Category: Ancient Wisdom

Experiencing Freedom in Mexico!

I am standing with my suitcases packed, gazing at the blue-turquoise ocean and wishing for this moment to last forever. In a few hours I will be flying back to Los Angeles, but I don’t want to go back. I want to be suspended in the intersubjectivity, created by our group here in the sacred Maya land, a place where time bends in the intertwined spaces of myth and history.

Our trip to Mexico was not a tour – it was a transformative adventure that is strongly reclaiming its space in each cell of my body. I fell in love with each participant, each hero of this seven day journey, where we learned to transcend the illusions of certainty and listen to the power of the ancestors, the birds in the jungle, the best of the heart, longing for authenticity. The tears we shed in our goodbyes washed the last bit of clouds in our eyes. Today we face the clear sky, inhaling the sun energy inside, knowing who we are. We are the Maya, we are the nagual, we are the dream of the plumed serpent, journeying through experiences, recognizing and remembering ourselves.

Orion still shines on top of my head, the pleiades just behind me.

On this journey I embraced my whole being, accepting my shortcoming as I accepted the curves at the edges of the pyramid, laughing at some irrational thoughts popping in my head about what might happen, and experiencing life as it is: raw, edgy, pure, wholeheartedly awesome. My tears at the end were at realizing how well everything went, how blessed I was to be around vibrant beings shinning innocence and wisdom. I updated old interpretations about hardship and suffering. None is needed to live in this new time, 2020, a year to jump grooves.

Thank you to you all, friends and my real family, for these moments, forever sailed in the wheel of time.

Scroll down where you can find more picture from our trip to Mexico in this month of February 2020. Also, we are  planning another trip to Mexico on November 15-21 of 2020. You don’t want to miss it!

Hope to see you all very soon!

With much love and gratitude,
Aerin, Miles and all the staff of Being Energy.

Don’t waste your time and your power fearing Freedom.

Can you deviate from the path that your fellow men have lined up for you? And if you remain with them, your thoughts and your actions are fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. The warrior, on the other hand, is free from all that. Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible to pay. So, fear your captors, your masters. Don’t waste your time and your power fearing Freedom.” – Carlos Castaneda

Over dinner my son mentioned the upcoming Valentine’s Day, and that he had received a rose from a girl at school. As my husband served us pasta and zucchini, my son asked me if he could send flowers to her. I nodded. I was curious to know if the boys in the class sent flowers to each other. When I asked him, he responded:

“Is that something I can do?”, my son asked eyes-wide open.

“Do you want to do it”? I asked.        

“Yes, sure.”

My husband intervened: “No way, that is not common. Flowers are usually for women.” 

I got the familiar crunch in my belly that I still get when gender related issues are being brought up. I said that men have the same rights to express their feelings and to share them instead of packing them up under a bicep curl or drinking them out on a six-pack of beer while screaming at the Superbowl.  The sentence rolled out of my tongue quick and sharp, as if it had been rehearsed in my head for years. I was about to continue on the unfairness of gender differences but I stood put. I caught myself overreacting. I had momentarily stopped being an adult and a young part of me was raging. I was back in my childhood. 

I grew up in a household with five men. Throughout the years, I witnessed them stuffing up the ‘nice feelings’ that made them real, such as vulnerability, kindness or caring. Instead, they were allowed to express only one of them: anger.  In particular, one of my brothers was verbally and physically abusive. His target? Women. Since I was 3 or 4 years-old , I would listen to his complaints and sarcastic comments: “Women cannot drive, women cannot run a company, women only clean and cook, that is the only thing they are good for, etc.” He seemed to enjoy my defensive outbursts when I was expressing a different view, but it only fueled his ranting. As I grew older, the ranting got physical. He would pull my hair, plug my nose, push me and threaten to punch me. It was hard to make him stop or find places to escape from him and hide. At the beginning, crying would make him eventually stop but as the years went by, to be effective I needed to become more dramatic, pulling my own hair out and hitting my face, for him to stop. During those moments he would tell me: “There you go, I always knew you were crazy.” 

Like most of us, much of my identity was built around these early childhood experiences. I got sick when I was nine and realized that illness could also be a wall, a protector, to keep my captor away from me. I remember laying down on my parents’ bed with high fever and experiencing the boundaries of the bed as safe fences. It was a cozy shelter, where I could play in my imagination and travel far. To keep myself safe, I didn’t eat much, so I would heal slower. It took me thirty years of reflection and inner work to realize how much of my personality had been built around the miss-interpretation that I can only be safe if I am sick, or if I somehow hurt myself by denying food and pleasure. 

Carlos Castaneda’s teachings were the turning point that set me on the journey to freedom. When I first met him I was in a self-created prison of amnesia, about who I was, consumed by my poor self-defense mechanisms and a lack of self-esteem. He asked me: “What have they done to you, Chola?”

I was almost offended by his question. “No one did anything to me. I am fine,” I defiantly answered. I remembered clearly his sweet smile back to me, filled with compassion. I didn’t trust him, he was a man, like my captor.  However, I felt he was talking to the real me under the layers, the part of me seeking to be free. 

I became one of his several direct students, and even though it was a clear student-teacher relationship, inside I experienced him as my grandfather.  My grandfathers on both sides of my family died when I was young and I never had a relationship with them. Castaneda urged me and supported me to study; no one in my family had done that before. He would call me and check in with me and help me with my homework, sometimes dictating my papers over the phone. He also urged me to observe how I held steadfastly to my self-image, to my low self-esteem and to my conditioning because of fear. I feared being labeled as the betrayer, one who abandoned her family. I trembled at the possibility of letting go of my identity of a doormat; it was all I had. But the pain of holding onto it was greater than the fear of change. 

Freedom is always, at your fingertips”, Castaneda told me, “do you dare to jump?”

His training under his tutelage was rigorous. We daily, for hours, practiced exercises similar to martial arts. I started eating full meals four times a day, no sugars, no salt, no caffeine or stimulants. I needed to cook my meals at home, except when we went out to eat with him. I changed my name and started speaking a new language, and for the first time in my life, I felt strong and confident and gained weight! I became an A student, something I thought  impossible to achieve before, and today, I hold two Master degrees. I fell in love with knowledge. And most importantly, I hooked onto what seers’ called the bird of freedom.

Today, I continue holding the same discipline of healthy eating, exercising and engaging my brain in deep thinking and I intend to do so until my last breath. I keep putting down my fences by questioning and dissolving limiting beliefs. I accepted that my value as a being has nothing to do with my gender, physical strength, money or weight, that not all men are like my brother, and that no one is out there trying to hurt me anymore. I have been taking responsibility for the fact that the only person that can really hurt me is myself.  I faced the scary path of commitment to long term relationships and to a deep love for two men: my husband and my son. 

Freedom today for me is the acceptance of who I am including my shortcomings, my raspy and sometimes loud voice. Freedom is no longer about breaking through boundaries outside of me. It is about breaking through the split inside of me, between my conditioning and my heart. Freedom is bridging and integrating the inner split and fighting to be authentic, a journey that continues to become.

To Seek Freedom is the Only Driving Force I know

 

One of the main premises of the Warrior that we learned from Carlos Castaneda more than twenty years ago was Freedom. He defined Freedom as the possibility to perceive not only the world taken for granted but also to experience everything else that is humanly possible to accomplish.

When Miles and I met Castaneda we wanted to be free, we didn’t really know what we wanted to be free from. The quest for Freedom to perceive and experience without limitations took us on a long journey of inner discoveries that we are still on today. We asked ourselves, what is freedom? How does it look like in daily life? The answers are complex, multifaceted and ever evolving.

Castaneda said:

“To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom to fly off into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve; to lift off; to be like the flame of a candle, which, in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.”

As an example, let’s reflect about freedom in the context of gender identity. Our gender identity is given to us at birth, according to our external anatomy. From day one onwards we are conditioned and molded according to the parameters assigned by our socialization to that gender identity: who we can be, how to behave, our thoughts, feelings, ability to express ourselves, how to dress, what jobs to have, how to love. Each one of us was and is affected by the social conditioning to a different degree perhaps, but the conditioning is pervasive.

From a very young age I was taught to help my mother with household chores that included making my brother’s beds while they played outside. I wanted to play soccer outside too, but it was not proper for a girl to get her shoes dirty and bruise her legs. At the family dinner I also wanted to express my thoughts as the boys did, but I was shushed away. I was conditioned to believe that men were more important and that when men talk, women listen to them attentively, and not the other way around.

It is that type conditioning that interferes with our freedom, though circumstances may be different for each individual.

For instance, a woman might be conditioned to work hard to reach a high profile career, while in fact having a deep hidden desire to be a mom and a housewife. In many cultures, women with no career path are given very little value. And in other cultures, women without a husband are given little value.

A man can embark on a quest of being a successful high-profile lawyer, while his true desire is to be an artist or a musician. He was conditioned to believe that art won’t bring success. At times our social conditioning is so strong that we don’t know to ask ourselves the questions that let us pursue our true interests and passions, while allowing us to strive for fulfilment of our true potential and live a life of content and joy.

Rarely we have the internal space to question, Who am I? What do I want? What am I here for? To ask without feeling the rush to please our environment’s demands or what it had imposed on us. Have you discovered your true self yet? Have you asked what it desires, what are it’s passions and dreams? Or, as Carlos Castaneda would ask: “Are you on a path that has heart?.” Are you working on freeing yourself from the entanglement of expectations of others and the ideas of what is proper and acceptable? 

 

Let’s acknowledge, in the context of our gender identity, that men and women’s biology is different. We have the SAME VALUE, and should have the SAME RIGHTS to be ourselves, the same opportunities to study, to have careers, to fulfill our dreams as individuals, beyond gender. To be treated with fairness and respect by our society. However, our brains work differently and often our desires and ways for fulfillment are different.

Choosing to follow what is really deep hidden inside of us, our heart desire is a process of discovery and courage. It is the journey of the hero, the warrior that wants to break through the domination of the conditioning and the rules implanted in our brains, to break through the dormant auto-pilot of habits and repetitions, and be alive, be authentic and loyal to our souls’ purpose.

Freedom is to choose to be your unique YOU, even if people around disapprove of your choices; it is about going for your dreams, in spite of the obstacles. It means to embrace who you truly are, not hide it, fake it or be embarrassed by it. Freedom has a price: you will need to take responsibility for the choices you make, keep focus and sustain your purpose without giving up.

Yes, it is hard at times in our lives to change course and pursue our true desires, but it’s a worthwhile task. We invite you to consider these three open questions:

  • Did you ever knowingly change the course of your life because you listened to your true self?
  • What obstacles did you encounter along the way?
  • Did this journey enrich your life?

Please share your story if you can. Thank you!

What Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Women’s Power

Did you know in the U.S. someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, and 90 percent of adult victims of rape are female? A recent survey of 550 experts on women’s issues concluded that India is the most dangerous country for women, and #10, the United States.

I remember talking to my teacher, Carlos Castaneda, about the role and position of women in the world. Castaneda, an anthropologist, writer, and the heir of a lineage of shamans from Mexico, opened my eyes to this issue when I met him in 1995. The first time he mentioned it, we were at his garden, pruning a lemon tree.

“Do you know that one in five women are being assaulted daily? Not only in Argentina where you come from, but worldwide?” he asked me.

“No, I never heard that statistics.” I mumbled nervously.

I was raised in a family where serving and educating men was emphasized. While my older brothers became engineers and doctors, my sister and I didn’t finish any studies after high school. I was a C, and D student. I focused my attention on becoming “nice’ and ‘cute’ as the roles for thinkers and doers were already taken by men.

I did want to become someone, to feel worthy and strong, to have a job, to have a voice and a say in my family and in the world. However, the baggage of judgments and unfulfilled desires always dragged me down and I couldn’t finish any of my projects that I started. From committing to a regular exercise program or diet, to taking a class, or a job, I would drop out half way.

I wondered if what I heard from my brothers and uncles about women, was true after all.

Women cannot drive well

Women cannot conduct business, are way too emotional

Women are not reliable to lead society

Women shouldn’t dress in mini skirts if they want to be safe

Educating women is a waste of money

Under the lemon tree, I shared these thoughts with him with a tinge of anger. Castaneda inspired me through his humor to not take my conditioning and past experiences so seriously. He said I could overcome and free myself from interpreations and create a new future for myself, dreaming bigger.

He taught me to:

  • To question and slow down my thoughts
  • To balance my emotions with a stimulant-free healthy diet
  • To get physically stronger by sustaining a daily practice
  • To educate myself, so I will have the energy and endurance to pursue my dreams.

“The best way to change the world out there is to start by changing yourself,” was his mode. “Use your shortcomings as routes to power” he kept telling me and gave me specific techniques for empowerment and inspiration:

To recapitulate, to remember and release all unwanted judgments and limiting interpretations and identifications about myself and put into action new ones:

  1. Shortcoming FROM: “I cannot study physics, it is impossible my brain doesn’t get it” TO conquering when I got an A in my physics class in college.
  2.  FROM “I never finish or graduate from school” TO: conquering by getting TWO masters degrees with high honors

To Practice daily physical exercises to heal childhood diseases and get stronger:

    1. FROM “No way I will be able to sustain these practice daily” TO: “Yes! I am doing it! The exercises are simple and easy to to incorporate in my busy life.”
    2. FROM being a poor breather with a family history of lung and heart disease TO experiencing healthy strong lungs and heart

To have a Romance with Knowledge, to be engage in critical thinking and philosophy:  

    1. FROM not reading the newspaper ever TO reading news and differentiating FACTS from OPINIONS
    2. FROM being emotionally attached to ideas TO OBSERVING and then perceiving

Twenty-three years have passed and I can say that this work has changed me completely. I have become what I wanted to be, and I feel empowered and strong.

I believe in giving women the opportunity to get educated at high levels, to be physically strong, and to assume positions of power in society and politics in order to create a more balanced world.

The survey I mentioned above concludes that “the US joint third with Syria for the risks women face in terms of sexual violence, including rape, sexual harassment, coercion into sex and a lack of access to justice in rape cases.” Thanks to the #MeToo movement we now evidence something we knew always.

 

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.

 

What Castaneda Taught me
About the Warrior’s Way

 

While at Todai-ji, the temple in the city of Nara, I was mesmerized looking at the largest Buddha ever built in bronze, when the concept of the “Warrior’s Way” jolted my memory.

The Warrior’s Way was the framework Carlos Castaneda used to describe living life with impeccability and purpose. It consists of a series of premises and behaviors to have direction in one’s life, like experiencing meaningful relationships and acting with clear intentions.

Meaning, purpose, and direction were what my life was lacking when I met Castaneda. It was 1995, and I had decided to move from Argentina to the US to study this way of being, which became an integral part of my life.

The premises in the Warrior’s Way include the impeccable use of one’s attention for enhancing one’s life, and specific behaviors to live life with vitality and daring, such as regular exercises, practices for enhancing the ability to focus and redirecting one’s thoughts, cultivating inner silence, using food to develop one’s perception and health, working with intention, and sharpening the physical body as the perceiver.

The memory of my first years under Castaneda’s rigorous physical training flowed through my body as I was watching the Buddha.

I had arrived in Tokyo three days prior with my ten-year-old son, to join a couple of friends and a guide to do a ‘mystical’ journey visiting large temples in the main cities of Japan. We took a train from Kyoto to Nara to visit the Great Buddha Hall, which is the largest wooden structure in the world built to protect this Buddha.

I felt dizzy from the jetlag and the long hours we spent on trains from Tokyo to Mount Fuji to Kyoto. Nonetheless a feeling of wonder was growing in me. The trains were crowded and sometimes we waited in long lines. Eventually, they moved faster, holding a mood of respect and acknowledgment for the other.

All transportation showed up on time, and, unlike many cities with large volumes of tourism, no trash was visible anywhere. The streets of Kyoto were ‘dressed’ by the cherry blossom trees blooming, smelling sweet, like the first taste of ice cream. They exuded a pinkish-white color that looked like kindness. Japan, in my first impression, radiated life, purpose, and a mood of reverence that nurtured my soul. It resonated in me as the mood of a warrior.

After feeding the deer that roamed the grounds of Todai-ji, which are regarded as messengers of the gods, we passed the first gate of the temple. As I had done in the previous temples, I washed my hands and mouth from the wheel of the dragon.

A large pit with burning incense was the next step. I held the fire in the white candle and I placed it at the feet of the Buddha in gratitude for our Path with Heart community. The sunlight was entering the temple and I inhaled it through my mouth, as Shanti, my guide and a Mayan leader, taught me.

Each step towards the Buddha served to quiet my thoughts and moved my attention to a growing sentiment of vulnerability and amazement. As if every moment in my life had been built for me to arrive to Todai-ji and experience the majesty of the warrior. The words of Castaneda kept rushing fresh into my mind:

“A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive.”

– Carlos Castaneda

I was alive, and aware. My son asked me if Buddha had been also a child, and what happened to him to become a Buddha. What did he do? he wondered. I an attempted to say something coherent to his age and level of understanding. He may have noticed my struggle because he interrupted my thinking and said: “I think I got it. Buddha just kept meditating.”

We walked behind the Buddha and found a line of people “trying to pass through” a hole of the same size of the nostrils of the Buddha. People believe that if one got through the Buddha’s nostrils, one was blessed with his breath. (See video)

We left the temple filled with reverence and gratefulness.

Castaneda used to tell me about his experiences with Kowayashi, a Japanese mentor he had, before meeting don Juan Matus, his spiritual teacher. He said that Kowayashi was the first one that taught him about a specific aspect of the Warrior’s way: Living with simplicity. Castaneda was a master at that. Except for a chair, a couch and a TV, his house had no furniture, no paintings on the pale walls, no mirrors, no decorations.

There were large, clear spaces to practice movements and silence. In his closet, which I once peeked in, he had 2 pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts and 2 tailored suits. All of his cabinets had just a few items. There was breathable space everywhere through out the house, filled with purpose and silence.

My hostel room in Kyoto had two futons that we rolled during the day to set a small table on the tatami for snack and breakfast. The absence of objects and material belongings is what made the space hold a particular calm and peace. It was a reminder of living the beauty of simplicity and the purpose of strength knowing that “the experience of experiences is being alive.”

One action I took when I got back to Los Angeles was to let go of extra material belongings. I am in this process now, creating spaces for silence to flow through.

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.elsi.wpengine.com to learn more about our community.

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