The Sorcerer’s Explanation

Some of you are paying much too much attention to your life, to the physicalness of it. You’re all winning and losing battles all the time when there’s really no such thing. These are just ideas in your mind, “I won today. I lost today. I had a good week. I had a bad week.”

You’re just consciousness moving through eternity.

You’re consciousness wearing yourself out, in a sense, because you’re putting yourself through all these strivings and little battles and everybody’s so achievement oriented, you see.

The battle of the self, which is not exactly a battle in my opinion, but if we were to phrase it that way, is not exactly won or lost in a week or a month or a year. It’s a continuous journey that we make. People who enjoy it and are committed to it grow into it as time goes on. Everybody’s on the journey, whether they’re studying formally or not. I mean, everybody out there is alive and growing and part of life. This [self-discovery] is just a different phase of that, it’s no more special than anything else.

That’s why, when people go through this big deal about, “I’m leaving Lakshmi. Oh, it’s such a traumatic event!” Not really. It’s just another part of life. This is like going to school. It’s not a traumatic event when you leave school. You go to school, then you go someplace else. It’s not a big deal unless you supercharge it yourself because that lends to your own self-importance. Then you can feel that everything in your life is a major event because you’re so important.

But when you don’t feel you’re so important all the time, then you can have a little more even attitude towards things.

Certain things demand willpower and you can’t be exactly mellow about everything, you have to be exacting and precise.

But there are times when you just have to accept something. If you accept, once you decide—and you may renegotiate your contract from time to time—but if you decide that you’re engaged in this process of self-discovery, it’s for the rest of your life.

Whether you have a teacher, whether you’re on your own, it’s just what you’ll always be doing. As long as you’re alive you’ll be looking into the self, into the mirror of the self, and seeing its many forms, because you’re a seeker.

Everybody’s doing that in one form or another as they live their lives. But that’s just what you do. Then you watch your life change, you watch it reorder.

Now, most people’s lives don’t reorder exactly the way yours do. In other words, for most people the reordering of a life is a marriage, moving, graduating from school, the death of a loved one, what one author called “passages.” Gail Sheehy wrote a book called Passages. The passages are transits that people go through in human life. And it’s interesting because everybody thinks they’re so unique and everybody is, I suppose, in a way. But yet these passages that we go through are—it’s an interesting book, I read it years ago—very similar.

At the age of 15 you’re forming the identity and going through the identity crisis. At the age of 30, at the age of 40—there’ll be some variance, of course, but it’s amazing, particularly after you’ve had a little bit of age to go through so you can compare notes, how standard the experiences that people have are.

Well, here we’re in a different perspective, naturally. Here you’ve all elected to pursue the study of meditation and self-discovery in a variety of different ways, working with a teacher. It’s like being in any school. It’s like studying computers or language or whatever.

We deal with two things. We deal with the world of your life, what don Juan would call the “tonal,” and we deal with the unknown, what he would call the “nagual,” what we’d call the “superconscious” if we were speaking more in spiritual terminology of a different type.

You will find that the transits that you go through are a little different than the transits that most people go through in the world. Or perhaps you just go through them much faster. But you will find that just as Gail Sheehy could write her little book, and it’s pretty accurate, actually—in other words, if you weren’t here meditating, if you were just sort of out there living, you would be amazed at how—if you were 50 and reading that book—you would find yourself in those various transits that she’s outlined. But when you’re in this process, of course, it changes.

The reason those transits occur is because a person is a construction of luminosity, of awarenesses that come together and join at a certain time which we call birth.

They will therefore go through certain changes until death and they separate again. Now, at the moment we’re not dealing with “before birth” and “after death.” In mysticism you really just deal with one life.

So, in your case, what we’re doing is reordering your parts; we’re rearranging the furniture in the house. Now, somebody will buy a home, they’ll set up the furniture and it’ll stay that way for the rest of their lives. Maybe they’ll take down a picture, put up a picture, maybe eventually they’ll get a new carpet. Or even more directly, the rooms will stay the same size in the house. The living room will always be one size, the kitchen another, even if they change their furniture. Let me zoom the analogy around. Maybe you can change the furniture but the room sizes will always be the same. The kitchen is 40’ by 25.’ The bedroom is 30’ by 20,’ you see? The yard is a certain size.

What we do in this process—I say “we” because it’s done together—is change the size of your rooms. We change the dimension of your house, which most people will never experience in their lifetime. They’ll have one order; they’ll change the furniture within that house, within that structure and it will always stay the same. The furniture will change but nothing structural will until they die, and at death, everything will, of course, go into a very different type of condition.

In self-discovery what we do is go inside someone and actually change their structure many, many, many times. It depends on the individual, it depends on the will of eternity, you might say, or the will of power. Consequently those little passages that we’d find in Ms. Sheehy’s book won’t apply to you.

But we could write a book about passages that take place in this process, and you’d find yourself in that one. They’re very standard, you hear them tonight.29 “Well, this week it was this and that.” “Well, I’m excited.” “Well, I’m frustrated.” “Well, I’m… ” These are all the passages that you’ll go through in this process. We’re creating selves, enjoying them for a while and letting them go, and then you actually change completely. Your luminosity reorders.

A person is made up of awarenesses. These awarenesses all exist in the unknown.

Now, of course, we’re moving to what don Juan calls “the sorcerer’s explanation,” or it’s the explanation of life.

All of the awarenesses, that have ever been or will ever be, exist, he says, like barges—it’s a nice analogy—floating in the ocean. They’re all just floating out there, the only difference is they’re not solid barges, and as they’re floating in that ocean out there they can actually pass through each other. So you can have 20 barges and they’re kinda floating along, but they’re so light and so fluid that they can actually go through each other. They are [doing this] all the time, but they’re not in any fixed order.

There is no order, it just is, and that’s what reality is. It’s just infinite awareness, infinite consciousness.

At the time of birth, an ordering takes place. Those awarenesses come together. They join and they become specific. At that time, we could say in our analogy, a house is formed and room sizes are worked out.

They will stay that way until the person dies, at which point all those awarenesses, all the things that you’ve ever been or will ever be, will go back again into that great unknown.

The difference is that what we do is reorder those awarenesses, in self-discovery. It is possible to combine and recombine in an endless order all of those awarenesses, and you can reassemble them so you can experience aspects of the universe that most people will never know, not only the human aspects but the extra-human aspects.

You can assemble your perception in any world as any type of being on any level. This is the play of life for an advanced perceiver—it’s to dissemble and reassemble themselves in alternate realities, of which this is one, in alternate forms, always seeking to improve that form, to have a better arrangement of the luminous fibers of the cluster that is yourself.

We think we’re unique because we need to think that sometimes. We think we matter because we need to feel that.

In order to move through the world, in order to move through time and awareness, we have to have a sense of self. It’s essential.

If you simply dismantle someone’s sense of self they will not be able to operate in this or any other world. People who are like that are people who are in mental institutions. They have lost their sense of self, their continuity as a luminous being.

Their fibers and structure have reordered in a way that doesn’t work with this particular universe. We say they’re crazy, and we lock them away. They’re not crazy at all. They’re insane.

No, I’m sorry, but—they’re not crazy at all, it’s just that their structures have reordered in such a way that they can’t function. They do not have a good functional self.

Because what has happened to them is they have stepped—this is insanity, by the way—they stepped too far into the unknown and they were not able to come back. That’s all insanity is, in any of its forms. One foot went in too far and their being was not strong enough to withstand it.

In other words, all of you are surrounded by the unknown all of the time. That’s all there really is. I mean, what is life? We invent life as we go along. We decide life is one thing and not another. We create order and form. But let’s face it, this galaxy, this universe and all the universes don’t have a particular order or form.

There’s something that we like to give it that we call order because then we feel better because we feel that we’re in touch. You see, we like to have a sense of self, of measurement. In other words, “I am here. I am on this planet. This planet is in a certain section of the galaxy. This galaxy is in the middle of 500 other galaxies.” But you know and I know that this is ridiculous because the galaxies stretch on endlessly, and there is no sense of proportion. Proportion is something that we create because we’re uptight.

You like to feel that you are in a particular place. In the Middle Ages they believed in the “Great Chain of Being.” Everybody had a place. There was the sense that God was at the top of the Great Chain of Being, and I don’t know, maybe the rocks or something were at the bottom. Every life form, every type of plant, animal, angels, archangels, there was a complete hierarchy where everyone had a place and human beings had a place within that structure.

Then, of course, during the feudal era, which was really the epitome of order, you knew that place, but then there was the king, the merchant, the landowner, the servant—everybody had their place.

The church had its place, the state had its place, everything had order. Now, within that order, there was change. But you always knew where you were.

There was a caste system in India where everyone was a member of a certain caste.

In other words, you’ll find from culture to culture, from place to place, human beings are always trying to define life so they can find a place.

A great problem with the modern age has been that that place has kind of dissolved a little bit. Not too much, though, it just takes root in other forms. But as the family unit has changed, as the churches have lost some of their hold or their power, the place that everyone had, the sense of security, has faded.

But it’s been replaced by other things—

People will define themselves another way. In other words, if there’s no class structure, if the economic system is fairly fluid—where you can move up and down the ladder, you’re not restricted—then after a while people will find some way to figure out who they are. Who they are means what their place is, and each person has to have a sense of their place.

A person who is insane has no sense of their place. They’ve lost that ability, which our friend don Juan describes as the tonal.

The tonal is the sense of place.

It is order and reason in a world of chaos.

The world is always chaos, but we pretend that it’s not because it makes us feel better. And in doing so we’re able to go through it in a specific manner and form. That’s the tonal.

Now, the nagual, as we know, as defined in these Carlos Castaneda books that we’re studying, is the unknown. It cannot be talked about, it can only be witnessed. That’s its definition.

These are the unspeakable acts of power that occur beyond the comprehension of the mind or the tonal, and they’re endless and limitless.

The tonal is also endless and limitless. We like to think of it as being finite so we feel better. Don Juan speaks of the island of the tonal, something that’s in the middle of an ocean, which is the nagual. It gives Carlos the sense that it’s small and defined. The island of the tonal is this little thing, and you can get to know your island pretty well, but that ocean is big and expansive and it goes on forever.

But that’s not exactly true, as Carlos finds out, of course.

In the sorcerer’s explanation, Carlos discovers that the tonal is also infinite, as is the nagual.

But for a while he needed to think that the tonal was finite.

And this [what follows] is why.

All of you are seeking enlightenment, seeking knowledge, power. We have different names for it. You’re seeking the totality of yourselves, to experience what you are, absolutely, because it seems to you that that’s what’s most important in life, because everything else in life is only a transitory, temporary reflection of that.

The tonal leads the way. You have to have a methodology, a sense of how you are going to go about doing this.

Even though it’s incomprehensible, still, you need to comprehend it.

In the training process, then, the teacher or teachers address two sides of your being. One is the tonal and one is the nagual. Now, in the case of Carlos Castaneda, he had two teachers, don Juan and don Genaro.

Don Juan worked with his tonal, with his logical sense. He helped him develop and strengthen his logical self so that it could withstand the encounters with the unknown, with the nagual.

Don Genaro, on the other hand, was what they call his benefactor. He gave him [Carlos] a variety of experiences in the nagual.

He taught his [Carlos’] body countless views of reality, views beyond this world. He presented absolute proof that there was something beyond.

In your case, you have one teacher, who is two.

Quite ordinarily, in the study of mysticism, one does have two teachers, and they address the two different aspects of your being. But in your case, I address both aspects of your being.

When we meet here, when we talk, answer questions, I’m addressing your tonal. I’m teaching you a way or a series of ways of dealing with the world. It’s very physically oriented.

We spend a great deal of time talking about careers, relationships, economics, in other words the structure, the nitty-gritty of your life and what you do with your time, because it’s necessary for you to work out a way of living that’s very strong and very tight and very powerful, because otherwise you will not be able to deal with the unknown.

Coming back to our mentally ill person—a person who is mentally ill, crazy, insane, whatever you’d like to call it, is not really crazy at all. That’s a definition that we like to give to explain away something that we don’t want to deal with. That way we can lock them away and relegate them to doctors without having to think about what’s going on in their minds. Well, what’s going on in their minds, and this is very simple—they have stepped beyond the known. They have moved into other realities. Why has that happened? It would be different for each person. But what didn’t happen was the survival of their tonal. In other words, something in them was weak. And that part of their being gave out when they encountered the unknown and they were no longer able to hold onto what we would call sanity, which is, as you know, a particular description of the world that human beings have agreed on.

When they ran into the unknown, or, if you’d like to think of it in another way, when the unknown ran into them—imagine the little country of Holland, and they have all the dikes around it; it’s below sea level. Now if one of those dikes gives out, the water will rush in and flood the land. So they had to give great attention to those dikes.

Well, in the same way, each of you has created a sense of self, and it keeps the water out, it keeps that vast ocean from sweeping over you and swallowing you up and engulfing you. That’s what the tonal does. That’s what it is. It’s that system of maintenance, and each one of you is taught that system of maintenance—which has been developed by humankind—from your birth till your death.

Everyone is always teaching you in one way or the other how to deal with the world. But a person who’s insane, who is mentally ill, what has happened is, one of the dikes wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t made well, and when that wave came by, instead of bouncing it off, the wave knocked it down. Now they’re in a country of half land and half water.

That’s neurosis. They can’t really distinguish too well between the world that they’re in and the description of the worlds that human beings have.

Psychosis, on the other hand, is when the land is completely flooded. They are completely in the nagual, unable to deal with it, with no sense of what we would call reality. They’re not able to connect at all.

Everyone is always on the verge of insanity, insanity meaning on the verge of the unknown. Now, naturally we’ve characterized the words “insanity” and “crazy” with very negative connotations because we’re so uptight as a world, as a society, the global culture; we’re so afraid of the unknown that we characterize these very words as something abominable, horrible, hideous, not to be dealt with.

If a family member becomes what we would call mentally ill, it’s considered a shame. It’s an aberration. Well, what did they do that was so wrong? They couldn’t deal with the world the way it was.

But the reason there’s such a rigid repression of the mentally ill—drug ’em out, lock ’em up, whatever it is—the reason for many years they used to just lock the mentally ill away in horrible institutions—they’re still not so nice—is because the psyche of humanity senses something.

It senses that it doesn’t want to deal with that unknown because if it starts to deal with that, if it starts to deal with the possibility that people who we would say are crazy or mentally ill have simply experienced other levels of reality, which, granted, they can’t integrate—of course, I’m not suggesting theirs is a happy state.

But if we begin to think along those lines, we have to begin to question within ourselves certain fundamental thoughts and ideas that we accept about the world and our lives.

If we question those thoughts, if we question those ideas, then our concepts of sanity, insanity, what makes the world, what makes us, will begin to break down and fall away.

So you might say it’s actually, in a way, been very healthy for people to have the attitude that they have had towards mental illness. They needed that attitude to defend themselves so they could live on their little island and pretend that the ocean all around them wasn’t there. I agree it sounds ridiculous.

But whenever there’s an aberration in someone’s psyche, whenever they haven’t worked it out, you will find that that is where they will put down someone else.

In other words, when humanity as a race/culture labels insanity as something awful, the very word has a negative connotation. Whereas if [one says], “Gee, I had a cold last week,” the word “cold” doesn’t suggest anything horrible. Well, why should “insanity” suggest something more horrible than “cold”? Both are a disorder—you’re not feeling too well, you’re not functioning too well. But the reason this has happened is because the collective psyche of humanity is so upset and so afraid of what lies beyond their little tiny world that they have to repress that. They have to lock them away, they have to relegate them to doctors and drugs so we don’t have to deal with it.

We’ve done the same thing with death, now, haven’t we? For years, people died at home. But now death is something that’s no longer in the description of the world we have. Death was natural. You grew up, you’d see your uncle die, your grandparents. There was no fear of it. You’d observe it; it would happen. They were there one day and gone the next. But now death is shrouded in a complete mystery. We send somebody away to the hospital to die, in unusual surroundings, where they’re usually not too happy. We sustain their life as long as we can clinically, and then they die. We never see it; they cover them with a sheet. Children never see death. So of course people are afraid of death. They push it away.

These are the hot spots on the psyche of humanity.

But you have to understand why people do this.

Why was a divorced person—particularly a divorced woman, obviously—considered to be evil and bad and something wrong about them in the 1950s, which is not so long ago?

Because divorce threatened the family structure, and the family structure is the island of the tonal.

If what you’re trying to do is create an order and structure on this little planet in the middle of this infinite cosmos that stretches out forever and contains things that we have no idea about, and we’re on this tiny little planet and we’re trying to create order and deal with the world, well, we have to push aside anything that shakes us up.

Why do you think human beings thought for thousands of years that the Earth was the center of the universe? It’s only in the last few hundred years since Galileo that we’ve really begun to consider that ours is a planet that revolves around a sun, which is part of a cluster of solar systems and nebulae.

But it was just a couple of hundred years ago that we were the center of all of creation. It’s this tremendous need in human consciousness to defend the psyche. That’s why this exists. That’s why there’s the need to defend the family.

So “divorce,” which should be like the word “cold”—I had a cold, I got divorced—suddenly was an evil word.

First there was no divorce for a long time.

But even when it became possible, it was something that threatened the order of the island of the tonal, of a person’s reason, which was the family structure. You got married, it was for the rest of your life. You could count on it unless somebody died. But now, suddenly, somebody’s married for six months and then they’re divorced. You see, human beings have trouble dealing with that, a certain part of themselves. Now, that’s a social condition that changed. You might say, well, is humanity progressing towards a wider view? Is the psyche getting healthier because now there’s divorce? Now we can even deal with insanity a little more openly. We can deal with alcoholism a little more openly. In other words, the liberal trends that we’ve seen in the last hundred or two hundred years, does this suggest that we don’t need a sense of order as much? I would say no, not at all.

There’s just as much need of order, only what has happened is, people have rearranged—because of social changes—what they order and define their lives by.

So maybe now divorce is a standard issue. But still, now that the family unit has dissolved a little bit, people will find something else to order their lives around. Again, it may be status, it may be vacations, it may be where you live, it may be the restaurants you eat at. It will be different for each person.

But each person has constructed a bulwark. Each one of you has constructed ways of keeping yourself within bounds so you can deal with the world. Now, I haven’t suggested that there’s anything wrong with this. What we’re doing now is looking at why we do it.

It’s been necessary because people have had to go on with the business of living. The only problem is that the point of that order was to give you enough order to live, and no more.

The island of the tonal, the way we see life, is there so that we can get through our life. It was never intended to become a dictator that would usurp all other views of the world and banish them. Banish them—that’s what a dictator does. A dictator comes on and says, “Any other way that you think but the way I think doesn’t exist anymore.” That’s what the island of the tonal does.

In other words, we have many parts within ourselves. But there’s one part of ourselves that has asserted itself—the need for order, logic and reason, the empirical sciences—and it’s become so strong that it will deny the obvious, which is God.

God is the unexplainable mystery. Always has been, always will be.

Science denies God.

Science is the perfect example of the tonal.

Now, religion can become the tonal, too, of course.

Jesus Christ lived a couple thousand years ago. He was a simple man, walked around, did a few miracles, said a few things and died. Lived 33 years, gave a few talks on a couple of mountains. Didn’t even have to sell tickets or book an auditorium; those were simple days.

But look at the tremendous order and structure that has grown out of this simple man. In other words, he didn’t need order and structure. It was enough for him to walk around, say what he felt, glow with the light of eternity, and that was enough.

But look at the Catholic Church with all of its layers, look at the Protestant churches. All of the structure that has come out of what this one man said, and what he said basically was that we’re all free and we can be free if we pursue spirit. That’s all he said!

He didn’t say, “Let’s set up a Vatican Council.” He didn’t say, “Martin Luther, you need to appear and put your demands on the door and start the reform church.” He had nothing to do with any of that.

But it’s so great.

In other words, Christ was crucified because he threatened the tonal of the time.

He was killed because he threatened the established order of the political regime. Because you just couldn’t have somebody going around saying you can believe in whatever you want to, which is what he was saying.

The Romans, who of course were the tonal incarnate, complete order—let’s build roads, septic systems, codify the laws, language; again, these things aren’t necessarily bad, unless they get carried away and want to eliminate everything else, the mystery of life—the Romans had to kill him because he was threatening the order, because he had a great deal of personal power.

People would start to follow him and they’d say, “Well, why should I follow the Romans? Why should I do what they say? This man says I can be free and do what I want.”

So he had to be put out of the way quickly because he was a revolutionary. The Jews didn’t like him because he threatened their religion. He was saying things that didn’t go with the order.

A revolutionary, therefore, threatens the island of the tonal.

Now, all revolutions aren’t good. Some revolutions lead to greater repression.

A good revolution leads to liberation.

The problem then is that part of a human being, or if we put them all together, the consciousness of their race, has gotten to the point now where order, structure and logic have become paramount.

Things go in cycles.

For a while we’ll have a time of great mysticism, a time when people are engaged in spirit. Then things reverse, and then it’s order, logic, systems, science and we go beyond that which is mystical, for a while. It goes back and forth.

The problem is that the dictator of the tonal wants to eliminate the mystery of life. It wants to live on its little island and pretend that there is no ocean, which is ridiculous.

The problem is, a person who gets so caught up in their tonal, in this logical way of thinking, misses almost all of life because the tonal is only one small side of it, and the tonal itself is a mystery. It just thinks it knows how it works, but actually, it’s infinite too.

So reason, which has its points, can become so empirical that it elevates itself to the status of God, banishes the real God and all mysteries and anything that can’t be explained.

Now, the function of reason is necessary. It is necessary to deal with the world. So in this process that we are engaged in, I have spent and continue to spend and will spend about half my time developing your reason, helping you reorder your island and making it strong, making those dikes very, very strong.

At the same time I spend half of my time doing something quite different, and that’s exposing you to the nagual. When we go to the desert together, sometimes when we sit here at meditations, sometimes when we’re not together physically, I will present you with views of alternate realities that will shatter your reason, beyond any hope of reconstruction.

On the one hand I’m making you stronger and more reasonable and more logical. I’m helping you become more empirical all the time.

The careers that I suggest are extremely empirical and logical. What could be more of a mindset than computers?

“Computers” is the mind.

The computer is a reflection of the mind, only without the magic.

It’s complete order and structure—so it appears to the tonal.

What better way to reinforce someone’s mind than to teach them how to cause a computer to think? Complete logical analysis without any emotion or mystery at all. It’s wonderful.

What it [computer science] does, and these related fields, it causes you to, as don Juan would say, bring all of your attention to one side of the bubble of your luminosity.

Don Juan says that we’re all bubbles of luminosity.

The bubble has two sides—one side is the tonal, one side is the nagual.

What the teacher does—and he’s right—is to sweep all of the logic and order and reason onto one side and make that side very strong. That’s what the teacher of the tonal does. That’s what I do for you.

In your case, I am both teachers. I am also the benefactor, in mystical language, the teacher of the nagual. What I also do, is then, open up the bubble of your luminosity and allow the luminous being to take short excursions into the unknown. But this is done in a very buffered way.

It’s a precise art, so that each of your excursions is balanced by the strengthening of the tonal.

As we slam you with more and more devastating blows of the nagual, at the same time we strengthen and clear the tonal so that it can easily withstand them, so that there’s no loss in continuity of consciousness.

Actually, the continuity of consciousness increases. You become the most sane people on Earth, the most rational, the most orderly, the most capable and the most logical.

At the same time, you have excursions into the unknown that would defy the imaginations of the most imaginative thinkers on earth.

In doing so, you are prepared to one day experience the totality of yourself.

The totality of yourself is not the self as you know it.

The totality of the self is nirvana.

Nirvana is another word to describe it that Buddha used. Samadhi, nirvikalpa samadhi, is a term that someone else used. Satori is a term that someone else used. These are all words that point to something that is beyond the description of even the tonal and the nagual.

In this process, then, we go through a series of passages or stages that are quite defined.

What we do is go about reordering your world. We reorder it in two ways.

One, through the suggestions that I make to you, either as a group [with suggestions] which are for everyone, or if necessary and when necessary, to you as an individual.

At the same time, I’m constantly exposing your second attention, which you might say is your nagual, your other side, to other views. I’m exposing the luminous being that is within you, to other views of the world. Naturally, that occurs most powerfully in the desert, but it could occur here too. The desert is useful because you’re not familiar with it. Since you’re not familiar with the desert, there’s less of a description for the desert, therefore it’s more difficult for you to fight the onslaughts of knowledge of the nagual.

You’ve sat in auditoriums before. You went to schools that had auditoriums. You have a certain mindset for being in an auditorium. You have a certain mindset for a conversational dialogue where we’re talking back and forth or where you’re listening to a speaker.

But out in the desert, particularly at night, when the sun has set, you’re in a world of mystery that you are not sure of. Nothing happens there that doesn’t happen here. The difference is you have less to hold onto; your tonal has less to hold onto. All you have is your backpack, the little cushion that you’re going to sit on. And as the night progresses, you won’t even be sure of those items, because out there, it’s a world of mystery and magic.

Out there, I expose you to view after view of alternate realities. You see things that are impossible.

I also do that here. The experiences here are just as strong as those in the desert. That’s why I never have too much sympathy for a person who can’t come on a desert trip because the distance is too long or they can’t hike or whatever, who feels they’re missing something, because these experiences [in the auditorium] are just as strong.

The difference is that you block it out of your mind here. You’re not quite prepared to deal with it; the tonal needs to be stronger here.

But the alternate views that I teach you of reality are just as strong here as they are there, and whether you block it out or not, I teach your body.

In other words, I’ve done a great trick. I’ve convinced you that the important moments are in the desert, when actually most of them are here, so that you don’t fight the process.

Spiritual teachers use many tricks. They’re not tricks in the sense that you’re tricking someone or fooling them in a negative way. But let us say that people will resist what’s very good for them. So it’s necessary to have at your command, a great knowledge of the psyche, of psychology, so that you can help people from hurting themselves.

I have focused and will continue to focus a great deal of your attention on the desert trips.

And that way you don’t pay too much attention to these meetings, which you consider casual because we have them on a regular basis and we go to the desert only once in a while. Therefore, at these meetings you don’t resist me as much as you do in the desert. Or, let us say, resist knowledge. You felt, “I’ve sat in thousands of auditoriums all my life, classroom situations, conferences at work. I’m used to this, what can happen here?”

Which is precisely what I want you to think, because what I’m teaching you is not on a tonal level. In other words, at times I address your mind, the tonal, the reasoning part of your being, the physical, but often as we sit here and as I talk, I am using the nagual, my second attention, to address the second attention of each one of you. That’s most of what takes place, but it’s always both because one needs both.

When we go out to the desert, of course, it’s pure nagual. I don’t deal at all with reason there. There you witness stupendous and incredible acts of power which your reason cannot possibly deal with.

The reason I suggest that you keep a journal and write these experiences down, is because it’s a gradual and gentle way of bringing the acceptance by the tonal of alternate views of existence, into itself.

If you just go out to the desert and you watch me send thousands of luminous lines through the sky, dissolve the mountains, disappear, grow to huge size, slip through alternate worlds and do other things that I do to you out there, not just what I do as the cosmic performer but the various states and changes that I bring you through, if you just see that in the desert, as you know and I know, it’s entirely possible for you then to come back into what we would call civilization and drop it, like it never happened.

You’ve just had an experience that should have changed you forever—your views of the world. But so strong is the command of the tonal that you can then come back into the world of what you call reason, order and logic and actually explain away and push away the nagual.

To some extent this is necessary.

You can’t be floating around in the nagual

You’ve got to keep the two separate.

But if your tonal is so authoritarian, such a dictator that it completely blocks out the view of the nagual, then you won’t progress, you won’t become aware of your own luminosity.

So I have devised an in-between way, which I call keeping a journal. The idea is that you write down your experiences. Well, obviously you’re writing them down when you’re at home in the world of order and structure. In doing so, you recapitulate them, and of course, recapitulation is a very important aspect of storing power. Whenever you recapitulate, you store power.

What you do is you write down these little stories. You jot down the events, the things you saw and experienced. As you do, you are creating a new space, a new room in the house that wasn’t there before and that’s called experiences in the unknown.

Before we met, there was no such room. You had all your rooms laid out, and they were all furnished. Love, work, play, self-importance, death, sex—everything in your life was assigned a room of value, but there was no room for the unknown.

There might have actually just been a spot where in one room you had one drawer that you rarely went into, and which was probably very cluttered, called the unknown. That was where you filed all the experiences that you couldn’t explain in your life, which you would call coincidence, chance—you put them all in this one little drawer and you didn’t even put them in order. The nerve! You just threw them in that drawer and you closed it as quickly as you could. [Audience laughs.]

But one day the drawer opened by itself, and it began to talk to you and you realized you had to deal with it in some way.

That’s when you became interested in self-discovery. You meditated, you might have had different teachers, whatever happened, until one day we ran into each other.

Now, some of you of course, used drugs. As we know, drugs provide you with alternate views of reality. You used LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, all those things. These drugs plunge you into the nagual. The problem is that in plunging you into the nagual, while they do show you the unknown and give you direct views of alternate realities, they shatter the island of the tonal sometimes beyond recognition and reconstruction.

Remember, you need your reason to pass through the world and also to experience the nagual, because if you become all nagual, we’ll have to lock you away in an institution at this stage in your development. In other words, if the tonal collapses completely, then you’re crazy; functionally, you’re psychotic. Then you just have to be put away.

But if we can walk between both, since we have two centers of our being, reason and will, and develop both those centers, which is what we are, we create a balance within the self.

When one side or the other predominates, there’s an imbalance and there’s unhappiness. That can be reflected also in the world order.

If the nagual dominates and not the tonal, then we’ll live in times of fear, superstition, where religion will become dominant, but not in a good way—the fear of the unknown, the fear of the dark, on a most basic level.

In other words, reason cannot defend itself—people hovering in caves, perhaps the dawn of history, afraid of what was out there, not knowing. That’s not good.

If the nagual predominates completely, then we can’t exist.

If the tonal predominates, which we see now more in the world, there’s no mystery, there’s no understanding of consciousness or awareness.

What we want are both to be in place, and that’s why this process is quite complex.

Naturally, as we know, the description that you have of the world is an aberrant one, aberrant in that it does not accept and give proper place to the nagual, to the mysterious unknown that is our true heritage. The process is not simply of constructing a new tonal from scratch, which would be a lot easier, but reordering the one you have.

So the teacher gives structured advice that will enable you to do so, and if you follow that advice, you’ll find that you will be able, over a period of years, to reorder the island of your tonal so that it’s in good shape—logical, orderly, neat, well-defined.

Your tonal will enable you to deal with the world well, to do well in a career, interact with others. All of the values that our world espouses, you will be successful in.

At the same time, as we gradually open that bubble and allow the luminous being inside to come out a little bit through our journeys into the nagual, into the unknown, your second attention will develop and you will begin to be ready to one day see, deal with, become the totality of your self.

Now, that’s a much longer journey. The first journey was much easier, to order the tonal and to give you alternate descriptions of the universe through the nagual.

Many of you have difficulty with one side or the other. Most of you are predominately nagual, to use this again—this is Castanedian terminology. Most of you tend in that direction. Not all, but most, which is why a great many of you have trouble with your careers and with relating to others.

In other words, you have trouble with the physical life because you have devoted more of your attention to the mysterious side of your being, and that side of your being has predominated. So it’s a great surprise to many students who come in when I spend so much time talking about learning to type, learning to fill out an application to get a job, learning to progress in a career.

The reason I’m doing that is because you’ve overbalanced yourself with your excursions into the unknown. In other words, you have pushed yourself beyond your limits, either through your use of drugs or other means.

And you have, in a way, damaged your psyches. You’ve gone too far. So what I have to do is cool you out, pull you back out of the fire a little bit, and therefore, what I do is show you how to deal with the world in a very empirical and successful sense.

We use the model—which is traditionally used in mysticism—of the warrior.

The idea is that you need to approach the world like a warrior. The warrior is a fighter, a successful fighter, a winner. The warrior is able to do great things, to deal with things.

So then, it’s necessary for me to show you how to deal with the world.

As long as you continue to run away from the world, I will not be able to show you your luminosity.

As long as you continue to fight the system, as you call it, to fight success in a career, to fight making money, to fight ordering your house, your car, your insurance policies, all of the things that are part of the tonal of the times, of our world—as long as you fight this, then you will be imbalanced and you will not do well in the other levels of attention. I won’t be able to take you very far because a strong onslaught of the nagual would upset your balance completely, and I would never give you that exposure.

Occasionally in my travels I meet people who have pushed too far into the nagual. Last week I gave a talk in Phoenix and a gentleman came up to me, and you might have regarded this person as what we would call a “flake,” someone who wasn’t too balanced.

Sometimes, I know, some of you are a bit askance because I spend a great deal of time after these public meditations talking to people whom you perhaps would think, in your reasoning, that I shouldn’t waste my time on.

These individuals are people who are not too balanced but they have made great journeys into the unknown. Their only problem was that no one ever taught them how to arrange their tonal.

So a fellow came up to me, and he’s had many spiritual experiences, what we call spiritual experiences.

He told me about times he had been up on top of mountains when he had seen and experienced other realities and different things. When he said this, of course, since I can see, I can see inside whether something’s true or not—I saw that everything he told me was the truth.

He also told me he’d spent some time in some different mental institutions, which was also obvious when one looked at him. One can see — you can see these things. That was because he had not strengthened himself. He had pushed too far. The danger with mysticism that I always warn you about, is obsession.

What I mean by obsession is that you push yourself too far into the nagual, too soon. That is obsession. It’s an over-focus on the nagual and not enough focus on reason or virtue, the world. That’s what this fellow had done.

Therefore, he went into states of consciousness that were too powerful for him to handle.

Those states of consciousness are not too powerful; I walk through those worlds all the time. Every day I go through thousands of realities. But my tonal is so strong that it is not a problem. But I did this very gradually. He rushed ahead and he pushed himself too far and injured his tonal.

Now, logically, I cannot work with him as a student, not because I didn’t like the fellow, I liked him a lot. But what I do has a great deal of strength in it. In other words, this education that I give is very powerful, both on the tonal and the nagual side.

And if I were to take him on a desert trip or even sit in some of these meetings that we have, when they’re very strong, it would be too much for his tonal, it’s too weak now. He’s too nagual, he’s too developed on that side.

So, with regard for his own life and his consciousness and his sanity, I couldn’t expose him to all of this power. For someone who’s at all balanced, it’s not a problem at all. But for an imbalanced person, it wouldn’t work well.

That’s why I examine each student carefully, to determine how balanced they are. Not their mind, but their being. In other words, is there a balance between their tonal and their nagual?

When I turn a student down, it’s usually because they’re either too tonal or too nagual. Either their reason and their worldliness is too developed, to the point where they will fight constantly against exposure to the nagual which I have to give them, or they’ve gone too much in the other direction—they’ve had too many visions, too many experiences, and they’ve become one-sided.

They don’t want to develop the tonal, they don’t want to go out and get a job. They just want to float around and have mystical experiences all the time. They want to be high all the time. But you never go very far with that attitude, you only go a certain distance, as far as they’ve gone, and they won’t get any further because their being will automatically stop them.

If they do push themselves beyond their limits, they’ll simply go crazy. They’ll absorb too many exposures to the unknown, to the nagual. Their tonal will be crushed and they will not be able to operate, which is a great loss for them.

But when such a person comes up to me, I respect them. I understand them, because I’m nagual, I’m all nagual. I’m completely absorbed on the other side, and so I can sit with them and I can see what they see and feel what they feel. I understand them.

But at the same time, I’m all tonal. I can sit down with a business executive, I can program a computer, design a system and forget all about this nonsense, this mystical nonsense. I can work with tax structures, databases, run an organization—vast and complex things. I’ve learned to disassociate the two, and this is what you need to do.

Someone recently said to me, “Well, after a desert trip, I didn’t want to go to work. I quit my job because it just didn’t feel good, I was so sensitive.”

I would say that person is not doing their self-discovery as I taught them.

I taught you that in one world, you’re one thing, and in another, you’re another. Don’t get them confused. If you start speaking French in the United States and English in France, you’re going to have a problem. Therefore you use one language in one place, and one in another.

When you’re in the desert or at other times, you witness these acts of power. When you’re in the world of the tonal, you drop all that nonsense and you become logical and orderly and have fun with that. It’s fun to work in that mode too.

Those of you who persist in avoiding ordering your island of the tonal will only prevent me from taking you exactly where you want to go—further into the nagual. I can’t do it. I won’t do it, because you’re not prepared. So I will wait patiently until you reorder your island.

Now, the excursions into the nagual, of course, are quite different. Everything I’ve just described has been from a very tonal point of view. Even this description is tonal—[this description] of the tonal and the nagual. Naturally.

That’s why I won’t speak about the totality of oneself, for the same reason that I never speak about God or nirvana because any speaking I do on these subjects will be part of a logical, syntactical order and will defuse the mystery and the reality. In other words, you’ll be able to assign a logical place; you’ll work out a little drawer for God and keep God in there.

That’s what most people have done. When you say the word “God,” everyone knows God or has a concept for God. But no one deals with God at all, everyone just deals with their idea. They pray to their idea, they talk to their idea. They think their idea has a certain way of viewing them.

Everyone has relegated God to the island of the tonal. So when Carlos, in Tales of Power, is talking to don Juan and they’re having that neat little meeting in the restaurant, and Carlos says, “Well, don Juan, is God on the island of the tonal?” and don Juan says, “Yes, of course,” Carlos might think that God is part of the island. That isn’t what don Juan was saying at all. Don Juan is saying that the concept of God, God as Carlos or anyone else would use the word, belongs to the island of the tonal because God is now just a concept.

God is part of the island. God has a room on the island, whereas God properly is the unknown. But we’re so clever, the tonal is so strong, that it even arranges a syntactical place for God and thus kills the mystery, the reality, paralyzes the being.

So I teach you to order the island of the tonal. And if you listen to the tapes that I’ve made, which is what I largely discuss there, and the discussions we have here, that’s what I teach you.

But the other subject, of course, that I deal with is the nagual.

The way I deal with that, which is very difficult to explain since that would relegate us to the island of the tonal, is by reordering your luminosity.

But again, my purpose in doing this … someone might say, “Well, why talk about it at all? Because anything you say right now is going to be a description, is going to be part of the island of the tonal proper.”

But I think that it’s important to create a place on the island of the tonal for the nagual, even if it’s a small place, because it’s necessary for the tonal to begin to accept that there is such a thing. So as I mentioned before, when you write your experience in the desert down, what you’ve done is created a place on the island of your tonal.

Oh, granted, you’ll limit the experience, you’ll quantify it, but still, you’ve created a place and there was none before. That’s progress.

When I talk to you about the nagual, even though we all know it’s [the nagual is] just for witnessing, it can’t be explained, and any explanation I give you is going to be tonal, still, the reason I do it is to create a place, to create a gap, an opening, a hole in your tonal that will lead to the nagual.

The same paradox, of course, comes up in Zen. “Don’t talk about enlightenment,” the Buddha would say. He was saying, don’t talk about the nagual, but then, of course, he would talk about it. He’d talk about how to get to it, actually.

The Buddha spent all of his time talking about what? The eightfold path. Well, what’s the eightfold path if not ordering the island of the tonal completely?

But he would never speak about enlightenment when anyone asked him, because to speak about it was to relegate it to the island of the tonal.

The way he taught people about enlightenment was they sat around with him. They meditated with him. He exposed them to countless views of the nagual, which we would call enlightenment, although even enlightenment eventually finds a place on the island of the tonal.

The reason I now address this subject in words is because it’s pointing in a direction, nothing more.

In no way, shape, manner or form can this possibly convey the nagual.

But it opens us up to the possibility. It allows an admission on the island of the tonal. It creates a little, tiny hole on the tonal, which is necessary and healthy, because your tonal must accept that the nagual exists and that it’s beneficial and healthy.

When we take our journeys into the unknown—which occur here, and in the desert, and sometimes when we’re not physically together—what I’m doing is reordering your luminosity.

I began our talk this evening, by explaining that each one of you is composed of many different selves or awarenesses. You’re a conglomerate, a corporation.

These awarenesses — at the time of your birth — fix.

That’s what astrology is all about.

Astrology is the chart of the awarenesses that are fixed in your being, at the time of birth.

Once they’re fixed, if they stay the same throughout your life, it’s possible to chart, astrologically, all the changes that that [a person] will go through.

It’s like buying a piece of property, and now the property will go through various changes during the year to come, and all the years to come.

Astrology simply charts the formation of a luminous being from their birth to their death, from the time those fibers wind together, those awarenesses gel and fixate till one day they dissolve.

But in this process we do something different.

You experience death while you’re alive, and that’s what this study is, which is of course what The Tibetan Book of the Dead is for.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guide to dying while you’re alive,

In order to do that, you have to have a tremendous amount of personal power.

If you had a great amount of personal power, if you could meditate impeccably and go into samadhi, the entrance into samadhinirvikalpa samadhi — is the dissolution of the self.

In other words, once you go into nirvikalpa samadhi—nirvana—whatever you want to call it—the unknown—all those fibers shift.

And each time you come out of samadhi, you are literally a different person.

Now, you can go into some of the lesser samadhis that Patanjali30 talks about and you won’t experience that. You will experience some shifting, a few of the fibers, a few of the awarenesses will shift around.

But when you go over the top completely, at that point everything inside you lets go—tonal, nagual, everything goes, and all of your fibers shift.

The most important part, of course, is the “reordering process.”

You jump into the unknown, but then you have to come back out of the unknown and reintegrate all of those awarenesses, selves and strands of luminosity in such a way that you are more balanced, that we have created more of a balance between the tonal and the nagual, between the two sides of the self.

This is the art of self-discovery and this is what I teach.

The way you teach someone is by showing them. It cannot be explained in words. Each time we go on a journey into the unknown, I show a part of yourself how to do this.

You are not capable of going into nirvikalpa samadhi yourself. You’re not capable of stepping into nirvana, of plunging into the unknown.

Even if you were—at this time if you did—it would be disastrous.

Your tonal would be swamped.

To some extent, as I said before, this is what the psychedelic drugs do.

They plunge you into “no thought.”

They flood you with so much information that the mind stops. When thought stops, samadhi begins. When thought stops for protracted periods of time, including subconscious thoughts and desires, your journey into the nagual escalates. So what the drugs do is they stop thought. They push you into the other awareness.

Thought is the ultimate tonal.

Thought is the absolute personification, the raison d’etre of reason. Each thought is a dike that blocks out the nagual. When you don’t think, all the walls come down and the ocean of eternity sweeps in and through you.

What I’m teaching you to do is to stop thought. But in order to stop thought, you have to do many other things.

You have to, at the same time, eliminate the things that cause thought, which is why we deal with all the aspects of the tonal—desire, attachment, subconscious fantasies, all kinds of things have to be dealt with and put away.

The reason you think is not just habitual, it’s not just habit. It’s because you’re being pushed and pulled … by attachments.

Only when they are gone will your mind know peace and will you be able to stop thought.

Teaching a person to stop thought does not simply involve practice. I know many people who have practiced meditation diligently for 30 or 40 years who can’t go into samadhi. That is because they have not let go of their attachments. They have not gone through the training necessary in self-discovery to let go of everything that one must let go of. Only then will thought stop completely.

Only after you’ve overcome jealousy, fear, anxiety, hatred—all of these things (at least for a time) can be set aside—only then will thought stop, along of course, with using will to stop thought.

At this time you cannot do that, so you could take the next 20 or 30 years and gradually order your life and go through your psyche and clean it out and continue meditating and perhaps, perhaps in 30 or 40 years, reach the point of stopping your thought for a protracted period of time, not just conscious thought, but thoughts that go down many layers.

You don’t have the time for that. You may be dead by then. You’ll miss all the wonder of life. So since I have a great deal of personal power, enough not only for myself but for others, I can stop your thoughts. I can plunge you into the unknown, and that’s what I do all of the time. Whenever we’re together physically, of course, it’s the easiest. Not because it’s any harder when you’re farther away, but your description of the world is so tight that you won’t admit the possibility of that happening.

In other words, when you sit here you’ve put a place on the island of your tonal for the possibility of your thoughts stopping for a short period of time while you’re with Rama. There’s a little room; we’ve established that now. But the idea of that occurring when we’re not together physically is frightening for most of you. Because here you feel it’s in a controlled environment, which is complete nonsense.

There is no such thing as a controlled environment, or we could say all of life is, if it made you feel better. I can do the same thing if you’re 10,000 miles away, but you fight so hard, you’re so scared at that time that it doesn’t work too well.

Still, I teach your body alternate views of reality when we’re separated, when we’re not physically together.

Your reason is not an enemy. There are teachers who tell you to destroy your reason. I am not one of them.

Your reason is your friend. It defends the island of your awareness, which needs defending. But you don’t want your reason to rule everything. You need it for the reasonable parts of your life and no more.

Some teachers, who are not very versed in the ways of reality, have told their students that what they need to do is throw away reason, forever. If a person is capable of that, they’ll go stark raving mad.

They will not be able to function in the world. Very often you see these people in flaky spiritual communities. These are the people who just can’t handle life. That’s because they’ve thrown away too much of their reason. But if you look at them, they haven’t gone that far into the nagual either. They haven’t progressed in their self-realization all that far. They’re not enlightened.

They’re incapable of working in either world successfully. So it’s important, then, to address both sides of your being.

When I meditate with you, I take a great deal of personal power, what we call the kundalini, or let’s just say I become the nagual. I leave my tonal completely—I can do that—and the nagual just pours through me. I can direct it towards you or it can specifically just do what it does. It doesn’t really matter since, if I’m the nagual, it’s exactly the same.

At that time, I lift you into a state of awareness whereby we can reorganize your selves, your fibers, and put them into a more unified order than they are in now, which means that you will then be able to transact more clearly with life.

You’ll see more of what’s really there.

That’s what I do for you, essentially.

At the same time as I do that for you, I teach you how to do it for yourself. Each time we go through it and you reorder into another self, you’ve learned how to do it.

Your body has stored that memory.

One day I will not be with you. We will not be together.

If I’ve done a good job, that won’t mean a thing, because you will have learned how to do this yourself.

As you sat at all these countless meditations, went on desert trips, went to Disneyland, whatever we did while we were together, I was teaching you how to range, rearrange and arrange your luminous cluster of fibers.

Also, I was teaching you how to strengthen your tonal to deal with that.

So when our time has ended together, if I’ve done a good job and if you’ve paid some attention, you will be prepared to continue your journey into the unknown. True, it will not be at the same rate because I’m not lifting you up. But you will be far enough along to continue it at a proper rate.

Some teachers have the power to push a person into the second attention, into the nagual, but do not know how to reorder them.

They’re halfway there. They’re like the karate teacher who can knock somebody down, but they’ll injure them. They haven’t learned how to throw somebody but not hurt them.

My judo instructor always used to tell us, “Try and fight the most advanced fighters.” I always thought that would be terrible. I thought, “My God, why would I want to fight a fourth-degree black belt? He’ll wipe me all over the mat. I’ll go for the first-degree black belt.” And he explained that the first-degree black belt, when he throws you, may break your shoulder. The fifth-degree black belt is such an expert, he can easily assess your level of competence and he will put you down in exactly the right place so you will not be injured.

There are some teachers who you can go and see, who have enough personal power to flip you into the unknown. They can push you into the second attention—and then you’re on your own. And you will never reorder properly.

It’s a terrible experience.

Some people have done it themselves by pushing their kundalini too hard, by meditating in certain ways, and they’ve pushed themselves too far into the unknown. But once they got there, they didn’t know what to do. The reordering of the luminous fibers is a very sophisticated art. It’s not something anyone should ever undertake without supervision.

You can make all the changes on the island of the tonal you want, you can take little excursions into the nagual, but to push yourself to the reordering process … is absolutely foolish.

If a person gradually pursues these arts, they will be assigned a teacher.

Your power will draw a teacher. That happens to everyone when they’re ready.

If their power no longer requires a teacher, the teacher will go away; either because they’ve completed the course entirely; because they have reached a point where the teacher can’t teach them anymore because they’re not progressing; or because their power drops to such a low level that they reject the process entirely.

I reorder your clusters from time to time. It’s different for each one of you. How can I be aware of each one of you when there are hundreds of you in the room? My tonal can’t possibly. The tonal can’t possibly be aware of all of you. But my nagual easily can, because it’s not limited by time, space and the conditions of this world.

The nagual can easily deal with each one individually, not only here but when we’re not physically together.

That’s what makes all this possible. That’s why you and I can be having a transaction on one level when you’re at home, and I can be in San Francisco meeting with my students there and be having a transaction with them.

Now my tonal—as all good tonals are—is only aware of what’s going on in the tonal. In other words, if I’m sitting in San Francisco, I am not at all aware of our transaction that may be taking place somewhere else.

But my nagual is completely [aware], and if necessary, if I need to know about it, then the nagual will make itself known. Suddenly I’ll shift into that attention. My attention will drop away, and I’ll become aware of it. Or what happens is, in the use of the “double,” all the information comes back to you later.

The double, of course, is using the second attention to do something while the first attention is doing something else.

Don’t think of the double as manifesting a second body. That’s not exactly correct. The double is sending a second awareness, dissembling and reassembling that awareness in another locale, time, space, condition, planet, universe, dimension.

A very advanced individual—a person of knowledge—is capable of having their attention fixed in one locale and, at the same time, being someplace else at the same time or dozens of places at the same time. The question arises, will they know that they’re in all those places?

There’s no exact answer for that, but let me just give you a little example that might help you understand it.

Carlos is with don Juan and don Genaro and they’re trying to teach him about the double. Carlos keeps thinking that the double is a person. So what they do is, they take him out of his body and they take him down into a ravine. In other words, his body is up on the top of the ravine. He’s sitting up there on the hill. But suddenly he loses all awareness of the hill and he finds himself down in this ravine, and he’s able to actually see what’s down there and remember it. And later he could go down there and find all of that.

Now, after that experience was over, of course, he thinks that’s all that happened.

But don Juan reminds him about what they did with the hat.

What happened was, he and don Genaro and Carlos were changing hats. Carlos had entirely forgotten about it. Suddenly he realized that he remembered that, too. In other words, two individual actions were taking place at the same time. Carlos, a part of him, was down in the gully looking around and perceiving. At the same time he was up on the hill having an entirely different experience—it is possible to be in two places at the same time—but the two separate selves did not remember what the other self was doing. That’s the rule.

You can’t know what your other self is doing, except when you’re in neither of them.

At that time you can become aware of both, when you’re in neither world, which is what happened to Carlos and is precisely what don Juan and don Genaro were trying to do. Carlos wants to get stuck in one description of the world or the other, either in the second attention or the first. The point is not to get stuck in either but to move between both. So for a moment he was able to recollect both, meaning, for that moment he was neither.

The point of the exercise, Carlos thought, was to go down into the gully with his second attention—several hundred feet below—while his body was on the hill, and suddenly say, “My God, I can experience what’s down here even though my body’s up there, as if I were down here walking around.”

He didn’t understand, once again, that don Juan marvelously tricks him, that the point was not to do that—that’s a simple exercise in the second attention. The point was, afterwards, to be able to experience both experiences simultaneously, which means that you’re in neither world. But of course don Juan didn’t say that because otherwise Carlos would have fought it, because Carlos always fought whatever don Juan said he should do.

So don Juan absorbs him in relatively meaningless tasks—they’re not meaningless, but they’re not as meaningful—and places importance on them so Carlos then will let the most important thing happen and not fight it, because he thought the other things were important.

It’s an old teacher’s trick; I use it all the time.

At this point you’re not sure whether the desert trips are more important or whether these meetings are more important, because I could say either to divert your attention, and I do.

Therefore, maybe it was something else all along. Maybe it was when attendance was taken when you came in the room. That was the crux of the whole experience, and you didn’t fight it at all. Who knows? I’ll never say. I never lay all my cards on the table, ever. And even if I do, there’s always another [card], someplace, which is for your benefit.

One must be inaccessible, even to oneself.

To wrap all this up, then, you’re engaged in a fantastic process.

It’s an absolute challenge.

You are developing the totality of your self, both sides.

When both sides are developed, you will become the totality of your self, something I can’t even describe to you, which will happen to you one day when that’s done.

It’s necessary for you to pay attention to both sides and not go overboard in either direction. That’s what we refer to as the middle path in self-discovery.

The middle path means not to become too obsessed with your physical life and reason—to have a good life, live well, be reasonable and prudent, but not to go overboard and let reason rule everything, or to go too far and become obsessed with your experiences in the nagual.

A problem I’ve had with a number of my students has been that they’re too obsessed with the desert experiences. They’re too obsessed with what we call the occult — it’s the same thing, the nagual.

The reason I warn against that is, a person who is too obsessed with that will wrap themselves in it too much and will lose their balance, and then they attract all kinds of beings and allies to themselves.

The reason they’re so obsessed with it, of course, is they want power.

You see, when you can command the nagual you have a great deal of power, and people know that intuitively. They feel if they can get to the nagual, plunge themselves in it, they will become powerful, then they can get anything they want—in the tonal. It’s a very tricky game that the self sets up.

A person, then, who directs too much of their attention to the [nagual], the reason they’re doing that, is they’re obsessed with power, not understanding that power actually, properly, does not belong to the nagual but to the tonal—the kind of power that they’re interested in. What they should really do is—if they want supreme power of that type—they should develop the tonal to perfection.

The nagual doesn’t give you the kind of personal power they think. The nagual gives you the nagual. It gives you the unknown, it gives you reality. It is reality. It leads you to the totality of your self, but it doesn’t give you the kind of power that people think. That kind of power is developed through the tonal.

The siddhas are developed through the tonal, not the nagual.

The nagual is the superconscious. It’s nirvana. It’s the unknown, that which cannot be explained or reasoned.

Fantastic things happen in it! But it doesn’t give you the ability to get what you want in the tonal. That’s different. If you want that, develop a strong tonal, not the nagual. But people don’t know that. They feel this infinite power and they chase after it and of course, it destroys them ultimately.

That’s why it’s so important to be funny and to have humor in your life because humor—having fun, being happy and being progressive—balances the unknown.

The two [humor and the unknown] always go together.

Humor is the balance of the tonal. Within the tonal you’ve got reason and humor.

Reason is logical order and seriousness.

Humor is the opposite side of the tonal and the two balance each other, so that the tonal can accept and understand the journeys into the nagual, in a balanced way. Otherwise, you’ll become afraid of them because they threaten your reason. But with your humor, you can accept that not everything is reasonable and some things are very beneficial in life that aren’t reasonable at all!


29. Rama is referring to experiences that his students shared aloud earlier in the evening.

30. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; Rama’s recommended translation is by Swami Prabhavananda.