From: Tmoderator <firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu Sep 2, 1999 10:03 pm
Subject: (English Translation) Buenos Aires Account (I)
Well, I attended the seminar in Buenos Aires. Unlike another seminar I went to, this time I did not take notes or make a summary out of previous notes. I will try, then, to convey some of the things that went on in there. I have read the notes that 'x' shared with us about the Barcelona seminar. It was similar to the one in Buenos Aires. I wish to stress that there are no notes that convey what is experienced at a seminar, although we sometimes find the answers to specific doubts in them. The instructors handed us something intangible: they re-strenghtened our link with Intent. They intended to close any gap between their words and the facts. They talked to us about being alert, encouraging us to be more attentive in our everyday life. They helped us to be alert, not only through their advice, but through the practice of passes.
They practiced the passes dressed with custom shirts(?), made for the occasion with printed images of the passes from the Series for Awakening Intent. They were white and black. I remember a couple of times in which Darien Donner and her partner came in wearing yellow blouses. They got up the stage quickly, and without any previous explanation, they performed passes to get us going at full speed. They took forceful steps raising the knee in series of 5. Fast. Agile. It seemed as if, with the movements, they were inviting us and telling us: "Hey! Be attentive!". They came in the same way, with their bright yellow blouses, 'attention' blouses, and pushed us to follow their movements. This time improvising jumps to the left or to the right: "Two jumps to the left! One to the right! One slow jump to the left! Five short ones to the right."
And that's how they turned our bodies on. By following many "Turn it on!" leads we performed the pass for turning the body on from the series "The Intent of Time". I remember Miles repeated it several times, asking us to try doing it simultaneously. There wasn't a demand in that, but lightness instead. It was an invitation to share the present moment. When the practitioners of Tensegrity from the group that meets here in Uruguay compared experiences, we agreed unanimously on the feeling of dynamism and joy which was transmitted at the seminar. The whole seminar was a lesson, and it was given without holding anything back.
There were practices, lectures and dancing. They made us participates of their energy and, somehow, made us flow. They invited us to participate in the mood of the warrior. They talked to us about being attentive, about watching the details of things, of the world around us. They said that we shouldn't just look and define: 'House', 'Tree'... We have to go beyond and stop to watch the details, to escape from our simplistic and usual classification of the world. For instance, they once answered the question about how we should face our loved ones, those with whom we have a relationship, whether they are a wife, a mother, etc. The answer was that we should see the other person as a mystery. Dropping the habit of taking the other for granted, of telling ourselves: 'Yes, I know how he is, how he is going to react...'. No.
We should consider the other as a mystery, with awe. We mustn't take him for granted. In fact, this premise is extended to everything: facing the world as a mystery. On another occasion, answering a question about Dreaming (from someone who regulary saw his hands in dreams and wanted to know what was the next step he should take), Gavin Allister said this wasn't his predilection, but that he was clear that Dreaming couldn't be just something to intend at night, talk about it as an extravagant annecdote and then continue with the unchanged everyday routines. He said we should intend to bring Dreaming attention to everyday life, and that the greatest achievement was to be able to have that vision 24 hours a day.
Seeing the world as something wonderful 24 hours a day, not just in dreams. I remember now an annecdote told by Brandon Scott. He said he used to call the nagual to tell him about how he felt that he was making progress, or stuck. And one night Castaneda called and told him: 'You know, Brandon? I read energy on the wall and it told me what your problem was.' 'Really?', answered Brandon.' 'Yes. Your problem is that you score yourself on the different areas in your life. For example, you tell yourself that on financing you score 80%. On your relationships with your fellow beings you give yourself 60%. But I'm going to give you a solution to your concerns: you are a disaster in all your areas. Think about that and you'll see how you'll feel better...' We performed a shorter version of the 'Affection for the Earth' series, called 'usted' (respectful or polite form of 'tu', 'you' [TN]), which is a preliminary for recapitulation.
They said someone had asked them if the form could be practiced outdoors, to be in touch with the Earth. They explained two things then. First, they said that there wasn't a problem with practicing it outdoors, but that it's dangerous because we are 'open' and a wind can get inside us, a wind that is not wind. Second, they added that when they say 'Earth' they aren't just refering to the soil or the planet. They said 'Earth' is everything around us without exception and that we should express our affection for everything, including the mat on which we are, the computer we use to work, etc. Everything is 'Earth'. They said we should treat everything with utter respect and elegance; that when we open a door with violence we are not expressing that. We must open it harmoniously. At that moment, they mimicked how they go through an imaginary door with elegance. A difference between Barcelona and Buenos Aires was marked in the sessions of dancing-acting. As in Barcelona, from what I've heard, passes were performed to the sound of Henry James' trumpet, and another one with medieval music. The specific addition was a third dance to the beat of 'Asi se baila el Tango', by Alberto Castillo.
If I'm not mistaken, they said that Don Juan was very fond of tangos, specially Alberto Castillo's. In regard to the dance performed with the music played by the trumpetist, I want to say that, besides the passes which were performed like a delicious dancecoreography, there was also a story. It was a satirical version of the typical courtship, the back and forth game of acceptance and rejection, of the 'yes' that means 'no' and viceversa. The couple's game when one wants and the other escapes, and when one says 'I want' and the other doesn't want anymore. And finally ends with the encounter of both lovebirds. They didn't speak, but everything was represented with gestures and passes. Let's say it was the ironical vision of the courtship prior to mating. On the second dance of magical passes, another thing appeared. The story, so to speak (although it would be best to say the plot, the axis, the performance), struck me as the magical and mysterious bonding between two beings. A sort of medieval music, mixed with harmonious movements between both instructors. There wasn't any parody, just combined action, as if they were showing us the alternative to what was displayed on the first dance.
Then they represented the mystery, the harmony between two beings when there is no fooling around, just the present moment and action. And there was a third element in that second dance. The female instructor who performs Tiger series on the new videotape showed up dressed like an odalisque, with dark transparent veils, dancing in an independent way behind them, making sounds to the rythm of the music with some sort of castanuelas or small cymbals. She started independently, and then she joined them. The three instructors were beautifully sinchronized on the performance of the danced-acted passes (at that moment they weren't instructors, but characters from a different theatre, individuals with a firm purpose). I would say that the third practitioner characterized the 'intent' that operated between the other two practitioners. The magical part. Finally, as a present for the argentinian practitioners, they performed the play-dance of tango. They played two typical malevolent 'machitos' (diminutive of 'macho' [TN]) fighting over a 'female'.
On the side I wish to tell you that the 'machitos' were Darien Donner and Alexander, the one who is not Zaia. The dark skinned woman from the new videotape, the Tiger, played the 'minita', the 'female'. I believe the present consisted of delivering the argentinians an attentive vision on the typical patterns of behavior that operate as the background of their culture. The machito who walks over everything, another variation of the 'latin macho'. It would be interesting if any argentinian practitioner told what he thought about it. At some point during the seminar, Gavin told an annecdote which I cannot recall well, in which Castaneda told him: 'Cut the germanish stuff ('alemanadas')!'. At another time, Gavin noted that we all have 'argentine-ish stuff, uruguay-ish stuff..." And so there were those acted dances, those lessons that are not words but facts that show. T he day after the end of the seminar, a group of practitioners met in Buenos Aires to review what was learned. The surprise came when the instructors showed up an joined the practice. What I wanted to tell you about it is that, near the end, they invited us to look in silence at all the details of the place, including persons, to be able to intend Dreaming of it later.
They said we could also use that strong memory when our practice got slacker. By coming back to that place, we would reaffirm the strong intent that we were sharing at that moment. In regard to the series, my comment is that they were almost identical to those described by 'x', though I don't recall having read that they practiced Silvio Manuel and Juan Tuma's dance steps in Barcelona. And perhaps I noticed a slight difference in the descriptions. During the seminar in Buenos Aires, the series of eight dance steps was repeated many times, with a lot of action. I believe it was one of those that symbolized the effort the instructors made to transmit to us the urgency to become 'attentive' beings.
They emphasized the 'areas of mystery with sound' series and reccomended us to practice it for one month to watch the results. They said they were still polishing it and that they would present it on the seminar in California that will take place in August this year. As for recapitulation, I remember someone asking if they had to wait until the list was finished, because it was huge. Brandon laughed and explained that he wasn't making fun of anyone, but of himself, because the same thing had happened to him. He said it took him a long time to get started with the recapitulation; that Castaneda asked him how he was doing with his recapitulation, and he said he hadn't finished his list yet. Of course, he started right at that moment and invited us not to wait until the list is finished, because that recapitulation might never start. Another important thing they said is that the recapitulation is to be put into practice, to watch patterns, manifestations, and change them. It isn't just to watch. It should be used to act and change our day-to-day attitudes. It is an 'active recapitulation'. Through this means, I want to express my deep thankfulness to all the people of the Nauta group from Argentina, who, along with the instructors, made the seminar of Buenos Aires possible with a lot of effort and work. Thank you all for your great effort.
Date: Fri Sep 3, 1999 10:36 am
Subject: (English Translation) Buenos Aires Workshop II
Bit by bit I am remembering things about the seminar in Buenos Aires. At a given moment, there was a group of us surronding Gavin Allister. He asked us how we were going with our recapitulation and some of us told him that we practiced whenever we could, anywhere. In a cab on our way to work, in the subway, at a square. We all agreed that we were alert to the people around us at those moments, and on how we managed to conceal the moment when we did the final breath sweep of the recapitulation. He then suggested us to make our movement barely visible, very very slight. He showed us then how to do an imperceptible sweep. He barely moved the head from one side to the other, perhaps one centimeter to each side. He said it wasn't necessary to do a big movement to accompany the breathing. We also asked him why 'the running man' was the only series they had reccomended to accompany with music. He then remarked that the kind of movement from those passes was adequate to feel music, but that we shouldn't forget that
they also did other passes with music. He refered to the passes done with the performed dances, as the ones done with jazz or tango (where they included passes from the Masculinity series, Silvio Manuel's and others), and said that any pass can be accompanied with music. That we could explore in that direction if we felt it worked for us. At some point in the seminar they asked us to write our questions down and said that they would answer some of them later. I remember they said in one of their answers that a warrior takes responsibility for his actions; that being a warrior doesn't mean to isolate oneself on a mountain to recapitulate. That we couldn't go away and leave behind financial debts and leave them as they were. We cannot abandon our world to follow the warrior's path. The path is followed where one is, intending to change in our everyday reality. We should have everything in order. And they also said that this was decisive in order to be able to Dream.