits. Our wrists were still moist with Martina's French perfume when we heard a knock. Martina glided across the room with cultivated poise and opened the door. A short, gray-haired man in a wrinkled polyester suit and dusty cowboy boots embraced her in the hallway.
That can't possibly be him, I thought. I had imagined someone tall, with broad shoulders and a swatch of thick dark hair-- an air of Mexican aristocracy steeped in shamanism and desert ravines. In college, I had read all of Castaneda's books, and they had affected me more than anything I'd studied.
Castaneda's accounts of his encounters in Mexico with the Yaqui Indian sorcerer don Juan Matus had informed my entire generation. My friends and I would quote don Juan to each other. "Follow a path with heart," we would say. "Keep death over your left shoulder." We were taking psychedelics and trying to change the world into a place that valued love over materialism and magic over science. Castaneda and don Juan were our guides through a terrain outside the law-- one that our parents were too conservative and too terrified to explore.
Castaneda was our surrogate father, don Juan our spiritual teacher, our prophet.
"Carlos, this is Nina," Martina said, smiling with seamless grace. "Nina, Carlos Castaneda."
Like earth opened by a plow, Carlos's face fell into a wide grin as he shook my hand. His hand was as warm as a chicken's nest. He sat down in a floral-print easy chair and asked for a glass of water. I could hardly believe I was in the same room with this man.
Martina dove right in. "I've been waiting to ask you for ages: what really happened to don Juan? Did he die?"
"No, no," Carlos said with a chuckle, "he didn't die. He disappeared. He went to the other place. I am learning this, too: to become immortal. This is my work now. Most people think that their work is what they do during the day, but the real work happens after dark. Most people waste their lives because they forget they are going to die. It is at night, in dreams, that I practice. When you learn how to die, you learn to live forever.
"After don Juan crossed over, La Gorda became my benefactor," he went on, leaning forward and looking us both directly in the eye. "She was fat and ugly, with coal black hair and dark eyes. I was completely under her spell."
I was completely under his spell by now. His voice, the lilt of his Spanish accent cradling impeccable English, hypnotized me. His eyes glowed with the satisfaction of our capture.
"And anything La Gorda wanted me to do, I had to do it. One day, when I was preparing to leave Mexico and go back to Los Angeles, she told me to go to Tucson instead. She said I should work as a cook in a cafe.
"No," I said to her, "I like my life in Los Angeles. I like my friends. I'm not going to Tucson. I don't know how to cook."
"I got into my truck, and I drove off. Six hours outside of Nayarit, I was thinking, 'My life in Los Angeles isn't that great.' Twelve hours outside of Nayarit, I was thinking, 'My life in Los Angeles has its ups and downs.' Eighteen hours outside of Nayarit, on the border of Arizona, I found myself thinking, 'My life in Los Angeles is completely miserable.' I drove to Tucson, pulled up to the first greasy spoon I laid eyes on, walked in and asked for a job."
At this point in the story, Carlos crossed his arms, puffed up his chest, and deepened his voice.
"Do you know eggs?" the boss said. "You see, hamburgers and fries are easy, but we serve breakfast all day, and you've got to know eggs."
"I didn't know eggs, so I found a studio apartment, and I practiced cooking eggs for two weeks - scrambled, over easy, over hard, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, omelets, poached. Then I went back to the cafe. " 'Do you know eggs?' the boss asked me again.
"Yeah, I know eggs," I said.
"So I got the job. After a month, they promoted me, put me in charge of hiring and firing. One day, this young girl named Linda came in and wanted a job as a waitress. She seemed bright, so I hired her. We got to be friends, and she told me she was a fan of Carlos Castaneda. She gave me a couple of his books to read. I didn't know what to say. I took the books, and a couple of days later I gave them back. I told her I didn't really understand them."
Carlos chuckled, enjoying the story. I sat with my legs pulled up on the pastel hotel couch and studied his face. Critics in the press had recently tried to discredit his claims to have apprenticed with a witch doctor in Mexico.
Sympathetic critics suggested it was poetic license. Harsher ones accused him of fraud. I listened to Carlos's story like a detective, seeking factual flaws. I examined his brown and wrinkled face, his eyes, for evidence of deception. But I was seduced by his enthusiasm, his sunny chuckle, his intelligence, and I fell into the story as if carried away by rushing water.
"One morning," he continued, "Linda came into the cafe and was very jumpy."
"What's going on?" I asked. "Que pasa?"
Carlos sat up straight in his chair, crossed his legs tightly together, and spoke in a high-pitched voice.
"'He's here,' she said. 'Carlos Castaneda. In the alley. There's a tall, dark Mexican man sitting in a white limousine with the windows rolled up, and he's scribbling notes on a yellow pad. I'm sure it's him-- there are rumors that Castaneda is in Tucson. What should I do?'
"I didn't know what to say. I told her to just go out there and introduce herself. She thought she was too fat, and that Castaneda would never fall for a waitress at a greasy spoon. I looked at her standing there in her cap and apron. She looked beautiful to me, radiant. She was young and lively and had a quick mind. 'You're perfect just the way you are,' I told her.
"So she put on lipstick and fixed up her hair and went out to the alley. Two minutes later, she came back with tears streaming down her face.
"'What happened?' I asked. She could hardly talk.
"'I knocked on his window... and he rolled it down... and I said "Hi," and told him my name was Linda... but he just rolled the window up... and wouldn't even talk to me.'
"I felt real bad," said Carlos, sadness darkening his eyes. "Of course I knew it wasn't Castaneda, but I'd thought maybe she'd meet some guy who'd take her out to dinner. I didn't know what to do. I took her in my arms, and I held her." He paused, looking out the window at the silhouettes of palm trees lining the street.
"And I started to cry, too. You see, I'd come to really love this girl. We'd been best friends for nearly a year. I wanted to tell her who I was, but I knew she'd never believe me. She'd think I was making it up to make her feel better. You see, for all this time, she'd known me as Joe Gomez.
"Carlos Castaneda, the man she dreamed of meeting, was holding her in his arms, crying with love for her. But she didn't recognize him. Love slips by with an alias. I'm like Linda, I realized, thinking that what I long for is something other than this life unfolding moment to moment in ways I could never plan or even imagine."
Carlos paused and looked at me. Outside, seagulls cried, and the sun went down, marbling the sky. We sat in the dim pink of sunset. No one moved.
"When I got back to my studio apartment, La Gorda was sitting there, waiting for me. I don't know how she got in, but she always did, always found me. I told her what had happened and asked what I should do."
"'Vamanos,' she said.
"'But I can't just leave,' I told her. 'I have to give two weeks' notice, train a replacement, say goodbye to my friends.'
"'What's the matter?' she said. 'You're afraid no one can cook eggs as good as Carlos Castaneda? Vamanos.' And we got into my truck and drove off."
Carlos got up to go, shook out his suit, and extended his arms. I walked right into his strong hug, and a happiness moved through me like moonlight sweeping the horizon.
Several days later, as the Kalachakra Initiation was drawing to a close, Martina and I sat in our velvet seats in the dark, sweltering Santa Monica auditorium. We tied red blindfolds over our eyes. We cast toothpicks into the air seven times. We visualized ourselves as the four-faced Kalachakra deity with twenty-four arms embracing his four-faced, eight-armed, saffron yellow consort. We licked sweet yogurt out of our right palms. We imagined red dots moving up our spines and mingling with white dots moving down our spines.
The Tibetan monks chanted their polytonal drone, pounded drums, banged gongs, crashed cymbals, and blew seven-foot horns in a symphony that vibrated out bones. We vowed to tell the truth, to be kind, to be generous, to cultivate love, and to dedicate ourselves to the enlightenment of all beings.
On the way back to the hotel, Martina, a mischievous grin on her full lips, told me that Carlos was going to pay us another visit tonight. We put out a plate of crackers and cheese, a bowl of fruit, and bottles of mineral water. As the sun hovered on the horizon, we heard his knock.
Carlos was wearing the same wrinkled suit I'd seen him in several days earlier. He placed his hands on Martina's bulging belly and leaned over. "Hola, chica. Que tal?" he purred to her unborn child. "Tienes una madre muy bonita, muy sympatica, y muy especial." He closed his eyes and stood there silently for a moment, then turned to me and gave me a rugged hug.
Martina propped herself against a mound of pillows on the bed, I sat on the couch, and Carlos took his seat in the easy chair. He asked Martina about her husband, her children, their mutual friends. We talked about the weather; he was theatrical even when discussing smog, switching from precise, lucid language to a stream of amused profanity in an instant. His liveliness warmed the room like an open fire.
"Tell me more about La Gorda," Martina finally ventured, leaning back against the pillows like a child wanting a favorite bedtime story.
Carlos paused for a moment, his gaze lingering on each of ours a second too long, the way you look into the eyes of a potential lover.
"Another time, I was getting ready to leave Nayarit," he said, "and La Gorda gave me these instructions."
Carlos leaned back in his chair, spread his knees apart, pushed his belly out, and spoke in a high voice. I could see La Gorda, fat and dark.
"'Carlos, go to Escondido. Check into a motel room, the kind with olive green carpets stained with coffee and cigarette burns, and cigarette smoke smelling up the furniture.'
"'How long do I have to stay there?' I asked.
"'Until you die,' she said with a smile that made my bones shiver.
"'I'm not doing it,' I told her. 'I like my life in Los Angeles. I like my friends. I like my apartment.'
"I got in my old truck, and I drove off. After a few hours on the Mexican highway, I started thinking my life in Los Angeles wasn't that great. After a few more hours, I started thinking my life in Los Angeles had its unpleasant aspects. As I approached the border at Tijuana, my life in Los Angeles seemed completely miserable. I drove to Escondido, pulled into the first motel I could find, and checked into a room. It had an olive green carpet with coffee stains and cigarette bums, and reeked of stale smoke. I stayed alone in that room for weeks. Maybe months." Carlos sighed.
I had recently completed a performance work about solitude. To develop the piece, I had studied my private gestures: the way I ate meals in front of the television; the way I stood in the light of the open refrigerator, staring at a carton of milk, a bottle of orange juice, tofu floating in a bowl of water; the intonations and language used when I talked to myself, the way my body curled up in bed; the melody of my tears. I was trying to unravel loneliness so I could examine its core. I thought then the pain might disappear, the way particles of matter transform into waves of light upon examination under electron microscopes. The work had received rave reviews, but loneliness still assaulted me. I needed advice.
"What did you do?" I asked Carlos, hardly able to contain my curiosity. "Did you watch television, listen to the radio, read books, talk on the telephone?"
"Nothing," Carlos said quietly, catching my eye for a moment and then letting his gaze fall onto his folded hands. "I did... nothing." He spoke slowly. "I studied the patterns of cigarette burns on the carpet. I stared at the ceiling. I watched motes of dust dance in the light that came through the sliding glass doors. I drank coffee. I ate. Fear would come, and I'd huddle under the bedcovers-- Sometimes the heat of anxiety made me sweat so much I threw the blankets on the floor. At times, the terror was so strong I curled over the edge of the bed and pressed the corner of the mattress against my belly, my solar plexus, just trying to stay alive. I felt for sure I would die. Then one day, finally... I let go."
He paused and looked at me, and I looked back at him, the way you lock eyes with a deer until one of you moves.
"Suddenly, something shifted," he continued. "The fear lifted. And everything I'd ever cared about-- the pain of childhood, the struggles of my career, fame, money, romance, the women who had left me, the ones I still wanted, the past, the future, the 'Do you like me?, Does he like me!, Does she like me?': how we waste our lives... it all fell away. In an instant, I was completely free. And I had never felt so happy in my entire life."
Carlos took a sip of water and gazed out the window. The sky was dark, and the night sounds of traffic invaded the room.
"I called my friends in Los Angeles," he said, smiling.
"'Divide my things,' I told them. 'I'm not coming back.' They thought I was drunk.
"'I'm not drunk,' I assured them. 'I'm perfectly sober. If you don't take my things, the landlady will.'
"The next morning, I checked out of the motel, got in my truck, and drove off. I didn't know where I was going, and I didn't care. I'd never been happier in my entire life.
"You see," Carlos said, settling back again in his chair, "the difference between me and most people is that most people look at their lives as if they're on a train and they're sitting in the caboose. They watch the tracks sweep out behind them and see that this has happened and that has happened, and they're disappointed. But they adjust. And they know exactly what will happen next because of what's happened before. They believe their future will be just like their past-- the same box of disappointments, the same box of pleasures."
"But me, I look at my life as though I'm sitting in the locomotive. Ahead of me, the landscape disappears into the distance. I don't know where I'm going, and I have no idea what's going to happen next. No matter what went on yesterday, I know that today anything can happen. That's what keeps me happy. That's what keeps me alive."
Carlos sparkled with energy and ease. His well-being was contagious. "You have to listen to the quiet callings of the heart", he said, his voice calm and private. "Ambition: it's the enemy of intuition. You have to be silent. You have to listen to the quiet callings of the heart and know that anything can happen."
I sat quietly, listening. It was as if Carlos's words had devoured the demons of despondency who had made their home on the walls of my chest like mollusks. I have to remember this story, I thought to myself.
"Es muy tarde," Carlos said, standing up and stretching his legs. "Martina, you have to get some sleep. And me, I work at night, so I have to move along."
"Right, immortality practice. Look, do me a favor and don't disappear from this plane before you visit me in San Francisco," Martina said, grinning.
"Don't worry," Carlos reassured her, placing his hand again on her belly. We accompanied Carlos to the door, and he gave me a final hug. He whistled as he walked down the hall. I longed to run after him, to fall to my knees and beg him to take me along. I wanted to enter the dream world and wend my way through the postdeath realms with Carlos as my guide. I wanted to learn how to die without dying.
"Martina' can't we go with him?" I pleaded.
"Are you kidding? I'm exhausted," she groaned, collapsing onto the bed and grabbing the phone. "Let's order hot-fudge sundaes, crawl under the covers, and watch David Letterman."
That did sound like a good idea.
A wave of ordinary-world glee took hold of me. As Martina dialed room service, I walked to the window and sighted Carlos walking at a brisk pace under the arcade of palm trees. No one stopped to stare, or took his picture, or asked him for his autograph. He was completely anonymous. I followed his progress down the sidewalk until he climbed into his old truck and drove off.
Copyright February 1996 Sun Magazine
A Note on Carlos Castaneda
The alpha and omega of modern shamanic theory and practice are the oeuvres of Carlos Castaneda. Castaneda was a Peruvian anthropologist who, while working on his doctoral dissertation for UCLA in 1961, stumbled upon a Yaqui Indian magician named Don Juan Matus.
Don Juan took Carlos as his apprentice and introduced him to an ancient Toltec praxis which has far-reaching implications for the future of the human race. This praxis consists of training in an alternate form of cognition than that which we learn from our society.
Castaneda's work has sparked a firestorm of controversy. It has been thoroughly rejected by the academic community, which is not surprising considering the bigotry, disinformation, and intellectual persecution which characterize present-day academia.
However, Castaneda has also split the shamanic community into pro- and anti- factions. The things he says are so off-the-wall, and so alien to most people's everyday experience of the world, that unless you yourself have had similar experiences (as I have had) it's difficult to understand – much less accept – the premises of Castaneda's teachings.
Moreover, there are internal inconsistencies in the books which critics point out in the effort to discredit him, even though Castaneda himself said that part of becoming a magician is erasing one's personal history and covering one's tracks. Also the fact that Castaneda was a womanizer is cited by his critics to deflect attention away from his message, although Castaneda himself certainly took no pains to hide that facet of his personality.
Everyone has to decide for themselves what they will believe and take as truth. I pretty much take Castaneda at face value because everything in his books which I have been able to verify from my own experience has proven correct.
My own spiritual path came out of discoveries I made while tripping on psychedelic drugs and plants. These experiences affected me profoundly and left me with lots of questions which I needed to resolve, and the only place I've found useful information on this subject is in Castaneda's books.
Moreover, my one meeting with Castaneda in person did more than impress me. It utterly floored me. I know for a fact, from my own experience with him, that this man was, at the very least, a most powerful magician; whereas all I've seen amongst his detractors and critics are phonies and liars.
Wholly apart from the ooga-booga stuff, Castaneda's books contain the most cogent analysis and critique of everyday life that I've ever seen. Most of the information about the nature of the self, reality, time and space, and the body given in my writings originates in Castaneda.
The corpus of Castaneda's works actually constitute a map – an indispensable map for the spiritual traveler. This map describes the way stations (in Castaneda's nomenclature, positions of the assemblage point) along the spiritual path. These are all places – or better said, peak moments in every true spiritual seeker's life – when large parts of the lower self are shed and new facets of the higher self are revealed. At these moments the seeker permanently reaches new levels of wisdom and power.
Some of these places, such as Stopping the World and Seeing the Human Mold, are well-known and are described elsewhere in spiritual literature under different names. For example, Stopping the World is known elsewhere as Samadhi, Satori, or kensho. However other places, such as the Place of No Pity, Losing the Human Form, and Silent Knowledge, are described nowhere else except in Castaneda's books. I can aver the existence of some of these places from my own personal experience; others I am still shooting for.
If you are going on a journey, it is helpful to have a clear map devised by those who have passed that way before. Castaneda's books are the best map I have found. I trust the spiritual information they contain unreservedly. You would do well to do the same.
My spirit advisors use Castaneda's system as the basis for the training they have given me. They employ his concepts and nomenclature, but with their own slant on the subject and their own techniques. Castaneda's training depended heavily upon the nagual teacher Don Juan's presence. What my spirits are trying to do is to present a heuristic system which will enable people to work on their own, under the direction of spirit guides and nature spirits rather than a nagual teacher.
Somebody, somewhere, some time, somehow has to stand up for the truth, no matter how unfashionable the truth may be vis a vis society's standards; or how unpopular it makes the person. Castaneda was smeared and vilified for the precise same reason that Freud was smeared and vilified: what he says cuts too close to the truth. Freud and Castaneda pointed out certain vistas that society doesn't want you to see. They realized certain facts which society doesn't want you to realize.
If the human race is to survive, it had better get to work fast on finding some new intent, because the intent it's following now is the intent of self-destruction. What Castaneda has brought us is the most important new information which our civilization has received in the past several millennia. It will take the human race several centuries more to reconstruct the edifice which Don Juan described to Castaneda. It's about time we stopped the endless, mindless babbling and posturing, and rolled up our sleeves and get to work; and Castaneda is the obvious place to begin.
My Lunch With Carlos Castaneda
Benjamin Epstein, 1996
One of the most elusive figures of modern times, Castaneda recently materialized, to great surprise, at a small conference in Anaheim, California. Reporter Benjamin Epstein was on hand to score a coup.
He is the 20th century's own sorcerer's apprentice. He is the invisible man, ephemeral, evanescent: now you see him, now you don't. He is a navigator making his way through a living universe in exquisite flux. Or as Carlos Castaneda himself might say, he is a moron, an idiot, a fart. It's been said that Jesus Christ was either the Son of God or the greatest liar who ever lived. Carlos Castaneda, who may have a cult following but says deities are the last thing people need, presents a similar conundrum. Critics grapple for middle ground: One called him a "sham-man bearing gifts . . . He lied to bring us the truth."
The jury has been out ever since books such as The Teachings of Don Juan took the public and academia by storm in the 1960s and 70s, and it's still out. Castaneda has now produced nine books he claims are based on his supernatural experiences with Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui seer. To remain invisible, he says, is the sorcerer's way. He never allows photographs or a tape recording of his voice. He only rarely grants interviews. In the 80s, he effectively vanished altogether. But the books continue to sell (8 million in 17 countries) and have never been out of print. In 1993, he began to give occasional seminars, and the following year The Art of Dreaming appeared.
Despite ads promoting "Carlos Castaneda's Tensegrity," even event organizers didn't know whether Castaneda would actually show up at a recent weekend seminar near Disneyland in Anaheim. Yet 400 devotees from around the world--about a third from California--paid $250 each to attend, whether Castaneda showed or not. They came to learn a series of "magical passes," movements intended to heighten perception.
"It is a thinking universe, a living universe, an exquisite universe!" Castaneda said, exuberantly kicking off the seminar. "We have to balance the lineality of the known universe with the nonlineality of the unknown universe." The charismatic Castaneda proved amazingly convincing when describing life among inorganic beings, with whom he apparently spends a great deal of time; the assemblage point, a place about an arm's length behind our shoulder blades that can be shifted to visit other realms; and a predatory universe in which "flyers" incessantly feed on mankind's awareness, taking the sheen off our luminous eggs and leaving only a rubble of self-absorption and egomania.
He invents none of this, he insists. I'm not insane, you know. Well, maybe a little insane. But not ridiculously insane!"
He is also charming, energetic, fit, and funny. And at the conclusion of his opening talk, Castaneda responded to a request for an interview by unexpectedly inviting the writer to lunch.
Sitting in a coffee shop in Anaheim opposite Castaneda was enough to realign anybody's assemblage point: The writer later took his nonlineality to heart, slipping easily between lunch and workshop talks, and indulging in the conversational format that Castaneda often used to elucidate his master's ideas. After all, Castaneda had replaced Don Juan as nagual, the head sorcerer, a being with double luminous spheres, and if it was good enough for one nagual, it's good enough for another.
At the table were several Tensegrity staffers and the three women chacmools who helped Castaneda compile the movements and who taught them step-by-step at the seminar.
"Is this what you've been doing all this time, magical passes?" I asked Castaneda.
"Noooo . . . . I was very chubby," he said. "Don Juan recommended an obsessive use of magical passes to keep my body at an optimum. So in terms of physical activity, yes, this is what we do. The movements also force our awareness to focus on the idea that we are spheres of luminosity, a conglomerate of energy fields held together by special glue."
"Is Tensegrity the Toltec t'ai chi? Yaqui yoga?" I asked.
"To compare Tensegrity with yoga or t'ai chi is not possible. It has a different origin and a different purpose. The origin is shamanic, the purpose is shamanic. It has to do with our reason for being. Our reason for being is to face infinity
"We're all going to face infinity, at the moment of dying," he said. "Why face it when we are weakest, when we are broken? Why not when we are strong? Why not now? You have to face it pragmatically No idealities allowed."
"Where would Jesus fit into all this? Where would Buddha fit in?"
"They are idealities," Castaneda replied. "They are too big, too gigantic to be real. They are deities. One is the Prince of Buddhism, the other is the Son of God . . . . Idealities cannot be used in a pragmatic movement.
"Allowing your perception to break the interpretation system--a tree ceases to be a tree and becomes sheer energy--that is a pragmatic maneuver. The things shamans deal with are extremely practical. They break down parameters of normal historical reality Magical passes are just one aspect of that."
Castaneda is very negative about religion. But these aren't your usual diatribes: "Leave Jesus on the cross. He's very happy there! Don Juan said, 'Don't bother him, leave him alone. Don't ask him "why are you there crucified." He'd go bananas trying to explain to you why.' So I did that. He said hello to me, and goodbye."
The waiter arrived to take our lunch orders. The only choices under discussion seemed to be top sirloin, prime rib, and filet mignon, hardly the snuggest fit with most New Age disciplines.
"The sorcerers say that whether you're eating lettuce or a steak, it's a sentient being," chacmool Kylie Lundahl explained. As it turned out, the chacmools, named for the gigantic, reclining guardian figures of the Mexican pyramids, were quite literally here today, gone tomorrow. Castaneda relieved them of their duties at the end of the seminar, during his closing remarks. Nobody ever said the warrior's way would be easy.
Castaneda ordered a melted cheese on rye with a side of bacon and fries.
Don Juan was once described as "an enigma wrapped in mystery wrapped in a tortilia," and Castaneda followed suit. His agent, Tracy Kramer, and Cleargreen, Inc., which organizes the seminars, are based in Santa Monica. Where Castaneda spends his time is unclear. If a passing remark at the seminar was to be taken literally, he pays property taxes somewhere.
"I don't live here," Castaneda said. "I'm not here at all. I always use the euphemism 'I've been in Mexico.' All of us divide our time between being here and being pulled by something that is not describable but that makes us visitors into another realm. But you start talking about that and you start sounding like total nincompoops.
"I had once an interview. First thing the interviewer said was, "They tell me you turned into a crow. Is that true? Hahahaha.' I tried to explain to him about intersubjectivity. 'Pfhhhh,' he said, 'tell me yes or no.' I said no."
"Why don't you allow yourself to be photographed or tape-recorded?" I asked.
"Recording is a way of fixing you in time," Castaneda answered. "The stagnant word, the stagnant picture, those are the antithesis of the sorcerer . . . . Maybe you've seen a drawing of Carlos Castaneda [by Richard Oden for Psychology Today in December 1977]. There was no photograph, so he drew it. This was 30 years ago. No good. He decided to draw it again. It was a flop."
Photographs are not all that stand still. "The Word of God is unchanging," he said. "It is a living universe. What is in flux is what is alive. An unchanging word must by definition pertain to a dead world. In a universe that is forced to change there is a written word not forced to change? That is the world of a taxidermist."
When Castaneda's melted-cheese sandwich arrived, the rye was marbled with pumpernickel. "What is this, chocolate bread?" he asked before sending it back. My own mind was worlds away, perhaps on a bench in Oaxaca.
"According to your book The Eagle's Gift, Don Juan Matus didn't die, he reft, he 'burned from within.' Will you leave or will you die?"
"Since I'm a moron, I'm sure I'll die," Castaneda replied. "I wish I would have the integrity to leave the way he did . . . . I have this terrible fear that I won't. But I wish. I work my head off--both heads--toward that."
I recalled an article from at least a decade ago calling Castaneda the "godfather of the New Age."
"It was 'grandfather'!" he protested. "And I thought, please call me the uncle, or cousin, not grandfather! Uncle Charlie will do. I feel like hell, being the grandfather of anything. I'm fighting age, senility and old age, like you couldn't believe. I was senile when I met Don Juan, I've fought for 35 years . . . .
"To be young and youthful is nothing," said Castaneda. "To be old and youthful, that is sorcery!"
Castaneda, for whom ambiguity is a way of life to be ruthlessly pursued, is both. And his age is as good a place as any to get a sense of the man.
According to Contemporary Authors, Castaneda lists his birth date and place as December 25, 1931, Sao Paulo, Brazil; immigration records say December 25, but 1925, and Cajamarca, Peru; other sources cite the late 1930s. One New York Times article put him at 66 years old in 1981.
So he's somewhere between 60 and 80, most likely 64. Or 70. Similarly, otherwise reliable sources variously list the year he earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA as 1970 and 1973. In other words, this is one slippery organic being.
I asked about inorganic beings.
"They are possessors of consciousness but not possessors of an organism," Castaneda responded. "Why should awareness be the exclusive possession of organisms?"
The Art of Dreaming ends with Castaneda recounting an episode in the mid-70s when he and Carol Tiggs were "dreaming" in a hotel room in Mexico City, and Tiggs disappeared into those dreams. (She was on a journey in the "second attention," a state of consciousness not devoured by the "flyers.") According to Castaneda, she reappeared 10 years later in a bookstore in Santa Monica, where he was giving a talk.
It was the reconstituted tiggs who provided the impetus to compile the "magical passes" of Tensegrity, According to Castaneda, Don Juan taught four disciples separate lines of ever-changing magical passes. The other two, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar, have each published accounts of their apprenticeships, both markedly different from Castaneda's but endorsed by him.
Over the past 10 years, the group "fixed the passes," arriving at a consensus generic enough to be used by mankind. If the movements of Tensegrity (the name derives from an architectural term related to skeletal efficiency, happily combining "tension" and "integrity") often seem angular and fierce in character, they are intended to produce a jolt.
"I saw once a beautiful science fiction movie in which creatures from another planet appeared," Castaneda said, "veeeery slowly A change in perception is never like that. It is like this. Yank it out! You cancel the parameters of normal perception. You move into it like a robber bandit. Almost immediately, the robber bandit comes back. It's just a moment. But the moments get longer and longer."
The chacmools may have been erased, but not Tensegrity A new formation of warrior guardians were set to lead future seminars with lectures to be given by all four Don Juan disciples--and an inorganic being called the blue scout.
Don Juan's premise was that the world as we know it is only one version of reality, a set of culturally embedded "agreements" and "descriptions." Castaneda addressed the futility of the usual avenues of inquiry:
"If you seek with the mind, it will not take you anywhere, except to a tautological situation where you repeat the obvious. In science, the tautological questions prove themselves. That the art of our science. . . 'All these variables and nothing else.' We are champions of pseudo control--we reduce the problem to manageable science. What a fantasy!
"One day on my way to the cafetena at UCLA, I didn't see people anymore, I saw energies, blobs, luminous spheres. It was dazzling. Before that, nothing existed except me, me, me. I went to talk to a psychiatrist I worked with. He very kindly prescribed a tranquilizer and said, 'Carlos, you're working too hard. Take two days off.' It was impossible to establish a dialogue with him."
Castaneda's own inquiries have led him from academic anthropology topractical hermeneutics, the science of interpretation; he launched a newsletter, The Warriors' Way: A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics, in January. Titles under consideration for a gigantic work in progress have included "Ethnohermeneutics" and "Phenomenological Anthropology."
"When sorcerers see, hermeneutics is the ultimate affair for us," Castaneda said. Seeing for the rest of us apparently involves only the visual sense, and then only minimally.
"When you look at me now, what do you see?" I asked.
"I have to be in a special mood to see," he said. "It is very difficult for me to see. I've got to get very somber, very heavy. If I'm lighthearted and I look at you I see nothing. Then I turn around and I see her, and what do I see? '1 joined the navy to see the world, and what do I see? I see the sea!'
"I know more than I want to know. It's hell, true hell. If you see too much, you become unbearable."
Castaneda ordered a cappuccino, then meticulously removed the foamed milk teaspoon by teaspoon.
According to castaneda, most sorcerers must remain celibate in order to conserve energy. It all depends on the circumstances under which they were conceived."
Most of us are what we call BFs, the product of bored fucks," he explained. "How was I conceived? Was it in the middle of great sexual excitation, or was it nonsense, idiotic, pointless? Mine was stupid. The two people involved didn't know what they were doing. I was conceived behind a door, so I came out very nervous, watching. And this is the way I am, basically For me to make use of energy I don't have is lethal."
"What about married people?"
"That question has come up a lot. It's a question of energy," he said. "If you know you were not conceived in a state of real excitation, then no. On one level, it hasn't mattered if people are married. With the launching of Tensegrity, we don't really know what will happen."
"You don't know what is going to happen? Sounds irresponsible."
"How can you know?" he asked. "This is an implication of our syntactical system. Our syntax requires a beginning, development, and end. I was, I am, I will be. We are caught in that. How can we know what you will be capable of if you have sufficient energy?
"I am giving you a series of ideas, if you have the balls to take them seriously. Maybe you say this is idiotical, what kind of shit is this? Like the little boy victims [whining], 'But what is going to happen to me?' They'll never find out.
"The other three disciples--those farts--have balls; these are huge women with the biggest balls you've ever seen. Try to stop Taisha Abelar and see what happens. Try to stop Florinda."
The fourth disciple is no squeaker himself.
"Don Juan categorized people into three types," he said. "One was farts, like me, a smelly fart--very assertive, ready to tell you, 'Fuck you, are you sure that's the way to do it?' and Don Juan would very patiently assure me that, yes, he was sure. I don't have that patience myself. If somebody asks me am I sure, I go bananas because I'm not sure!
"The other, golden piss--the sweetest, wonderful beings. They could die for you, or so they say They won't, but they say it, which is very nice--nicer than the fart but then you die for him.
"The third type, puke. Not fart, not piss, just puke--the kind that doesn't have anything to give, but promises the world, and has you begging . . . .
"Fortunately I was fart. And Don Juan had a ball with this fart."
CONVERSATION AVEC CARLOS CASTANEDA
"The Phoenix Book Store - Los Angeles - Talk By Carlos C."
Don Juan disait qu’il n’y a aucun mal à ne pas sentir de compassion.
Qu’est-ce ce sentiment de se sentir désolé pour quelqu'un d'autre ?
Cela signifie-t-il que je me crois meilleur que l’autre ? C'est l’ego qui se sent désolé, et l'idée même de se sentir désolée est frauduleuse.
Emploies ton énergie pour autre chose, pour te libérer.
Tu économises de l'énergie par l'exercice de la récapitulation. Par la récapitulation tu arriveras à l'endroit où l'énergie devient évidente. Pas par la vue mais par quelque chose d’incompréhensible. Quelque chose qui est incompréhensible parce que nous n'avons aucun lexique pour cela. Quand tu la vois, tu réalises que tu le faisais.
Ne Pas Faire est la dissonance cognitive pour désempêtrer ta conscience.
Le dés-arrangement du monde en faisant quelque chose d’absurde. Nous devons réaliser que le monde est un arrangement. Cela pourrait être d’attacher tes chaussures d'une manière différente.
Le rêveur par l'enseignement de la sorcellerie est un guerrier qui se voit comme quelque chose d’indescriptible, indéfinissable et ouvert. Il n'a aucune limite. Aucun cadre. Il prend tout ce qui vient comme un défi, et n'est jamais perdant même s’il mord la poussière.
Une des choses les plus importantes qu'un guerrier doit faire c’est tenir un album des Moments Sublimes sortis du cerveau de la bête.
Nous sommes répétitifs.
Où est notre sens de la fierté ? Nous devons examiner tout, réduire nos routines, jeter la dissonance cognitive afin de devenir un sorcier.
Nous pouvons voir l'énergie comme elle s’écoule, pourquoi laisser le cerveau de la bête nous arrêter.
Le rêveur est capable d'employer ses rêves comme une trappe ou un tremplin vers l'infini. Mais nous employons nos rêves seulement de manière analytique, psychologique, ou scientifique. Rêver en tant que guerrier, c’est rêver comme quelqu’un qui a pris la responsabilité de mourir.
Les rêves sont précis.
Quelque chose se dessine dans les champs de la luminosité. Le point d'assemblage se déplace.
Les fibres de l'énergie sont projetées dans des milliers de directions.
Si le point se déplace nous entrons dans un monde entièrement différent.
Rêver est l'art de maintenir le point d'assemblage dans une nouvelle position. Si nous avions l'occasion, nous pourrions tous devenir des rêveurs de première classe, plus nous déplaçons le point d'assemblage loin plus le rêve est terrifiant.
Notre esprit assure l'ordre sur ces expériences.
Quand ces rêves deviennent trop laids avec des images démoniaques, c'est que nous ‘anthropomorphisons’ l'expérience.
Prendre Rêver comme une entreprise formelle et le démoniaque disparaît.
La difficulté est de se discipliner de sorte que rien de ce qui se produit dans le rêve ne dérange.
Les étapes de Rêver :
Se rendre compte que tu t’endors. Avant d'aller dormir dis-toi 'je suis un rêveur '. C'est une façon d'énoncer ton intention. Ne te demande pas si tu es un rêveur ou pas, l'esprit ne fera pas la différence. Il ne te ment pas.
Dans des affaires linéaires nous penserions que ce serait un mensonge. Cela ne devrait pas nous étonner, nous nous mentons tout le temps.
Rêve donc avec le point de vue de celui qui va mourir. Comme si c'était une question de vie ou de mort. Pourquoi essaies-tu de t’épargner, pour devenir sénile ? Attendons nous d’appeler "infirmière" dans un restaurant ?
Que t’ont-ils fait ?
Don Juan me posait cette question encore et encore. Elle devait être répétée parce que j'étais stupide.
Ce n'est pas le meilleur de tous les mondes possibles. Quelque chose nous retient de voir.
Le guerrier qui va mourir devient conscient que le monde n'est jamais le même.
Il voit l'intrus dans ses rêves. Ce sont des éclaireurs de mondes inconcevables. Ils se servent de la conscience comme une mer.
Nous pouvons aller n'importe où si nous avons l'énergie. Si nous nous débarrassons de notre suffisance.
Un guerrier fait des sauts de longueurs incalculables parce qu'il veut savoir.
Mon destin est d’errer dans l'infini. Nous sommes des voyageurs, voyager est notre destin.
En acceptant la responsabilité de sa mort le guerrier obtient une poussée incroyable. Il peut mettre un terme à son auto - importance et se déplacer à un autre niveau.
Tu ne dois pas baisser ta tête devant quelqu’un. Après avoir trouver l'intrus dans tes rêves tu peux arrêter le rêve et lui demander de t’amener d'où il vient. L'intrus est obligé d’amener ta conscience dans d'autres mondes.
Mondes extraordinaires, un univers jumeau. Le rêveur part alors en reconnaissance et devient lui-même un éclaireur.
L'univers jumeau est vivant, c’est un monde de conscience. Les êtres inorganiques sont des professeurs d'un univers femelle qui est à la recherche de mâles.
Les femmes sont des répliques des êtres inorganiques sur terre.
La bataille est en cet autre monde, et nous entrerons dans cet univers que nous l'aimions ou pas. C’est inévitable.
Les sorciers sont pragmatiques.
(Qu’est-ce au juste que cette bataille qui se déroule dans l'autre monde ?)
Pourquoi attendre jusqu'à ce que tu meures ? Fais-le maintenant tant que tu es jeune et vigoureux. Cesse d'être si concerné de ta propre importance. Toujours la pensée du moi, et ce que tu veux jusqu'à être trop vieux pour faire autre chose. Jusqu'à ce que la seule chose que nous puissions dire soit "infirmière."
Sois conscient maintenant.
C'est le moment et rêver est le moyen. Le rêveur, ayant économisé assez d'énergie obtiendra la secousse de sa vie quand il entrera dans l'autre monde. C'est inconcevable. Qui sommes-nous vraiment ? Pas ce que mon père m'a dit. Nous sommes autre chose.
Il y a sept étapes dans Rêver.
La première est de se rendre compte que tu t’endors. C'est ainsi tu resteras conscient pendant l'état de rêver.
Alors une fois dans l’état de rêver tu peux maintenir le rêve aussi longtemps que tu ne regardes pas fixement.
Dés que tu commences à être conscient dans tes rêves tu commences à avoir plus d'énergie. Tu seras plus fort le jour suivant.
Devenir conscient dans tes rêves, c’est la première étape. Si tu n’insiste pas, et rassemble ton intention ton énergie te tirera alors. Laisse cela se produire. La traction de l'intention cassera les paramètres de ta perception habituelle.
Si tu récapitules ta vie sérieusement, tu obtiendras assez d'énergie. En tant que guerrier nous pouvons réaliser ce que sommes nous.
Dans la première étape nous examinons tout, chaque élément de nos rêves. Nous commençons en devenant conscient que nous nous endormons.
Mais ce n'est pas le but de la technique. C’est seulement pour duper l'esprit. La vraie technique est de devenir conscient des éléments de nos rêves ordinaires.
En rêvant, nous pouvons facilement décaler le point d'assemblage. Même un léger décalage du point d'assemblage créera une nouvelle personne.
Nous mettons un terme à l’ancienne et devenons une nouvelle personne.
Don Juan disait que "ici" et "la" est échangeable, nous le faisons tout le temps avec nos corps d'énergie. Le corps d'énergie est la somme totale projeté dehors.
Qu'avons nous fait pour nous rendre si résistants ? Les dommages terribles que la société nous a fait peuvent être corrigés en rêvant.
La prochaine étape ou Porte de Rêver est de se réveiller du rêve dans un autre rêve. Une fois que tu as acquis l'énergie de la récapitulation et de Rêver tu peux entrer dans un nouveau rêve dans la même position que lorsque tu t’es endormi et te déplacer dans un autre rêve.
Quand tu entres dans un rêve à l'intérieur d'un rêve tu entres dans un état qui est inconcevable et soufflera ton esprit. C'est le secret des positions jumelles. Le secret des secrets doit être revendiqué. Nous avons seulement besoin d'énergie. C'est vrai, pas théorique, et en tant que praticien, je dis que nous tous pouvons le faire.
Par la suite en rêvant tout se décalera. Un jour ton attention s’arrêtera ou sera fixée par quelque chose dans le rêve et tu ne sauras pas pourquoi. Tu ne pourras pas te déplacer jusqu'à ce que cela te libère.
Ton attention est attrapée par un être inorganique. Ils ont plus de conscience que nous mais nous avons plus d'énergie. Nous sommes comme des balles puissantes d'énergie qui brûlent brillamment. La leur dure toujours et leur conscience peut nous retenir.
Maintenant nous commencerons à entendre la voix de l'émissaire. Il répondra à toutes les questions. Quand nous entendons une voix féminine nous entendons sa vraie voix. Elle est femelle de nature. Ne te livre pas à l'émissaire de rêver. Dis-lui de rester hors de tes affaires.
Ne le laisse pas se nourrir de toi pour rien.
Il y a une vague qui nous frappe et nous la tournons en tristesse — Mais elle vient de dehors là ? "
Pratique le Ne Pas Faire de l'album des moments sublimes. Il créera la dissonance cognitive. Crée un album pour te rappeler tes moments sublimes. Des choses et des pensées qui t'ont étonnées.
La vraie révolution est dans le prochain monde. Il est facile d’être impliqué dans la protestation politique, mais quelle est l’intention. Fais les choses du point de vue d'un homme qui va mourir.
Que t'ont-ils fait à toi ? Que fais-tu à toi-même à ton corps ? Regarder comment tu vis. Cesse le tabagisme. Que t’ont-ils fait à toi ? Notre héritage naturel est de vivre et mourir comme des crétins. C'est le moment pour la révolution. –
Victor Sanchez on Carlos Castaneda
Castaneda: Myth, Man, & Gratitude
E.com: Let's talk a little about Castaneda, something everyone is interested in.
Sanchez: Go ahead.
E.com: Your goals are very different than Castaneda's in some ways. He seemed very interested in a kind of immortality, being able to "run around the Eagle."
You seem more interested in helping people to generally get more freedom and in also supporting the native peoples and the Toltecs in continuing their traditions. He seemed so focused on immortality for his little group, and you seem to have a much broader perspective. Is that true?
Sanchez: You are describing it so well I don't know what I would add. One of the basic differences is that the Toltec knowledge includes as many people as possible; every little being, everything we relate to, should be included in what we are doing, in the sense that we are all connected with the rest of the people and things living around us.
In this sense, Castaneda's proposals seem to me very restricted. When you get to the point when there is a single group of maybe 16 people led by a Nagual, who are undertaking the task of looking for freedom, you are talking about something that is really far from what ordinary people are living.
This is the case for the latest doings and books of Carlos Castaneda, but in the earlier books the proposals were more open, there was more of the presence of the indigenous feeling. In the latest books, it was difficult to connect or be present with the experience of the indigenous people. It was more like intellectual proposals, something really, really, abstract.
E.com: Let me ask you a few questions about Castaneda's death. When they printed the picture of Castaneda in the San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Times, they printed the wrong picture. It wasn't him; it was completely somebody else. I thought that was very funny: Castaneda continuing to have his way about not having his picture taken, even after he died. It was amazing that he arranged that.
Sanchez: He had his style, and he tried to keep expressing his style at most times. It doesn't surprise me.
E.com: This was just in the New York Times [showing picture]. Is this Carlos Castaneda's picture?
Sanchez: Yes, sure. This is the picture from the book of Castaneda's wife. Certainly this is Carlos Castaneda.
E.com: What do you think of the claims of C.J. Castaneda that ClearGreen had a cult-like influence over him and had made him change his will and these sorts of claims? Have you read all about that?
Sanchez: I have read a little bit. I do not have first-hand information. I like to be very careful about what my opinions are. If I don't have first-hand information I say "I don't really know what's going on." It seems to me that these kinds of events are showing us again that when we are trying to see our spiritual leader like somebody who is living up in the clouds, with no connection to the material world, then we are wrong.
E.com. They are just people.
Sanchez: Of course. There has been a very strong lesson in the things that happened in the last years of Castaneda. It shows us that when we put a person on some spiritual level beyond human mistakes ... not only is the person a human person, but the sacred and the mundane are always mixed.
E.com: The sacred and mundane are one.
Sanchez: This is something that we should learn to deal with. If we are going to continue to expect the perfect and pure masters we find in books, then it will be very difficult for us as individuals to really have a glimpse of what the look for freedom or the look for knowledge could be in the real world. It is a very different experience to be reading books and having impressions or images about spiritual people doing things as opposed to the real and material expression of those things in everyday life.
E.com: Do you think that even people like Jesus and Buddha and Moses -- assuming they actually existed -- probably were ordinary people most of the time?
Sanchez: They were people -- not ordinary people -- but they were people. There is something very valuable in this. The memory of a writing by Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of The Last Temptation of Christ, comes to mind. In his prologue he was talking about a very important question. He said if Jesus was God, what he did was really big, really important. But if Jesus was a human being, what he did is even bigger than that, something really incredible. Once you recover the human dimension, once you recover the human level of the person, that is when you can really understand the value of what the person has done.
So, this news about Castaneda's interest in economic affairs, in business, and his having problems with his former wife or whatever, these kinds of things show us that the man had flaws and that not everything was so perfect with him. This could be understand as a criticism. But on the other hand, we can understand that he was a man like anyone else dealing with problems: business problems, affection problems, family problems ...
E.com: ... Health problems ...
Sanchez: Yes. If we can accept this, then we can understand the other side of Carlos Castaneda as well, which is, he was really -- mainly in his earlier works -- really touching spirit. But he was starting in the mundane world, like anyone else. This is very important for us, because that's the place where we live. We live in this world, where these kinds of issues are not that strange. We can go from this place and touch the spirit in our own experience. It's not a matter of becoming pure spiritual beings beyond human concern. That's not the way that it happens.
E.com: It's the opposite: you have to be in the world. In your new book, Toltecs of the New Millennium, you talk about how you don't want to have anyone in your more advanced parties until they've handled their bodies, and their finances, and their relationships. People have to be grounded in the world.
Sanchez: There is a double lesson here. First people should face the fact that their perfect master wasn't that perfect. That's one of the lessons. The other side of the lesson is if the perfect master was a human being, just a human being, then that's not that bad. It means he was dealing with the same problems that you and I are probably dealing with in our current lives, and then we go and touch something higher.
We're never going to be perfect, and that's not the goal anyway, that's just an image in our minds.
E.com: Some people say that it was odd, it was strange, that Castaneda would have a whole system, and then in the last few years with the Tensegrity seminars, he seemed to make a complete change.
Sanchez: Yes, completely different than the things he was writing for years and years.
E.com: That's one of the reasons it's said that he had come under the influence of ClearGreen, the group that marketed him.
Sanchez: Castaneda's life is always going to be a mystery. It's really, really difficult to gauge what was going on in the heart of the man, what was going on inside him, how strong the influence was of the people around him.
Think just for a moment of a person who for thirty years had been creating and living a myth. That's not easy. He created a myth around himself, and then he had millions of people believing that myth. All that energy, all that attention, would be an incredible pressure for any human being.
The game he was playing was an unbelievable game. Once you put yourself in front of millions of people and say, "I am the nagual, I am the one inheritor," once you put yourself in a place where you are going to focus on yourself so much attention and energy ... it is an incredible pressure. What kind of effects such pressure, for so many years, could have on a human being is difficult to predict, but it wouldn't be that strange if in the last years of his life the pressure took him to some kind of breakdown or something strange.
E.com: You talk about how what happens to someone is a direct result of their personal power and how much energy they have. It seems that given all the untidiness that has happened after his death, including articles in the New York Times, that he kind of lost it ...
Sanchez: Yes, there's something I'd like to make clear about this. When we are talking about so much energy and attention involved, we could ask the question: "Who was the owner of that energy?" Was it his energy, or it was the energy of all the people putting their attention on him? That's very, very interesting, because many important and powerful people in history were using the power of the people who were putting their attention and admiration onto them.
For example, many people like movie stars have the admiration of millions of people and seem to be on the top of the world, but once they lose that admiration, they are nothing, or they go back to being what they really are. That's the bottom line that counts: who you are when you go to sleep and you close your eyes. Who you are in that very moment.
E.com: You die alone.
Sanchez: That's right. That's right. I wouldn't be able to say a word about that kind of experience, whether talking about Carlos Castaneda or anyone else, because it's something so private and so mysterious, it would be too much to try to pretend to understand it.
E.com: Let's move on past Castaneda. You teach seminars and groups ...
Sanchez: ... Excuse me, there is one thing I would like to add. It's important to make a distinction, because in my 1991 book, The Teachings of Don Carlos, I found myself strongly and powerfully influenced by the writings of Castaneda. My book was a testimony to how we were applying his proposals, so I was very close to what he was writing and doing.
But things changed very much in the later years, and now people are asking me in my seminars and workshops about the Tensegrity workshops. People have been asking me whether I have found something like Tensegrity in the practices of the surviving Toltec people who I am working with. I should say that I have never seen anything like that.
Actually, once the proposals of Carlos Castaneda go really far from the close connection with nature that we find in the earlier books, the love for the earth, the connection with the indigenous world ... If you compare the earlier books with the latest proposals in the Tensegrity workshops and the later writings, you are going to find a very strong difference.
So, for me and I guess for many readers, things got to a point where you should use your own criteria and understand that even if you feel a great admiration and even love for an author, you should never resign your own criteria. Assess what you are practicing in the field of results. How are the practices making your life good or not? In this way you will choose and pick up what you find is better, because books are for reading and for using in the best way you can, but not for fanaticism.
There is a moment when you are reading something that you really like and love, and then you get to something which is not really that good for you. Like in The Second Ring of Power, when the reader finds the mother of Pablito pursuing him with a knife and trying to kill him and similar bizarre stories. People may say, "This is not what I like," but do they accept it because they really like or love the author? More and more you can start not using your own criteria, and then you can get to a moment where what you have is a cult, and whatever the master is going to say you are gong to follow.
This is not only dangerous, but it is not really respecting the incredible, valuable things that Carlos Castaneda gave us in his earlier works. So, if he got to the point where he went beyond what was good, or he forgot what he wrote before, we can do something good if we don't forget the good things that we got from the earlier writings and keep respecting and loving them.
E.com: It's almost as if the earlier Castaneda would not have wanted us to have believed in the later Castaneda.
Sanchez: Yes, it's almost like there are two Castaneda's, the businessman making companies, the person suing other people and competing for markets, the person trying to protect his proposals like personal property ... this is one Castaneda, and a strange Castaneda that I personally can not understand. But there was this other Castaneda who was very close to our hearts and who made a really incredible contribution to many peoples' lives in the invitation for freedom.
I want to say "thanks" because of the very valuable influence of his earlier works in my life, to remember that, and to keep honoring that apprenticeship instead of just focusing on this complex and sad story of the latest years.
E.com: It's about paying attention to what comes to you, because the ultimate decider is in your heart and what you see.
Sanchez: That's right.
E.com: You had to decide here whether or not to give me this interview, and you had to make a decision based just on this moment.
E.com: And that's how it always really comes down, if you're paying attention.
The Seminar Problem
E.com: I've taken a number of personal growth seminars of different types -- some a week long. Typically, I'm really expanded when the seminar finishes, but then when I go home, and I'm by myself or the people I'm ordinarily with, and I'm not with the people who I've just been with, well, I begin to forget right away what I learned, and I go back to my old patterns, habits, and lifestyle. What can people do, or what do you teach people to do, to keep up with the techniques from your seminars?
Similarly, when I read the techniques in your book, or any book, I tend not to do them by myself. It's different than being with a group of people. When I'm with the group, I can really make what seems like progress, but when I'm by myself, it seems very hard.
Sanchez: Let's talk about the group experience. My work is a very practical work. What we want to share is something that can be understood or perceived only by the action, by the experience, itself. Basically, we do not spend time with people talking about our theories or explanations of the world. We take them to experience what they are going to meet, a different side of themselves, what we call the other self.
This is a very valuable experience because one of our main problems as individuals and as a society is that we are trying to live our lives with only half of our awareness, which is the awareness of the tonal, the rational mind. We try to rule and direct our lives using that part alone. This is like being always out of balance: we are always expecting something with the rational mind, that life is going to bring us a different challenge, and we find ourselves again and again in a place where the results are so different from our expectations that the rational mind tries to deal with it and finds it can't do it in a really balanced way.
There is another part of ourselves that we are not using, called the other self, or it could be called the nagual side of the human being. What we do in our workshops is to create activities and exercises where people can enter into this side. What happens in this experience of jumping into the other self is not just that people will see visions, hallucinations, and strange ways of perception. This would be just another kind of fantasy. That's not the real thing.
The real thing is discovering that you are a lot more than you ever thought. The real thing is discovering that you are not condemned to be just the repetition of your past, that you can choose how to live, that you can choose how to be. I'm talking about freedom. So the rescue of the other self can only take place when you can start having at least a short experience, a short time experience, of entering into that side. Even if it is short, that's the way to start.
Once you get there, there's nothing to be explained. You don't need to go with me and ask me, "Oh, what happened to me?" Some people come to me and say "I was making a work of attention and then I saw a moving shadow and I don't know what it was so please explain it to me." I say, "How could I know? You were the one living that. You explain it to me. Tell me what it was. I was not there." They say, "But, what's the meaning?" I respond: "There is no meaning. You saw a shadow. Can you use it? If it has some sense for you, then use it. If it has no sense for you, then forget it. And go for the next thing."
When people get to really enter into the other side, they find that it has complete meaning for them. It's about their life, about what they're doing, it's about how can we connect and learn from different forces in nature -- the water, the sun, the fire. The big Powers of the world. But in a very meaningful way. You don't need to go and ask somebody else what the meaning of it is, because it's clear, and the most incredible thing is that it happens inside of us, it comes from the field of the silent knowledge. It's not something to be understood or explained.
So, we take people to that kind of experience, and I hope it is not too presumptuous to say that this kind of work changes lives. But I will say that after this experience, after you go and take the workshop in Mexico -- it's a five day experience in the mountains near Mexico City -- if you go and take this experience, I'm not going to tell you that your life will be changed forever and you'll be a full-time warrior.
It's not going to be like that. You're going to have a vision, an experience about yourself, about things that maybe you have not seen about yourself. We are trapped in the cage of the personal ego, and we are used to thinking that that's what we are, and I can tell you that you are a lot more than that. But the best thing is not just for me to tell you that. The best thing is that you enter into an experience where you are going to live it.
We have been human for a long time, and there are a lot more resources within ourselves that we have not used. We are using our brain in a very small amount ... we have been hearing that for a long time, and that's OK. But that's not going to change our life. What's going to change our life is the real experience of entering there.
But what happens next? What happens when the people in the workshop go home? We are going to forget, because we are condemned to forget. The big problem is to get to the state of awareness where you can enter into the other self. The second big problem is once you go back to your everyday life, the everyday life is going to pull you to the everyday experience, and then what are you going to do to remember?
That's why remembering is one of the most difficult things the warriors of the Toltecs deal with. You continue practicing and doing things which take you to the other side of your own awareness until these experiences start accumulating and create new memories, memories of your other self. If you practice more of this, the memories of your other self join them until you can build a hold to that reality. What happens then?
You do not become perfect. You are going to be full of shit in many ways. [Laughter.] But the difference here is that the part which is going to be winning and ruling your life is that part which has been liberated by the experience of the other self. That's when you start to live your own life. That's when you start to choose your own battles. That's when you discover that whatever is happening to you, you are the one who has gone there and you are the one who can change it. That's when you live your own battles. It's a big difference.
People ask me the same question. "After the workshop, I had an incredible open vision about my fate, my tasks, about really living as a warrior, but then, little by little that sensation faded and I felt sad because I promised myself to not forget, but then I am in my old problems again."
And I said: "What were you expecting? Were you expecting that one day you are going to fight a battle and after that battle you are going to be a 24 hour-a-day warrior, that there's not going to be more self-importance in your life, that all the shit is going to disappear?" If you're waiting for that, you're waiting in vain. Such a thing is never going to happen.
What is going to happen to us if we are really committed to following the path of the warrior is that we are going to touch the light, and then we're going to forget. And then we're going to try again. And then we are going to get to the place of awareness again. We are going to get there, and then we're going to be out, and that's the way it happens because that's the magic of life.
If we were always in a beautiful, incredible, magical time, when life had full meaning for us, it wouldn't be magic. It's magical just because we don't live in that luminous state the whole time. The flight of the Eagle is so valuable just because we are beings that crawl! If we were beings that only fly, it wouldn't be that important. If we were not going to die, life wouldn't be so precious and so valuable.
This is the balance of the two sides. That is the meaning of Quetzalcoatl, which is our symbol as Toltecs. The serpent and the eagle. We are not the eagle killing the serpent as in the symbol of the Aztec people you can see in the Mexican flag. In some way, spirit is winning and killing the material side, the "bad" side.
In the Toltec vision of knowledge it is not like that. Eagle and snake become one. The snake develops feathers and flies. That's the magic: that the snake can fly, not that the eagle can fly. So that's why it is so important to not pretend that we are going to just go beyond weakness, go beyond flaws; that's not going to happen: we are going to be just people, we are going to die stupid people. But the magic, the real magic, the real battle, is to go from that place where we crawl, where we have weakness, and then rise and touch spirit. That is the flight of Quetzalcoatl.
The Power of the Toltecs
Sanchez: When I was sharing time with the indigenous Toltec people, these men and women of knowledge, what were they doing? They were spending days and days fasting, walking to sacred places, making friends, spending nights and nights with no sleep at all. They undertook these special tasks just to serve spirit, just to serve their community, just to service the world, just to give back to the big Powers a little bit of what they have received.
That's living beyond self importance. I have seen many people who present themselves as masters, but I have never seen as strong a showing of soul as I have seen among these very simple people living in the mountains in the North of Mexico.
And the incredible thing is that ... somebody asked me: Do they have medicine? Do they know how to heal? Yes and no. Are all of them healthy? No. Some of them have problems, some of their children die from problems in the stomach or elsewhere.
What kind of men of knowledge have I known? Are they like Don Juan? What can I tell you? The Toltec people are dealing with some really big problems. Sometimes there is alcoholism, poverty, white people stealing their lands, etc. They have been suffering the violence of the non-indigenous society for hundreds and hundreds of years. Even to stay alive is a really big victory for them.
They are keeping alive their tradition, and that has not been easy. They have problems, they are not perfect, they live in poverty. There are strong material problems. The miracle for me is that coming from this very difficult place they can rise and touch incredible heights in terms of the spirit, in terms of really giving their life in the service of other people, in terms of not talking about what love or warriorship is, and not talking about looking for knowledge, but actually doing these things and living this way.
For me, that's bigger than any other book character because I can touch them, I can grab their hands, I can embrace them and I can learn from them. Those are the shamans I know. And the kinds of things that they are able to do when they are in their ceremonial time, their magical time, are beyond what it is possible to understand.
Last time when I was in the desert in my last pilgrimage with them, at the moment of the sunrise, for the first time I saw a man come running into the bushes. I have always seen them remain around the fire, because when they are in these ceremonies and pilgrimages they consider going away from the fire very dangerous. They say "we should stay with the Grandfather Fire to be safe."
This time a man was running into the bush just at the moment when the light was coming to the earth. Then he started singing, but he started singing like a wolf -- the way the wolf sings, his voice traveling and touches all the four corners of the world and coming back to us from the mountain. But the most amazing thing was that the howlings of wolves came back and answered him. He started talking to those wolves coming from every corner of the world.
What was that? I don't know. The only thing we could do when we were witnessing it was to just cry. To witness somebody with so deep a connection to the entire universe was such an incredible experience. He was singing, and the whole world was answering him, and they were singing together. It was so amazing.
E.com: You really love this work. You are almost in a state of ecstasy just talking about it.
Sanchez: I have not seen anything so real anywhere else. That's why I can travel through Europe, the United Sates, wherever, and see all the wealthy societies, and I don't feel impressed because I have seen higher things. The things that have touched me, and really touched my heart in such a deep way are the most simple things I have ever seen.
They have no books, they don't want to sell you anything, and they would never say "I am the one." I have asked them, "Please guide me. Please tell me how to follow the path of knowledge." And you know what they say? "I have no answer for you. I am just a man. I can lie to you, and how would you know if I am lying to you? Go and look for your own answers. Ask the Spirit, he is the only one who can answer your questions."
The Great Powers Are In All Places
E.com: Can you take the Toltecs' teachings and understandings which are so based in nature -- you say in your new book that the thing you respect most about them is their connection with nature -- and bring that to people here, in hotel rooms, in the United States? Can urban people really get what the Toltecs are doing, or do they have to have their own kind of urban ...
Sanchez: I'm not only sure that I -- that we -- can do this, I would go further. I'm sure that that's what we need to do.
We're living in cities, getting so involved in the problems that we watch on TV, and TV tells us all the time what life is, what we should be worrying about, and what kinds of things we should be looking for. TV is telling us what life is while we are sitting here in big buildings. But nature is bigger than that. Nature is always ruling.
It is said that all the things in the universe are fields of energy, but there are five fields of energy which are the biggest ones and rule the realm in which we live. They are the sun, the air, the wind, the water, and the fire. Although they are ruling, we can try to ignore them. That's what human beings have been trying to do for their entire history. Ignore them, and pretend to be the rulers of the world. We are pretending to rule the universe, to conquer nature, but how close are we to really ruling the universe? In the end, it's nature, it's the universe, it's the sun, it's the earth, who decide what's going to happen.
All of our pretensions and assumptions about human beings being the controllers, the king of creation, are going to be nothing. The same thing is going to happen at the level of human society as happens at the level of the individual. You can be the president of a big company, of Coca Cola, or you can be Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan or whoever you like. You can be any of these things, but aren't you going to die the same as more simple people?
What's going to be the difference? Your money's going to give you five more minutes of life? What's going to be the difference? I mean, we pretend that death is not around, we even want to think that there is going to be something more beyond, and say "OK, finally we're not going to die." But we're going to die.
E.com: The ego definitely dies.
Sanchez: And because of that, because death is around all the time, we use it as an advisor: it's telling us, "You're not that big my friend. You're just a being who is going to die and you better enjoy your life now, you better take your responsibility now, and live 100%, because this is your only chance in eternity."
The connection with nature has full meaning for people living in cities because cities are not isolated. A friend was talking with some of the people who were going with me to a workshop near Mexico City. After the workshop he was talking about the fact that he was surprised because people were complaining that their parents didn't love them enough. People were sharing about their experiences in life and several of them were talking about suffering for many years because their parents didn't love them enough.
And he said to them, "I can't understand what you say. You are very sad because your parent didn't love you enough. What can I say? I didn't know my father. When I was born there was no father there, and I lived like that. But I don't feel sad, because my father is with me, can you see that? It is the sun. The sun is with me wherever I go."
Where can you go that the sun is not going to be present? If you are in the city, there is the pavement, but what's beyond that, what's under the pavement? It's our mother, the earth. It's always there.
And so they said to my friend, "You can't start fires as they do in the mountains, or the desert, to be in the company of the grandfather fire? So what do you do? Don't you feel alone in the city?"
He said, "No, don't you have stoves? There's no fire there? Don't you have bulbs? What do you think that light is? What do you think the power and the light inside an engine is? Do you have cars? What's making the engine move? It's the power of my Grandfather Fire."
The big Powers are in all places. If we want to see them we will not be alone. That's why I can come to the city and feel perfectly comfortable and in close connection with them. It's not a problem if you live in the city or if you live in the mountains. It's a problem whether you pay attention or not.
This experience of being connected with the big Powers of the world may sound strange. But if you start talking to the fire little by little -- at the beginning you are not going to be sure if you are hearing real words from the fire -- but little by little you are going to hear little words, and then if you continue looking for this friendship you are going to start hearing big words, which are going to change your life. That's the way it happens. You can start from the place you are, here in the city. That's the way we have been doing it.
E.com: Have you heard of neo-pagans, people who are going back to their tribal roots and practicing earth-based spirituality, who "call in" the directions, and use fire, water, etc.? I think you would like them; there are good things going on that you might not know about.
Sanchez: I have had some connections with these people in different countries, especially in England. England is a special place in Europe in the sense that it is easier for people to connect with the traditions that have roots to the land. In the older traditions the connection with the land, with nature, was something that was very present. So it's not that difficult for them to connect.
Creating Our Own Practices
Sanchez: This question takes us to a very important point: should we become indigenous people? Should we follow the Toltec way? Is the Toltec way the only way to make this kind of quest for freedom? People frequently ask me about this.
I say, "Of course not. Freedom and knowledge are available for everyone wherever they are. If you are really committed to finding your own path, you are going to use whatever you have at hand."
Let's talk about us. We have taken and learned some practices from the indigenous people. Is that enough? Are we following the Toltec indigenous practices just like that? The answer is "no." That's just half of the tradition. Tradition is not a body of beliefs, it's a body of practices.
We can borrow some practices from other people, because our problem in modern society is we have lost our traditions, lost those practices which could be useful in recovering the connection with the Great Spirit and with the rest of the Powers, with the rest of the fields of energy around us. We are isolated and separated from everything, from other people, from our relatives. We can be sleeping with a person for thirty years and remain separated from that person.
So we have no traditions. Traditions are the practices that people do to get back to the lost unity with the great Spirit, to go back to that thing that we knew when we were in the womb, really united with everything. The Toltec warrior lives in that kind of state, in close and intimate connection with the entire universe.
That's why Toltec warriors can't damage other people, because they know that to damage anything or to damage anybody is to damage yourself, and there's no way to heal yourself without healing others. There's no way to help yourself without helping others
These practices that we undertake to have this experience of communion with the Great Spirit can, in the beginning, be enough to start, but that tradition is only half of the tradition. We should add in our own part, we should create our own ways. We can use part of what the Toltecs have been doing. We can learn from them. But the incredible thing about this is that the tradition is not taught by a person, it is taught by the Powers themselves.
I spent years and years expecting to see when some kind of master, someone in the indigenous community, was going to teach his children, or the beginners, to perform the tradition. I spent years expecting to see this, because what they do in the pilgrimages and the rituals is so complex that I was wondered, "How can I learn this? It's too much." I was expecting there would be some kind of teachers.
Years later I discovered that there is nothing like that. You learn by yourself, you teach yourself. So if you approach a Power using a procedure that we have learned from the indigenous people, if you approach the fire, and you make an offering, and then you accomplish your offering, then the Power is going to take the next step. The tradition you are going to develop and found for your own life and own people is going to be taught by the Power itself.
E.com. Appropriate to where you live and what your life is like.
Sanchez: Sure. We need to create our own ways in communion with the fields of energy which can guide us, as the Grandfather Fire does, for instance. I know that for people who are not familiar with this it can sound like something very abstract, but for people who practice this kind of thing, something very, very, specific and concrete happens.
That's why you are not seeing me dressed like an indigenous person. I am not trying to be an indigenous person. No, I'm living my life, and the traditions we develop allow us to find and develop ways of having similar experiences to what the indigenous people have in their own world as they connect with the spirits.
E.com: What about new technologies that are happening, like the internet, for example? Have you thought about ways of getting your material out through the internet?
Sanchez: Sure, we have a website and the internet has been very useful for us. The internet has something that is very powerful, which is communication, putting people into contact with people. And when people get in contact with people they can get together to do beautiful things, or they can get together to do stupid things. It's a powerful tool. It has given us the chance to let people know what we are doing, and we have people working with our proposals in several different countries, including Russia, Chile, Finland, and South America.
E.com: A lot of your work seems to be original. When you speak or write, in addition to Castaneda, many other spiritual teachers and traditions come to mind, everything from Buddhism (saving all sentient beings) and Gurdjief (how everyone is asleep all the time and we have very little choice), to SETH, the channeled New Age entity (the point of power is now, and you are creating your own reality, which is similar in some ways to manipulating the assemblage point), to William James, the great American psychologist, who talked about how there is an incredible amount of "stuff" out there (a "boomin' buzzin' confusion" which our brain is designed to filter down to a teeny-tiny bandwidth so that we can live in the ordinary world). So, it seems that there are bits and pieces of all of these and more in what you're doing, but you don't seem to rely on or mention any of them. Have you studied them, or are you familiar with them, or are they just not that important?
Sanchez: I like this question because what we do doesn't come from books, it doesn't come from workshops, it doesn't come from the study of eastern philosophies or anything like that. What we do comes from the mountains. There's a different quality because of that.
I gave a talk yesterday and the people were asking me such sophisticated questions about the connections between some Chinese concepts and whatever, and I said, "excuse me, I'm ignorant, I'm not good at doing this."
I have been sharing this practice and we have found incredible results which I can not explain to you at all. I can invite you to share it, and then if you want to make explanations after that, do it. But what happens to us is that we are so involved in action and we are so involved in doing the things ...
There is something different in what we are doing. If somebody would ask me what the big difference between our ways, coming from the mountains, and the rest of them, I'd say it is that the emphasis in the others is on the mind. Western culture, modern culture, has for almost 5000 years been so focused on the rational mind that, after Aristotle and Descartes, we put the rational mind at the top of human experience, like it's the most important thing.
If we want to live in the rational mind, allow it to rule, then the other side, the silent knowledge, is not going to be there. So knowledge from the rational mind takes us to a place of no balance at all. If you try to rule your life by just thinking and thinking, you are going to finish in the couch of a psychoanalyst, for years and years talking and thinking about your life, but you are not going to change.
In opposition to that, what we do is action. We do things with our bodies. We do things with part of ourselves that we don't even know exist. The rational mind takes just a little part of the whole process. Even when people are going for meditation, are going for spiritual philosophy, that's all with the mind ruling everything.
That's one of the things that I didn't like at the end of the works of Carlos Castaneda. They become abstract, so intellectual, such complex and sophisticated explanations about everything ... but what if you close the pages? What if you shut up? What if you don't explain this and that? What do you have? What remains there? We can create incredible castles of words, but what happens when the silence comes? What experience remains?
That's why the programs we have developed over the twenty years we have been doing this kind of work are programs where people are doing things, and the really incredible experiences that change and improve peoples' lives take place in silence. I'm not talking about the fact that people are not actually talking, I'm talking about the fact that there is an experience which is called the silent knowledge, and when you really grasp something which you are really needing to heal in your life, it comes from the silence.
You don't need explanations for that. How many of those people, how many of those big masters, are going to be able to do their thing without words, without explanations? That's the way that people in the mountains work. They don't explain things. They just do it. So for me that's the one very special quality, and that's a faster and clearer way to learn.
Energy, Connection, & Freedom
Sanchez: The other big difference is that in this knowledge, you don't get to freedom alone. Sometimes we get to the point where we think about liberating ourselves, improving our personal growth, and this kind of process is always perceived at the human level. Even psychology is so centered in the mind, in the individual. What happens in the mountains is the opposite. Everything is a process where all the Powers are participating.
Whatever is happening to you is in connection with them, is in connection with the other people. They greet each other saying, "You are my other self." So whatever happens to you and the experience you are sharing is part of my own process. You can try to improve yourself and you can actually do that, but not many people get to the level where they have the entire universe participate in what they're doing.
It's like doing your job. You can be doing your job just for money, or you want to give some service to the community, which would be better. But you can be doing your job, and have the Powers participating in it, because you have offered something to the sun. Or maybe you are just helping your father, the sun, put some light into the darkness, whatever darkness you are passing through. So your doings are connected to all those incredible phenomena. An experience like this is completely different. In this kind of experience you are not isolated and just doing the thing by yourself. Everything counts, everything is connected, and you live it that way.
E.com: So, is the sun conscious? Is the sun aware, more aware than we are?
Sanchez: [Laughter] That is difficult to answer. I wouldn't say more aware. It's aware in the way that the sun is aware. But it is absolutely alive.
E.com: And the wind is aware in the way that the wind is aware?
Sanchez: Do you know .... I remember once when an indigenous person called me. He said, "I know you think I'm crazy because I think that the clouds are alive, that the weather is alive. But how couldn't they be alive if they are giving us life? How could they give life without being alive?" He was talking about water, about nature.
E.com: I don't have a problem with that.
Remember when Castaneda said that someone's quality of energy in their life is partially dependent on the act of lovemaking which gives rise to them? What happens when kids are born through in vitro fertilization, essentially having conception starting out in a test tube? What about the level of energy of a person who is born that way as opposed to a person who is conceived during passionate love making?
Sanchez: I have no idea. In the long term there are going to be results that can be witnessed or even measured. There will be generations of people who are born that way and perhaps that experience will give us a response, but I have no idea.
E.com: Any final words about seeking freedom and saving energy?
Sanchez: There are two things about saving energy. In order to save energy the best thing you can do is to find ways to move away from self-importance. You need to learn to be humble. To be humble means you don't lose the vision of your own shit. You can become an author or whatever, you can get lost in whatever you are doing, becoming self-importance, and then you lose track, you lose what you are looking for.
The only way to be really be able to continue is to keep the vision of your own shit, because then you can stand in front of all of us and you are going to see that you are just the same as the person in front of you. You are not bigger than that, and this kind of awareness, being able to remember your own shit and feel relaxed about it, takes a lot of energy, instead of trying to play the big guy.
To tell the truth also saves a lot of energy. To lie is more energy wasting.
E.com: Tell the truth, stay humble, use death as your advisor ...
Sanchez: Yes. Freedom is the first and ultimate goal of the Toltec warrior, and that's why a Toltec warrior is not a disciple, that's why a Toltec warrior is not a master, because he is in love with freedom.
Freedom should be something very specific, in a specific moment. If you look for freedom in an abstract way and say "I would like to have total freedom" without having a minimum idea of what that is, then you are going to get nowhere. But if you can see, until you are crying some, and notice that you are having a problem with communicating that you are not able to overcome, and that hurts your life, and you feel that you would really like to be able to connect with someone in a human way, that's your freedom in that moment.
Have the freedom to do what you are needing for your life in that specific moment. That's going to be your task. This is just an instance, it could be any kind of limitation, something which is hurting your life, and you need to overcome it: that's the freedom you are looking for. Once you get there, freedom is going to be something different. You are going to look at the new face of freedom, and you are gong to embrace it, and that's how we move, that's how we walk. Pursuing freedom, and the freedom is always changing in front of our eyes.
E.com: Makes life interesting.
Sanchez: Yes. That's something you can work with, instead of just the abstract expression of freedom, of looking for freedom from living in this world to go where? Why? What's the problem with this world?
E.com: It's pretty good.
Sanchez: Yes, there's so much to be done here. The problem is that when people get hooked to these kinds of abstract ideas about freedom, knowledge, and similar things, they are pursuing something that they don't know anything about, and they remain in the same place. They are stuck in just thinking about it, but not doing anything about it. So, let's come back to the earth and let's face life as it is.
E.com: Thank you very much for your wisdom and time.
Sanchez: You're very welcome.
Una de las pocas entrevistas que concedió Carlos Castaneda
Carlos Castaneda, una de las figuras más enigmáticas del siglo XX, es cuestionado sobre su trabajo como escritor y como aprendiz de brujo, en una rara entrevista de 1997.
Por: Alejandro Martinez Gallardo - 01/10/2010 a las 0052
Quien se ha acercado a los libros de Carlos Castaneda estará de acuerdo que pocos libros son más atrapantes o quizás, para ser más precisos, tan embrujantes, como la saga que relata la incursión de un elusivo antropólogo sudamericano (¿un peruano críado en Brasil?) a tierras yaquis para iniciar una larga relación con el brujo Don Juan Matus, depositario de una ancestral tradición esóterica de chamanes-guerreros toltecas.
El mainstream de la sociología y de la antropología consideran que la obra de Castaneda es ficción, una invención de su imaginación hambrienta de poder y notoriedad, versada, sin duda, en profundos conocimientos esotéricos: una síntesis posmoderna de las tradiciones espirituales de diversas culturas, una adaptación incluyendo conceptos de la física cuántica que formarían parte del cuerpo deshermetizado del new age (la similitud entre el nagual y el tonal con el mundo de la voluntad y el mundo de la representación de Schopenhauer y con la totalidad implicada y la totalidad explicada del físico David Bohm, son notables, pero esto podría ser sólo la resonancia compartida de profundos atisbos metafísicos).
Más allá de todos los argumentos que se puedan hacer sobre la veracidad de la obra de Castaneda, ante el poder puro de sus textos hasta en el más escéptico germina la duda de la existencia de este inexorable brujo del México secreto (Don Juan, valga la distancia, es un poco el Sócrates de Castaneda) y de las realidades alternas a las que lo lleva el entrenamiento de su percepción (convertirse en un cuervo que percibe el mundo en negativo, emplear lagartijas telepáticas a manera de óraculo, o tener un rendez-vouz con el espíritu del peyote en su forma canina, por decir sólo algunas de tono zoomórfico). De lo que no hay duda es que a través del arte de su escritura -brujería o literatura- Castaneda, el arquetípico trickster que oculta diamantes en espejismos, conjura un sistema de percepción y de filosofía práctica que toca las fibras más profundas de la naturaleza humana, que se enfrenta al misterio de un universo infinito, tan despiadado como maravilloso.
Recordando a Castaneda, cuya obra es en sí misma un acto de brujería, una emanación del águila y del nagual (¿acaso ebria ante el esplendor del poder que canaliza?), reproducimos esta rara entrevista publicada en el diario Uno Mismo, en Chile y Argentina, en 1997, realizada por Daniel Trujillo, vía Castaneda.com:
Pregunta: Señor Castaneda, durante años usted permaneció en el más absoluto anonimato. ¿Qué le ha impulsado a dejar esa condición para dedicarse hoy a difundir públicamente las enseñanzas que, junto a sus compañeras actuales, recibió del nagual Juan Matus?
Respuesta: Lo que nos obliga a difundir las ideas de don Juan Matus es la necesidad impostergable de aclarar lo que él nos enseñó. Yo y sus otras tres estudiantes hemos llegado a la unánime conclusión de que el mundo que nos presentó don Juan Matus está al alcance de los medios perceptivos de todos los seres humanos. Argüimos entre nosotros cuál sería el camino adecuado. ¿Permanecer en el anonimato como don Juan nos propuso? Esto no encontraba entre nosotros un eco placentero. El otro camino disponible era el de difundir las ideas de don Juan: un camino inmensamente más peligroso y agotador, pero el único que creemos tiene la dignidad con la que don Juan embebió sus enseñanzas.
P: Considerando que usted ha dicho que los actos de un guerrero son impredecibles, y de hecho así lo hemos comprobado durante tres décadas, ¿podemos esperar que esta etapa pública suya se prolongue en el tiempo? ¿Hasta cuándo?
R: No hay manera de establecer un criterio temporal para nosotros. Vivimos de acuerdo a las premisas propuestas por don Juan y jamás nos apartamos de ellas. Don Juan Matus nos dio el terrible ejemplo de un hombre que vivía como él lo describía. El ejemplo de un hombre monolítico que no tiene dos caras. Y digo que es un ejemplo terrible porque es lo más difícil de emular; ser monolítico y al mismo tiempo tener la flexibilidad para encarar lo que fuera; ésa era la manera de vivir de don Juan.
Dentro de estas premisas lo único que se puede ser es un conducto impecable. Uno no es el jugador de esta partida de ajedrez cósmico, uno es simplemente una ficha de ajedrez. Quien decide todo es una fuerza impersonal consciente que los brujos llaman el Intento o el Espíritu.
P: Según he podido comprobar, la Antropología ortodoxa resta credibilidad a su obra, lo mismo que los pretendidos defensores del patrimonio cultural precolombino de América. Subsiste la creencia de que su obra es puramente el fruto de su talento literario, por cierto, excepcional; mientras que otros sectores lo acusan de un doble comportamiento, porque, supuestamente, su estilo de vida y sus actividades son contrarios a lo que la mayoría espera de un chamán. ¿Cómo puede zanjar estas suspicacias?
R: El sistema cognitivo del hombre occidental nos fuerza a movernos a través de ideas preconcebidas. Basamos nuestros juicios en algo que es siempre “a priori”, por ejemplo la idea de “lo ortodoxo”. ¿Qué es la antropología ortodoxa? ¿La que se enseña en el aula? ¿Y, cuál es la conducta de los chamanes? ¿Ponerse plumas en la cabeza y bailar a los espíritus?
Han acusado a Carlos Castaneda durante treinta años de crear un personaje literario, simplemente porque lo que yo les decía no coincidía con el “a priori” antropológico, con las ideas establecidas en el aula o en el campo de acción antropológico. Sin embargo, lo que me presentó don Juan sólo podía caber en un campo de acción total, y bajo tales circunstancias sucede muy poco o casi nada de lo preconcebido.
Nunca he podido llegar a conclusiones acerca del chamanismo, porque para hacer esto se necesita ser un miembro activo del mundo de los chamanes. Es muy fácil para un científico social, digamos por ejemplo un sociólogo, llegar a conclusiones sociológicas acerca de cualquier tema relacionado con el mundo occidental, porque el sociólogo es un miembro activo del mundo occidental. Pero, ¿cómo puede un antropólogo que pasa a lo más dos años estudiando otras culturas, llegar a conclusiones fidedignas acerca de ellas? Para adquirir membrecía en un mundo cultural se necesita una vida entera. Yo he estado trabajando más de treinta años en el mundo cognitivo de los chamanes del México antiguo y sinceramente creo que no he llegado aún a adquirir la membrecía que me permita llegar a conclusiones, o siquiera proponerlas.
He discutido acerca de esto con personas de diferentes disciplinas y siempre parecen entender y estar de acuerdo con las premisas que estoy exponiendo. Pero luego se dan vuelta, y se olvidan de todo lo que acordaron y continúan manteniendo los principios académicos “ortodoxos” sin importarles la posibilidad de un error absurdo en sus conclusiones. Nuestro sistema cognitivo parece ser impenetrable.
P: ¿Qué finalidad tiene el hecho de que usted se niegue a ser fotografiado, a que se grabe su voz o se conozcan sus datos biográficos? ¿Podría algo de esto afectar, y de qué manera, los logros alcanzados en su trabajo espiritual? ¿No cree que sería útil para algunos sinceros buscadores de la verdad conocer quién es usted realmente, como una forma de comprobar que realmente es posible seguir el camino que pregona?
R: En cuanto a fotografías y datos personales, yo y los otros tres discípulos de don Juan Matus seguimos los dictados de éste. La idea principal detrás de abstenerse de dar datos personales es muy simple para un chamán como don Juan. Es imprescindible dejar a un lado lo que él llamaba la “historia personal”. Alejarse del “yo” resulta algo bastante engorroso y difícil. Lo que buscan los chamanes como don Juan es un estado de fluidez donde el “yo” personal no cuenta. El creía que este hecho afecta indiscutiblemente a quien entra dentro de ese campo de acción, y afecta de una manera positiva aunque subliminal, ya que estamos muy acostumbrados a fotografías, grabaciones, datos biográficos, todos ellos engendrados por la idea de la importancia personal. Él decía que es mejor no saber nada de un chamán; de ese modo, en vez de una persona uno se encuentra con una idea sostenible, lo opuesto a lo que pasa en el mundo cotidiano, donde sólo encontramos personas con problemas psicológicos y sin ideas, y todos ellos repletos hasta el tope del “yo, yo, yo”.
P: ¿Cómo deben entender sus seguidores la existencia de todo un mecanismo comercial y publicitario -al margen de su obra literaria- en torno al conocimiento que usted y sus compañeras difunden? ¿Qué relación tiene usted realmente con Cleargreen Incorporated y las otras empresas (Laugan Producciones, Toltec Artists)? Me refiero a vínculos comerciales.
R: A estas alturas de mi trabajo necesitaba de alguien que pudiera representarme en la difusión de las ideas de don Juan Matus. Cleargreen es una corporación que tiene una gran afinidad con nuestro trabajo, lo mismo que Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists. La idea de difundir las enseñanzas de don Juan a un mundo moderno como el nuestro implica el uso de medios comerciales y artísticos que no están al alcance de mis medios individuales. Como corporaciones afines a las ideas de don Juan, Cleargreen Incorporated, Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists son capaces de proporcionarme los medios para difundir lo que quiero difundir.
El afán de las corporaciones impersonales es siempre el de dominar y transformar todo lo que se les presenta y adoptarlo a su propia ideología. De no ser por el sincero interés de Cleargreen, Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists, todo lo que don Juan dijo habría ya sido transformado en otra cosa.
P: Existe un sinnúmero de personajes que de una u otra manera se han “colgado” de usted para adquirir notoriedad pública. ¿Qué opinión le merece el accionar de Víctor Sánchez, quien ha interpretado y reordenado sus enseñanzas para elaborar una teoría personal? ¿O las afirmaciones de Ken Eagle Feather, quien asegura que ha sido escogido como discípulo por el mismísimo don Juan, vuelto a esta dimensión sólo para ello?
R: Efectivamente hay una serie de personas que se titulan a sí mismos estudiantes míos o del mismo don Juan, a quienes yo nunca he conocido y que puedo asegurar que don Juan nunca conoció. Don Juan Matus estaba interesado exclusivamente en la perpetuación de su linaje de chamanes. Él tuvo cuatro discípulos que perduran hasta el día de hoy. Tuvo otros que partieron con él. Don Juan no estaba interesado en enseñar su conocimiento, lo hizo con sus discípulos a fin de que continuaran su linaje. Sus discípulos, como no pueden continuar el linaje de don Juan, se han visto obligados a esparcir sus ideas.
El concepto del maestro que enseña su conocimiento es parte de nuestro sistema cognitivo, pero no es parte del sistema cognitivo de los chamanes del México antiguo. Para ellos enseñar era un absurdo. Transmitir su conocimiento a quienes iban a perpetuar la vida del linaje era otro asunto.
El hecho de que haya una serie de individuos empeñados en usar mi nombre o el de don Juan es simplemente una maniobra fácil para beneficiarse sin mucho trabajo.
P: Consideremos el significado de la palabra “espiritualidad” como un estado de conciencia en que los seres humanos son plenamente capaces de controlar las potencialidades de la especie, logro que se obtiene trascendiendo la simple condición de animal, por medio de un arduo acondicionamiento psíquico, moral e intelectual. ¿Está de acuerdo con esta afirmación? ¿Cómo se integra el mundo de don Juan en este contexto?
R: Para don Juan Matus, como un chamán pragmático y lleno de cordura, “la espiritualidad” era una idealidad vacía, una aseveración sin fundamento que nos parece muy bella porque está incrustada en conceptos literarios y expresiones poéticas, pero que nunca pasa de ahí.
Los chamanes como don Juan son esencialmente prácticos. Para ellos sólo existe un universo predatorio, donde la inteligencia o la conciencia de ser son el producto de desafíos de vida o muerte. Él se consideraba un navegante del Infinito y decía que para navegar en lo desconocido, como lo hace un chamán, uno necesita pragmatismo ilimitado, cordura sin medida y “agallas de acero”.
En vista de todo esto don Juan creía que “la espiritualidad” es simplemente una descripción de algo imposible de lograr bajo los patrones del mundo cotidiano, y no es un modo vivo de actuar.
P: Usted ha señalado que su actividad literaria se debe a las instrucciones de don Juan, lo mismo que la de Taisha Abelar y Florinda Donner-Grau. ¿Con qué objetivo?
R: El objetivo de escribir los libros fue dado por don Juan. Él aseveraba que si uno no es escritor, aún puede escribir, pero el escribir se transforma de una acción literaria en una acción chamanística. Quien decide el tema y el desarrollo de un libro no es la mente del escritor, sino una fuerza que los chamanes consideran como la base del universo y a la que llaman el Intento. Es el Intento quien decide la producción de un chamán, ya sea literaria o cualquier otra.
De acuerdo con don Juan, un practicante de chamanismo tiene el deber, la obligación de saturarse con toda la información disponible. El trabajo de un chamán es el de informarse de una manera plena de todo lo posible relacionado con el tópico de su interés. El acto chamanístico consiste en abandonar todo interés de dirigir el curso que tal información tome. “Quien arregla las ideas que nacen de tal fuente de información no es el chamán -decía don Juan-, sino el Intento. El chamán es simplemente un conducto impecable”. El escribir era para don Juan un desafío chamanístico, no una tarea literaria.
P: Si me permite la siguiente afirmación, su obra plantea conceptos estrechamente relacionados con las doctrinas filosóficas orientales, pero resulta contradictoria con lo que se conoce comúnmente de la cultura indígena mexicana. ¿Dónde se encuentran las similitudes y diferencias entre una y otra?
R: No tengo la menor idea. No soy erudito ni en lo uno ni en lo otro. Mi trabajo consiste en una información fenomenológica del mundo cognitivo al que me introdujo don Juan Matus. Desde el punto de vista de la fenomenología como método filosófico, no es posible llegar a aseveraciones relacionadas con el fenómeno bajo escrutinio. El mundo de don Juan Matus es tan vasto, misterioso y contradictorio que no se presta a un ejercicio de exposición lineal; como mucho, se puede describir, y esto haciendo un esfuerzo supremo.
P: Asumiendo que las enseñanzas de don Juan han pasado a formar parte de la literatura ocultista, ¿qué opinión le merecen otras enseñanzas, por ejemplo, las filosofías masónica, Rosacruz, el Hermetismo, y disciplinas tales como la Cábala, el Tarot y la Astrología, comparándolas con el nagualismo? ¿Ha tenido alguna vez o mantiene contacto con alguna de estas vertientes o con sus seguidores?
R: De nuevo no tengo ni la menor idea de cuáles son las premisas, los puntos de vista, ni los temas de tales disciplinas. Don Juan nos presentó el problema de navegar en lo desconocido y esto nos toma todo el esfuerzo disponible.
P: ¿Algunos de los conceptos de su obra, como el punto de encaje, las emanaciones de energía que componen el universo, el mundo de los seres inorgánicos, el Intento, el Acecho y el Ensueño, tienen una contrapartida en el conocimiento occidental? Por ejemplo, hay quienes ven en el hombre como huevo luminoso una expresión del aura…
R: No, nada de lo que don Juan nos enseñó parece tener una contrapartida en el conocimiento occidental, que yo sepa.
Una vez, cuando don Juan aún estaba presente, pasé un año entero a la búsqueda de gurus, maestros, sabios que me dieran un indicio de lo que estaban haciendo. Quería saber si había algo en el mundo de entonces que fuera similar a lo que don Juan decía y hacía.
Mis recursos eran muy limitados y sólo me llevaron a conocer a los maestros establecidos que tenían millares de seguidores, y desgraciadamente no pude encontrar nada parecido.
P: Concentrándonos ahora específicamente en su obra, sus lectores nos encontramos a Carlos Castaneda diferentes. Primero, a un académico occidental algo inepto y permanentemente desconcertado ante el poder de ancianos indios cono don Juan y don Genaro (principalmente en Las Enseñanzas de don Juan, Una Realidad Aparte, Viaje a Ixtlán, Relatos de Poder y El Segundo Anillo de Poder); luego, con un aprendiz de chamán avezado (en El Don del Águila, El Fuego Interior, El Conocimiento Silencioso y, especialmente, en El Arte de Ensoñar). Si está de acuerdo con esta apreciación, ¿cuándo y cómo desapareció uno para dejar paso al otro?
R: No me considero ni chamán, ni maestro, ni estudiante avanzado de chamanismo, ni tampoco me considero un antropólogo o científico social del mundo occidental. Mis presentaciones han sido todas descripciones de un fenómeno imposible de discernir bajo las condiciones del conocimiento lineal del mundo occidental. Jamás pude dar a lo que me enseñaba don Juan una explicación de causa y efecto o tuve la posibilidad de predecir lo que él iba a decir o lo que iba a pasar. Bajo estas condiciones, el paso de un estado a otro es subjetivo y no algo elaborado o producto de premeditación o sabiduría.
P: En su obra es posible encontrar episodios francamente increíbles para la mentalidad occidental. ¿Cómo podría alguien no iniciado comprobar que son verdaderas esas “realidades aparte” que usted describe?
R: Se puede comprobar de una manera muy simple. Prestando el cuerpo entero en vez del intelecto. Al mundo de don Juan no se puede entrar intelectualmente como un diletante en pos de un conocimiento rápido y pasajero, ni tampoco se puede comprobar nada. Lo único que se puede hacer es llegar a un estado de conciencia acrecentada que nos permita percibir al mundo que nos rodea de una manera más amplia. En otras palabras, la meta del chamanismo de don Juan es romper los parámetros de la percepción histórica y cotidiana, y entrar a percibir lo desconocido. De ahí que él se llamara a sí mismo un navegante del Infinito. Él sostenía que mas allá de los parámetros de la percepción diaria, está el Infinito. Llegar a eso era la meta de su vida, y puesto que él era un chamán extraordinario, nos inculcó a nosotros cuatro ese deseo. Nos forzó a trascender el intelecto y a encarnar el concepto de la ruptura de los parámetros de la percepción histórica.
P: Usted sostiene que la característica básica de los seres humanos es su condición de “perceptores de energía”. Señala el movimiento del punto de encaje como un imperativo para percibir energía directamente. ¿Para qué puede servir eso a un hombre del siglo XXI? ¿Cómo ayuda la consecución de esta meta a la superación espiritual, según el concepto antes definido?
R: Los chamanes como don Juan sostienen que todos los seres humanos poseemos la capacidad de percibir energía directamente a medida que fluye en el universo. Consideran que el punto de encaje, como ellos lo llaman, es un punto que existe en el campo de energía total del hombre. En otras palabras, cuando un chamán percibe a un hombre como energía que fluye en el universo, “ve” a una bola luminosa. En esa bola luminosa el chamán puede “ver” un punto de gran brillo que está situado a la altura de los omóplatos y a la distancia de más o menos un metro detrás de ellos. Los chamanes sostienen que allí es donde se realiza la percepción, que la energía que fluye en el universo se transforma allí en datos sensoriales y que esos datos sensoriales son luego interpretados para dar como resultado el mundo de la vida cotidiana. Los chamanes mantienen que se nos enseña a interpretar, por lo tanto, se nos enseña a percibir.
El valor pragmático de percibir la energía directamente a medida que fluye en el universo para el hombre del siglo XXI o del siglo I es el mismo. Le permite ampliar los límites de su percepción y utilizar dentro de sus medios ambientales tal ampliación. Don Juan decía que sería extraordinario “ver” directamente la maravilla del orden y del caos del universo.
P: Recientemente usted ha presentado una disciplina de ejercicios físicos que denomina Tensegridad. ¿Puede explicarnos de qué se trata exactamente? ¿Qué finalidad persigue? ¿Qué beneficios espirituales puede encontrar en ella quien la practique de forma individual?
R: Según lo que nos enseñó don Juan Matus, los chamanes que vivieron en México en tiempos antiquísimos descubrieron una serie de movimientos, ejecutados con el cuerpo, que los llevaron a un estado de desarrollo físico y mental de tal magnitud que decidieron llamar a tales movimientos pases mágicos.
Don Juan nos dijo que por medio de sus pases mágicos, dichos chamanes adquirieron un nivel de conciencia acrecentada que les permitió ejecutar proezas de percepción indescriptibles.
Los pases mágicos fueron enseñados a través de generaciones solamente a los practicantes de chamanismo, en medio de un tremendo secreto y de complejos rituales. Así es como se los enseñaron a don Juan Matus, y así es como él los transmitió a sus cuatro discípulos.
Nuestro esfuerzo ha consistido en extender la enseñanza de tales pases mágicos a quien quiera aprenderlos. Los hemos llamado Tensegridad y los hemos convertido, de movimientos enteramente personales y propios de cada uno de los cuatro discípulos de don Juan, en movimientos genéricos aplicables a cualquier persona.
La practica de la Tensegridad en forma individual o colectiva promueve la salud, el vigor, la juventud y el bienestar general. Don Juan decía que la práctica de los pases mágicos ayuda a acumular la energía necesaria para acrecentar la conciencia y ampliar los parámetros de la percepción.
P: Aparte de sus tres compañeras, los asistentes a sus seminarios han conocido a otro grupo de personas, como los Chacmoles, las Rastreadoras de Energía, los Elementos, el Explorador Azul… ¿Quienes son ellos? ¿Se trata de una nueva partida de videntes dirigida por usted? Si es así, ¿cómo podría alguien integrarse en este grupo de aprendices?
R: Cada una de esas personas acerca de las que usted pregunta son seres definidos que don Juan Matus como director de su linaje nos encargó esperar. Él predijo la llegada de cada uno de ellos como parte integral de una visión. Puesto que su linaje no podía continuar debido a configuraciones energéticas propias de sus cuatro estudiantes, su misión se transformó de perpetuar el linaje a cerrarlo, si fuera posible con broche de oro.
Nosotros no estamos en posición de cambiar esta directiva. No podemos buscar ni aceptar aprendices o miembros vigentes de la nueva visión de don Juan. Lo único que podemos hacer es acceder a los dictámenes del Intento.
El hecho de que se estén enseñando los pases mágicos, guardados con celo por tantas generaciones, es una muestra de que sí se puede llegar a ser parte de esta nueva visión de una manera indirecta a través de la práctica de la Tensegridad y de la observación de las premisas del camino del guerrero.
P: En Lectores del Infinito usted ha utilizado el término “navegación” para definir lo que los brujos hacen. ¿Están prontos a izar velas y levar anclas para iniciar el viaje definitivo? ¿Acabará con ustedes el linaje de guerreros toltecas depositario de este conocimiento?
R: Sí, efectivamente, el linaje de don Juan acaba con nosotros.
P: ¿Incluye el camino del guerrero el trabajo espiritual de la pareja, como se encuentra en otras propuestas?
R: El camino del guerrero incluye todo y a todos. Puede haber una familia entera de guerreros impecables. La dificultad está en el terrible hecho de que las relaciones individuales están basadas en inversiones emocionales, las cuales se desmoronan en el momento en el que el practicante realmente practica lo que aprende. Por lo regular, en el mundo diario, las inversiones emocionales nunca son examinadas y vivimos una vida entera esperando que nos correspondan. Don Juan decía que mi manera de vivir y de sentir se describía de una manera muy simple: “yo sólo doy lo que me dan”, y que yo era un inversor empedernido.
P: Si alguien quisiera emprender el trabajo espiritual ajustándose al conocimiento difundido en sus libros, ¿a qué posibilidades de avance puede aspirar? ¿Qué recomendaciones formularía a quienes desean poner en práctica por propia cuenta las enseñanzas de don Juan?
R: No hay manera alguna de poner un límite a lo que uno puede lograr de un modo individual si el intento es un intento impecable. Las enseñanzas de don Juan no son espirituales, lo repito de nuevo, puesto que esta cuestión ha salido a la superficie una y otra vez. La idea de la espiritualidad no encaja con la disciplina férrea del guerrero. Lo que más cuenta para un chamán como don Juan es la idea del pragmatismo. Cuando conocí a don Juan yo me creía un hombre práctico, un científico social lleno de objetividad y pragmatismo. Él acabó con mis ínfulas y me hizo ver que como verdadero hombre occidental, yo no tenía nada de pragmático y nada de espiritual. Llegué a entender que yo simplemente repetía el vocablo “espiritualidad” para oponerlo a lo mercenario del mundo de todos los días. Quería alejarme de la manera más certera del mercantilismo de la vida diaria y a ese afán yo le llamaba espiritualidad. Cuando don Juan me exige llegar a una conclusión, a una definición de lo que yo consideraba espiritual, me di cuenta de que él estaba en lo cierto. Yo no sabía lo que decía.
Suena un poco petulante decir lo que estoy diciendo, pero no hay otra manera de decirlo. Lo que quiere un chamán como don Juan es el engrandecimiento de la conciencia de ser, esto es, poder percibir con todas las posibilidades humanas de percepción, lo que implica una labor descomunal y un propósito sin medida, cosas que no pueden ser suplidas por la espiritualidad en el mundo occidental.
P: ¿Hay algo que le gustaría explicarnos a los sudamericanos, especialmente a los chilenos? ¿Quisiera exponer otros planteamientos, además de los formulados?
R: No tengo nada más que añadir. Todos los seres humanos estamos en el mismo nivel. Al comienzo de mi aprendizaje con don Juan Matus él trató de hacerme ver lo común de la situación del hombre. Yo, como sudamericano, estaba muy involucrado intelectualmente con la idea de la reforma social. Un día le planteé la pregunta que yo creía era fatal. Le dije: ¿cómo es posible, don Juan, que usted permanezca impasible ante la situación espantosa de sus congéneres, los indios yaquis de Sonora?
Yo sabía que un porcentaje de la población yaqui sufría de tuberculosis y que no tenía remedio por su condición económica.
Sí – me dijo don Juan- es una cosa muy triste, pero figúrate que también es muy triste tu situación, y si tú crees estar en condiciones mejores que los indios yaquis, te equivocas. Es la condición del hombre en general el permanecer en un estado espeluznante de caos. Nadie está mejor que otro. Todos somos seres que vamos a morir, y a menos que tomemos en cuenta cabal esta situación, no hay remedio para nosotros.
Este es otro punto del pragmatismo de los chamanes: el darse cuenta de que somos seres que vamos a morir. Los chamanes afirman que así todo adquiere una medida y un orden trascendente.
Der Geist der Beschwerde (en español)
Relatos cortos, Carlos Castaneda, Chaman.
Carlos Castaneda cuenta cómo el maestro de su maestro, Julián Osorio, Se transformó en un nagual -una especie de hechicero, según ciertas tradiciones mexicanas.
Julián trabajaba como actor en un teatro itinerante en el interior de México. Sin embargo, la vida de artista no era más que un pretexto para escapar de las convenciones impuestas por su tribu: la verdad, lo que más le gustaba a Julián era beber y seducir a las mujeres -cualquier tipo de mujer-que encontraba durante sus presentaciones teatrales. Exageró tanto, le exigió tanto a su salud, que terminó contrayendo tuberculosis.
Elías, un hechicero muy conocido entre los indios yaquis, daba su paseo vespertino cuando encontró a Julián tirado en el campo; sangraba por la boca, y la hemorragia era tan intensa, que Elías -que era capaz de ver el mundo espiritual-percibió que la muerte del pobre actor ya estaba próxima.
Usando algunas hierbas que llevaba en la bolsa, consiguió detener la hemorragia. Después, se volvió hacia Julián:
-No puedo curarlo -dijo. -Todo lo que podía hacer ya lo hice. Su muerte está próxima.
-No quiero morir, soy joven -respondió Julián.
Elías, como todo nagual, estaba más interesado en comportarse como un guerrero -concentrando su energía en la batalla de su vida-que ayudando a alguien que nunca había mostrado respeto por el milagro de la existencia. Sin embargo, sin lograr explicarse porqué, decidió ac-ceder a su pedido.
-Vaya a las cinco de la madrugada para las montañas -dijo. -Espéreme a la salida del poblado. No falte. Si usted no viene, va a morir antes de lo que piensa: su único recurso es aceptar mi invitación. Nunca podré reparar el daño que usted ya hizo a su cuerpo, pero puedo detener su avance hacia el precipicio de la muerte. Todos los seres humanos caen en este abismo, más pronto o más temprano; usted está a pocos pasos de él, y no puedo hacerlo retroceder.
-¿Qué puede hacer entonces?
-Puedo hacer que camine por el borde del abismo. Voy a desviar sus pasos para que usted siga por la enorme extensión de esta margen entre la vida y la muerte; puede ir a derecha e izquierda, pero mientras que no caiga en él, podrá continuar vivo.
El nagual Elías no esperaba gran cosa del actor, un hombre prejuicioso, libertino, y cobarde. Se quedó sorprendido cuando a las cinco de la mañana del día siguiente, lo encontró esperando en uno de las salidas del pueblito. Lo llevó para las montañas, le enseñó los secretos de los antiguos naguales mexicanos, y con el tiempo Julián Osorio se transformó en uno de los más respetados hechiceros yaquis. Nunca se curó de la tuberculosis, pero vivió hasta los ciento siete años, siempre caminando por el borde del abismo.
Cuando llegó el momento indicado, comenzó a aceptar discípulos, y tuvo a su cargo el entrenamiento de Don Juan Matus, quien a su vez le enseñó las antiguas tradiciones a Carlos Castaneda. Castaneda, con su serie de libros, terminó por hacer conocer estas tradiciones en el mundo entero.
Una tarde, conversando con otra discípula de Don Juan, Florinda, ella comentó:
-Es importante para todos nosotros tener en cuenta el camino del na-gual Julián al borde del abismo. Nos hace entender que todos tenemos una segunda oportunidad, aún cuando estemos muy cerca de desistir.
Castaneda estuvo de acuerdo: examinar el camino de Julián significaba entender su extraordinaria lucha para mantenerse vivo. Entender que esta lucha se libraba segundo a segundo, sin ningún descanso, contra los malos hábitos y la autocompasión. No se trataba de una batalla esporádica, sino de un esfuerzo disciplinado y constante para mantener el equilibrio; cualquier distracción o momento de debilidad podría arrojarlo al abismo de la muerte.
Sólo había una manera de vencer las tentaciones de su antigua vida: enfocar toda su atención en el borde del abismo, concentrarse en cada paso, mantener la calma, no tener apego a nada más allá del momento presente.
O sea, el tipo de camino que todo ser humano tiene que recorrer; el problema es que nadie se da cuenta de que está siempre al borde del abismo.