The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Every person is a philosopher by nature; however, we are quickly dissuaded from this delightful activity by those who call philosophy impractical. But there is nothing more practical than knowing who you are and what you think. Try it sometime.

Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:57 am

Stalking, Intent and the Dreaming Position

The next day, in the early evening again, don Juan came to the room where I was talking with Genaro. He took me by the arm and walked me through the house to the back patio. It was already fairly dark. We started to walk around in the corridor that encircled the patio.

As we walked, don Juan told me that he wanted to warn me once again that it is very easy in the path of knowledge to get lost in intricacies and morbidity. He said that seers are up against great enemies that can destroy their purpose, muddle their aims, and make them weak; enemies created by the warriors' path itself together with the sense of indolence, laziness, and self-importance that are integral parts of the daily world.

He remarked that the mistakes the ancient seers made as a result of indolence, laziness, and self-importance were so enormous and so grave that the new seers had no option but to scorn and reject their own tradition.

"The most important thing the new seers needed," don Juan continued, "was practical steps in order to make their assemblage points shift. Since they had none, they began by developing a keen interest in seeing the glow of awareness, and as a result they worked out three sets of techniques that became their cornerstone."

Don Juan said that with these three sets, the new seers accomplished a most extraordinary and difficult feat. They succeeded in systematically making the assemblage point shift away from its customary position. He acknowledged that the old seers had also accomplished that feat, but by means of capricious, idiosyncratic maneuvers.

He explained that what the new seers saw in the glow of awareness resulted in the sequence in which they arranged the old seers' truths about awareness. This is known as the mastery of awareness. From that, they developed the three sets of techniques. The first is the mastery of stalking, the second is the mastery of intent, and the third is the mastery of dreaming. He maintained that he had taught me these three sets from the very first day we met.

He told me that he had taught me the mastery of awareness in two ways, just as the new seers recommend. In his teachings for the right side, which he had done in normal awareness, he accomplished two goals: he taught me the warriors' way, and he loosened my assemblage point from its original position. In his teachings for the left side, which he had done in heightened awareness, he also accomplished two goals: he had made my assemblage point shift to as many positions as I was capable of sustaining, and he had given me a long series of explanations.

Don Juan stopped talking and stared at me fixedly. There was an awkward silence; then he started to talk about stalking. He said that it had very humble and fortuitous origins. It started from an observation the new seers made that when warriors steadily behave in ways not customary for them, the unused emanations inside their cocoons begin to glow. And their assemblage points shift in a mild, harmonious, barely noticeable fashion.

Stimulated by this observation, the new seers began to practice the systematic control of their behavior. They called this practice the art of stalking. Don Juan remarked that the name, although objectionable, was appropriate, because stalking entailed a specific kind of behavior with people, behavior that could be categorized as surreptitious.

The new seers, armed with this technique, tackled the known in a sober and fruitful way. By continual practice, they made their assemblage points move steadily.

"Stalking is one of the two greatest accomplishments of the new seers." he said. "The new seers decided that it should be taught to a modern-day nagual when his assemblage point has moved quite deep into the left side. The reason for this decision is that a nagual must learn the principles of stalking without the encumbrance of the human inventory. After all, the nagual is the leader of a group, and to lead them he has to act quickly without first having to think about it.

"Other warriors can learn stalking in their normal awareness, although it is advisable that they do it in heightened awareness -- not so much because of the value of heightened awareness, but because it imbues stalking with a mystery that it doesn't really have; stalking is merely behavior with people."

He said that I could now understand that shifting the assemblage point was the reason why the new seers placed such a high value on the interaction with petty tyrants. Petty tyrants forced seers to use the principles of stalking and, in doing so, helped seers to move their assemblage points.

I asked him if the old seers knew anything at all about the principles of stalking.

'"Stalking belongs exclusively to the new seers," he said, smiling. "They are the only seers who had to deal with people. The old ones were so wrapped up in their sense of power that they didn't even know that people existed, until people started clobbering them on the head. But you already know all this."

Don Juan said next that the mastery of intent together with the mastery of stalking are the new seers' two masterpieces, which mark the arrival of the modern-day seers. He explained that in their efforts to gain an advantage over their oppressors the new seers pursued every possibility. They knew that <heir predecessors had accomplished extraordinary feats by manipulating a mysterious and miraculous force, which they could only describe as power. The new seers had very little information about that force, so they were obliged to examine it systematically through seeing. Their efforts were amply rewarded when they discovered that the energy of alignment is that force.

They began by seeing how the glow of awareness increases in size and intensity as the emanations inside the cocoon are aligned with the emanations at large. They used that observation as a springboard, just as they had done with stalking, and went on to develop a complex series of techniques to handle that alignment of emanations.

At first they referred to those techniques as the mastery of alignment. Then they realized that what was involved was much more than alignment; what was involved was the energy that comes out of the alignment of emanations. They called that energy will.

Will became the second basis. The new seers understood it as a blind, impersonal, ceaseless burst of energy that makes us behave in the ways we do. Will accounts for our perception of the world of ordinary affairs, and indirectly, through the force of that perception, it accounts for the placement of the assemblage point in its customary position.

Don Juan said that the new seers examined how the perception of the world of everyday life takes place and saw the effects of will. They saw that alignment is ceaselessly renewed in order to imbue perception with continuity. To renew alignment every time with the freshness that it needs to make up a living world, the burst of energy that comes out of those very alignments is automatically rerouted to reinforce some choice alignments.

This new observation served the new seers as another springboard that helped them reach the third basis of the set. They called it intent, and they described it as the purposeful guiding of will, the energy of alignment.

"Silvio Manuel, Genaro, and Vicente were pushed by the nagual Julian to learn those three aspects of the seers' knowledge," he went on. "Genaro is the master of handling awareness, Vicente is the master of stalking, and Silvio Manuel is the master of intent.

"We are now doing a final explanation of the mastery of awareness; this is why Genaro is helping you."

Don Juan talked to the female apprentices for a long time. The women listened with serious expressions on their faces. I felt sure he was giving them detailed instructions about difficult procedures, judging from the women's fierce concentration.

I had been barred from their meeting, but I had watched them as they talked in the front room of Genaro's house. I sat at the kitchen table, waiting until they were through.

Then the women got up to leave, but before they did, they came to the kitchen with don Juan. He sat down facing me while the women talked to me with awkward formality. They actually embraced me. All of them were unusually friendly, even talkative. They said that they were going to join the male apprentices, who had gone with Genaro hours earlier. Genaro was going to show all of them his dreaming body.

As soon as the women left, don Juan quite abruptly resumed his explanation. He said that as time passed and the new seers established their practices, they realized that under the prevailing conditions of life, stalking only moved the assemblage points minimally. For maximum effect, stalking needed an ideal setting; it needed petty tyrants in positions of great authority and power. It became increasingly difficult for the new seers to place themselves in such situations; the task of improvising them or seeking them out became an unbearable burden.

The new seers deemed it imperative to see the Eagle's emanations in order to find a more suitable way to move the assemblage point. As they tried to see the emanations they were faced with a very serious problem. They found out that there is no way to see them without running a mortal risk, and yet they had to see them. That was the time when they used the old seers' technique of dreaming as a shield to protect themselves from the deadly blow of the Eagle's emanations. And in doing so, they realized that dreaming was in itself the most effective way to move the assemblage point.

"One of the strictest commands of the new seers," don Juan continued, "was that warriors have to learn dreaming while they are in their normal state of awareness. Following that command, I began teaching you dreaming almost from the first day we met."

"Why do the new seers command that dreaming has to be taught in normal awareness?" I asked.

"Because dreaming is so dangerous and dreamers so vulnerable," he said. "It is dangerous because it has inconceivable power; it makes dreamers vulnerable because it leaves them at the mercy of the incomprehensible force of alignment.

"The new seers realized that in our normal state of awareness, we have countless defenses that can safeguard us against the force of unused emanations that suddenly become aligned in dreaming."

Don Juan explained that dreaming, like stalking, began with a simple observation. The old seers became aware that in dreams the assemblage point shifts slightly to the left side in a most natural manner. That point indeed relaxes when man sleeps and all kinds of unused emanations begin to glow.

The old seers became immediately intrigued with that observation and began to work with that natural shift until they were able to control it. They called that control dreaming, or the art of handling the dreaming body.

He remarked that there is hardly a way of describing the immensity of their knowledge about dreaming. Very little of it, however, was of any use to the new seers. So when the time of reconstruction came, the new seers took for themselves only the bare essentials of dreaming to aid them in seeing the Eagle's emanations and to help them move their assemblage points.

He said that seers, old and new, understand dreaming as being the control of the natural shift that the assemblage point undergoes in sleep. He stressed that to control that shift does not mean in any way to direct it, but to keep the assemblage point fixed at the position where it naturally moves in sleep, a most difficult maneuver that took the old seers enormous effort and concentration to accomplish.

Don Juan explained that dreamers have to strike a very subtle balance, for dreams cannot be interfered with, nor can they be commanded by the conscious effort of the dreamer, and yet the shift of the assemblage point must obey the dreamer's command -- a contradiction that cannot be rationalized but must be resolved in practice.

After observing dreamers while they slept, the old seers hit upon the solution of letting dreams follow their natural course. They had seen that in some dreams, the assemblage point of the dreamer would drift considerably deeper into the left side than in other dreams. This observation posed to them the question of whether the content of the dream makes the assemblage point move, or the movement of the assemblage point by itself produces the content of the dream by activating unused emanations.

They soon realized that the shifting of the assemblage point into the left side is what produces dreams. The farther the movement, the more vivid and bizarre the dream. Inevitably, they attempted to command their dreams, aiming to make their assemblage points move deeply into the left side. Upon trying it, they discovered that when dreams are consciously or semiconsciously manipulated, the assemblage point immediately returns to its usual place. Since what they wanted was for that point to move, they reached the unavoidable conclusion that interfering with dreams was interfering with the natural shift of the assemblage point.

Don Juan said that from there the old seers went on to develop their astounding knowledge on the subject -- a knowledge which had a tremendous bearing on what the new seers aspired to do with dreaming, but was of little use to them in its original form.

He told me that thus far I had understood dreaming as being the control of dreams, and that every one of the exercises he had given me to perform, such as finding my hands in my dreams, was not, although it might seem to be, aimed at teaching me to command my dreams. Those exercises were designed to keep my assemblage point fixed at the place where it had moved in my sleep. It is here that the dreamers have to strike a subtle balance. All they can direct is the fixation of their assemblage points. Seers are like fishermen equipped with a line that casts itself wherever it may; the only thing they can do is keep the line anchored at the place where it sinks.

"Wherever the assemblage point moves in dreams is called the dreaming position,"' he went on. "The old seers became so expert at keeping their dreaming position that they were even able to wake up while their assemblage points were anchored there.

"The old seers called that state the dreaming body, because they controlled it to the extreme of creating a temporary new body every time they woke up at a new dreaming position.

"I have to make it clear to you that dreaming has a terrible drawback," he went on. "It belongs to the old seers. It's tainted with their mood. I've been very careful in guiding you through it, but still there is no way to make sure."

"What are you warning me about, don Juan?" I asked.

"I'm warning you about the pitfalls of dreaming, which are truly stupendous," he replied. "In dreaming, there is really no way of directing the movement of the assemblage point; the only thing that dictates that shift is the inner strength or weakness of dreamers. Right there we have the first pitfall."

He said that at first the new seers were hesitant to use dreaming. It was their belief that dreaming, instead of fortifying, made warriors weak, compulsive, capricious. The old seers were all like that. In order to offset the nefarious effect of dreaming, since they had no other option but to use it, the new seers developed a complex and rich system of behavior called the warriors' way, or the warriors' path.

With that system, the new seers fortified themselves and acquired the internal strength they needed to guide the shift of the assemblage point in dreams. Don Juan stressed that the strength that he was talking about was not conviction alone. No one could have had stronger convictions than the old seers, and yet they were weak to the core. Internal strength meant a sense of equanimity, almost of indifference, a feeling of being at ease, but, above all, it meant a natural and profound bent for examination, for understanding. The new seers called all these traits of character sobriety.

"The conviction that the new seers have," he continued, "is that a life of impeccability by itself leads unavoidably to a sense of sobriety, and this in turn leads to the movement of the assemblage point.

"I've said that the new seers believed that the assemblage point can be moved from within. They went one step further and maintained that impeccable men need no one to guide them, that by themselves, through saving their energy, they can do everything that seers do. All they need is a minimal chance, just to be cognizant of the possibilities that seers have unraveled."

I told him that we were back in the same position we had been in in my normal state of awareness. I was still convinced that impeccability or saving energy was something so vague that it could be interpreted by anyone in whatever whimsical way he wanted.

I wanted to say more to build my argument, but a strange feeling overtook me. It was an actual physical sensation that I was rushing through something. And then I rebuffed my own argument. I knew without any doubt whatsoever that don Juan was right. All that is required is impeccability, energy, and that begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise, and sustained. If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent, which can be applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his full potential.

When I told don Juan what I had just realized, he laughed with apparent delight and exclaimed that this was indeed a godsent example of the strength that he was talking about. He explained that my assemblage point had shifted, and that it had been moved by sobriety to a position that fostered understanding. It could have as well been moved by capriciousness to a position that only enhances self-importance, as had been the case many times before.

"Let's talk now about the dreaming body."' he went on. "The old seers concentrated all their efforts on exploring and exploiting the dreaming body. And they succeeded in using it as a more practical body, which is tantamount to saying they recreated themselves in increasingly weird ways."

Don Juan maintained that it is common knowledge among the new seers that flocks of the old sorcerers never came back after waking up at a dreaming position of their liking. He said that chances are they all died in those inconceivable worlds, or they may still be alive today in who knows what kind of contorted shape or manner.

He stopped and looked at me and broke into a great laugh.

"You're dying to ask me what the old seers did with the dreaming body, aren't you?" he asked, and urged me with a movement of his chin to ask the question.

Don Juan stated that Genaro, being the indisputable master of awareness, had shown me the dreaming body many times while I was in a state of normal awareness. The effect that Genaro was after with his demonstrations was to make my assemblage point move, not from a position of heightened awareness, but from its normal setting.

Don Juan told me then, as if he were letting a secret be known, that Genaro was waiting for us in some fields near the house to show me his dreaming body. He repeated over and over that I was now in the perfect state of awareness to see and understand what the dreaming body really is. Then he had me get up, and we walked through the front room to reach the door to the outside. As I was about to open the door, I noticed that someone was lying on the pile of floor mats that the apprentices used as beds. I thought that one of the apprentices must have returned to the house while don Juan and I were talking in the kitchen.

I went up to him, and then I realized that it was Genaro. He was sound asleep, snoring peacefully, lying face down.

"Wake him up," don Juan said to me. "We've got to be going. He must be dead tired."

I gently shook Genaro. He slowly turned around, made the sounds of someone waking up from a deep slumber. He stretched his arms, and then he opened his eyes. I screamed involuntarily and jumped back.

Genaro's eyes were not human eyes at all. They were two points of intense amber light. The jolt of my fright had been so intense that I became dizzy. Don Juan tapped my back and restored my equilibrium.

Genaro stood up and smiled at me. His features were rigid. He moved as if he were drunk or physically impaired. He walked by me and headed directly for the wall. I winced at the imminent crash, but he went through the wall as if it were not there at all. He came back into the room through the kitchen doorway. And then, as I looked in true horror, Genaro walked on the walls, with his body parallel to the ground, and on the ceiling, with his head upside down.

I fell backwards as I tried to follow his movements. From that position I didn't see Genaro anymore; instead I was looking at a blob of light that moved on the ceiling above me and on the walls, circling the room. It was as if someone with a giant flashlight was shining the beam on the ceiling and the walls. The beam of light was finally turned off. It disappeared from view by vanishing against a wall.

Don Juan remarked that my animal fright was always out of measure, that I had to struggle to bring it under control, but that all in all, I had behaved very well. I had seen Genaro's dreaming body as it really is, a blob of light.

I asked him how he was so sure I had done that. He replied that he had seen my assemblage point first move toward its normal setting in order to compensate for my fright, then move deeper into the left, beyond the point where there are no doubts.

"At that position there is only one thing one can see: blobs of energy," he went on. "But from heightened awareness to that other point deeper into the left side, it is only a short hop. The real feat is to make the assemblage point shift from its normal setting to the point of no doubt."

He added that we still had an appointment with Genaro's dreaming body in the fields around the house, while I was in normal awareness.

When we were back in Silvio Manuel's house, don Juan said that Genaro's proficiency with the dreaming body was a very minor affair compared with what the old seers did with it.

"You'll see that very soon," he said with an ominous tone, then laughed.

I questioned him about it with mounting fear, and that only evoked more laughter. He finally stopped and said that he was going to talk about the way the new seers got to the dreaming body and the way they used it.

"The old seers were after a perfect replica of the body," he continued, "and they nearly succeeded in getting one. The only thing they never could copy was the eyes. Instead of eyes, the dreaming body has just the glow of awareness. You never realized that before, when Genaro used to show you his dreaming body.

"The new seers could not care less about a perfect replica of the body; in fact, they are not even interested in copying the body at all. But they have kept just the name dreaming body to mean a feeling, a surge of energy that is transported by the movement of the assemblage point to any place in this world, or to any place in the seven worlds available to man."

Don Juan then outlined the procedure for getting to the dreaming body. He said that it starts with an initial act, which by the fact of being sustained breeds unbending intent. Unbending intent leads to internal silence, and internal silence to the inner strength needed to make the assemblage point shift in dreams to suitable positions.

He called this sequence the groundwork. The development of control comes after the groundwork has been completed; it consists of systematically maintaining the dreaming position by doggedly holding on to the vision of the dream. Steady practice results in a great facility to hold new dreaming positions with new dreams, not so much because one gains deliberate control with practice, but because every time this control is exercised the inner strength gets fortified. Fortified inner strength in turn makes the assemblage point shift into dreaming positions, which are more and more suitable to fostering sobriety; in other words, dreams by themselves become more and more manageable, even orderly.

"The development of dreamers is indirect," he went on. "That's why the new seers believed we can do dreaming by ourselves, alone. Since dreaming uses a natural, built-in shift of the assemblage point, we should need no one to help us.

"What we badly need is sobriety, and no one can give it to us or help us get it except ourselves. Without it, the shift of the assemblage point is chaotic, as our ordinary dreams are chaotic.

"So, all in all, the procedure to get to the dreaming body is impeccability in our daily life."

Don Juan explained that once sobriety is acquired and the dreaming positions become increasingly stronger, the next step is to wake up at any dreaming position. He remarked that the maneuver, although made to sound simple, was really a very complex affair -- so complex that it requires not only sobriety but all the attributes of warriorship as well, especially intent.

I asked him how intent helps seers wake up at a dreaming position. He replied that intent, being the most sophisticated control of the force of alignment, is what maintains, through the dreamer's sobriety, the alignment of whatever emanations have been lit up by the movement of the assemblage point.

Don Juan said that there is one more formidable pitfall of dreaming: the very strength of the dreaming body. For example, it is very easy for the dreaming body to gaze at the Eagle's emanations uninterruptedly for long periods of time, but it is also very easy in the end for the dreaming body to be totally consumed by them. Seers who gazed at the Eagle's emanations without their dreaming bodies died, and those who gazed at them with their dreaming bodies burned with the fire from within. The new seers solved the problem by seeing in teams. While one seer gazed at the emanations, others stood by ready to end the seeing.

"How did the new seers see in teams?" I asked.

"They dreamed together, '" he replied. "As you yourself know, it's perfectly possible for a group of seers to activate the same unused emanations. And in this case also, there are no known steps, it just happens; there is no technique to follow."

He added that in dreaming together, something in us takes the lead and suddenly we find ourselves sharing the same view with other dreamers. What happens is that our human condition makes us focus the glow of awareness automatically on the same emanations that other human beings are using; we adjust the position of our assemblage points to fit the others around us. We do that on the right side, in our ordinary perception, and we also do it on the left side, while dreaming together.
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:57 am

The Nagual Julian

There was a strange excitement in the house. All the seers of don Juan's party seemed to be so elated that they were actually absentminded, a thing that I had never witnessed before. Their usual high level of energy appeared to have increased. I became very apprehensive. I asked don Juan about it. He took me to the back patio. We walked in silence for a moment. He said that the time was getting closer for all of them to leave. He was pressing his explanation in order to finish it in time.

"How do you know that you are closer to leaving?" I asked.

"It is an internal knowledge," he said. "You'll know it someday yourself. You see, the nagual Julian made my assemblage point shift countless times, just as I have made yours shift. Then he left me the task of realigning all those emanations which he had helped me align through these shifts. That is the task that every nagual is left to do.

"At any rate, the job of realigning all those emanations paves the way for the peculiar maneuver of lighting up all the emanations inside the cocoon. I have nearly done that. I am about to reach my maximum. Since I am the nagual, once I do light up all the emanations inside my cocoon we will all be gone in an instant."

I felt I should be sad and weep, but something in me was so overjoyed to hear that the nagual Juan Matus was about to be free that I jumped and yelled with sheer delight. I knew that sooner or later I would reach another state of awareness and I would weep with sadness. But that day I was filled with happiness and optimism.

I told don Juan how I felt. He laughed and patted my back.

"Remember what I've told you," he said. "Don't count on emotional realizations. Let your assemblage point move first, then years later have the realization."

We walked to the big room and sat down to talk. Don Juan hesitated for a moment. He looked out of the window. From my chair I could see the patio. It was early afternoon; a cloudy day. It looked like rain. Thunderhead clouds were moving in from the west. I liked cloudy days. Don Juan did not. He seemed restless as he tried to find a more comfortable sitting position.

Don Juan began his elucidation by commenting that the difficulty in remembering what takes place in heightened awareness is due to the infinitude of positions that the assemblage point can adopt after being loosened from its normal setting. Facility in remembering everything that takes place in normal awareness, on the other hand, has to do with the fixity of the assemblage point on one spot, the spot where it normally sets.

He told me that he commiserated with me. He suggested that I accept the difficulty of recollecting and acknowledge that I might fail in my task and never be able to realign all the emanations that he had helped me align.

"Think of it this way," he said, smiling. "You may never be able to remember this very conversation that we are having now, which at this moment seems to you so commonplace, so taken for granted.

"This indeed is the mystery of awareness. Human beings reek of that mystery; we reek of darkness, of things which are inexplicable. To regard ourselves in any other terms is madness. So don't demean the mystery of man in you by feeling sorry for yourself or by trying to rationalize it. Demean the stupidity of man in you by understanding it. But don't apologize for either; both are needed.

"One of the great maneuvers of stalkers is to pit the mystery against the stupidity in each of us."

He explained that stalking practices are not something one can rejoice in; in fact, they are downright objectionable. Knowing this, the new seers realize that it would be against everybody's interest to discuss or practice the principles of stalking in normal awareness.

I pointed out to him an incongruity. He had said that there is no way for warriors to act in the world while they are in heightened awareness, and he had also said that stalking is simply behaving with people in specific ways. The two statements contradicted each other.

"By not teaching it in normal awareness I was referring only to teaching it to a nagual," he said. "The purpose of stalking is twofold: first, to move the assemblage point as steadily and safely as possible, and nothing can do the job as well as stalking: second, to imprint its principles at such a deep level that the human inventory is bypassed, as is the natural reaction of refusing and judging something that may be offensive to reason."

I told him that I sincerely doubted I could judge or refuse anything like that. He laughed and said that I could not be an exception, that I would react like everyone else once I heard about the deeds of a master stalker, such as his benefactor, the nagual Julian.

"I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the nagual Julian was the most extraordinary stalker I have ever met," don Juan said. "You have already heard about his stalking skills from everybody else. But I've never told you what he did to me."

I wanted to make it clear to him that I had not heard anything about the nagual Julian from anyone, but just before I voiced my protest a strange feeling of uncertainty swept over me. Don Juan seemed to know instantly what I was feeling. He chuckled with delight.

"You can't remember, because will is not available to you yet," he said. "You need a life of impeccability and a great surplus of energy, and then will might release those memories.

"I am going to tell you the story of how the nagual Julian behaved with me when I first met him. If you judge him and find his behavior objectionable while you are in heightened awareness, think of how revolted you might be with him in normal awareness."

I protested that he was setting me up. He assured me that all he wanted to do with his story was to illustrate the manner in which stalkers operate and the reasons why they do it.

"The nagual Julian was the last of the old-time stalkers," he went on. "He was a stalker not so much because of the circumstances of his life but because that was the bent of his character."

Don Juan explained that the new seers saw that there are two main groups of human beings: those who care about others and those who do not. In between these two extremes they saw an endless mixture of the two. The nagual Julian belonged to the category of men who do not care; don Juan classified himself as belonging to the opposite category.

"But didn't you tell me that the nagual Julian was generous, that he would give you the shirt off his back?" I asked.

"He certainly was," don Juan replied. "Not only was he generous; he was also utterly charming, winning. He was always deeply and sincerely interested in everybody around him. He was kind and open and gave away everything he had to anyone who needed it, or to anyone he happened to like. He was in turn loved by everyone, because being a master stalker, he conveyed to them his true feelings: he didn't give a plugged nickel for any of them."

I did not say anything, but don Juan was aware of my sense of disbelief or even distress at what he was saying. He chuckled and shook his head from side to side.

"That's stalking," he said. "You see, I haven't even begun my story of the nagual Julian and you are already annoyed."

He exploded into a giant laugh as I tried to explain what I was feeling.

"The nagual Julian didn't care about anyone," he continued. "That's why he could help people. And he did; he gave them the shirt off his back, because he didn't give a fig about them."

"Do you mean, don Juan, that the only ones who help their fellow men are those who don't give a damn about them?" I asked, truly miffed.

"That's what stalkers say," he said with a beaming smile. "The nagual Julian, for instance, was a fabulous curer. He helped thousands and thousands of people, but he never took credit for it. He let people believe that a woman seer of his party was the curer.

"Now, if he had been a man who cared for his fellow men, he would've demanded acknowledgment. Those who care for others care for themselves and demand recognition where recognition is due."

Don Juan said that he, since he belonged to the category of those who care for their fellow men, had never helped anyone: he felt awkward with generosity; he could not even conceive being loved as the nagual Julian was, and he would certainly feel stupid giving anyone the shirt off his back.

"I care so much for my fellow man," he continued, "that I don't do anything for him. I wouldn't know what to do. And I would always have the nagging sense that I was imposing my will on him with my gifts.

"Naturally, I have overcome all these feelings with the warriors' way. Any warrior can be successful with people, as the nagual Julian was, provided he moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him, dislike him, or ignore him. But that's not the same."

Don Juan said that when he first became aware of the stalkers' principles, as I was then doing, he was as distressed as he could be. The nagual Elias, who was very much like don Juan, explained to him that stalkers like the nagual Julian are natural leaders of people. They can help people do anything.

"The nagual Elias said that these warriors can help people to get cured," don Juan went on, "or they can help them to get ill. They can help them to find happiness or they can help them to find sorrow. I suggested to the nagual Elias that instead of saying that these warriors help people, we should say that they affect people. He said that they don't just affect people, but that they actively herd them around."

Don Juan chuckled and looked at me fixedly. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"Strange, isn't it?" he asked. "The way stalkers arranged what they see about people?"

Then don Juan started his story about the nagual Julian. He said that the nagual Julian spent many, many years waiting for an apprentice nagual. He stumbled on don Juan one day while returning home after a short visit with acquaintances in a nearby village. He was, in fact, thinking about an apprentice nagual as he walked on the road when he heard a loud gunshot and saw people scrambling in every direction. He ran with them into the bushes by the side of the road and only came out from his hiding place at the sight of a group of people gathered around someone wounded, lying on the ground.

The wounded person was, of course, don Juan, who had been shot by the tyrannical foreman. The nagual Julian saw instantly that don Juan was a special man whose cocoon was divided into four sections instead of two; he also realized that don Juan was badly wounded. He knew that he had no time to waste. His wish had been fulfilled, but he had to work fast, before anyone sensed what was going on. He held his head and cried, "They've shot my son!"

He was traveling with one of the female seers of his party, a husky Indian woman, who always officiated publicly as his mean shrewish wife. They were an excellent team of stalkers. He cued the woman seer, and she also started weeping and wailing for their son, who was unconscious and bleeding to death. The nagual Julian begged the onlookers not to call the authorities but rather to help him move his son to his house in the city, which was some distance away. He offered money to some strong young men if they would carry his wounded, dying son.

The men carried don Juan to the nagual Julian's house. The nagual was very generous with them and paid them handsomely. The men were so touched by the grieving couple, who had cried all the way to the house, that they refused to take the money, but the nagual Julian insisted that they take it to give his son luck.

For a few days, don Juan did not know what to think about the kind couple who had taken him into their home. He said that to him, the nagual Julian appeared as an almost senile old man. He was not an Indian, but was married to a young, irascible, fat Indian wife, who was as physically strong as she was ill-tempered. Don Juan thought that she was definitely a curer, judging by the way she treated his wound and by the quantities of medicinal plants stashed away in the room where they had put him.

The woman also dominated the old man and made him tend to don Juan's wound every day. They had made a bed for don Juan out of a thick floor mat, and the old man had a terrible time kneeling down to reach him. Don Juan had to fight not to laugh at the comical sight of the frail old man trying his best to bend his knees. Don Juan said that while the old man washed his wound, he would mumble incessantly; he had a vacant look in his eyes; his hands shook, and his body trembled from head to toe.

When he was down on his knees, he could never get up by himself. He would call his wife, yelling in a raspy voice, filled with contained anger. The wife would come into the room and both of them would get into a horrible argument. Often she would walk out, leaving the old man to get up by himself.

Don Juan assured me that he had never felt so sorry for anyone as he felt for that poor, kind old man. Many times he wanted to rise and help him up, but he could hardly move himself. Once the old man spent half an hour cursing and yelling, as he puffed and crawled like a slug, before he dragged himself to the door and painfully lifted himself up to a standing position.

He explained to don Juan that his poor health was due to advanced age, broken bones that had not mended properly, and rheumatism. Don Juan said that the old man raised his eyes toward heaven and confessed to don Juan that he was the most wretched man on earth; he had come to the curer for help and had ended up marrying her and becoming a slave.

"I asked the old man why he didn't leave," don Juan continued. "The old man's eyes widened with fear. He choked on his own saliva trying to hush me and then he went rigid and fell down like a log on the floor, next to my bed, trying to make me stop talking. 'You don't know what you're saying; you don't know what you're saying. Nobody can run away from this place, ' the old man kept on repeating with a wild expression in his eyes.

"And I believed him. I was convinced that he was more miserable, more wretched than I had ever been myself. And with every day that passed I became more and more uncomfortable in that house. The food was great and the woman was always out curing people, so I was left with the old man. We talked a lot about my life. I liked to talk to him. I told him that I had no money to pay him for his kindness, but that I would do anything to help him. He told me that he was beyond help, that he was ready to die, but that if I really meant what I said, he would appreciate it if I would marry his wife after he died.

"Right then I knew the old man was nuts. And right then I also knew that I had to run away as soon as possible."

Don Juan said that when he was well enough to walk around unaided, his benefactor gave him a chilling demonstration of his ability as a stalker. Without any warning or preamble he put don Juan face to face with an inorganic living being. Sensing that don Juan was planning to run away, he seized the opportunity to scare him with an ally that was somehow able to look like a monstrous man.

"The sight of that ally nearly drove me insane," don Juan continued. "I couldn't believe my eyes, and yet the monster was right in front of me. And the frail old man was next to me whimpering and begging the monster to spare his life. You see, my benefactor was like the old seers; he could dole out his fear, a piece at a time, and the ally was reacting to it. I didn't know that. All I could see with my very own eyes was a horrendous creature advancing on us, ready to tear us apart, limb from limb.

"The moment the ally lurched onto us, hissing like a serpent, I passed out cold. When I came to my senses again, the old man told me that he had made a deal with the creature."

He explained to don Juan that the man had agreed to let both of them live, provided don Juan enter the man's service. Don Juan apprehensively asked what was involved in the service. The old man replied that it would be slavery, but pointed out that don Juan's life had nearly ended a few days back when he had been shot. Had not he and his wife come along to stop the bleeding, don Juan would surely have died, so there was really very little to bargain with, or to bargain for. The monstrous man knew that and had him over a barrel. The old man told don Juan to stop vacillating and accept the deal, because if he refused, the monstrous man, who was listening behind the door, would burst in and kill them both on the spot and be done with it.

"I had enough nerve to ask the frail old man, who was shaking like a leaf, how the man would kill us," don Juan went on. "He said that the monster planned to break all the bones in our bodies, starting with our feet, as we screamed in unspeakable agony, and that it would take at least five days for us to die.

"I accepted that man's conditions instantly. The old man, with tears in his eyes, congratulated me and said that the deal wasn't really that bad. We were going to be more prisoners than slaves of the monstrous man, but we would eat at least twice a day; and since we had life, we could work for our freedom; we could plot, connive, and fight our way out of that hell."

Don Juan smiled and then broke into laughter. He had known beforehand how I would feel about the nagual Julian.

"I told you you'd be upset," he said.

"I really don't understand, don Juan," I said. "What was the point of putting on such an elaborate masquerade?"

"The point is very simple," he said, still smiling. "This is another method of teaching, a very good one. it requires tremendous imagination and tremendous control on the part of the teacher. My method of teaching is closer to what you consider teaching. It requires a tremendous amount of words. I go to the extremes of talking. The nagual Julian went to the extremes of stalking."

Don Juan said that there were two methods of teaching among the seers. He was familiar with both of them. He preferred the one that called for explaining everything and letting the other person know the course of action beforehand. It was a system that fostered freedom, choice, and understanding. His benefactor's method, on the other hand, was more coercive and did not allow for choice or understanding. Its great advantage was that it forced warriors to live the seers' concepts directly with no intermediary elucidation.

Don Juan explained that everything his benefactor did to him was a masterpiece of strategy. Every one of the nagual Julian's words and actions was deliberately selected to cause a particular effect. His art was to provide his words and actions with the most suitable context, so that they would have the necessary impact.

"That's the stalkers' method," don Juan went on. "It fosters not understanding but total realization. For instance, it took me a lifetime to understand what he had done to me by making me face the ally, although I realized all that without any explanation as I lived that experience.

"I've told you that Genaro, for example, doesn't understand what he does, but his realization of what he is doing is as keen as it can be. That's because his assemblage point was moved by the stalkers' method."

He said that if the assemblage point is forced out of its customary setting by the method of explaining everything, as in my case, there is always the need for someone else not only to help in the actual dislodging of the assemblage point, but in dispensing the explanations of what is going on. But if the assemblage point is moved by the stalkers' method, as in his own case, or Genaro's, there is only a need for the initial catalytic act that yanks the point from its location.

Don Juan said that when the nagual Julian made him face the monstrous-looking ally his assemblage point moved under the impact of fear. So intense a fright as that caused by the confrontation, coupled with his weak physical condition, was ideal for dislodging his assemblage point.

In order to offset the injurious effects of fright, its impact had to be cushioned, but not minimized. Explaining what was happening would have minimized fear. What the nagual Julian wanted was to make sure that he could use that initial catalytic fright as many times as he needed it, but he also wanted to make sure that he could cushion its devastating impact; that was the reason for his masquerade. The more elaborate and dramatic his stories were, the greater their cushioning effect. If he, himself, seemed to be in the same boat with don Juan, the fright would not be as intense as if don Juan were alone.

"With his penchant for drama," don Juan went on, "my benefactor was able to move my assemblage point enough to imbue me right away with an overpowering feeling for the two basic qualities of warriors: sustained effort and unbending intent. I knew that in order to be free again someday, I would have to work in an orderly and steady fashion and in cooperation with the frail old man, who in my opinion needed my help as much as I needed his. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was what I wanted to do more than anything else in life."

I did not get to talk to don Juan again until two days later. We were in Oaxaca, strolling in the main square, in the early morning. There were children walking to school, people going to church, a few men sitting on the benches, and taxi drivers waiting for tourists from the main hotel.

"It goes without saying that the most difficult thing in the warriors' path is to make the assemblage point move," don Juan said. "That movement is the completion of the warriors' quest. To go on from there is another quest; it is the seers' quest proper."

He repeated that in the warriors' way, the shift of the assemblage point is everything. The old seers absolutely failed to realize this truth. They thought the movement of the point was like a marker that determined their positions on a scale of worth. They never conceived that it was that very position which determined what they perceived.

"The stalkers' method," don Juan went on, "in the hands of a master stalker like the nagual Julian, accounts for stupendous shifts of the assemblage point. These are very solid changes; you see, by buttressing the apprentice, the stalker-teacher gets the apprentice's full cooperation and full participation. To get anybody's full cooperation and full participation is about the most important outcome of the stalkers' method; and the nagual Julian was the best at getting both of them."

Don Juan said that there was no way for him to describe the turmoil that he went through as he found out, little by little, about the richness and the complexity of the nagual Julian's personality and life. As long as don Juan faced a scared, frail old man who seemed helpless, he was fairly at ease, comfortable. But one day, soon after they had made the deal with what don Juan thought of as a monstrous-looking man, his comfort was shot to pieces when the nagual Julian gave don Juan another unnerving demonstration of his stalking skills.

Although don Juan was quite well by then, the nagual Julian still slept in the same room with him in order to nurse him. When he woke up that day, he announced to don Juan that their captor was gone for a couple of days, which meant that he did not have to act like an old man. He confided to don Juan that he only pretended to be old in order to fool the monstrous-looking man.

Without giving don Juan time to think, he jumped up from his mat with incredible agility; he bent over and dunked his head in a pot of water and kept it there for a while. When he straightened up, his hair was jet black, the gray hair had washed away, and don Juan was looking at a man he had never seen before, a man perhaps in his late thirties. He flexed his muscles, breathed deeply, and stretched every part of his body as if he had been too long inside a constricting cage.

"When I saw the nagual Julian as a young man, I thought that he was indeed the devil," don Juan went on. "I closed my eyes and knew that my end was near. The nagual Julian laughed until he was crying."

Don Juan said that the nagual Julian then put him at ease by making him shift back and forth between the right side and the left side awareness.

"For two days the young man pranced around the house," don Juan continued. "He told me stories about his life and jokes that sent me reeling around the room with laughter. But what was even more astounding was the way his wife had changed. She was actually thin and beautiful. I thought she was a completely different woman. I raved about how complete her change was and how beautiful she looked. The young man said that when their captor was away she was actually another woman."

Don Juan laughed and said that his devilish benefactor was telling the truth. The woman was really another seer of the nagual's party.

Don Juan asked the young man why they pretended to be what they were not. The young man looked at don Juan, his eyes filled with tears, and said that the mysteries of the world are indeed unfathomable. He and his young wife had been caught by inexplicable forces and had to protect themselves with that pretense. The reason why he carried on the way he did, as a feeble old man, was that their captor was always peeking in through cracks in the doors. He begged don Juan to forgive him for having fooled him.

Don Juan asked who that monstrous-looking man was. With a deep sigh, the young man confessed that he could not even guess. He told don Juan that although he himself was an educated man, a famous actor from the theater in Mexico City, he was at a loss for explanations. All he knew was that he had come to be treated for the consumption that he had suffered from for many years. He was near death when his relatives brought him to meet the curer. She helped him to get well, and he fell madly in love with the beautiful young Indian and married her. His plans were to take her to the capital so they could get rich with her curing ability.

Before they started on the trip to Mexico City, she warned him that they had to disguise themselves in order to escape a sorcerer. She explained to him that her mother had also been a curer, and had been taught curing by that master sorcerer, who had demanded that she, the daughter, stay with him for life. The young man said that he had refused to ask his wife about that relationship. He only wanted to free her, so he disguised himself as an old man and disguised her as a fat woman.

Their story did not end happily. The horrible man caught them and kept them as prisoners. They did not dare to take off their disguise in front of that nightmarish man, and in his presence they carried on as if they hated each other; but in reality, they pined for each other and lived only for the short times when that man was away.

Don Juan said that the young man embraced him and told him that the room where don Juan was sleeping was the only safe place in the house. Would he please go out and be on the lockout while he made love to his wife?

"The house shook with their passion," don Juan went on, "while I sat by the door feeling guilty for listening and scared to death that the man would come back any minute. And sure enough, I heard him coming into the house. I banged on the door, and when they didn't answer, I walked in. The young woman was asleep naked and the young man was nowhere in sight. I had never seen a beautiful naked woman in my life. I was still very weak. I heard the monstrous man rattling outside. My embarrassment and my fear were so great that I passed out."

The story about the nagual Julian's doings annoyed me no end. I told don Juan that I had failed to understand the value of the nagual Julian's stalking skills. Don Juan listened to me without making a single comment and let me ramble on and on.

When we finally sat down on a bench, I was very tired. I did not know what to say when he asked me why his account of the nagual Julian's method of teaching had upset me so much.

"I can't shake off the feeling that he was a prankster," I finally said.

"Pranksters don't teach anything deliberately with their pranks," don Juan retorted. "The nagual Julian played dramas, magical dramas that required a movement of the assemblage point."

"He seems like a very selfish person to me," I insisted.

"He seems like that to you because you are judging," he replied. "You are being a moralist. I went through all that myself. If you feel the way you do on hearing about the nagual Julian, think of the way I must have felt myself living in his house for years. I judged him, I feared him, and I envied him, in that order.

"I also loved him, but my envy was greater than my love. I envied his ease, his mysterious capacity to be young or old at will; I envied his flair and above all his influence on whoever happened to be around. It would drive me up the walls to hear him engage people in the most interesting conversation. He always had something to say; I never did, and I always felt incompetent, left out."

Don Juan's revelations made me feel ill at ease. I wished that he would change the subject, for I did not want to hear that he was like me. In my opinion, he was indeed unequaled. He obviously knew how I felt. He laughed and patted my back.

"What I am trying to do with the story of my envy," he went on, "is to point out to you something of great importance, that the position of the assemblage point dictates how we behave and how we feel.

"My great flaw at that time was that I could not understand this principle. I was raw. I lived through self-importance, just as you do, because that was where my assemblage point was lodged. You see, I hadn't learned yet that the way to move that point is to establish new habits, to will it to move. When it did move, it was as if I had just discovered that the only way to deal with peerless warriors like my benefactor is not to have self-importance, so that one can celebrate them unbiasedly."

He said that realizations are of two kinds. One is just pep talk, great outbursts of emotion and nothing more. The other is the product of a shift of the assemblage point; it is not coupled with an emotional outburst but with action. The emotional realizations come years later after warriors have solidified, by usage, the new position of their assemblage points.

"The nagual Julian tirelessly guided all of us to that kind of shift," don Juan went on. "He got from all of us total cooperation and total participation in his bigger-than-life dramas. For instance, with his drama of the young man and his wife and their captor he had my undivided attention and concern. To me the story of the old man who was young was very consistent. I had seen the monstrous-looking man with my very own eyes, which meant that the young man got my undying affiliation."

Don Juan said that the nagual Julian was a magician, a conjurer who could handle the force of will to a degree that would be incomprehensible to the average man. His dramas included magical characters summoned by the force of intent, like the inorganic being that could adopt a grotesque human form.

"The nagual Julian's power was so impeccable," don Juan went on, "that he could force anyone's assemblage point to shift and align emanations that would make him perceive whatever the nagual Julian wanted. For example, he could look very old or very young for his age, depending on what he wanted to accomplish. And all anyone who knew the nagual could say about his age was that it fluctuated. During the thirty-two years that I knew him he was at times not much older than you are now, and at other times he was so wretchedly old that he could not even walk."

Don Juan said that under his benefactor's guidance his assemblage point moved unnoticeably and yet profoundly. For instance, out of nowhere one day he realized that he had a fear that on the one hand made no sense to him at all, and on the other made all the sense in the world.

"My fear was that through stupidity I would lose my chance to be free and I would repeat my father's life.

"There was nothing wrong with my father's life, mind you. He lived and died no better and no worse than most men; the important point is that my assemblage point had moved and I realized one day that my father's life and death hadn't amounted to a hill of beans, either to others or to himself.

"My benefactor told me that my father and mother had lived and died just to have me, and that their own parents had done the same for them. He said that warriors were different in that they shift their assemblage points enough to realize the tremendous price that has been paid for their lives. This shift gives them the respect and awe that their parents never felt for life in general, or for being alive in particular."

Don Juan said that not only was the nagual Julian successful in guiding his apprentices to move their assemblage points, but that he enjoyed himself tremendously while doing it.

"He certainly entertained himself immensely with me," don Juan went on. "When the other seers of my party began to come, years later, even I looked forward to the preposterous situations that he created and developed with each one of them.

"When the nagual Julian left the world, delight went away with him and never came back. Genaro delights us sometimes, but no one can take the nagual Julian's place. His dramas were always bigger than life. I assure you we didn't know what enjoyment was until we saw what he did when some of those dramas backfired on him."

Don Juan rose from his favorite bench. He turned to me. His eyes were brilliant and peaceful.

"If you are ever so dumb as to fail in your task," he said, "you must have at least enough energy to move your assemblage point in order to come to this bench. Sit down here for an instant, free of thoughts and desires; I will try to come here from wherever I am and collect you. I promise you that I will try."

He then broke into a great laugh, as if the scope of his promise was too ludicrous to be believed.

"These words should be said in the late afternoon," he said, still laughing. "Never in the morning. The morning makes one feel optimistic and such words lose their meaning."
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:57 am

The Earth's Boost

"Let's walk on the road to Oaxaca," don Juan said to me. "Genaro is waiting for us somewhere along the way."

His request took me by surprise. I had been waiting all day for him to continue his explanation. We left his house and walked in silence through the town to the unpaved highway. We walked leisurely for a long time. Suddenly don Juan began to talk.

"I've been telling you all along about the great findings that the old seers made," he said. "Just as they found out that organic life is not the only life present on earth, they also discovered that the earth itself is a living being."

He waited a moment before continuing. He smiled at me as if inviting me to make a comment. I could not think of anything to say.

"The old seers saw that the earth has a cocoon," he went on. "They saw that there is a ball encasing the earth, a luminous cocoon that entraps the Eagle's emanations. The earth is a gigantic sentient being subjected to the same forces we are."

He explained that the old seers, on discovering this, became immediately interested in the practical uses of that knowledge. The result of their interest was that the most elaborate categories of their sorcery had to do with the earth. They considered the earth to be the ultimate source of everything we are.

Don Juan reaffirmed that the old seers were not mistaken in this respect, because the earth is indeed our ultimate source.

He didn't say anything else until we met Genaro about a mile up the road. He was waiting for us, sitting on a rock by the side of the road.

He greeted me with great warmth. He said to me that we should climb up to the top of some small rugged mountains covered with hardy vegetation.

"The three of us are going to sit against a rock," don Juan said to me, "and look at the sunlight as it is reflected on the eastern mountains. When the sun goes down behind the western peaks, the earth may let you see alignment."

When we reached the top of a mountain, we sat down, as don Juan had said, with our backs against a rock. Don Juan made me sit in between the two of them.

I asked him what he was planning to do. His cryptic statements and his long silences were ominous. I felt terribly apprehensive.

He didn't answer me. He kept on talking as if I had not spoken at all.

"it was the old seers who, on discovering that perception is alignment," he said, "stumbled onto something monumental. The sad part is that their aberrations again kept them from knowing what they had accomplished."

He pointed at the mountain range east of the small valley where the town is located.

"There is enough glitter in those mountains to jolt your assemblage point," he said to me. "Just before the sun goes down behind the western peaks, you will have a few moments to catch all the glitter you need. The magic key that opens the earth's doors is made of internal silence plus anything that shines."

"What exactly should I do, don Juan?" I asked.

Both of them examined me. I thought I saw in their eyes a mixture of curiosity and revulsion.

"Just cut off the internal dialogue," don Juan said to me.

I had an intense pang of anxiety and doubt; I had no confidence that I could do it at will. After an initial moment of nagging frustration, I resigned my self just to relax.

I looked around. I noticed that we were high enough to look down into the long, narrow valley. More than half of it was in the late-afternoon shadows. The sun was still shining on the foothills of the eastern range of mountains, on the other side of the valley; the sunlight made the eroded mountains look ocher, while the more distant bluish peaks had acquired a purple tone.

"You do realize that you've done this before, don't you?" don Juan said to me in a whisper.

I told him that I had not realized anything.

"We've sat here before on other occasions," he insisted, "but that doesn't matter, because this occasion is the one that will count.

"Today, with the help of Genaro, you are going to find the key that unlocks everything. You won't be able to use it as yet, but you'll know what it is and where it is. Seers pay the heaviest prices to know that. You, yourself, have been paying your dues all these years."

He explained that what he called the key to everything was the firsthand knowledge that the earth is a sentient being and as such can give warriors a tremendous boost; it is an impulse that comes from the awareness of the earth itself at the instant in which the emanations inside warriors' cocoons are aligned with the appropriate emanations inside the earth's cocoon. Since both the earth and man are sentient beings, their emanations coincide, or rather, the earth has all the emanations present in man and all the emanations that are present in all sentient beings, organic and inorganic for that matter. When a moment of alignment takes place, sentient beings use that alignment in a limited way and perceive their world. Warriors can use that alignment either to perceive, like everyone else, or as a boost that allows them to enter unimaginable worlds.

"I've been waiting for you to ask me the only meaningful question you can ask, but you never ask it," he continued. "You are hooked on asking about whether the mystery of it all is inside us. You came close enough, though.

"The unknown is not really inside the cocoon of man in the emanations untouched by awareness, and yet it is there, in a manner of speaking. This is the point you haven't understood. When I told you that we can assemble seven worlds besides the one we know, you took it as being an internal affair, because your total bias is to believe that you are only imagining everything you do with us. Therefore, you have never asked me where the unknown really is. For years I have circled with my hand to point to everything around us and I have told you that the unknown is there. You never made the connection."

Genaro began to laugh, then coughed and stood up. "He still hasn't made the connection," he said to don Juan.

I admitted to them that if there was a connection to be made, I had failed to make it.

Don Juan restated over and over that the portion of emanations inside man's cocoon is in there only for awareness, and that awareness is matching that portion of emanations with the same portion of emanations at large. They are called emanations at large because they are immense; and to say that outside man's cocoon is the unknowable is to say that within the earth's cocoon is the unknowable. However, inside the earth's cocoon is also the unknown, and inside man's cocoon the unknown is the emanations untouched by awareness. When the glow of awareness touches them, they become active and can be aligned with the corresponding emanations at large. Once that happens the unknown is perceived and becomes the known.

"I'm too dumb, don Juan. You have to break it into smaller pieces for me," I said.

"Genaro is going to break it up for you," don Juan retorted.

Genaro stood up and started doing the same gait of power that he had done before, when he circled an enormous flat rock in a corn field by his house, while don Juan had watched in fascination. This time don Juan whispered in my ear that I should try to hear Genaro's movements, especially the movements of his thighs as they went up against his chest every time he stepped.

I followed Genaro's movements with my eyes. In a few seconds I felt that some part of me had gotten trapped in Genaro's legs. The movement of his thighs would not let me go. I felt as if I were walking with him. I was even out of breath. Then I realized that I was actually following Genaro. I was in fact walking with him, away from the place where we had been sitting.

I did not see don Juan, just Genaro walking ahead of me in the same strange manner. We walked for hours and hours. My fatigue was so intense that I got a terrible headache, and suddenly I got sick. Genaro stopped walking and came to my side. There was an intense glare around us, and the light was reflected in Genaro's features. His eyes glowed.

"Don't look at Genaro!" a voice ordered me in my ear. "Look around!"

I obeyed. I thought I was in hell! The shock of seeing the surroundings was so great that I screamed in terror, but there was no sound to my voice. Around me was the most vivid picture of all the descriptions of hell in my Catholic upbringing. I was seeing a reddish world, hot and oppressive, dark and cavernous, with no sky, no light but the malignant reflections of reddish lights that kept on moving around us, at great speed.

Genaro started to walk again, and something pulled me with him. The force that was making me follow Genaro also kept me from looking around. My awareness was glued to Genaro's movements.

I saw Genaro plop down as if he were utterly exhausted. The instant he touched the ground and stretched himself to rest, something was released in me and I was able again to look around. Don Juan was watching me inquisitively. I was standing up facing him. We were at the same place where we had sat down, a wide rocky ledge on top of a small mountain. Genaro was panting and wheezing, and so was I. I was covered with perspiration. My hair was dripping wet. My clothes were soaked, as if I had been dunked in a river.

"My God, what's going on!" I exclaimed in utter seriousness and concern.

The exclamation sounded so silly that don Juan and Genaro started to laugh.

"We're trying to make you understand alignment," Genaro said.

Don Juan gently helped me to sit down. He sat by me.

"Do you remember what happened?" he asked me.

I told him that I did and he insisted that I tell him exactly what I had seen. His request was incongruous with what he had told me, that the only value of my experiences was the movement of my assemblage point and not the content of my visions.

He explained that Genaro had tried to help me before in very much the same fashion as he had just done, but that I could never remember anything. He said that Genaro had guided my assemblage point this time, as he had done before, to assemble a world with another of the great bands of emanations.

There was a long silence. I was numb, shocked, yet my awareness was as keen as it had ever been. I thought I had finally understood what alignment was. Something inside me, which I had been activating without knowing how, gave me the certainty that I had comprehended a great truth.

"I think you're beginning to gather your own momentum," don Juan said to me. "Let's go home. You've had enough for one day."

"Oh, come on," Genaro said. "He's stronger than a bull. He's got to be pushed a little further."

"No!" don Juan said emphatically. "We've got to save his strength. He's only got so much of it."

Genaro insisted that we stay. He looked at me and winked.

"Look," he said to me, pointing to the eastern range of mountains. "The sun has hardly moved an inch over those mountains and yet you plodded in hell for hours and hours. Don't you find that overwhelming?"

"Don't scare him unnecessarily!" don Juan protested almost vehemently.

It was then that I saw their maneuvers. At that moment the voice of seeing told me that don Juan and Genaro were a team of superb stalkers playing with me. It was don Juan who always pushed me beyond my limits, but he always let Genaro be the heavy. That day at Genaro's house, when I reached a dangerous state of hysterical fright as Genaro questioned don Juan whether I should be pushed, and don Juan assured me that Genaro was enjoying himself at my expense, Genaro was actually worrying about me.

My seeing was so shocking to me that I began to laugh. Both don Juan and Genaro looked at me with surprise. Then don Juan seemed to realize at once what was going through my mind. He told Genaro, and both of them laughed like children.

"You're coming of age," don Juan said to me. "Right on time; you're neither too stupid nor too bright. Just like me. You're not like me in your aberrations. There you are more like the nagual Julian, except that he was brilliant."

He stood up and stretched his back. He looked at me with the most piercing, ferocious eyes I had ever seen. I stood up.

"A nagual never lets anyone know that he is in charge," he said to me. "A nagual comes and goes without leaving a trace. That freedom is what makes him a nagual."

His eyes glared for an instant, and then they were covered by a cloud of mellowness, kindness, humanness, and they were again don Juan's eyes.

I could hardly keep my balance. I was swooning helplessly. Genaro jumped to my side and helped me to sit down. Both of them sat down flanking me.

"You are going to catch a boost from the earth," don Juan said to me in one ear.

"Think about the nagual's eyes," Genaro said to me in the other.

"The boost will come at the moment you see the glitter on the top of that mountain," don Juan said and pointed to the highest peak on the eastern range.

"You'll never see the nagual's eyes again," Genaro whispered.

"Go with the boost wherever it takes you," don Juan said.

"If you think of the nagual's eyes, you'll realize that there are two sides to a coin," Genaro whispered.

I wanted to think about what both of them were saying, but my thoughts did not obey me. Something was pressing down on me. I felt I was shrinking. I had a sensation of nausea. I saw the evening shadows advancing rapidly up the sides of those eastern mountains. I had the feeling that I was running after them.

"Here we go," Genaro said in my ear.

"Watch the big peak, watch the glitter," don Juan said in my other ear.

There was indeed a point of intense brilliance where don Juan had pointed, on the highest peak of the range. I watched the last ray of sunlight being reflected on it. I felt a hole in the pit of my stomach, just as if I were on a roller coaster.

I felt, rather than heard, a faraway earthquake rumble which abruptly overtook me. The seismic waves were so loud and so enormous that they lost all meaning for me. I was an insignificant microbe being twisted and twirled.

The motion slowed down by degrees. There was one more jolt before everything came to a halt. I tried to look around. I had no point of reference. I seemed to be planted, like a tree. Above me there was a white, shiny, inconceivably big dome. Its presence made me feel elated. I flew toward it, or rather I was ejected like a projectile. I had the sensation of being comfortable, nurtured, secure; the closer I got to the dome, the more intense those feelings became. They finally overwhelmed me and I lost all sense of myself.

The next thing I knew, I was rocking slowly in the air like a leaf that falls. I felt exhausted. A suction force started to pull me. I went through a dark hole and then I was with don Juan and Genaro.

The next day don Juan, Genaro, and I went to Oaxaca. While don Juan and I strolled around the main square, in the later afternoon, he suddenly started to talk about what we had done the day before. He asked me if I had understood what he was referring to when he said that the old seers had stumbled onto something monumental.

I told him that I did, but that I couldn't explain it in words.

"And what do you think was the main thing we wanted you to find out on top of that mountain?" he asked.

"Alignment," a voice said in my ear, at the same time I said it myself.

I turned around in a reflex action and bumped into Genaro, who was just behind me, walking in my tracks. The speed of my movement startled him. He broke into a giggle and then embraced me.

We sat down. Don Juan said that there were very few things that he could say about the boost I had gotten from the earth, that warriors are always alone in such cases, and true realizations come much later, after years of struggle.

I told don Juan that my problem in understanding was magnified by the fact that he and Genaro were doing all the work. I was simply a passive subject who could only react to their maneuvers. I could not for the life of me initiate any action, because I did not know what a proper action should be, nor did I know how to initiate it.

"That's precisely the point," don Juan said. "You are not supposed to know yet. You are going to be left behind, by yourself, to reorganize on your own everything we are doing to you now. This is the task every nagual has to face.

"The nagual Julian did the same thing to me, much more ruthlessly than the way we do it to you. He knew what he was doing; he was a brilliant nagual who was able to reorganize in a few years everything the nagual Ellas had taught him. He did, in no time at all, something that would take a lifetime for you or for me. The difference was that all the nagual Julian ever needed was a slight insinuation; his awareness would take it from there and open the only door there is."

"What do you mean, don Juan, by the only door there is?"

"I mean that when man's assemblage point moves beyond a crucial limit, the results are always the same for every man. The techniques to make it move may be as different as they can be, but the results are always the same, meaning that the assemblage point assembles other worlds, aided by the boost from the earth."

"Is the boost from the earth the same for every man, don Juan?"

"Of course. The difficulty for the average man is the internal dialogue. Only when a state of total silence is attained can one use the boost. You will corroborate that truth the day you try to use that boost by yourself."

"I wouldn't recommend that you try it," Genaro said sincerely. "It takes years to become an impeccable warrior. In order to withstand the impact of the earth's boost you must be better than you are now."

"The speed of that boost will dissolve everything about you," don Juan said. "Under its impact we become nothing. Speed and the sense of individual existence don't go together. Yesterday on the mountain, Genaro and I supported you and served as your anchors; otherwise you wouldn't have returned. You'd be like some men who purposely used that boost and went into the unknown and are still roaming in some incomprehensible immensity."

I wanted him to elaborate on that, but he refused. He changed the subject abruptly.

"There's one thing you haven't understood yet about the earth's being a sentient being," he said. "And Genaro, this awful Genaro, wants to push you until you understand."

Both of them laughed. Genaro playfully shoved me and winked at me as he mouthed the words, "I am awful."

"Genaro is a terrible taskmaster, mean and ruthless," don Juan continued. "He doesn't give a hoot about your fears and pushes you mercilessly. If it wasn't for me. . ."

He was a perfect picture of a good, thoughtful old gentleman. He lowered his eyes and sighed. The two of them broke into roaring laughter.

When they had quieted down, don Juan said that Genaro wanted to show me what I had not understood yet, that the supreme awareness of the earth is what makes it possible for us to change into other great bands of emanations.

"We living beings are perceivers," he said. "And we perceive because some emanations inside man's cocoon become aligned with some emanations outside. Alignment, therefore, is the secret passageway, and the earth's boost is the key.

"Genaro wants you to watch the moment of alignment. Watch him!"

Genaro stood up like a showman and took a bow, then showed us that he had nothing up his sleeves or inside the legs of his pants. He took his shoes off and shook them to show that there was nothing concealed there either.

Don Juan was laughing with total abandon. Genaro moved his hands up and down. The movement created an immediate fixation in me. I sensed that the three of us suddenly got up and walked away from the square, the two of them flanking me.

As we continued walking, I lost my peripheral vision. I did not distinguish any more houses or streets. I did not notice any mountains or any vegetation either. At one moment I realized that I had lost sight of don Juan and Genaro; instead I saw two luminous bundles moving up and down beside me.

I felt an instantaneous panic, which I immediately controlled. I had the unusual but well-known sensation that I was myself and yet I was not. I was aware, however, of everything around me by means of a strange and at the same time most familiar capacity. The sight of the world came to me all at once. All of me saw; the entirety of what I in my normal consciousness call my body was capable of sensing as if it were an enormous eye that detected everything. What I first detected, after seeing the two blobs of light, was a sharp violet-purple world made out of something that looked like colored panels and canopies. Flat, screenlike panels of irregular concentric circles were everywhere.

I felt a great pressure all over me, and then I heard a voice in my ear. I was seeing. The voice said that the pressure was due to the act of moving. I was moving together with don Juan and Genaro. I felt a faint jolt, as if I had broken a paper barrier, and I found myself facing a luminescent world. Light radiated from everyplace, but without being glaring. It was as if the sun were about to erupt from behind some white diaphanous clouds. I was looking down into the source of light. It was a beautiful sight. There were no landmasses, just fluffy white clouds and light. And we were walking on the clouds.

Then something imprisoned me again. I moved at the same pace as the two blobs of light by my sides. Gradually they began to lose their brilliance, then became opaque, and finally they were don Juan and Genaro. We were walking on a deserted side street away from the main square. Then we turned back.

"Genaro just helped you to align your emanations with those emanations at large that belong to another band," don Juan said to me. "Alignment has to be a very peaceful, unnoticeable act. No flying away, no great fuss."

He said that the sobriety needed to let the assemblage point assemble other worlds is something that cannot be improvised. Sobriety has to mature and become a force in itself before warriors can break the barrier of perception with impunity.

We were coming closer to the main square. Genaro had not said a word. He walked in silence, as if absorbed in thought. Just before we came into the square, don Juan said that Genaro wanted to show me one more thing: that the position of the assemblage point is everything, and that the world it makes us perceive is so real that it does not leave room for anything except realness.

"Genaro will let his assemblage point assemble another world just for your benefit," don Juan said to me. "And then you'll realize that as he perceives it, the force of his perception will leave room for nothing else."

Genaro walked ahead of us, and don Juan ordered me to roll my eyes in a counterclockwise direction while I looked at Genaro, to avoid being dragged with him. I obeyed him. Genaro was five or six feet away from me. Suddenly his shape became diffuse and in one instant he was gone like a puff of air.

I thought of the science fiction movies I had seen and wondered whether we are subliminally aware of our possibilities.

"Genaro is separated from us at this moment by the force of perception," don Juan said quietly. "When the assemblage point assembles a world, that world is total. This is the marvel that the old seers stumbled upon and never realized what it was: the awareness of the earth can give us a boost to align other great bands of emanations, and the force of that new alignment makes the world vanish.

"Every time the old seers made a new alignment they believed they had descended to the depths' or ascended to the heavens above. They never knew that the world disappears like a puff of air when a new total alignment makes us perceive another total world."
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:58 am

The Rolling Force

Don Juan was about to start his explanation of the mastery of awareness, but he changed his mind and stood up. We had been sitting in the big room, observing a moment of quiet.

"I want you to try seeing the Eagle's emanations," he said. "For that you must first move your assemblage point until you see the cocoon of man."

We walked from the house to the center of town. We sat down on art empty, worn park bench in front of the church, it was early afternoon; a sunny, windy day with lots of people milling around.

He repeated, as if he were trying to drill it into me, that alignment is a unique force because it either helps the assemblage point shift, or it keeps it glued to its customary position. The aspect of alignment that keeps the point stationary, he said, is will; and the aspect that makes it shift is intent. He remarked that one of the most haunting mysteries is how will, the impersonal force of alignment, changes into intent, the personalized force, which is at the service of each individual.

"The strangest part of this mystery is that the change is so easy to accomplish," he went on. "But what is not so easy is to convince ourselves that it is possible. There, right there, is our safety catch. We have to be convinced. And none of us wants to be."

He told me then that I was in my keenest state of awareness, and that it was possible for me to infend my assemblage point to shift deeper into my left side, to a dreaming position. He said that warriors should never attempt seeing unless they are aided by dreaming. I argued that to fall asleep in public was not one of my fortes. He clarified his statement, saying that to move the assemblage point away from its natural setting and to keep it fixed at a new location is to be asleep; with practice, seers learn to be asleep and yet behave as if nothing is happening to them.

After a moment's pause he added that for purposes of seeing the cocoon of man, one has to gaze at people from behind, as they walk away. It is useless to gaze at people face to face, because the front of the egglike cocoon of man has a protective shield, which seers call the front plate, it is an almost impregnable, unyielding shield that protects us throughout our lives against the onslaught of a peculiar force that stems from the emanations themselves.

He also told me not to be surprised if my body was stiff, as though it were frozen; he said that I was going to feel very much like someone standing in the middle of a room looking at the street through a window, and that speed was of the essence, as people were going to move extremely fast by my seeing window. He told me then to relax my muscles, shut off my internal dialogue, and let my assemblage point drift away under the spell of inner silence. He urged me to smack myself gently but firmly on my right side, between my hipbone and my ribcage.

I did that three times and I was sound asleep. It was a most peculiar state of sleep. My body was dormant, but I was perfectly aware of everything that was taking place. I could hear don Juan talking to me and I could follow every one of his statements as if I were awake, yet I could not move my body at all.

Don Juan said that a man was going to walk by my seeing window and that I should try to see him. I unsuccessfully attempted to move my head and then a shiny egglike shape appeared, it was resplendent. I was awed by the sight and before I could recover from my surprise, it was gone. It floated away, bobbing up and down.

Everything had been so sudden and fast that it made me feel frustrated and impatient. I felt that I was beginning to wake up. Don Juan talked to me again and urged me to relax. He said that I had no right and no time to be impatient. Suddenly, another luminous being appeared and moved away. It seemed to be made of a white fluorescent shag.

Don Juan whispered in my ear that if I wanted to, my eyes were capable of slowing down everything they focused on. Then he warned me that another man was coming. I realized at that instant that there were two voices. The one I had just heard was the same one that had admonished me to be patient. That was don Juan's. The other, the one that told me to use my eyes to slow down movement, was the voice of seeing.

That afternoon, I saw ten luminous beings in slow motion. The voice of seeing guided me to witness in them everything don Juan had told me about the glow of awareness. There was a vertical band with a stronger amber glow on the right side of those egglike luminous creatures, perhaps one-tenth of the total volume of the cocoon. The voice said that that was man's band of awareness. The voice pointed out a dot on man's band, a dot with an intense shine; it was high on the oblong shapes, almost on the crest of them, on the surface of the cocoon; the voice said that it was the assemblage point.

When I saw each luminous creature in profile, from the point of view of its body, its egglike shape was like a gigantic asymmetrical yoyo that was standing edgewise, or like an almost round pot that was resting on its side with its lid on. The part that looked like a lid was the front plate; it was perhaps one-fifth the thickness of the total cocoon.

I would have gone on seeing those creatures, but don Juan said that I should now gaze at people face to face and sustain my gaze until I had broken the barrier and I was seeing the emanations.

I followed his command. Almost instantaneously, I saw a most brilliant array of live, compelling fibers of light. It was a dazzling sight that immediately shattered my balance. I fell down on the cement walk on my side. From there, I saw the compelling fibers of light multiply themselves. They burst open and myriads of other fibers came out of them. But the fibers, compelling as they were, somehow did not interfere with my ordinary view. There were scores of people going into church. I was no longer seeing them. There were quite a few women and men just around the bench. I wanted to focus my eyes on them, but instead I noticed how one of those fibers of light bulged suddenly. It became like a ball of fire that was perhaps seven feet in diameter, it rolled on me. My first impulse was to roll out of its way. Before I could even move a muscle the ball had hit me. I felt it as clearly as if someone had punched me gently in the stomach. An instant later another ball of fire hit me, this time with considerably more strength, and then don Juan whacked me really hard on the cheek with his open hand. I jumped up involuntarily and lost sight of the fibers of light and the balloons that were hitting me.

Don Juan said that I had successfully endured my first brief encounter with the Eagle's emanations, but that a couple of shoves from the tumbler had dangerously opened up my gap. He added that the balls that had hit me were called the rolling force, or the tumbler.

We had returned to his house, although I did not remember how or when. ! had spent hours in a sort of semisleeping state. Don Juan and the other seers of his group had given me large amounts of water to drink. They had also submerged me in an ice-cold tub of water for short periods of time.

"Were those fibers I saw the Eagle's emanations?" I asked don Juan.

"Yes. But you didn't really see them," he replied. "No sooner had you begun to see than the tumbler stopped you. If you had remained a moment longer it would have blasted you."

"What exactly is the tumbler?" I asked.

"It is a force from the Eagle's emanations," he said. "A ceaseless force that strikes us every instant of our lives, it is lethal when seen, but otherwise we are oblivious to it, in our ordinary lives, because we have protective shields. We have consuming interests that engage all our awareness. We are permanently worried about our station, our possessions. These shields, however, do not keep the tumbler away, they simply keep us from seeing it directly, protecting us in this way from getting hurt by the fright of seeing the balls of fire hitting us. Shields are a great help and a great hindrance to us. They pacify us and at the same time fool us. They give us a false sense of security."

He warned me that a moment would come in my life when I would be without any shields, uninterruptedly at the mercy of the tumbler. He said that it is an obligatory stage in the life of a warrior, known as losing the human form.

I asked him to explain to me once and for all what the human form is and what it means to lose it.

He replied that seers describe the human form as the compelling force of alignment of the emanations lit by the glow of awareness on the precise spot on which normally man's assemblage point is fixated. It is the force that makes us into persons. Thus, to be a person is to be compelled to affiliate with that force of alignment and consequently to be affiliated with the precise spot where it originates.

By reason of their activities, at a given moment the assemblage points of warriors drift toward the left. It is a permanent move, which results in an uncommon sense of aloofness, or control, or even abandon. That drift of the assemblage point entails a new alignment of emanations. It is the beginning of a series of greater shifts. Seers very aptly called this initial shift losing the human form, because it marks an inexorable movement of the assemblage point away from its original setting, resulting in the irreversible loss of our affiliation to the force that makes us persons.

He asked me then to describe all the details I could remember about the balls of fire. I told him that I had seen them so briefly I was not sure I could describe them in detail.

He pointed out that seeing is a euphemism for moving the assemblage point, and that if I moved mine a fraction more to the left I would have a clear picture of the balls of fire, a picture which I could interpret then as having remembered them.

I tried to have a clear picture, but I couldn't, so I described what I remembered.

He listened attentively and then urged me to recall if they were balls or circles of fire. I told him I didn't remember.

He explained that those balls of fire are of crucial importance to human beings because they are the expression of a force that pertains to all details of life and death, something that the new seers call the rolling force.

I asked him to clarify what he meant by all the details of life and death.

"The rolling force is the means through which the Eagle distributes life and awareness for safekeeping," he said. "But it also is the force that, let's say, collects the rent. It makes all living beings die. What you saw today was called by the ancient seers the tumbler."

He said that seers describe it as an eternal line of iridescent rings, or balls of fire, that roll onto living beings ceaselessly. Luminous organic beings meet the rolling force head on, until the day when the force proves to be too much for them and the creatures finally collapse. The old seers were mesmerized by seeing how the tumbler then tumbles them into the beak of the Eagle to be devoured. That was the reason they called it the tumbler.

"You said that it is a mesmerizing sight. Have you yourself seen it rolling human beings?" I asked.

"Certainly I've seen it," he replied, and after a pause he added, "You and I saw it only a short while ago in Mexico City."

His assertion was so farfetched that I felt obliged to tell him that this time he was wrong. He laughed and reminded me that on that occasion, while both of us were sitting on a bench in the Alameda Park in Mexico City, we had witnessed the death of a man. He said that I had recorded the event in my everyday-life memory as well as in my left-side emanations.

As don Juan spoke to me I had the sensation of something inside me becoming lucid by degrees, and I could visualize with uncanny clarity the whole scene in the park. The man was lying on the grass with three policemen standing by him to keep onlookers away. I distinctly remembered don Juan hitting me on my back to make me change levels of awareness. And then I saw. My seeing was imperfect. I was unable to shake off the sight of the world of everyday life. What I ended up with was a composite of filaments of the most gorgeous colors superimposed on the buildings and the traffic. The filaments were actually lines of colored light that came from above. They had inner life; they were bright and bursting with energy.

When I looked at the dying man, I saw what don Juan was talking about; something that was at once like circles of fire, or iridescent tumbleweeds, was rolling everywhere I focused my eyes. The circles were rolling on people, on don Juan, on me. I felt them in my stomach and became ill.

Don Juan told me to focus my eyes on the dying man. I saw him at one moment curling up, just as a sowbug curls itself up upon being touched. The incandescent circles pushed him away, as if they were casting him aside, out of their majestic, inalterable path.

I had not liked the feeling. The circles of fire had not scared me; they were not awesome, or sinister. I did not feel morbid or somber. The circles rather had nauseated me. I'd felt them in the pit of my stomach. It was a revulsion that I'd felt that day.

Remembering them conjured up again the total feeling of discomfort I had experienced on that occasion. As I got ill, don Juan laughed until he was out of breath.

"You're such an exaggerated fellow." he said. "The rolling force is not that bad. It's lovely, in fact. The new seers recommend that we open ourselves to it. The old seers also opened themselves to it, but for reasons and purposes guided mostly by self-importance and obsession.

"The new seers, on the other hand, make friends with it. They become familiar with that force by handling it without any self-importance. The result is staggering in its consequences."

He said that a shift of the assemblage point is all that is needed to open oneself to the rolling force. He added that if the force is seen in a deliberate manner, there is minimal danger. A situation that is extremely dangerous, however, is an involuntary shift of the assemblage point owing, perhaps, to physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, disease, or simply a minor emotional or physical crisis, such as being frightened or being drunk.

"When the assemblage point shifts involuntarily, the rolling force cracks the cocoon," he went on. "I've talked many times about a gap that man has below his navel. It's not really below the navel itself, but in the cocoon, at the height of the navel. The gap is more like a dent, a natural flaw in the otherwise smooth cocoon. It is there where the tumbler hits us ceaselessly and where the cocoon cracks."

He went on to explain that if it is a minor shift of the assemblage point, the crack is very small, the cocoon quickly repairs itself, and people experience what everybody has at one time or another: blotches of color and contorted shapes, which remain even if the eyes are closed.

If the shift is considerable, the crack also is extensive and it takes time for the cocoon to repair itself, as in the case of warriors who purposely use power plants to elicit that shift or people who take drugs and unwittingly do the same. In these cases men feel numb and cold; they have difficulty talking or even thinking; it is as if they have been frozen from inside.

Don Juan said that in cases in which the assemblage point shifts drastically because of the effects of trauma or of a mortal disease, the rolling force produces a crack the length of the cocoon; the cocoon collapses and curls in on itself, and the individual dies.

"Can a voluntary shift also produce a gap of that nature?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he replied. "We're really frail. As the tumbler hits us over and over, death comes to us through the gap. Death is the rolling force. When it finds weakness in the gap of a luminous being it automatically cracks it open and makes it collapse."

"Does every living being have a gap?" I asked.

"Of course," he replied. "If it didn't have one it wouldn't die. The gaps are different, however, in size and configuration. Man's gap is a bowl-like depression the size of a fist, a very frail vulnerable configuration. The gaps of other organic creatures are very much like man's; some are stronger than ours and others are weaker. But the gap of inorganic beings is really different. It's more like a long thread, a hair of luminosity; consequently, inorganic beings are infinitely more durable than we are.

"There is something hauntingly appealing about the long life of those creatures, and the old seers could not resist being carried away by that appeal."

He said that the same force can produce two effects that are diametrically opposed. The old seers were imprisoned by the rolling force, and the new seers are rewarded for their toils with the gift of freedom. By becoming familiar with the rolling force through the mastery of intent, the new seers, at a given moment, open their own cocoons and the force floods them rather than rolling them up like a curled-up sowbug. The final result is their total and instantaneous disintegration.

I asked him a lot of questions about the survival of awareness after the luminous being is consumed by the fire from within. He did not answer. He simply chuckled, shrugged his shoulders, and went on to say that the old seers' obsession with the tumbler blinded them to the other side of that force. The new seers, with their usual thoroughness in refusing tradition, went to the other extreme. They were at first totally averse to focusing their seeing on the tumbler; they argued that they needed to understand the force of the emanations at large in its aspect of life-giver and enhancer of awareness.

"They realized that it is infinitely easier to destroy something," don Juan went on, "than it is to build it and maintain it. To roll life away is nothing compared to giving it and nourishing it. Of course, the new seers were wrong on this count, but in due course they corrected their mistake."

"How were they wrong, don Juan?"

"It's an error to isolate anything for seeing. At the beginning, the new seers did exactly the opposite from what their predecessors did. They focused with equal attention on the other side of the tumbler. What happened to them was as terrible as, if not worse than, what happened to the old seers. They died stupid deaths, just as the average man does. They didn't have the mystery or the malignancy of the ancient seers, nor had they the quest for freedom of the seers of today.

"Those first new seers served everybody. Because they were focusing their seeing on the life-giving side of the emanations, they were filled with love and kindness. But that didn't keep them from being tumbled. They were vulnerable, just as were the old seers who were filled with morbidity."

He said that for the modern-day new seers, to be left stranded after a life of discipline and toil, just like men who have never had a purposeful moment in their lives, was intolerable.

Don Juan said that these new seers realized, after they had readopted their tradition, that the old seers' knowledge of the rolling force had been complete; at one point the old seers had concluded that there were, in effect, two different aspects of the same force. The tumbling aspect relates exclusively to destruction and death. The circular aspect, on the other hand, is what maintains life and awareness, fulfillment and purpose. They had chosen, however, to deal exclusively with the tumbling aspect.

"Gazing in teams, the new seers were able to see the separation between the tumbling and the circular aspects," he explained. "They saw that both forces are fused, but are not the same. The circular force comes to us just before the tumbling force; they are so close to each other that they seem the same.

"The reason it's called the circular force is that it comes in rings, threadlike hoops of iridescence -- a very delicate affair indeed. And just like the tumbling force, it strikes all living beings ceaselessly, but for a different purpose. It strikes them to give them strength, direction, awareness; to give them life.

"What the new seers discovered is that the balance of the two forces in every living being is a very delicate one," he continued, "if at any given time an individual feels that the tumbling force strikes harder than the circular one, that means the balance is upset; the tumbling force strikes harder and harder from then on, until it cracks the living being's gap and makes it die."

He added that out of what I had called balls of fire comes an iridescent hoop exactly the size of living beings, whether men, trees, microbes, or allies.

"Are there different-size circles?" I asked.

"Don't take me so literally," he protested. "There are no circles to speak of, just a circular force that gives seers, who are dreaming it, the feeling of rings. And there are no different sizes either. It's one indivisible force that fits all living beings, organic and inorganic."

"Why did the old seers focus on the tumbling aspect?" I asked.

"Because they believed that their lives depended on seeing it," he replied. "They were sure that their seeing was going to give them answers to age-old questions. You see, they figured that if they unraveled the secrets of the rolling force they would be invulnerable and immortal. The sad part is that in one way or another, they did unravel the secrets and yet they were neither invulnerable nor immortal.

"The new seers changed it all by realizing that there is no way to aspire to immortality as long as man has a cocoon."

Don Juan explained that the old seers apparently never realized that the human cocoon is a receptacle and cannot sustain the onslaught of the rolling force forever. In spite of all the knowledge that they had accumulated, they were in the end certainly no better, and perhaps much worse, off than the average man.

"In what way were they left worse off than the average man?" I asked.

"Their tremendous knowledge forced them to take it for granted that their choices were infallible," he said. "So they chose to live at any cost."

Don Juan looked at me and smiled. With his theatrical pause he was telling me something I could not fathom.

"They chose to live," he repeated. "Just as they chose to become trees in order to assemble worlds with those nearly unreachable great bands."

"What do you mean by that, don Juan?"

"I mean that they used the rolling force to shift their assemblage points to unimaginable dreaming positions, instead of letting it roll them to the beak of the Eagle to be devoured."
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:58 am

The Death Defiers

I arrived at Genaro's house around 2: 00 p. m. Don Juan and I became involved in conversation, and then don Juan made me shift into heightened awareness.

"Here we are again, the three of us, just as we were the day we went to that flat rock," don Juan said. "And tonight we're going to make another trip to that area.

"You have enough knowledge now to draw very serious conclusions about that place and its effects on awareness."

"What is it with that place, don Juan?"

"Tonight you're going to find out some gruesome facts that the old seers collected about the rolling force; and you're going to see what I meant when I told you that the old seers chose to live at any cost."

Don Juan turned to Genaro, who was about to fall asleep. He nudged him.

"Wouldn't you say, Genaro, that the old seers-were dreadful men?" don Juan asked.

"Absolutely," Genaro said in a crisp tone and then seemed to succumb to fatigue.

He began to nod noticeably. In an instant he was sound asleep, his head resting on his chest with his chin tucked in. He snored.

I wanted to laugh out loud. But then I noticed that Genaro was staring at me, as if he were sleeping with his eyes open.

"They were such dreadful men that they even defied death," Genaro added between snores.

"Aren't you curious to know how those gruesome men defied death?" don Juan asked me.

He seemed to be urging me to ask for an example of their gruesomeness. He paused and looked at me with what I thought was a glint of expectation in his eyes.

"You're waiting for me to ask for an example, aren't you?" I said.

"This is a great moment," he said, patting me on the back and laughing. "My benefactor had me on the edge of my seat at this point. I asked him to give me an example, and he did; now i'm going to give you one whether you ask for it or not."

"What are you going to do?" I asked, so frightened that my stomach was tied in knots and my voice cracked.

It took quite a while for don Juan to stop laughing. Every time he started to speak, he'd get an attack of coughing laughter.

"As Genaro told you, the old seers were dreadful men," he said, rubbing his eyes. "There was something they tried to avoid at all costs: they didn't want to die. You may say that the average man doesn't want to die either, but the advantage that the old seers had over the average man was that they had the concentration and the discipline to intend things away; and they actually intended death away."

He paused and looked at me with raised eyebrows. He said that I was falling behind, that I was not asking my usual questions. I remarked that it was plain to me that he was leading me to ask if the old seers had succeeded in intending death away, but he himself had already told me that their knowledge about the tumbled had not saved them from dying.

"They succeeded in intending death away," he said, pronouncing his words with extra care. "But they still had to die."

"How did they intend death away?" I asked.

"They observed their allies," he said, "and seeing that they were living beings with a much greater resilience to the rolling force, the seers patterned themselves on their allies."

The old seers realized, don Juan explained, that only organic beings have a gap that resembles a bowl. Its size and shape and its brittleness make it the ideal configuration to hasten the cracking and collapsing of the luminous shell under the onslaughts of the tumbling force. The allies, on the other hand, who have only a line for a gap, present such a small surface to the rolling force as to be practically immortal. Their cocoons can sustain the onslaughts of the tumbler indefinitely. because hairline gaps offer no ideal configuration to it.

"The old seers developed the most bizarre techniques for closing their gaps," don Juan continued. "They were essentially correct in assuming that a hairline gap is more durable than a bowl-like one."

"Are those techniques still in existence?" I asked.

"No, they are not," he said. "But some of the seers who practiced them are."

For reasons unknown to me, his statement caused a reaction of sheer terror in me. My breathing was altered instantly, and I couldn't control its rapid pace.

"They're still alive to this day, isn't that so, Genaro?" don Juan asked.

"Absolutely," Genaro muttered from an apparent state of deep sleep.

I asked don Juan if he knew the reason for my being so frightened. He reminded me about a previous occasion in that very room when they had asked me if I had noticed the weird creatures that had come in the moment Genaro opened the door.

"That day your assemblage point went very deep into the left side and assembled a frightening world," he went on. "But I have already said that to you; what you don't remember is that you went directly to a very remote world and scared yourself pissless there."

Don Juan turned to Genaro, who was snoring peacefully with his legs stretched out in front of him.

"Wasn't he scared pissless, Genaro?" he asked.

"Absolutely pissless," Genaro muttered, and don Juan laughed.

"I want you to know that we don't blame you for being scared," don Juan continued. "We, ourselves, are revolted by some of the actions of the old seers. I'm sure that you have realized by now that what you can't remember about that night is that you saw the old seers who are still alive."

I wanted to protest that I had realized nothing, but I could not voice my words. I had to clear my throat over and over before I could articulate a word. Genaro had stood up and was gently patting my upper back, by my neck, as if I were choking.

"You have a frog in your throat," he said.

I thanked him in a high squeaky voice.

"No, I think you have a chicken there," he added and sat down to sleep.

Don Juan said that the new seers had rebelled against all the bizarre practices of the old seers and declared them not only useless but injurious to our total being. They even went so far as to ban those techniques from whatever was taught to new warriors; and for generations there was no mention of those practices at all.

It was in the early part of the eighteenth century that the nagual Sebastian, a member of don Juan's direct line of naguals, rediscovered the existence of those techniques.

"How did he rediscover them?" I asked.

"He was a superb stalker, and because of his impeccability he got a chance to learn marvels," don Juan replied.

He said that one day as the nagual Sebastian was about to start his daily routines -- he was the sexton at the cathedral in the city where he lived -- he found a middle-aged Indian man who seemed to be in a quandary at the door of the church.

The nagual Sebastian went to the man's side and asked him if he needed help. "I need a bit of energy to close my gap," the man said to him in a loud clear voice. "Would you give me some of your energy?"

Don Juan said that according to the story, the nagual Sebastian was dumbfounded. He did not know what the man was talking about. He offered to take the Indian to see the parish priest. The man lost his patience and angrily accused the nagual Sebastian of stalling. "I need your energy because you're a nagual," he said. "Let's go quietly."

The nagual Sebastian succumbed to the magnetic power of the stranger and meekly went with him into the mountains. He was gone for many days. When he came back he not only had a new outlook about the ancient seers, but detailed knowledge of their techniques. The stranger was an ancient Toltec. One of the last survivors.

"The nagual Sebastian found out marvels about the old seers," don Juan went on. "He was the one who first knew how grotesque and aberrant they really were. Before him, that knowledge was only hearsay.

"One night my benefactor and the nagual Elias gave me a sample of those aberrations. They really showed it to Genaro and me together, so it's only proper that we both show you the same sample."

I wanted to talk in order to stall; I needed time to calm down, to think things out. But before I could say anything, don Juan and Genaro were practically dragging me out of the house. They headed for the same eroded hills we had visited before.

We stopped at the bottom of a large barren hill. Don Juan pointed toward some distant mountains to the south, and said that between the place where we stood and a natural cut in one of those mountains, a cut that looked like an open mouth, there were at least seven sites where the ancient seers had focused all the power of their awareness.

Don Juan said that those seers had not only been knowledgeable and daring but downright successful. He added that his benefactor had showed him and Genaro a site where the old seers, driven by their love for life, had buried themselves alive and actually intended the rolling force away.

"There is nothing that would catch the eye in those places," he went on. "The old seers were careful not to leave marks. It is just a landscape. One has to see to know where those places are."

He said that he did not want to walk to the faraway sites, but would take me to the one that was nearest. I insisted on knowing what we were after. He said that we were going to see the buried seers, and that for that we had to stay until it got dark under the cover of some green bushes. He pointed them out; they were perhaps half a mile away, up a steep slope.

We reached the patch of bushes and sat down as comfortably as we could. He began then to explain in a very low voice that in order to get energy from the earth, ancient seers used to bury themselves for periods of time, depending on what they wanted to accomplish. The more difficult their task, the longer their burial period.

Don Juan stood up and in a melodramatic way showed me a spot a few yards from where we were.

"Two old seers are buried there," he said. "They buried themselves about two thousand years ago to escape death, not in the spirit of running away from it but in the spirit of defy ing it."

Don Juan asked Genaro to show me the exact spot where the old seers were buried. I turned to look at Genaro and realized that he was sitting by my side sound asleep again. But to my utter amazement, he jumped up and barked like a dog and ran on all fours to the spot don Juan was pointing out. There he ran around the place in a perfect mime of a small dog.

I found his performance hilarious. Don Juan was nearly on the ground laughing.

"Genaro has shown you something extraordinary," don Juan said, after Genaro had returned to where we were and had gone back to sleep. "He has shown you something about the assemblage point and dreaming. He's dreaming now, but he can act as if he were fully awake and he can hear everything you say. From that position he can do more than if he were awake."

He was silent for a moment as if assessing what to say next. Genaro snored rhythmically.

Don Juan remarked how easy it was for him to find flaws with what the old seers had done, yet, in all fairness, he never tired of repeating how wonderful their accomplishments were. He said that they understood the earth to perfection. Not only did they discover and use the boost from the earth, but they also discovered that if they remained buried, their assemblage points aligned emanations that were ordinarily inaccessible, and that such an alignment engaged the earth's strange, inexplicable capacity to deflect the ceaseless strikes of the rolling force. Consequently, they developed the most astounding and complex techniques for burying themselves for extremely long periods of time without any detriment to themselves. In their fight against death, they learned how to elongate those periods to cover millennia.

It was a cloudy day, and night fell quickly. In no time at all, everything was in darkness. Don Juan stood up and guided me and the sleepwalker Genaro to an enormous flat oval rock that had caught my eye the moment we got to that place. It was similar to the flat rock we had visited before, but bigger. It occurred to me that the rock, enormous as it was, had deliberately been placed there.

"This is another site," don Juan said. "This huge rock was placed here as a trap, to attract people. Soon you'll know why."

I felt a shiver run through my body. I thought I was going to faint. I knew that I was definitely overreacting and wanted to say something about it, but don Juan kept on talking in a hoarse whisper. He said that Genaro, since he was dreaming, had enough control over his assemblage point to move it until he could reach the specific emanations that would wake up whatever was around that rock. He recommended that I try to move my assemblage point, and follow Genaro's. He said that I could do it, first by setting up my unbending intent to move it, and second by letting the context of the situation dictate where it should move.

After a moment's thought he whispered in my ear not to worry about procedures, because most of the really unusual things that happen to seers, or to the average man for that matter, happen by themselves, with only the intervention of intent.

He was silent for a moment and then added that the danger for me was going to be the buried seers' inevitable attempt to scare me to death. He exhorted me to keep myself calm and not to succumb to fear, but follow Genaro's movements.

I fought desperately not to be sick. Don Juan patted me on the back and said that I was an old pro at playing an innocent bystander. He assured me that I was not consciously refusing to let my assemblage point move, but that every human being does it automatically.

"Something is going to scare the living daylights out of you," he whispered. "Don't give up, because if you do, you'll die and the old vultures around here are going to feast on your energy."

"Let's get out of here," I pleaded. "I really don't give a damn about getting an example of the old seers' grotesqueness."

"It's too late," Genaro said, fully awake now, standing by my side. "Even if we try to get away, the two seers and their allies on the other spot will cut you down. They have already made a circle around us. There are as many as sixteen awarenesses focused on you right now."

"Who are they?" I whispered in Genaro's ear.

"The four seers and their court," he replied. "They've been aware of us since we got here."

I wanted to turn tail and run for dear life, but don Juan held my arm and pointed to the sky. I noticed that a remarkable change in visibility had taken place. Instead of the pitch-black darkness that had prevailed, there was a pleasant dawn twilight. I made a quick assessment of the cardinal points. The sky was definitely lighter toward the east.

I felt a strange pressure around my head. My ears were buzzing. I felt cold and feverish at the same time. I was scared as I had never been before, but what bothered me was a nagging sensation of defeat, of being a coward. I felt nauseated and miserable.

Don Juan whispered in my ear. He said that I had to be on the alert, that the onslaught of the old seers would be felt by all three of us at any moment.

"You can grab on to me if you want to," Genaro said in a fast whisper as if something were prodding him.

I hesitated for an instant. I did not want don Juan to believe that I was so scared I needed to hold on to Genaro.

"Here they come!" Genaro said in a loud whisper.

The world turned upside down instantaneously for me when something gripped me by my left ankle. I felt the coldness of death on my entire body. I knew I had stepped on an iron clamp, maybe a bear trap. That all flashed through my mind before I let out a piercing scream, as intense as my fright.

Don Juan and Genaro laughed out loud. They were flanking me no more than three feet away, but I was so terrified I did not even notice them.

"Sing! Sing for dear life!" I heard don Juan ordering me under his breath.

I tried to pull my foot loose. I felt then a sting, as if needles were piercing my skin. Don Juan insisted over and over that I sing. He and Genaro started to sing a popular song. Genaro spoke the lyrics as he looked at me from hardly two inches away. They sang off-key in raspy voices, getting so completely out of breath and so high out of the range of their voices that I ended up laughing.

"Sing, or you're going to perish," don Juan said to me.

"Let's make a trio," Genaro said, "We'll sing a bolero."

I joined them in an off-key trio. We sang for quite a while at the top of our voices, like drunkards. I felt that the iron grip on my leg was gradually letting go of me. I had not dared to look down at my ankle. At one moment I did and I realized then that there was no trap clutching me. A dark, headlike shape was biting me!

Only a supreme effort kept me from fainting. I felt I was getting sick and automatically tried to bend over, but somebody with superhuman strength grabbed me painlessly by the elbows and the nape of my neck and did not let me move. I got sick all over my clothes.

My revulsion was so complete that I began to fall in a faint. Don Juan sprinkled my face with some water from the small gourd he always carried when we went into the mountains. The water slid under my collar. The coldness restored my physical balance, but it did not affect the force that was holding me by my elbows and neck.

"I think you are going too far with your fright," don Juan said loudly and in such a matter-of-fact tone that he created an immediate feeling of order.

"Let's sing again," he added. "Let's sing a song with substance -- I don't want any more boleros."

I silently thanked him for his sobriety and for his grand style. I was so moved as I heard them singing "La Valentina" that I began to weep.

"Because of my passion, they say that ill fortune is on my way. It doesn't matter that it might be the devil himself. I do know how to die

Valentina, Valentina. I throw my self in your way. If I am going to die tomorrow, why not, once and for all, today?"

All of my being staggered under the impact of that inconceivable juxtaposition of values. Never had a song meant so much to me. As I heard them sing those lyrics, which I ordinarily considered reeking with cheap sentimentalism, I thought I understood the ethos of the warrior. Don Juan had drilled into me that warriors live with death at their side, and from the knowledge that death is with them they draw the courage to face anything. Don Juan had said that the worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and since that is already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who have lost everything no longer have anything to fear.

I walked to don Juan and Genaro and embraced them to express my boundless gratitude and admiration for them.

Then I realized that nothing was holding me any longer. Without a word don Juan took my arm and guided me to sit on the flat rock.

"The show is just about to begin now," Genaro said in a jovial tone as he tried to find a comfortable position to sit. "You've just paid your admission ticket. It's all over your chest."

He looked at me, and both of them began to laugh.

"Don't sit too close to me," Genaro said. "I don't appreciate pukers. But don't go too far, either. The old seers are not yet through with their tricks."

I moved as close to them as politeness permitted. I was concerned about my slate for an instant, and then all my qualms became nonsense, for I noticed that some people were coming toward us. I could not make out their shapes clearly but I distinguished a mass of human figures moving in the semidarkness. They did not carry lanterns or flashlights with them, which at that hour they would still have needed. Somehow that detail worried me. I did not want to focus on it and I deliberately began to think rationally. I figured that we must have attracted attention with our loud singing and they were coming to investigate. Don Juan tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed with a movement of his chin to the men in front of the group of others.

"Those four are the old seers," he said. "The rest are their allies."

Before I could remark that they were just local peasants, I heard a swishing sound right behind me. I quickly turned around in a state of total alarm. My movement was so sudden that don Juan's warning came too late.

"Don't turn around!" I heard him yell.

His words were only background; they did not mean anything to me. On turning around, I saw that three grotesquely deformed men had climbed up on the rock right behind me; they were crawling toward me, with their mouths open in a nightmarish grimace and their arms outstretched to grab me.

I intended to scream at the top of my lungs, but what came out was an agonizing croak, as if something were obstructing my windpipe. I automatically rolled out of their reach and onto the ground.

As I stood up, don Juan jumped to my side, at the very same moment that a horde of men, led by those don Juan had pointed out, descended on me like vultures. They were actually squeaking like bats or rats. I yelled in terror. This time I was able to let out a piercing cry.

Don Juan, as nimbly as an athlete in top form, pulled me out of their clutches onto the rock. He told me in a stern voice not to turn around to look, no matter how scared I was. He said that the allies cannot push at all, but that they certainly could scare me and make me fall to the ground. On the ground, however, the allies could hold anybody down. If I were to fall on the ground by the place where the seers were buried, I would be at their mercy. They would rip me apart while their allies held me. He added that he had not told me all that before because he had hoped I would be forced to see and understand it by myself. His decision had nearly cost me my life.

The sensation that the grotesque men were just behind me was nearly unbearable. Don Juan forcefully ordered me to keep calm and focus my attention on four men at the head of a crowd of perhaps ten or twelve. The instant I focused my eyes on them, as if on cue, they all advanced to the edge of the flat rock. They stopped there and began hissing like serpents. They walked back and forth. Their movement seemed to be synchronized. It was so consistent and orderly that it seemed to be mechanical. It was as if they were following a repetitive pattern, aimed at mesmerizing me.

"Don't gaze at them, dear," Genaro said to me as if he were talking to a child.

The laughter that followed was as hysterical as my fear. I laughed so hard that the sound reverberated on the surrounding hills.

The men stopped at once and seemed to be perplexed. I could distinguish the shapes of their heads bobbing up and down as if they were talking, deliberating among themselves. Then one of them jumped onto the rock.

"Watch out! That one is a seer!" Genaro exclaimed.

"What are we going to do?" I shouted.

"We could start singing again," don Juan replied matter-of-factly.

My fear reached its apex then. I began to jump up and down and to roar like an animal. The man jumped down to the ground.

"Don't pay any more attention to those clowns," don Juan said. "Let's talk as usual."

He said that we had gone there for my enlightenment, and that I was failing miserably. I had to reorganize myself. The first thing to do was to realize that my assemblage point had moved and was now making obscure emanations glow. To carry the feelings from my usual state of awareness into the world I had assembled was indeed a travesty, for fear is only prevalent among the emanations of daily life.

I told him that if my assemblage point had shifted as he was saying it had, I had news for him. My fear was infinitely greater and more devastating than anything I had ever experienced in my daily life.

"You're wrong," he said. "Your first attention is confused and doesn't want to give up control, that's all. I have the feeling that you could walk right up to those creatures and face them and they wouldn't do a thing to you."

I insisted that I was definitely in no condition to test such a preposterous thing as that.

He laughed at me. He said that sooner or later I had to cure myself of my madness, and that to take the initiative and face up to those four seers was infinitely less preposterous than the idea that I was seeing them at all. He said that to him madness was to be confronted by men who had been buried for two thousand years and were still alive, and not to think that that was the epitome of preposterousness.

I heard everything he said with clarity, but I was not really paying attention to him. I was terrified of the men around the rock. They seemed to be preparing to jump us, to jump me really. They were fixed on me. My right arm began to shake as if I were stricken by some muscular disorder. Then I became aware that the light in the sky had changed. I had not noticed before that it was already dawn. The strange thing was that an uncontrollable urge made me stand up and run to the group of men.

I had at that moment two completely different feelings about the same event. The minor one was of sheer terror. The other, the major one, was of total indifference. I could not have cared less.

When I reached the group I realized that don Juan was right; they were not really men. Only four of them had any resemblance to men, but they were not men either; they were strange creatures with huge yellow eyes. The others were just shapes that were propelled by the four that resembled men.

I felt extraordinarily sad for those creatures with yellow eyes. I tried to touch them, but I could not find them. Some sort of wind scooped them away.

I looked for don Juan and Genaro. They were not there. It was pitch-black again. I called out their names over and over again. I thrashed around in darkness for a few minutes. Don Juan came to my side and startled me. I did not see Genaro.

"Let's go home," he said. "We have a long walk."

Don Juan commented on how well I had performed at the site of the buried seers, especially during the last part of our encounter with them. He said that a shift of the assemblage point is marked by a change in light. In the daytime, light becomes very dark; at night, darkness becomes twilight. He added that I had performed two shifts by myself, aided only by animal fright. The only thing he found objectionable was my indulging in fear, especially after I had realized that warriors have nothing to fear.

"How do you know I had realized that?" I asked.

"Because you were free. When fear disappears all the ties that bind us dissolve," he said. "An ally was gripping your foot because it was attracted by your animal terror."

I told him how sorry I was for not being able to uphold my realizations.

"Don't concern yourself with that." He laughed. "You know that such realizations are a dime a dozen; they don't amount to anything in the life of warriors, because they are canceled out as the assemblage point shifts.

"What Genaro and I wanted to do was to make you shift very deeply. This time Genaro was there simply to entice the old seers. He did it once already, and you went so far into the left side that it will take quite a while for you to remember it. Your fright tonight was just as intense as it was that first time when the seers and their allies followed you to this very room, but your sturdy first attention wouldn't let you be aware of them."

"Explain to me what happened at the site of the seers," I asked.

"The allies came out to see you," he replied. "Since they have very low energy, they always need the help of men. The four seers have collected twelve allies.

"The countryside in Mexico and also certain cities are dangerous. What happened to you can happen to any man or woman. If they bump into that tomb, they may even see the seers and their allies, if they are pliable enough to let their fear make their assemblage points shift; but one thing is for sure: they can die of fright."

"But do you honestly believe that those Toltec seers are still alive?" I asked.

He laughed and shook his head in disbelief.

"It's time for you to shift that assemblage point of yours just a bit," he said. "I can't talk to you when you are in your idiot's stage."

He smacked me with the palm of his hand on three spots: right on the crest of my right hipbone, on the center of my back below my shoulder blades, and on the upper part of my right pectoral muscle.

My ears immediately began to buzz. A trickle of blood ran out of my right nostril, and something inside me became unplugged. It was as if some flow of energy had been blocked and suddenly began to move again.

"What were those seers and their allies after?" I asked.

"Nothing," he replied. "We were the ones who were after them. The seers, of course, had already noticed your field of energy the first time you saw them; when you came back, they were set to feast on you."

"You claim that they are alive, don Juan," I said. "You must mean that they are alive as allies are alive, is that so?"

"That's exactly right," he said. "They cannot possibly be alive as you and I are. That would be preposterous."

He went on to explain that the ancient seers' concern with death made them look into the most bizarre possibilities. The ones who opted for the allies' pattern had in mind, doubtless, a desire for a haven. And they found it, at a fixed position in one of the seven bands of inorganic awareness. The seers felt that they were relatively safe there. After all, they were separated from the daily world by a nearly insurmountable barrier, the barrier of perception set by the assemblage point.

"When the four seers saw that you could shift your assemblage point they took off like bats out of hell," he said and laughed.

"Do you mean that I assembled one of the seven worlds?" I asked.

"No, you didn't," he replied. "But you have done it before, when the seers and their allies chased you. That day you went all the way to their world. The problem is that you love to act stupid, so you can't remember it at all.

"I'm sure that it is the nagual's presence," he continued, "that sometimes makes people act dumb. When the nagual Julian was still around, I was dumber than I am now. I am convinced that when I'm no longer here, you'll be capable of remembering everything."

Don Juan explained that since he needed to show me the death defiers, he and Genaro had lured them to the outskirts of our world. What I had done at first was a deep lateral shift, which allowed me to see them as people, but at the end I had correctly made the shift that allowed me to see the death defiers and their allies as they are.

Very early the next morning, at Silvio Manuel's house, don Juan called me to the big room to discuss the events of the previous night. I felt exhausted and wanted to rest, to sleep, but don Juan was pressed for time. He immediately started his explanation. He said that the old seers had found out a way to utilize the rolling force and be propelled by it. Instead of succumbing to the onslaughts of the tumbler they rode with it and let it move their assemblage points to the confines of human possibilities.

Don Juan expressed unbiased admiration for such an accomplishment. He admitted that nothing else could give the assemblage point the boost that the tumbler gives.

I asked him about the difference between the earth's boost and the tumbler's boost. He explained that the earth's boost is the force of alignment of only the amber emanations, it is a boost that heightens awareness to unthinkable degrees. To the new seers it is a blast of unlimited consciousness, which they call total freedom.

He said that the tumbler's boost, on the other hand, is the force of death. Under the impact of the tumbler, the assemblage point moves to new, unpredictable positions. Thus, the old seers were always alone in their journeys, although the enterprise they were involved in was always communal. The company of other seers on their journeys was fortuitous and usually meant struggle for supremacy.

I confessed to don Juan that the concerns of the old seers, whatever they may have been, were worse than morbid horror tales to me. He laughed uproariously. He seemed to be enjoying himself.

"You have to admit, no matter how disgusted you feel, that those devils were very daring," he went on. "I never liked them myself, as you know, but I can't help admiring them. Their love for life is truly beyond me."

"How can that be love for life, don Juan? It's something nauseating," I said.

"What else could push a man to those extremes if it is not love for life?" he asked. "They loved life so intensely that they were not willing to give it up. That's the way I have seen it. My benefactor saw something else. He believed that they were afraid to die, which is not the same as loving life. I say that they were afraid to die because they loved life and because they had seen marvels, and not because they were greedy little monsters. No. They were aberrant because nobody ever challenged them and they were spoiled like rotten children, but their daring was impeccable and so was their courage.

"Would you venture into the unknown out of greed? No way. Greed works only in the world of ordinary affairs. To venture into that terrifying loneliness one must have something greater than greed. Love, one needs love for life, for intrigue, for mystery. One needs unquenching curiosity and guts galore. So don't give me this nonsense about your being revolted. It's embarrassing!"

Don Juan's eyes were shining with contained laughter. He was putting me in my place, but he was laughing at it.

Don Juan left me alone in the room for perhaps an hour. I wanted to organize my thoughts and feelings. I had no way to do that. I knew without any doubt that my assemblage point was at a position where reasoning does not prevail, yet I was moved by reasonable concerns. Don Juan had said that technically, as soon as the assemblage point shifts, we are asleep. I wondered, for instance, if I was sound asleep from the stand of an onlooker, just as Genaro had been asleep to me.

I asked don Juan about it as soon as he returned.

"You are absolutely asleep without having to be stretched out," he replied. "If people in a normal state of awareness saw you now, you would appear to them to be a bit dizzy, even drunk."

He explained that during normal sleep, the shift of the assemblage point runs along either edge of man's band. Such shifts are always coupled with slumber. Shifts that are induced by practice occur along the midsection of man's band and are not coupled with slumber, yet a dreamer is asleep.

"Right at this juncture is where the new and the old seers made their separate bids for power," he went on. "The old seers wanted a replica of the body, but with more physical strength, so they made their assemblage points slide along the right edge of man's band. The deeper they moved along the right edge the more bizarre their dreaming body became. You, yourself, witnessed last night the monstrous result of a deep shift along the right edge."

He said that the new seers were completely different, that they maintain their assemblage points along the midsection of man's band. If the shift is a shallow one, like the shift into heightened awareness, the dreamer is almost like anyone else in the street, except for a slight vulnerability to emotions, such as fear and doubt. But at a certain degree of depth, the dreamer who is shifting along the midsection becomes a blob of light. A blob of light is the dreaming body of the new seers.

He also said that such an impersonal dreaming body is more conducive to understanding and examination, which are the basis of all the new seers do. The intensely humanized dreaming body of the old seers drove them to look for answers that were equally personal, humanized.

Don Juan suddenly seemed to be groping for words.

"There is another death defier," he said curtly, "so unlike the four you've seen that he's indistinguishable from the average man in the street. He's accomplished this unique feat by being able to open and close his gap whenever he wants."

He played with his fingers almost nervously.

"The ancient seer that the nagual Sebastian found in 1723 is that death defier," he went on. "We count that day as the beginning of our line, the second beginning. That death defier, who's been on the earth for hundreds of years, has changed the lives of every nagual he met, some more profoundly than others. And he has met every single nagual of our line since that day in 1723."

Don Juan looked fixedly at me. I got strangely embarrassed. I thought my embarrassment was the result of a dilemma. I had very serious doubts about the content of the story, and at the same time I had the most disconcerting trust that everything he had said was true. I expressed my quandary to him.

"The problem of rational disbelief is not yours alone," don Juan said. "My benefactor was at first plagued by the same question. Of course, later on he remembered everything. But it took him a long time to do so. When I met him he had already recollected everything, so I never witnessed his doubts. I only heard about them.

"The weird part is that people who have never set eyes on the man have less difficulty accepting that he's one of the original seers. My benefactor said that his quandaries stemmed from the fact that the shock of meeting such a creature had lumped together a number of emanations. It takes time for those emanations to separate themselves."

Don Juan went on to explain that as my assemblage point kept on shifting, a moment would come when it would hit the proper combination of emanations; at that moment the proof of the existence of that man would become overwhelmingly evident to me.

I felt compelled to talk again about my ambivalence.

"We're deviating from our subject," he said. "It may seem that I'm trying to convince you of the existence of that man; and what I meant to talk about is the fact that the old seer knows how to handle the rolling force. Whether or not you believe that he exists is not important. Someday you'll know for a fact that he certainly succeeded in closing his gap. The energy that he borrows from the nagual every generation he uses exclusively to close his gap."

"How did he succeed in closing it?" I asked.

"There is no way of knowing that," he replied. "I've talked to two other naguals who saw that man face to face, the nagual Julian and the nagual Elias. Neither of them knew how. The man never revealed how he closes that opening, which I suppose begins to expand after a time. The nagual Sebastian said that when he first saw the old seer, the man was very weak, actually dying. But my benefactor found him prancing vigorously, like a young man."

Don Juan said that the nagual Sebastian nicknamed that nameless man "the tenant," for they struck an arrangement by which the man was given energy, lodging so to speak, and he paid rent in the form of favors and knowledge.

"Did anybody ever get hurt in the exchange?" I asked.

"None of the naguals who exchanged energy with him was injured," he replied. "The man's commitment was that he'd only take a bit of superfluous energy from the nagual in exchange for gifts, for extraordinary abilities. For instance, the nagual Julian got the gait of power. With it, he could activate or make dormant the emanations inside his cocoon in order to look young or old at will."

Don Juan explained that the death defiers in general went as far as rendering dormant all the emanations inside their cocoons, except those that matched the emanations of the allies. In this fashion they were able to imitate the allies in some form.

Each of the death defiers we had encountered at the rock, don Juan said, had been able to move his assemblage point to a precise spot on his cocoon in order to emphasize the emanations shared with the allies and to interact with them. But they were all unable to move it back to its usual position and interact with people. The tenant, on the other hand, is capable of shifting his assemblage point to assemble the everyday world as if nothing had ever happened.

Don Juan also said that his benefactor was convinced -- and he fully agreed with him -- that what takes place during the borrowing of energy is that the old sorcerer moves the nagual's assemblage point to emphasize the ally's emanations inside the nagual's cocoon. He then uses the great jolt of energy produced by those emanations that suddenly become aligned after being so deeply dormant.

He said that the energy locked within us, in the dormant emanations, has a tremendous force and an incalculable scope. We can only vaguely assess the scope of that tremendous force, if we consider that the energy involved in perceiving and acting in the world of everyday life is a product of the alignment of hardly one-tenth of the emanations encased in man's cocoon.

"What happens at the moment of death is that all that energy is released at once," he continued. "Living beings at that moment become flooded by the most inconceivable force. It is not the rolling force that has cracked their gaps, because that force never enters inside the cocoon; it only makes it collapse. What floods them is the force of all the emanations that are suddenly aligned after being dormant for a lifetime. There is no outlet for such a giant force except to escape through the gap."

He added that the old sorcerer has found a way to tap that energy. By aligning a limited and very specific spectrum of the dormant emanations inside the nagual's cocoon, the old seer taps a limited but gigantic jolt.

"How do you think he takes that energy into his own body?" I asked.

"By cracking the nagual's gap," he replied. "He moves the nagual's assemblage point until the gap opens a little. When the energy of newly aligned emanations is released through that opening, he takes it into his own gap."

"Why is that old seer doing what he's doing?" I asked.

"My opinion is that he's caught in a circle he can't break," he replied. "We got into an agreement with him. He's doing his best to keep it, and so are we. We can't judge him, yet we have to know that his path doesn't lead to freedom. He knows that, and he also knows he can't change it; he's trapped in a situation of his own making. The only thing he can do is to prolong his ally-like existence as long as he possibly can."
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:58 am

The Mold of Man

Right after lunch, don Juan and I sat down to talk. He started without any preamble. He announced that we had come to the end of his explanation. He said that he had discussed with me, in painstaking detail, all the truths about awareness that the old seers had discovered. He stressed that I now knew the order in which the new seers had arranged them. In the last sessions of his explanation, he said, he had given me a detailed account of the two forces that aid our assemblage points to move: the earth's boost and the rolling force. He had also explained the three techniques worked out by the new seers -- stalking, intent, and dreaming -- and their effects on the movement of the assemblage point.

"Now, the only thing left for you to do before the explanation of the mastery of awareness is completed," he went on, "is to break the barrier of perception by yourself. You must move your assemblage point, unaided by anyone, and align another great band of emanations.

"Not to do this will turn everything you've learned and done with me into merely talk, just words. And words are fairly cheap."

He explained that when the assemblage point is moving away from its customary position and reaches a certain depth, it breaks a barrier that momentarily disrupts its capacity to align emanations. We experience it as a moment of perceptual blankness. The old seers called that moment the wall of fog, because a bank of fog appears whenever the alignment of emanations falters.

He said that there were three ways of dealing with it. It could be taken abstractly as a barrier of perception; it could be felt as the act of piercing a tight paper screen with the entire body; or it could be seen as a wall of fog.

In the course of my apprenticeship with don Juan, he had guided me countless times to see the barrier of perception. At first I had liked the idea of a wall of fog. Don Juan had warned me that the old seers had also preferred to see it that way. He had said that there is great comfort and ease in seeing it as a wall of fog, but that there is also the grave danger of turning something incomprehensible into something somber and foreboding; hence, his recommendation was to keep incomprehensible things incomprehensible rather than making them part of the inventory of the first attention.

After a short-lived feeling of comfort in seeing the wall of fog I had to agree with don Juan that it was better to keep the transition period as an incomprehensible abstraction, but by then it was impossible for me to break the fixation of my awareness. Every time I was placed in a position to break the barrier of perception I saw the wall of fog.

On one occasion, in the past, I had complained to don Juan and Genaro that although I wanted to see it as something else, I couldn't change it. Don Juan had commented that that was understandable, because I was morbid and somber, that he and I were very different in this respect. He was lighthearted and practical and he did not worship the human inventory. I, on the other hand, was unwilling to throw my inventory out the window and consequently I was heavy, sinister, and impractical. I had been shocked and saddened by his harsh criticism and became very gloomy. Don Juan and Genaro had laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks.

Genaro had added that on top of all that I was vindictive and had a tendency to get fat. They had laughed so hard I finally felt obliged to join them.

Don Juan had told me then that exercises of assembling other worlds allowed the assemblage point to gain experience in shifting. I had always wondered, however, how to get the initial boost to dislodge my assemblage point from its usual position. When I'd questioned him about it in the past he'd pointed out that since alignment is the force that is involved in everything, intent is what makes the assemblage point move.

I asked him again about it.

"You're in a position now to answer that question yourself," he replied. "The mastery of awareness is what gives the assemblage point its boost. After all, there is really very little to us human beings; we are, in essence, an assemblage point fixed at a certain position. Our enemy and at the same time our friend is our internal dialogue, our inventory. Be a warrior; shut off your internal dialogue; make your inventory and then throw it away. The new seers make accurate inventories and then laugh at them. Without the inventory the assemblage point becomes free."

Don Juan reminded me that he had talked a great deal about one of the most sturdy aspects of our inventory: our idea of God. That aspect, he said, was like a powerful glue that bound the assemblage point to its original position. If I were going to assemble another true world with another great band of emanations, I had to take an obligatory step in order to release all ties from my assemblage point.

"That step is to see the mold of man," he said. "You must do that today unaided."

"What's the mold of man?" I asked.

"I've helped you see it many times," he replied. "You know what I'm talking about."

I refrained from saying that I did not know what he was talking about. If he said that I had seen the mold of man, I must have done that, although I did not have the foggiest idea what it was like.

He knew what was going through my mind. He gave me a knowing smile and slowly shook his head from side to side.

"The mold of man is a huge cluster of emanations in the great band of organic life," he said. "It is called the mold of man because the cluster appears only inside the cocoon of man.

"The mold of man is the portion of the Eagle's emanations that seers can see directly without any danger to themselves."

There was a long pause before he spoke again.

"To break the barrier of perception is the last task of the mastery of awareness," he said. "In order to move your assemblage point to that position you must gather enough energy. Make a journey of recovery. Remember what you've done!"

I tried unsuccessfully to recall what was the mold of man. I felt an excruciating frustration that soon turned into real anger. I was furious with myself, with don Juan, with everybody.

Don Juan was untouched by my fury. He said matter-of-factly that anger was a natural reaction to the hesitation of the assemblage point to move on command.

"It will be a long time before you can apply the principle that your command is the Eagle's command," he said. "That's the essence of the mastery of intent. In the meantime, make a command now not to fret, not even at the worst moments of doubt. It will be a slow process until that command is heard and obeyed as if it were the Eagle's command."

He also said that there was an unmeasurable area of awareness in between the customary position of the assemblage point and the position where there are no more doubts, which is almost the place where the barrier of perception makes its appearance. In that unmeasurable area, warriors fall prey to every conceivable misdeed. He warned me to be on the lockout and not lose confidence, for I would unavoidably be struck at one time or another by gripping feelings of defeat.

"The new seers recommend a very simple act when impatience, or despair, or anger, or sadness comes their way," he continued. "They recommend that warriors roll their eyes. Any direction will do; I prefer to roll mine clockwise.

"The movement of the eyes makes the assemblage point shift momentarily. In that movement, you will find relief. This is in lieu of true mastery of intent."'

I complained that there was not enough time for him to tell me more about intent.

"It will all come back to you someday," he assured me. "One thing will trigger another. One key word and all of it will tumble out of you as if the door of an overstuffed closet had given way."

He went back then to discussing the mold of man. He said that to see it on my own, unaided by anyone, was an important step, because all of us have certain ideas that must be broken before we are free; the seer who travels into the unknown to see the unknowable must be in an impeccable state of being.

He winked at me and said that to be in an impeccable state of being is to be free of rational assumptions and rational fears. He added that both my rational assumptions and my rational fears were preventing me at that moment from realigning the emanations that would make me remember seeing the mold of man. He urged me to relax and move my eyes in order to make my assemblage point shift. He repeated over and over that it was really important to remember having seen the mold before I see it again. And since he was pressed for time there was no room for my usual slowness.

I moved my eyes as he suggested. Almost immediately I forgot my discomfort and then a sudden flash of memory came to me and I remembered that I had seen the mold of man. It had happened years earlier on an occasion that had been quite memorable to me, because from the point of view of my Catholic upbringing, don Juan had made the most sacrilegious statements I had ever heard.

It had all started as a casual conversation while we hiked in the foothills of the Sonoran desert. He was explaining to me the implications of what he was doing to me with his teachings. We had stopped to rest and had sat down on some large boulders. He had continued explaining his teaching procedure, and this had encouraged me to try for the hundredth time to give him an account of how I felt about it. It was evident that he did not want to hear about it anymore. He made me change levels of awareness and told me that if I would see the mold of man, I might understand everything he was doing and thus save us both years of toil.

He gave me a detailed explanation of what the mold of man was. He did not talk about it in terms of the Eagle's emanations, but in terms of a pattern of energy that serves to stamp the qualities of humanness on an amorphous blob of biological matter. At least, I understood it that way, especially after he further described the mold of man using a mechanical analogy. He said that it was like a gigantic die that stamps out human beings endlessly as if they were coming to it on a mass-production conveyor belt. He vividly mimed the process by bringing the palms of his hands together with great force, as if the die molded a human being each time its two halves were clapped.

He also said that every species has a mold of its own, and every individual of every species molded by the process shows characteristics particular to its own kind.

He began then an extremely disturbing elucidation about the mold of man. He said that the old seers as well as the mystics of our world have one thing in common -- they have been able to see the mold of man but not understand what it is. Mystics, throughout the centuries, have given us moving accounts of their experiences. But these accounts, however beautiful, are flawed by the gross and despairing mistake of believing the mold of man to be an omnipotent, omniscient creator; and so is the interpretation of the old seers, who called the mold of man a friendly spirit, a protector of man.

He said that the new seers are the only ones who have the sobriety to see the mold of man and understand what it is. What they have come to realize is that the mold of man is not a creator, but the pattern of every human attribute we can think of and some we cannot even conceive. The mold is our God because we are what it stamps us with and not because it has created us from nothing and made us in its image and likeness. Don Juan said that in his opinion to fall on our knees in the presence of the mold of man reeks of arrogance and human self-centeredness.

As I heard don Juan's explanation I got terribly worried. Even though I had never considered my self to be a practicing Catholic, I was shocked by his blasphemous implications. I had been politely listening to him, yet I had been yearning for a pause in his barrage of sacrilegious judgments in order to change the subject. But he went on drumming his point in a merciless way. I finally interrupted him and told him that I believed that God exists.

He retorted that my belief was based on faith and, as such, was a secondhand conviction that did not amount to anything; my belief in the existence of God was, like everyone else's, based on hearsay and not on the act of seeing, he said.

He assured me that even if I was able to see, I was bound to make the same misjudgment that mystics have made. Anyone who sees the mold of man automatically assumes that it is God.

He called the mystical experience a chance seeing, a one-shot affair that has no significance whatsoever because it is the result of a random movement of the assemblage point. He asserted that the new seers are indeed the only ones who can pass a fair judgment on this matter, because they have ruled out chance seeings and are capable of seeing the mold of man as often as they please.

They have seen, therefore, that what we call God is a static prototype of humanness without any power. For the mold of man cannot under any circumstances help us by intervening in our behalf, or punish our wrongdoings, or reward us in any way. We are simply the product of its stamp; we are its impression. The mold of man is exactly what its name tells us it is, a pattern, a form, a cast that groups together a particular bunch of fiberlike elements, which we call man.

What he had said put me in a state of great distress. But he seemed unconcerned with my genuine turmoil. He kept on needling me with what he called the unforgivable crime of the chance seers, which makes us focus our irreplaceable energy on something that has no power whatsoever to do anything. The more he talked, the greater my annoyance. When I became so annoyed that I was about to shout at him, he had me change into yet a deeper state of heightened awareness. He hit me on my right side, between my hipbone and my rib cage. That blow sent me soaring into a radiant light, into a diaphanous source of the most peaceful and exquisite beatitude. That light was a haven, an oasis in the blackness around me.

From my subjective point of view, I saw that light for an immeasurable length of time. The splendor of the sight was beyond anything I can say, and yet I could not figure out what it was that made it so beautiful. Then the idea came to me that its beauty grew out of a sense of harmony, a sense of peace and rest, of having arrived, of being safe at long last. I felt myself inhaling and exhaling in quietude and relief. What a gorgeous sense of plenitude! I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I had come face to face with God, the source of everything. And I knew that God loved me. God was love and forgiveness. The light bathed me, and I felt clean, delivered. I wept uncontrollably, mainly for myself. The sight of that resplendent light made me feel unworthy, villainous.

Suddenly, I heard don Juan's voice in my ear. He said that I had to go beyond the mold, that the mold was merely a stage, a stopover that brought temporary peace and serenity to those who journey into the unknown, but that it was sterile, static. It was at the same time a flat reflected image in a mirror and the mirror itself. And the image was man's image.

I passionately resented what don Juan was saying; I rebelled against his blasphemous, sacrilegious words. I wanted to tell him off, but I could not break the binding power of my seeing. I was caught in it. Don Juan seemed to know exactly how I felt and what I wanted to tell him.

"You can't tell the nagual off," he said in my ear. "It is the nagual who's enabling you to see. It is the nagual's technique, the nagual's power. The nagual is the guide."

It was at that point that I realized something about the voice in my ear. It was not don Juan's, although it sounded very much like his voice. Also, the voice was right. The instigator of that seeing was the nagual Juan Matus. It was his technique and his power that was making me see God. He said it was not God, but the mold of man; I knew that he was right. Yet I could not admit that, not out of annoyance or stubbornness, but simply out of a sense of ultimate loyalty to and love for the divinity that was in front of me.

As I gazed into the light with all the passion I was capable of, the light seemed to condense and I saw a man. A shiny man that exuded charisma, love, understanding, sincerity, truth. A man that was the sum total of all that is good.

The fervor I felt on seeing that man was well beyond anything I had ever felt in my life. I did fall on my knees. I wanted to worship God personified, but don Juan intervened and whacked me on my left upper chest, close to my clavicle, and I lost sight of God.

I was left with a tantalizing feeling, a mixture of remorse, elation, certainties, and doubts. Don Juan made fun of me. He called me pious and careless and said I would make a great priest; now I could even pass for a spiritual leader who had had a chance seeing of God. He urged me, in ajocular way, to start preaching and describe what I had seen to everyone.

In a very casual but seemingly interested manner he made a statement that was part question, part assertion.

"And the man?" he asked. "You can't forget that God is a male."

The immensity of something indefinable began to dawn on me as I entered into a state of great clarity.

"Very cozy, eh?" don Juan added, smiling. "God is a male. What a relief"

After recounting to don Juan what I had remembered, I asked him about something that had just struck me as being terribly odd. To see the mold of man, I had obviously gone through a shift of my assemblage point. The recollection of the feelings and realizations I had had then was so vivid that it gave me a sense of utter futility. Everything I had done and felt at that time I was feeling now. I asked him how it was possible that having had such a clear comprehension, I could have forgotten it so completely. It was as if nothing of what had happened to me had mattered, for I always had to start from point one regardless of how much I might have advanced in the past.

"That's only an emotional impression," he said. "A total misapprehension. Whatever you did years ago is solidly enclosed in some unused emanations. That day when I made you see the mold of man, for instance, I had a true misapprehension myself. I thought that if you saw it, you would be able to understand it. It was a true misunderstanding on my part."

Don Juan explained that he had always regarded himself as being very slow to understand. He had never had any chance of testing his belief, because he did not have a point of reference. When I came along and he became a teacher, which was something totally new to him, he realized that there is no way to speed up understanding and that to dislodge the assemblage point is not enough. He had thought that it would be sufficient. Soon he became aware that since the assemblage point normally shifts during dreams, sometimes to extraordinarily distant positions, whenever we undergo an induced shift we are all experts at immediately compensating for it. We rebalance ourselves constantly and activity goes on as if nothing has happened to us.

He remarked that the value of the new seers' conclusions does not become evident until one tries to move someone else's assemblage point. The new seers said that what counts in this respect is the effort to reinforce the stability of the assemblage point in its new position. They considered this to be the only teaching procedure worth discussing. And they knew that it is a long process that has to be carried out little by little at a snail's pace.

Don Juan said then that he had used power plants at the beginning of my apprenticeship in accordance with a recommendation of the new seers. They knew by experience and by seeing that power plants shake the assemblage point way out of its normal setting. The effect of power plants on the assemblage point is in principle very much like that of dreams: dreams make it move; but power plants manage the shift on a greater and more engulfing scale. A teacher then uses the disorienting effects of such a shift to reinforce the notion that the perception of the world is never final.

I remembered then that I had seen the mold of man five more times over the years. With each new time I had become less passionate about it. I could never get over the fact, however, that I always saw God as a male. At the end it stopped being God for me and became the mold of man, not because of what don Juan had said, but because the position of a male God became untenable. I could then understand don Juan's statements about it. They had not been blasphemous or sacrilegious in the least; he had not made them from within the context of the daily world. He was right in saying that the new seers have an edge in being capable of seeing the mold of man as often as they want. But what was more important to me was that they had sobriety in order to examine what they saw.

I asked him why it was that I always saw the mold of man as a male. He said that it was because my assemblage point did not have the stability then to remain completely glued to its new position and shifted laterally in man's band. It was the same case as seeing the barrier of perception as a wall of fog. What made the assemblage point move laterally was a nearly unavoidable desire, or necessity, to render the incomprehensible in terms of what is most familiar to us: a barrier is a wall and the mold of man cannot be anything else but a man. He thought that if I were a woman I would see the mold as a woman.

Don Juan stood up then and said that it was time for us to take a stroll in town, that I should see the mold of man among people. We walked in silence to the square, but before we got there I had an uncontainable surge of energy and ran down the street to the outskirts of town. I came to a bridge, and right there, as if it had been waiting for me, I saw the mold of man as a resplendent, warm, amber light.

I fell on my knees, not so much out of piety, but as physical reaction to awe. The sight of the mold of man was more astonishing than ever. I felt, without any arrogance, that I had gone through an enormous change since the first time I had seen it. However, all the things I had seen and learned had only given me a greater, more profound appreciation for the miracle that I had in front of my eyes.

The mold of man was superimposed on the bridge at first, then I refocused my eyes and saw that the mold of man extended up and down into infinity; the bridge was but a meager shell, a tiny sketch superimposed on the eternal. And so were the minute figures of people who moved around me, looking at me with unabashed curiosity. But I was beyond their touch, although at that moment I was as vulnerable as I could be. The mold of man had no power to protect me or spare me, yet I loved it with a passion that knew no limits.

I thought that I understood then something that don Juan had told me repeatedly, that real affection cannot be an investment. I would have gladly remained the servant of the mold of man, not for what it could give me, for it has nothing to give, but for the sheer affection I felt for it.

I had the sensation of something pulling me away, and before I disappeared from its presence I shouted a promise to the mold of man, but a great force whisked me away before I could finish staling what I meant. I was suddenly kneeling at the bridge while a group of peasants looked at me and laughed.

Don Juan got to my side and helped me up and walked me back to the house.

"There are two ways of seeing the mold of man," don Juan began as soon as we sat down. "You can see it as a man or you can see it as a light. That depends on the shift of the assemblage point. If the shift is lateral, the mold is a human being; if the shift is in the midsection of man's band, the mold is a light. The only value of what you've done today is that your assemblage point shifted in the midsection."

He said that the position where one sees the mold of man is very close to that where the dreaming body and the barrier of perception appear. That was the reason the new seers recommend that the mold of man be seen and understood.

"Are you sure you understand what the mold of man really is?" he asked with a smile.

"I assure you, don Juan, that I'm perfectly aware of what the mold of man is," I said.

"I heard you shouting inanities to the mold of man when I got to the bridge," he said with a most malicious smile.

I told him that I had felt like a worthless servant worshiping a worthless master, and yet I was moved out of sheer affection to promise undying love.

He found it all hilarious and laughed until he was choking.

"The promise of a worthless servant to a worthless master is worthless," he said and choked again with laughter.

I did not feel like defending my position. My affection for the mold of man was offered freely without thought of recompense. It did not matter to me that my promise was worthless.
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:59 am

The Journey of the Dreaming Body

Don Juan told me that the two of us were going to drive to the city of Oaxaca for the last time. He made it very clear that we would never be there together again. Perhaps his feeling might return to the place, he said, but never again the totality of himself.

In Oaxaca, don Juan spent hours looking at mundane, trivial things, the faded color of walls, the shape of distant mountains, the pattern on cracked cement, the faces of people. Then we went to the square and sat on his favorite bench, which was unoccupied, as it always was when he wanted it.

During our long walk in the city, I had tried my best to work myself into a mood of sadness and moroseness, but I just could not do it. There was something festive about his departure. He explained it as the unrestrainable vigor of total freedom.

"Freedom is like a contagious disease," he said. "It is transmitted; its carrier is an impeccable nagual. People might not appreciate that, and that's because they don't want to be free. Freedom is frightening. Remember that. But not for us. I've groomed myself nearly all my life for this moment. And so will you."

He repeated over and over that at the stage where I was, no rational assumptions should interfere with my actions. He said that the dreaming body and the barrier of perception are positions of the assemblage point, and that that knowledge is as vital to seers as knowing how to read and write is to modern man. Both are accomplishments attained after years of practice.

"It is very important that you remember, right now, the time when your assemblage point reached that position and it created your dreaming body," he said with tremendous urgency.

Then he smiled and remarked that time was extremely short; he said that the recollection of the main journey of my dreaming body would put my assemblage point in a position to break the barrier of perception in order to assemble another world.

"The dreaming body is known by different names," he said after a long pause. "The name I like the best is, the other. That term belongs to the old seers, together with the mood. I don't particularly care for their mood, but I have to admit that I like their term The other. It's mysterious and forbidden. Just like the old seers, it gives me the feeling of darkness, of shadows. The old seers said that the other always comes shrouded in wind."

Over the years don Juan and other members of his party had tried to make me aware that we can be in two places at once, that we can experience a sort of perceptual dualism.

As don Juan spoke, I began to remember something so deeply forgotten that at first it was as if I had only heard about it. Then, step by step, I realized that I had lived that experience myself.

I had been in two places at once. It happened one night in the mountains of northern Mexico. I had been collecting plants with don Juan all day. We had stopped for the night and I had nearly fallen asleep from fatigue when suddenly there was a gust of wind and don Genaro sprang up from the darkness right in front of me and nearly scared me to death.

My first thought was one of suspicion. I believed that don Genaro had been hiding in the bushes all day, waiting for darkness to set in before making his terrifying appearance. As I looked at him prancing around, I noticed that there was something truly odd about him that night. Something palpable, real, and yet something I could not pinpoint.

He joked with me and horsed around, performing acts that defied my reason. Don Juan laughed like an idiot at my dismay. When he judged that the time was right, he made me shift into heightened awareness and for a moment I was able to see don Juan and don Genaro as two blobs of light. Genaro was not the fleshand-blood don Genaro that I knew in my state of normal awareness but his dreaming body. I could tell, because I saw him as a ball of fire that was above the ground. He was not rooted as don Juan was. It was as if Genaro, the blob of light, were on the verge of taking off, already up in the air, a couple of feet off the ground, ready to zoom away.

Another thing I had done that night, which suddenly became clear to me as I recollected the event, was that I knew automatically that I had to move my eyes in order to make my assemblage point shift. I could, with my intent, align the emanations that made me see Genaro as a blob of light, or I could align the emanations that made me see him as merely odd, unknown, strange.

When I saw Genaro as odd, his eyes had a malevolent glare, like the eyes of a beast in the darkness. But they were eyes, nonetheless. I did not see them as points of amber light.

That night don Juan said that Genaro was going to help my assemblage point shift very deeply, that I should imitate him and follow everything he did. Genaro stuck out his rear end and then thrust his pelvis forward with great force. I thought it was an obscene gesture. He repeated it over and over again, moving around as if he were dancing.

Don Juan nudged me on the arm, urging me to imitate Genaro, and I did. Both of us sort of romped around, performing that grotesque movement. After a while, I had the feeling that my body was executing the movement on its own, without what seemed to be the real me. The separation between my body and the real me became even more pronounced, and then at a given instant I was looking at some ludicrous scene where two men were making lewd gestures at each other.

I watched in fascination and realized that I was one of the two men. The moment I became aware of it I felt something pulling me and I found myself again thrusting my pelvis backward and forward in unison with Genaro. Almost immediately, I noticed that another man standing next to don Juan was watching us. The wind was blowing around him. I could see his hair being ruffled. He was naked and seemed embarrassed. The wind gathered around him as if protecting him, or perhaps the opposite, as if trying to blow him away.

I was slow to realize that I was the other man. When I did, I got the shock of my life. An imponderable physical force pulled me apart as if I were made out of fibers, and I was again looking at a man that was me, romping around with Genaro, gaping at me while I looked. And at the same time, I was looking at a naked man that was me, gaping at me while I made lewd gestures with Genaro. The shock was so great that I broke the rhythm of my movements and fell down.

The next thing I knew, don Juan was helping me to stand up. Genaro and the other me, the naked one, had disappeared.

I had also remembered that don Juan had refused to discuss the event. He did not explain it except to say that Genaro was an expert in creating his double, or the other, and that I had had long interactions with Genaro's double in states of normal awareness without ever detecting it.

"That night, as he has done hundreds of times before, Genaro made your assemblage point shift very deep into your left side," don Juan commented after I had recounted to him everything I had remembered. "His power was such that he dragged your assemblage point to the position where the dreaming body appears. You saw your dreaming body watching you. And his dancing did the trick."

I asked him to explain to me how Genaro's lewd movement could have produced such a drastic effect.

"You're a prude," he said. "Genaro used your immediate displeasure and embarrassment at having to perform a lewd gesture. Since he was in his dreaming body, he had the power to see the Eagle's emanations; from that advantage it was a cinch to make your assemblage point move."

He said that whatever Genaro had helped me to do that night was minor, that Genaro had moved my assemblage point and made it produce a dreaming body many, many times, but that those events were not what he wanted me to remember.

"I want you to realign the proper emanations and remember the time when you really woke up in a dreaming position,"' he said.

A strange surge of energy seemed to explode inside me and I knew what he wanted me to remember. I could not, however, focus my memory on the complete event. I could only recall a fragment of it.

I remembered that one morning, don Juan, don Genaro. and I had sat on that very same bench while I was in a state of normal awareness. Don Genaro had said, all of a sudden, that he was going to make his body leave the bench without getting up. The statement was completely out of the context of what we had been discussing. I was accustomed to don Juan's orderly, didactic words and actions. I turned to don Juan, expecting a clue, but he remained impassive, looking straight ahead as if don Genaro and I were not there at all.

Don Genaro nudged me to attract my attention, and then I witnessed a most disturbing sight. I actually saw Genaro on the other side of the square. He was beckoning me to come. But I also saw don Genaro sitting next to me, looking straight ahead, just as don Juan was.

I wanted to say something, to express my awe, but I found myself dumbstruck, imprisoned by some force around me that did not let me talk. I again looked at Genaro across the park. He was still there, motioning to me with a gesture of his head to join him.

My emotional distress mounted by the second. My stomach was getting upset, and finally I had tunnel vision, a tunnel that led directly to Genaro on the other side of the square. And then a great curiosity, or a great fear, which seemed to be the same thing at that moment, pulled me to where he was. I actually soared through the air and got to where he was. He made me turn around and pointed to the three people who were sitting on a bench in a static position, as if time had been suspended.

I felt a terrible discomfort, an internal itching, as if the soft organs in the cavity of my body were on fire, and then I was back on the bench, but Genaro was gone. He waved goodbye to me from across the square and disappeared among the people going to the market.

Don Juan became very animated. He kept on looking at me. He stood up and walked around me. He sat down again and could not keep a straight face as he talked to me.

I realized why he was acting that way. I had entered into a state of heightened awareness without being helped by don Juan. Genaro had succeeded in making my assemblage point move by itself.

I laughed involuntarily upon seeing my writing pad, which don Juan solemnly put inside his pocket. He said that he was going to use my state of heightened awareness to show me that there is no end to the mystery of man and to the mystery of the world.

I focused all my concentration on his words. However, don Juan said something I did not understand. I asked him to repeat what he had said. He began talking very softly. I thought he had lowered his voice so as not to be overheard by other people. I listened carefully, but I could not understand a word of what he was saying; he was either speaking in a language foreign to me or it was mumbo jumbo. The strange part of it was that something had caught my undivided attention, either the rhythm of his voice or the fact that I had forced myself to understand. I had the feeling that my mind was different from usual, although I could not figure out what the difference was. I had a hard time thinking, reasoning out what was taking place.

Don Juan talked to me very softly in my ear. He said that since I had entered into heightened awareness without any help from him my assemblage point was very loose, and that I could let it shift into the left side by relaxing, by falling half asleep on that bench. He assured me that he was watching over me, that I had nothing to fear. He urged me to relax, to let my assemblage point move.

I instantly felt the heaviness of being deeply asleep. At one moment, I became aware that I was having a dream. I saw a house that I had seen before. I was approaching it as if I were walking on the street. There were other houses, but I could not pay any attention to them. Something had fixed my awareness on the particular house I was seeing. It was a big modern stucco house with a front lawn.

When I got closer to that house, I had a feeling of familiarity with it, as if I had dreamed of it before. I walked on a gravel path to the front door; it was open and I walked inside. There was a dark hall and a large living room to the right, furnished with a dark-red couch and matching armchairs set in a corner. I was definitely having tunnel vision; I could see only what was in front of my eyes.

A young woman was standing by the couch as if she had just stood up as I came in. She was lean and tall, exquisitely dressed in a tailored green suit. She was perhaps in her late twenties. She had dark-brown hair, burning brown eyes that seemed to smile, and a pointed, finely chiseled nose. Her complexion was fair but had been tanned to a gorgeous brown. I found her ravishingly beautiful. She seemed to be an American. She nodded at me, smiling, and extended her hands with the palms down as if she were helping me up.

I clasped her hands in a most awkward movement. I scared myself and tried to back away, but she held me firmly and yet so gently. Her hands were long and beautiful. She spoke to me in Spanish with a faint trace of an accent. She begged me to relax, to feel her hands, to concentrate my attention on her face and to follow the movement of her mouth. I wanted to ask her who she was, but I could not utter a word.

Then I heard don Juan's voice in my ear. He said, "Oh, there you are," as if he had just found me. I was sitting on the park bench with him. But I could also hear the young woman's voice. She said, "Come and sit with me." I did just that and began a most incredible shifting of points of view. I was alternately with don Juan and with that young woman. I could see both of them as clearly as anything.

Don Juan asked me if I liked her, if I found her appealing and soothing. I could not speak, but somehow I conveyed to him the feeling that I did like that lady immensely. I thought, without any overt reason, that she was a paragon of kindness, that she was indispensable to what don Juan was doing with me.

Don Juan spoke in my ear again and said that if I liked her that much I should wake up in her house, that my feeling of warmth and affection for her would guide me. I felt giggly and reckless. A sensation of overwhelming excitation rippled through my body. I felt as if the excitation were actually disintegrating me. I did not care what happened to me. I gladly plunged into a blackness, black beyond words, and then I found myself in the young woman's house. I was sitting with her on the couch.

After an instant of sheer animal panic, I realized that somehow I was not complete. Something was missing in me. I did not, however, find the situation threatening. The thought crossed my mind that I was dreaming and that I was presently going to wake up on the park bench in Oaxaca with don Juan, where I really was, where I really belonged.

The young woman helped me to get up and took me to a bathroom where a large tub was filled with water. I realized then that I was stark naked. She gently made me get into the tub and held my head up while I half floated in it.

After a while she helped me out of the tub. I felt weak and flimsy. I lay down on the living-room couch and she came close to me. I could hear the beating of her heart and the pressure of blood rushing through her body. Her eyes were like two radiant sources of something that was not light, or heat, but curiously in between the two. I knew that I was seeing the force of life projecting out of her body through her eyes. Her whole body was like a live furnace; it glowed.

I felt a weird tremor that agitated my whole being. It was as if my nerves were exposed and someone was plucking them. The sensation was agonizing. Then I either fainted or fell asleep.

When I woke up, someone was putting face towels soaked in cold water on my face and the back of my neck. I saw the young woman sitting by my head on the bed where I was lying. She had a pail of water on a night table. Don Juan was standing at the foot of the bed with my clothes draped over his arm.

I was fully awake then. I sat up. They had covered me with a blanket.

"How's the traveler?" don Juan asked, smiling. "Are you in one piece now?"

That was all I could remember. I narrated this episode to don Juan, and as I talked, I recalled another fragment. I remembered that don Juan had taunted and teased me about finding me naked in the lady's bed. I had gotten terribly irritated at his remarks. I had put on my clothes and stomped out of the house in a fury.

Don Juan had caught up with me on the front lawn. In a very serious tone he had remarked that I was my ugly stupid self again, that I had put myself together by being embarrassed, which had proved to him that there was still no end to my self-importance. But he had added in a conciliatory tone that that was not important at the moment; what was significant was the fact that I had moved my assemblage point very deeply into the left side and consequently I had traveled an enormous distance.

He had spoken of wonders and mysteries, but I had not been able to listen to him, for I had been caught in the crossfire between fear and self-importance. I was actually fuming. I was certain that don Juan had hypnotized me in the park and had then taken me to that lady's house, and that the two of them had done terrible things to me.

My fury was interrupted. Something out there in the street was so horrifying, so shocking to me, that my anger stopped instantaneously. But before my thoughts became fully rearranged, don Juan hit me on my back and nothing of what had just taken place remained. I found myself back in my blissful everyday-life stupidity, happily listening to don Juan, worrying about whether or not he liked me.

As I was telling don Juan about the new fragment that I had just remembered I realized that one of his methods for handling my emotional turmoil was to make me shift into normal awareness.

"The only thing that soothes those who journey into the unknown is oblivion," he said. "What a relief to be in the ordinary world!

"That day, you accomplished a marvelous feat. The sober thing for me to do was not to let you focus on it at all. Just as you began to really panic I made you shift into normal awareness; I moved your assemblage point beyond the position where there are no more doubts. There are two such positions for warriors. In one you have no more doubts because you know everything. In the other, which is normal awareness, you have no doubts because you don't know anything.

"It was too soon then for you to know what had really happened. But I think the right time to know is now. Looking at that street, you were about to find out where your dreaming position had been. You traveled an enormous distance that day."

Don Juan scrutinized me with a mixture of glee and sadness. I was trying my best to keep under control the strange agitation I was feeling. I sensed that something terribly important to me was lost inside my memory, or, as don Juan would have put it, inside some unused emanations that at one time had been aligned.

My struggle to keep calm proved to be the wrong thing to do. All at once, my knees wobbled and nervous spasms ran through my midsection. I mumbled, unable to voice a question. I had to swallow hard and breathe deeply before I regained my calmness.

"When we first sat down here to talk, I said that no rational assumptions should interfere with the actions of a seer," he continued in a stern tone. "I knew that in order to reclaim what you've done, you'd have to dispense with rationality, but you'd have to do it in .the level of awareness you are in now."

He explained that I had to understand that rationality is a condition of alignment, merely the result of the position of the assemblage point. He emphasized that I had to understand this when I was in a state of great vulnerability, as I was at that moment. To understand it when my assemblage point had reached the position where there are no doubts was useless, because realizations of that nature are commonplace in that position. It was equally useless to understand it in a state of normal awareness; in that state, such realizations are emotional outbursts that are valid only for as long as the emotion lasts.

"I've said that you traveled a great distance that day," he said calmly. "And I said that because I know it. I was there, remember?"

I was sweating profusely out of nervousness and anxiety.

"You traveled because you woke up at a distant dreaming position," he continued. "When Genaro pulled you across the plaza, right here from this bench, he paved the way for your assemblage point to move from normal awareness all the way to the position where the dreaming body appears. Your dreaming body actually flew over an incredible distance in the blink of an eyelid. Yet that's not the important part. The mystery is in the dreaming position. If it is strong enough to pull you, you can go to the ends of this world or beyond it, just as the old seers did. They disappeared from this world because they woke up at a dreaming position beyond the limits of the known. Your dreaming position that day was in this world, but quite a distance from the city of Oaxaca."

"How does ajourney like that take place?" I asked.

"There is no way of knowing how it is done," he said. "Strong emotion, or unbending intent, or great interest serves as a guide; then the assemblage point gets powerfully fixed at the dreaming position, long enough to drag there all the emanations that are inside the cocoon."

Don Juan said then that he had made me see countless times over the years of our association, either in states of normal awareness or in states of heightened awareness; I had seen countless things that I was now beginning to understand in a more coherent fashion. This coherence was not logical or rational, but it clarified, nonetheless, in whatever strange way, everything I had done, everything that was done to me, and everything I had seen in all those years with him. He said that now I needed to have one last clarification: the coherent but irrational realization that everything in the world we have learned to perceive is inextricably tied to the position where the assemblage point is located, if the assemblage point is displaced from that position, the world will cease to be what it is to us.

Don Juan stated that a displacement of the assemblage point beyond the midline of the cocoon of man makes the entire world we know vanish from our view in one instant, as if it had been erased -- for the stability, the substantiality, that seems to belong to our perceivable world is just the force of alignment. Certain emanations are routinely aligned because of the fixation of the assemblage point on one specific spot; that is all there is to our world.

"The soundness of the world is not the mirage," he continued, "the mirage is the fixation of the assemblage point on any spot. When seers shift their assemblage points, they are not confronted with an illusion, they are confronted with another world; that new world is as real as the one we are watching now, but the new fixation of their assemblage points, which produces that new world, is as much of a mirage as the old fixation.

"Take yourself, for example; you are now in a state of heightened awareness. Whatever you are capable of doing in such a state is not an illusion; it is as real as the world you will face tomorrow in your daily life, and yet tomorrow the world you are witnessing now won't exist. It exists only when your assemblage point moves to the particular spot where you are now."

He added that the task warriors are faced with, after they finish their training, is one of integration. In the course of training, warriors, especially nagual men, are made to shift to as many individual spots as possible. He said that in my case I had moved to countless positions that I would have to integrate someday into a coherent whole.

"For instance, if you would shift your assemblage point to a specific position, you'd remember who that lady is," he continued with a strange smile. "Your assemblage point has been at that spot hundreds of times. It should be the easiest thing for you to integrate it."

As though my recollection depended on his suggestion, I began to have vague memories, feelings of sorts. There was a feeling of boundless affection that seemed to attract me; a most pleasant sweetness filled the air, exactly as if someone had just come up from behind me and poured that scent over me. I even turned around. And then I remembered. She was Carol, the nagual woman' I had been with her only the day before. How could I have forgotten her?

I had an indescribable moment in which I think all the feelings of my psychological repertory ran through my mind. Was it possible, I asked myself, that I had woken up in her house in Tucson, Arizona, two thousand miles away? And are each of the instances of heightened awareness so isolated that one cannot remember them?

Don Juan came to my side and put his arm on my shoulder. He said that he knew exactly how I felt. His benefactor had made him go through a similar experience. And just as he himself was now trying to do with me, his benefactor had tried to do with him: soothe with words. He had appreciated his benefactor's attempt, but he doubted then as he doubted now that there is a way to soothe anyone who realizes the journey of the dreaming body.

There was no doubt in my mind now. Something in me had traveled the distance between the cities of Oaxaca, Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona. I felt a strange relief, as if I had been purged of guilt at long last.

During the years I had spent with don Juan, I had had lapses of continuity in my memory. My being in Tucson with him on that day was one of those lapses. I remembered not being able to recall how I had gotten to Tucson. I did not pay any attention to it, however. I thought the lapse was the result of my activities with don Juan. He was always very careful not to arouse my rational suspicions in states of normal awareness, but if suspicions were unavoidable he always curtly explained them away by suggesting that the nature of our activities fostered serious disparities of memory.

I told don Juan that since both of us had ended up that day in the same place, I wondered whether it was possible for two or more people to wake up at the same dreaming position.

"Of course," he said. "That's the way the old Toltec sorcerers took off into the unknown in packs. They followed one another. There is no way of knowing how one follows someone else. It's just done. The dreaming body just does it. The presence of another dreamer spurs it to do it. That day you pulled me with you. And I followed because I wanted to be with you."

I had so many questions to ask him, but every one of them seemed superfluous.

"How is it possible that I didn't remember the nagual woman?" I muttered, and a horrible anguish and longing gripped me. I was trying not to feel sad anymore, but suddenly sadness ripped through me like pain.

"You still don't remember her," he said. "Only when your assemblage point shifts can you recollect her. She is like a phantom to you, and so are you to her. You've seen her once while you were in normal awareness, but she's never seen you in her normal awareness. To her you are as much a personage as she is to you. With the difference that you may wake up someday and integrate it all. You may have enough time to do that, but she won't. Her time here is short."

I felt like protesting a terrible injustice. I mentally prepared a barrage of objections, but I never voiced them. Don Juan's smile was beaming. His eyes shone with sheer glee and mischief. I had the sensation that he was waiting for my statements, because he knew what I was going to say. And that sensation stopped me, or rather I did not say anything because my assemblage point had again moved by itself. And I knew then that the nagual woman could not be pitied for not having time, nor could I rejoice for having it.

Don Juan was reading me like a book. He urged me to finish my realization and voice the reason for not feeling sorry or for not rejoicing. I felt for an instant that I knew why. But then I lost the thread.

"The excitation of having time is equal to the excitation of not having it," he said. "It's all the same."

"To feel sad is not the same as feeling sorry " I said. "And I feel terribly sad."

"Who cares about sadness?" he said. "Think only of the mysteries; mystery is all that matters. We are living beings; we have to die and relinquish our awareness. But if we could change just a tinge of that, what mysteries must await us! What mysteries!"
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:59 am

Breaking the Barrier of Perception

In the late afternoon, still in Oaxaca, don Juan and I strolled around the square leisurely. As we approached his favorite bench the people who were sitting there got up and left. We hurried over to it and sat down.

"We've come to the end of my explanation of awareness," he said. "And today, you are going to assemble another world by yourself and leave all doubts aside forever.

"There must be no mislake about what you are going to do. Today, from the vantage point of heightened awareness, you are going to make your assemblage point move and in one instant you are going to align the emanations of another world.

"In a few days, when Genaro and I meet you on a mountaintop, you are going to do the same from the disadvantage of normal awareness. You will have to align the emanations of another world on a moment's notice; if you don't you will die the death of an average man who falls from a precipice."

He was alluding to an act that he would have me perform as the last of his teachings for the right side: the act of jumping from a mountaintop into an abyss.

Don Juan stated that warriors ended their training when they were capable of breaking the barrier of perception, unaided, starting from a normal state of awareness. The nagual led warriors to that threshold, but success was up to the individual. The nagual merely tested them by continually pushing them to fend for themselves.

"The only force that can temporarily cancel out alignment is alignment," he continued. "You will have to cancel the alignment that keeps you perceiving the world of daily affairs. By inlending a new position for your assemblage point and by intending to keep it fixed there long enough, you will assemble another world and escape this one.

"The old seers are still defying death, to this day, by doing just that, intending their assemblage points to remain fixed on positions that place them in any of the seven worlds."

"What will happen if I succeed in aligning another world?" I asked.

"You will go to it," he replied. "As Genaro did, one night in this very place when he was showing you the mystery of alignment."

"Where will I be, don Juan?"

"In another world, of course. Where else?"

"What about the people around me, and the buildings, and the mountains, and everything else?"

"You'll be separated from all that by the very barrier that you have broken: the barrier of perception. And just like the seers who have buried themselves to defy death, you won't be in this world."

There was a battle raging inside me as I heard his statements. Some part of me clamored that don Juan's position was untenable, while another part knew beyond any question that he was right.

I asked him what would happen if I moved my assemblage point while I was in the street, in the middle of traffic in Los Angeles.

"Los Angeles will vanish, like a puff of air," he replied with a serious expression. "But you will remain.

"That is the mystery I've been trying to explain to you. You've experienced it, but you haven't understood it yet, and today you will."

He said that I could not as yet use the boost of the earth to shift into another great band of emanations, but that since I had an imperative need to shift, that need was going to serve me as a launcher.

Don Juan looked up at the sky. He stretched his arms above his head as if he had been sitting for too long and was pushing physical weariness out of his body. He commanded me to turn off my internal dialogue and enter into inner silence. Then he stood up and began to walk away from the square; he signaled me to follow him. He took a deserted side street. I recognized it as being the same street where Genaro had given me his demonstration of alignment. The moment I recollected that, I found myself walking with don Juan in a place that by then was very familiar to me: a deserted plain with yellow dunes of what seemed to be sulfur.

I recalled then that don Juan had made me perceive that world hundreds of times. I also recalled that beyond the desolate landscape of the dunes there was another world shining with an exquisite, uniform, pure white light.

When don Juan and I entered into it this time, I sensed that the light, which came from every direction, was not an invigorating light, but was so soothing that it gave me the feeling that it was sacred.

As that sacred light bathed me a rational thought exploded in my inner silence. I thought it was quite possible that mystics and saints had made this journey of the assemblage point. They had seen God in the mold of man. They had seen hell in the sulfur dunes. And then they had seen the glory of heaven in the diaphanous light.

My rational thought burned out almost immediately under the onslaughts of what I was perceiving. My awareness was taken by a multitude of shapes, figures of men, women, and children of all ages, and other incomprehensible apparitions gleaming with a blinding white light.

I saw don Juan, walking by my side, staring at me and not at the apparitions, but the next instant I saw him as a ball of luminosity, bobbing up and down a few feet away from me. The ball made an abrupt and frightening movement and came closer to me and I saw inside it.

Don Juan was working his glow of awareness for my benefit. The glow suddenly shone on four or five threadlike filaments on his left side. It remained fixed there. All my concentration was on it; something pulled me slowly as if through a tube and I saw the allies -- three dark, long, rigid figures agitated by a tremor, like leaves in a breeze. They were against an almost fluorescent pink background. The moment I focused my eyes on them, they came to where I was, not walking or gliding or flying, but by pulling themselves along some fibers of whiteness that came out of me. The whiteness was not a light or a glow but lines that seemed to be drawn with heavy powder chalk. They disintegrated quickly, yet not quickly enough. The allies were on me before the lines faded away.

They crowded me. I became annoyed, and the allies immediately moved away as if I had chastised them. I felt sorry for them, and my feeling pulled them back instantly. And they again came and rubbed themselves against me. I saw then something I had seen in the mirror at the stream. The allies had no inner glow. They had no inner mobility. There was no life in them. And yet they were obviously alive. They were strange grotesque shapes that resembled zippered-up sleeping bags. The thin line in the middle of their elongated shapes made them look as if they had been sewed up.

They were not pleasing figures. The sensation that they were totally alien to me made me feel uncomfortable, impatient. I saw that the three allies were moving as if they were jumping up and down; there was a faint glow inside them. The glow grew in intensity until, in at least one of the allies, it was quite brilliant.

The instant I saw that, I was facing a black world. I do not mean that it was dark as night is dark. It was rather that everything around me was pitch-black. I looked up at the sky and I could not find light anywhere. The sky was also black and literally covered with lines and irregular circles of various degrees of blackness. The sky looked like a black piece of wood where the grain showed in relief.

I looked down at the ground. It was fluffy. It seemed to be made of flakes of agar-agar; they were not dull flakes, but they were not shiny either. It was something in between, which I had never seen in my life: black agar-agar.

I heard then the voice of seeing. It said that my assemblage point had assembled a total world with other great bands of emanations: a black world.

I wanted to absorb every word I was hearing; in order to do that I had to split my concentration. The voice stopped; my eyes became focused again. I was standing with don Juan just a few blocks away from the square.

I instantly felt that I had no time to rest, that it would be useless to indulge in being shocked. I rallied all my strength and asked don Juan if I had done what he had expected.

"You did exactly what you were expected to do," he said reassuringly. "Let's go back to the square and stroll around it one more time, for the last time in this world."

I refused to think about don Juan's leaving, so I asked him about the black world. I had vague recollections of having seen it before.

"It's the easiest world to assemble," he said. "And of all you've experienced, only the black world is worth considering. It is the only true alignment of another great band you have ever made. Everything else has been a lateral shift along man's band, but still within the same great band. The wall of fog, the plain with yellow dunes, the world of the apparitions -- all are lateral alignments that our assemblage points make as they approach a crucial position."

He explained as we walked back to the square that one of the strange qualities of the black world is that it does not have the same emanations that account for time in our world. They are different emanations that produce a different result. Seers that journey into the black world feel that they have been in it for an eternity, but in our world that turns out to be an instant.

"The black world is a dreadful world because it ages the body," he said emphatically.

I asked him to clarify his statements. He slowed down his pace and looked at me. He reminded me that Genaro, in his direct way, had tried to point that out to me once, when he told me that we had plodded in hell for an eternity while not even a minute had passed in the world we know.

Don Juan remarked that in his youth he had become obsessed with the black world. He had wondered, in front of his benefactor, about what would happen to him if he went into it and stayed there for a while. But as his benefactor was not given to explanations, he had simply plunged don Juan into the black world to let him find out for himself.

"The nagual Julian's power was so extraordinary," don Juan continued, "that it took me days to come back from that black world."

"You mean it took you days to return your assemblage point to its normal position, don't you?" I asked.

"Yes. I mean that," he said.

He explained that in the few days that he was lost in the black world he aged at least ten years, if not more. The emanations inside his cocoon felt the strain of years of solitary struggle.

Silvio Manuel was a totally different case. The nagual Julian also plunged him into the unknown, but Silvio Manuel assembled another world with another set of bands, a world also without the emanations of time but one which has the opposite effect on seers. He disappeared for seven years and yet he felt he had been gone only a moment.

"To assemble other worlds is not only a matter of practice, but a matter of intent," he continued. "And it isn't merely an exercise of bouncing out of those worlds, like being pulled by a rubber band. You see, a seer has to be daring. Once you break the barrier of perception, you don't have to come back to the same place in the world. See what I mean?"

It slowly dawned on me what he was saying. I had an almost invincible desire to laugh at such a preposterous idea, but before the idea coalesced into a certainty, don Juan spoke to me and disrupted what I was about to remember.

He said that for warriors the danger of assembling other worlds is that those worlds are as possessive as our world. The force of alignment is such that once the assemblage point breaks away from its normal position, it becomes fixed at other positions, by other alignments. And warriors run the risk of getting stranded in inconceivable aloneness.

The inquisitive, rational part of me commented that I had seen him in the black world as a ball of luminosity. It was possible, therefore, to be in that world with people.

"Only if people follow you around by moving their own assemblage points when you move yours," he replied. "I shifted mine in order to be with you; otherwise you would have been there alone with the allies."

We stopped walking, and don Juan said that it was time for me to go.

"I want you to bypass all lateral shifts," he said, "and go directly to the next total world: the black world. In a couple of days you'll have to do the same thing by yourself. You won't have time to piddle around. You'll have to do it in order to escape death."

He said that breaking the barrier of perception is the culmination of everything seers do. From the moment that barrier is broken, man and his fate take on a different meaning for warriors. Because of the transcendental importance of breaking that barrier, the new seers use the act of breaking it as a final test. The test consists of jumping from a mountaintop into an abyss while in a state of normal awareness. If the warrior jumping into the abyss does not erase the daily world and assemble another one before he reaches bottom, he dies.

"What you are going to do is to make this world vanish," he went on, "but you are going to remain somewhat yourself. This is the ultimate bastion of awareness, the one the new seers count on. They know that after they burn with consciousness, they somewhat retain the sense of being themselves."

He smiled and pointed to a street that we could see from where we were standing -- the street where Genaro had shown me the mysteries of alignment.

"That street, like any other, leads to eternity," he said. "All you have to do is follow it in total silence. It's time. Go now! Go!"

He turned around and walked away from me. Genaro was waiting for him at the corner. Genaro waved at me and then made a gesture of urging me to come on. Don Juan kept on walking without turning to look. Genaro joined him. I started to follow them, but I knew that it was wrong. Instead, I went in the opposite direction. The street was dark, lonely, and bleak. I did not indulge in feelings of failure or inadequacy. I walked in inner silence. My assemblage point was moving at great speed. I saw the three allies. The line of their middle made them look as if they were smiling sideways. I felt that I was being frivolous. And then a windlike force blew the world away.
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Re: The Fire From Within, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:59 am

Epilogue

A couple of days later, all the nagual's party and all the apprentices got together on the flat mountaintop don Juan had told me about.

Don Juan said that each of the apprentices had already said goodbye to everybody, and that all of us were in a state of awareness that admitted no sentimentalism. For us, he said, there was only action. We were warriors in a state of total war.

Everyone, with the exception of don Juan, Genaro, Pablito, Nestor, and me, moved a short distance away from the flat mountaintop, in order to allow Pablito, Nestor, and me privacy to enter into a state of normal awareness.

But before we did, don Juan took us by the arms and walked us around the flat top.

"In a moment, you're going to infend the movement of your assemblage points," he said. "And no one will help you. You are now alone. You must remember then that intent begins with a command.

"The old seers used to say that if warriors are going to have an internal dialogue, they should have the proper dialogue. For the old seers that meant a dialogue about sorcery and the enhancement of their selfreflection. For the new seers, it doesn't mean dialogue, but the detached manipulation of intent through sober commands."

He said over and over again that the manipulation of intent begins with a command given to oneself; the command is then repeated until it becomes the Eagle's command, and then the assemblage point shifts, accordingly, the moment warriors reach inner silence.

The fact that such a maneuver is possible, he said, is something of the most singular importance to seers, old and new alike, but for reasons diametrically opposed. Knowing about it allowed the old seers to move their assemblage point to inconceivable dreaming positions in the incommensurable unknown; for the new seers it means refusing to be food, it means escaping the Eagle by moving their assemblage points to a particular dreaming position called total freedom.

He explained that the old seers discovered that it is possible to move the assemblage point to the limit of the known and keep it fixed there in a state of prime heightened awareness. From that position, they saw the feasibility of slowly shifting their assemblage points permanently to other positions beyond that limit -- a stupendous feat fraught with daring but lacking sobriety, for they could never retract the movement of their assemblage points, or perhaps they never wanted to.

Don Juan said that adventurous men, faced with the choice of dying in the world of ordinary affairs or dying in unknown worlds, will unavoidably choose the latter, and that the new seers, realizing that their predecessors had chosen merely to change the locale of their death, came to understand the futility of it all; the futility of struggling to control their fellow men, the futility of assembling other worlds, and, above all, the futility of self-importance.

One of the most fortunate decisions that the new seers made, he said, was never to allow their assemblage points to move permanently to any position other than heightened awareness. From that position, they actually resolved their dilemma of futility and found out that the solution is not simply to choose an alternate world in which to die, but to choose total consciousness, total freedom.

Don Juan commented that by choosing total freedom, the new seers unwittingly continued in the tradition of their predecessors and became the quintessence of the death defiers.

He explained that the new seers discovered that if the assemblage point is made to shift constantly to the confines of the unknown, but is made to return to a position at the limit of the known, then when it is suddenly released it moves like lightning across the entire cocoon of man, aligning all the emanations inside the cocoon at once.

"The new seers burn with the force of alignment," don Juan went on, "with the force of will, which they have turned into the force of intent through a life of impeccability. Intent is the alignment of all the amber emanations of awareness, so it is correct to say that total freedom means total awareness."

"Is that what all of you are going to do, don Juan?" I asked.

"We most certainly will, if we have sufficient energy," he replied. "Freedom is the Eagle's gift to man. Unfortunately, very few men understand that all we need, in order to accept such a magnificent gift, is to have sufficient energy.

"If that's all we need, then, by all means, we must become misers of energy."

After that, don Juan made us enter into a state of normal awareness. At dusk, Pablito, Nestor, and I jumped into the abyss. And don Juan and the nagual's party burned with the fire from within. They entered into total awareness, for they had sufficient energy to accept the mind-boggling gift of freedom.

Pablito, Nestor, and I didn't die at the bottom of that gorge -- and neither did the other apprentices who had jumped at an earlier time -- because we never reached it; all of us, under the impact of such a tremendous and incomprehensible act as jumping to our deaths, moved our assemblage points and assembled other worlds.

We know now that we were left to remember heightened awareness and to regain the totality of ourselves. And we also know that the more we remember, the more intense our elation, our wondering, but also the greater our doubts, our turmoil.

So far, it is as if we were left only to be tantalized by the most far-reaching questions about the nature and the fate of man, until the time when we may have sufficient energy not only to verify everything don Juan taught us, but also to accept the Eagle's gift ourselves.
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