zaterdag 12 oktober 2013

carlos castaneda


We are indeed beings that are going to die. Therefore, the real struggle of man is not the strife with his fellowmen, but with infinity, and this is not even a struggle; it is, in essence, an acquiescence. We must voluntarily acquiesce to infinity.

The Teachings of Don Juan (30th anniversary edition)
Author's Commentaries

Carlos Castaneda was an anthropologist seeking to do field work on the use of medicinal plants when he met don Juan Matus at a bus station in Yuma Arizona. Don Juan was a Yaqui Indian from Yuma, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and the nagual, or leader of a group of men and women seers whose lineage began in Mexico more than ten thousand years ago. Castaneda’s field informant became his teacher, who ushered him into a new way of being, based on the knowledge of those ancient seers. Dr. Castaneda wrote twelve books on his apprenticeship.
Don Juan stated that the goal and purpose of his lineage was freedom of perception - freedom to perceive what quantum physics now recognizes as the essential nature of the universe: a universe of energy, which according to don Juan, is organized by a force of intelligence called intent.
A vital tool for the seers of don Juan’s line were their magical passes: positions and movements of body and breath which the early seers of their lineage dreamt and stalked thousands of years ago. Breathing into these dreamt positions and movements allows the practitioner a simple and accessible means to boost his or her well-being by redirecting and restoring the flow of his or her natural energy. This brings the ability to be present to experience, rather than caught in thoughts and emotions - and a breath pattern - of the past. Such a state of presence brings the energy and focus needed to recapitulate, or review one’s life, and learn from one’s experience, allowing for a new connection with others, oneself, the earth, and the life of the earth (seen and unseen), as well as the planets and stars; and new choices in the way one uses one’s attention and energy in daily life
.Castaneda's works contain descriptions of paranormal or magical experiences, several psychological techniques, Toltec magic rituals, shamanism and experiences with psychoactive drugs (e.g. peyote). Carlos Castaneda's works have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages
His first three books, The Teachings of don Juan: a Yaqui way of knowledge, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan were written while Castaneda was an anthropology student at UCLA. Castaneda wrote these books as if they were his research log describing his studies under a traditional shaman he identified as don Juan (used the name Juan Matus, but not the man's 'real' name). Castaneda was granted his masters and doctoral degrees for the work described in these books,
In Castaneda's first two books he describes that the Yaqui way of knowledge also required the heavy use of powerful psychoactive or entheogenic plants, such as peyote and datura. In his third book, Journey to Ixtlan, he essentially reverses his emphasis on 'power plants'. In this book he describes don Juan telling him he only needed to use drugs with Carlos because Carlos was so dumb.
His fourth book, Tales of Power, ended with Castaneda leaping off a cliff marking his graduation from disciple to man of knowledge (actually a leap from the tonal into the unknown).
Castaneda's account of Toltec knowledge
There are three main elements to Castaneda's description of Toltec beliefs:

* a. mastery of awareness- nagual (2nd attention) and tonal (1st attention), art of dreaming, description of the seers perception of luminous energy and bubbles of energy around living things (luminous cocoon) and ultimately the source of these energetic lines which are consciousness itself.

* b. art of self-stalking- dealing with the world and actions in it.

* c. mastery of intent- dealing with the primary force of the universe or the spirit or the means to move the assemblage point.


Castaneda's books can be read as a philosophical/pragmatical text that express a world view by which a person can live one's life. There is a movement world-wide of practitioners of this philosophy, applying Castaneda's published ideas either independently or through consultation with Castaneda's associates.

This school of applied shamanism, sometimes called "nagualismo", purports to be unlike either traditional Western or Eastern culture. Castaneda's ideas, insofar as they can be called a "system", share some similarities with Eastern mysticism, Zen, Taoism, or Tibetan Buddhism in terms of the inherent order (or chaos) of the universe, disciplines taught and techniques used, but the underlying structure is fundamentally different.

According to Castaneda, the most significant facts in a person's life are his possession of awareness and its impending termination at death. The primary goal of a Toltec "Warrior" is the continuation of his awareness after bodily death: to "dart past the Eagle and be free", in the words of the tradition, where the Eagle is the force which consumes the awareness of all living beings.

To cheat death in this way requires all of the discipline and procedures that constitute the Warrior's way of life. These practices are devised to maximise the Warrior's personal power, or energy. The condition of not wasting this energy is known as "impeccability".

Sufficient personal power leads to the mastery of awareness, chiefly the controlled movement of what is known as the "assemblage point". This is an artifact of the tradition's description of another world underlying what we perceive as ordinary reality. In this description men are glowing cocoons of awareness inhabiting a universe consisting of the Eagle's "emanations", described euphemistically as all-pervading filaments of light.

Humans' cocoons are intersected throughout by these filaments, producing perception, but they filter our perceptions by concentrating on only a small bundle. The assemblage point is the focusing lens which selects from the emanations. In its accustomed position, the assemblage point produces what humans perceive as everyday, 'normal' reality. Movement of the assemblage point permits perception of the world in different ways; small movements lead to small changes in perception and large movements to radical changes. For example, dreaming is presented as the result of a movement of the assemblage point; "power plants" such as Peyote, used in the early stages of Castaneda's apprenticeship, produce powerfully altered states of mind through such movement.

Castaneda describes complex and bizarre worlds experienced through the controlled movement of the assemblage point in dreaming; his premise is that the world of the dreams of a warrior is no less real than the world of daily life. This follows logically from the description of both worlds as being simply the result of positions of the assemblage point. He depicts complex interactions with unearthly beings in dream worlds and describes his fear of being physically trapped by these malicious but charismatic beings.

Amongst the various practices of a warrior, Tensegrity, a series of meditative stretching and posing techniques, is introduced in Castaneda's tenth work, Magical Passes. The term is borrowed from architecture-"tensional integrity". Tensegrity is promoted by Cleargreen, Inc., a company founded in the 1990s, closely affiliated with Castaneda, which runs workshops and sells various materials relating to Castaneda's work. There are many individual and group practitioners around the world. Tensegrity and much of Castaneda's other work are the subject of a variety of recurring disputes.
Brief Description of Books

1. The Teachings of Don Juan, A Yaqui Way of Knowledge- description of plant allies and way towards knowledge: mescalito (peyote cactus)- the protector of man, seeing beings as liquid colors; mushrooms- learning to handle, fly, and perceive as animal form; datura (weed)- female spirit, hard to handle, gives strength, lengthy procedure. This book was unique of the series in that the last part included a detailed scholarly "Structural Analysis" of the teachings.
2. A Separate Reality- Discusses the ideas of will, controlled folly, and seeing (as opposed to looking) as tools a warrior uses to be a man/person of knowledge.
3. Journey to Ixtlan- lessons about the warriors way, or stalking the world, routines, personal history, self-importance, death as an advisor, not-doing, dreaming
4. Tales of Power- description of points of perception in body or luminous cocoon, tonal or toƱal (1st attention, known, right side awareness, [possibly the left-brain]) and nagual (2nd attention, unknown, left side awareness, right-brain), dreaming double
5. The Second Ring of Power- describes events after don Juan's departure, experiences with the women warriors of the original nagual's party, 2nd attention (second ring of power), losing "human 'form"', human mold, dreaming, gazing
6. The Eagle's Gift- description of the force that creates, destroys, and rules the universe (or at least the 48 bands of earth), also source of emanations themselves, description of the eagle's command to man, the rule of the nagual, various levels of petty tyrants, and way towards freedom, self-stalking and dreaming, power spots. Note that don Juan described the energy-structure/entity called eagle a thing that is not what we call an eagle, but rather a thing so vast as to be incomprehensible.
7. The Fire From Within- step by step (actually chapter by chapter) elucidation of the mastery of awareness or the new seers' knowledge: everything is energy (the Eagle's emanations or luminous emanations), the luminous cocoon and assemblage point(glow of awareness), the known (1st attention or tonal), unknown (2nd attention or nagual), unknowable (outside luminous cocoon), petty tyrants as a way to move assemblage point and foster warrior's way, twin worlds of organic and inorganic ( more correctly matter-beings and non-matter-bound beings- carbon-based/not carbon based wasn't what was meant), shifting the assemblage point and other bands of awareness, bundles of emanations that are the basis for the different species source of awareness and forms/molds, the human mold, the rolling force or tumbler (that hits luminous cocoon), the death defier, self-stalking, intent, and dreaming.
8. The Power of Silence- stories about essentially the mastery of intent, set into what were called sorcery cores.
9. The Art of Dreaming - steps to mastering control and consciousness of dreams.
10. Magical Passes- descriptions with photos of sorcery-based physical movements intended to increase well-being, a system which became known as Tensegrity
11. The Active Side of Infinity- recapitulation, making a log of significant life events (as seen by the spirit)
12. The Wheel of Time- recollection of the mood in which each previous book was written; significant quotes from each previous book.

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