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The Art of Dreaming

The Art of Dreaming

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Published by analuize
Carlos Castaneda
Carlos Castaneda

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Published by: analuize on Jun 19, 2010
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"The Art of Dreaming" - ©1993 by CarlosCastaneda
 Author's Note
Over the past twenty years, I have written a series of books about my apprenticeship with a Mexican Yaqui Indiansorcerer, don Juan Matus. I have explained in those booksthat he taught me sorcery, but not as we understand sorcery in the context of our daily world: not the use ofsupernatural powers over others; nor the calling ofspirits through charms, spells, or rituals to producesupernatural effects. For don Juan, sorcery was the act ofembodying some specialized theoretical and practical premises about the nature and role of perception in molding the universe around us.Following don Juan's suggestion, I have refrained from using the term shamanism, a category proper toanthropology, to classify his knowledge. I have called itall along what he himself called it: sorcery. Onexamination, however, I realized that calling it sorceryobscures even more the already obscure phenomena he presented to me in his teachings.In anthropological works, shamanism is described as a belief system of some native people of northern Asia, prevailing also among certain native North American Indiantribes, which maintains that an unseen world of ancestral
spiritual forces, good and evil, is pervasive around us;and that these spiritual forces can be summoned orcontrolled through the acts of practitioners who are theintermediaries between the natural and supernaturalrealms.Don Juan was indeed an intermediary between the naturalworld of everyday life and an unseen world, which hecalled not the supernatural but the second attention. Hisrole as a teacher was to make this configurationaccessible to me. I have described in my previous work histeaching methods to this effect as well as the sorceryarts he made me practice. The most important of which iscalled the art of dreaming.Don Juan contended that our world, which we believe to be unique and absolute, is only one in a cluster ofconsecutive worlds arranged like the layers of an onion.He asserted that even though we have been energeticallyconditioned to perceive solely our world, we still havethe capability of entering into those other realms; whichare as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our ownworld is.Don Juan explained to me that, for us to perceive thoseother realms, not only do we have to covet them, but weneed to have sufficient energy to seize them. Theirexistence is constant and independent of our awareness, hesaid, but their inaccessibility is entirely a consequenceof our energetic conditioning. In other words, simply and solely because of our conditioning, we are compelled toassume that the world of daily life is the one and only possible world.Believing that our energetic conditioning iscorrectable, don Juan stated that sorcerers of ancienttimes developed a set of practices designed to reconditionour energetic capabilities to perceive. They called thisset of practices the art of dreaming. With the perspective time gives, I now realize that the most fitting statement don Juan made about dreaming was tocall it the 'gateway to infinity'. I remarked at the timehe said it that the metaphor had no meaning to me."Let's then do away with metaphors," he conceded."Let's say that dreaming is the sorcerers' practical wayof putting ordinary dreams to use.""But how can ordinary dreams be put to use?" I asked.
"We always get tricked by words," he said. "In my owncase, my teacher attempted to describe dreaming to me bysaying that it is the way sorcerers say good night to theworld. He was, of course, tailoring his description to fit my mentality. I'm doing the same with you."On another occasion don Juan said to me, "Dreaming canonly be experienced. Dreaming is not just having dreams;neither is it daydreaming or wishing or imagining. Throughdreaming we can perceive other worlds which we cancertainly describe, but we can't describe what makes us perceive them. Yet we can feel how dreaming opens up thoseother realms. Dreaming seems to be a sensation; a processin our bodies; an awareness in our minds."In the course of his general teachings, don Juanthoroughly explained to me the principles, rationales, and  practices of the art of dreaming. His instruction wasdivided into two parts. One part was about dreaming procedures, and the other part was about the purelyabstract explanations of these procedures. His teaching method was an interplay between enticing my intellectualcuriosity with the abstract principles of dreaming, and guiding me to seek an outlet in its practices.I have already described all this in as much detail asI had been able to. And I have also described thesorcerers' milieu in which don Juan placed me in order toteach me his arts. My interaction in this milieu was ofspecial interest to me because it took place exclusivelyin the 'second attention'. I interacted there with the tenwomen and five men who were don Juan's sorcerer companionsand with the four young men and the four young women whowere his apprentices.Don Juan gathered them immediately after I came intohis world. He made it clear to me that they formed atraditional sorcerers' group- a replica of his own party-and that I was supposed to lead them.However, working with me he realized that I wasdifferent than he expected. He explained that differencein terms of an energy configuration seen only by sorcererseers. Instead of having four compartments of energy as hehimself had, I had only three.Such a configuration, which he had mistakenly hoped wasa correctable flaw, made me completely inadequate forinteracting with or leading those eight apprentices. Ihave written extensively about those events.

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