Stopping the World
Friday evening (2nd Floor Ballroom in Ackerman Union):
We started the workshop doing a new form called the binding and unbinding form (a new variation on the Warrior’s Decision). We did different parts of it out of their original order.
First lecture by Nyei: “We’re the students of Carlos Castaneda, Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar and Carol Tiggs. They were the apprentices of Don Juan who came from a lineage that begins in ancient times and extends from Central Mexico to Southern California. A nagual is a person with a double charge of energy which gives them the sobriety to help others go from the world of the first attention – the world we all agree on – into another awareness of an unseen world – the second attention. The nagual can voyage between these two states. We always referred to Carlos as ‘Nagual’. He was the last Nagual of the lineage and he is the Nagual of this generation.”
“Magical passes were adapted from positions found in the ‘dreaming’ state more than 10,000 years ago which resulted in a tremendous sense of well-being.” By “stalking” all the details of the magical passes, the seers made a bridge between the two states – “dreaming” and waking awareness. It was the nagual’s decision to bring these movements out in the open.
Then Nyei declared: “We’re here to stop the world.”
“We have all adopted default body positions out of habit. These positions are not ‘dreamt’ positions. Our habitual positions determine the position of the Assemblage Point (the point of brilliance on the luminous body behind the right shoulder). There is no mind/body dualism. The real dualism is between the first and second attention.”
“The time we inhabit – our time – is all about self-reflection. We all have positions we adopt: ‘That’s not me. I didn’t do/say that. I’m too cool.’ If we pay attention to ourselves in the 1st attention, the 2nd attention will take care of itself. It will bring the luminous ball in contact with the energy body (a counterpart of ourselves which is pure energy). When Carlos Castaneda first saw energy as it flows in the universe, he realized he had been seeing it all his life and had simply not been conscious of it until that moment.”
“Before we can go into the second attention, we have to learn how we construct our world through our words. We must interrupt our stream of thoughts and judgments. Before we can learn to appreciate or notice the world, we have to drop our judgments.
“The students of Don Juan were awed at how fast the mass of people at workshops learned the passes. What took them weeks/months to learn, practitioners are learning in one day.
The quest of seers is “freedom of perception.” To see energy directly without the interpretation system.
The magical passes redeploy energy. Most of our thoughts (self-reflection) disperse our energy: “I didn’t have anything to do with it.” Drop these kinds of self-serving statements and take responsibility – there are no innocent bystanders. The term “crusty old opinions” is very apt since these opinions form the crust that seers can see in our luminous bodies.
Nyei said: “Tighten your jaws. How’s your perception? Now just let your jaw go slack. Castaneda said: ‘If you don’t keep your jaw tight, you look like you don’t have the right IQ.’ So we all keep it tense.”
“Just let your body absorb the magical passes. Don’t try to memorize them. The mind can’t memorize everything. Just let the movements into your body.”
Nyei asked: “Did anyone have any perceptions yet?”
A woman said she felt as if she had walked in a room full of friends. Another that she felt she was exactly where she should be. A man said: “I smelled flowers when I came into the room.”
What we want to do is look while suspending judgment, to watch the kinds of things we say about ourselves – e.g., “I’m not athletic” – because the things we say about ourselves define us.
Aerin introduced the long form Warrior’s Decision with a new mood and now called the binding and unbinding form. In the endeavors of a being who enters the warrior’s path, you have a new view and an old view.
The warrior makes a decision to be free from the ME ME ME mind and to follow a path with heart.
When Carlos showed the form, he invited Aerin over to his house: “Come on over with Darien and I’ll show you a series of passes.” He greeted them the next morning at the door: “Welcome you gorgeous beings.”
Carlos was extra-radiant that day. He said: “Human beings are full of hidden resources. For example, Darien is so intelligent; she’s a dream.” Aerin was thinking: “I don’t want to hear that.” She said to Carlos: “I’m not like that. I’m not intelligent.”
“Of course not,” agreed Carlos. “I don’t want to contradict your inventory.”
Renata Murez and Miles Reid:
Miles: “When Carlos showed them the distinction between the tonal and the nagual, he did it the same way Don Juan had shown him – using a table. “Beyond the island of the tonal is the mysterious. One can witness it if one puts one’s attention on it; if you don’t get caught in the flow of the tonal. What we want to do is become aware of the two aspects by blending them. This is the essence of shamanism. We are born all nagual but we begin to see the need for a counterpart – the tonal – then the tonal takes over and we get lost in describing things rather than in the things themselves. A description is just a description. The way to shrink the tonal is to put our full attention on it and from there shifting our attention to the nagual bit by bit.
Reni: “Carlos Castaneda told us modern man has a lot more dialogue – inner chatter – then he used to have. It’s composed of complaints.”
She read a few letters sent in by practitioners. What is a warrior to do when a moment of misalignment happens? Carlos said: “Take a moment to reflect, to review the inventory.”
Exercise: Write a description of a moment of annoyance when something happened that you couldn’t let go.
Saturday morning: Aerin said there was always a feeling of special vitality around Carlos and the witches. Aerin once asked Carlos: “Do I have to feel this good every day?”
He said: “No, not at all. Take a break. Go back to feeling miserable.” Aerin said: “So I do sometimes when I miss my old feelings. I miss my friends – depression, internal dialogue (i.e., “I’m
not good enough.”).
After they learned it, the apprentices spent a lot of time getting the Warrior’s Decision pass perfectly and they practiced it in front of Carlos who said: “What vitality! What collaboration!” She talked about two aspects of the pass: speed and intensity which parallel the two muscle systems, the surface muscles and the deeper muscles near the bones. So after they had performed the Warrior’s decision for the witches and Carlos, Carlos said: “Why don’t you practice the form in reverse? I’m going to make a phone call. You work it out.” At that point, when they tried to reconstruct the form backward, they couldn’t agree. After a period of frustration, someone said: “Let’s get silent.” So they did. Two hours later, Carlos returned, looked surprised and said: “Are you still here? Show me the form.” “We did the form backward and entered into a different state of awareness.”
We all practiced the Binding and Unbinding Form.
Nyei: “What are you feeling?”
The practitioners: “Confusion.” “I feel like vomiting.” “My body feels good.” “I stopped caring if I was doing it right or not.”
“Waking up full perception – called navigating in the sea of awareness – is not always comfortable. While we have this dogmatic certainty about what is right, seers question this idea. What they don’t question is: the wise use of energy and the fact that we are going to die. Being impeccable means getting the best out of any conceivable situation.
When she was told this, Nyei thought it meant: “Now I can always be victorious. I can go on doing what I want to do and I’m going to get even smarter.” But it doesn’t mean being a “social winner. In terms of energy, it means being accountable.” Stopping the world means that certain rhythm/momentum is interrupted, for instance, our righteousness about how we do things, our sense that we are right and everybody else is wrong.
After explaining something, Carlos would ask: “What are you going to do?”
“What you just said,” she would answer.
“No, no. You need to find out – you need to investigate.”
Nyei told a story: Once Taisha asked her to bring her some shelf paper. “I made sure I dressed nicely – I wanted to look good to deliver the shelf paper just in case she told Carlos that she had seen me and that I looked good. I had on crisp jeans, ironed white shirt, hair done, appropriate clothes to deliver shelf paper. Taisha took the paper and asked Nyei to come over after work to put the paper on the shelves.
Nyei chose another outfit – this one appropriate for installing shelf paper. When she saw her, Taisha said: “You’re wearing the same outfit.” “No, I’m not,” said Nyei. “Same energetic outfit,” retorted Taisha.
Then Taisha asked her how she felt: “Your mouth is tight, lips trembling, chest frozen, hands in claws.” And Nyei poured out her complaints about her job about an accountant who had promised to get a license paid but hadn’t done it. He was not only forcing Nyei call him all the time, but he was taking vacations instead of doing the job.
Then Taisha asked her about a similar incident and Nyei remembered seeing a woman sauntering out of a conference room she had been waiting to use for a meeting and feeling the same sensations in her body.
Taisha called these associations: “strings of habit.” She said: “Let’s see what we’re doing with our energy structure.” Then Nyei asked us to write down how our body felt, how we were breathing was, how we were looking, where our body was tense or constricted, etc. while the annoying incident example we had written down before was happening and whether we could associate these feelings with another similar episode.
We had a witness and the witness was to ask: What is there in common between the two moments? What is the link? Does it occur after every episode of this kind?
Then we made four circles around the stage and we did steps to a drum beat first in one direction and then the other; it was called unbinding to music. The earth likes the sound of drums and so it is a good way to get in touch with the earth’s energy.
Reni gave a lecture about putting a halt in the flow:
She was having her first breakfast with Carlos and Taisha. Carlos picked her up on Sunday morning. She had just spent three hours deciding what to wear – had a terrible time finding just the right thing – a sweater had a too plunging neckline, a backless dress showed too much skin, or were the wrong color (“Can’t do black for breakfast. Red is just too ME, ME, ME. The green might work but I’ve only got brown open toed shoes to go with it.”) Then she couldn’t decide how much make-up to wear. She finally put something together and got ready. Taisha rang the doorbell. Carlos was waiting in the truck. She got in and sat between them. They drove down to a beach café with flower pots, silver, crystal, linen, view of the sea and the nagual goes inside to get a table. Taisha brushed Reni’s shoulder: “You chose well. Do people often compliment you?”
Reni: “Sure, they compliment me. One man said I was beautiful. Another man said I looked like Jacklyn Smith.”
Taisha: “Did you believe them?”
Reni: “Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
Carlos came back and they were ushered to a table where they sat with their menus. Taisha leaned over to Carlos and whispered behind the menu: “She thinks she looks like Jacklyn Smith.”
Carlos looked up: “Did someone tell you you looked like Jacklyn Smith? Let’s engage this for a moment.”
Reni: “A man in a department store said I was beautiful and this other man said I had a body worth dying for.”
Carlos: “You think he was a pimp” Both Carlos and Taisha started laughing and Reni sat there thinking: “Here I am with the Nagual and Taisha and I’m saying the stupidest things of my life.”
Carlos said: “We’re like that. That’s what they’ve done to us. Who told you looked like Jacklyn Smith?”
Reni thought about it awhile and realized that nobody had. “I guess nobody ever had,” she said. “I liked her and watched her on television and I thought I had the same eyes and chin. I put it all together myself.” The breakfast came and they all ate their poached eggs and decaf tea and Carlos said: “We’re all caught in lines of association that are neither accurate nor consistent. They are a binding force around us. Like this table setting, they have a purpose, the salad fork is on the outside so we can eat our salad with it first and then we work inward – the Emily Post table setting. In the same way we combine instances of things to build an identity. Each person’s associations lead to a unique identity. He asked Reni what she thought of when he said: “Knife, fork, plate, napkin.” Reni said, “Candlelight, flowers, table cloth, wine, somebody kissing my hand.”
Carlos: “You have the mind of a romantic. The problem is that these ideas never change and no matter what happens these associations always end up taking us to the same place. They make us feel immortal. Seers call it the Doing of the Self. And seers work to put a halt to that doing.”
Reni: “Why do they want to do that?”
Carlos: “Because it gives you access to a much bigger view. How do you reach another perception? You have to put a dam in the Doing of the Self. I bet you drive to work the same way every time. Next time take another route.”
Reni got a call from the nagual, inviting her to her first Tensegrity class. She took a different route to the place and noticed things on her way that she might not have if she’d gone her usual way. Carlos put her in a position where she could see everything and introduced her to Carol Tiggs and others. Carlos would do passes awhile and then he’d stop and tell stories and talk.
Carlos: “Interrupting the flow brings different perspectives – broadens the view.”
Reni got a message from her womb telling her to rearrange her closet where everything was organized according to type, pants with pants, shirts with shirts, etc. She reorganized it by color. All black clothes together, all pink clothes together, etc. The next morning she had to re-learn how to choose her wardrobe for the day: “I went to work dressed in a different flow.”
Exercise: Write down all the details of the moment previously described that you can remember now, see the bigger picture.
Miles and Aerin: “Everyday make a little adjustment” in your breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.
Taisha said: “We really take words for granted. We blame others and say things we don’t even remember afterwards.”
Miles: “The dualism in us – the two forces in us – shamans blend them.” Carlos said there was a dualism between our language and our actions. In ancient times, men possessed silent knowledge because their language was directly connected to their actions. And they were accountable for what they said. There was no gap between language and action. In modern times, we spend our whole lives being unconnected to others so that what we say has no consequences. In early man, there was no gap because they were accountable to their fellow tribe members. And it’s not just what we say to others, but what we say to ourselves. We need to talk from a different place – from the energy body. We need to start from the feet and connect to the luminous fibers at the mid section and speak from there – the first mouth. We have to make a deliberate decision to speak from the first mouth so we stop using language without any thought. “Taisha invited us to be mouth warriors.” In a poll it was found that the biggest fear in the U.S. was public speaking. Death ranked third. Conversation with one person is “public speaking.”
Exercise: What would you say/do/think differently from your new broader view (see previous exercises) of the moment of annoyance. Then we read to our witness what we would have said if we had been speaking from our first mouth/lower disk and what we would have told ourselves as opposed to what we told ourselves from our mind.
Nyei then formally introduced the water form pass:
“Carol Tiggs told us that water was a precious element we could use us to change our energetic charge – you can do it with water by splashing some on your face, or drinking some water. With this pass we can internalize the fluid property of water. By tracking our many views of ourselves, the doing of ourselves, making little shifts, finding what is buried, or hidden beneath the crust, we can find our true energetic essence. Water has many forms: liquid, ice, steam, vapor and we can be compared to it. Sometimes we’re solid as ice, sometimes steamy and heated, quick to rise, and sometimes vaporous, and sometimes were like a liquid adapting to circumstances. We should shift fluidly between the 1st and 2nd attention, and be aware at any moment which form we are in, become a being in touch with everything through the vibration which is like the vibration in water..
Did the Water form on our mats.
The evening entertainment began with a lecture by Bruce Wagner who introduced himself: “My name is Bruce Wagner. Carlos Castaneda gave me the name of Lorenzo Drake. I’m a writer.” He talked about what these two names meant to his self-conception. At his first Tensegrity class, he met Taisha and the first thing he asked her was: “And what do you do?”
Taisha: “I do what they do,” she said pointing to the other witches and
Carlos. He listened to Carlos talking about “it” in the same way as a 100-year old Roshi he had heard in Japan talked about “it”. Afterward, he was so enthused that he went to Carlos and announced: “I’m going to get a new tattoo.” He was into tattoos then and remembers feeling a wave of envy when he read that Mike Tyson was getting a facial tattoo.
Carlos: “Sure, why not? Get a tattoo.” Taisha whispered to him: “He’s not joking.” So they chased Bruce/Lorenzo down and Carlos said: “Don’t get a tattoo. This is all about being inconspicuous.” Then Bruce read a passage from Magical Passes.
He was funny, and entertaining, and illuminating as usual and was dressed up in a double breasted suit. Sitting in a big yellow armchair behind him was Brian who was playing riffs from “You Only Live Twice” on a pretty stringed instrument (mandolin/banjo?) in the background while Bruce talked. At the end, he read the lyrics from “You Only Live Twice” substituting “freedom” for “love.” Then Robert Savory, Gavin and Rylan, all of them dressed up (double breasted suits for the men and a chiffon dress in black with red flower design on Rylan who also had a complicated hairdo). They sang a Leon Russell song called “A Song for You.” Robert sang in English first, then Gavin did it in Spanish, followed by Rylan in English and at the end they sang together as a trio.
The audience joined in the refrain:
“I love you in a place where there’s no space or time.
I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.
And when my life is over, remember when we were together ...
We were alone and I was singing this song for you.”
I got up early to go in search of the elusive botanical garden. When I got there the gates were closed and I was about to leave when I saw a Japanese man opening a door in to the fancy new greenhouse. I said:
“What time does it open?” and he said: “I’ll let you in.” Which he did with no more ado. I was the only person there, alone with the wonderful plants, a tall Torrey pine with a beautiful bark and a long trunk ending at the top in branches, enormous bamboos in a tall dark green clusters, something amazing called a Burma fishtail palm, all crammed into a long narrow dark crevice between the campus and Hildgard Street, with a little stream meandering through it.
On my way back to the cafeteria for breakfast, I heard sounds of water and heading in that direction, found a wonderful fountain in the plaza with the mathematics and pure science building complex around it. The outer ring was smooth dark water, the middle ring was water running down over some bumpy golden rocks, then the water plunged over a lip and fell into a circular pit where it boiled and danced, turning a milky pale green and flinging up drops and foam with a slight vapor rising above.
In a mosaic set in one of the buildings next to it was “E=MC2", which I have always felt an affinity for as it seems to be a warrior’s equation. It was a special moment in that deserted spot with nothing but moving water for company and the silent, empty buildings where the most intense intellectual cogitation normally goes on all around me.
We began with the Binding/Unbinding Form and then did the Water form.
Nyei and Miles: “Were going to share with you some of the reactions you had.”
About the singing: “I felt the invisible was manifesting each performance [of the song]. I was in the moment beautifully choreographed by infinity. “We’re moving into something we don’t understand.”
Signs/stickers seen around campus: “Energy is a terrible thing to waste” and “We’re all in this together” and “Don’t look behind you, it’s gaining.”
“Perceiving energy as it flows in the universe is our natural state; our birthright. If we begin to pay attention to the 1st attention, we can begin to perceive the 2nd attention.
Carlos used to tell the apprentices: “Put your junk on the table, not underneath. Only then when it’s out in the open can you deal with it.”
Be accountable for your interpretations in the 1st attention. Stop making judgments, stop the flow of associations.
Miles said that during the musical performance: “I felt water in the corner of my eyes and thought I must be having an allergic reaction. But no, I was crying! But men don’t cry so I was having an allergy.”
They announced workshops/classes:
Mexico City, Sept. 22-26
Moscow, Oct. 18-19
Verona, Italy, Nov. 24-30.
Our assignment (send a report in to attention@c... by Sept. 26):
Track body positions when in a moment of misalignment, do magical passes and shift the body position in order to get a new view and from that view, ask yourself: What could I do differently next time? How could I say what I said differently? What different thing could I tell myself about the situation? And then track this and next time you get angry, upset, etc. and implement these new strategies, notice how they worked. What needed adjustment? Track what happens with the new view.
At the end of the workshop, Robert and Gavin sang the Leon Russell song and everybody joined in for the refrain/chorus:
“I love you in a place where there’s no space or time.
I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.
And when my life is over, remember when we were together ...
We were alone and I was singing this song for you.
This workshop for me was marked by how relaxed and fluid everyone was.
There has been a marked and noticeable shift in all of the apprentices.
They were easy and the talks flowed (yes, like water) and I even heard Gavin laugh once (a first). They are all living proof that stalking the solidity of the self works!
Addendum to UCLA Workshop
Here's something I just remembered and it seems important since it was such a good illustration of the kind of stalking we are doing by gaining a broader view:
At some point, Aerin gave a perfect example of the exercise from her own experience: She was taking a class and there was a handout and she wanted to make a copy of it for herself. Another classmate offered to drive her to Kinko’s. While she was there, the classmate said: “Why don’t you make one for the whole class?” Immediately Aerin went into overdrive: “Why do I have to make a copy for everybody? Why is she over there talking to someone instead of helping me?” Her breathing accelerated, her focus narrowed. She fulminated as she did the copying, feeling victimized the whole time, seeing her lunchtime slip away without her being able to get lunch, etc. etc.
When she gained the larger view: Aerin realized that her classmate had offered to drive her to Kinko’s, that Kinko’s was a lovely, big place, full of light, that the copying job actually took about 10 minutes for her to do, that someone who worked there had offered to do it for her and she had waved him away, and then she remembered that she had actually offered to copy the hand out for the whole class, and not only that, that she actually enjoyed doing things for other people!