Benefactor vs Teacher
In the book, Tales of Power, Don Juan Matus reveals a significant truth in the roles that he and Don Genaro Flores were playing in Carlos Castaneda’s apprenticeship. To understand the contrast of these two roles, one must first understand the concepts of first and second attention, and the juxtaposition of tonal and nagual.
In following Don Juan’s teachings through Castaneda’s 4 books – up to and including Tales of Power – one develops the understanding that Juan Matus is the main teacher and benefactor to Carlos. Genaro is seen as somewhat of an oddity: one who is imbued with the 2nd attention, or permanently trapped in his dreaming body; and in being such an enigma – a constant source of terror and mystery to Carlos (and entertainment to us!)…
So, halfway though the 4th book, Juan Matus drops this bombshell on Carlos: no, he is not the “benefactor”, he is a mere teacher – one who is cleaning and preparing the island of the tonal, for the ‘real’ lessons of the nagual himself, who happens to be Don Genaro.
The tonal is best understood as the day-to-day world of the normal state of mankind. This normal awareness of man is also referred to as “the first attention”. In a warrior’s or apprentice’s life, the tonal is “cleaned up” by acts of impeccability, by saving energy, by erasing personal history, and by various other disciplines and methods imparted, including recapitulation.
Exposure to the realm of the second attention, is granted by the presence of the nagual, and through gateways such as seeing and dreaming. The second attention – the realm of the nagual – is not a realm for words and descriptions; it is a realm for action, for knowing, for transformation.