Seeing

“The difficulty,” says Castaneda, “is to learn to perceive with your whole body, not just with your eyes and reason. The world becomes a stream of tremendously rapid, unique events. So you must trim your body to make it a good receptor.  The body is an awareness, and it must be treated impeccably.”

Seeing is an operation – one of the many steps on the way to knowing the energies that comprise the true self.  In his early apprenticeship, Carlos was inducted into this world by means of hallucinogenic substances.  Later his teachers, Juan Matus and Genaro, beckoned him into this world on his own accord – a exercise in testing his impeccability and his art of “saving energy”, two of the admonishments he was given for the life of a warrior.

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Dreaming

The type of “dreaming” outlined in Castaneda’s teachings, is a step beyond what we normally view as “dreams”. It overlaps with a phenomena often referred to as “lucid dreaming”, where the dreamer is conscious of his dreaming, and learns to take control of the content and direction of dreams. It is akin to “waking up” in dreams, and learning to command your attention in dreams, rather than having the dream proceed in a random, unorganized fashion.

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Inner Silence

Also called “stopping the internal dialogue”, inner silence has been described as the initiation or nexus of elevated human awareness. It is the starting point of seeing, of dreaming, of moving the assemblage point, and of intending any of a range of far-reaching consequences.

Our “internal dialogue” is something that all of us experience. It is a cascading fabric of voices and understandings that plays constantly in the background of our consciousness. It is sometimes referred to as the “monkey mind” or the “ego”. It is a constant barrage of judgments, evaluations, criticisms, fears, memories, anticipations… and on and on. It is a complex overlay of programmings from both internal and external sources that ends up being the driving and guiding force in our lives. It’s also the series of “agreements” that keeps our view of reality locked into the currently approved societal sphere.

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The Assemblage Point

The Assemblage Point is a challenging concept to assimilate and understand. The entire picture of the energetic structure of man needs to be accepted and experienced to some degree before this concept can be realized. This is not a subject for the language of debate or intellectual understanding; it is a vivid realization to be internalized and held at an experiential level.

Through different exercises in shifting awareness, Carlos was made to “see” energy and to understand “reality” – as we know it – to be a relatively arbitrary ‘branding’ and coagulation of perceptive trainings that are superimposed on our will, from the moment we are born. This is intended by all who surround us… who have been similarly formed to maintain “reality” in the same way: by their perceptive awareness being forcibly channeled and constrained, to “agree” with the perceived “reality” held by all those in the current cultural milieu.

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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.

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Death as Advisor

In the years he spent with Don Juan Matus, Carlos Castaneda was often reminded about mortality.  This was not introduced on a conceptual basis, but as an experiential glimpse into the reality of death’s presence in our day-to-day existence.   What is essential here is an understanding of who we are at our core, deep beneath the layers of assumption and societal programming that we wear like overcoats around our more fragile centers.

The programming we all have around death is inescapable and often impenetrable.  It’s fused together with many viscous elements, including – but not limited to – religious beliefs, fear, television and media programming, personal and familial trauma and aversion programming, societal and material addictions and distractions. These incessant and ongoing programs fuse us into a living a robotic ‘DisneyLand’ script of unfocused consumerism that becomes our life blood, our purpose, and our hiding place. Unconsciously, we weave a perceptive illusion that marries the denial of mortality with the false assumption of immortality.

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