Inner silence works from the moment you begin to accrue it. What the old sorcerers were after was the final dramatic, end result of reaching that individual threshold of silence. Some very talented practitioners need only a few minutes of silence to reach that coveted goal. Others, less talented, need long periods of silence, perhaps more than one hour of quietude, before they reach the desired result. The desired result is what the old sorcerers called “stopping the world”, the moment when everything around us ceases to be what it’s always been. This is the moment when sorcerers return to the TRUE nature of man. The old sorcerers always called it “total freedom”.
Don Juan (Carlos Castanada)
LOVED seeing…Carlos Castenada….then clicking in, reading, and falling into
a soft place with the words…How my whole life i have been reading the Same Thing
in so many words from so Many….how in this moment it is such a BeautyFull thing to
see these words….Castenada, Don Juan, Buddha, Ram Dass. Thank you for this,
it brought Great Sweet Pleasure
nice to hear… found the quote in a very old draft post and it seemed like the time was right
Back in the seventies when I was reading Don Juan I didn’t understand real freedom because I was still looking for magic transformations in the material world , and even in the nineties I only had a glimmer now and then. Nice to see it here having just returned from first a Zen sitting, and then another meditation with the issue being just about the same, only now…well, now I stop the world many times a day. I love those snowy steps too (though I don’t have to shovel them)–they are another way the world gets stopped in it’s maniacal forward thrust.
I read Castenada with the same longing for dramatic transformation… I didn’t want to escape my life so much as really rework my relationship to it. Didn’t necessarily believe it was possible. In any case, I threw myself at it with an energy marked more by despair than courage, tho it might have resembled courage from the outside. The Castenada books filled me with hope on the one hand — with this idea that with enough discipline, intention (and possibly peyote) one could be utterly changed and opened to the true nature of reality, which we were constantly informed was vaster and more mysterious than we could possibly understand. On the other hand, the sense of elite selection by a teacher and the very specific (even if fictional) conditions of this opening made it seem hugely improbable. One of the gems that stays with me and could come straight out of a book by Pema Chodron or Chogyam Trungpa is this idea that if we could just stop taking sides with things, our suffering would diminish. I think about this a lot during this phase of my life.
agree completely with the last 2 sentences, that is if i understand correctly, we are to ourselves our harshest judges
beautiful & I love that Carlos Castaneda’s books were works of fiction, I love what Neil Gaiman has to say about the importance of fiction & daydreaming in this article
“…Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.”
“And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.
Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.
You’re also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And it’s this:
The world doesn’t have to be like this. Things can be different.”
“If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.
As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.”
great quotes, Mo. I am not as enamored with the fiction of magic as I used to be – which I hope is a sign of maturity. Now I am more interested in waking up to the very simple and ordinary blessings in a simple and ordinary life (think: Mary Oliver, Annie Dillard). It is daunting enough to work on accepting myself and others without looking for the cracks between the worlds.
and yet you are writing historical fiction?
I don’t understand your point? In my manuscript, there are no wizards or heros with super powers, no characters with the capacity to understand the language of animals, no invisibility cloaks, or fire-starting skills. Reading and writing about the past are part of what constitute a simple and ordinary life for me now. Which just goes to show how wrong it might be to assume that “simple and ordinary” means dull or without ambition. Novels are inherent sleights of hand, if they draw a reader in and that reader enjoys another place and time. That’s a kind of magic, as Gaiman points out, but of the ordinary kind, of the imagination.
OK, I think we are on the same page, to clarify I read the writing of Carlos Castaneda as magic realism, to quote Diane Thodos in conversation with Audrey Niffenegger-
“In Magic Realism as both literature and visual art the necessity of fantasy is intertwined with the inescapable condition of the real”
I have mixed feelings on Castaneda, I read and was blown away by the Don Juan books, assuming he was a real person, only to discover later on the author had invented him, what a disappointment. however the teachings remain and are true.
silence is essential and in that light I have been considering giving up facebook: too much white noise; any day now my facebook page will disappear (there, now I’ve said, it must come about)
Facebook is not a place of friends for me so much as a place to gather some news that I might not get otherwise and see hysterical videos. I think it could be something else, but that’s not how it unfolded for me. I find myself in a phase where I don’t want to be there at all, really.
have rethought my stance on fb, have un-friended a couple of folks i don’t really know – none of those from blog world – so it seems i’m staying, for the time being at least….
I just Unfriended two people this week too and it’s one of the kindest things I could have done for myself. I don’t know why I hesitated, now. My picks were people I knew long long ago who felt compelled to voice their right wing opinions every other minute.