Advice from the Works of Carlos Castaneda
Compiled by Chris Ullman
I have read every single one of Carlos Castaneda's books, and I find them to be
the single-most compelling works on the subject of sorcery - which is really the personal quest for
total spiritual evolution and complete freedom of mind, body and spirit - that I have ever read...
below you will find some rare nuggets of practical advice on the subject, passed on
to Carlos Castaneda by his mentor, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus...
Pat Chalfant is now making
her considerable psychic talents
available over your telephone,
by offering psychic phone readings
to her web site visitors...
"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 a warrior understands all of that, it will indeed be a godsent example of the strength that I am talking about. At that point his assemblage point will have shifted, it will have been moved by sobriety to a position that fosters understanding, instead of being moved by capriciousness, to a position that only enhances self-importance." -----
"The first gate of dreaming is a threshold we must cross by becoming aware of a particular sensation before deep sleep. A sensation which is like a pleasant heaviness that doesn't let us open our eyes. We reach that gate the instant we become aware that we're falling asleep, suspended in darkness and heaviness. There are no steps to follow. One just intends to become aware of falling asleep." -----
"The goal of dreaming is to intend the energy body. In this particular instance, since we're talking about the first gate of dreaming, the goal of dreaming is to intend that your energy body becomes aware that you are falling asleep. Don't try to force yourself to be aware of falling asleep. Let your energy body do it. To intend is to wish without wishing, to do without doing. Accept the challenge of intending. Put your silent determination, without a single thought, into convincing yourself that you have reached your energy body and that you are a dreamer. Doing this will automatically put you in the position to be aware that you are falling asleep." -----
"To ask a dreamer to find a determined item in his dreams is a subterfuge. The real issue is to become aware that one is falling asleep. And, strange as it may seem, that doesn't happen by commanding oneself to be aware that one is falling asleep but by sustaining the sight of whatever one is looking at in a dream." -----
"The difference between the dreaming attention and the second attention is that the second attention is like an ocean, and the dreaming attention is like a river feeding into it. The second attention is the condition of being aware of total worlds, total like our world is total, while the dreaming attention is the condition of being aware of the items of our dreams." -----
"The most astounding thing that happens to dreamers is that, on reaching the first gate, they also reach the energy body." -----
"Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. This is most obvious in our endless worry about the presentation of the self, about whether or not we are admired or liked or acknowledged. If we are capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things happen to us. One, we free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and, two, we provide ourselves with enough energy to enter into the second attention to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe." -----
"The old sorcerers' rationale behind the recapitulation was their conviction that there is an inconceivable dissolving force in the universe, which makes organisms live by lending them awareness. That force also makes organisms die, in order to extract the same lent awareness, which organisms have enhanced through their life experiences. The old sorcerers believed that since it is our life experience this force is after, it is of supreme importance that it can be satisfied with a facsimile of our life experience: the recapitulation. Having had what it seeks, the dissolving force then lets sorcerers go, free to expand their capacity to perceive and reach with it the confines of time and space." -----
"Be impeccable. I have told you this dozens of times. To be impeccable means to put your life on the line in order to back up your decisions, and then to do quite a lot more than your best to realize those decisions. When you are not deciding anything, you are merely playing roulette with your life in a helter-skelter way." -----
"What comes next is a sorcerer's gem, the real task; seeing energy in your dreaming with your energy body. Dreamers have a rule of thumb. If their energy body is complete, they see energy every time they gaze at an item in the daily world. In dreams, if they see the energy of an item, they know they are dealing with a real world, no matter how distorted that world may appear to their dreaming attention. If they can't see the energy of an item, they are in an ordinary dream and not in a real world." -----
"I propose that you do one nonsensical thing that might turn the tide. Repeat to yourself incessantly that the hinge of sorcery is the mystery of the assemblage point. If you repeat this to yourself long enough, some unseen force takes over and makes the appropriate changes in you." -----
"Since dreamers touch and enter real worlds of all-inclusive effects, they ought to be in a permanent state of the most intense and sustained alertness; any deviation from total alertness imperils the dreamer in ways more than dreadful.
Regard dreaming as something extremely dangerous. And begin that now." -----
"Faithfully and daily repeat what I asked you to repeat, that everything in sorcery rests on the manipulation of the assemblage point. The results of your litany-like invocation will be incredible. It has the same effect on one's awareness that exercise has on the muscles of the body. Your assemblage point becomes more agile, which means that seeing energy in dreaming becomes the sole goal of your practices. A moment then comes when you are able just to intend seeing, without saying a word, and actually experience the same result as when you voice out loud your intent to see." -----
"One of the strangest things dreamers find, which you yourself will find, is this third type of scout. The most ferocious scout hides behind people in our dreams. It's annoying that they are always associated with the dream images of our parents or close friends. Perhaps that's why we often feel ill at ease when we dream of them. A rule of thumb for dreamers is to assume that the third type of scout is present whenever they feel perturbed by their parents or friends in a dream. Sound advice is to avoid those dream images. They are sheer poison. The deadly scouts of the third type are bright orange. " -----
"The use of awareness as an energetic element of our environment is the essence of sorcery. In terms of practicalities, the trajectory of sorcery is, first, to free the existing energy in us by impeccably following the sorcerers' path; second, to use that energy to develop the energy body by means of dreaming; and, third, to use awareness as an element of the environment in order to enter with the energy body and all our physicality into other worlds." -----
"Since they entered into that world with all their physicality, the fixation of their assemblage points on the position preselected by the inorganic beings was so overpowering that it created a sort of fog that obliterated any memory of the world they came from. The natural consequence of such an immobility, is that the dreamer's assemblage point cannot return to its habitual position. Think about this. Perhaps this is exactly what is happening to all of us in the world of daily life. We are here, and the fixation of our assemblage point is so overpowering that it has made us forget where we came from, and what our purpose was for coming here. The task is to sneak by the inorganic beings, not be run by them." -----
"The position in which one places the body is of utmost importance. Start your dreaming by lying on your right side, with your knees a bit bent. The discipline is to maintain that position and fall asleep in it. In dreaming, then, the exercise is to dream that you lie down in exactly the same position and fall asleep again. It makes the assemblage point stay put, and I mean really stay put, in whatever position it is at the instant of that second falling asleep. The result of this exercise is total perception. The four variations of the exercise are to fall asleep lying on the right side, the left, the back, and the stomach. Then in dreaming the exercise is to dream of falling asleep a second time in the same position as the dreaming had been started." -----
"Whole populations disappeared dreaming like that. It's possible because they visualized and then re-created in dreaming the same scenery. To cross the fourth gate and travel to places that exist only in someone else's intent is perilous, since every item in such a dream has to be an ultimately personal item." -----
"The essence of my explanation is that if you were, for instance, dreaming of your hometown and your dream had started when you lay down on your right side, you could very easily stay in the town of your dream if you would lie on your right side, in the dream, and dream that you had fallen asleep. The second dream not only would necessarily be a dream of your hometown, but would be the most concrete dream one can imagine. The only way to have absolute control of dreams is to use the technique of the twin positions. And don't ask me why. It just happens. Like everything else." -----
"The secret of the twin positions is that the second dream is intending in the second attention: the only way to cross the fourth gate of dreaming. To make a dream an all-inclusive reality is the art of the old sorcerers. This is dreaming. You should know by now that its transactions are final." - above excerpts are from "The Art of Dreaming" by Carlos Castaneda
"You must learn how to stop your internal dialogue at will. At the beginning of our association I delineated another procedure: walking for long stretches without focusing the eyes on anything. My recommendation was to not look at anything directly but, by slightly crossing the eyes, to keep a peripheral view of everything that presented itself to the eyes. If one keeps one's unfocused eyes fixed at a point just above the horizon, it is possible to notice, at once, everything in almost the total 180-degree range in front of one's eyes. That exercise is the only way of shutting off the internal dialogue.
"The internal dialogue is what grounds us. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about it as being such and such or so and so. The passageway into the world of sorcerers opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off the internal dialogue.
"To change our idea of the world is the crux of sorcery, and stopping the internal dialogue is the only way to accomplish it. The rest is just padding. Nothing of what we do, with the exception of stopping the internal dialogue, can by itself change anything in us, or in our idea of the world." -----
"It is not advisable for you to indulge in focusing your attention on past events. We may touch on them, but only in reference." -----
"Never dwell on past events except in reference. To emphasize them would mean to take away from the importance of what's taking place now. A warrior cannot possibly afford to do that." -----
"There are three kinds of bad habits which we use over and over when confronted with unusual life situations. First, we may disregard what's happening or has happened and feel as if it had never occurred. That one is the bigot's way. Second, we may accept everything at its face value and feel as if we know what's going on. That's the pious man's way. Third, we may become obsessed with an event because either we cannot disregard it or we cannot accept it wholeheartedly. That's the fool's way. There is a fourth, the correct one, the warrior's way. A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn't believe in anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value. He accepts without accepting and disregards without disregarding. He never feels as if he knows, neither does he feel as if nothing had ever happened. He acts as if he is in control, even though he might be shaking in his boots. To act in such a manner dissipates obsession." -----
"Impeccability is to do your best in whatever you're engaged in. The key to all these matters of impeccability is the sense of having or not having time. As a rule of thumb, when you feel and act like an immortal being that has all the time in the world you are not impeccable; at those times you should turn, look around, and then you will realize that your feeling of having time is an idiocy. There are no survivors on this earth!" -----
"By now there is no way for you to recollect the immense effort that you needed to establish self-pity as a feature of your island. Self-pity bore witness to everything you did. It was just at your fingertips, ready to advise you. Death is considered by a warrior to be a more amenable adviser, which can also be brought to bear witness on everything one does, just like self-pity, or wrath. Obviously, after an untold struggle you have learned to feel sorry for yourself. But you can also learn, in the same way, to feel your impending end, and thus you can learn to have the idea of your death at your fingertips. As an adviser, self-pity is nothing in comparison to death." -----
"The crux of sorcery is the internal dialogue; that is the key to everything. When a warrior learns to stop it, everything becomes possible; the most farfetched schemes become attainable." - above excerpts are from "Tales of Power" by Carlos Castaneda
"In order to find the proper place to rest all one has to do is to cross the eyes. The technique takes years to perfect. It consists of gradually forcing your eyes to see separately the same image. The lack of image conversion entails a double perception of the world; this double perception allows one the opportunity of judging changes in the surroundings, which the eyes are ordinarily incapable of perceiving.
"Looking in short glances allows the eyes to pick out unusual sights. They are not sights proper, they are more like feelings. If you look at a bush or a tree or a rock where you may like to rest, your eyes can make you feel whether or not that's the best resting place. I don't care what you see. How you feel is the important issue. It takes a long time to train the eyes properly. The trick is to feel with your eyes. Your problem now is that you don't know what to feel. It'll come to you, though, with practice.
"No one can tell you what you are supposed to feel. It is not heat, or light, or glare, or color. It is something else. Once you learn to separate the images and see two of everything you must focus your attention in the area between the two images. Any change worthy of notice would take place there, in that area. The feeling that you get is what counts. I can't tell you how to feel. You must learn that yourself." -----
"You have no time, my friend, no time. None of us have time. Don't just agree with me. Act upon it. What I recommend you to do is to notice that we do not have any assurance that our lives will go on indefinitely. Change comes suddenly and unexpectedly, and so does death. There are some people who are very careful about the nature of their acts. Their happiness is to act with the full knowledge that they don't have time; therefore, their acts have a peculiar power.
"Acts have power. Especially when the person acting knows that those acts are his last battle. There is a strange consuming happiness in acting with the full knowledge that whatever one is doing may very well be one's last act on earth. I recommend that you reconsider your life and bring your acts into that light.
"You don't have time, my friend. That is the misfortune of human beings. None of us have sufficient time. Your acts cannot possibly have the flair, the power, the compelling force of the acts performed by a man who knows that he is fighting his last battle on earth.
"We are all going to die. There is something out there waiting for me, for sure; and I will join it, also for sure. Use it. Focus your attention on the link between you and your death, without remorse or sadness or worrying. Focus your attention on the fact you don't have time and let your acts flow accordingly. Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth. Only under those conditions will your acts have their rightful power. Otherwise they will be, for as long as you live, the acts of a timid man. There is no time for timidity, simply because timidity makes you cling to something that exists only in your thoughts. It soothes you while everything is at a lull, but then the awesome, mysterious world will open its mouth for you, as it will open for every one of us, and then you will realize that your sure ways were not sure at all. Being timid prevents us from examining and exploiting our lot as men.
"Our death is waiting and this very act we're performing now may well be our last battle on earth. I call it a battle because it is a struggle. Most people move from act to act without any struggle or thought. A hunter, on the contrary, assesses every act; and since he has an intimate knowledge of his death, he proceeds judiciously, as if every act were his last battle.
"Only a fool would fail to notice the advantage a hunter has over his fellow men. A hunter gives his last battle its due respect. It's only natural that his last act on earth should be the best of himself. It's pleasurable that way. It dulls the edge of his fright." -----
"I've told you never to carry anything in your hands when you walk. Get a knapsack." -----
"I've told you that the secret of a strong body is not in what you do to it but what you don't do. Now it is time for you not to do what you always do.
"Practice not-doing by looking at a tree or bush; fix your attention not on the leaves but on the shadows of the leaves. Running in the darkness does not have to be spurred by fear but can be a very natural reaction of a jubilant body that knows how to not-do.
"To not-do what you know how to do is the key to power. In the case of looking at a tree or bush, what you know how to do is to focus immediately on the foliage. The shadows of the leaves or the spaces in between the leaves are never your concern. Start focusing on the shadows of the leaves on one single branch and then eventually work your way to the whole tree, and don't let your eyes go back to the leaves, because the first deliberate step to storing personal power is to allow the body to not-do. The body likes things like this. You can stop the world using this technique. Once you have succeeded, you must work as if nothing has happened to you and don't mention or even be concerned with any of the events you have experienced." -----
"You should not have remorse for anything you have done, because to isolate one's acts as being mean, or ugly, or evil is to place an unwarranted importance on the self. Well-being is a condition one has to groom, a condition one has to become acquainted with in order to seek it. You don't know what well-being is, because you have never experienced it. Well-being is an achievement one has to deliberately seek.
"In order to accomplish the feat of making yourself miserable you have to work in a most intense fashion. It is absurd you have never realized you could work just the same in making yourself complete and strong. The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." -----
"Now, in order to stop the world you must stop doing. In the case of this little rock, the first thing which doing does to it is to shrink it to this size. So the proper thing to do, which a warrior does if he wants to stop the world, is to enlarge a little rock, or any other thing, by not-doing.
"Look at the holes and depressions in the pebble and try to pick out the minute detail in them. If you can pick out the detail, the holes and depressions will disappear and you will understand what not-doing means.
"Doing makes you separate the pebble from the larger boulder. If you want to learn not-doing, let's say that you have to join them. See the small shadow that the pebble cast on the boulder. It is not a shadow but a glue which binds them together. A warrior can tell all kinds of things from the shadows.
"A warrior always tries to affect the force of doing by changing it into not-doing. Doing would be to leave the pebble lying around because it is merely a small rock. Not-doing would be to proceed with that pebble as if it were something far beyond a mere rock.
"Is all this true? To say yes or no to that question is doing. But since you are learning not-doing I have to tell you that it really doesn't matter whether or not all this is true. It is here that a warrior has a point of advantage over the average man." -----
"When searching for a resting place one has to look without focusing but in observing shadows one has to cross the eyes and yet keep a sharp image in focus. The idea is to let one shadow be superimposed on the other by crossing the eyes. Through this process one can ascertain a certain feeling which emanates from shadows.
"Dreaming is the not-doing of dreams, and as you progress in your not-doing you will also progress in dreaming. The trick is not to stop looking for your hands, even if you don't believe that what you are doing has any meaning. In fact, as I have told you before, a warrior doesn't need to believe, because as long as he keeps on acting without believing he is not-doing.
"If you tackle not-doing directly, you yourself will know what to do in dreaming." -----
"You may go any place you wish, but if you do, you must assume the full responsibility for that act. A warrior lives his life strategically. When he has to act with his fellow men, a warrior follows the doing of strategy, and in that doing there are no victories or defeats. In that doing there are only actions. The doing of strategy entails that one is not at the mercy of people." -----
"Nothing is gained by forcing an issue. If you want to survive you must be crystal clear and deadly sure of yourself." - above excerpts are from "Journey to Ixtlan" by Carlos Castaneda
"You think about yourself too much and that gives you a strange fatigue that makes you shut off the world around you and cling to your arguments." -----
"You must act like a warrior. One learns to act like a warrior by acting, not by talking. A warrior has only his will and his patience and with them he builds anything he wants. You have no more time for retreats or for regrets. You only have time to live like a warrior and work for patience and will." -----
"When a man embarks on the paths of sorcery he becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been forever left behind; that knowledge is indeed a frightening affair; that the means of the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and that he must adopt a new way of life if he is going to survive. The first thing he ought to do, at that point, is to want to become a warrior. The frightening nature of knowledge leaves one no alternative but to become a warrior." -----
"When a warrior has acquired patience he is on his way to will. He knows how to wait. His death sits with him on his mat, they are friends. His death advises him, in mysterious ways, how to choose, how to live strategically. And the warrior waits! I would say that the warrior learns without any hurry because he knows he is waiting for his will; and one day he succeeds in performing something ordinarily quite impossible to accomplish. He may not even notice his extraordinary deed. But as he keeps on performing impossible acts, or as impossible things keep on happening to him, he becomes aware that a sort of power is emerging. A power that comes out of his body as he progresses on the path of knowledge. He notices that he can actually touch anything he wants with a feeling that comes out of his body from a spot right below or right above his navel. That feeling is the will, and when he is capable of grabbing with it, one can rightfully say that the warrior is a sorcerer, and that he has acquired will."
"A man can go still further than that; a man can learn to see. Upon learning to see he no longer needs to live like a warrior, nor be a sorcerer. Upon learning to see a man becomes everything by becoming nothing. He, so to speak, vanishes and yet he's there. I would say that this is the time when a man can be or can get anything he desires. But he desires nothing, and instead of playing with his fellow men like they were toys, he meets them in the midst of their folly. The only difference between them is that a man who sees controls his folly, while his fellow men can't. A man who sees has no longer an active interest in his fellow men. Seeing has already detached him from absolutely everything he knew before." -----
"The world is such-and-such or so-and-so only because we tell ourselves that that is the way it is. If we stop telling ourselves that the world is so-and-so, the world will stop being so-and-so. You must start slowly to undo the world." - above excepts are from "A Separate Reality" by Carlos Castaneda
"Dissipating a mood through overanalyzing it wastes our power." -----
"In the final analysis every dreamer is different. There are, however, general states. Restful vigil is the preliminary state, a state in which the senses become dormant and yet one is aware.
"The second state is dynamic vigil. In this state one is left looking at a scene, a tableau of sorts, which is static. One sees a three-dimensional picture, a frozen bit of something--a landscape, a street, a house, a person, a face, anything.
"The third state is passive witnessing. In it the dreamer is no longer viewing a frozen bit of the world but is observing, eyewitnessing, an event as it occurs. It is as if the primacy of the visual and auditory senses makes this state of dreaming mainly an affair of the eyes and ears.
"The fourth state is the one in which you are drawn to act. In it one is compelled to enterprise, to take steps, to make the most of one's time. This state is called dynamic initiative." -----
"You have to look after someone and take care of them in a most selfish fashion--that is, as if they are your own self. Selfishness can be put to a grand use. To harness it is not impossible. The surest way to harness selfishness is through the daily activities of our lives.
"You are efficient in whatever you do because you have no one to bug the devil out of you. It is no challenge to you to soar like an arrow by yourself. If you are given the task of taking care of someone else, however, your independent effectiveness will go to pieces, and in order to survive you will have to extend your selfish concern for yourself to include the one under your care. You must honor them regardless of what they do to you, and you must train your body, through your interaction with them, to feel at ease in the face of the most trying situations.
"It is much easier to fare well under conditions of maximum stress than to be impeccable under normal circumstances, such as in the interplay with another under your care.
"Further, then, you cannot under any circumstances get angry with them, because they are indeed your benefactor; only through them will you be capable of harnessing your selfishness.
"You take care of them as a means of training yourself for the hardship of interaction with people. It is imperative that you internalize a mood of ease in the face of difficult social situations." -----
"The second attention serves the function of a beckoner, a caller of chances. The more it is exercised, the greater the possibility of getting the desired result. But that is also the function of attention in general, a function so taken for granted in our daily life that it has become unnoticeable; if we encounter a fortuitous occurrence we talk about it in terms of accident or coincidence, rather than in terms of our attention having beckoned the event." ----
"In order to shift into your dreaming body when awake you have to practice dreaming until it comes out your ears." -----
"There is a common error, that of overestimating the left-side awareness, of becoming dazzled by its clarity and power. To be in the left-side awareness does not mean that one is immediately liberated from one's folly--it only means an extended capacity for perceiving, and above all, a greater ability to forget." -----
"Warriors aim at succeeding, therefore they compress time. Warriors don't waste an instant." -----
"In the absence of self-importance, a warrior's only way of dealing with the social milieu is in terms of controlled folly. Deal with the world exclusively in terms of controlled folly." -----
"We're warriors, and warriors have only one thing in mind--their freedom. To die and be consumed by the Indescribable Force is no challenge. On the other hand, to sneak around the Indescribable Force and be free is the ultimate audacity." - above excerpts are from "The Eagle's Gift" by Carlos Castaneda
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