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.

Dreaming was one of the maneuvers invented by the sorcerers of ancient times, and although the techniques were taught to modern sorcerers, it was cautioned against because of its inherent dangers. Dreaming opened up a myriad of unworldly possibilities in terms of visiting the realm of “inorganic beings”, but there was the danger of entrapment there, along with the enticing possibilities of extending human life far beyond its normal duration, by choosing to stay in those realms.

Don Juan’s party of warriors were not given to indulge in the dangers of these potential realms. Carlos had a proclivity of visiting the realm of the inorganic beings and tapping into their wisdom and experience, but it had a cost attached to it.

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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.

What the sorcerers of ancient times discovered was that this internal dialog is what limits the perception of contemporary man to the “cocoon” we live and die in, the agreed-upon manifestation of “reality” referred to as the “first attention” – the normal day-to-day world that the average man unconsciously maintains and ferociously guards with the powers of ego and logic.

As Don Juan pointed out many times in his teachings, when inner silence is attained, it is a stepping-stone to infinity. From that vantage point, anything is possible. Inner silence curtails the incessant barrage of beliefs that keep us anchored within a very limiting and mundane set of boundaries. It opens us up to the magical and wondrous world of intent. It tunes us to the calling of the greater power referred to as “spirit” or “infinity”.

In his last book, “The Active Side of Infinity”, published posthumously, Carlos adds yet another clincher onto the understanding of inner silence. Don Juan reveals to him that the “voices” we hear internally, that have become known as the mind of man, is not truly our own voice, but has been “installed” within us by a predatory and malignant force that basically is grooming us for our own self-destruction. Most humans live life unconsciously, and are not aware of the nature of this “foreign installation” that has taken over human consciousness; but men of knowledge, or sorcerers, have understood this, and devote their lives to freeing themselves from the enemy within.

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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.

By altering awareness to different vantage-points, an apprentice can be made to see that our version of “reality” is simply another dream – a dream that has been made solid by a lifetime of intent, conditioning and training, and it is no more real or valid than other worlds and other realities that practitioners are trained to access, simply by shifting the “valve of consciousness” that forces the interpretation of “reality”. This “valve of consciousness” is called “the assemblage point”.

On the “energetic body” of man, this “assemblage point” can be approximated to a location on the upper right back, near the shoulder-blade. Therefore Don Juan, in his role as “nagual” was able to shift his apprentices’ assemblage points by a physical blow to this area. This shift introduced a temporary change of consciousness, providing a state of lucidity that allowed certain teachings and understandings to be conveyed and permanently internalized.

Another example of a shift or movement of the assemblage point was dreaming. In the course of dreaming, the “valve of consciousness” that maintains our sensory interpretation of reality, is allowed to reconfigure itself and create a new total reality.

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The Nagual

The Nagual is the teacher who becomes the gateway, the doorway, the intermediate between the world of the “seeker” or apprentice, and the world of the spirit. The Nagual has been described as being “empty” – devoid of ego and the personal self that modern mans attention and devotion is trapped by. The Nagual reflects only the infinite, and is a pure conduit for the commands of the spirit.

The Nagual has been described as a peculiar energetic configuration, of a different structure than the “egg-shaped” luminous bodies of your average man. He is described as a compounded set of 4 luminous quadrants. In this respect, Castaneda was an anomaly: a configuration of 3 compressed luminous spheres, rather than the traditional four.

Carlos’ training as a Nagual, and his resulting role as Nagual was transformational: both to the traditions of Don Juan’s lineage, and to the knowledge of the Sorcerer’s creed. First of all, he ushered in an ending to the ages-old lineage of naguals and apprentices in Don Juan’s lineage. Secondly, he facilitated an exposé of the covert, secretly-held teachings of generations of sorcerers, and a rendition of these teachings out into the public realm.

Carlos has filled both roles as “terminator” of the lineage, due to his unique energetic configuration, and as a translator or interpreter of these arcane teachings, into a form that could be easily understood and assimilated by those who are open to the “voice of the second attention”. His teachings, in the form of his series of books, reached millions upon millions of readers, and was translated into dozens of languages.

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Silent Knowledge

In the book, The Power of Silence, Don Juan talks about “Silent Knowledge” as a state of awareness that mankind was once anchored in. It was described as a position of the assemblage point that was governed not by reason, but by intent. He went on to say how mankind was now anchored in the place of “reason” – rather than silent knowledge – but that due to our true nature as humans, we still long for the place we have lost, the place of deeper wisdom and knowing the infinity of human potential that is embodied in the expression, “silent knowledge”.

Silent Knowledge is something that all of us have, something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything. But it cannot think, therefore it cannot speak what it knows.

“Sorcerers believe that when man became aware that he knew, he lost sight of what he knew. This silent knowledge, which you cannot describe, is of course, intent – the spirit, the abstract. Man’s error was to want to know it directly, the way he knew everyday life. The more he wanted, the more ephemeral it became. Man gave up silent knowledge for the world of reason. The more he clings to the world of reason, the more ephemeral intent becomes.”

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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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Quote: “A Man of Knowledge…”

“A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning, a man who has, without rushing or faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of personal power.”

~ Don Juan Matus – from Journey to Ixtlan

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