Settle into the calmness of your own heart center and rest assured that it will carry you forward with sobriety, goodness, and sweetness; that its steady beat will keep you attuned to the steady beat of nature all around you, and that it will guide you well. No matter where you live, no matter your circumstances, you have access to this inner resource. This is the real nature you seek, the natural energy of loving kindness that permeates everything, that flows through the universe and into you too. Let your knowing heart be calm, and let yourself be assured that you are safe within yourself, with your knowing heart as your guide, your teacher, your friend. The great heart of the universe, to which you all belong, beats for all. As within, so without.
A simple way of understanding the need to reincarnate is to appreciate the very human reluctance to leave the human form. Humans are bipartite beings, humanly attached to the physical world, and energetically attached to infinity.
As energetic beings, we have a living connection to everything in the universe. However, as human beings, we limit the scope of our connectedness.
Carlos Castaneda writes in The Power of Silence:
“Don Juan had asserted that our great collective flaw is that we live our lives completely disregarding that connection. The busyness of our lives, our relentless interests, concerns, hopes, frustrations, and fears take precedence, and on a day-to-day basis we are unaware of being linked to everything else.”
We come into this world equipped with a sensual body that is granted a finite life to experience, in magnified form, sensations and feelings of pleasure, pain, love, and hate. Indulgence can be defined as the intensity of attachment that we give to these transitory experiences, which we unconsciously maintain throughout our lives.
If we’ve yet to fulfill our experience of these states, or simply can’t get enough of them, our indulgence is tenacious. Mastery of these sensations and feelings could be defined as sobriety, a readiness to let go and deepen exploration, beyond the limits of indulgence.
Human exploration inevitably fixates on excess. The greater the excess, the more powerful the experience. Part of the exploratory process drives us to extremes to discover the boundaries of the human form. This drive to push, even beyond those boundaries, is often fatal, yet at the same time it is at the heart of our evolutionary imperative.
Even now, as the Earth dramatically reveals its limits to our human indulgence, humanity insists upon more, more, more. We can see the fatality of this attitude on the very near horizon, yet indulgence still dominates. At the same time, this indulgence is delivering us to our evolutionary destiny: the discovery of our energetic core.
We are being guided to discover our energetic selves out of survival necessity. At an energetic level, we are collaborative beings, all parts of the same whole. Survival requires a unity and an equanimity of our species that puts the needs of our wholeness over the specialness of our separateness. At present, despite the disintegrative signs that abound everywhere, we are still able to indulge in the excess of our specialness.
However, intuitively and viscerally, we know that our current level of overindulgence is unsustainable. This knowing is constantly under attack by the heightened concerns of everyday life, that which hypnotically showers upon us daily.
Our propensity to seek refuge in the worry of self-reflection—that is, in perseverating about our personal standing—keeps at bay the full impact of the direct knowing of our energetic selves. If we can luxuriate in the luxury of pure reason the full truth isn’t necessary, or so we surmise.
Nonetheless, we are precipitously close to abruptly awakening to our energetic selves, as the Earth, that great sentient being, moves closer to shutting down our viral overindulgence. The introduction of the interconnected energetic self is critical to survival after the fall of our current overindulgence.
Individuals can begin to experience their energetic selves through connection to their dreaming selves. The practice of not doings promotes the inner silence that allows for encounter with the energetic self.
Specifically, one can introduce the not doing of reversing one’s dependence on their dominant side, inviting their non-dominant side to take part in daily life. The intent behind such controlled folly is to cross the bridge to one’s energetic side and more fully experience the contributions of both sides of the self, beyond human indulgence.
Another simple gem, from the shaman healer’s world, to connect with one’s energetic self, concerns the use of water. Pour a glass of water. Then vigorously rub your hands together until they become hot. Next, place your hands upon the glass and allow the heat to transfer to the water. At this time, state your intent, then drink the glass of water. Be careful, however, to not overindulge this drinking practice! Once at night and once in the morning is all that is recommended. Then, see what happens.
Quote from: The Power of Silence, Carlos Castaneda, p.103.
Addiction is a very pejorative term for behavior that seeks, at its heart, some form of ecstatic joy, comfort, and satiation in transcendental wholeness. The addict pursues bliss with dogged determination, regardless of the negative fallout generated by the object of choice.
Of necessity, we focus on the toxic fallout of the chosen object, but, in so doing, neglect the purity of the underlying need. All humans are driven to seek union with their lost wholeness—it’s the core riddle of life in the human form—the golden treasure that lies at the center of our existence.
Once the addict has glimpsed this golden treasure through the path of chosen object, that object invites the addict on a journey of compulsive desperation, as the object, unable to deliver the addict to the promised land, becomes a source of increasingly diminishing returns.
The only cure for addiction is the mastery of ecstasy.
Sobriety is really the establishment of an adult personality that can withstand the impact of our true wholeness. We must first be able to withstand the full truth of the wholeness of the life we have lived—with all its traumas, choices, disappointments, and losses—in order to clear the channel to transcendent wholeness. Short of this, the quest for wholeness is commandeered by the need to stay whole through numbness that obliterates the discomfort of life unaccepted.
We will not be able to tolerate all that we must feel and release without the sober grounding of the adult self. Don Juan Matus stated that for shamans to face infinity, they must first master life’s apprenticeship by facing the cruelest of petty tyrants without regressing into the shields of self-pity and entitlement. Such attachments, like addiction, are traps that keep our liberation bound to numbing objects, as we remain disconnected from our wholeness.
Only the maturity of our sober adult self can take the journey through life’s deepest somber truths and free the self to open to love and the ecstasy of transcendent wholeness. Only the sober adult is ready for the real deal.
The addict, meanwhile, repeatedly seeking the satiation of deepest need in the object of choice, can’t get away from its dogged pursuit. When the addict finds true sobriety, with the adult self in charge, the road is cleared to transcendent ecstasy—life’s true deepest quest.
At a lecture in a Pasadena bookstore in 1992, Taisha Abelar, a sorcerer in the same lineage as Carlos Castaneda, spoke of the graveyard of the failed sorcerers as the second gate of dreaming that Carlos wrote about in The Art of Dreaming. Dreaming, in the shaman’s world, is the act of gaining awareness, training with intent to hold onto that awareness no matter what world one enters.
This graveyard of failed sorcerers is a kind of shaman’s limbo, filled with journeyers who couldn’t release their attachment to this world upon dying. Those failed sorcerers continue to feed upon life in this world as the ghosts and vampires that both fascinate and terrify the living. Energetically, these inorganic beings continue to experience life in this world through the emotional roller coaster they induce in those who interact with them.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico, through interaction with these inorganic beings, were able to venture deeper into the layers of the onion—into worlds of awareness beyond normal perception. But many were also destroyed by attachment to the “gifts” offered by these failed sorcerers.
Prominent among these gifts peddled by these inorganic beings are a variety of elixirs of immortality that allow those in human form to partake in the nectar of infinity. These elixirs come in a variety of flavors, such as the sweet perfume of timeless romance, the passion and dreams of alcohol, the soothing nursery of opiates and food, the adventures of psychedelics, the rush of possibility in the bet, the excitement of “more” material possessions, or the rapture of power.
These elixirs of immortality quickly transform into habitual bondage. That which once thrilled becomes the source of sustenance to merely maintain life. The thrill thrills less or is altogether gone, but the dependence on the habit takes center stage to life—freedom exchanged for dependence.
The failed sorcerers at the second gate of dreaming are gargoyles—guardians of deeper knowledge. To pass by the gate we must partake of the treats they offer. We all must interact with these sorcerers; stoicism is nothing but a dry drunk addicted to the self-importance of refusal and resentment. In one form or another we must all take our sensual journeys in this world. We are humans after all—why else would we be here! The challenge, however, is attachment. Can we let go when it’s time to move on, or will we insist on the addiction of MORE?
That is the trial of addiction, the refusal to move on when it’s time to leave. That’s the dilemma of the failed sorcerers parked at the second gate of dreaming—their refusal to relinquish attachment to life in this world and move on, yet a refusal as well to fully reincarnate. They are stuck with one eye looking forward, the other backward. It’s wanting the best of both worlds. They hold onto this world through their addiction to our energy, which in turn is caught in addiction to the elixirs they offer.
Nonetheless, these gatekeepers must allow those ready to refuse belabored attachment—addiction to their array of elixirs—to travel beyond their gate into the next layer of dreaming awareness. If we partake in the elixirs of life in this world and refuse MORE we advance. This is sobriety.
True freedom lies in sobriety. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico observed that humans who refuse the bait of self-importance change their energy state and the gatekeepers let them pass. Ultimately, self-importance is the trapping of addiction. Partaking on an ongoing basis of the nectars of immortality is treating oneself as if one were a god. Somewhere it was once written: Thou shalt not have false gods before me. The energy state of addiction is an inflated state of self-importance, a false god.
The ancient Hindus maintain that Brahman, the Atman, God, is indeed within everything. However, to be one with that true God is to peel away the layers of the onion, the trappings and wrappings of illusion. Illusions are the false gods, the elixirs peddled by the failed sorcerers.
The energy needed to find total freedom, union with Atman—the energy the failed sorcerers don’t touch—is sobriety. Sobriety is grounded energy that stays aligned with truth and fact on its path to divine union. This is the shaman’s path—sobriety.
Every morning as we awaken, if we pause for a moment, we can observe the process of our transition from one world to another. In that moment we stand between worlds, between the world of dreams—of higher vibrational energy body states—and the world of ordinary reality, the one that our dense physical energy body wakes up in and prepares to live the day in.
We might also notice how we call that waking world to us, what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico refer to as calling the intent of life in the human form. That intent is stored in the habits and beliefs we enact as we enter the day. As soon as we awaken, our internal dialogue awakens too and begins its spin, reminding us of who we are in our human form.
“Oh yes,” it might tell us, “I am a being who is afraid of people in authority.” Or it might suggest, “I am a being who is afraid to lose my job,” or “I am a being who doesn’t feel attractive,” or “I am a being who must clothe over my flaws,” or “I am a being with physical ailments that I must create tension around to feel present in my body.”
It’s possible that our internal dialogue may produce the following as well, “I am a being who is tired in the morning,” or “I am a being who must stay anxious in order to remain focused,” or “I am a being who must rush around and worry,” or “I am a being who is sad and lonely.”
Once we’ve established our link with the intent of who we are in human form, our internal dialogue is geared up to remind us incessantly throughout the day with its repetitive mental thoughts of who we are and who we are not. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico say that every ounce of energy we have is given over to upholding the intent of who we are and how we define this world, so much so that all the possibility of perceiving or conceiving of life beyond the structure of that intent is completely screened out. Our intent to uphold who we are and what this world is comprised of is completely sealed off by the gatekeeper of the mind, constantly chattering away, repeating the same old phrases.
We see an exact replica of this internal dialogue in our digital age. The speed and constancy of our hunger for nonstop digital input into our central nervous system to define and know our world is matched only by the incessant internal dialogue inside our minds that nonstop feeds us our stories of who we are and what our world is made up of. We’ve become terrified of a pause, a gap, a movie that streams too slowly, calmness, aloneness, a quiet moment with no input, a gap that just for a moment throws us a glimpse of another world.
We constantly long for change, yet we grasp at the familiar. The truth is though that our internal dialogue keeps us stuck, as the world we currently uphold seduces us to believe that faster delivery of information or quicker connection is all we need to experience our unrealized potential. But, in actual fact, this is our world swinging us to the Rajas pole, our world of ordinary reality on a manic speed trip. Inevitably, the great revving up then alternates and swings us in the opposite direction and we crash, as we ride the pendulum that Jan wrote about in her blog this week. But the truth is that even this bi-polar swing remains safely locked in the boundaries of ordinary reality. How could it be otherwise when what we hear in our heads are the same mantras repeated over and over again.
As I have often written, don Juan Matus states that to truly travel in the unknown we must be extremely sober. Sobriety bears the tension of the pendulum swings of this world. In sobriety we offer ourselves the opportunity to avoid the lure of the extremes. The seduction of the extremes is transcendence—the opportunity to achieve a spiritual experience—a going beyond life in the mundane, with the boring repetition of our stuck patterns. It’s a trap, however, and that trap is called addiction—the use of excess to offer the opportunity to glimpse beyond the mundane, beyond ordinary reality. Such excess may result in death through the recklessness of daring or the suicide of depression.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico suggest a real alternative to breaking the patterns of the mundane, offering an opportunity to truly discover and live our unknown potential: Redeploying Intent.
Just as we semiconsciously and automatically call the intent of this world to us each day upon awakening and monotonously repeat it to ourselves throughout the day, we can consciously call a new intent and engage in repetitive practices to fully realize and reenforce that new intent. That new intent might be to dream lucidly, to peer beyond the known self into the un-recapitulated self, to heal the body, to experience fulfillment, to unite with the divine—the possibilities are endless.
All that is really required is that we soberly state our intent in words, that we repeat it often, letting it become our new personal mantra, a new personal prayer. In stating our intent incessantly, mindfully shifting our attention away from the ever-present internal dialogue that has so far controlled us, we offer ourselves the opportunity for real breakthrough and lasting change leading to fully realizing our greater potential.
Each one of us can make room for the realization of our personal intent. To do so, we must take back our energy that is currently entwined in the habits and beliefs of our incessant dialogue, ridding ourselves of the gatekeeper of the mind by disrupting our familiar habits, routines, and mantras. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico never look in the mirror to break themselves of attaching to self-importance. Perhaps that’s something to give up, only using a blurry mirror to groom or shave.
Take an energy inventory. How do you personally spend your time each day? What is your incessant dialogue? What activities steal your energy? Cut out the unnecessary, particularly activities connected to upholding self-importance, i.e., constantly checking Facebook or some other digital drain, or that mirror. Enjoy the pauses afforded as energy accrues, recouped from habit.
Engage instead in physical activities and practices, such as simply walking, yoga, meditation, martial arts, dance, tensegrity, playing an instrument, or something else that shifts attention from the internal dialogue to bodily awareness. You will be supported by the ancient intent implied in many of these practices, as well as the creative that always seeks engagement.
Finally, I suggest embracing the sober not-doing of knowing that your intent will be realized. Have no attachment to the outcome of the realization of your intent, simply intend it, with the clear certainly that it will be realized. And then, as Carlos Castaneda was so fond of saying: See what happens!