Category: News

Overcoming Fear of Men

didn’t know fear still had a hold on me until I heard Amanda Nguyen talk. Years ago, I used to wake up in the middle of the night fearing being killed in the hands of a man. I would check under the bed and behinds curtains fearing a man hiding somewhere in the house. I watched behind my back when walking back home from work. I had extra locks on my door; I slept with a light on. Up until now, I didn’t realize the extent of how fear has affected me in the past and how can still have a hold on me today. Here is my unspoken story.

Amanda Nguyen was on the stage sitting next my husband. The moderator of the panel about Conscious Men at the “Lead with Love Summit” in Aspen, Colorado, introduced the talk by asking Amanda about her view on the role of men today after the #Me Too movement. Born in 1991 to Vietnamese refugees, Amanda is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and helped draft the “Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights” that passed unanimously in Congress in 2016.  

She spoke calmly and slowly, her long black hair shining, her face revealing young beautiful skin. I liked her immediately. I had missed her earlier presentation during the conference, where I was invited with my husband to teach a workshop about the mood of the Warrior, the Visionary and the Healer, three of shamanistic archetypes, and how these moods apply to our daily lives. On my first impression, Amanda embodied the leadership awareness, moods and skills I seek in myself and others.

“What would you do if men in your city where subject to curfew after 9:00 pm?

Amanda shared that she had posted that question on Twitter days earlier and the answers were overwhelming:

“I would sleep with my windows open”

“I would go for a jog around my neighborhood”

“I would take a walk on the beach at night”

“I would be able to walk from the bus stop to my home after work”

Unexpectedly, her question cracked something in me,

“I would wear whatever I want without worries”

“I would speak my mind”

“I would tell the truth”

Amanda’s question pierced my heart and stayed with me for several days after I got back home. I tried to distract myself with my work and my son’s school life, but during my writing class, one night, it all came back.

What would I do without the fear of men?

I was 5 years-old and I was at home with my family on a humid and hot Sunday afternoon. My parents, older brothers and sister were sitting at the table chatting and savoring Argentinian pastries and tea. The special occasion was our guest: my mother’s second cousin that I had never met before. I can’t recall his name, but I do remember he grabbed me by the waist and, without asking me, sat me on his lap while voicing something like “what a cute little girl.” My apprehension was immediate and I tried to push him away. I wondered if he ever brushed his teeth because he smelled of alcohol. Also without my consent, he placed his hand between my legs. I was wearing shorts; he kept his hand on my private areas. I nervously kept moving trying to get away until my mother made an apologetic comment to her cousin about “what an anxious and restless child I was”. I froze and held my breath. I remember trying to look in her eyes for help. Today, sometimes l feel tightness in my groin muscles because of this incident.

I was 12 years old, and on my way to my girlfriend’s birthday party. The subway station looked empty and quiet on the Sunday afternoon. My father explained to me the station where I needed to change trains, from line D to lane A, the older subway line with wooden seats and doors that didn’t close well. It was my first time riding in the subway by myself and I was alert and paying attention to my environment. I patiently waited for Line A train to arrive; there was no one at the station and I counted out loud every step I took, holding tight to the plastic bag with my friend’s present: a pink top that my mother chose appropriate for a young girl. The ride on line A was about 15 minutes, which I also imagine counting, since I didn’t wear a watch and cell phones didn’t exist. I was carrying a tiny purse that I had crocheted for my doll, with a couple of coins to make a call in case of an emergency, the address of my friend’s house and the subway ticket for my ride back home.

Once in the car, I sat next to the door, holding the rail. There was a couple facing the rear end of the train and a middle-aged man, facing towards the front. The train was really old and shook before coming to a stop, at each station. I kept my eyes fixed on the map above the opposite doors that showed the stations. I had a strange feeling and without wanting to look, out of the corner of my eye the middle aged man was exposing his penis and touching himself. He was looking in my direction and making gestures for me to look at him. I froze in fear and was about to cry when I noticed that the couple stood up and got ready to leave at the next station. Two years before, when I was 10 years old, one winter morning on my way to school a man walking in front of me wearing a long coat suddenly turned around and exposed himself and started walking towards me. I was able to run away from his laughter by crossing the street. But in the train there was nowhere to run. I stood up fearing for my life and ran behind the couple leaving the subway station.

Once in the light of the street, I found myself in an unknown neighborhood. I pulled out the address and looked for a trustworthy woman to ask directions. I have walked perhaps a few miles when I was able to find my friend’s house.

I was 14 years old, when getting back home from school, a man entered behind me by grabbing the main door of the apartment building. He got in the elevator with me. He talked in a creepy tone, and told me he was going to rape me.  He forcefully placed his hands onto my school coat, on my breasts. I pushed him away, and he pushed me back, causing me to hit my head, which shook the old elevator and made it stop. He got out somehow, one floor just below mine. Filled with adrenalin, fear and fury, I banged on the door for my mom to open. I screamed at her to please call the police and help me get ‘este degenerado’. She closed the door, and fearfully explained that she didn’t know what to do. We were living though military dictatorship that violated human rights. She repeated several times that there was nothing she could do. Neither of us spoke of the incident again.

I was 16 years old and I arrived at the Red Cross headquarters in Buenos Aires covering my face with my hands. I asked the front desk for ice. On the bus en route to the headquarters, a man punched me in the face, causing me to fall unconscious. It was Friday afternoon and I was meeting my friend at the Red Cross to register for a workshop on Wilderness Survival, suggested by our 11th grade English teacher. The bus was full and I was standing near the rear and squeezed between other passengers. As had happened before on crowed bus rides, I felt a man’s hands on my private areas. I was sixteen years old and being sexually assaulted was not new to me.

This time, unlike the other times, I actually yelled for help. I don’t know how or when, but the guy violently knocked me down. When I regained consciousness, I found myself sitting on the first row, next to a woman. I was shaking and crying and she was consoling me. The bus driver was apologetic and told me the man had run away and suggested that I go to the police. The bus stopped in front of the Red Cross building and I walked inside seeking support.

The staff at the Red Cross sent me to the director’s office at the end of a long hall, to wait for my friend. Other people were arriving and everyone felt uncomfortable seeing the condition I was in. In my commotion and shock, I was trying to hold it together, and wishing that my friend would arrive soon. Instead, the Red Cross director entered the room.

He was slightly overweight and smelled of alcohol. His hug felt inappropriate rather than consoling. My friend finally arrived and took me home. For 10 long days I carried a large bruise on my face that changed from dark blood, to dark blue to black. No one in school or anywhere I went asked me what had happened, even though their eyes expressed concern and apprehension. At this point, Argentina was transitioning from the military dictatorship to democracy, and everyone was guarded fearful. More than thirty thousand people had been tortured and killed, and as the truth began to surface in local newspapers, tension and stress increased in the environment.

At the Red Cross Wilderness survival camp in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the director placed his sleeping bag next to mine. All three nights I was there I endured his hands running over my body as I was pretending to be sleeping. I hated it. I wanted to scream and knock the hell out of him.  What could I do? Who would help me? He was the director of the Red Cross, the authority, the protector. Who would believe me? My parents did not know what to do and took no action about the previous incidents. My brothers made fun of me when I tried to share about my incidents in the bus. “You are so dramatic”. “You should walk instead,” or “Well, if you dress with a mini skirt, you are looking for it.” I did not wear a mini skirt in any of the instances. I have not worn a mini skirt in 35 years.

I told my best friend two days after the camp was over. She was horrified and shocked at the beginning, but then she questioned me: “Why did you let him do that? Why didn’t you stop him?” I didn’t know what to say. I doubted myself. It was my fault. What was wrong with me? I may have had a mark, like the scarlet letter. Was I looking for it? Did I feel seen and wanted, something that I couldn’t feel at home? NO. In all those instances, I felt violated, I experienced shame. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t know I could have a choice. I didn’t have a voice. I felt I was going to be killed if I spoke up, like the political authority had done with thousands of innocents during the dictatorship.

The unspoken became unspeakable

As a teenager I coped by increasingly hurting myself. I was in pain and suffering and I couldn’t find the way out. I scratched my legs and arms with my nails until they bled. I took drugs. I tried to kill myself. But it did not work. I was seeking an explanation, trying to understand my life experiences. I wanted to hear someone validating me, that I was not crazy; someone to tell me that sexual abuse was wrong. Something in me kept looking, removing heavy curtains and trying to let the light shine in. I got a job and paid for therapy. I went beyond my familiar cirlce and became friends with artists, musicians, and even with philosophers and intellectuals.

I started to face fear by reading spiritual texts about human nature, by engaging in the healing arts and taking classes, listening to other people’s stories. In one workshop, I met my teacher, Carlos Castaneda who supported and further inspired my healing process by offering me a new definition of the world, a new description of myself.

What would I do without the fear of speaking up?

Today I know I was a child and I was innocent, as all children are. I know my parents did the best they could with the awareness and tools available to them at the time and I hold no resentments. I know I am not the only woman who has endured fear and abuse. I know men suffered from abuse too. I have learned to say NO, to place boundaries, to care and love myself, and to build healthy intimate relationships. Today I have a family, I protect and honor my body, and teach others to do the same.

And, I’ m still working in accepting what I judged as unacceptable: life experiences of violence and abuse, of any kind. I am realizing that even tough to endure, experiences of pain offered me an opportunity to experience my resilience, my strength, my power. I am walking through my fears though much smaller, still there, and will continue until:

I can sleep with my windows open

Take walks under the stars at night without fear

Tell the truth of who I am without experiencing shame (I Just did it!)

Hurray 2019! Release, Forgive and Set Up Intentions while Welcoming the New Year

“Intent is what sends shamans through a wall, to space, to Infinity”~ Carlos Castaneda

Dear friend: A New Time has arrived. We are living in a new era of interconnection, worldwide, where information is shared instantly across the globe, where we must stand together to protect our planet, where we need new collective agreements of energy renewal and creative ways of getting along. We feel lucky to witness a new consciousness in a large number of people that are working for the betterment of all. A new Spiritual awakening is piercing through all beings, no longer in the hands of a few privileged teachers.

This new movement of daring is saying YES to nature, to women in power, to integration of cultures, to community, to shifting from fear and domination to Love. It is saying NO to the selfish in power that keeps trying to divide people. It is too late for the old ways of right and left extremes, for the pyramidal structures of power. Our time today is the time of shared, interdependent intent.

We are now aware that we are not our thoughts or feelings. We know now that we can question our thoughts and question what are we consuming. We can make choices for healthier eating and healthier being, something that was unavailable to the world at large before. We know that we feel better after practicing movements, after a yoga class, after gardening. We have in our hands a new description for ourselves, and the power to make decisions that can change our perception of ourselves completely.

So, ride on your power my friend, on your beauty and on vision. BE YOU and stop trying to be someone else. YOU is what the world needs now: vulnerable, honest and aware.

As you welcome the new light of the New Year, and follow the steps below, dance to the glory of your journey, with its ups and downs, and know without any doubts, that you have been loved, that you are loved right now, and that YOU ARE LOVE.

May your light radiate out to your friends, your families, your community, and to the whole world.

We appreciate you and we are with you,

Aerin, Axel and Miles Alexander-Reid

CARLOS CASTANEDA’S NEW YEAR’S RITUAL

Here is the ceremony that our teacher Carlos Castaneda taught us:

It starts during the last days of December, and finishes after the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of Spirit or the Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, forged by the combined intent of the planet over millennia, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel and become acquainted with.

We have been practicing this ritual without failure for the last 23 years and it has brought us, and countless practitioners around the world, a sense of direction, purpose and inspiration to unfold our goals and intentions for the New Year, as well as a sense of connection with the cycles of nature and the entire planet.

We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:

  1. Clear out the old before the New Year. Renew from the inside out. From December 28 onwards, and even throughout the day of December 31, clear up space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home, physically and also energetically, to clean your psyche from negative thoughts and feelings accumulated during the year so that you can be receptive for the New to come in.
  • Throw things away that are not needed any longer or that are not bringing you joy
  • Write down all negative thoughts in a piece of paper, writing in a flow and without reading back what you wrote. When you feel you have put all out, burn the piece of paper and wash you hands.
  • Practice affirmations out loud, of appreciations for your life, for you belongings, for your friends and family
  1. On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or personal space. Organize your books and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of Intentions, affirmations, dreams and projects you want to manifest or co-create in 2019. Sit in Silence and call onto the light of Spirit, to clear your mind and body and to connect deeply with yourself.
  1. Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
  • Recapitulate the most salient experiences that happened in your life during the year, and appreciate what you learnt in 2018. What challenges did you experience? What was the outcome? What new friends did you make? What new things did you learn, for example, a new recipe, a new skill, a new language? And what would you like to learn in 2019? You may choose to divide your year in basic areas, such as family, work, health, relationships and personal development:
  • How was your health in 2018 and what would you like to intent for 2019?
  • What about your work? What experiences did you have? What new projects you have in mind for 2019?
  • And in your family and relationships? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What needs to be healed?
  • What about your legacy? Write a paragraph describing what you would like your legacy for 2019 to be.
  • And about the larger community of planet earth, what dreams for a better world would you like to intend?

Listen to your heart, and follow with your pen the wisdom of your heart.

  1. Around 11:30 p.m. (it’s almost midnight!)Sit in silence with your hands in your heart and appreciate your life. You can put your attention on items from your 2019 Intentions—those things that you want to experience in the next year. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure by the time the clock strikes midnight it finds you engaged in some practical aspect of your intentions (researching something, preparing some initial plans, etc) and that you feel connected with them, with your personal life path, and with the Universe.

At midnight, during the first minutes of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams bathe over you with a sentiment of peace, love and gratitude.

Deepening into the Heart

Last week, Miles and I taught a workshop about Lead Your Legacy at the wonderful Lead with Love Summit, at the stunning Aspen, in Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We were open-hearted welcomed and experienced deep connections of love with everyone, including participants, presenters, organizers, the trees and mountains surrounding us. The last time we taught a class in Aspen, was in 2005, at the Aspen Ideas Festival!.

This was a powerful opportunity to recapitulate who we were then, what we used to offer to others, and who we are now.

Energy_Life_Sciences_Aspen_Blog_2

The very first difference I perceived was an ability to be more comfortable on my own skin, with my skills, my light and also, with my shortcomings. In large group events with celebrities I used to feel threatened and out of place, not knowing how and what to say and where to hide. What was present in me instead was calmness and connectedness, and my focus was on listening to others. I felt inspired by Gina Murdock, the founder and co-director of Lead with Love, who on and off stage, shows up as she is. (And felt inspired by other women and would write down about that on my future blog.)

More than 100 people signed up for our workshop! It was about awaking the Warrior state and connecting inwardly with the Healer and the Visionary within, all three shamanistic archetypes present in our collective consciousness.

Another difference I experienced was the immense joy and gratitude Miles and I felt from the very beginning.

Participants, all new to Being Energy®, were radiantly following the sequences of movements, engaged counting out loud, and renewing their body-mind-spirits. A large number asked us for a video to practice at home. You can see the sequence here below.. Also, you can read the powerpoint presentation of the workshop clicking here.

The Summit was a blast of almost five days of workshops, panels, talks, body awareness classes, social events, activism and more. There were over 400 participants and more than 50 presenters in the areas of conscious business, body awareness and social peace, including John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods, Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, author, researcher, professor of neurology at Harvard, Rod Stryker founder of Parayoga, and Kevin Courtney, yoga and meditation teacher.

It was satisfying to hang out with true like-minded individuals and organizations who are actively engaged doing GOOD for the world and introduce Being Energy® and see how aligned it is with the wave of change and transformation taking place in the world.

In a personal level as a family, we took time to roll through to the Aspen Institute hills and mediate on top of rocks. Kids were freely playing around, practicing yoga with others kids, and soaking in the Loving!

Energy_Life_Sciences_Aspen_Blog_3

Lastly, after six days of sunny warm weather, we woke up with a silent snow: a gift of spirit!. And, just for sheer inspiration and beauty, we want to share with you some images and the feel of those mountains and the inner silence that they bring to our soul.

What I Learned From my Father About Love

what I learned from my father about love

I was recently in Los Angeles, taking a class on self-development and the topic of abuse of power came out. A tall man on his seventies, stood up and expressed:

All women I know have been sexually molested.’ Immediately I had the image of my spiritual teacher, Carlos Castaneda, saying the same phrase to me more than 20 years ago.

Holding the mic on his right hand, this man continued:

And I want to tell to all women here that I am not one of the abusers, and that there are many men like me respect, honor and appreciate women,his voice broke and tears rolled down his wrinkled face with kindness. I noticed freckles on the back of his hand. He didn’t have children of his own: he was helping his wife raise her granddaughters.

‘I condemn the abuse; it is wrong’ he concluded. A moving applause from the large group followed. He reminded me of my father.

Seven years ago, I was having dinner with my dad the night after my mother’s funeral. We were at a small restaurant, in Buenos Aires, near the corner of his apartment building. My dad wasn’t that hungry, but I insisted. He looked pale and breathless and I knew some food would help bring some light back to his being. I wanted to spend time alone with him, away from the rest of the family grieving; to take a break from being surrounded by my mother’s belongings.

The wooden booth where we sat down felt uncomfortable under my skinny buttocks. I had lost weight since my mother had been hospitalized.

My dad ordered a milanesa with French fries, a typical Argentinean dish; I was frantically searching for a vegan option. The waiter, willingly, offered me a ‘off-menu’ dish with quinoa and squash. I consented. The glasses the waiter brought us were dirty, and the table was poorly cleaned. It was momentarily comforting to notice the petty little things of daily life, in the midst of a stressful, intense experience.

what I learned from my father about love

Deep in my heart, I knew everything I had learned from Castaneda, all of the years of meditation and practice were to prepare me for that moment: embracing the death of my mother opened-heartedly, feeling the great loss without denying it or dramatizing it,  experiencing my father’s pain, and allowing it to be.

Two months earlier my mom was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. She was hospitalized for three weeks, had a surgery to remove water from her lungs, and was given large doses of corticoids to force breathing. She went back home, where she died a few days later.  

All the time, my father stood next to her sleeping in rough public hospital chairs, going home only when my mother requested it. He did not complain. He was kind towards the doctors and nurses. I witnessed him sitting in silence by her side for hours, holding her hands, looking down searching for an explanation or praying.

My mother was the strongest one, the commander in chief that called the shots. She  made trusted decisions. She told my dad what to do, which bills to pay, which birthday parties to go to. She had a hand in everything and a tough personality.

My father had been a marine in his youth, with a caring, noble, honest, soul. He was tall, dark-complexioned and handsome. He was an introvert. He never raised his voice to us his children. He suffered a heart attack and stopped smoking. But then, when I was a teen, he was laid off from his job. He became depressed and withdrew.

“Still can’t believe she was in that box” he said looking into my eyes for the first time. The box with my mother’s ashes looked like a cardboard shoebox. There was an option to pay more money for a wooden box, but my brothers declined.

The memorial service took place the day before, at the church where my parents got married, and all of us, baptized. The charming basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe was a second home to my parents, where they offered marriage counselingl as part of their community service. We walked the two-blocks distance to the church carrying the box with her ashes on a paper bag. The priest placed the box on the altar.

I was sitting next to my dad, on the wooden church benches, when he held my hand and whispered close in my ears “can you believe that mommy is in that box”? He was eighty-years old but his voice felt so young, and innocent.

“No dad, she is not really there,” I managed to say.

At the end of the service we all followed the priest outdoors to a garden area with flowers. The priest signaled my father to hold the ashes, but he passed them onto me. I opened the box and spread the ashes on a community pit, joining the ashes of other members and priests. When the service ended, I noticed a large line of people coming to greet us, to tell us our mother had been their mentor, and that they were sorry for our loss. I realized the impact of my mother’s work in her community.

what I learned from my father about love

“This was not supposed to happen in this order, this is wrong;” in the restaurant my father was resisting the inevitable. Instead of joining in despair, or judging him, something within me decided to listen to him. “Listen to others as if your life depends on it” Castaneda used to tell me.  I did listen and gave space to my father to say anything he wanted to say, unconditionally.

The food finally arrived and mine tasted too salty. My dad’s looked better. I stole some of his French fries.  

“Your mother was the only one for me. Nunca hubo otra.” he said surprised by, almost in awe of his own words. “She was the only woman in my life.”

My dad did support my mother even when in disagreement. He praised her, thanked her for her work at home and with us, brought red roses, her favorite flowers, celebrated the time they had together. But I didn’t know how deep their love was.

Would my father make it without my mother? I thought while listening to him falling apart in tears. A part of me wanted to console him, to tell him he was going to be ok. Another part of me wanted to place my head in his shoulder, to be consoled by him, for him to tell me he was going to live long.

I did none. I kept eye contact, listening to his recounts of how he met my mother; how they used to talk through the radio while he was travelling around the world; how they decided to get married; how he gave up having a university degree to become the bread-winner and raise six children.

Twelve months later, in the same month my father died. I drove directly from the airport to the funeral house. His body was cold, but he looked still fresh and alive. He died in the morning peacefully, sitting on the sofa of his home, after finishing his tea. I kissed his forehead and held his hands. I was able to love him the way he loved.

what I learned from my. father about love

Sharing Our Transformational Experience In England With You!

We came back from our retreat Lead Your Legacy, in Worcester, filled with new awareness and in love with the Walled Gardens! Surrounded by trees and ancient landscape, this unique setting offered us opportunities for deep healing and growth. We planted seeds in the form of intentions and specific actions to continued developing our legacies.

We started our first day with a tour of the Walled Gardens and spent time learning about the history of the place.

Karen and Chris, our hosts, shared their journey of initially purchasing the land as a personal project for healing and for their home. They shared about how Spirit talked to them and guided them towards what became a service project – restoring historic land and opening it up to the public as a shared place to learn about history, lineage and legacy, and to enjoy and feel connected to the earth and to the community.

During the sessions, we taught special sequences of energy passes for Intent. We also revitalized our bodies by taking morning and evening walks throughout the huge Estate landscape (see the short video!), practicing the passes, breathing, and restoring our bodies and minds.

We enjoyed healthy, daily homemade meals together on site, which included fruits and vegetables from the historical Garden. We gave a presentation on Food and Energy and participants said they were inspired to see a new their relationship to food.

The workshop sessions included deep recapitulation processes to acknowledge, accept and build our own legacies. We heard deeply felt stories. Karen shared a powerful talk about her own process of healing through the rebuilding of the gardens. Her story moved everyone to tears.

Other participants, like Oggi from Bulgaria and Gabriel from Switzerland, told us how they were experiencing themselves anew, connecting to their child within and integrating themselves emotionally and energetically.

At the end of the event, Gabriel was giddy and kept saying, with shining eyes and a wide smile, “This is an incredible thing that is happening, I can’t believe how good I am feeling!” All in all, the unique, historical feel of the place and its beauty provided a perfect environment for a deep reconnecting to ourselves and to our legacies.

We had a wonderful moment on Sunday as we taught our Path with Heart Class Live from the Gardens and connected with our community online. It was uplifting to see all the participants bringing forward their energy and enthusiasm. We got to witness their personal transformations as they shared their stories and feelings online.

One lesson we all took back home is that being in the spirit of service revitalizes our purpose and direction, slows down aging, and improves our physiology and our psychology. The spirit of service helps us sustain the assemblage point in our hearts, something we dive deep into in our Path with Heart classes.

We came back home energized, spiritually connected and filled with joy, love and gratitude for our community and for the learning and growing processes we shared together!

Getting involved with our community is an amazing decision that can launch you into your legacy and into a deeper relationship with your self.

If you haven’t already signed up, register for our Online Women’s Classes starting this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to connect with a community of incredible women working together to be their best selves. Watch my invitation video below!

Register for the Online Women’s Classes

With endless love,

Aerin Alexander and Dr. Miles Reid

Our magical time in Kunsangar, our Being Energy Workshop

What a powerful time!

Our Being Energy® teachers, Andrey Petrov, Anastasia Ganich, Valentina lantsinova and Sergei Minin, guided a powerful and breathtaking workshop in Kunsangar, Moscow, last June 29-July 1. Below, they are sharing their experiences, pictures and a moving video. We are so proud of our teachers’s impecable work and lovely presence!

DAY 1

We were ready. We left behind the traffic jams in Moscow, the stress of daily concerns, and we cleared our minds and opened our hearts to receive all participants. When we started the workshop we acknowledged our fear that participants will prefer to have Miles and Aerin physical y present and then we let it go. We trusted in our intentions and on the work. Then, Andrey began the introduction to the workshop in a calm and focussed tone that brought clarity and purpose to everyone in the room.

We then started guiding energy passes with the pole. Through breathing and moving in unison we felt our place in space and gained our integrity grounding our relationship of the Earth, and the four directions.  A pink color in the participants’ cheeks started to appear and everyone was feeling more at ease and felt welcoming. The witnessing exercises in trios sharing our intentions for the workshop brought even more clarity, and sense of direction to all. Some participants expressed:

I had new beliefs. I freed myself from the ideas I had before the seminar. New beliefs came to me that in fact a person, every person, is first of all a field of energy: that each of us is a spiritual being. We are much deeper than we think, we are some kind of cosmos. There is a cosmos in each of us.

DAY 2

We awoken to a shinny morning filled with singing birds and fresh air. We gathered together and walked to nature, to the trees and the lake near by. We practiced the Sun Breath and the Forest Bath, a new practice were we align with the Earth. We hiked from the tent where we practiced, immersed in silence; and, as we crossed the stream, we also crossed the boundary between the first and second attentions. Entering a grove of beautiful and young birches, we turned east towards the rising sun. The sun was gentle and mild that morning, despite the summer heat. We breathed in the energy of the Sun, filling our bodies with light and warmth.

Afterwards, each of us chose a tree and connected with it. Such beautiful creatures! Sometimes it seems that the trees have a deeper connection with us than animals themselves.

The trees filled us with their silence and the presence of “here and now.” And we, aligned and calm, told them our secrets, something that was hidden deep inside. A soft breeze, suddenly appearing for a moment, took away all our fears and anxieties, helping us to breathe and recapitulate.

During the afternoon, in the tent, we performed the Quetzalcoatl Form, going through the three development  stages of the Plumed Serpent:

  1. We are inside the egg and break open the cocoon of restrictions
  2. We Integrate the Earth and the Sky
  3. We open our wings and fly

This form helped us in our recapitulation practices, where we collected and acknowledged the gifts of our family lineages, taking note of the restrictions that stand in our way. We gathered bright, sparkling gifts, and included them in our current projects.

Participant’s Feedback

I realized that the main legacy we leave behind is our light. My mother always helped other people with advice, with gifts. People remembered that. The main legacy is the light that comes from us. We give this light to our relatives. This is our Legacy. Thank you all!

The second day ended with a session with Aerin and Miles. We watched the live streams of lava in Hawaii, and during the meditation our emanations aligned with the emanations of the Earth to get a boost from it and realize our intentions.

DAY 3

On the third day, freed from restrictions, filled with the silence of trees and the energy of the Sun, we were ready to take flight – Quetzalcoatl opened its wings.

Participant’s Feedback

During the workshop, we performed an exercise to penetrate the shell. It was soft. The restriction is gone and everything has become clear, exciting. Even fear is not as big as to hold you back. After that, everything took shape very quickly, and problems ceased to seem insoluble. There was a solution for the task and I even found a sponsor for the trip.

The concept of a world tour loomed over. The ease with which events started unfolding was simply both stunning and startling.

I want to say it: we are going on a world tour. This is the fulfillment of my dream. The goal is to write a book that will help me do a deeper recapitulation.

I am very grateful to Aerin and Miles, to all practitioners. Their support is simply beyond words. I’m happy that everything is here. Our energy is amazing.

We are holistic and united, born on this Earth and racing to the Stars, equipped with the legacy of our ancestors and ready to act. It’s the time of our Legacy.

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.

It’s Not JUST What You Eat: What Carlos Castaneda taught me about FOOD

By the time I met Carlos Castaneda he was very disciplined with food. He emphasized that food had a direct impact in our emotions and our thought processing. It influenced our perceptual capabilities.

“Es muy simple señorita,” he used to tell me in Spanish, “si comes mal, te sientes mal y ves todo mal.” In other words, if you eat crap, you feel like crap, and perceive the world like crap.

I met Castaneda in 1995 in Los Angeles, at one of his events where he taught sequences of movements to revitalize the mind and body. I had read all of Castaneda’s books in Argentina in my young teen years. His bestseller books from the 70’s described the possibility of mysterious, unfathomable parallel worlds laying beneath the ordinary, repetitive and boring mundane world of everyday life. He described how he gained purpose in his life and found meaning even in daily affairs. He had found a new description for himself, and, he said, and it was available to all.

I was imbued with a longing for gaining, meaning and direction at the time. I wanted to learn to live like a warrior: effectively and with daring. I wanted to experience strength, confidence, and above all, to know that my life had meaning and purpose, that I mattered. Meeting him was like meeting a mystic, a legend like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or the Pope.

At his event, he walked to the stage wearing dark jeans and a yellowish polo style shirt. He was short and, as I heard someone saying behind me, he was in his early 70’s. However, the fluidity and precision in his movements and the lack of wrinkles in his face made him look much younger. He stood up and looked around at the large group of more than 300 people.

“I would like to invite you all to suspend judgment he said with a large smile. “Don Juan Matus, my mentor, told me new ideas and concepts about the world that were hard for me to grasp, because they contradicted what I knew as a Western man. So I warn you, that the practices that you will experience in this class will challenge your perceptions and the ideas of who you are and of the world around you.”

‘For example”, he continued, “if you come from Argentina, and you had a capuchino this morning, it would be harder for you to remain calm and focused. Caffeine accelerates mental activity and digestion in your intestines. And you may need to run to the bathroom as I speak and miss the lecture,” he said mocking and gesturing as if holding the need to pee. Everyone laughed, including me.

A second later I realized he may be talking about me, even though there were a group of 25 Argentinians. I had had a capucchino in the morning, and a croissant, the typical traditional Argentinian breakfast. And I was holding from going to the bathroom! In the break before his lecture, there had been a large waiting line in the women’s restroom and I had opted for what was familiar for me, holding. Constipation was one of the issues I had as a child, since my basic diet consisted of meat and dairy, with low fiber and green intake. My diet made it challenging for me to digest and eliminate.

“Stimulants, including sugar and salt, weaken your energy systems and for that I urge you all to avoid them, while taking this class. Imperative for those of you suffering from hypoglycemia,” he added. And, again I felt he was talking to me. Low blood sugar was my default state that made my moods swing and my thoughts foggy. I was also used to living on a low-budget, so food was not something that important; if I ate once a day, that was enough.

Castaneda continued walking on the stage with his hands on his pockets as if he was dancing, with ease and largesse, making jokes and joining the laughter with all. For moments he embodied the joy and warmth of a child, and for moments he seemed detached and reflective. All in all, he made us feel like he was one of us, making remarks and jokes, even about himself.

“When I met Don Juan I was chubby and stubborn. I was an intellectual, I did not exercise and I smoked like a pipe. I was a true addict. Don Juan had to trick me to stop,” Castaneda continued. Uncomfortable, I changed the crossing of my legs and straightened my back. Sitting on the floor was hard for me. I was in my early twenties but my back hurt often. I was also a ‘social’ smoker” and I crunched thinking about quitting smoking, yet another thing on my list that I needed to change.

“One afternoon,” Castaneda continued, “Don Juan took me on a long walk to the desert. I needed to buy cigarettes and a new notebook and was walking toward my van with my keys in hand, when he announced he knew a short cut into town. I hesitated but then I agreed. After having a big lunch, it was a good idea to take a walk. As we walked, Don Juan was teaching me about the life in the desert and I didn’t realize that hours had passed until nighttime was upon us. Don Juan told me he was lost and that we needed to spend the night in the desert. We were lucky that he had brought in his backpack some dry meat, covers and water.

I was upset at myself for accepting his invitation, but I didn’t have any other choice. I had no idea where I was and besides, the information Don Juan was sharing with me was invaluable and I enjoyed his company immensely. I couldn’t sleep well that night neither the following nights. We spent the next two-days walking lost and by the fourth day I knew he had tricked me. We finally reached the road, and I realized we had been walking in circles. In town, I was so hungry that I forgot about the cigarettes. And I quit smoking,” he opened his arms to the sides in a triumphal smile.

“I used to carry the cigarette pack on my left pocket” he continued, “and Don Juan suggested to remove all pockets from my shirts to erase the habit of reaching for them. Still, once in a while” –he said bringing his right hand to the left side of his chest, — “I automatically reach for my pockets,” he said laughing with humbleness as admitting the things he couldn’t change.

“But of the things that we can change, are the “auto-pilot” interpretations we made about food,” he explained.

He further said that food was energy, and as such, was meant to not only sustain our body’s energy systems, our health and vitality, but also food was directly related to our states of consciousness, how we experience and feel about ourselves and the world around us.

“When you cut down the stimulants you can sustain mental focus and alertness.” He was now standing still, looking directly to each person in the group, “the real work starts. The question is, What is eating you? What is it inside you that stops you from reclaiming your vitality, your daring, uh? What is it that makes you forget that you are a being that is going to die? Who is eating you?”

I felt so moved and inspired to change my habits and to find out what, inside, was stopping me from feeling vital and strong. After he finished his lecture, he taught movements that resembled martial arts. He said the movements would return the energy back to where it belongs, to the internal organs in the body that he called centers of life and vitality.

After the workshop, I was invited to the lecture he offered to Spanish speakers, and from there to the first, of many lunches with him. I changed my return flight and stayed in Los Angeles with a group of friends. I practiced the movements, the meditations and all what he suggested, and I became part of his inner circle. I learned to use food as energy. I learned to eat food with CHI, energy, to sustain mental alertness and balance my moods. I healed my hypoglycemia and swinging moods. And, most importantly, I learned to OBSERVE thoughts and emotions and not identify myself with them.

In the last year of his life, Castaneda shifted his diet to a plant based one. And that inspired me to shift my diet also to a more plant based one, which supports detoxification at all levels, including addictions. I have been teaching what I learned from him in my classes, and what I have learned from my experience of more than 22 years practicing movements for vitality and increased awareness. But now my question is towards you, my dear reader, what is eating you?

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.

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!