Category: Community’s Blog

What Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Time

Time it is like a thought, or a wish.

Time is measured by the intensity of the moment you are living.

Time suspends when experiencing inner silence.

Time is a form of attention.

Time is not measured by the clock.

Time bends when you pay attention.

It is 5 to 12, I am running out of Time!

I am living in no Time.

I am facing the oncoming Time.

what Carlos Castaneda taught me about time

These are some of the phrases I heard Carlos Castaneda expressed from the moment I met him. He expressed his concerns about time; he re-defined his relationship with time, and he challenged the idea of time, daily.

Castaneda llegó a tiempo a cada cita; no le gustaba que otras personas lo esperaran. Y no esperaba a nadie. El tiempo, cómo manejarlo, cómo estirarlo, cómo experimentar el tiempo no lineal fue una parte intrínseca de mi formación con él.

De una manera calmada y sobria, él hablaba sobre su propia muerte como si fuera algo inminente que sucedería en cuestión de días o minutos. Y, sin embargo, se comportaba como si tuviese todo el tiempo del mundo.

He was never in a rush or hurry, relaxed at ease, enjoying his meals, there was no hurry in his mood, even when under the pressure of his books presentations or the pressure of delivering a talk in a conference to hundreds of people. He took his time to walk to the stage to deliver his thoughts, with his hands on his pockets and an open expression of ease and cool. He took his time to feel the audience laughter at his jokes and remarks, to answer questions, to engage eye to eye as if truly connecting with people.

Every day of my training with him was filled with the intensity of learning to stop unconscious habits and new ways of behaving, of being. My days felt long, as if stretched out by the intention to arrive to “enlightment” as soon as I could, before he died.

In the early mornings I went to school to learn English, then I worked at his company, then I engaged in physical training at his studio for another 3 or 4 hours, for the rest of the evening. But my routines were not regulated by time, or my time was not regulated by routines, or by the handles of my watch, as it was while living in Argentina. During my apprenticeship I had no routines, since Castaneda would change schedules often and I learned to flow with the daily events, as if facing the oncoming time.

Because I was in a new country, learning a new language, eating unfamiliar foods, and living with people I barely knew, I felt as if suspended in time.

I gave myself permission to ‘disappear’ for a while from the ‘real world,’ like some writers do to write a novel, or some people do after retiring to grow spiritually, and I relinquished my time to follow a different time.

I experienced suspension of time during the long hours of practicing sequences of movements, like martial arts, and long hours of sitting in silence. After overcoming my initial resistance, both physically with my muscles trembling and being out of breath, and mentally with self-defeating thoughts “I can’t do this’, ‘this is way too long,’ ‘I want to go home, sleep, eat tacos, etc”, I experienced states of extasis.

what Carlos Castaneda taught me about time

A rush of well being and vitality would flow through my body renewing the joy of my joints moving in unison, the happiness of my lungs fully expanding, the fresh blood oxygenated running through all the blood vessels and cells in my body, removing waste, detoxifying, revitalizing my right to belong here, in this planet at this time.

After long periods of exercises practiced in slow motion, I could experience the tasteful sweetness of calm, and the assurance that I was loved.

Later I started to experience those states when pruning the tress and working in the garden. Or when having lunch with friends, or even at the movies. Or when awakening into the morning, aware of the uniqueness of the day, gratefully aware, sitting at the edge of my bed, closed eyes, taking in the first inhalations of the day, feeling my heart beating, my skin soft and warm, some birds singing at the distance, the honk of the neighbors car, the newspaper throw of the street, the smell of toast, the children laughter passing by on the way to school, the splash of water my husband in the shower, my son at the piano playing Ode to Joy.

The experience of awaken vitality keeps flowing through me as if my teacher had create a vortex through which all experiences are one and Time is just a small part of the constant flow of life that keeps happening in and out of me.

 

Contest Part 2: Inspiring you to write!

Writing is one of the most precious human gifts and a wonderful instrument to leave a legacy. We know about our ancestors, their knowledge, wisdom and philosophies through writing and this is why we are inspiring you to write. It takes practice and we are here to support you in expressing yourself.

We created this contest because we know that so many of you have been inspired and impacted by Carlos Castaneda and his writings about the knowledge of the seers of ancient Mexico. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of his death this year, we want to give you all the opportunity to share your stories with the community for a chance to win free tuition to one of our live workshops in Mexico City, England and Moscow!  Write about what attracted you to them? What inspired you about them? How old were you? Join our contest on Facebook and post your OWN story here How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You Contest.

My Story- How My Life Changed After Reading My First Book by Carlos Castaneda

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Aerin Alexander

 

“For an average man, the world is weird because if he’s not bored with it, he’s at odds with it. For a warrior, the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable. A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous time.” Carlos Castaneda

Hello, my name is Aerin Alexander and I am the founder and director of the Energy Life Sciences Institute. Below I am sharing with you about the first moment I opened a book of Carlos Castaneda and the turn that took my life as a consequence.

I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1994 when I heard that Carlos Castaneda would be in town to give a talk to a select group of people. My first reaction was emotional. “What?” I thought. “He does exist? And he is in Buenos Aires? That is crazy!”

Carlos Castaneda was an anthropologist and visionary. His books centering on his apprenticeship with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian from Sonora, Mexico, had catapulted him to fame in the 60’s and 70’s. The first time I opened Journey to Ixtlan, Castaneda’s third book, was by accident.

My mother’s older sister, Rosita, used to work for the Mexican publishing house that published Castaneda’s books in Spanish. No one in my family was an avid reader, including me, and I’d never noticed the book until one special day.

Our family had just moved to an apartment above a chicken store, with old tile floors, broken windows and holes on the walls, from a nicer apartment, furnished with carpets and wall papers and a mortgage my parents could no longer afford. My dad was forced to quit his job—he refused to be fired—because of the restructuring taking place in the international company at which he worked for 15 years. It was a stressful moment: my dad was looking for a new job and my mother, as usual, was in charge of the family relocation.

I was entering my first year of high-school and I was concerned about my weight. I was too skinny, and I feared I would end up in the hospital as it happened the year before, when I was hospitalized for a recurrence of rheumatic fever, my childhood disease. I was a picky eater, and under stress, I could not swallow.

The new apartment was filled with boxes, and I was in charge of, amongst other things, organizing the books. As I lined up the few books we owned in our single bookshelf, Journey to Ixtlan escaped my fingers and fell to the ground, landing open on page 15. The text on that page began: PART ONE “Stopping the World.”

I flipped to the next page. It read:

“I understand you know a great deal about plants, Sr.”

Castaneda said presenting himself to don Juan Matus. I randomly flipped ahead to page 110.

Acts have power,” he said. “Specially when the person acting knows that those acts are his last battle. There is a strange consuming happiness in acting with the full knowledge that whatever one is doing may very well be one’s last act on earth.”

I straightened my back and inhaled; a chill ran up my spine. I sat down on top of the boxes I was emptying and flipped back to page 15 and started reading again from there. I was fourteen years old, and, unwillingly, this book grabbed full my attention. His writings described the world as mysterious and unfathomable and humans, as warriors with purpose and in relation to the vastness universe. Like a healthy food, each page filled empty spaces creating connections and aliveness inside me.

Castaneda’s words sounded familiar somehow. I had never been to Mexico, but I did dream about the possibility of going some day. My birth name was Maria Guadalupe and, besides my mother’s devotion to the Virgin, I had also developed my own longing for Mexico. I had learned at school about Mesoamerica and knowledge of Toltecs and Mayans. It was the pyramid at Chichen Itza in Yucantán, with its precise number of steps representing each day of the year and exact orientation to the sun to reflect a shadow at each solstice, that I couldn’t stop thinking about. The Mayans lived in relationship to the stars, and don Juan was teaching Castaneda about his link with the invisible universe around. I thought I could also, somehow, I could feel my connection to all.

That day something shifted in me and I felt the emergence of a purpose, meaning in my life. I was suddenly interested in books and went on to hungrily read not only more from Castaneda, but also Nietzsche, Borges, Neruda, Coelho. My timing was perfectly synchronized with the availability of books. Bookstores were opening their doors in Buenos Aires after a seven-year dictatorship that had prohibited books from being sold and many authors from publishing. Being a teen, not only was I hungry to learn, but I was also naturally delighted to access what had been forbidden.

Almost 13 years later, I was studying the esoteric teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky with a group of friends, when the group’s coordinator suggested we read Carlos Castaneda. With the group, I reread Journey to Ixtlan, and I intended every night to connect deeper with myself to understand my own life. As if being called to an appointment, a few months later I met Castaneda in person in Los Angeles, and I entered into the sorcerers’ world.

My Acquaintance with the ‘Nagual,” Carlos Castaneda Through his Books

By Sergei Minin

My name is Sergei Minin. I am from Russia and I live in Kirov. I want to share with you my story about my acquaintance with the ‘nagual’, Carlos Castaneda through his books.

I was a student when I first got Castaneda’s book. At that time I had many friends and we met often, listened to music and talked a lot. In the text of one of the songs I heard the phrase “Castaneda did not write about it” and because I was always curious, I began to find out who this Castaneda was. One of my friends gave me Castaneda’s books. When I read his first 4 books, much remained incomprehensible and I abandoned it. It was the first touch I received from the Spirit.

The second case was also connected with my friend, his name was Ed. He was very different from all my other friends – his energy, his attitude to life. He broadcast extremely unusual views on life, which were not in my family and my environment. He gave me a VHS cassette with the first video of 12 basic movements. Women in the video made an impression on me of mysticism, something final and inevitable. It completely fell out of the context of my culture and my tradition. Having looked once, I put the cassette in the box.

The third incident occurred somewhere after six months or a year. After a trip to a hot resort country for vacation, I activated the latent hepatitis B virus. Knowing this for the first time in my life brought me very close to the idea of death. For the first time, I really felt very deeply inside, not at the level of the mind, that death can be very close. The thought sobered me.

The treatment proceeded hard and lasted more than a year. I stopped consuming alcohol and cigarettes and gradually my circle of communication began to decline. I began spending more time alone. Then I accidentally gave a complete series of Castaneda’s books, and I at once read them all. It was a deafening effect, just WOW! A completely new and incomprehensible and very attractive world for me is the world of shamans and magic.

It changed my picture of the world very much. During the reading, the question that tormented me constantly arose: how can I reach the same conditions and get into that world? What needs to be done for this? There were no instructions for this in the book. Just at this time my friend Ed invited me to take part in one enterprise, it failed miserably and I owed a lot of money to the bank.

A few months later I got a very clear understanding that I need to rely only on myself. It was an obvious and strong sense of confidence, detachment, without pity, a new feeling for me. To me came the knowledge, deep from within no doubt, that I need to change – to change the city, the place of work, myself. But again, I did not know how I could approach this, where to start, where are the instructions? One day on a sunny summer day, I climbed into the closet and came across a video with magical passes. I turned on the video and began to learn the movements. A few months later I performed several series of movements. Then I still did not feel any direct effect from the movements, I just did everything.

Events in my life began to develop. I moved to another city, got a new job, quickly returned the debts. And two years later I got to my first seminar on tensegrity in St. Petersburg. This is another story.

How I Discovered the Knowledge of The Seers from Ancient Mexico

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Dr. Miles Reid

Hello, my name is Miles Reid, and I am the director and founder of the Energy Life Sciences Institute. I met and studied directly with Carlos Castaneda and in the last 23 years I have been incorporating the teachings of the seers from Ancient Mexico in my professional practice as a doctor and in my personal life as a father. Here is my account of how I came to discover this knowledge.

The nagual Carlos Castaneda told me that what makes the events memorable or significant is not how bombastic they are but rather when something—seers call it intent or the spirit–crosses our path that awakens dormant qualities, or exposes us to things that deeply influence us in our future actions along our path to knowledge.

My life while growing up was very conventional. My family values, with doctors as parents, educated in the Western European paradigm, were based on science and logic as a reference. Both of them were kind and provided us with security and education, but there was no religion, no space for mystery or abstract thought, neither by instruction nor modeling. If one were to have drawn a line into the future, following the course my life had had until my teens, one could have easily predicted a similar outcome for my sense of reality and worldview when I grew up. But, sometimes, life offers us an event that, even though it would seem trivial at the time, it ends up altering the entire course of our journey. This happened to me with the books of Carlos Castaneda.

It all began when I was fifteen, in high school. Our regular biology teacher had called in sick, and a sub came in to replace her. His name was Julio Alfano, and he talked about strange things that seemed to have nothing to do with biology; he talked about being in a state of silence, about meditating and connecting to the universe.

After that day, he came back to “teach” our class several times. He opened the world of spirit to my attention. He represented a crack, he broke my veil and I saw something else. We all have a description of the world. There is the social environment’s description, and then the seers of ancient Mexico have one, and they brought to me a new description.

One day, he pulled a book from his bag and said to me: “I think you should read this”. It was The Teachings of Don Juan. I took the book with me, and began reading it in the bus while going back home.

I was immediately hooked. Moreover, something in me was touched at a deep cord, and what began to pour out from my being was almost a desperation, an urgency to take all in what I was reading. Nothing I had been exposed to in the past had hooked me in this way. I quickly finished the book and avidly bought the next one in the series, and then the next one after that.

I was so absorbed by the readings that I literally could not put the books down, I read in any moment I was not committed to something else. I read in the bus rides through the city, while standing shoulder to shoulder with the crowd. I even read while I was walking in the street. I would be walking with one arm holding the book high at face level so I could take brief glances up and around to avoid bumping into people, buildings and traffic!

What was it about this knowledge and the way this knowledge was presented in the books by Castaneda, that hooked me so deeply? When I ask myself this question the answer that arises in me is this: because it did not speak to me intellectually; it spoke to me bodily.

It wasn’t an understanding as I had been taught to, contextualizing knowledge through a process of the mind, which, at that time, meant a process of the brain, of reason. It seemed as if my very cells were absorbing the information and the ideas he was presenting, my body itself was being addressed, everywhere at once. The mind and the body were one single unit, awakening to the reality of a world of energy. The apparatus of perception was my entire me. It had an awesomeness that belonged to all of me.

My teacher Alfano had turned on the awareness of spirit in me, and this initiated an avid search for discovering spiritual traditions and any information of the kind. During my teens and early twenties, I got involved in yoga and the Hindu cosmology, attending talks and meditations from different yogis, I read about the life of Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha, and got involved in a line of Japanese Buddhism practices.

For over a year, I was a recurrent participant in a community that held traditional Native American sweat lodges from a lineage of Taos, New Mexico, and even became doorman, a position of importance as keeper of the fire during ceremonies. I learned shiatzu and read Lao Tze and the I Ching, striving to live its principles in my life.

But nothing resonated in me like the books of Carlos Castaneda. They introduced me to the magical side of man, it brought mystery into my daily life, it awoke a sense of wonder, of possibilities. At the time I first encountered them, he had written four books, so, after devouring them one after the other, I had to wait until his next book got published. I had figured that he seemed to publish a new book every three years, which reflected his experiences and evolution in his own development during the interims. This rhythm went on throughout my late teens and twenties, including my years as a medical student.

At the time, I became an assistant to a Filipino healer who performed energy surgeries on people that defied logic and I entered into a healing circle of daime, a syncretic tradition of the Amazon basin that used ayahuasca as a medium to access higher states of perception to help people with advanced or terminal illnesses. But one after the next, even though I kept learning and awakening from them, I was ‘half in’. I thought, “Maybe it is just me” that my destiny is not to fully take on any given practice or tradition, but forge my own, from a kaleidoscope of teachers.

During all those years, becoming a formal student of Castaneda was not an option. There was no place to study it and no other direct sources other than the books themselves. But the books were not really written as manuals to learn from, they were direct accounts of his own personal experiences.

Half way during my medical training, I took a two-year sabbatical from my formal studies to travel around the world. During that time, it was a must to ‘travel light’. The backpack contains all one’s belongings, so imagine that space is precious. Such was the cardinal place that Carlos Castaneda’s books had for me that I actually carried all his published books at the time, nine altogether, in soft cover!

I made it a goal to use them as study books during my travels. I wanted to grasp an integrated view as a whole. I made notes, cross-referenced premises he touched on in different moments in different books and practiced it while I traveled around the world, from Australia to Asia to Europe to Africa. I became not just a reader, but a lover, a practitioner and a seeker of infinity.

Nevertheless, I never felt that It was my role to seek going to Mexico to try ‘find’ him, like many readers and practitioners of his books did. I always felt, strangely, somehow casually but convinced of it, that if my destiny was to ever see him, it was going to come by itself, life was going to bring the opportunity to me rather than me forcing it. But, I never imagined that it would actually come true.

Never would have I really dreamed of, or imagined, that my fate a few years later, would lead me to meet him personally, and become his direct student. That indeed, against all odds for a regular, scientist boy raised in the far end of planet Earth, destiny would in fact, orchestrate uncanny coincidences leading to the serendipity of that reality. But that, friends, is a story for another time.

How I Arrived to Ixtlán

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Ariadna Vasquez Sensors

My name is Ariadna Vasquez Sansores. I’m from Campeche, Mexico, but I’ve lived in Mexico City for many years and that makes me feel part of it too. I would like to share the story of how I got to “Viaje – Ixtlán”. A story of adventures and misadventures that were taking my spirit through inexhaustible trails, until I found this, and other fantastic books by Carlos Castaneda. This is my story:

We spent a few days of rest with my whole family in the U.S.A. One morning, we went to a shopping center. My mom went with my grandmother to find some things, and my aunts took care of my cousins and I. In a few minutes that distracted me or maybe seconds, a person who maybe had been watching the scene and saw that I was out there seeing several things, approached me. First I thought he was a salesman of the store, since he taught me all the games that I could not see because of my height in a very short time I felt in confidence. My aunts, who are incredible and perhaps with so many children, did not perceive the stalking of that person. They did not see him at any time, or maybe everyone thought he was a salesman of that store.

After having my confidence, he took my hand and in a single blink, I walked with him. Then, we took the escalator down several floors. As we passed by each floor, I remember looking for my mother, hoping to see her and my grandmother.

My heart beat a thousand times a second. It felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I also remember the sound made by those escalators, creaking, their smell of old wood and some fresh varnish. Every detail of the place has been recorded in my memory, those memories are stored in all the cells of my body. I can feel it and hear it in my heart.

Just to close your eyes and think about the scene, and everything is unfolding with precise details. With him I walked for hours on the street, at one point I took charge and hugged him. I never yelled at him, I had trusted him.

I felt destroyed and with much fear, I cried, but my tears came out with the most obscure silence. He tried to dry my tears, while he spoke to calm me, his voice … I remember it even very beautiful, very calm ..

But why did he want to take me? , Where would it take me? …
In a moment, after crying with great regret to be heard, I said to myself: “Ari, this will be your new life”.

I resigned myself to living with someone else, I did not put up resistance … I did not know how to say: NO! I was too ashamed to scream.

And I went to his side, crying in silence and hugging him tight again.

Something went through his head, which I can not decipher. But, he returned me to the right place. After hours of walking back, we ended up right back in the same place we started. Quickly, the police found me and I went back to my family

Because of this experience, I grew up full of fears, fear of losing my loved ones, fear of losing myself from my loved ones. I grew insecure and lonely, always with existentialist thoughts. Always thinking about what it would be like if my parents died or died, or if they just disappeared and never saw them again. I grew up thinking about the meaning of being here on earth.

During my childhood, I had 2 incredible teachers. One of them taught us that the house and classroom tasks, cleaning our desk, cleaning the windows, sweeping the room or the classroom, sweeping and cleaning my own room, washing the dishes and all those tasks, could be done with elegance, with fun, with music. All activity could be done with magic, if we only put the desire and attention necessary to make it so.

The other teacher took us to the countryside, made us admire nature, sleep on the dry leaves and feel the difference of sleeping on the fresh leaves, observe the stars and see up close the insects and every pretty leaf that crossed our path. He read us fragments of “Viaje a Ixtlán” that I still remember with my heart vibrating.

I was about 17 years old when, my cousin and best friend of the soul, read for me, several fragments of Castaneda’s books, read me parts of the “Don del Águila”, fragments of “Una realidad aparte”, “Viaje a Ixtlán”. And there I found the statements and phrases that had been preserved in my deep memory, of days of primary school and my teacher who inspired me to love nature. There I connected with that feeling of seeking freedom, of freeing my mind and my spirit from the pain contained by the loss of the being of my bowels, and by the fears with which I fell down day and night.

When Pelu lent me. “Viaje a Ixtlán”, and I read it, I began to remember the chapters read in childhood, I found the magic and the mystery that I needed to begin to understand, I found the codes for a deep communication with my psyche. We sat watching the sky with a new love, with new sight, the storms in the sea, had hidden languages ​​that we were able to decipher, the stars shone with a special mathematics never before understood, the earth was a possible dream. I sat down to observe my fears. And I found life, as the most fabulous of mysteries.

The books filled my spirit with fabulous anecdotes, I wanted to dream and live. Now, many years have passed since those events, and see more clearly, the other edges of this story and my own cosmos.

I did not hate the man who kidnapped me and gave me back anymore. I think maybe we created a connection of love and acceptance for the other. Maybe he discovered there, that although he tried to separate me from them, he could not really steal my love for them, or sever the connection that my soul has with each member of my beloved family. Maybe he connected telepathically to my abstract language, maybe he saw my heart that spoke to him lovingly, and then … he gave me life again.

I keep in touch with those feelings, I explore them, I revive them, I embrace them and I breathe, to then liberate them to the cosmos and learn.

I get up happy, and very grateful.

Living within this mystery, with all its edges, turbulence, textures and tonalities, it is an honor and a pleasure.

Thank you
With love, Ari

Contest: How Carlos Castaneda’s books Inspired You!

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You Contest

Dear Community!

We are launching a fun contest to win the participation to our live workshops in Mexico City, England and Moscow! This contest will inspire you to reflect and recapitulate the first time you read Carlos Castaneda’s books. What attracted you? What inspired you? How old you were? Join our contest online on Facebook and post your OWN story here How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You contest.

Below please find samples of stories from our teachers of how they got inspired by the books!

My Introduction to the World of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You contestBy Tom Reavley

My name is Tom Reavley and I live in the capital city of Guanajuato, Mexico, although I grew up in the United States.  My story is about how I deviated from a conventional career as a lawyer and found my true path with a heart.

I had just returned to California after finishing law school on the East Coast and I was excited about finally beginning my professional career as a lawyer in a large San Francisco firm.  After three years of marriage I was also now honoring my promise to my wife to help her return to finish her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where we had met. Everything was going so well.  Even living in married student housing was a joy—the winter of 1974 was wet and the Stanford hills, visible from our bed, were a brilliant green.

As much as I was committed to succeeding as a lawyer, there were some things that bothered me about my new life.  I had always hated the idea of being trapped in the world of business and a life controlled by social expectations.  I was particularly concerned about having a long commute every day from Palo Alto to San Francisco. I had to get on a train every day and spend an hour traveling through an urban corridor and then walking a mile past parking lots and city buildings to the 54- story building that housed my law firm.  Some part of me was not happy about the prospect of spending the rest of my life on a treadmill.

One day after work my wife mentioned a book I might be interested in—part of her assigned reading in a course entitled the Psychology of Perception.  The book was The Teachings of Don Juan, and I read it on my daily commute to and from work.  I marveled at the young anthropologist’s courage in undergoing terrifying drug-induced experiences.  Castaneda’s second book, A Separate Reality, had already been published and I read this book even more avidly than the first.  It seemed filled with a practical philosophy that was different from any I had studied that really excited me.  

However, the accounts of Castaneda’s experiences with hallucinogenic plants that filled the first two books put me off.  Although I imagined that I might risk taking such plants if they were available and if I had someone like don Juan to supervise the experience, neither don Juan nor the plants were available to me and, in any event, I couldn’t risk my career as a lawyer by taking an illegal substance.  

Then I read the third book, Journey to Ixtlan, an experience from which I never recovered.  Up to that point in my life, I cannot remember ever having read a book more than once.  Over the next several years I probably read Journey to Ixtan cover to cover at least twenty times.  In the introduction Castaneda explains that he had finally realized that the real lessons were not the drug experiences but the behavioral recommendations that don Juan made—lessons on how to tighten-up one’s life and stop living as if immortal.

 These lessons were so breathtakingly simple and yet beautiful that I just couldn’t get enough of reading them. I wanted to experience this magic for myself. On the other hand, at this stage in my life I had just completed an intense three-year legal training at Harvard, which instilled the value of logic, reason and skepticism.  Nobody was going to make a fool of me.

The challenge became, how do I prove these claims Castaneda is making, at least to myself?  I needed evidence, and I had to accumulate it without any personal contact with don Juan or Carlos Castaneda.  One day after a period of continual practice I suddenly realized that I could maintain the view of everything within my one hundred eighty degree field of vision all at once, without focusing on any one point in particular.  For me this was amazing. It subtly forced my mind into a temporary state of silence.

I read all the other books as they were published and each one gave me a boost of energy and excitement.  One Sunday in February 1995 I was at a seafood restaurant with my extended family. From the other end of the table my younger brother got up to show me a page from the catalog of a spiritual retreat center in New York that described a weekend seminar with Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar, two female apprentices of don Juan and close associates of Carlos Castaneda.

My brother grinned and said that he and my mother had nominated me to attend and check out this event for them.  It was like a jolt of electricity–Castaneda was sponsoring an event for the general public, after 25 years of elaborate efforts to maintain anonymity in his private life!

Intellectually, I maintained a certain amount of distance and doubt—maybe the seminar would reveal that these people were a bunch of charlatans just trying to make some money off of the credulous readers of the books. At an emotional level, I was immediately hooked—I would go to the seminar come hell or high water.  How could I not go, after holding on to the books like a life raft for 20 years?

It was not exactly like my fantasy of Castaneda and don Juan knocking on my door and inviting me to join them. No one came to tell me how great I was or how much I was needed. On the other hand it didn’t seem like a momentous decision. I was just going to a weekend seminar. I had the time and could afford the cost. It was only an experiment with no downside.

Yet a part of me already knew that the game was over, that the illusion of my life’s predictable continuity was about to be shattered.  The seemingly slow and unhurried process of being drawn into “intent” of the shamans of ancient Mexico was accelerating. I could not resist. More importantly, something essential in me did not want to resist. It welcomed this intent with open arms. I was coming home.

How I got acquainted with the works of Carlos Castaneda.

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You ContestBy Anastasiya Ganich

My name is Anastasiya Ganich and I live in Moscow. I was 24 years old when I broke up with a boyfriend, because his family did not accept me. I had to hear many unpleasant and unfair words about myself. It hurt me and I started to get sick.

My mother took me to a young woman, a healer, so that she restored me energetically. I began attending medical sessions, and this coincided with my long search for energy practice, which I would like to do. After a short time I started learning this technique, achieved certain results, helping my family members, and then other people.

For 5-6 years before, my mother underwent surgery and treatment for breast cancer. She defeated the disease and now continued to seek options for maintaining her health. My stepfather’s nephew was a beginning oncologist, and somehow in a conversation with my mom he told her about the interesting author Carlos Castaneda and advised her to read something from his books.

Mom told me about this and asked me to buy these books for her. Soon I went to the only store of esoteric literature in Moscow “The Path to Yourself.” I bought all the books of Carlos Castaneda available in Russian, published by the publishing house Sofia. These were three voluminous orange books; they are still preserved in my library. My mom read a little and left them to stand on the shelf near the TV.

At one of the meetings with the healer, I asked if she knew anything about Carlos Castaneda and his books. She replied that she had read it, but it did not suit her. And I decided to try it. Soon I picked up the first book “The Teaching of Don Juan”, and did not let go of my hands until I read everything. It was not easy.

The text was rich and complex, the font was small, that I had to strain my eyes, the volumes are heavy. But I carried them with me, continuing to read everywhere, at every opportunity. I was not at all embarrassed that I did not understand the concepts that were presented in the books. Something in the text, in its rhythm, grabbed my attention, and I did not want to stop.

Some time passed and one day I was late for work and nervous, went to the subway and read another book by Carlos Castaneda. I did not notice anything around and completely immersed myself in the text. My reading was interrupted by a young man who leaned toward me and said: “Girl, do not you know that stalkers do not read books on the subway?”

I looked up in surprise and, without remembering his face, stubbornly replied: “I am reading”, and continued reading. This day and this meeting left a deep mark on my life. Since that time, Castaneda’s books have ceased to be an exciting reading for me, they have acquired an emotional depth for me and for years have become the key to deep affection and love. What happened that then was undoubtedly a maneuver of the Spirit, because only through strong emotions and feelings it was possible to catch me.

Six months later, in 2004, I attended my first Tensegrity workshop in Moscow, and the teachings of Don Juan gradually became an element of my spiritual practice.

The next stage of my acquaintance with the wisdom, which was set out in the books of Carlos Castaneda was 2011, when I experienced a strong emotional and physical shock. My world collapsed, and with it me too. That year, Aerin, Miles and their child Axel arrived in Moscow. I visited that first Being energy workshop in Russia. Participation in this seminar saved me, and it’s not just words.

Then followed the modules of the training program and a deep immersion in the practice of Being energy. For me, the next layer became available. Softly and elegantly, the knowledge of seers of Ancient Mexico was introduced and woven into my daily life. It is a long and beautiful path full of unexpected discoveries.

And now, after 7 years, in 2018, I again stand in the doorway. The knowledge and practices that Carlos Castaneda has discovered for us are becoming part of my professional activities. In the summer I will be co-leader of BE workshop in Moscow. It’s incredible, where Path with the heart can lead us.

Unless then, in 2003, could I think about something like this ?! I courageously will enter this door and grab this chance. I feel in myself a vibrating force and will not allow doubts and fears to interfere with me. I believe in myself, ‘I am already given to the power that rules my fate’. I feel deep gratitude for the gift that Carlos Castaneda gave us, inviting through his books to the wonderful world of real life.

How I connected with the Nagual books

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Erika Gavin

My name is Erika Gavin, I’m Italian and I’ve been living in Mexico for 22 years. My story is about the time I discovered Carlos Castaneda’s books and talks about how they moved and supported me for the beginning of a great change in my life.

I was enrolled in the first year of the psychology faculty of Padova, after leaving a high school that had directed me towards architecture and could not feel me in my place neither there nor anywhere else. I was not sure that the university at that moment was my way, I felt the cold classes and the knowledge that I had reach did not reach my heart. I lived with my parents, I was 18 years old and there was a lot of tension in the house. My father did not agree with the fact that I studied psychology and my mother gave me some money behind the scenes to support me. I did work when I could, as a waitress or washing cars, until I opened a printing press in partnership with some friends, but that did not work. I felt in a moment of transition where nothing was clear and everything had lost meaning, color and momentum. I asked the spirit, with whom I always communicated in my own way since I was a child, an example of something I could follow and made me feel again excited to be alive and connected to myself, something that would help me find my place.

One day a friend came to see me to bring me the book of “The teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda. He said “I brought it to you because I know it’s just for you, it did not convince me much, but I’m sure you’ll understand.” Since childhood I had always been very restless, and I was interested in talking frequently about death, life and existence, questioning everything. I was also very attracted to the mystic and the mystery and magic hidden behind the facade of ordinary things.

The book caught me from the beginning, it made me feel something new, it was as if it were vibrating and had a different energy than what I knew. I had just read several books about the holocaust and felt my spirits wrapped in a black cloud. Reading Castaneda, I experienced the feeling of the desert sun revitalizing me and realized that it was possible to experience the world in a more exciting way than I knew. I felt immediately that there was something there that was the answer to what I had asked for. When I finished the book I looked for the others and I read them one by one as fast as I could. Trip to Ixtlan filled me with astonishment and it echoed deep inside me. It made me feel that it was possible to get home, to this internal place that I longed for; My mind did not understand it completely, but my body knew it in an instant. As I described life, death and the powers that govern this world made me jump the heart, I wanted to feel part of all that and be able to surrender myself to those powers. I felt that the spirit showed me a path to where I had always longed to go. Many concepts and descriptions that I read calmed me down and made me experience deep happiness.

The books gave me a great impulse and aroused my curiosity. I wanted to know and know more and explore that world in some way. I followed my instinct and my desire to travel, I left the faculty of psychology and I prepared myself to go to Mexico. My first trip lasted a few months, but Mexico and its people loved and amazed me, so I came back with the idea of settling there for a while. I am still in Mexico today and I am very grateful for all that I have lived and learned and for finding me transiting a path with a heart.

How I got Acquainted with the Books of Carlos Castaneda

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Andrey Petrov 

Hello! My name is Andrey Petrov, I live in Moscow, Russia.

In this short story I want to share with you how I got acquainted with the books of Carlos Castaneda.

Being a child, I always looked for something more that went beyond the world around me.

In the beginning, I literally lived by Russian fairy tales and their magical and omnipotent characters. Becoming a little older, I fell in love with the style of fantasy with its kind and evil wizards, magical transformations and mystical artifacts.

Then the books on Buddhism, yoga and even religion came. Despite the fact that many of the reads were close to me, the overall picture of the “way” still did not add up. Perhaps I was not ready to perceive this knowledge, and maybe the abundance of the unusual and paranormal terminology that is present in these books may have affected. For a while I was also practiced martial arts, but the elements of aggression that came into them did not suit me.

And finally, on the third year of studying at the university, two close friends made me a birthday present. It was the very first book of Carlos Castaneda “Teachings of Don Juan”. This moment coincided with the period when I needed to take the summer session, which I instantly forgot. For several days I did not leave the house, reading the book from early morning until late at night, until I mastered it whole.

From the very first pages it became clear to me that the stories described in the book have a very profound meaning for me. I had a feeling that at last I met my source – everything made a perfect sense and fell into place.

I was happy and thrilled with the knowledge that opened up in Castaneda’s book. However, at that time, I did not realize that this was only the first and perhaps the easiest step in a long, and sometimes dangerous, journey to knowledge and power.

Following the “Teaching of Don Juan”, I read all the other books of Castaneda and his associates, gathering a complete “collection”, issued by the publishing house “Sofia”. At that time, in the late 90s of the last century, books literally had to be hunt – to search for fairs and also to wait for new books that had not yet been published.

Nowadays, I do not read books as often as before. Mostly I address them in those moments when I want to find answers to non-standard questions or solve extraordinary situations. I made an interesting observation that opening the first attracted book in an arbitrary place, I tend to find what I’m looking for, after reading a couple of pages, and often a single paragraph.

Also, compared to the first readings, I began to notice how intense the contents and meaning of all the text written by Castaneda are. For an open reader with a certain level of energy, literally a couple of phrases are enough for a lifeless change in all life.

Concluding my story, I want to express my love and deep gratitude to Carlos Castaneda for his books – an invaluable gift left to all of us, as well as to translators and editors who worked on the first Russian editions.

As one of the priorities of my life, I chose to further transfer this knowledge to interested people in order not to let them get lost in the sea of endless and easily accessible digital information.

What My Teacher Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Death

My friends Tom and Susanne from Hawaii texted me last Saturday:

“For about fifteen minutes we were preparing ourselves to die. And it was real. And we were calm. What a gift. Sorry you were not here to enjoy the fun.”

I smiled and exhaled. I had arrived in Los Angeles a few days before after spending two weeks with them in Hawaii. They were OK. They were not being sarcastic. They are both highly educated therapists who retired and now live on Hawaii’s big island. They are lovely, smart and daring. For them, an encounter with Death, as they experienced when the missile threat alert rang on their phones, was a gift.

Carlos Castaneda told me that death is everywhere: at sunset, at the end of the day, there when a rose petal falls, at the bottom of the page you are reading, at the end of the breath you are taking. Thinking about death catapults us into new reflections, into a deep gratitude for the simple yet powerful act of being alive. It is, according to Castaneda, what gives warriors an edge.

Castaneda’s teachings on death were one of the main reasons I left my job, my boyfriend, my tribe and my life in Buenos Aires and moved to Los Angeles 23 years ago. I read his books when I was a teenager and I had the opportunity to meet him and work with him. His teacher, Don Juan Matus was a Yaqui from Sonora, Mexico and the leader of a lineage of Seers. Don Juan passed on his knowledge to Castaneda, and he passed it on to me.

Throughout the years of my apprenticeship with Castaneda, he talked about death often. He would say death is a reminder to be alert, a reference point to behave with kindness, a push to set priorities, an inspiration for change or to shake off the pettiness of daily concerns.

I often found myself caught up in self-defeating thoughts, worrying about the little details of daily life such as stressing about my school papers, my performance at work and what others would think of me or the extra 15 pounds I couldn’t get rid off. He observed my turmoil and asked me:

“Since the worst that can happen to you is already happening, you are going to die someday, so then how important is really your internal turmoil? Truly, think about it.”

The presence of death and the fact that I didn’t know when and how I would die helped me shake off my self-concerns and bring clarity, determination and a sense of purpose to my actions.

“What do we really have, except life and our own death? The thing to do when you’re impatient, don Juan told me, is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death. An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that it is there watching you.”

Once, during one of my first lunches with Castaneda and his colleagues at a restaurant in Santa Monica, he asked me: “What do you think is worth thinking of?”

“Death,” I said. I was not trying to please him or to get away with an easy answer. I had experienced death as the loss of loved ones, as a final end that had left me with unresolved emptiness and sadness, an anguish hard to unglue. I avoided reflecting or even thinking about death, and yet, there I was, sitting next to Castaneda on my quest to learn more about death.

An array of memories came to my foreground when he turned all his attention towards me, curious to know more about it.

I shared with him a few encounters with death that were still present in my body. The first time I encountered death, I was eight-years-old and I got sick with rheumatic fever. I spent a year bedridden with high fevers. In one instance, I had an “out of the body” experience where I saw myself literally separated from my body, above the bed looking at myself down in bed.

The second experience I had with death was when I was 14. I found dead bodies floating in the La Plata River in Buenos Aires, during the military dictatorship that tortured and murdered thousands of innocent people.

Then, when I was 17 years-old, I was leaving town with my friends to spend the holidays at the beach. Their car was kind of small for six people and I didn’t fit. My mother didn’t let me drive with them and I had to drive with my aunt and my cousin. On the freeway, on the way to the beach, my friends’ car crashed into a truck and all five of them were killed instantly.

A couple years after that incident, I fell on the floor of a disco when dancing drunk and I had a convulsion. My heart literally stopped beating for a few seconds and I cut my head severely.

After that incident, it took me a few years to come back to my body. I slowly shifted my life completely. I started eating healthy, I changed my job, I changed my friends. I started to show interest in healing modalities, in inner growth, and in spirituality. It all led me to meet Castaneda in 1995.

“Death has touched you and you have been giving a second chance” he told me that day at the restaurant. “Our encounter with death is inevitable; it will happen. The question is for you, which is the question for all of us, how will you go to the encounter? How are you going to use your time?”

This is the first article in a series called “What Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About…” I’ll be sharing some of the most valuable things I learned during my apprenticeship with Castaneda that have changed the way I live my life. Stay tuned! And, check out www.energylifesciences.com to learn more about our community.

The Magical Cocoon – How I Recovered my Relationship With My Daughter

By Tom Reavley

One night I got into a taxi in Mexico City with my daughter and a friend.  We were taking my daughter to see a famous healer in the city.  There was a soft rain outside and the city lights were reflected in the wet streets.  The traffic was calm for Mexico City and we proceeded toward the Coyoacán neighborhood.  I was excited and, at the same time, nervous–this thing of going to see a healer, especially with my daughter, was unknown territory for me.  She was confiding in me but I really didn’t understand anything about what we were doing.  The only thing that sustained me was a sense of magic all around us, the feeling of being in a protective cocoon as we traveled to the appointment.

The story began three months earlier. My whole family thought that my mother was close to dying and we all traveled to her city on the west coast of the United States.  It was the first time I had seen my daughter in six months; she had just graduated from her university and was working far away from where I lived in Mexico.  The emotional link between us remained damaged after the divorce five years earlier.  

We would see each other and talk, but there was a barrier–we were not able to be really honest and present with each other like before.  Nevertheless, when I learned of her health problems and after my mother recovered, I decided to risk feeling foolish and proposed that she goes with me to see the healer in Mexico.  I was almost certain that she would reject the idea.

I probably never would have even mentioned the idea if some unusual things had not occurred pointing me in this direction.  One day I was eating with a group of people in San Luis Potosí.  A woman from Mexico City began to talk about the autobiography of Alejandro Jodorowsky.  I was fascinated by her comments and decided that I would like to read the book if I could find a copy.

 That same night I returned to my apartment in Guanajuato and the young man who shared the apartment and who knew nothing about my conversation earlier that day in San Luis, came into my bedroom and, without any preliminaries, offered to loan me that very book by Jodorowsky.  He had not even read it himself but thought that it might interest me.  I was amazed at the coincidence and read the entire book within a few days.  I enjoyed it immensely, especially the stories about Jodorowsky’s experiences with Doña Pachita, a very well-known healer or curandera in Mexico City.

 Years before, I had read about this same healer in the books of Carlos Castaneda.  Jodorowsky wrote that Pachita had died but that her son continued her healing practice in Paris. A week later I was talking with a close friend in Guanajuato about something else and she mentioned out of the blue that she had been treated by Pachita’s son, who wasn’t in Paris but in Mexico City.  She offered to accompany my daughter to see “El Hermano” (as the being who communicated through the healer was known). She also offered us lodging at her family’s home in Mexico City.

One week after proposing a visit to the healer to my daughter she called me and agreed.  The most surprising thing was that even her mother was also supportive.  I felt that things were arranging themselves and flowing so easily and naturally that the only way to proceed was just to accept it all and let go of my habit of trying to control everything.  

That night in the taxi, I was traveling in a dream–the world was new, almost unknown.  I was amazed at my daughter’s calmness and her courage and, I was so grateful to my friend for having facilitated everything.  She formed an emotional connection with my daughter immediately after meeting her and offered her unconditional maternal support.

The healer recommended that my daughter have a psychic “operation”. Afterwards she had to stay in bed for five days, without getting up except to go to the bathroom.  He prescribed a special diet and some herbal teas.  During those days I looked after my daughter with all my attention and care as if she were a newborn baby.  I made the teas, went to the local market to buy the necessary food and ingredients and I kept her company in her bedroom when she was not sleeping.

With time my daughter’s physical condition improved, but I believe what was even more important was what happened between us.  For the first time since my separation from her mother, we found again the confidence, honesty and love between us that had been lost.

After returning to her home, my daughter wrote to Lilia, our host in Mexico City.  She expressed her gratitude for Lilia’s help in recovering her father.  I also thanked Lilia and her lovely family for having helped me get my daughter back.  Even beyond my thanks to Lilia, her family and the curandero, my gratitude extended to and still touches something more abstract but so real: the energetic soul of this enchanting city, that sent me a messenger to San Luis Potosí and the perfect host for my daughter, and that wrapped us in a healing cocoon, a shared dream that I will never forget. 

 

Cuicuilco, Where I Reconnect to My Legacy

cuicuilco

By Aridana Vasquez

The Mexico Valley has movement and stillness at the same time.

What if when exploring the city, we suddenly find ourselves in this inert space between kaos and stillness? We could enter and leave the city’s labyrinth with a single blink, and thus find our own voice, purpose and legacy; accepting our duality as the flow of light and life that we are and of the stillness, darkness and death that we also are.

cuicuilcoIn the attempt to live my life with awareness, whenever I can, I take a break from work and I take a moment to sort out my thoughts.

I walk towards Cuicuilco, the Mesoamerican archaeological zone of the Preclassic period located in the south-east of the Valley of Mexico. Cuicuilco is translated as the place where songs and dances are made. This city existed long ago in apparent linear time, and at the same time it feels so alive and present. I feel it in full connection with our ancestral spirit. It has been a refuge of ideas, a silent refuge of calm seas. And it is in the middle of the city, near my work!

When arriving to Cuicuilco, I take a deep breath and a collection of old memories send me into that isolated space and stopped in time. I feel that Cuicuilco is calling me, and that it wants to share its secrets with me. I like to feel protected by its lava fields. The volcanic eruptions of Xitle buried and destroyed Cuicuilco. This disaster caused the dispersion of the Cuicuilca culture towards Toluca and Teotihuacán; its inhabitants had to be reborn and strengthened again.

cuicuilcoPerhaps it is the energy of all that space covered in lava, the thousands of vessels and bones that were trapped in the volcanic rock, in containment; Maybe those secrets are covered and trapped in those eruptions of the Xitle where the lava eternalized the moment. As when I’m here standing time is suspended and my thoughts get clear.

Cuicuilco opens up to my eyes like a vigorous core of restorative energy.

Its circular pyramid brings me the memory of the wind that flows without barriers and cleanses my dual being, awakens it.

I sit down with Ernesto Sábato’s book, “Sobre Heroes y Tumbas” and this sentence calls my attention:

“A mysterious event is proceeding in these moments: dusk.”

What would happen if we really saw the days go by, wrapped in mystery? …

What would our lives be like if we were surprised by the complexity of the night?

If we really put all our attention in a single terrestrial rotation, and at the end of the day we found other answers about our species or about our being?

What do I feel about seeing me here, at this moment, in this space of time? “

I have been asking myself these questions since I was very small: I always thought about the duality of life and death. When I felt fear, from one moment to another, the wind would come to calm my spirit … the wind of a night full of mystery.

In Cuicuilco, the wind flows and whistles a music for me inside, and sometimes meets the edges of my thoughts. Its circular pyramid feels flowing, embracing and reconstructing each idea, each thought until its liberation; the roundness of its main pyramid makes it possible.

This is how the song and dance of the place are received, without any obstacle; it just flows and takes flight to new perceptions. My daily worries fade and I dance in silence. My heart opens even more and an impetus to recognize me as part of this mystery that surrounds me.

The wind touches my cheek while reminding me “I’m here, I celebrate my time, my steps, my darkness and my own singing. I am the way where times converge.” My heart grows.

“I am life.”

Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

organs have their own consciousness

My teacher Carlos Castaneda taught me this:

Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the departure of my dear teacher and guide Carlos Castaneda. I met him in the mid-nineties as a young doctor looking for a deeper meaning in my path as a healer to people.

My life brought me to him without looking for it.

Not long before, as a medical resident in Bariloche, Argentina, I had wanted to go in all the way into the medical knowledge. I come from a family of doctors and scientists, where hard work and dedication to the ethics of truth was a strong value.

our organs have their own consciousnessThanks to high grades, luck and daring, I managed to get into a unique and prestigious program where I was left as the front person in charge of the ER (Emergency Room) every four nights. It was an exciting and also daunting all-in immersion into hospital life that got me dealing with all kinds of medical issues and emergencies. I practically lived in the clinic, and assisted in trauma, strokes, heart attacks or child births.

I had the experience of dealing with life and death decisions, of seeing the mystery of the body healing miraculously and the humbling presence of death in my hands. Life was fast, and surprising. Yet, I missed the touch of a larger, more encompassing view.

In many occasions, the tools I had been given as a Western MD couldn’t help me; It could only take me so far and a more holistic view became a necessity.

One such day, during my night shift, a patient died on my watch.

He was staying overnight after a minor surgery and he developed an acute pulmonary edema that led to him to going into arrest. I moved him into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and tried to resuscitate him, but I couldn’t. It later turned out that a key heart medication the patient needed had not been logged into his chart and was never given to him. He shouldn’t have died. The event caused me to deeply re-evaluate the meaning of my profession and life in general. Medical school did not give me the container for these situations. I even considered to quit medicine.

I left Argentina back to USA, my country of birth. Then, there, serendipity and fate made me meet Carlos Castaneda and everything changed in my life.

When I first met him, he invited me to lunch, at a local Cuban restaurant called The Versailles which he frequented. I remember that, when he invited me, he had said he wanted to know more about me, but I barely opened my mouth during lunch. He was very animated the whole time, and made me laugh so hard with his storytelling that my belly muscles ached badly. He had such a mesmerizing and charming presence and it absorbed me completely.

At the end, as we were walking towards the car in the parking lot, he came close and almost in a whisper said that the reason we were there that day was because I could be a bridge between the shamanism he had learnt from his teacher, don Juan Matus, and the world of health and medicine.

At the time, I had no idea what this meant, but his message of a higher intelligence and energy at play in everyday life came to fill exactly the void I had found in my regular medical life. I was hooked.

A direct apprenticeship that meant being open to new ideas.

Over time, Carlos Castaneda became a mentor and guide. He said I could not run away from my destiny and encouraged me to return to medicine. But he gave me the larger container, he opened up what was to me a new paradigm at the time, one which today, decades later, has emerged in science and in our collective understanding: that there is no such distinction between the mind and the body;

rather, that we are a network of energy and information crisscrossing in all directions between the mind and the body. Peptides and other biochemicals carry the messages of our thoughts and our emotions everywhere, perception affects behavior and behavior changes the very physicality of our brain and body, memories from our life experiences are stored in the organs and in our fascia and,

more than a defined, isolated individual, we are more like a cooperative of many voices including a majority of foreign DNA from a microbiome which gives us fundamental aspects of our identity such as our very personality traits, as a pioneering study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently showed.

our organs have their own consciousnessEverything in us is changing and evolving, not isolated, but in deep resonance with our environment, such as the quality of the electro-magnetic field emitted by our hearts which can cause specific changes in the brains of the people around us.

We now know that it is a fact from research we can enter deep meditation states through practice and then these states can cause definitive changes in all our major regulatory mechanisms such as telomere length (a key biomarker for cell lifespan), inflammation cascades and cell repair. These and other behaviors can change the very expression of our genome through the epigenetic landscape that we now recognize as a highly fluid pluripotential environment in which our body lives.

What my teacher Carlos Castaneda introduced me to was this same viewpoint. It used different language but its syntax carried the same implications and conclusions. It enlarged the scope of possibilities of my human experience, and that of my patients. Modern science and ancient shamanistic principles and practices came together into a similar unit of life: Our internal body-mind world.

What it means ‘I can talk to my internal organs.’

One practice that Carlos Castaneda taught me was “talking to my organs.” The idea was simple: just as there is the overall me, there are also many smaller individual aspects of that me, represented in my tissues and organs themselves. In the dynamic world of information within my body, there is a distinct consciousness in each of my organs. Our organs store memories and also contain information. And they can talk to us. The big me can go in and establish a dialogue with the different organs and tissues.

In over twenty years of teaching workshops and clinical practice, I have found this to be very accurate and of highly practical value to understand ourselves and what our bodies are experiencing.

At times, I would see Castaneda ‘talking to his liver’, for example. He would talk to it in a very kind way, thanking it for all the work it took on. He would caress his ribs right where the liver is, and also pause and take a moment to ‘listen’ to it.

More than 500 vital functions have been identified in each liver cell, 24/7. It is the organ that organizes and distributes our internal nutrients and resources. In our busy modern lives, it tends to get overburdened. It stores ‘excess’ material, not only physiologically but also in our Consciousness.

our organs have their own consciousnessOur stressors are ‘stored’ in the liver.

When our liver gets overwhelmed, it also gets tight, and interferes with other neighbor organs, such as our stomach and intestines, or our sense of calm in our heart.

Our organs can tell us a lot of things. For instance, a patient who came to treatment for severe constipation, had received standard help from doctors such as increasing fiber and exercise, stool softeners and even antidepressants, with weak results. During the consult, using guided imagery, we established a conversation ‘between his higher self and his colon’, and his colon told him that the reason it was holding its movement was because he was feeling stuck at work. He had a long term dispute with his business partner that wasn’t being resolved.

The colon was storing that emotional and perceptual component of his inner life.

He realized then that he had been very rigid in his position about the dispute and needed to move on. The day after he signed the dissolution papers he had a bowel movement and within a month he had his regular rhythm restored.

Another fascinating example of how our organs store information and life experiences, even highly specific and detailed stuff, was reported by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., in his book The Heart’s Code. I heard about this account by Ron Hulnik, Ph.D., one of the founders of the prestigious program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica, where I am so excited to be currently taking a Certification. Pearsall, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Transplant Donor Department at the University of Arizona, describes how organ recipients take in memories and personality traits from the donor. He tells the case of a girl who had received a heart transplant from another girl who had been murdered. She soon began to have dreams and flashbacks of being murdered herself that eventually became so vivid and detailed that her mother reported it and it led the police to identify the actual murderer and prove the case in court. The implication of such an unequivocal event makes it undeniable that the organs themselves, independently, are capable of storing a high level of specificity of information.

How do I talk to my organs?

There are two steps and one rule to do this. our organs have their own consciousness

The first step is doing something to quiet the mind chatter and be present. This can be one minute focusing on our breathing, or even just one breath!

The second step is to turn our attention to a particular organ with an attitude of inquiry and establish a dialogue.

The rule is that when we ask a question, we have to be direct, as if we were talking to someone right in front of us, and then pause and wait for the very first thing that comes to mind, without preconditions. It might be a thought, an image or a memory. It might be the feeling of something that could become clear at a later time.

The rule means that it is spontaneous information that formulates in our Consciousness in the pause immediately after we address the question to the organ.

Sometimes, there doesn’t need to even be a question; all that seems to be needed is to turn our attention to the organ with the intention to see it and listen to it.

The Practice.

For the next moment, close your eyes and let your attention shift from the outer world to the inner world. You can simply let your body release any tension that it doesn’t need, right now.

In one sweep from head down to toes, just scan across your whole body with your attention and let each muscle relax, let each joint soften, letting all the nerves just open, the circulation and the skin open. And let your body do this at its own pace.

Now, open your inner eyes and go with your attention to the organ you want to talk to, listen to, or just hold space for. Allow yourself to use your full imagination and live it inside of you.

Have you been having any issues with the health of this organ? Connect to these symptoms, and specifically to the emotions that these symptoms arise in you. Stay attuned to these emotions for a moment. Don’t judge them or try to change them, just be with them.

Now, begin to talk to the organ, as if it was a person you are talking to. A person that is also you, or an aspect of you. Hold an attitude of appreciation, companionship and support. This part of you has been suffering and you want to be there for it. Lovingly express to the organ your support at this time. Talk to the organ as if it was your own 5-year old kid.

Ask simple, direct questions such as:

“Why are you in pain?”

“How does this relate to my life right now?”

“How can I help for you to feel better?”

“Is there anything I can do for you to stop this symptom?”

our organs have their own consciousnessRemember, don’t prejudge or discard whatever arises when you ask. Spend a moment or as long as you feel is right in this dialogue, or simply sit in the presence of the organ, holding your Consciousness there. 

When you are ready, say thank you to your organ for being available to you. Ask permission to further dialogue in the future. Come out at your own pace and immediately take count of the experience and of any information that came from it.

I highly recommended to write down this information.

That’s it.

Simplicity itself!

What I Learned in my Encounter With La Venerable , leader of the Mayan Solar Tradition

Dear Community,

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to teach Being Energy® movements at a special event guided by Nah Kin, la venerable abuela, in Merida Yucatan. Nah Kin, La Venerable, is the leader of the Mayan Solar Tradition and for the last 10 years she has been fully dedicated to downloading the Codes of the Maya New Era. Trained by her own grandmother in the Mayan knowledge and arts, La Venerable is the real thing.  I felt it. It felt like a calling. Meeting her was something that I had been, without knowing it, waiting on for several years: a connection to the knowledge of the Mayan Solar Tradition.

I arrived to Cancun in the early afternoon on Monday and took a bus for 4 hours, arriving  in Merida just before midnight. I was delighted to share this trip with Ariadna, my chaperone who joined me in the adventure. The next day we were both ready early and arrived at “Casa Del Sol” with enthusiasm and purpose.

La Maestra Loly received us with warmth affection and La Venerable Nah Kin made us feel at home. The event was focused on women, to recall the divine feminine essence byNah Kin connecting to our wombs and to the energy of the Sun, as a source of energy and as a source of consciousness. Oh what a delight!

There were many guided visualizations and meditations involving the image of the Golden Egg as a source of creation and the image of the Golden dragon as a source of connection with the divine. We prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe in her day, with candles and burning copal. We sang songs guided by La Maestra Chantal, daughter of Nah Kin. Nah Kin

The praying invoking Kinich Ahau the God Sun, the chanting, the spraying of a special balsam to clean my aura, the wearing of a yellow band on my forehead, and a red sash on my waist, all created an atmosphere of heightened awareness and purpose. I felt so connected to the knowledge and the rituals, as if I had been always there. It was my home, it was my people.  I felt so thankful.

La Venerable shared so much interesting information and knowledge, including  updating the ideas and beliefs our culture holds about menopause and its not-so-cool symptoms. La Venerable taught us all that this period is the moment where women become the butterfly that can really fly: it is a period for rebirth, for auto-generation. It is the precious moment to be free and to follow the inner calling for growth and for evolution.  La Venerable also talked about the Mayan Calendar and how December 21, 2012 marked the end of a longer period and the beginning of a new one and that 52 years after, by 2064 there is going to be a period of rebirth for humanity.

Nah KinLa Venerable shared an incredible amount of information. But, the most important for me was how she did it: with authenticity, honesty, vulnerability and deep love. Nah Kin

It was a true delight to guide all participants through sequences of energy passes including the Gathering Energy form and The Plumed Serpent: Kukulcan.  I am grateful for having lived through this unique experience.

All in all, I realized that much of what La Venerable teaches and what we teach in Being Energy® overlaps! Now, we are closely connected to her and all of the wonderful people that work with her.  We are looking forward to creating an event together soon!

Dreaming Forward,

Aerin

Why I Think About My Legacy Every Day

“Every bit of knowledge that becomes power has death as its central force. Death lends the ultimate touch, and whatever is touched by death indeed becomes power.” – Carlos Castaneda

Almost no one likes to talk about death. A least no one in my family growing up did. And yet, death was happening.

Every week I went with my mother to the cemetery to bring flowers to my godfather who passed away when I was two. Then, we brought flowers to my little sister who didn’t make it out of the womb alive when I was eight years old. Then, more death came. To my grandmother, then my boyfriend, then my brother, then my own mother, then my father. I had been to dozens of funerals. Death has been hunting me, guiding me somehow, encouraging me to set priorities, to put aside my stubborn old ideas and embrace new ones. My own death is something I think about often.

One of the reasons I was hooked by Carlos Castaneda’s work on the teachings of the Seers of Ancient Mexico was because he talked about death, almost daily. He wrote about death in his books and saw death as the ultimate enemy, and the ultimate liberation. A force impossible to overcome and even comprehend, and yet, a warrior could offer it a big fight.

One of the ways Death inspires us, as Castaneda did, is by making us think about leaving a legacy behind for others to overcome fears and connect with who they really are, “a being of energy.”

With Castaneda, I learned gratitude and to live each moment as my last. Before going on stage the first day of a workshop, he would say to me, “Go and give your very best, because you don’t know if this is your last day. Live it as if it was.”

When I think this way, that today, this week, or this month can be the last of my life, I instantly feel grateful and realize how precious each and every moment is. How powerful each and every thought I think is. How there’s no better time to start living intentionally and crafting my legacy, than now.

In an intellectual way, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life while learning from Carlos Castaneda. Consistently, he would ask me, “What do you want to do with your life?” I had no idea. He would ask me, “What imprint do you want to leave behind. What imprint do you want to leave every day?

At that time, I understood what he was saying on an intellectual level. But, the birth of my child took my understanding to a whole new level, a physical level, a tangible level. My baby was right there in front of me. I started thinking, who do I want to be for this person? What kind of mother? What kind of principles, what kind of beliefs, what kind of world do I want to leave behind for him and the next generation? 

That was 10 years ago. Now, I think about my legacy each and every day. I actively make choices that align with the message of my life. Because the way I show up to my life on a daily basis, the way I relate to others, THAT is my legacy. I leave an imprint wherever I go.

Besides my child, another important area of my legacy are the Path witH heart Online classes I created with my husband, Dr. Reid. We started teaching these online classes for self-inquiry and discovery in early 2010.  Now, we are about to launch our 25th Series!

A wonderful community of leaders, artists, homemakers, teachers, and professionals from over 26 countries, get together every Sunday to practice sequences of movements and breaths. We guide them through a series of exercises to hone our attention, to be present and to stay loyal to our commitment to grow in all areas of our lives.

Path with Heart, Lead Your Legacy, begins December 3rd. The focus of this cycle is to creatively find ways to take the reigns of our lives and be the drivers of our destiny. Leading your legacy means getting out of the victim mindset and taking charge. It’s about transitioning from the mentality that says, “There’s nothing I can do about this,” to “Yes, I can do something about this, I can co-create my life.” Leading your legacy means living intentionally with a thriving purpose that fulfills your life, and ignites every action and step you take with love and vitality!

The series lasts for 12 weeks, with classes every Sunday from December 3rd to February 25th. The setup for the program is truly unique, allowing you to learn in a live online class format while connecting with our global community of students.

The classes address your whole being, and not just on Sundays! You receive encouraging daily and weekly emails to support you in between classes. You can also participate in small witnessing groups to build relationships with others outside of class.

It’s not too late to register for our  Path With Heart series! Start your journey today!

Schweibenalp Retreat Highlights: We Had A Great Time!

Dear Community ,

What a dream-like and wonderful experience we had last weekend in Schweibenalp!

schweibenalp retreat

We stayed at an incredibly unique center, located in the midst of the beautiful Swiss Alps, 4,000 feet high! It was the perfect place to restore our energies and get in touch with our dreaming body, our energy body.

We practiced standing sequences of movements, emphasizing breathing and the opening the chest area. Then, we practiced movement sequences while laying on a mat, focusing on lengthening our connective tissue and recalibrating our nervous system.

We also meditated and spent time connecting to our breath, to our source of consciousness, and to our hearts. Another highlight from the retreat was the food! We shared delicious homemade organic foods that included vegetables from the Center’s Permaculture Garden. schweibenalp retreatschweibenalp retreat

We were blessed to experience different temperatures and  weather changes throughout the weekend. We arrived to light rain. The next day was sunny and warm. We just had to take a  walk through the forest to a magical green lake!

Fog moved in the next day and we spent the day inside a cloud. Literally!

Some participants experienced “Lucid Dreaming” for the first time, a state of being conscious and aware in one’s dreams.
Other participants mentioned that in the past, they weren’t able to remember their dreams. But,  after the first night at the workshop they were able to remember their dreams clearly.

At the end of our weekend, we were moved by listening to feedback from our participants, including Michael who said the experience has been “life-transforming” for him.

After taking so many workshops in the past, I finally feel that I do belong here. In the past I felt isolated. I used to be loyal to others, but never to myself. Now, I’ve set a new intention for myself: to be loyal to myself and to my heart always. I can feel the change within me already and it feels great.schweibenalp retreat

It’s truly amazing to be a part of our wonderful community. For those of you who missed our Schweibenalp retreat and those who joined us, we’ve got something special planned for you next year!

Save the date for July 27th- 30th! We will be hosting a four day workshop in Worcester, U.K. to explore our legacies.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What legacy has been left before you? These are the kinds of questions we will explore.

Together, we will  acknowledge the gifts of our ancestry, unleash wisdom buried at the core of our life experiences, deepen our knowledge and connect to our higher power. Get more information here!