Part 3: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

Part 2: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda
Part 4: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

Different worlds exist in the position of the assemblage point. You will have two choices. One, to follow mankind’s rationales and be faced with a predicament: your experience will tell you that other worlds exist, but your reason will say that such worlds do not and cannot exist. The other, to follow the old sorcerers’ rationales, in which case you will automatically accept the existence of other worlds, and your greed alone will make your assemblage point hold on to the position that creates those worlds. The result would be another kind of predicament: that of having to move physically into visionlike realms, driven by expectations of power and gain.

The dreaming emissary’s voice is an impersonal but constant force from the realm of inorganic beings; thus, every dreamer experiences it, in more or less the same terms. And if we choose to take its words as advice, we are incurable fools.

My interest in telling you about the old sorcerers is not to bad-mouth them but to pit them against you. Sooner or later, your assemblage point will be more fluid, but not fluid enough to offset the facility to be like them: righteous and hysterical.

There is only one way to avoid all that. Sorcerers call it sheer understanding. I call it a romance with knowledge. It’s the drive sorcerers use to know, to discover, to be bewildered.

Seeing children’s assemblage points constantly fluttering, as if moved by tremors, changing their place with ease, the old sorcerers came to the conclusion that the assemblage points habitual location is not innate but brought about by habituation. Seeing also that only in adults is it fixed on one spot, they surmised that the specific location of the assemblage point fosters a specific way of perceiving. Through usage, this specific way of perceiving becomes a system of interpreting sensory data.

Since we are drafted into that system by being born into it, from the moment of our birth we imperatively strive to adjust our perceiving to conform to the demands of this system, a system that rules us for life. Consequently, the old sorcerers were thoroughly right in believing that the act of countermanding it and perceiving energy directly is what transforms a person into a sorcerer.

I am in wonder at the greatest accomplishment of our human upbringing: to lock our assemblage point on its habitual position. For, once it is immobilized there, our perception can be coached and guided to interpret what we perceive. In other words, we can then be guided to perceive more in terms of our system than in terms of our senses. Human perception is universally homogeneous, because the assemblage points of the whole human race are fixed on the same spot.

Sorcerers prove all this to themselves when they see that at the moment the assemblage point is displaced beyond a certain threshold, and new universal filaments of energy begin to be perceived, there is no sense to what we perceive. The immediate cause is that new sensory data has rendered our system inoperative; it can no longer be used to interpret what we are perceiving.

Perceiving without our system is, of course, chaotic. But strangely enough, when we think we have truly lost our bearings, our old system rallies; it comes to our rescue and transforms our new incomprehensible perception into a thoroughly comprehensible new world. Just like what happens to an apprentice when he gazes at the leaves of a tree and his dreaming attention comes forth. His perception is chaotic for a while; everything comes to him at once, and his system for interpreting the world doesn’t function. Then, the chaos clears up and there he is, in front of a new world.
That world exists in the precise position of his assemblage point at that moment. In order to perceive it, he needs cohesion, that is, he needs to maintain his assemblage point fixed on that position. The result is that he totally perceives a new world for a while.

Others would perceive that same world if they had uniformity and cohesion. Uniformity and cohesion is to hold, in unison, the same position of the assemblage point. The old sorcerers called the entire act of acquiring uniformity and cohesion outside the normal world “stalking perception.”

The art of stalking , as I have already said, deals with the fixation of the assemblage point. The old sorcerers discovered, through practice, that important as it is to displace the assemblage point, it is even more important to make it stay fixed on its new position, wherever that new position might be.

If the assemblage point does not become stationary, there is no way that we can perceive coherently. We would experience then a kaleidoscope of disassociated images. This is the reason the old sorcerers put as much emphasis on dreaming as they did on stalking . One art cannot exist without the other, especially for the kinds of activities in which the old sorcerers were involved.

The old sorcerers called them the intricacies of the second attention or the grand adventure of the unknown. These activities stem from the displacements of the assemblage point. Not only had the old sorcerers learned to displace their assemblage points to thousands of positions on the surface or on the inside of their energy masses but they had also learned to fixate their assemblage points on those positions, and thus retain their cohesiveness, indefinitely. We can’t talk about the benefits of that, we can talk only about end results.

The cohesiveness of the old sorcerers was such that it allowed them to become perceptually and physically everything the specific position of their assemblage points dictated. They could transform themselves into anything for which they had a specific inventory. An inventory is all the details of perception involved in becoming, for example, a jaguar, a bird, an insect, et cetera, et cetera. It is possible, not so much for you and me, but you them. For them, it was nothing.
The old sorcerers had superb fluidity. All they needed was the slightest shift of their assemblage points, the slightest perceptual cue from their dreaming , and they would instantaneously stalk their perception, rearrange their cohesiveness to fit their new state of awareness, and be an animal, another person, a bird, or anything.

Sorcerers bring order to the chaos. Their preconceived, transcendental purpose is to free their perception. Sorcerers don’t make up the world they are perceiving; they perceive energy directly, and then they discover that what they are perceiving is an unknown new world, which can swallow them whole, because it is as real as anything we know to be real.

What happens as an apprentice gazes at the leaves of a tree is that he began by perceiving the energy of the tree. On the subjective level, however, he believes he is dreaming because he employs dreaming techniques to perceive energy. To use dreaming techniques in the world of everyday life was one of the old sorcerers most effective devices. It made perceiving energy directly dreamlike, instead of totally chaotic, until a moment when something rearranged perception and the sorcerer found himself facing a new world. The scenery one views in that case is not a dream, nor is it our daily world.

I’ve been saying this to you over and over, and you think that I am merely repeating myself. I know how difficult it is for the mind to allow mindless possibilities to become real. But new worlds exist! They are wrapped one around the other, like the skins of an onion. The world we exist in is but one of those skins.

So then, is the goal of my teaching to prepare you to go into those worlds? No. I don’t mean that. We go into those worlds only as an exercise. Those journeys are the antecedents of the sorcerers of today. We do the same dreaming that the old sorcerers used to do, but at one moment we deviate into new ground. The old sorcerers preferred the shifts of the assemblage point, so they were always on more or less known, predictable ground. We prefer the movements of the assemblage point. The old sorcerers were after the human unknown. We are after the nonhuman unknown. You haven’t gotten to that yet. You are only beginning. And at the beginning everyone has to go through the old sorcerers’ steps. After all, they were the ones who invented dreaming .

When dreaming is too easy for you it can be a damnation if you don’t watch it. It leads to the human unknown. As I said to you, modern-day sorcerers strive to get to the nonhuman unknown; that is, freedom from being human. Inconceivable worlds that are outside the band of man but that we still can perceive. This is where modern sorcerers take the side road. Their predilection is what’s outside the human domain. And what are outside that domain are all-inclusive worlds, not merely the realm of birds or the realm of animals or the realm of man, even if it be the unknown man. What I am talking about are worlds, like the one where we live; total worlds with endless realms.

Those worlds are in different positions of the assemblage point. But positions sorcerers arrive at with a movement of the assemblage point, not a shift. Entering into those worlds is the type of dreaming only sorcerers of today do. The old sorcerers stayed away from it, because it requires a great deal of detachment and no self-importance whatsoever. A price they couldn’t afford to pay.

For the sorcerers who practice dreaming today, dreaming is freedom to perceive worlds beyond the imagination. Freedom is an adventure with no end, in which we risk our lives and much more for a few moments of something beyond words, beyond thoughts or feelings.

What can be the driving force to do all this? To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom to fly off into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve; to lift off; to be like the flame of a candle, which, in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.

To suspend judgment and let the inorganic beings come, was in fact, the very procedure used by the sorcerers of antiquity to attract them. It is very difficult to make the self give up its strongholds except through practice. One of the self’s strongest lines of defense is indeed our rationality, and this is not only the most durable line of defense when it comes to sorcery actions and explanations but also the most threatened. The existence of inorganic beings is a foremost assailant of our rationality.

From time to time a projection from the realm of the inorganic beings, a current of foreign energy, a scout, will be injected into your dreams. So after you have crossed the first gate of dreaming , adjust your dreaming attention and be on the alert.

Scouts are more numerous when our dreams are average, normal ones. The dreams of dreamers are strangely free from scouts. When they appear, they are identifiable by the strangeness and incongruity surrounding them. Their presence doesn’t make any sense.

Only in average dreams are things nonsensical. I would say that this is so because more scouts are injected then, because average people are subject to a greater barrage from the unknown.

In my opinion, what takes place is a balance of forces. Average people have stupendously strong barriers to protect themselves against those onslaughts. Barriers such as worries about the self. The stronger the barrier, the greater the attack.

Dreamers, by contrast, have fewer barriers and fewer scouts in their dreams. It seems that in dreamers ‘ dreams nonsensical things disappear, perhaps to ensure that dreamers catch the presence of scouts.

In dreaming , some items are of key importance because they are associated with the spirit. Others are entirely unimportant by reason of being associated with our indulging personality.

The first scout you isolate will always be present, in any form. Incongruous items are foreign invaders of your dreams. Upon isolating them, your dreaming attention always focuses on them with an intensity that does not occur under any other circumstances.

At that point in your dreaming , scouts are reconnoiterers sent by the inorganic realm. They are very fast, meaning that they don’t stay long.

They come in search of potential awareness. They have consciousness and purpose, although it is incomprehensible to our minds, comparable perhaps to the consciousness and purpose of trees. The inner speed of trees and inorganic beings is incomprehensible to us because it is infinitely slower than ours.

Both trees and inorganic beings last longer than we do. They are made to stay put. They are immobile, yet they make everything move around them. Inorganic beings are stationary like trees. What one sees in dreaming as bright or dark sticks are their projections. What one hears as the voice of the dreaming emissary is equally their projection. And so are their scouts.

Trees also have projections like that. Their projections are, however, even less friendly to us than those of the inorganic beings. Dreamers never seek them, unless they are in a state of profound amenity with trees, which is a very difficult state to attain.

Remember, the realm of inorganic beings was the old sorcerers’ field. To get there, they tenaciously fixed their dreaming attention on the items of their dreams. In that fashion, they were able to isolate the scouts. And when they had the scouts in focus, they voiced their intent to follow them. The instant the old sorcerers voiced that intent , off they went, pulled by that foreign energy.

Only follow the dreaming emissary’s guidance when it refers to dreaming .

The dreaming attention comes from behind the roof of the mouth. Feel in dreaming that you are pressing the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue.

By living up to my standards of self-examination with no indulgence, the emissary’s voice and what it says will become a superchallenge for you. You have to avoid, at all cost, succumbing to the temptation of the emissary’s promise of knowledge, and you have to do this all by yourself.

The diabolical nature of the inorganic beings’ realm is that it might very well be the only sanctuary dreamers have in a hostile universe.

It really is a haven for some dreamers . Not for me. I don’t need props or railings. I know what I am. I am alone in a hostile universe, and I have learned to say, So be it!

Under the influence of dreaming , reality suffers a metamorphosis. Two options are faced by all dreamers : either we carefully revamp or we completely disregard our system of sensory input interpretation.

To revamp our interpretation system means to intend its reconditioning. It means that one deliberately and carefully attempts to enlarge its capabilities. By living in accordance with the sorcerers’ way, dreamers save and store the necessary energy to suspend judgment and thus facilitate that intended revamping. If we choose to recondition our interpretation system, reality becomes fluid, and the scope of what can be real is enhanced without endangering the integrity of reality. Dreaming , then, indeed opens the door into other aspects of what is real.

If we choose to disregard our system, the scope of what can be perceived without interpretation grows inordinately. The expansion of our perception is so gigantic that we are left with very few tools for sensory interpretation and, thus, a sense of an infinite realness that is unreal or an infinite unrealness that could very well be real but is not.

The existence of inorganic beings is the foremost assailant of our rationality. Only after you have really suspended judgment will you get any relief.

An apprentice’s energy level, which steadily grows, one day reaches a threshold that allows him to disregard assumptions and prejudgments about the nature of man, reality, and perception. That day he becomes enamored with knowledge, regardless of logic or functional value, and, above all, regardless of personal convenience.

The inorganic beings are after our awareness. They’ll give us knowledge, but they’ll extract a payment: our total being.
Inorganic beings can’t force anyone to stay with them. To live in their world is a voluntary affair. Yet they are capable of imprisoning any one of us by catering to our desires, by pampering and indulging us. Beware of awareness that is immobile. Awareness like that has to seek movement, and it does this, as I’ve told you, by creating projections, phantasmagorical projections at times.

Inorganic beings hook onto dreamers ‘ innermost feelings and play them mercilessly. They create phantoms to please dreamers or frighten them. Inorganic beings are superb projectionists, who delight in projecting themselves like pictures on the wall.

The old sorcerers portrayed the inorganic beings’ world as a blob of caverns and pores floating in some dark space. And they portrayed the inorganic beings as hollow canes bound together, like the cells of our bodies. Every dreamer sees that world in the same terms; as it is.

The inorganic beings create for dreamers the sense of being unique, exclusive; plus a more pernicious sense yet: the sense of having power. Power and uniqueness are unbeatable as corrupting forces. Watch out!

You can avoid that danger by going to that world a few times, and then never going back. In the opinion of sorcerers, the universe is predatorial, and sorcerers more than anyone else have to take this into account in their daily sorcery activities. Consciousness is intrinsically compelled to grow, and the only way it can grow is through strife, through life-or-death confrontations.

The awareness of sorcerers grows when they do dreaming . And the moment it grows, something out there acknowledges its growth, recognizes it and makes a bid for it. The inorganic beings are the bidders for that new, enhanced awareness. Dreamers have to be forever on their toes. They are prey the moment they venture out in that predatorial universe. To be safe, you must be on your toes every second! Don’t let anything or anybody decide for you. That is to say, go to the inorganic beings’ world only when you want to go.

Once you isolate a scout, a tremendous pull may be exerted on you to go to the inorganic beings’ world. You can consciously stop that pull of the scouts. Always remember, you can change the course of your dreaming by intending that course.

With practice, your capacity to intend journeys into the inorganic beings’ realm will become extraordinarily keen. An increased capacity to intend brings forth an increased control over your dreaming attention. This additional control makes one more daring. Such confidence is very scary because it is the confidence of a fool.

To be transported bodily is possible. We are energy that is kept in a specific shape and position by the fixation of the assemblage point on one location. If that location is changed, the shape and position of that energy will change accordingly. All the inorganic beings have to do is to place our assemblage point on the right location, and off we go, like a bullet, shoes, hat, and all.

It is absurd to trust the inorganic beings. They have their own rhythm, and it isn’t human. Sorcerers’ maneuvers are deadly. I beseech you to be extraordinarily aware. Don’t get involved in having some idiotic confidence in yourself.

One must seriously consider that the inorganic beings have astounding means at their disposal. Their awareness is superb. In comparison, we are children, children with a lot of energy, which the inorganic beings covet.

You already understand that the gates of dreaming are specific obstacles, but you haven’t understood yet that whatever is given as the exercise to reach and cross a gate is not really what that gate is all about.

I mean that it’s not true to say, for example, that the second gate is reached and crossed when a dreamer learns to wake up in another dream, or when a dreamer learns to change dreams without waking up in the world of daily life. The second gate of dreaming is reached and crossed only when a dreamer learns to isolate and follow the foreign energy scouts.

Waking up in another dream or changing dreams is the drill devised by the old sorcerers to exercise a dreamer ‘s capacity to isolate and follow a scout.

Following a scout is a high accomplishment and when dreamers are able to perform it, the second gate is flung open and the universe that exists behind it becomes accessible to them. This universe is there all the time but we cannot go into it because we lack energetic prowess, and in essence, the second gate of dreaming is the door into the inorganic beings’ world, and dreaming is the key that opens that door.

The rule of the second gate can be described in terms of a series of three steps: one, through practicing the drill of changing dreams, dreamers find out about the scouts; two, by following the scouts, they enter into another veritable universe; and three, in that universe, by means of their actions, dreamers find out, on their own, the governing laws and regulations of that universe.

The unavoidable reaction on the part of the inorganic beings is the attempt to keep the dreamer in their world. The inorganic beings don’t let anyone go, not without a real fight.

You have to continue your dreaming until you have gone through the universe behind the second gate. I mean that you alone must either accept or reject the lure of the inorganic beings.

I was forced to teach you dreaming only because that is the pattern set out by the old sorcerers. The path of dreaming is filled with pitfalls, and to avoid those pitfalls or to fall into them is the personal and individual affair of each dreamer , and I may add that it is a final affair.

Those pitfalls are the result of succumbing to adulation or to promises of power. And not only succumbing to those, but succumbing to anything offered by the inorganic beings. There is no way for sorcerers to accept anything offered by them, beyond a certain point.

That point depends on us as individuals. The challenge is for each of us to take only what is needed from that world, nothing more. To know what’s needed is the virtuosity of sorcerers, but to take only what’s needed is their highest accomplishment. To fail to understand this simple rule is the surest way of plummeting into a pitfall.

If you fall, you pay the price, and the price depends on the circumstances and the depth of the fall. But there is really no way of talking about an eventuality of this sort, because we are not facing a problem of punishment. Energetic currents are at stake here, energetic currents which create circumstances that are more dreadful than death. Everything in the sorcerers’ path is a matter of life or death, but in the path of dreaming this matter is enhanced a hundred fold.

You may come to think you are extremely disciplined and conscientious with your dreaming practices. That’s the time for you to be even more disciplined and handle everything related to dreaming with kid gloves. Be, about all, vigilant, one can’t foretell where the attack will come from.

The universe behind the second gate is the closest to our own, and our own universe is pretty crafty and heartless. So the two can’t be that different.

The universe of the inorganic beings is always ready to strike. But so is our own universe. That’s why you have to go into their realm exactly as if you were venturing into a war zone.

I don’t mean that dreamers always have to be afraid of that world. Once a dreamer goes through the universe behind the second gate, or once a dreamer refuses to consider it as a viable option, there are no more headaches.

Only then are dreamers free to continue. The universe behind the second gate is so powerful and aggressive that it serves as a natural screen or a testing ground where dreamers are probed for their weaknesses. If they survive the tests, they can proceed to the next gate; it they do not, they remain forever trapped in that universe.

For dreamers , their feelings alone can stop their dreaming . Once they have formulated the thought of reentering dreaming , their practices will continue as if they had never been interrupted.

If dreaming is overemphasized, it becomes what it was for the old sorcerers: a source of inexhaustible indulging. You must exercise all the care you are able to muster up. The old sorcerers’ flaw was that they took to the inorganic beings’ realm like fish take to water. When dreamers realize that the inorganic beings have no appeal it is usually too late for them, because by then the inorganic beings have them in the bag. The inorganic beings are like fishermen; they attract and catch awareness.

You are suffering from anxiety, you say. That means nothing. Gain back your energy, and don’t worry about nonsense.

The inorganic beings are forever in search of awareness and energy. The inorganic beings cannot lie.

The third gate of dreaming is reached when you find yourself in a dream, staring at someone else who is asleep. And that someone else turns out to be you.

There are two phases to each of the gates of dreaming . The first, is to arrive at the gate; the second is to cross it. By dreaming that you see yourself asleep, you arrive at the third gate. The second phase is to move around once you’ve seen yourself asleep.

At the third gate of dreaming you begin to deliberately merge your dreaming reality with the reality of the daily world. This is the drill, and sorcerers call it completing the energy body. The merge between the two realities has to be so thorough that you need to be more fluid than ever. Examine everything at the third gate with great care and curiosity.

Our tendency at the third gate is to get lost in detail. To view things with great care and curiosity means to resist the nearly irresistible temptation to plunge into detail.

The given drill, at the third gate, is to consolidate the energy body. Dreamers begin forging the energy body by fulfilling the drills of the first and second gates. When they reach the third gate, the energy body is ready to come out, or perhaps it would be better to say that it is ready to act. Unfortunately, this also means that it’s ready to be mesmerized by detail.

The energy body is like a child who’s been imprisoned all its life. The moment it is free, it soaks up everything it can find, and I mean everything. Every irrelevant, minute detail totally absorbs the energy body.

The most asinine detail becomes a world for the energy body. The effort that dreamers have to make to direct the energy body is staggering. I know that it sounds awkward to tell you to view things with care and curiosity, but that is the best way to describe what you should do. At the third gate, dreamers have to avoid a nearly irresistible impulse to plunge into everything, and they avoid it by being so curious, so desperate to get into everything that they don’t let any particular thing imprison them.

My recommendations, which I know sound absurd to the mind, are directly aimed at your energy body. Your energy body has to unite all its resources in order to act.

Your entire energy body has to be engaged to perform the drill of the third gate. Therefore, to make things easier for your energy body, you must hold back your rationality.

At the third gate, rationality is responsible for the insistence of our energy bodies on being obsessed with superfluous detail. At the third gate, then, we need irrational fluidity, irrational abandon to counteract that insistence.

The position of the assemblage point is like a vault where sorcerers keep their records. Sorcerers are capable of leaving accurate records of their findings in the position of the assemblage point. When it comes to getting to the essence of a written account, we have to use our sense of sympathetic or imaginative participation to go beyond the mere page into the experience itself. However, in the sorcerers’ world, since there are no written pages, total records, which can be relived instead of read, are left in the position of the assemblage point.

With the inorganic beings, once you get to play with them, you are hooked. They’ll always be after you. Or, what’s worse yet, you’ll always be after them.

To be ready for a true merging of your dreaming reality and your daily reality you must recapitulate your life further.

The recapitulation of our lives never ends, no matter how well we’ve done it once. The reason average people lack volition in their dreams is that they have never recapitulated and their lives are filled to capacity with heavily loaded emotions like memories, hopes, fears, et cetera, et cetera.

Sorcerers, in contrast, are relatively free from heavy, binding emotions, because of their recapitulation. And if something stops them, the assumption is that there still is something in them that is not quite clear.

Recapitulating and dreaming go hand in hand. As we regurgitate our lives, we get more and more airborne.

The recapitulation consists of reliving the totality of one’s life experiences by remembering every possible minute detail of them. It’s the essential factor in a dreamer ‘s redefinition and redeployment of energy. The recapitulation sets free energy imprisoned within us, and without this liberated energy dreaming is not possible.

Make a list of all the people you have met in your life, starting at the present. Arrange your list in an orderly fashion, breaking it down into areas of activity, such as jobs you have had, schools you have attended. Then go, without deviation, from the first person on your list to the last one, reliving every one of your interactions with them.

Recapitulating an event starts with one’s mind arranging everything pertinent to what is being recapitulated. Arranging means reconstructing the event, piece by piece, starting by recollecting the physical details of the surroundings, then going to the person with whom one shared the interaction, and then going to oneself, to the examination of one’s feelings.

The recapitulation is coupled with a natural, rhythmical breathing. Long exhalations are performed as the head moves gently and slowly from right to left; and long inhalations are taken as the head moves back from left to right. This act of moving the head from side to side is called “fanning the event.” The mind examines the event from beginning to end while the body fans, on and on, everything the mind focuses on.

The sorcerers of antiquity, the inventors of the recapitulation, viewed breathing as a magical, life-giving act and used it, accordingly, as a magical vehicle; the exhalation, to eject the foreign energy left in them during the interaction being recapitulated and the inhalation to pull back the energy that they themselves left behind during the interaction.

It is more involved than an intellectual psychoanalysis. The recapitulation is a sorcerer’s ploy to induce a minute but steady displacement of the assemblage point. The assemblage point, under the impact of reviewing past actions and feelings, goes back and forth between its present site and the site it occupied when the event being recapitulated took place.

The old sorcerers’ rationale behind the recapitulation was their conviction that there is an inconceivable dissolving force in the universe, which makes organisms live by lending them awareness. That force also makes organisms die, in order to extract the same lent awareness, which organisms have enhanced through their life experiences. The old sorcerers believed that since it is our life experience this force is after, it is of supreme importance that it can be satisfied with a facsimile of our life experience: the recapitulation. Having had what it seeks, the dissolving force then lets sorcerers go, free to expand their capacity to perceive and reach with it the confines of time and space.

Dreaming requires every bit of our available energy. If there is a deep preoccupation in our life, there is no possibility of dreaming . If you think you are deeply preoccupied and your practices are not interrupted, it would be that you are only egomaniacally disturbed. To be preoccupied, for sorcerers, means that all your energy sources are taken on.

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1 Comment

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