How the Carlos Castanedas books affected my life (Part I – An Overview)
When I was 19, the summer before my Junior year of college, I went to Maui with my parents and came across the books ‘The Sorcerer’s Crossing: A Woman’s Journey’ by Taisha Abelar and ‘The Handbook for Higher Consciousness’ by Ken Keyes, Jr. After the trip, back at my parents’ house, I found Carlos Castanedas’s first book – ‘Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way ofKnowledge’ on my mom’s bookshelf. An interesting coincidence since I’d finished the book of his disciple, Taisha (she went by many other names I came to find out), a few days earlier on the plane.
The book interested me because its study of power plants (I was quite enamored with cannabis at the time), but I don’t think I was aware of the connection between Carlos and Taisha at the time. Carlos’s book was disappointingly dry and read like the doctoral dissertation in anthropology that it began as (or actually was – I’m not sure). The entire second half of the book listed research references and was even drier than the first half, in which he recounted his encounters with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer (Nagual) named Don Juan Matus. But, the concepts described in the book resonated in me deeply and plucked a cord of awareness that had been resting quietly, only virtually present, waiting for its opportunity to oscillate into existence.
A few months later, after an awkward break-up and a jarring motorcycle accident, I moved into the boarding house with you (Kimberly Jane Bennett), and my unraveling began. Let’s circle back to the details of that year in later questions – k?
Throughout my twenties, I proceeded to read all of the Carlos Castanedas books which were written as a layered tapestry of different teachings by his Toltec teachers, Don Juan and Don Genero, and the related ‘magical happenings’ that occurred. Carlos remembered these encounters with his naguals (masters of existential sorcery) as disjointed waves of perception that occurred over the same period of time, and he recounted his experiences in varying levels of detail in each subsequent book.
I am going to discuss these different teachings and levels of understanding in installments (most likely not consecutive). A summary of the basic concepts is listed below, all of which need to be performed in order to SEE and DREAM, which form the realm of the 2nd ATTENTION.
Losing Self Importance – The process of unraveling the ego – a necessary transformation to release the energy which binds us to our dense existence as a physical, socialized being with needs and expectations.
Controlled Folly – Performing an action with the utmost tenacity and intent in achieving a beneficial outcome, but not caring whether or not you are ultimately successful. Like play acting your life as an expert actor, with full knowledge that you are just a character.
Not Doing – Choosing to perform an action in a manner that is not consistent with your character. Or to do anything that is out of the ordinary in order to expand the boundaries of your established personality.
Erasing Personal History – The act of loosening your connection with elements of the past that served to define the filters of perception through which you view reality. It is the act of rebirth – the becoming of a new self with no prior baggage to define your identity.
Recapitulation – The process of cataloging the events of your past that you remember as “defining moments” in the development of your filters of perception, and then recounting them, in exhaustive detail, while performing specific movements and breathing techniques in order to release the strength of their lingering impact.
Petty Tyrants – They are psychic vampires - those people in your life that try your patience or attempt to dominate you by stealing your personal power. These people should be viewed as gifts from the universe, opportunities to exercise your will and overcome their psychic vacuum.
Moving the Assemblage Point – Shifting your awareness away from the usual filters though which you view reality.
Power Plants – Plants (such as cannabis) which move the assemblage point without having to perform the exercises listed above – they should be used sparingly – only to shock you into realizing that it is possible to view your existence in different (less restrictive) ways.
Affirmations from the Universe – Signs from the universe begin to appear when your energy levels have reached the level necessary to notice these affirmations. They are not messages, just cosmic inside jokes, similar to somebody saying ‘testify’ after you’ve said something particularly profound.