Omega Institute Tensegrity Workshop - May 26-29, 1995
Part II - Friday night, May 26 - Florinda's Talk continued - Q&A
by Corey Donovan
A man asked a long question about whether what has happened to Castaneda and Carol Tiggs has changed the group's path. Florinda responded that "The question we are dealing with now is 'Are we condemned to interpret forever?' Is that what we're stuck with? Our hope is the two scouts, blue and orange, who have a different kind of energy, acting as our energetic guides, indicating that there is a way to bridge that interpretation limitation."
A man asked, "What is your outcome for this weekend?" Florinda said: "To give you something. Something happened to us energetically, we were able to truly follow the path of the old Nagual and cancel out interpretations." Don Juan's disciples "had difficulty accepting both his utter love and utter indifference for us. It forced us to change and re-evaluate what we were truly doing. Love as we know it is an interpretation. We have to learn in the sorcerers' way how truly to love."
A man asked something about a "quest for certainty." Florinda responded: "We are more than we appear. There's more out there. When we are pure perceptors it is totally chaotic. Is there a moment when we can just see energy directly? Yes, we can go through a wall and disappear, even if only for a moment."
A man asked about Ken Eagle Feather and Merilyn Tunneshende [writers who both claimed to have a relationship with don Juan]. Florinda said, "These people exist, but they have nothing to do with us" [meaning Castaneda and his group].
A man asked, "How can we change our direction?" Florinda said that instead of worrying about that we should put everything into trying to raise our awareness.
A woman asked for more information about the Orange Scout and the world of Castaneda and Carol Tiggs. Florinda promised the Chacmools would talk later on at length about the scouts.
A woman asked, "Why the short hair?" Florinda explained that she had been shaved bald after "living with the lamas" in the seventies and getting a bad case of lice. When it grew out it was "like this." Also, hair is basically dead. "It is practical and propitious to have short hair."
A man asked, "Can one reach freedom without a nagual?" Florinda responded: "In one way, no, but in journeying energetically we do touch each other. When our awareness has risen, we can understand so much more. You will think you understand me here for about a half hour, and then later think we are full of shit. Our awareness must rise above our toes. The recapitulation enables us to see our life the way it is without analysis." (She explained about recapitulation: i.e., the need to make a list, and the need to re-experience all our interactions with everyone on our list.) The first recapitulation "must be very systematic, because that effort forces us to use parts of our brain we haven't used before. Recapitulation itself doesn't give energy. A good recapitulation will give you hints that we aren't so special. By the time we are three-years-old, we have learned one or, if we are exceptional, maybe two ways to manipulate the world. By 30, you are still using the same ways, and to learn that through recapitulation is shocking. We always expect others to curtail their behavior, but we don't focus on ourselves. Except when we love someone--then we temporarily have patience, but only until that person loves us. If they don't, we send them to hell."
A man asked more about the technique of recapitulation. Florinda said the details don't matter that much, i.e., it doesn't need to be in a cave or a box, just find a specific spot. It is important to do it seriously, regularly, perhaps in a closet, or a quiet corner, perhaps using the same chair or pencil each time--"whatever you want."
A man asked "How long does it take to get our awareness to rise?" Florinda said, "It's not sudden. It's very slow and painful."
A man asked about don Juan's current situation. Florinda said, "We don't really know. We believe he is in another layer of the onion, another world, but we don't really know."
A woman asked "How do we break the cycle of awareness?" Florinda claimed it "happens in inane moments. Once the body can hook on something energetically, it can go back there. Fearful ideas are a form of indulging. They are interpretations. What we perceive just is, nothing is either good or bad."
A man asked "Why do we remember what we experience with drugs, but not in non-drug-induced heightened awareness?" Florinda said that with drugs, we can only remember a moment (and that it's the same with experiences induced by sleep or food deprivation); we just have flashes of awareness. When in a state of heightened awareness, it is like a parallel life, that lasts for days, weeks, etc. But we need a great amount of energy for this, energy that's not used up in the everyday world. Once our awareness has risen, the flyers don't find us palatable. They go after easier prey" (like we would in a chicken coop).
A man asked "What's the voladores' process for taking our awareness?" Florinda responded, "It's munching. No, we like it [our awareness] at the level of our heels. We've had years of acute pain in life, we want to be like everyone else. After years of training we are most comfortable with that. We are basically repetitive apes." Young children who perceive are "pure perceptors." When they talk to adults they can get very contradictory signals (e.g., the exasperated mother who says angrily to her child, "Don't you see I love you!"). The children "see." To become socialized beings, we imitate our parents. We walk and talk like daddy or mom.
A man asked for an example of stalking. Florinda said that would be covered the following day.
A man asked, "Is the chance of a chance only for your group?" Florinda said, "No, that's why we're here. There's nothing special about us; the Chacmools did it on their own." Something in them has changed them energetically, she claimed, through their own ruthlessness with themselves. "Tensegrity is not exercises; it's not Jane Fonda." (She mentioned that people in Mexico had been heard to comment, "Gee, I came all the way from Argentina and just learned exercises. I should have gone to Jane Fonda. At least I would have lost weight.") "We have practically blinders that only allow ourselves to see ourselves endlessly repeated. We can break this energetically, through recapitulation and Tensegrity. You have to invest everything you've got in this, and then more--and still you don't know if anything will happen."
Florinda claimed the Chacmools were energetically not the same as the people who came into our world 10 years ago. And although naguals have more energy, in everyday life this extra energy just makes them more stupid--they have more energy to be dense."
A man asked a question regarding Chinese energy practices and their relation to Tensegrity. Florinda claimed that some of the old sorcerers practiced martial arts. Nagual Lujan and Nagual Elias also did. The intent of Tensegrity is to help raise our level of awareness. The movements carry this intent with them. Castaneda told them to learn martial arts, which has helped them, "but it is not the same intent."
A man asked a question about the Death Defier. Florinda said that Carol Tiggs would talk about that.
A man asked about intent. Florinda said "We intend everyday life. We intend this tent. [Laughter] The Tensegrity movements have a different intent which is to raise our level of awareness. Repeating them, something gets hooked."
A man asked, "If we change our assemblage point, can we operate still in every day life?" Florinda responded, "Yes. The assemblage point shift is not permanent."
A man asked, "Can you talk about sexual activity?" Florinda complained jokingly, "I always get this question; it always comes to me." Then she said, "Castaneda is supposed to be celibate. I hope he is." (Florinda then took off her glasses, joking "I'd rather not see your faces when I talk about this.") "The old Nagual said all of us are 'bored fucks,' in the sense that we were conceived in total or semi-boredom. So our energy is at a mediocre level. Therefor it is better that we not spend it wastefully. Sexual energy is our most powerful energy. 90% of our energy goes into our self presentation, 88% for purposes of being attractive to the opposite sex. If we take our energy away from that, it loosens it up for perception. If you want to be obsessed with sex, have it. Celibacy has to be a personal choice, it can't be imposed. Our concern with sex is imposed mainly by the media. Women fake orgasms. Sexual energy is declining--women and men are becoming more and more infertile. Sex is a great burst of energy."
A woman asked, "What about the dream worms [that men leave in women]?" Florinda responded, "Ahhhhhh. Energetically, a link must be established to handle offspring and to make sure women and children are taken care of. So a man must return to the energy configuration. Women are taxed energetically twice as much. We support the males--you 'poor babies'--energetically frail (I'm not talking psychologically here)." The universe is mainly feminine. (Florinda told the story of the women taking care of two men at the airport with their trays.) "Even among sorcerers, males are 'poor babies.' But you don't have to wait seven years to release the worms; a good recapitulation will blast the worms."
A man asked a question about getting sick from encounters with inorganics. Florinda responded, "No, you just get sick from a good recapitulation." She claimed that both she and Taisha vomited during their recapitulations.
A man asked about "seeing." Florinda said sorcerers don't "see" with their eyes, but with their whole body. When interpreting what they experience for others it sounds like the perception was coming through the eyes.
A woman asked how to stop the internal dialogue. Florinda said "it is very hard." Through Tensegrity movements you can do this; the nauseousness some get, she claimed, is because they have to concentrate to do them properly.
A man asked whether the fact that Castaneda had the temperament of the old sorcerers was a point of concern. Florinda said "No. Don Juan avoided the inorganic beings' world in order to burn beyond. We wonder if it is possible--if they have gotten beyond the confines of our energy matrix, and if humans can ever get beyond our interpretation limitation." She claimed that they keep their discussion of this issue "light," to keep Castaneda from getting morbid about it. (Men are more morbid by nature, she claimed.)
A woman asked about intent while doing Tensegrity. Florinda simply replied that intent was very important to Tensegrity.
A man asked if anyone had tried to "see the 'seeing,'" suggesting this would help the group break the bonds of interpretation. Florinda responded that no, one can't. "Once the system of interpretation is canceled, you can't use seeing, you can't stand back." They themselves were told, she claimed, to get into school, to get logical, to get beyond ideology.
A man asked a question about formlessness. Florinda claimed that the most formless in their group were Castaneda and Carol Tiggs. "If nothing was pulling them to stay here, they would hardly remain. I always remind Castaneda that he owes me to take me with him, because he kept me from departing with Old Florinda."
A man asked about their concerns being so focused on "the leap," on "life after life." Florinda responded that, on the contrary, their focus is on "navigating into infinity, going into the unknown."
A man asked, "What's your group's interest in us?" Florinda responded, "It's so easy, so simple for us to do." What is needed to raise awareness is simply to collapse the sense of self.
A man asked whether we should form groups. Florinda said no, that even their group is really very solitary. "Something energetically connects us. It is not because we eat or live together. We might go to movies together." There is no guarantee even that they'll all leap together.
I asked a question about where gays and lesbians fit into the sorcerers view of the world, given that the books are pretty "heterocentric." Florinda responded that the books reflect the tradition of "a bunch of old Mexicans," who were very "uptight about sexuality," and that's why the books leave it out. "Lesbians were not real for them. The only thing don Juan commented when the subject of homosexuality came up was that he didn't understand why some gays and lesbians live in couples just like heterosexuals"; he seemed to wonder why they don't take advantage of being outside the norm. "Moralistically, it didn't matter to him." In her view, males get along better with each other anyway. "Males don't like females. Yes, we're good sexual partners and mothers, but ultimately, energetically, you prefer your own kind. And women do too." As a society, we haven't much explored if women can love each other, beyond just when they're both miserable.
A man asked a question about why recapitulation is just aimed at reviewing all our human interactions. Florinda said "Therapy examines these interactions. Recapitulation is not examining them. We want to find out specific behaviors, which are repetitive and boring. The only thing special about us is we are perceivers without seeing how detrimental our repetitions are to us."
A man asked whether, over the past century, our human consciousness hasn't changed a great deal. Florinda said, "According to don Juan, no, nothing really has changed, just our focus on 'me.' Awareness is different from consciousness. Awareness is an energetic state, not just psychological; it's a state of possibilities. We haven't changed much, we keep our life going and may want to save the Rain Forest now, but we say the Brazilians should do it. We may send some money, but we don't change ourselves or our own natural-resource-guzzling behavior. Don Juan said that before the dinosaurs became extinct, they intended flight."
A man asked about the impact of children on our luminous eggs. Florinda claimed that both she and Carol Tiggs had each given birth to a scout. Florinda had the orange one. "It doesn't have that much impact, except one just has to work harder or run faster. We may have holes, but it pushes us to work harder."
A man asked about the quest for total freedom. Florinda said, "This is the open path. We know where the other one leads."
A man asked a question I didn't fully hear about don Juan, presumably about ruthlessness as a warrior characteristic. Florinda responded that "Impeccability is an extra giving of oneself energetically. We are ruthless with ourselves, not with the world around us."
A man asked about the death of la Gorda. Florinda said "She died 10 years ago in a burst of ego. She thought she was the Nagual, because don Juan had said she was a 'peerless dreamer.' She was impatient with Castaneda taking too long and Carol Tiggs not being around. She combusted--she almost leapt, but she couldn't hold it, because her drive was sheer egomania. So she died in our arms.
A woman asked whether it was possible that la Gorda had shifted her assemblage point. Florinda said it was "possible theoretically, but most madness is a gigantic burst of egomania. We are sober. We have to be, because our experiences would otherwise drive us mad."
A woman asked if they were preparing to try to jump "beyond the layers of the onion." Florinda responded "Yes, our concern is what's beyond the 'onion.'"
Someone asked a question about the abyss. Florinda explained that when Castaneda jumped, he "changed energetically." She also mentioned that "Nestor, Pablito and the Little Sisters joined don Juan not long ago."
A woman asked how the Chacmools were "chosen." Florinda explained she had met Kylie "10 or 15 years ago, at an art gallery in Oslo." (In an aside, Florinda claimed, "Kylie's a great artist.") Florinda had gotten sick there "from having eaten too many French chocolates on the plane. I vomited and Kylie nursed me." Kylie knew about Castaneda. Florinda told her to "come visit," without really meaning it, and "Kylie showed up at our agent's a year later." Florinda "told her to go away, but she continued on her own until something in her changed and there was no way to refuse her. Energetically they became Chacmools, because of what they did. So many have tried to be with us, and they either go mad or don't like it because our life is too harsh."
A man asked if it is possible to stop interpreting. Florinda responded, "Yes." He followed up by asking whether one then "becomes part of everything." Florinda said the way they see energy is "it has moved beyond the assemblage point." As to their wondering now if one can stop interpreting altogether, "Yes, Lee Marvin is scared, but on the other hand, so what?"
A woman asked about additional Tensegrity passes. Florinda responded, "Yes, more videos are coming. And an intensive workshop is also being planned for Los Angeles."
A man asked whether Tensegrity would help in dealing with someone with mental problems. Florinda said she didn't think such people would be interested in Tensegrity, "but then, what are 'mental problems'?"
A man asked about draining others' energy. Florinda said, "No one can take energy. In Mexico, some thought we were vampires." She claimed they laughed to themselves saying, "You think we want your toes?" We squander our own energy through our focus on ourselves. "True love is sheer affection, just for the hell of it."
A man asked whether she loved. Florinda said, "Yes, I love Carlos, Carol Tiggs, Taisha Abelar, the Chacmools, and the new guardians. I am not expecting a payback. To love truly another being is to stop worrying about ourselves. Also, it doesn't matter what the other person does. All our concern with things like, 'My opinion isn't heard.' Believe me, it isn't."
A man asked whether the Eagle was the same as ego. Florinda opined, "Yes, it could be. Something that thrives on our awareness, that feeds on our self importance. The universe is predatory. Energy seeks energy."
A man asked whether, since we can see our life when we die, how is that different when you do a recapitulation? [I'm not clear that I got the gist of her response here, which didn't seem responsive to the question.] Florinda said don Juan didn't care about dreams. "Just that you have greater awareness. Energy is available through dreams, but only through exquisite control, for which you need great energy."
A man asked "What is the point in cheating death?" Florinda explained that "Sorcerers want to go in full awareness, in full physical form, into a different world. Yes, we want to avoid death, and certainly we don't want to die as we do in the everyday world."
A man asked why they thought don Juan was stuck. Florinda claimed it was because of Castaneda and Carol Tiggs's recent trips.
A man asked about whether the "astral planes spoken of by Indian gurus are comparable to sorcerers' other worlds." Florinda said she didn't know that much about India. "Don Juan was very pragmatic, he didn't see it as consciousness or theory, he saw other real worlds, and was concerned about raising energy to collapse the parameters of our perception. I don't know if that's the same for Indians." She suspected their view "is still hooked in some way to the social order."
A man asked about the new guardians. Florinda said theirs was "not my story to tell," and explained that "They're trying to eradicate their personal story." She offered only that "they came into contact with us through their sheer effort."
A man claimed he had "16 questions," including, "How do you keep focused and how is this related to erasing personal history?" Florinda said that greater awareness makes us realize we're more than what we were raised to be. "It's a very pragmatic way of speeding up something to be outside the confines of people who know you, and without your usual reference points. Pragmatically, people pin you down. For me it was very important to be separated from family and old friends. Coming from South America to Los Angeles, I was able to curtail any contact with my family. And they knew anyway that I was always unorthodox. I put them off for 10 years, and that cut ties." When she then went to see her parents again, they knew on some level that she was different.
A man observed that "the rule"[as described in Castaneda's early books] seems to have changed, and asked whether that means that what had been written is no longer pertinent. Florinda said "No, that's not true. What's been written is a bona fide account of a process and practices. Taisha's metaphor is of water going over pebbles in a river. The pebbles are still there, there's just new water running over them." Florinda said she used to ask don Juan for the rules, what to do. "I used to fight him, telling him I was German, and that if he'd just tell me what to do, I'd do it. When I was planning to do anthropology research in the Amazon, he just told me not to use other people, including my parents, for connections and help, which was my usual way. He told me to do it on my own." She claimed she almost killed him when he told her, "All you have is that you're blond and blue eyed in a country where that matters." But it changed her.
A woman asked about whether, in doing a sexual history recapitulation, it is easier if you're celibate. Florinda responded that it depends on your focus. "It's not in the fuck, but what goes with it."
A man asked whether there was anything in their system about calling on a great spirit or prayer. Florinda said no. She said that when Nelida told her to call intent, she'd go to the window and scream, "Intent!" She continued, "The Nagual says you don't pray to intent, you demand, you call it forcefully. Spirit is just energy."
A man asked about the story about the dog in The Witch's Dream. Florinda avoided responding, saying, "That was so long ago." She explained that she was told she had to do her thesis work outside of Mexico, that otherwise it would be too easy. "I found a healer. The first version of the thesis hadn't been accepted; it wasn't scientific enough for UCLA." This healer believed that energetically we are related to those connected with us--our parents, etc.
A man asked about her saying not to recapitulate people you're with, and what about parents. Florinda said she wasn't connected with them. "My parents had me pinned down, I couldn't move on without breaking their link to me."
A man asked whether one can recap people one has affection for. Florinda replied, "Yes, but it may change the energy flow. We have a compelling drive to put ourselves ahead of others."
A man asked, "Isn't the ultimate quest total freedom?" Florinda said "That's just an idealization unless we raise our awareness. Otherwise it's mental masturbation. Don Juan's party burned from within, making the plumed serpent configuration, with one last round for our eyes. Sixteen people disappeared. Old Florinda disappeared after la Gorda died, because we were all responsible and Old Florinda cussed us out. For us to let that happen," Old Florinda called them incompetents, etc. So Old Florinda determined to make the leap alone. "There's an orange tree in front of my window, and Old Florinda had on a white dress and sunbonnet. I saw briefly a light, but thought Old Florinda was just hiding when she vanished. But no, she was just suddenly gone, with only a strange vibration behind her that went through the trees and left the orange blossoms shaking. Old Florinda wanted to take me, but Castaneda didn't want me to go so he pushed me out of the way."
A man asked what the group was waiting for to jump. Florinda said, "To go as a group or at least to know that individually we can do it." She said they didn't know if Nestor, Pablito and the others jumped to the same place as don Juan.
A woman asked, "What's death like for the rest of us?" Florinda replied, "We die."
A woman asked whether there were "jumpers into this reality from elsewhere." Florinda said "We haven't encountered them, but why not?" The inorganic beings' world, for example, is a parallel world, with energetic entities.
A man asked about someone trying to describe to Castaneda about his having been abused, and how that had ruined his life. Castaneda had commented that "we aren't that fragile," and that, "we've been around for thousands of years." Florinda commented that "abuse is tragic," but seemed to agree that "we aren't that fragile."
A man asked a question about sobriety. Florinda said it means "not going hysterical. Only our idea of our self make us lose it. We tell people who want to join us to 'Run for the hills!' because our egos won't easily handle it." She mentioned, for example, that the group in Mexico the previous week had been "upset about having to move," because they were stuck on the places they'd staked out on the floor. They were upset when the Chacmools tried to move them around, and they didn't want to move. "But they got more flexible by the afternoon" [after practicing Tensegrity].
Florinda also commented at some point about Castaneda's clan all being "connected by having been at the Anthropological Institute at UCLA at some time." Florinda finished speaking at about 11:20 PM. Twenty minutes later, a heavy fog rolled in.