Noah (angelbob) wrote,

Carlos Castaneda is powerful stuff, as it should be. It's about a sociologist who lives with the Yaqui indians in Mexico, and is adopted as the apprentice of an old Nagual, a sorcerer, named don Juan Matus. The training was very involved and took many years. Castaneda learned the various mental disciplines that allowed him to change his perception of the world, the disciplines of attention, intent, stalking and will, which I won't explain here.

Here's a bit that really stuck with me. It's not so much magical as about people and how they act.

"I am going to tell you the story of how the nagual Julian behaved with me when I first met him. If you judge him and find his behavior objectionable while you are in heightened awareness, think of how revolted you might be with him in normal awareness."

I protested that he was setting me up. He assured me that all he wanted to do with his story was to illustrate the manner in which stalkers operate and the reasons why they do it.

"The nagual Julian was the last of the old-time stalkers," he went on. "He was a stalker not so much because of the circumstances of his life but because that was the bent of his character."

Don Juan explained that the new seers saw that there are two main groups of human beings: those who care about others and those who do not. In between these two extremes they saw an endless mixture of the two. The nagual Julian belonged to the category of men who do not care; don Juan classified himself as belonging to the opposite category.

"But didn't you tell me that the nagual Julian was generous, that he would give you the shirt off his back?" I asked.

"He certainly was," don Juan replied. "Not only was he generous; he was also utterly charming, winning. He was always deeply and sincerely interested in everybody around him. He was kind and open and gave away everything he had to anyone who needed it, or to anyone he happened to like. He was in turn loved by everyone, because being a master stalker, he conveyed to them his true feelings: he didn't give a plugged nickel for any of them."

I did not say anything, but don Juan was aware of my sense of disbelief or even distress at what he was saying. He chuckled and shook his head from side to side.

"That's stalking," he said. "You see, I haven't even begun my story of the nagual Julian and you are already annoyed."

He exploded into a giant laugh as I tried to explain what I was feeling.

"The nagual Julian didn't care about anyone," he continued. "That's why he could help people. And he did; he gave them the shirt off his back, because he didn't give a fig about them."

"Do you mean, don Juan, that the only ones who help their fellow men are those who don't give a damn about them?" I asked, truly miffed.

"That's what stalkers say," he said with a beaming smile. "The nagual Julian, for instance, was a fabulous curer. He helped thousands and thousands of people, but he never took credit for it. He let people believe that a woman seer of his party was the curer.

"Now, if he had been a man who cared for his fellow men, he would've demanded acknowledgement. Those who care for others care for themselves and demand recognition where recognition is due."

Don Juan said that he, since he belonged to the category of those who care for their fellow man, had never helped anyone: he felt awkward with generosity; he could not even conceive being loved as the nagual Julian was, and he would certainly feel stupid giving anyone the shirt off his back.

"I care so much for my fellow man," he continued, "that I don't do anything for him. I wouldn't know what to do. And I would always have the nagging sense that I was imposing my will on him with my gifts.

"Naturally, I have overcome all these feelings with the warriors' way. Any warrior can be successful with people, as the nagual Julian, provided he moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him, dislike him or ignore him. But that's not the same."

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