Category: Community’s Blog

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 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.

 

Contest Part 2: Inspiring you to write!

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

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

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

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Aerin Alexander

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I flipped to the next page. It read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sergei Minin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Discovered the Knowledge of The Seers from Ancient Mexico

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Dr. Miles Reid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Arrived to Ixtlán

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Ariadna Vasquez Sensors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I get up happy, and very grateful.

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

Thank you
With love, Ari

Contest: How Carlos Castaneda’s books Inspired You!

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You Contest

Dear Community!

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

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

My Introduction to the World of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You contestBy Tom Reavley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I got acquainted with the works of Carlos Castaneda.

How Carlos Castaneda Inspires You ContestBy Anastasiya Ganich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I connected with the Nagual books

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Erika Gavin

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

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

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

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

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

How I got Acquainted with the Books of Carlos Castaneda

how Carlos Castaneda inspires you contestBy Andrey Petrov 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What My Teacher Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Tom Reavley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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