Author Topic: Carlos Castaneda  (Read 111164 times)

Offline Kevin

  • Posts: 182
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #90 on: August 25, 2008, 03:10:29 pm »
Manny, that sort of reminds me of the time back when I was a hippy -  a bunch of us would gather by a certain garden of a certain person out in the country, eat morning glory flower seeds, jump and holler and take a trip to the moon and never leave the garden. Myself, I skin change into a dog when the bill collectors come around my place. They never think to ask the mutt lying by the door for a payment.

Offline manny

  • Posts: 2
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #91 on: August 25, 2008, 03:53:10 pm »
Actually, Castaneda discouraged use of psychotropic drugs.  He found that most of the interest in his early work was centered around drugs.  Castaneda required sobriety. He openly considered these people unfit and would not engage them.  As for my experience, assume what you will. I experienced it in lucid sobriety.

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #92 on: October 14, 2009, 10:36:38 pm »
I have not read this entire 7 pages of posts.  But I want to say of my experiences of the late Castaneda.  I don't believe him.  First, my brother created a website for the discussion on Castaneda.  When he died, it landed in my lap.  I left it be as it was.. but it was putrid so I killed the forum and gave away the archives of the forums.  The people who took it also took my brother's name and have a new site and have my brother's death information on there, also, stating his (my brother's) intent to create an 'energetic wave' as though that belonged to their site and their intentions.  I hate it.  I want it taken off, but to no avail. 

Anyway..  I left some quotes up on the original site and tried to steer it to a newer direction.  I don't believe Castaneda.  I attended a couple of his workshops.  Even after he died, the group he left behind told people he didn't die.  I just couldn't believe this. 

Well, in my struggles to bring my feelings to light I stumbled across this interview of Tibetan Buddhism.  At the time I found this, it was rare and difficult to find anything on the Dzogchen on the internet.  Now it's all over the place.  But, anyone into Castaneda, I don't see how they can read this interview and still claim Castaneda to have lay claim to his words as 'his' knowledge.  I believe he learned something of Dzogchen, which, up until recent as I stated, was always only taught face to face and was mostly secret at that.. not a public knowledge.  I believe he took from this and expanded, added, created and then called it his own.  Here is interview and the link... I include even the very end where there are the movements that Castaneda tried to call his own, as "Tensegrity".   The similarities are too coincidental.  And although this is not 'proof positive'..  I just believe he stole from it.  Thank you.

Dzogchen long-dé
Primal Energy Exercises of Tibetan Dzogchen
Interview with Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen
"Dzogchen presents every human as being animated by moving patterns of energy – rich, vivid, and powerful. We can discover these subtle landscapes of energy within ourselves. We can experience their depth, and resonate with their vibrant harmonies. Awareness of the space of this resonance enables us to encounter dimensions of vitality that are extraordinary. Although these landscapes of internal energy were familiar territory to Dzogchen practitioners, they are not beyond our scope. Anyone who is seriously interested, and committed to an hour of daily physical exercise and meditation, can discover glimpses of the vast horizon of brilliance and presence that Dzogchen affords."

from a book on Dzogchen sKu-mNyé by Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, currently in preparation

Dzogchen means ‘utter totality’, and refers to the natural liberated condition of the individual. This state of innate enlightenment is always there, in its utter totality – simply waiting to be uncovered.

Dzogchen is the innermost of the three inner Tantras, and differs significantly from the ritualistic, liturgical form of the other Tantras. Some methods taught by Lamas who specialise in Dzogchen have much in common with Hatha Yoga, but there are also physical exercises which bear no similarity to any Eastern or Western exercise.

One such cycle of Dzogchen psycho-physical exercises is sKu-mNyé (pronounced koo mnyay). sKu-mNyé means ‘massage of the energy body’. The ‘energy body’ is called the rTsa rLung system. rTsa rLung is a system unique to the Vajrayana tradition of Tibet. The rTsa rLung system is made up of ‘nerves’, called rTsa, and the currents of energy they carry, called rLung.

There are several systems of sKu-mNyé in the Tibetan Buddhist schools, but the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is the only one connected with Dzogchen. Khyungchen Aro Lingma (1886-1923) was a female Lama of the Nyingma tradition. She was a gTértön, a visionary Lama who received her revelations directly from Yeshé Tsogyel as a child. Yeshé Tsogyel is the female Buddha whose emanations have appeared in Tibet from the 9th century down to the present day. One of the visionary revelations of Aro Lingma is the sKu-mNyé system currently taught by Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen – a married teaching couple of the Nyingma Tradition of Vajrayana who live in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales.

Question Is the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma similar to the sKu-mNyé that has become known through Tarthang Tulku’s books Kum Nye Relaxation?

Khandro Déchen No, it’s really quite different. That may sound a little surprising, but there are various systems of sKu-mNyé. For example Ngak’chang Rinpoche knows of one that exists in the Gélug School of Tibetan Buddhism, which is quite like a combination of Hatha Yoga and pranayama. This is also very different from the system taught by Tarthang Tulku. It is likely that all the schools have forms of sKu-mNyé.

Q But they all have the same principle.

Ngak’chang Rinpoche You would think so, but no. The word sKu-mNyé is actually both a highly precise term, and a term which covers a whole range of bio-energetic work. It is like the word rigpa. Rigpa can simply mean knowledge or intelligence – as in zo-rigpa, which means the knowledge associated with art – or in terms of Dzogchen it means presence of awareness in the continuity of Mind – through the arising and dissolution of that which arises in Mind. This is the definition of rigpa according to Dzogchen. Tarthang Tulku’s Kum-nye is based in the medical Tantras, whereas the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is based in Dzogchen long-dé. The principles are thus fundamentally different. The principle of Dzogchen is self-liberation and the principle of Tantra is transformation.

KD so when we use the word sKu-mNyé, it’s like using the word ‘exercise’. If someone says they perform physical exercises, you cannot really be sure what kind of exercises they intend. It could be ærobic dance, gymnastics, weight-lifting, or whatever. sKu-mNyé, as the word is used in the Aro gTér, refers to the Dzogchen principle of generating profound experiences of the essence of the elements. To describe the principle and function of this within Dzogchen long-dé would become enormously technical for our present discussion, but I would say that the other forms of sKu-mNyé are connected more with breath regulation as a means of stabilising the conceptual mind. These are practices connected with Tantra. The sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is part of the Dzogchen long-dé cycle, and completely bypasses the functioning of the conceptual mind.

Q Could you give some sense of what sKu-mNyé is like?

KD It’s remarkably varied. It contains some exercises which are physically very gentle, and some which are so extraordinarily ærobic that they would tax someone who was quite athletic. For some exercises, you require considerable strength and agility, but for most, average fitness is sufficient. There are even some that are so undemanding that almost anyone could practise them without undue strain. Some sKu-mNyé are simple seated postures in which the movements are very slow and even. Others require surprising co-ordination, and quite an advanced sense of balance. Some are really so unusual that it would be quite hard to describe them. I would say that there are sKu-mNyé exercises suited to an extraordinarily broad range of body types and levels of suppleness. This makes them highly versatile, in terms of one being able to continue in the exercises throughout one’s life. They are certainly quite different from other physical exercises. The best way of introducing you to them is perhaps to demonstrate them. (See exercises and illustrations.)

Q It’s hard to imagine something that could be so different from other forms of physical movement. Is there anything that is even remotely similar? Would the question of balance make it anything like Ta’i Chi?

NR No, it is not like Ta’i Chi. We have taught people with experience of Ta’i Chi, and have discovered that sKu-mNyé requires a different sense of balance.

Q You’re saying that the sense of balance that is required for different disciplines is not the same?

NR Yes. Well, at least in terms of sKu-mNyé and Ta’i Chi.

Q Would you also say that of sKu-mNyé and Hatha Yoga?

NR I do not know. We have never taught people with much experience of Hatha Yoga. I do not know what accounts for this difference, because I have never practised Ta’i Chi, but I would say that it might lie in the fact that sKu-mNyé generates physical disorientation, whereas that does not seem to be present in Ta’i Chi. However. someone told me that aspects of sKu-mNyé were like Chi-gung with regard to physical co-ordination. But, from what I have seen of Chi-gung, I would say that concepts of similarity are largely unhelpful. I think that it is better to keep these different systems as discrete areas. Finding similarities between different systems can actually distort understanding – especially if the understanding is immature. In sKu-mNyé there is great emphasis on the eyes. This is the case with many practices of Dzogchen. The eyes are kept wide open and unmoving whilst engaged in the exercise, and in the meditation that follows. Sweeping movements of the torso, arms, and legs are quite characteristic; but the most unusual aspect is ‘circling’ the head.

Q I believe there’s head rotation in Hatha Yoga?

KD Yes, but the head circling in sKu-mNyé is kept extremely small. If you imagine tracing a circle with your nose – the circumference should not be more than an inch (2.54cm). It’s difficult to keep it that small, because the tendency is to make larger circles. Unmoving eyes in conjunction with circling takes time to perfect, but it’s made easier by the ability to focus in space. Focusing in space needs to be explained. It does not mean going ‘out of focus’. Focusing in space means you are in focus, but that there is no tangible object or surface to act as a reference point upon which your focus rests.

Q That sounds really quite difficult. I imagine that you would have to spend a long time in training to be able to do that. What purpose does circling have in sKu-mNyé?

KD There are two active principles involved with circling. Firstly there is the Dzogchen gaze. The method of Dzogchen gazing disorientates the conceptual mind. Secondly, there’s circling. Circling massages the rTsa, the spatial nerves, but it does so through movement rather than through control of the breath. When conceptual mind is disorientated, we become open to perceiving extraordinary experiences, which are released through massaging the rTsa. There are numerous rTsa in the neck that connect with the eyes – so circling activates the rTsa and opens up a subtle dimension of visionary experience at the same time.

Q So you might start to see in an unusual way?

KD Possibly, but in terms of Dzogchen the word ‘vision’ applies to all the senses. Initially there would be tactile visions. Then the other sense fields would gradually follow until visual experiences began to occur. It might sound difficult, but anyone can experience their rTsa rLung energy if they have enthusiasm and application. You do have to push through sensations of dizziness and vertigo – but these sensations tend only to arise when you’re not focused in space. Learning to focus in space is crucial to sKu-mNyé, so it’s very important to practise the gaze first. You have to do that in order to keep your eyes from seeking forms upon which they tend to settle.

Q This must be a valuable aspect of Dzogchen.

KD Yes. This is something which is central to Dzogchen long-dé. The eyes are important in all the Dzogchen systems. The eyes always relate to what is happening at the level of mind and the nature of Mind. You see, it’s not really the eyes that seek out forms – it’s the conceptual mind that seeks them out. In fact, the conceptual mind seeks out forms through all the senses.

Q ‘Mind’ and ‘nature of mind’? Could you explain that? What is the difference?

KD In terms of Dzogchen, mind, or little-‘m’ mind, is the level of conceptuality – that is the ‘mind’ we know – the thoughts and patterns, the collections of habit patterns. All that is sem or little-‘m’ mind. Big-‘M’ Mind, sem-nyid, or ‘the nature of Mind’, is the beginningless, endless, unbounded space of Mind. Mind, or sem, is actually no different in its nature from the nature of Mind or sem-nyid – it is merely a smaller space within a vast space. Enlightenment is when the two come to have the same taste. That is the essential purpose of Aro gTér sKu-mNyé.

Q Do you have to let go of thought?

KD Yes. That is one aspect of practice. It would certainly be useful in the practice of sKu-mNyé if you could allow thoughts to settle out, but that tends to happen anyway. With sKu-mNyé, ‘thoughts’ aren’t really an issue. The exercises tend to blast conceptuality out of existence anyway.

NR In terms of Dzogchen, we train through the senses and the sense-fields rather than through trying to let go of thought. We learn to fix the senses. We keep the senses unmoving in relation to the external world. We employ the natural phenomena around us to become part of the process that leads to the dissolution of reference points. We accomplish this through the Dzogchen practices of integration with the moving elements: water, fire, and air.

KD This is because we are always attaching to reference points. We grasp at reference points in order to feel real; but this actually saps the vitality of our being and obscures the vividness of our perception.

Q So how would I practise this integration with the moving elements, say, with the water element?

KD You would sit by the sea. Or you would sit by a river. You would focus on the surface detail of the water, so that you saw it very clearly and crisply. You would then fix your gaze. You would achieve that by keeping your eyes from moving. The eye muscles habitually track movements by flicking backwards and forwards along the line of movement. This is what stops everything from becoming a blur when you look out of the side window of a car.

Q Yes! I’ve seen that! When you look at someone who’s looking out of the window of a car, their eyes dart rhythmically. They seem to hop forward in the direction the car is taking, and then flash back again. And that’s obviously completely unconscious, isn’t it?

KD Yes. But with sKu-mNyé that habit is brought into consciousness. You become aware of that darting movement, and you continually attempt to freeze it – to fix your gaze. You know when your gaze is fixed because the water blurs – the scenery from the car window blurs.

Q So you could practise this on the way to work every day.

KD Quite.

NR But it is especially important to remember that the blur is a speed blur and not an ‘out of focus blur’. So, in terms to gazing into the water, the water would blur because your eyes were fixed.

KD This wouldn’t be because you weren’t focussing on the surface of the water. It would happen because your eyes were not moving. This is a specific of many Dzogchen practices.

NR The impression you would receive would be like a photograph taken at a slow shutter speed. This is one of the best ways to train in fixing the gaze.

KD The way to train in focusing in space, in terms of Dzogchen, is to learn to feel comfortable when your eyes have no object of focus. This seems challenging at first, but it is by no means difficult. It is, in fact, easier than learning how to fix the gaze. There is a fairly simple method. You stretch out your arm and focus on your index finger. Then, when you have settled your focus, you lower your arm and maintain the gaze. Every time you find your eyes settling on distant objects, simply raise your arm again and re-focus on your finger. You just keep repeating this process until focusing in space becomes a simple muscular reflex.

Q Could that ever be bad for the eyes?

KD [laughs] No, it is actually very good exercise for the eye muscles.

NR Especially when you develop the ability to fix the gaze and focus in space. In sKu-mNyé you do both at once, so it is good to practise both before attempting circling.

Q It sounds as if it could be quite disturbing for some people to do these exercises.

KD Yes. It could be, but only to someone who persisted in the exercises without instruction from a teacher. This is even important at a purely physical level.

NR I remember when Khandro Déchen and I once taught sKu-mNyé in Ohio. There was one lady, a dance teacher, who had trained in ballet and contemporary dance. She had also trained in Hatha Yoga, Ta’i Chi, and Chi-gung. She had practised Western ærobics, athletics, and ‘Callanetics’ – she was muscular, supple, and extremely fit. She was excited to learn a new physical system, especially as it originated in Dzogchen long-dé, and attended a retreat. She learnt sKu-mNyé quickly and easily. At the end of the retreat she was enthusiastic to practise, but she became carried away by her enthusiasm. She came to see us a few days later with aches and pains. We had told her that she would really have to proceed cautiously with the sKu-mNyé, because it would work muscles that she had never worked before. She was really quite surprised by that. She had imagined that she was so fit and supple, that she could push the exercises beyond the limits we had advised.

Q So you really do have to be very careful with them indeed.

KD Yes. And you have to have some awareness – but that is always central with Dzogchen. You need to treat the exercises with respect. There is nothing to be gained by assuming that if you are fit and supple that you can advance very quickly. Naturally, if you are in good shape, it helps – but anyone can practise them as long as they are relatively gentle with themselves. The lady in question assumed that she would have no problem with sKu-mNyé exercises because of the variety of body work that she had done. I think that is something worth remembering, whatever new physical system you take up.

NR Yes. I would imagine it would be the same for a sKu-mNyé practitioner taking up Hatha Yoga as a new discipline. You have to proceed with awareness, and with the guidance of a teacher – this is true of any practice within Dzogchen or Tantra. We cannot stress that too much, especially as far as sKu-mNyé is concerned. It is also important to incorporate the period of meditation that follows each exercise. The period of lying down in the meditation posture should last three times as long as the period of sKu-mNyé movements.

Q Does sKu-mNyé have a structure that you could describe in simple terms?

KD There are 111 exercises in all. They are divided into animal categories, and the animals relate with the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. The exercises are not particularly imitative of animal movements, although occasionally the similarity is apparent. They’re divided into five sets of 21 – 21 for each of the five animals. The animals are not all animals with which Tibetans would be familiar; and three are definitely visionary animals. The lion series are connected with the earth element; vulture with water; tiger with fire; eagle with air; and khyung with space.

Q Khyung?

KD Khyung is one of the visionary animals. People are maybe more familiar with the Sanskrit term ‘garuda’. It’s actually relatively well-known as the symbol of Indonesian Airways. The khyung is the space-eagle – it’s a multicoloured bird which has horns and arms. The lion is the visionary snow-lion – a white creature with a flowing green mane. The eagle, also, is a visionary animal. It should really be called khalding, which means prana-eagle.

NR Prana, or rLung in Tibetan, is the subtle breath or ‘spatial wind’ that flows in the ‘spatial nerves’ of the subtle energetic body. These ‘spatial nerves’ or rTsa form a pattern that spreads throughout the body.

KD There are rTsa all over the body: in the armpits; the ‘elbow pits’; the inside of the wrists; the palms of the hands; between the fingers; the soles of the feet; behind the knees; the inner thighs; the stomach; the neck; and in general, in all the areas described as erogenous zones.

Q Are rTsa like acupuncture meridians?

KD Yes, in some ways, but the pattern is sometimes very different from that of the acupuncture meridians, and functions in different ways. sKu-mNyé stimulates the rTsa and causes stagnant rLung to move. When rLung begins to move, people tend to come alive or wake up in surprising ways. To use the analogy of acupuncture meridians, you could say that sKu-mNyé was like a system of acupressure. Rhythmic physical movements affect the meridians, rather than pressure.

Q Khandro Déchen, you said that there were 111 exercises…

KD Yes, and you can only count 105 from five sets of 21?

Q Yes. So there are others?

KD Yes. The hidden exercises… the six dragons.

Q Why are the dragons called hidden exercises?

KD The dragon exercises are only ever taught to students who have learnt the other 105 exercises. The dragons combine all the elements according to configurations that mirror the relationship styles of the six Tantras.

Q What are they?

KD Krya-tantra, Upa-tantra, Yoga-tantra, Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen. The dragon exercises are hidden until students have taken the other 105 to a point where their energy systems have been experienced with some accuracy. This is actually very useful as a safeguard, because only those who reach the stage of learning the dragon exercises are given authority to teach. We do not intend to allow anyone to teach these exercises unless they really understand the full spectrum of what can manifest with sKu-mNyé.

Q Is there anything general you can say about the dragons that would give an indication of how they might differ from the other sKu-mNyé exercises?

NR Yes, the dragons are practised by male / female couples who are experienced in the sKu-mNyé practices. They are not sexual in the usual sense of the word, but they do operate at a level where male and female energies sparkle with each other.
Five sKu-mNyé animal exercises

waking lion

lie on your back / legs splayed as far apart as comfortable / arms 90 degrees to your body / palms upwards / eyes closed / simultaneously (with a quick movement) raise your torso and legs (legs straight and locked at the knee) / simultaneously clap feet together and hands together (arms are straight and locked at the elbow) / in the moment of clapping, open eyes wide and shout Ra! (roll the ‘R’ to enunciate fiercely) / when clapping feet and hands, eyes, hands, and feet should be at the same height – feet and hands meet at the same level as your eyes; and at this point your bottom is all that is touching the floor / it is important that the back is kept absolutely straight / try to achieve an angle of 45 degrees to the floor, but NOT by bending your back – bending the back will result in injury! / relax back into the starting position and repeat

vulture hanging on the wind

stand comfortably / knees slightly flexed / feet shoulder’s width apart /weight on the balls of your feet / breathe softly and evenly / eyes wide open / focussed in space / to position arms correctly, imagine a broomstick across the back of your neck – hook your wrists over it, allowing your hands and elbows to hang down / gently shake fingers / then allow movement into your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders / shaking is rhythmic and vigorous, coming from the shoulders / make shoulders move to such an extent that it affects the whole body / shake fingers and hands fast enough to hear their movement / begin to move head from side to side – slowly and evenly – move head as far towards each shoulder as comfortable / count one each time your head reaches the right shoulder / after 7 sweeps of the head, allow it (in mid-sweep) to sink toward the chest – raising it to meet each shoulder (a rolling movement) / after 7 sweeps, lie down in the meditation position

stalking tiger

feet and hands on the floor / hands take the weight of your upper body / arms and legs locked at the knees and elbows / spine is also locked (hips higher than shoulders) / eyes focussed in space / downward gaze / rotate hips in horizontal circles / simultaneously trace 1 inch (2.45cm) circles with your nose, in a horizontal plane, but in the opposite direction (if hips are rotating clockwise then your nose should trace counter clockwise) / whilst rotating hips, keep arms, legs, and spine locked / whilst making these movements, repeat the sounds ‘Ra Sa Ra’ continuously as a ‘harsh whisper’

eagle taking to the air

eyes focused in space / standing position / one foot placed at the distance of one comfortable pace (directly in front of the other foot) / right foot is leading / right palm touches behind right thigh / left palm touches top of left thigh / whichever foot is leading, the hand on that side should be placed behind the thigh / both legs locked at the knee / put weight fully onto leading leg and take a ‘bird pace’ forward (the ‘bird pace’ is accomplished by circling the leg as high as possible) / to commence the ‘bird-step’, swing it backwards a little in order to obtain the highest possible arc / toes pointed in ‘ballet fashion’ (pointing the toes is important when contacting the ground with the foot because you can’t move forward if you land on your heel) / as each pace is taken, hands reverse position / this means that the new leading leg becomes the one with the hand behind it (back of the thigh) / both arms trace wide arcs, alternately reaching perpendicular points above each shoulder /

balance is facilitated by performing this exercise quickly, making arcs of both arms and legs as wide as possible, leaning forward when walking backward, leaning backward when walking forward / a count of one is reached when you have taken three paces forward and three paces backward

crouching garuda

crouching position / place hands on thighs / fingers face backwards (towards stomach) / upper arms parallel to thighs / gaze straight ahead / eyes focussed in space / rise from crouching position by 12 inches (30cm) / circle right foot clockwise / replace right foot on the floor and return to the crouching position / rise again, circling left foot counter-clockwise / as feet alternately circle, the nose alternately circles in the same direction as the feet, but in the vertical plane / to maintain balance, rhythm and sufficient speed are essential / one circle with each foot counts as one repetition of the exercise

Each exercise is repeated 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 21, 27, 49, 54 or 111 times, depending on fitness and experience with sKu-mNyé.

sKu-mNyé should be practised without clothing to allow sensations beyond the surface of the skin to be fully experienced. Clothing particularly inhibits sensitivity to the energetic atmosphere around the body. But if you are practising sKu-mNyé simply to improve posture, suppleness or fitness, clothing suitable for rigorous exercise (without constricting waistbands) can be worn. Repeat each exercise in sets of three, then lie down and experience the sensations that arise, trying to avoid mental comments on them.

After each exercise assume the meditation posture:

Lie on your back / legs just far enough apart for your inner thighs not to be touching / arms outward with the hands slightly higher than the shoulders / palms upwards / fingers splayed open / eyes focussed in space / tongue suspended (not touching upper or lower palate)
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet

Offline goozih

  • Posts: 34
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #93 on: October 15, 2009, 03:52:08 pm »
When I read these posts I remembered a magazine article I read years ago about Maria Sabina, a Mazatec healer or curandera. She healed people with the help of mushrooms. In 1955  ethnomycologist  Gordon Wasson participated in her healing ceremony and later published an article about it in Life Magazine, May 1957. This sparked a stream of people to her, including many thrillseekers . Real or rumoured encounters included Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, John Lennon and Bob Dylan. She said   "Before Wasson, nobody took the children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick", and   "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it". This loss left her bitter .
Sabina's story is a perfect example of how traditional spirituality is clearcut or stripmined.

Offline uktena

  • Posts: 37
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #94 on: October 20, 2009, 04:20:02 pm »
"Before Wasson, nobody took the children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick", and   "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it". This loss left her bitter .
Sabina's story is a perfect example of how traditional spirituality is clearcut or stripmined.

The beauty of reading a forum like this is how someone will express something in plain black and white that someone else might have in the back of his mind, but not quite be able to articulate.  Goozih's comment here did exactly that for something that's always bothered me about the Newagers' approach to indigenous elements, such as the mushrooms mentioned here. 

Maria Sabina calls these mushrooms "the holy children", implying a relationship; a typical Newager would more likely to talk about the mushrooms' "energy", implying something that can be harnassed and exploited.  This attitude is pervasive in their thinking:  they clear their space of "negative energy" and draw "positive energy" into it,  rather than banishing and invoking spirits; they see reality as "everything is energy" rather than that everything has some kind of consciousness; even in human relationships, another person's "energy" seems more important to them that his actual personality.  Talk about spirits and relationships of this sort will get you laughed at for being old fashioned and trapped in outdated paradigms, or whatever. (Even the Wannabe Tribe's constant cry of "All My Relations", the focus always seems to be on the second word instead of the third one.)   

Faced with this kind of attitude, no wonder the holy children and others like them don't want anything to do with us anymore.

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #95 on: October 20, 2009, 04:57:37 pm »
Faced with this kind of attitude, no wonder the holy children and others like them don't want anything to do with us anymore.

That is very sad, and difficult to read.

yes, everything is energy, yes, but..  as you stated, there is also consciousness.  A piece of trash is energy ..  and so is a tree, but one has consciousness.  They do tend to treat everything on this level of 'energy' and seem to miss the boat with respect to the conscious being and relationship.

I would like to think the holy children and others like them can discern..   I know what it's like to live in a vacuum of that sort.  I also know that it's possible to just keep living and moving forward while within that vacuum ..  if nothing else, with only the hope that one day it will change. I would not like to see the cultures of this world enter such a vacuum.  It is why I wanted to know if the sweat lodge was OK...  
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #96 on: October 30, 2009, 01:19:22 pm »
A Good Book for Researchers: Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties

(quote)An Interview with Jay Courtney Fikes-Part One
By Sandy McIntosh

Interview Part Two

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #97 on: October 30, 2009, 01:49:41 pm »
Another most interesting discussion.

In David Mamet's film House of Games (1987), Mike explains to Margaret that a con artist's goal is not to gain the confidence of his mark, but to give his own confidence to the mark.

another discussant replied,

Yes, I think this is part of why people become enmeshed with narcissists, it may feel like confidence/glamour/power by proxy.

Offline flyingdust

  • Posts: 26
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #98 on: January 31, 2010, 09:10:31 am »
Carlos Castaneda's books have had a huge impact on the western cultural psyche, like new-agers and alternative therapists. Seems to me that every known tom, dick, and harry self-help guru and plastic shaman have lifted Carlos Castaneda's notions, like "intent", and inrcorporated them into their own money-making schemes. I read all of his books, but like any book, i don't buy into anything written or told to me hook line and sinker.  The only knowledge I rely on as truth is what I personally experience.  This is a basic premise of our Indigenous American traditions of learning.   ;)

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #99 on: January 31, 2010, 05:02:54 pm »
When I read Castaneda's books, there were only 4 of them.  I was 13 or 14 and the affect they had was that I wasn't crazy, and there was more to life than what I saw presented around me.  I was suicidal.  The first 4 books had a positive impact on me. They spoke of things I was experiencing, which is why I continued to read.  It was actually during the 1st 2 that I started to also read other books, and at that time was told not to.  To just pick one if I really felt I needed to.  I chose Castaneda because as I said, it was telling of things I'd experienced as a younger child.  It was the only book that did so.  It was the only source of information in my life, that spoke of things I'd experienced.  The 5th book, came out years later, and I wasn't very thrilled by it.  It annoyed me that one piece in the book was the _exact_ nearly word for word description of something I'd read in a Ruth Montgomery book years ago.  I didn't like it.  It didn't make much sense to me, and I just didn't like it.  Again years later, the 2nd set of books came out.  I read them, I didn't like it.  It seemed complete opposite of the 1st 4.  It didn't jive with the first 4. 

There is some good to those first 4 books.  I think the best about them is the long work of self importance, and of recognizing the doings of other people as theirs.  Those two points kept me alive during a very hard childhood.  I recognized within the books certain tactics that were used solely for the individual of Castaneda.  I also recognized areas he did not expound on, that I wanted to know about. But he always stuck to some things and I'd find myself scanning some of it because it was evident to me. 

I don't believe the original author wrote the last of the 4th book. I believe someone finished that book based on his notes, and then years later, picked it up and wrote more. It is a pity because as much as I would love to recommend the 3rd book of his series, I cannot.  Because if I did, and the person liked it, there's a great chance they'd continue to read more and I would not recommend those later books in any way shape or form.  So, I don't recommend the books at all because of that.  It's a shame, there is some good solid work in those prior books that can be beneficial to people.  The work I speak of is of course, the work on the self. 

Years later, when he gave workshops, I wanted to go and see this person.  I have to say, meeting the participants was crazy.  I'd never met such a bunch of egocentric selfish people in all my life.  Ok, not all of them.  But MANY.  I had to wonder, did they not read the same books I read?  When I spoke of the first books and the techniques within them, they would look at me and say 'what techniques?'  Hello?  I didn't care for the Castaneda people running the show either.  Well, I sort of take that back, I liked a couple of them, they seemed OK. There was one woman who my feeling didn't like at all. Full of self importance to the point of being rather dark.  Which, imo, is what dark is. 

Anyway, the first workshop I went to I saw something..  that remains personal to me today.  But it told me they were false. I went to 3 more, being curious and waiting for the shoe to drop.  It was just more bizarre each time.  I would sit there and hear them saying this or that and just smile at it, at the preposterous notions and the way they evaded when someone asked a real question of them.  I then went to the workshop after Castaneda died.  And I busted out laughing when they stood on stage and tried to claim he didn't die. 

Flyingdust said: The only knowledge I rely on as truth is what I personally experience.

Yes.  That is what I do too.  When I was 14 and read those 1st four books, I did not just believe hook line and sinker.  In fact, I didn't believe them at the get go, it wasn't until after I'd managed to become silent, and then when I'd read of a few things I'd already experienced that I put stock into them. 

In the years that followed I spent most of my time inside of my own self.  Meditation is what most call it. But I had ground rules.  And, it has always been my number one rule, to not believe anything unless I personally experienced it.  However, there is also the opposite, to not disbelief anything just because I haven't experienced it.  Although, there is more in the 2nd category for me, than in the first.  There are some things I just do not believe, even though I have never experienced it.

My older brother when internet first started in the early 90's created a forum for people into Castaneda.  Later he created a website. It is not and has never been associated with Castaneda himself, or his Tensgrity.  When he died, I inherited the site. I dismantled it from what it was.  It is no longer about Castaneda. But I keep it because I know what will become of it if the domains are let go. 

I plan on reworking it again.  The domains and will be something altogether different from what it is now.  I don't even know what the term 'nagual' means.  But I do know that if let go, they'll be picked up and will only be used to propagate Castaneda.  I figure, I can rework the site, and leave the nagual domain name as something remnant of something unknown. 

press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #100 on: January 31, 2010, 05:11:36 pm »
Carlos Castaneda's books have had a huge impact on the western cultural psyche, like new-agers and alternative therapists. Seems to me that every known tom, dick, and harry self-help guru and plastic shaman have lifted Carlos Castaneda's notions, like "intent", and inrcorporated them into their own money-making schemes.

And yes, this is very true.  And it continues on from them to the next..  I mean, how many new books/workshops now use the word 'secret' ?  Whatever made someone money it is taken and incorporated by the next wannabe guru.

An example of a good thing in the first 4 Castaneda books is the statement that people don't need such 'gurus'.  I guess they forget about that when they were busy making money ... 
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet

Offline flyingdust

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Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #101 on: February 02, 2010, 01:29:24 am »
I read Carlos Castaneda books back in the day for the same reasons: to find truth and reason to support my existence.  In fact I still read non-fiction and fiction books today in hopes of finding some gems of truth in them (besides for general fulfillment and entertainment).  Critter, it’s honorable to express acknowledgement that these books helped you through a very tough time in your life.  Some of the tenets presented in these books also helped me in my life’s journey.  These books (the earlier ones only) can certainly be read as works of philosophy about awareness.   

In this sense I agree the first 4 books were good to read.  Castaneda told his story in a real down-to-earth, compelling and convincing way I could personally relate to at the time.  But his later books started to change in tone and language.  I even drew the same conclusions as Critter, suspecting that they were not being written by Castaneda anymore.  I began to see that the books written from the fifth one on were attempts to exploit and elaborate on elements from the earlier ones, perhaps for no other reason than to make more money.  The Wheel of Time through to the Magical Passes books were so contrived and shallow I swear they were written by his phony and flakey new age followers.  When it got to that tensegrity stuff and they started using words like “shaman”; that just killed it for me.  I was left with feelings of disappointment that it turned out this way, like meat gone bad, and angered by the outright expropriation and exploitation of it all.  But still, I was not disillusioned by the earlier books premises.  So, here’s a great example the separation between a book’s ideals and the author’s actual behavior, talking the talk but not walking the walk.

You also see the Indian characters in the earlier four books disappear in the later books. By the time you get to the last three books, the disconnection of Indian people and their cultural heritage is complete, a classic example of the appropriation of Native American knowledge and tradition.  I think Castaneda was even quoted as saying in one of his rare interviews that his new party (consisting only of white newagers) was cut off from the Indigenous lineage of Mesoamerican seers because it no longer existed and now they were left with total freedom to be the sole keepers and disseminators of this knowledge (probably the only freedom they’ll ever see).

I believe Carlos Castaneda started off with good intentions, but the incredible success in the sales of 8 million books and the huge attention he got from it corrupted him to the core.  He drew new age opportunists and exploiters to himself like flies to jam and then he succumbed totally to his personal weaknesses.  He became an opportunist and an exploiter himself, surrounding himself with new age women for his self-serving pleasures and indulged to no end.  Ironically but predictably he was totally defeated by the 3rd enemy he talked about in his first book – power (and money). 

Tensegrity is Castaneda’s legacy, a dishonorable new age movement that continues to fraudulently violate, desecrate, distort, and exploit Mesoamerican cultural and spiritual heritage (not to mention the other venerable traditions of sKu-mNyé in Buddhism, Ta’i Chi, and what have you mixed in there). It’s sad.   :(   

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #102 on: February 02, 2010, 02:35:14 am »
It is sad.  However, for whatever reasons, I still believe the latter books were not written by the same person. I'm not sure, maybe that person really was the person I met at workshops, but it just didn't seem so. For now, I believe the original author died before his 4th book was completed.  (however, not from jumping into an abyss).  And that someone near to him completed it for whatever reasons, and then continued on in his name.  Even illustrating his hunt for his deceased friend in the 2nd Ring of Power.

The Castaneda of the latter books boo hoo'd the new age thing, but, what he did do was take terms commonly known and change them into a new term and tried to say it was different.  He dissed past lives, but in one of his books and was it the character Carol Tiggs? Witnessed one of her past lives, only, of course they called it something else.  I got tired of the term changing.  Just call it what everyone knows it by and stop confusing people with all these term change abouts. 

When they gave the story of how la Gorda died, and the former 'nagual woman' came forward and dissed them for what they did, for how they just stood by and watched her die and did nothing, well, that just seemed like something really wrong.  No one would stand up on a stage and talk about that like its a glowing part of your history.  But, if you had to make up stories as to what happened with the former characters....... 

My brother once stated that no more books should have ever come out.  I agree.  It would have been better to have left it as is, with the final sentence being "everything i told you was a lie'. 

Leave it to the practioner/seeker to figure out for their own self what is valid. 

I don't know about the whole lot of these people though.  Back in the late 70's I was taught some things, that they later wrote about.  But I don't know where or what tradition it comes from, also, what I was taught did not include all the fancy mumbo jumbo's they added to it. Specifically, it was the life review that I was told to do.  No special breaths or sending or taking back this or that energy.  That's all bunk as far as I'm concerned.  But for me, the act of remembering every moment I could remember and settling it, for lack of better term, helped me immensely.  I was only 17, but I did it every night as prescribed until I had recalled my entire life as far back as I could go.

Also, in the late 70's I dreamt with a particular character they later described to a tee in one of their books.  I have no answer for that.  I only know that I dreamt him, and that I have always believed him to be a real entity. I even called him the same name they called him.  The caretaker.  How I dreamt him in the late 70's and then later read about him in one of their books, I'll never know... I can only speculate that some entities do exist, and that some of us meet them.

I think what I despised the most about the books is how they got so many people thinking they're 'stalking' or that they should be..  it was wrong. On that old forum of my brothers, holy cow, what a friggin nightmare.  All it was was people pretending to be someone else by using a diff username and acting like someone else.  It was so stupid. And attacking each other constantly in the name of 'fighting self importance' and 'stalking'.  What BS.  They clung to those books like a bible and could never see past it.. or even see how they were clinging to it.  And the few who did have some understanding of astralling or whatever, would use it to abuse others.  I called it attacking others.  It was the most sick place, with ego centric people all thinking they were the 'nagual' and had the right to go and mess with someone either psychologically or via energetic means.  Talk about a crap load of karma.   It was a nightmare and I closed the thing down.

Truthfully, before my brother died, he had been talking to me about shutting it down himself.  But he died before he did, and out of respect for the people there, and what that place meant to them, I let it be for a while.  They didn't believe for one sec that my brother had intention of closing it.  Oh well, enough was enough and I shut it off.  Let them find some where else for their sick games and pretending.  It just irks me that one of them, who I gave all the articles to, in hindsight I know I should have just dumped it and not given it to anyone, well, they took advantaged and copied the website outright. What freaks, I closed their site and they reopened with just enough changes to pass as not 'copying' but put my brothers memorial on it that states he created the site.  He did not create their site. It bothers me to no end, but, I guess no one lives forever and eventually the owner of said site will pass, and it'll be gone..

So, what I despise about the books, especially the latter ones, is how it turned people into these selfish vultures who do anything to anyone because they believe they are 'helping' them lose their self importance.. yet never look in the mirror ..

The books, the latter books, created sociopaths.  The first four were about stepping aside the self, the last were about only the self and what matters to the self.  It's crap.

People who boo hoo humanity and the purpose of serving.  They have lost the Spirit as far as I'm concerned, and perhaps never had it to begin with.

press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #103 on: February 03, 2010, 02:00:45 am »
Never liked the books at all... Not even as fiction. All the hippies I knew read them. Just seemed to give them an excuse to do more drugs. All those sad people who though getting wasted made them spiritual.

Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #104 on: February 03, 2010, 02:29:08 am »
Many people I met also seemed to think drugs was part of this..  and I also know it spawned a big interest in the peyote. 

It is sad that so many people got deep into the drug culture in the 60's/70's..  and even now.   But I never read in the books telling people to take drugs.

press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet