Apparently, Castaneda feels that he has yet more wisdom to impart. Still, this vague assortment of personal vignettes offers little in the way of spiritual guidance. Paradoxically, although Don Juan often tells Castaneda that a sorcerer must be emptied of self to accept infinity annoyingly, this latter word is always italicized in the text , the book seems self-absorbed from the start. In preparation for accepting infinity, true, Castaneda must revisit some of the most pivotal events in his life.
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Experience would have me believe that we find books at the precise moment we are ready to receive their message. Such is the case with this book for me, and come to think of it, every Castaneda book I have read. I have been missing a few from my collection, and finally found them hiding on the shelves downstairs at Watkins Books in London.
This was the one I was drawn to at the time: the final book written by the author before his death in They are a delight to read because the events described are in a simple and light-hearted guise, yet on a deeper level there are some hard-hitting spiritual messages.
At the beginning of the book, Don Juan gives Carlos the task of collecting memories that shaped him and gave him the qualities needed to walk the shamanic path. He explains that recapitulation has the power of surfacing all the garbage of our lives, so that we are able to work through our issues and let go of them to make ourselves lighter in the pursuit of spirituality.
As such this book focuses more on aspects of everyday life: relationships with family, friends and lovers, career paths, and childhood games.
Firstly, he introduces Carlos to the concept of infinity, that underlies everything we do:. The condition of sorcerers is that their sadness is abstract. It comes from infinity. One is restrictive, rational, and full of self-importance, and can be escaped by creating inner silence to open up greater freedom of mind and possibility. This really crystallised an understanding for me, and is surprisingly reminiscent of Buddhist philosophy.
Don Juan also talks here about the supernatural. He discusses with Carlos the nature of ghostly apparitions, what there is for us after death, and dark predators that lurk beyond our realm of perception.
But, having read 6 or 7 others, the greatest thing I took away from this was an understanding of what it was that made him such a talented writer. One of the strange phenomena Carlos often describes is that when he is in an altered state of awareness with Don Juan, he is able to understand complex hidden truths.
Well that is precisely the way I experience his books, which I think is very clever. He seems to achieve this effect in part by using a non—linear timeline. It has never been clear to me how all the books slot together, as they jump around in time and space a fair bit. I now think that is deliberate; a way of subconsciously obfuscating our cold, judging, rationality for a while to show us something fresh.
I also see now how layered the writings are. Lessons are returned to again and again over different instalments either using the same events to describe them or slightly altered versions of them.
It is like a spiral, returning to the same points of reference but with new knowledge each time. This is another writing technique I find admirable, because it shows understanding of how we learn. And now I intend to read the missing pieces of my puzzle. If Castaneda knowingly wrote his books in the manner you describe, that would be an incredible feat.
If not, it is still an interesting way for the reader to experience them. Like Liked by 2 people. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.
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THE ACTIVE SIDE OF INFINITY
My teacher, don Juan Matsus, said this is guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life…. Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the jour. Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. He said that what modern man referred to vaguely as life after death was, for those shamans, a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order than the practical affairs of daily life, yet bearing a similar functional practicality.
The Active Side of Infinity
There is another dumb stand that one can take, and that is to judge another person. So long as that bit of tightness is there, the other person will see it expressed in your visage and if you dare to speak, they will hear it in your voice. If you neither speak nor let them see your face by looking away, they will feel the tightness in your body inside their body. You cannot not communicate your judging, and your judging will lead others to judge you in return. Rightly understood, judging another shuts off the direct communication that would else flow naturally between two human beings without effort 1. That communication provides the basis for all sensory-based communication, which is the only kind we accept as rational or believable, up until now.
My teacher, don Juan Matsus, said this is guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life…. Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. He said that what modern man referred to vaguely as life after death was, for those shamans, a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order than the practical affairs of daily life, yet bearing a similar functional practicality. Don Juan considered that to collect the memorable in their lives was, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region, which they called the active side of infinity. In this book written immediately before his death, anthropologist and shaman Carlos Castaneda gives us his most autobiographical and intimately revealing work ever, the fruit of a lifetime of experience and perhaps the most moving volume in his oeuvre. I found this to be an exciting book, though much of it was incomprehensible to me.
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