Part 2: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

Part 1: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda
Part 3: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

They isolate them because they come from other realms. If we follow them to their source, they serve us as guides into areas of such mystery that sorcerers shiver at the mere mention of such a possibility.

Sorcerers isolate them from the normal items of their dreams by the exercise and control of their dreaming attention. At one moment, our dreaming attention discovers them among the items of a dream and focuses on them, then the total dream collapses, leaving only the foreign energy.

I’m going to repeat what you must do in your dreams in order to pass the first gate of dreaming . First you must focus your gaze on your hands as the starting point. Then shift your gaze to other items and look at them in brief glances. Focus your gaze on as many things as you can. Remember that if you glance only briefly, then the images don’t shift. Then go back to your hands.

To pass the first gate of dreaming means that, first of all, we have reached the first gate of dreaming by becoming aware that we are falling asleep, or by having a gigantically real dream, and second, that we have crossed it by being able to sustain the sight of any item of our dreams.

In order to offset the evanescent quality of dreams, sorcerers have devised the use of the starting point item. Every time you isolate it and look at it, you get a surge of energy. As soon as the images begin to shift and you feel you are losing control, go back to your starting point item and start all over again.

The most astounding thing that happens to dreamers is that, on reaching the first gate, they also reach the energy body.
The energy body is the counterpart of the physical body. A ghostlike configuration made of pure energy. The physical body also is made out of energy.

The difference is that the energy body has only appearance but no mass. Since it’s pure energy, it can perform acts that are beyond the possibilities of the physical body; such as transporting itself in one instant to the ends of the universe. And dreaming is the art of tempering the energy body, of making it supple and coherent by gradually exercising it.

Through dreaming we condense the energy body until it’s a unit capable of perceiving. Its perception, although affected by our normal way of perceiving the daily world, is an independent perception. It has its own sphere.

That sphere is energy. The energy body deals with energy in terms of energy. There are three ways in which it deals with energy in dreaming : it can perceive energy as it flows, or it can use energy to boost itself like a rocket into unexpected areas, or it can perceive as we ordinarily perceive the world.

To perceive energy as it flows means to see . It means that the energy body sees energy directly as a light or as a vibrating current of sorts or as a disturbance. Or It feels it directly as a jolt or as a sensation that can even be pain.
Since energy is its sphere, it is no problem for the energy body to use currents of energy that exist in the universe to propel itself. All it has to do is isolate them, and off it goes with them.

Sorcerers isolate in their dreams scouts from other realms. Their energy bodies do that. They recognize energy and go for it. But it isn’t desirable for dreamers to indulge in searching for scouts. I was reluctant to tell you about it, because of the facility with which one can get swayed be that search.

Reaching, with deliberate control, the first gate of dreaming is a way of arriving at the energy body. But to maintain that gain is predicated on energy alone. Sorcerers get that energy by redeploying, in a more intelligent manner, the energy they have and use for perceiving the daily world.

We all have a determined quantity of basic energy. That quantity is all the energy we have, and we use all of it for perceiving and dealing with our engulfing world. There is no more energy for us anywhere and, since our available energy is already engaged, there is not a single bit left in us for any extraordinary perception, such as dreaming .

That leaves us to scrounge energy for ourselves, wherever we can find it.

Sorcerers have a scrounging method. They intelligently redeploy their energy by cutting down anything they consider superfluous in their lives. They call this method the sorcerers’ way. In essence, the sorcerers’ way is a chain of behavioral choices for dealing with the world, choices much more intelligent than those our progenitors taught us. These sorcerers’ choices are designed to revamp our lives by altering our basic reactions about being alive.

Those basic reactions are the two ways of facing our being alive. One is to surrender to it, either by acquiescing to its demands or by fighting those demands. The other is by molding our particular life situation to fit our own configurations.
One’s particular life situation can be molded to fit one’s specifications. Dreamers do that. A wild statement? Not really, if you consider how little we know about ourselves.

My interest, as a teacher, is to get you thoroughly involved with the themes of life and being alive; that is to say, with the difference between life, as a consequence of biological forces, and the act of being alive, as a matter of cognition.

When sorcerers talk about molding one’s life situation they mean molding the awareness of being alive. Through molding this awareness, we can get enough energy to reach and sustain the energy body, and with it we can certainly mold the total direction and consequences of our lives.

Don’t merely think about what I have told you. Turn my concepts into a viable way of life by a process of repetition. Everything new in our lives, such as the sorcerers’ concepts I am teaching you, must be repeated to us to the point of exhaustion before we open ourselves to it. Repetition is the way our progenitors socialized us to function in the daily world.

As we tighten the control over our dreams, we tighten the mastery over our dreaming attention. The dreaming attention comes into play when it is called, when it is given a purpose. Its coming into play is not really a process, as one would normally understand a process, that is as an ongoing system of operations or a series of actions or functions that bring about an end result. It is rather an awakening. Something dormant becomes suddenly functional.

A dreaming teacher must create a didactic synthesis in order to emphasize a given point. In essence, what I wanted with your first task was to exercise your dreaming attention by focusing it on the items of your dreams. To this effect I used as a spearhead the idea of being aware of falling asleep. My subterfuge was to say that the only way to be aware of falling asleep is to examine the elements of one’s dreams.

Exercising the dreaming attention is the essential point in dreaming . To the mind, however, it seems impossible that one can train oneself to be aware at the level of dreams. The active element of such training is persistence. The mind and all its rational defenses cannot cope with persistence. Sooner or later, the mind’s barriers fall, under its impact, and the dreaming attention blooms.

As you practice focusing and holding your dreaming attention on the items of your dreams your entering into the second attention. This calls for even more sobriety on your part. Go slowly, but don’t stop, and about all, don’t talk about it. Just do it.

If one takes short glances at everything in a dream, the images do not dissolve. The difficult part is to break the initial barrier that prevents us from bringing dreams to our conscious attention.

This barrier is in part a psychological one created by our socialization, which puts a premium on disregarding dreams. But the barrier is more than socialization. It’s the first gate of dreaming . The first gate of dreaming has to do with the flow of energy in the universe. It’s a natural obstacle.

The energy needed to release our dreaming attention from its socialization prison comes from redeploying our existing energy. The emergence of our dreaming attention is a direct corollary of revamping our lives. Since we have no way to plug into any external source for a boost of energy, we must redeploy our existing energy, by any means available.

The sorcerers’ way is the best means to oil, so to speak, the wheels of energy redeployment. Of all the items in the sorcerers’ way, the most effective is losing self-importance . This is indispensable for everything sorcerers do, and for this reason I put an enormous emphasis on guiding all my students to fulfill this requirement. Self-importance is not only the sorcerer’s supreme enemy but the nemesis of mankind.

Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. This is most obvious in our endless worry about the presentation of the self, about whether or not we are admired or liked or acknowledged. If we are capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things happen to us. One, we free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and, two, we provide ourselves with enough energy to enter into the second attention to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.

The capability of examining the contents of one’s dreams is the product of a natural configuration of our being, similar to our capability of walking. We are physically conditioned to walk only in one manner, bipedally, yet it takes a monumental effort for us to learn to walk.

We are not alone in this world. There are other worlds available to dreamers , total worlds. From those other total worlds, energetic entities sometimes come to us.

You can’t explain dreaming by way of things you know or suspect you know. Believe me, the most extravagant feature of sorcery is that configuration called out of this world.

You reach the second gate of dreaming when you wake up from a dream into another dream. You can have as many dreams as you want or as many as you are capable of, but you must exercise adequate control and not wake up in the world we know.

I’m not saying that you should never wake up in this world. But I have to tell you that that is an alternative. The sorcerers of antiquity used to do that, never wake up in the world we know. It certainly can be done, but I don’t recommend it. What I want is for you to wake up naturally when you are through with dreaming , but while you are dreaming , I want you to dream that you wake up in another dream.

This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives.

There’s one problem with the second gate. It’s a problem that can be serious, depending on one’s bent of character. If our tendency is to indulge in clinging to things or situations, we are in for a sock in the jaw.

Imagine yourself going from dream to dream, watching everything, examining every detail. It’s very easy to realize that one may sink to mortal depths. Especially if one is given to indulging.

Wouldn’t the body or the brain naturally put a stop to it? Yes, if it’s a natural sleeping situation, meaning normal. But this is not a normal situation. This is dreaming . A dreamer on crossing the first gate has already reached the energy body. So what is really going through the second gate, hopping from dream to dream, is the energy body.

The implication is that on crossing the second gate you must intend a greater and more sober control over your dreaming attention: the only safety valve for dreamers .

You will find out for yourself that the true goal of dreaming is to perfect the energy body. A perfect energy body, among other things of course, has such a control over the dreaming attention that it makes it stop when needed. This is the safety valve dreamers have. No matter how indulging they might be, at a given time, their dreaming attention must make them surface.

Crossing the second gate is a very serious affair; it requires a most disciplined effort.

I told you that one has to wake up in another dream, but what I meant is that one has to change dreams in an orderly and precise manner.

There are two ways of properly crossing the second gate of dreaming . One is to wake up in another dream, that is to say, to dream that one is having a dream and then dream that one wakes up from it. The alternative is to use the items of a dream to trigger another dream; that is, zoom from a definite item accessible to your immediate dreaming attention to another one, not quite accessible. Or gaze at any item of a dream, maintaining the gaze until the item changes shape and, by changing shape, pulls you into another dream.

Life and consciousness, being exclusively a matter of energy, are not solely the property of organisms. Sorcerers have seen that there are two types of conscious beings roaming the earth, the organic and the inorganic. In comparing one with the other, they have seen that both are luminous masses crossed from every imaginable angle by millions of the universe’s energy filaments. They are different from each other in their shape and in their degree of brightness. Inorganic beings are long and candlelike but opaque, whereas organic beings are round and by far the brighter. Another noteworthy difference sorcerers have seen , is that the life and consciousness of organic beings is short-lived, because they are made to hurry, whereas the life of inorganic beings is infinitely longer and their consciousness infinitely more calm and deeper.

Sorcerers find no problem interacting with them. Inorganic beings possess the crucial ingredient for interaction, consciousness.

For sorcerers, having life means having consciousness. It means having an assemblage point and its surrounding glow of awareness, a condition that points out to sorcerers that the being in front of them, organic or inorganic, is thoroughly capable of perceiving. Perceiving is understood by sorcerers as the precondition of being alive.

The inorganic beings must also die. They lose their awareness just like we do, except that the length of their consciousness is staggering to the mind.

It’s very difficult to tell what is what with them. Let’s say that those beings are enticed by us or, better yet, compelled to interact with us.

The proper thing to do is to suspend judgment and let things take their course, meaning that you let the inorganic beings come to you.

The difficulty with inorganic beings is that their awareness is very slow in comparison with ours. It will take years for a sorcerer to be acknowledged by inorganic beings. So, it is advisable to have patience and wait. Sooner or later they show up. But not like you or I would show up. Theirs is a most peculiar way to make themselves known.

Sorcerers entice them in dreaming . What’s involved, though, is more than enticing them; by the act of dreaming , sorcerers compel those beings to interact with them.

Dreaming is sustaining the position where the assemblage point has shifted in dreams. This act creates a distinctive energy charge, which attracts their attention. It’s like bait to fish; they’ll go for it. Sorcerers, by reaching and crossing the first two gates of dreaming , set bait for those beings and compel them to appear.

By going through the two gates, you make your bidding known to them. Then, you must wait for a sign from them; possibly the appearance of one of them, or simply some interference in your dreaming .

You must gauge your expectations. Our normal expectation when engaging in interaction with our fellow men or with other organic beings is to get an immediate reply to our solicitation. With inorganic beings, however, since they are separated from us by a most formidable barrier–energy that moves at a different speed–sorcerers must gauge their expectations and sustain the solicitation for as long as it takes to be acknowledged.

The solicitation is the same as the dreaming practices. But for a perfect result, you must add to your practices the intent of reaching those inorganic beings. Send a feeling of power and confidence to them, a feeling of strength, of detachment. Avoid at any cost sending a feeling of fear or morbidity. They are pretty morbid by themselves; to add your morbidity to them is unnecessary, to say the least.

They do, at times, materialize themselves in the daily world, right in front of us. Most of the time, though, their invisible presence is marked by a bodily jolt, a shiver of sorts that comes from the marrow of the bones.

In dreaming we have the total opposite. At times, we feel them as a jolt of fear. Most of the time, they materialize themselves right in front of us. Since at the beginning of dreaming we have no experience whatsoever with them, they might imbue us with fear beyond measure. That is a real danger to us. Through the channel of fear, they can follow us to the daily world, with disastrous results for us.

Fear can settle down in our lives, and we would have to be mavericks to deal with it. Inorganic beings can be worse than a pest. Through fear they can easily drive us raving mad.

What sorcerers do with the inorganic beings is mingle with them. They turn them into allies. They form associations, create extraordinary friendships. I call them vast enterprises, where perception plays the uppermost role. We are social beings. We unavoidably seek the company of consciousness.

With inorganic beings, the secret is not to fear them. And this must be done from the beginning. The intent one has to send out to them has to be of power and abandon. In that intent one must encode the message “I don’t fear you. Come to see me. If you do, I’ll welcome you. If you don’t want to come, I’ll miss you.” With a message like this, they’ll get so curious that they’ll come for sure.

Why should they come to seek you, or why on earth should you seek them? Dreamers , whether they like it or not, in their dreaming seek associations with other beings. This may come to you as a shock, but dreamers automatically seek groups of beings, nexuses of inorganic beings in this case. Dreamers seek them avidly. Why would dreamers do that? The novelty for us is the inorganic beings. And the novelty for them is one of our kind crossing the boundaries of their realm. The thing you must bear in mind from now on is that inorganic beings with their superb consciousness exert a tremendous pull over dreamers and can easily transport them into worlds beyond description.

The sorcerers of antiquity used them, and they are the ones who coined the name allies. Their allies taught them to move the assemblage point out of the egg’s boundaries into the nonhuman universe. So when they transport a sorcerer, they transport him to worlds beyond the human domain.

Think about dreaming in these terms: dreaming is perceiving more than what we believe it is possible to perceive.
The second attention is available to all of us, but, by willfully holding on to our half-cocked rationality, some of us more fiercely than others, we keep the second attention at arm’s length. Dreaming brings down the barriers that surround and insulate the second attention.

If the inorganic beings single a dreamer out by reappearing over and over again in his dreaming , it means that they seek an association. I’ve mentioned to you that sorcerers form bonds of friendship with them. Such a friendship consists of a mutual exchange of energy. The inorganic beings supply their high awareness, and sorcerers supply their heightened awareness and high energy. The positive result is an even exchange. The negative one is dependency on both parties. Once they have singled a dreamer out the dreamer can summon them in his normal daily awareness, size them up, and then decide himself what to do.

You summon them by holding your dream view of them in your mind. The reason they would saturate a dreamer with their presence in his dreams is that they want to create a memory of their shape in his mind.

You can then use that memory by closing your eyes and visualize their shape until they are just like they are in your dreams. When you have them in focus, open your eyes, then get up and grab one of them and don’t let go, no matter how it shakes you. You drop it and you’re done for!

If you feel the inorganic being’s energy like water you are not going to have helping friends among the inorganic beings, but relationships of annoying dependency. Be, in that case, extremely careful. Watery inorganic beings are more given to excesses. The old sorcerers believed that they were more loving, more capable of imitating, or perhaps even having feelings. As opposed to the other kind, the fiery ones, who were thought to be more serious, more contained than the others, but also more pompous.

My recommendation is that you vanquish fear from your dreams and from your life, in order to safeguard your unity.
In matters of the inorganic beings, I am nearly a novice. I refused that part of the sorcerers’ knowledge on the ground that it is too cumbersome and capricious. I don’t want to be at the mercy of any entity, organic or inorganic.

By means of their dreaming contacts with inorganic beings, the old sorcerers became immensely well-versed in the manipulation of the assemblage point, a vast and ominous subject.

The inorganic beings have never been my cup of tea. My reason for that is the best reason in the world: we are antithetical. They love slavery, and I love freedom. They love to buy, and I don’t sell.

The best thing to do with inorganic beings is deny their existence but visit with them regularly and maintain that you are dreaming and in dreaming anything is possible. This way you don’t commit yourself.

If one is to accept that inorganic beings are as real as people, where, in the physicality of the universe, is the realm in which they exist? That realm exists in a particular position of the assemblage point. Just like our world exists in the habitual position of the assemblage point.

Upon crossing the first or second gate of dreaming , dreamers reach a threshold of energy and begin to see things or to hear voices. Not really plural voices, but a singular voice. Sorcerers call it the voice of the dreaming emissary.

The dreaming emissary is alien energy that has conciseness. Alien energy that purports to aid dreamers by telling them things. The problem with the dreaming emissary is that it can tell only what the sorcerers already know or should know, were they worth their salt. It’s alien energy. An impersonal force that we turn into a very personal one because it has a voice. Some sorcerers swear by it. They even see it.

We see it or hear it because we maintain our assemblage points fixed on a specific new position; the more intense this fixation, the more intense our experience of the emissary.

This force is capable of materializing itself. It all depends on how fixed the assemblage point is. But, rest assured, if you are capable of maintaining a degree of detachment, nothing happens. The emissary remains what it is: an impersonal force that acts on us because of the fixation of our assemblage points.

Is its advice safe and sound? It cannot be advice. It only tells us what’s what, and then we draw the inferences ourselves.

It’s just like I said, the emissary doesn’t tell you anything new. Its statements are correct, but it only seems to be revealing things to you. What the emissary does is merely repeat what you already know.

You know now infinitely more about the mystery of the universe than what you rationally suspect. But that’s our human malady, to know more about the mystery of the universe than we suspect.

The emissary tells me anything I focus my intent on, things I don’t want to take the trouble of following up myself.

Let’s say that the dreaming emissary is a force that comes from the realm of inorganic beings. This is the reason dreamers always encounter it. Every dreamer hears or sees the emissary though very few see it or feel it. I don’t have any explanation for this, besides, I really don’t care about the emissary. At one point in my life, I had to make a decision whether to concentrate on the inorganic beings and follow in the footsteps of the old sorcerers or to refuse it all. My teacher helped me make up my mind to refuse it. I’ve never regretted that decision.

The whole realm of inorganic beings is always poised to teach. Perhaps because inorganic beings have a deeper consciousness than ours, they feel compelled to take us under their wings. I didn’t see any point in becoming their pupil–their price is to high–their price is our lives, our energy, our devotion to them. In other words, our freedom.

They teach things pertinent to their world. The same way we ourselves would teach them, if we were capable of teaching them, things pertinent to our world. Their method, however, is to take our basic self as a gauge of what we need and then teach us accordingly. A most dangerous affair.

If someone was going to take your basic self as a gauge, with all your fears and greed and envy, et cetera, et cetera, and teach you what fulfills that horrible state of being, what do you think the result would be?

The problem with the old sorcerers was that they learned wonderful things, but on the basis of their unadulterated lower selves. The inorganic beings became their allies, and, by means of deliberate examples, they taught the old sorcerers marvels. Their allies performed the actions, and the old sorcerers were guided step by step to copy those actions, without changing anything about their basic nature.

Involvements of this nature curtail our search for freedom by consuming all our available energy.

If a sorcerer wants to live in the realm of the inorganic beings, the emissary is the perfect bridge; it speaks, and its bent is to teach, to guide.

I neither approve of that realm nor like it. It belongs to another mood, the old sorcerers’ mood. Besides, its teachings and guidance in our world are nonsense. And for that nonsense the emissary charges us enormities in terms of energy.

Just because we haven’t been taught to emphasize dreams as a genuine field for exploration doesn’t mean they are not one. Dreams are analyzed for their meaning or are taken as portents, but never are they taken as a realm of real events.
To my knowledge, only the old sorcerers did that. But at the end they flubbed it. They got greedy, and when they came to a crucial crossroads, they took the wrong fork. They put all their eggs in one basket: the fixation of the assemblage point on the thousands of positions it can adopt.

Out of all the marvelous things the old sorcerers learned exploring those thousands of positions, only the art of dreaming and the art of stalking remain. The art of dreaming is concerned with the displacement of the assemblage point. Stalking is the art that deals with the fixation of the assemblage point on any location to which it is displaced.

To fixate the assemblage point on any new spot means to acquire cohesion. An apprentice does just that in his dreaming practices. He is perfecting his energy body. He is doing that and much more; he is learning to have cohesion. Dreaming does it by forcing dreamers to fixate the assemblage point. The dreaming attention, the energy body, the second attention, the relationship with inorganic beings, the dreaming emissary are but by-products of acquiring cohesion; in other words, they are all by-products of fixating the assemblage point on a number of dreaming positions .

A dreaming position is any new position to which the assemblage point has been displaced during sleep. We fixate the assemblage point on a dreaming position by sustaining the view of any item in our dreams, or by changing dreams at will. Through his dreaming practices, an apprentice is really exercising his capacity to be cohesive; that is to say, he is exercising his capacity to maintain a new energy shape by holding the assemblage point fixed on the position of any particular dream he is having. While exercising his capacity to maintain a new energy shape, he isn’t really maintaining a new energy shape yet, not exactly, and not because he can’t but only because he is shifting the assemblage point instead of moving it. Shifts of the assemblage point give rise to minute changes, which are practically unnoticeable. The challenge of shifts is that they are so small and so numerous that to maintain cohesiveness in all of them is a triumph.

We know we are maintaining cohesion by the clarity of our perception. The clearer the view of our dreams, the greater our cohesion.

I’m going to tell you about a practical application of what an apprentice learns in dreaming . He focuses his attention, as if he is in a dream, on the foliage of a tree. He doesn’t just gaze at it; he does something very special with the foliage. Remember, I’ve said that in dreaming , once you are able to hold the view of any item, you are really holding the dreaming position of your assemblage point. So then, an apprentice gazes at the leaves of a tree as if he is in a dream, but with a slight yet most meaningful variation: he holds his dreaming attention on the leaves of the tree in the awareness of our daily world.

By staring at the foliage, he accomplishes a minute displacement of his assemblage point. Then, by summoning his dreaming attention through staring at individual leaves, he actually fixates that minute displacement, and his cohesion makes him perceive in terms of the second attention. The process is so simple it is ridiculous.

Our speech faculty is extremely flimsy and attacks of muteness are common among sorcerers who venture this way, beyond the limits of normal perception.

It is not possible for one to rely on one’s rationality to understand such an experience as summoning one’s dreaming attention through staring at individual leaves. Not because our rationality is in any way impaired but because what takes place is a phenomenon outside the parameters of reason.

Reason is only a by-product of the habitual position of the assemblage point; therefore, knowing what is going to, being of sound mind, having our feet on the ground–sources of great pride to us and assumed to be a natural consequence of our worth–are merely the result of the fixation of the assemblage point on its habitual place. The more rigid and stationary it is, the greater our confidence in ourselves, the greater our feeling of knowing the world, of being able to predict.

What dreaming does is give us the fluidity to enter into other worlds by destroying our sense of knowing this world. Dreaming is a journey of unthinkable dimensions, a journey that, after making us perceive everything we can humanly perceive, makes the assemblage point jump outside the human domain and perceive the inconceivable.

We are back again, harping on the most important topic of the sorcerers’ world; the position of the assemblage point. The old sorcerers’ curse, as well as mankind’s thorn in the side. I say that because both, mankind in general and the old sorcerers, fell prey to the position of the assemblage point: mankind, because by not knowing that the assemblage point exists we are obliged to take the by-product of its habitual position as something final and indisputable. And the old sorcerers because, although they knew all about the assemblage point, they fell for its facility to be manipulated. You must avoid falling into those traps.

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