The Art of Dreaming

For a while this morning I was researching Carlos Castenada. I had read his first four or five books as a teen and was thinking perhaps it was time to refresh my memory as regards their content. Pretty soon, I was reading about the man and how most likely, he was a fraud who rather than sitting in a small room with Don Juan was reading books about the subject at the University Library. I felt a rising sense of disappointment too as I read how he had retreated to a mansion with three female followers who gave up everything to live with and follow him and how he treated his family. All the classic symptoms of ego, sex and cult. Very disappointing.

I read too a summary of the content of the books. Even though Castenada himself may have been suspect, mysterious and perhaps a fraud, for me anyhow the books do contain a synthesis of real wisdom and knowledge. Who knows how he really came by that knowledge and who knows what the truth about him really is perhaps instead what matters is what we make of his books. Castenada himself talked about how reality is described to us and we eventually accept reality as described. From the moment we are born, we are described things and eventually we take on this view of reality. He said that to begin to see one had to stop the world. When you stopped the world or as I understood it, questioned what really was around you, you would begin to learn to see another reality or realities. Though he may use terminology that is different to the words I may use, he is saying what I am coming to accept as well. Any form of occult training essentially has the same objective and that is to break down the reality you were taught and help you to observe your own version of it.

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This in turn naturally leads me to the conclusion that in a way, we all create our own realities. It explains why for example, some people live conspiracy theories or see roadblocks and objections everywhere. They choose to. On the other hand, it can explain why people who can truly visualize success become successful. They create their reality. But before you can do that, you have to know yourself and be aware of what filters you have been given – how the world has been described to you. Hatred, racism, homophobia for examples, are all inherited filters – they are all a description of acceptable reality for a consensus or majority.

So while, Castenada may be a disappointment to me I feel his works are valid. They originated somewhere in his reality and they describe an alternate reality as well as providing a map for getting there. I shall re-read his books…….

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5 thoughts on “The Art of Dreaming

  1. Oddly enough I was looking at Journey to Ixtlan last night again… haven’t read Castenada in years and was thinking I should. I agree with you.. it matters little how he came across the knowledge Don Juan and Don Genaro are credited with in the books, much of what was set out makes sense and accords with the esoteric understanding of reality and how we shape it. I even mentioned stopping the world in one of my posts today.

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  2. I agree, Gary. I adored the Castaneda books in my late teens and read all that I could lay my hands upon. Yes, it was disillusioning to read his story in later years – but, to me, it does not invalidate the world of Don Juan, Don Genaro and the rest. The esoteric strand is completely recognisable anyhow.

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