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.


8 comments on “What Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Time

  1. Pilar Soro on

    Gracias de nuevo por compartir tus experiencias con nuestro maestro.
    Vivir en el aquí y ahora hace la vida exquisita. Todas sus enseñanzas y las vuestras con Being Energy me llevan a ello. Amo este entrenamiento.

  2. camel auad on

    Muchas gracias Aerin por tus palabras , me conmueven y me otorgan ese sacudón necesario para salirme aunque sea por un momento de esta inercia plagada de hábitos que una y otra vez suelo caer

  3. Allison Balser on

    This is so beautiful and perfectly “timed” in my current experience of life with current situations that are having me reevaluate my own relationship with time. Such beautiful awareness. Thank you for this blog. I just love and cherish every word you say.

  4. Gabriel Quintero on

    Carlos taught me that time was learned threw my up bring-time was also the only riches i would ever have ⏳

  5. Hethyr on

    Yesterday I intended to relax in time. I knew I would make it to the place I needed to be and I just let it go. I haven’t felt that for an age. Reading your piece today is perfect timing…
    Hope you are well

  6. tim dunk on

    Your beautiful words seemed to appear while in a dream, and after reading them it was certain.
    Recently, a thought surfaced, or perhaps it was a dream too. You appeared as a luminous mirror, where only the spirit shines through.

  7. Bernard on

    Yes, that way he would arrive at a lecture, it was so reassuring. The first time I saw him there were hundreds of people around me. There was a lot of loud clapping and Then I saw him, sauntering on stage, thoughtful, smiling at the adulation but not being sucked into it. So at ease! I loved him immediately.


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