The Art of dreaming

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The Art of Dreaming is an extraordinary and exciting adventure of the psyche unlike any other, which takes the reader on an amazing journey of the soul via the teachings of the great sorcerer, don Juan.

The art of dreaming book cover

The art of dreaming book cover

Carlos Castaneda
The Art of dreaming

Authors Note

Over the past twenty years, I have written a series of books about my apprenticeship with a Mexican Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan Matus. I have explained in those books that he taught me sorcery, but not as we understand sorcery in the context of our daily world: the use of supernatural powers over others, or the calling of spirits through charms, spells, or rituals to produce supernatural effects. For don Juan, sorcery was the act of embodying 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 shamanism, a category proper to anthropology, to classify his knowledge. I have called it all along what he himself called it: sorcery. On examination, however, I realized that calling it sorcery obscures 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 Indian tribes, 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 or controlled through the acts of practitioners, who are the intermediaries between the natural and supernatural realms.
Don Juan was indeed an intermediary between the natural world of everyday life and an unseen world, which he called not the supernatural but the second attention. His role as a teacher was to make this configuration accessible to me. I have described in my previous work his teaching methods to this effect, as well as the sorcery arts he made me practice, the most important of which is called the art of dreaming.
Don Juan contended that our world, which we believe to be unique and absolute, is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. He asserted that even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.
Parallel Worlds

Parallel Worlds

Don Juan explained to me that, for us to perceive those other realms, not only do we have to covet them but we need to have sufficient energy to seize them. Their existence is constant and independent of our awareness, he said, but their inaccessibility is entirely a consequence of our energetic conditioning. In other words, simply and solely because of that conditioning, we are compelled to assume that the world of daily life is the one and only possible world.
Believing that our energetic conditioning is correctable, don Juan stated that sorcerers of ancient times developed a set of practices designed to recondition our energetic capabilities to perceive.
They called this set 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 to call it the “gateway to infinity.” I remarked, at the time he 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 way of 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 own case, my teacher attempted to describe dreaming to me by saying that it is the way sorcerers say good night to the world. He was, of course, tailoring his description to fit my mentality. I’m doing the same with you.”
lucid-Dreaming-panel-350x350On another occasion don Juan said to me, “dreaming can only be experienced. Dreaming is not just having dreams; neither is it daydreaming or wishing or imagining. Through dreaming we can perceive other worlds, which we can certainly describe, but we can’t describe what makes us perceive them. Yet we can feel how dreaming opens up those other realms. Dreaming seems to be a sensation, a process in our bodies, an awareness in our minds.”
In the course of his general teachings, don Juan thoroughly explained to me the principles, rationales, and practices of the art of dreaming. His instruction was divided into two parts. One was about dreaming procedures, the other about the purely abstract explanations of these procedures. His teaching method was an interplay between enticing my intellectual curiosity 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 as I was able to. And I have also described the sorcerers’ milieu in which don Juan placed me in order to teach me his arts. My interaction in this milieu was of special interest to me because it took place exclusively in the second attention.
I interacted there with the ten women and five men who were don Juan’s sorcerer companions and with the four young men and the four young women who were his apprentices.
Don Juan gathered them immediately after I came into his world. He made it clear to me that they formed a traditional sorcerers’ group, a replica of his own party, and that I was supposed to lead them. However, working with me he realized that I was different than he expected. He explained that difference in terms of an energy configuration seen only by sorcerers: instead of having four compartments of energy, as he himself had, I had only three. Such a configuration, which he had mistakenly hoped was a correctable flaw, made me so completely inadequate for interacting with or leading those eight apprentices that it became imperative for don Juan to gather another group of people more akin to my energetic structure.
I have written extensively about those events. Yet I have never mentioned the second group of apprentices; don Juan did not permit me to do so. He argued that they were exclusively in my field and that the agreement I had with him was to write about his field, not mine.
The second group of apprentices was extremely compact. It had only three members: a dreamer, Florinda Grau; a stalker, Taisha Abelar; and a nagual woman, Carol Tiggs.
We interacted with one another solely in the second attention. In the world of everyday life, we did not have even a vague notion of one another. In terms of our relationship with don Juan, however, there was no vagueness; he put enormous effort into training all of us equally.
Nevertheless, toward the end, when don Juan’s time was about to finish, the psychological pressure of his departure started to collapse the rigid boundaries of the second attention. The result was that our interaction began to lapse into the world of everyday affairs, and we met, seemingly for the first time.
None of us, consciously, knew about our deep and arduous interaction in the second attention.
Since all of us were involved in academic studies, we ended up more than shocked when we found out we had met before. This was and still is, of course, intellectually inadmissible to us, yet we know that it was thoroughly within our experience. We have been left, therefore, with the disquieting knowledge that the human psyche is infinitely more complex than our mundane or academic reasoning had led us to believe.
Once we asked don Juan, in unison, to shed light on our predicament. He said that he had two explanatory options. One was to cater to our hurt rationality and patch it up, saying that the second attention is a state of awareness as illusory as elephants flying in the sky and that everything we thought we had experienced in that state was simply a product of hypnotic suggestions. The other option was to explain it the way sorcerer dreamers understand it: as an energetic configuration of awareness.
During the fulfillment of my dreaming tasks, however, the barrier of the second attention remained unchanged. Every time I entered into dreaming, I also entered into the second attention, and waking up from dreaming did not necessarily mean I had left the second attention. For years I could remember only bits of my dreaming experiences. The bulk of what I did was energetically unavailable to me. It took me fifteen years of uninterrupted work, from 1973 to 1988, to store enough energy to rearrange everything linearly in my mind. I remembered then sequences upon sequences of dreaming events, and I was able to fill in, at last, some seeming lapses of memory.
Sleeping_dreaming_of_this_by_kayjensen
In this manner I captured the inherent continuity of don Juan’s lessons in the art of dreaming, a continuity that had been lost to me because of his making me weave between the awareness of our everyday life and the awareness of the second attention. This work is a result of that rearrangement.
All this brings me to the final part of my statement: the reason for writing this book. Being in possession of most of the pieces of don Juan’s lessons in the art of dreaming, I would like to explain, in a future work, the current position and interest of his last four students: Florinda Grau, Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs, and myself. But before I describe and explain the results of don Juan’s guidance and influence on us,

Carol Tiggs and Carlos Castenada

Carol Tiggs and Carlos Castenada

I must review, in light of what I know now, the parts of don Juan’s lessons in dreaming to which I did not have access before. The definitive reason for this work, however, was given by Carol Tiggs. Her belief is that explaining the world that don Juan made us inherit is the ultimate expression of our gratitude to him and our commitment to his quest.

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About the author

Carlos Castaneda
December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998

Carlos Castenada

Carlos Castenada

Carlos Arana Castaneda was a Peruvian-American anthropologist and author.

Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his alleged training in shamanism. The books, narrated in the first person, relate his supposed experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” named Don Juan Matus. His 12 books have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested that they are works of fiction; supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness.
Castaneda withdrew from public view in 1973 to work further on his inner development, living in a large house with three women (“Fellow Travellers of Awareness”) who were ready to cut their ties to family and changed their names. He founded Cleargreen, an organization that promoted tensegrity, purportedly a traditional Toltec regimen of spiritually powerful exercises.

 

Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (Kant)

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Presents a collection of essays detailing Kant’s views on politics, history, and ethics.

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Whether this satirical inscription on a Dutch innkeeper’s sign upon which a burial ground was painted had for its object mankind in general, or the rulers of states in particular, who are insatiable of war, or merely the philosophers who dream this sweet dream, it is not for us to decide. But one condition the author of this essay wishes to lay down. The practical politician assumes the attitude of looking down with great self-satisfaction on the political theorist as a pedant whose empty ideas in no way threaten the security of the state, inasmuch as the state must proceed on empirical principles; so the theorist is allowed to play his game without interference from the worldly-wise statesman. Such being his attitude, the practical politician–and this is the condition I make–should at least act consistently in the case of a conflict and not suspect some danger to the state in the political theorist’s opinions which are ventured and publicly expressed without any ulterior purpose. By this clausula salvatoria the author desires formally and emphatically to deprecate herewith any malevolent interpretation which might be placed on his words.
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Guest Blog: Meeting Catherine – My Journey from Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ to ‘Catherine de Valois’

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Henry V is one of the most beloved plays of all time. Though mostly about King Henry’s war with France and his victory at Agincourt on 25th October 1415, the play introduces us to Henry V’s future queen Catherine de Valois from Henry’s decidedly biased point of view.

But was Shakespeare’s version of Queen Catherine truly historical?

Following my successful launch of my short biography Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni aimed at primary- and middle-school children in March, I decided to take on this very question. What I discovered along the way now makes me wonder how Shakespeare ever kept his head on his shoulders in light of the fact that Queen Elizabeth I was Catherine’s – but not King Henry’s – descendant.

Catherine_of_FranceCatherine de Valois was born 27th October 1401 in Paris, the youngest daughter of the paranoid schizophrenic King Charles VI and…

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Blood Red Turns Dollar Green (Paul O’Brien)

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Ready for some action? Presented in a humorous way, the wrestling scene of the 70s is bound to be full of colorful characters, shady businesses and a murder case.

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This novel contains adult themes and situations.

Blood Red Turns Dollar Green is one hell of a novel, with shades of Mario Puzo, Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly. The action is relentless, the characters are shady and the justice is swift and final. Paul O’Brien is the real deal and a rising star in the crime arena“. – Eoin Colfer, International Best Selling Author of Artemis Fowl, And Another Thing… and Plugged

1972 New York City and a dazed Lenny Long walks away from a crash carrying someone’s foot in his hand. He is also searching for the VIP passenger who has somehow disappeared from the back of his overturned van. It’s the first day of his new promotion and Lenny has less than twenty minutes to deliver the missing person or a lot of people are going to get badly hurt.

Danno Garland is in Shea Stadium trying to avoid a riot. He’s coming to the end of the most successful wrestling card of all time but he’s also coming to the realisation that he might not be able to deliver his widely hyped main event. He knows there’s more than the eyes of the arena on him and if Lenny doesn’t arrive soon, blood is going to be sought. Probably his.

Proctor King nervously watches the show on TV, wondering why his fuck-up of a son doesn’t already have the world heavyweight belt in his grasp. Arranging this match has taken Proctor four years of pay-offs, double dealing and bone breaking to arrange. If all that effort has been wasted then he might just have to take him a business trip to New York.

Lenny, Danno and Proctor. Three men with pieces of the puzzle but none with the full picture.

When they do piece it all together, the ‘fake’ world of professional wrestling is going to get very real.

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About the author

Paul O’Brien

paulobrienPaul O’Brien is a writer from Wexford, Ireland. In the last fifteen years he has written sixteen plays and two screenplays. His work has been commissioned and/or produced by The National Theatre of Ireland, Druid, Red Kettle Theatre, Gaiety School of Acting and Spare Key Productions.

He lives with his wife, Una and daughter, Niamh.

Blood Red Turns Dollar Green is his debut novel.

Doctor Sleep – Stephen King Book Review

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I should start by explaining that I adore The Shining, it wasn’t the first King book I read as a teenager but it was the one that stuck with me, so much so, that I make it a point to re-read my battered paperback copy of it at least once a year, it’s hard to pick a favourite King book but this one would be in my top three for sure. So when I heard the news that a sequel was to be written I awaited its release with much anticipation but also quite a mix of nerves too……what if it was an awful book? what if (god forbid) it completely ruined The Shining for me? So, I pre-ordered Dr Sleep with much trepidation, but I was also very excited by the thought of an update on Danny, Dick and Wendy.
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O Captain! My Captain!

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BY WALT WHITMAN

RIP Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

AMBIDEXTERITY EXERCISE

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by Melvin D. Saunders

ncaa-ambidextrous09132010Ambidexterity is the ability to use both your hands with equal ease or facility, but if you’re armless, it could be your feet! In fact, it is quite advantageous in certain sports and martial arts to be able to use both your feet with equal facility. The Greeks encouraged and tried to promote ambidexterity because it was simply logical in sports and battle to be adept with both hands instead of one. By combining the Phoenician style of writing right to left with their own left to right system, the Greeks created a reading and writing system called boustrophedon, where the lines ran alternately right-to-left and left-to-right. With alternating sweeps of the eyes back and forth, reading was more swift and efficient.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a multi-faceted genius like Leonardo da Vinci. He often painted with both hands. When one got tired, he switched to the other. British artist, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) could draw with both hands simultaneously — a horse’s head with one hand and a stag’s head with the other. He taught drawing and etching to Queen Victoria who was a lefty that became ambidextrous.

Fleming, Einstein and Tesla were all ambidextrous. Benjamin Franklin was also ambidextrous and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with his left hand. U.S. 20th president, James Garfield was a well educated backwoodsman born in a log cabin. Although he could write with either hand with equal ease, he could also write Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right hand simultaneously! Harry Kahne demonstrated his mental dexterity in 1922 by performing several mental operations simultaneously. While one hand was writing mirror language, the other hand intermingled upside down and backward letters.

Rats given diverse and enriched environments have more connective dendritic spines to their neurons and overall heavier brains than rats exposed to dull, unchallenging environments.

siltberg-ambidextrousLeft-handed and ambidextrous people have 11% larger corpus callosa (the bundle of nerve fibers joining the right and left sides of the brain) than right handed people.

An autopsy of Einstein’s brain revealed a larger profusion of superficial capillaries interlacing the cerebral cortex than the average brain, as well as an additional amount of glial cells.

Obviously the more we use and exercise our brain, the more it physically grows.

The following exercises are designed to task the little used areas of the brain to allow such growth.

To be able to use both hands equally well, practice is the key. During the day, use your left hand more (if you’re right-handed) by consciously switching when you’re about ready to do something — pouring a glass of milk, bouncing a ball, flipping and picking up coins, hammering a nail, cutting and buttering bread, stirring your coffee, swirling water in a glass, twisting off bottle caps, etc. Wherever you would use your one hand, use the other instead — putting a key in the door, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, shaving, grasping objects, etc.
When putting on your clothes, put your other hand or foot into the garment first. Thread your belt around your waist in the opposite direction. Put your watch on your other hand. Use your other hand in sports — hitting a baseball or a tennis ball, throwing a football, shooting a basketball, etc.
Practice stirring 2 cups of tea simultaneously, swirling 2 half filled glasses of water clockwise and counterclockwise, and bouncing two balls at the same time. Get used to the kinesthetic feeling of using the muscles of both your hands and arms together. Catch 2 balls thrown to you at the same time. Throw 2 paper wads at the same time into the same paper basket — one underhand and the other overhand. Throw 2 darts simultaneously at a dart board with both hands. Write with both hands at the same time.

Draw a butterfly, a vase or a geometric figure using both hands simultaneously, but keep practicing these exercises.

TheSmartist - Ambidextrous_thumb[3]

Many musical instruments are played ambidextrously, and many athletes are adept at using both of their hands. Since swimming is an ambidextrous activity, teaching dyslectic children to swim often helps them to read and write normally because it balances the brain hemispheres.

Become ambidextrous and along with an added physiological brain growth, a more balanced integration of your 2 hemispheres will be achieved. Studies have shown that ambidextrous people are more emotionally independent, more determined, more adaptable to new situations and more apt to handle problems without giving up.

 

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