I am sure that you have bouts with intent. You intended something and anything that was opposed to it you had to let go. The touch of warrior-travelers is very light, although it is cultivated. The hand of a warrior-traveler begins as a heavy, gripping, iron hand but becomes like the hand of a ghost, a hand made of gossamer. Warrior-travelers leave no marks, no tracks. That’s the challenge for warrior-travelers.
I’m going to delineate the intricacies of awareness and perception, which are the basis of the recapitulation. I am going to present an arrangement of concepts that you should not take as sorcerers’ theories under any conditions, because it is an arrangement formulated by the shamans of ancient Mexico as a result of seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe. I will present the units of this arrangement to you without any attempt at classifying them or ranking them by any predetermined standard.
I’m not interested in classifications. You have been classifying everything all your life. Now you are going to be forced to stay away from classifications. Classifications have a world of their own. After you begin to classify anything, the classification becomes alive, and it rules you. But since classifications never started as energy-giving affairs, they always remain like dead logs. They are not trees; they are merely logs.
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico saw that the universe at large is composed of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments. They saw zillions of them, wherever they turned to see. They also saw that those energy fields arranged themselves into currents of luminous fibers, streams that are constant, perennial forces in the universe. The current or stream of filaments that is related to the recapitulation was named by those sorcerers the dark sea of awareness, the indescribable force, and also the Eagle.
Those sorcerers also found out that every creature in the universe is attached to the dark sea of awareness at a round point of luminosity that was apparent when those creatures were perceived as energy. On that point of luminosity, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called the assemblage point of human beings, zillions of energy fields from the universe at large, in the form of luminous filaments, converge and go through it. These energy fields are converted into sensory data, and the sensory data is then interpreted and perceived as the world we know. What turns the luminous fibers into sensory data is the dark sea of awareness. Sorcerers see this transformation and call it the glow of awareness, a sheen that extends like a halo around the assemblage point. I’m going to make a statement which, in the understanding of sorcerers, is central to comprehending the scope of the recapitulation.
What we call the senses in organisms is nothing but degrees of awareness. If we accept that the senses are the dark sea of awareness, we have to admit that the interpretation that the senses make of sensory data is also the dark sea of awareness. To face the world around us in the terms that we do is the result of the interpretation system of mankind with which every human being is equipped. Every organism in existence has to have an interpretation system that permits it to function in its surrounding.
The old sorcerers saw that at the moment of death, the dark sea of awareness sucked in, so to speak, through the assemblage point, the awareness of living creatures. They also saw that the dark sea of awareness had a moment’s, let’s say, hesitation when it was faced with sorcerers who had done a recounting of their lives. Unbeknownst to them, some had done it so thoroughly that the dark sea of awareness took their awareness in the form of their life experiences, but didn’t touch their life force. Sorcerers had found out a gigantic truth about the forces of the universe: the dark sea of awareness wants only our life experiences, not our life force.
Recapitulation is the act of calling back the energy we have already spent in past actions. To recapitulate entails recalling all the people we have met, all the places we have seen, and all the feelings we have had in our entire lives; starting from the present and going back to the earliest memories; then sweeping them clean, one by one, with the sweeping breath. Inhale through the nose as you turn your head to the left, and then exhale as you turn it to the right. Next, turn your head to the left and right in a single movement without breathing. This is a mysterious way of breathing and the key to the recapitulation, because inhaling allows us to pull back energy that we lost; while exhaling permits us to expel foreign, undesirable energy that has accumulated in us through interacting with our fellow men.
In order to live and interact, we need energy. Normally, the energy spent in living is gone forever from us. Were it not for the recapitulation, we would never have the chance to renew ourselves. Recapitulating our lives and sweeping our past with the sweeping breath work as a unit. Recalling everyone you have ever known and everything you have ever felt may seem like an absurd and impossible task that could take forever, but you have everything to gain by doing it, and nothing to lose. It’s so important that I propose you make an agreement. I want you to write and sign a promissory voucher stating that you’re going to try the recapitulation exercise for one month only. If, after a month, you don’t notice any increase in energy, or any improvement in how you feel toward yourself or toward life in general, you will be free to drop it as an exercise.
When you recapitulate, try to feel some long stretchy fibers that extend out from your midsection, Then align the turning motion of your head with the movement of these elusive fibers. They are the conduits that will bring back the energy that you’ve left behind. In order to recuperate our strength and unity, we have to release our energy trapped in the world and pull it back to us. While recapitulating, we extend those stretchy fibers of energy across space and time to the persons, places and events we are examining. The result is that we can return to every moment of our lives and act as if we were actually there.
Although intellectually this may seem like an intriguing possibility, most of us have little intention of returning to a disagreeable past, even if only in the mind. We might even take pride in having escaped an unbearable life situation, so we are recoil at the idea of going back and mentally relive all the moments we have tried so hard to forget. And yet, this technique and it’s purpose is utterly serious and sincere, so put your objections aside, and concentrate. The important point is to re-experience the events and feelings in as much detail as possible, and to touch them with the sweeping breath, thereby releasing one’s trapped energy.
I am going give you some further instructions on how to proceed with recapitulation. You should begin making a list of all the people you have met, starting from the present and going back to my earliest memories. It is difficult, true, but not impossible, and it’s a necessary part of recapitulation. The list forms a matrix for the mind to hook on to. Once they have that list, they take the first person on it and recollect everything they can about that person. And I mean everything, every detail. We must also start the recapitulation by first focussing our attention on our past sexual activity, because that’s where the bulk of our energy is caught and that’s why we must free those memories first. Begin making your list today. Divide it by years, by occupations, arrange it in any order you want to, but make it sequential, with the most recent person first, and end with Mommy and Daddy. And then, remember everything about them. No more ado than that. As you practice, you will realize what you’re doing.
The recapitulation as a formal procedure was done in ancient times by recollecting every person the practitioners knew and every experience in which they had taken part. Making a written list of all the persons you’ve met in your life is a mnemonic device that propels memory into an inconceivable journey. It’s better to recapitulate from the present to the past, because the memories of the present are fresh, and in this manner, the recollection ability is honed. Sorcerers’ position in this respect is that remembering events that have just taken place prepares the ground for remembering events more distant in time with the same clarity and immediacy. To recollect experiences in this way is to relive them, and to draw from this recollection an extraordinary impetus that is capable of stirring energy dispersed from our centers of vitality, and returning it to them.
Once you’ve written that list, you must proceed to use it. Take the first person on the list, which goes backwards in time from the present to the time of your very first life experience, and set up, in your memory, your last interaction with that first person on my list. This act is called arranging the event to be recapitulated. The recapitulation as a formal procedure must begin by the recounting of events that have just taken place. In this fashion, the primacy of the experience takes precedence. Something that has just happened is something that one can remember with great accuracy. Sorcerers always count on the fact that human beings are capable of storing detailed information that they are not aware of, and that that detail is what the dark sea of awareness is after.
The initial stage of the recapitulation consists of two things. The first is the list, the second is setting up the scene, and setting up the scene consists of visualizing all the details pertinent to the events that one is going to recall. A detailed recollection of minutiae is required as the proper means to hone one’s capacity to remember. This recollection entails getting all the pertinent physical details, such as the surroundings where the event being recollected took place. Once the event is arranged, one should enter into the locale itself, as if actually going into it, paying special attention to any relevant physical configurations. If, for instance, the interaction took place in an office, what should be remembered is the floor, the doors, the walls, the pictures, the windows, the desks, the objects on the desks, everything that could have been observed in a glance and then forgotten.
Once you have all the elements in place, use the sweeping breath. What practitioners do is to recollect and breathe. They inhale slowly and deliberately, fanning the head from right to left, in a barely noticeable swing, and exhale in the same fashion. The actual recapitulation of the event requires that one breathe deeply, fanning the head, so to speak, very slowly and gently from side to side. This fanning of the head was done as many times as needed, while remembering all the details accessible. The inhalations and exhalations should be natural; if they are too rapid, one enters into something called tiring breaths: breaths that require slower breathing afterward in order to calm down the muscles. The movement of your head is like a fan that stirs everything in that scene. Sorcerers talked about this act as breathing in all of one’s own feelings spent in the event being recollected, and expelling all the unwanted moods and extraneous feelings that were left with us. Remember, intend to inhale the energy that you left in the scene you’re recapitulating, and intend to exhale the extraneous energy thrust into you by others. If you’re remembering a room, for example, breathe in the walls, the ceiling, the furniture, the people you see. And don’t stop until you have absorbed every last bit of energy you left behind. Your body will tell you when you’ve had enough.
Recapitulation, according to what don Juan taught his disciples, was a technique discovered by the sorcerers of ancient Mexico, and used by every shaman practitioner from then on, to view and relive all the experiences of their lives, in order to achieve two transcendental goals: one, the abstract goal of fulfilling a universal code that demands that awareness must he relinquished at the moment of death; and two, the extremely pragmatic goal of acquiring perceptual fluidity.
He said that the formulation of their first goal was the result of observations that those sorcerers made by means of their capacity to see energy directly as it flows in the universe. They had seen that there exists in the universe a gigantic force, an immense conglomerate of energy fields which they called the Eagle, or the dark sea of awareness. They observed that the dark sea of awareness is the force that lends awareness to all living beings, from viruses to men. They believed that it lends awareness to a newborn being, and that this being enhances that awareness by means of its life experiences until a moment in which the force demands its return.
In the understanding of those sorcerers, all living beings die because they are forced to return the awareness lent to them. Sorcerers throughout the ages have understood that there is no way for what modern man calls our linear mode of thinking to explain such a phenomenon, because there is no room for a cause?and?effect line of reasoning as to why and how awareness is lent and then taken back. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico viewed it as an energetic fact of the universe, a fact that can’t be explained in terms of cause and effect, or in terms of a purpose which can be determined a priori.
The sorcerers of don Juan’s lineage believed that to recapitulate meant to give the dark sea of awareness what it was seeking: their life experiences. They believed that by means of the recapitulation, however, they could acquire a degree of control that could permit them to separate their life experiences from their life force. For them, the two were not inextricably intertwined; they were joined only circumstantially.
Those sorcerers affirmed that the dark sea of awareness doesn’t want to take the lives of human beings; it wants only their life experiences. Lack of discipline in human beings prevents them from separating the two forces, and in the end, they lose their lives, when it is meant that they lose only the force of their life experiences. Those sorcerers viewed the recapitulation as the procedure by which they could give the dark sea of awareness a substitute for their lives. They gave up their life experiences by recounting them, but they retained their life force. Man always loses by default. In the case of the premises of sorcery, man is missing a tremendous opportunity for the enhancement of his awareness, and that the way in which man relates himself to the universe, life, and awareness is only one of a multiplicity of options.
To recapitulate, for shaman practitioners, means to give to an incomprehensible force – the dark sea of awareness – the very thing it seems to be looking for: their life experiences, that is to say, the awareness that they have enhanced through those very life experiences. All that sorcerers could aspire to do was to accomplish the feat of retaining their life force without knowing how it was done. He also said that there were thousands of sorcerers who had achieved this. They had retained their life force after they had given the dark sea of awareness the force of their life experiences. This meant to don Juan that those sorcerers didn’t die in the usual sense in which we understand death, but that they transcended it by retaining their life force and vanishing from the face of the earth, embarked on a definitive journey of perception.
The belief of the shamans of don Juan’s lineage was that when death takes place in this fashion, all of our being is turned into energy, a special kind of energy that retains the mark of our individuality. Don Juan tried to explain this in a metaphorical sense, saying that we are composed of a number of single nations: the nation of the lungs, the nation of the heart, the nation of the stomach, the nation of the kidneys, and so on. Each of these nations sometimes works independently of the others, but at the moment of death, all of them are unified into one single entity. The sorcerers of don Juan’s lineage called this state total freedom. For those sorcerers, death is a unifier, and not an annihilator, as it is for the average man.
This is in no way immortality. It is merely the entrance into an evolutionary process, using the only medium for evolution that man has at his disposal: awareness. The sorcerers of Don Juan’s lineage were convinced that man could not evolve biologically any further; therefore, they considered man’s awareness to be the only medium for evolution. At the moment of dying, sorcerers are not annihilated by death, but are transformed into inorganic beings: beings that have awareness, but not an organism. To be transformed into an inorganic being was evolution for them, and it meant that a new, indescribable type of awareness was lent to them, an awareness that would last for veritably millions of years, but which would also someday have to be returned to the giver: the dark sea of awareness.
Don Juan described the second, the pragmatic goal of the recapitulation as the acquisition of fluidity. The sorcerers’ rationale behind this had to do with one of the most elusive subjects of sorcery: the assemblage point, a point of intense luminosity the size of a tennis ball, perceivable when sorcerers see a human being as a conglomerate of energy fields. Sorcerers like don Juan see that trillions of energy fields in the form of filaments of light from the universe at large converge on the assemblage point and go through it. This confluence of filaments gives the assemblage point its brilliancy. The assemblage point makes it possible for a human being to perceive those trillions of energy filaments by turning them into sensorial data. The assemblage point then interprets this data as the world of everyday life, that is to say, in terms of human socialization and human potential.
To recapitulate is to relive every, or nearly every, experience that we have had, and in doing so to displace the assemblage point, ever so slightly or a great deal, propelling it by the force of memory to adopt the position that it had when the event being recapitulated took place. This act of going back and forth from previous positions to the current one gives the shaman practitioners the necessary fluidity to withstand extraordinary odds in their journeys into infinity. The recapitulation gives the necessary fluidity to withstand odds which are not in any way part of their habitual cognition.
Sorcerers believe that the mystery of the recapitulation lies in the act of inhaling and exhaling. Since breathing is a life?sustaining function, sorcerers are certain that by means of it, one can also deliver to the dark sea of awareness the facsimile of one’s life experiences. When I pressed don Juan for a rational explanation of this idea, his position was that things like the recapitulation could only be experienced, not explained. He said that in the act of doing, one can find liberation, and that to explain it was to dissipate our energy in fruitless efforts. His invitation was congruous with everything related to his knowledge: the invitation to take action. Sorcerers refer to this redeployment of energy that the recapitulation causes as gaining fluidity after giving the dark sea of awareness what it is looking for.
On a more mundane level, the recapitulation gives practitioners the capacity to examine the repetition in their lives. Recapitulating can convince them, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that all of us are at the mercy of forces which ultimately make no sense, although at first sight they seem perfectly reasonable; such as being at the mercy of courtship. It seems that for some people, courtship is the pursuit of a lifetime. I have personally heard from people of advanced age that the only ideal that they had was to find a perfect companion, and that their aspiration was to have perhaps one year of happiness in love.
Don Juan Matus used to say to me, over my vehement protests, that the problem was that nobody really wanted to love anybody, but that every one of us wanted to be loved. He said that this obsession with courtship, taken at face value, was the most natural thing in the world to us. To hear a seventy?five?year?old man or woman say that they are still in search of a perfect companion is an affirmation of something idealistic, romantic, beautiful. However, to examine this obsession in the context of the endless repetitions of a lifetime makes it appear as it really is: something grotesque.
Don Juan assured me that if any behavioural change is going to be accomplished, it has to be done through the recapitulation, since it is the only vehicle that can enhance awareness by liberating one from the unvoiced demands of socialization, which are so automatic, so taken for granted, that they are not even noticed under normal conditions, much less examined. There is an enormous premium on time. For sorcerers in general, time is of the essence. The challenge I am faced with is that in a very compact unit of time I must cram into you everything there is to know about sorcery as an abstract proposition, but in order to do that I have to build the necessary space in you. The premise of sorcerers is that in order to bring something in, there must be a space to put it in. If you are filled to the brim with the items of everyday life, there’s no space for anything new. That space must be built. Do you see what I mean? The sorcerers of olden times believed that the recapitulation of your life made the space. It does, and much more, of course.
The actual act of recapitulating is a lifetime endeavour. It takes years to exhaust the list of people, especially for those who have made the acquaintance of and have interacted with thousands of individuals. This list is augmented by the memory of impersonal events in which no people are involved, but which have to be examined because they are somehow related to the person being recapitulated. Don Juan asserted that what the sorcerers of ancient Mexico sought avidly in recapitulating was the memory of interaction, because in interactions lie the deep effects of socialization, which they struggled to overcome by any means available.
The power of the recapitulation is that it stirs up all the garbage of our lives and brings it to the surface Sorcerers believe that as we recapitulate our lives, all the debris, as I told you, comes to the surface. We realize our inconsistencies, our repetitions, but something is us puts up a tremendous resistance to recapitulating. Sorcerers say that the road is free only after a gigantic upheaval, after the appearance on our screen of the memory of an event that shakes our foundations with its terrifying clarity of detail. It’s the event that drags us to the actual moment that we lived it. Sorcerers call that event the usher, because from then on every event we touch on is relived, not merely remembered.
Walking is always something that precipitates memories. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico believed that everything we live we store as a sensation on the backs of the legs. They considered the backs of the legs to be the warehouse of man’s personal history. Walking will have you ready to begin this sorcerers’ maneuver of finding an usher: an event in your life that you will remember with such clarity that it will serve as a spotlight to illuminate everything else in your recapitulation with the same, or comparable, clarity. Do what sorcerers call recapitulating pieces of a puzzle. Something will lead you to remember the event that will serve as your usher. Give it your best shot; do your best.
To recount events is magical for sorcerers. It isn’t just telling stories. It is seeing the underlying fabric of events. This is the reason recounting is so important and vast.
Warrior-travelers roll with the punches. They go wherever the impulse may take them. The power of warrior-travelers is to be alert, to get maximum effect from minimal impulse. And above all, their power lies in not interfering. Events have a force, a gravity of their own, and travelers are just travelers. Everything around them is for their eyes alone. In this fashion, travelers construct the meaning of every situation, without ever asking how it happened this way or that way.
Today, you may remember an event that sums up your total life. We are always faced with a situation that is the same as one that we never resolved. Infinity always puts us in this terrible position of having to choose. We want infinity, but at the same time, we want to run away from it. You want to tell me to go and jump in a lake, but at the same time you are compelled to stay. It would be infinitely easier for you to just be compelled to stay.
Something in you will begin to collapse for sure. It has been collapsing all along, but it repairs itself very quickly every time its supports fail. I’ve told you already, we have two minds, and only one of them is truly ours. There is a secret option to the recapitulation. Just like I told you that there is a secret option to dying, an option that only sorcerers take. In the case of dying, the secret option is that human beings could retain their life force and relinquish only their awareness, the product of their lives. In the case of the recapitulation, the secret option that only sorcerers take is to choose to enhance their true minds.
Any haunting memory of your recollections can come only from your true mind. The other mind that we all have and share is, I would say, a cheap model: economy strength, one size fits all. But this is a subject that we will discuss later. What is at stake now is the advent of a disintegrating force. But not a force that is disintegrating you- I don’t mean it that way. It is disintegrating what the sorcerers call the foreign installation, which exists in you and in every other human being. The effect of the force that is descending on you, which is disintegrating the foreign installation, is that it pulls sorcerers out of their syntax.
I know how difficult it is for you to deal with this facet of your life. Every sorcerer that I know has gone through it. The males going through it suffer infinitely more damage than the females. I suppose it’s the condition of women to be more durable. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico acting as a group, tried their best to buttress the impact of this disintegrating force. In our day, we have no means of acting as a group so we must brace ourselves to face in solitude a force that will sweep us away from language, for there is no way to describe adequately what is going on.
Sorcerers face the unknown in the most common incidents one can imagine. When they are confronted with it, and cannot interpret what they are perceiving, they have to rely on an outside source for direction. I’ve called that source infinity, or the voice of the spirit. If sorcerers don’t try to be rational about what can’t be rationalized, the spirit unerringly tells them what’s what.
Infinity is a force that has a voice and is conscious of itself. Consequently, I have prepared you to be ready to listen to that voice and act efficiently always, but without antecedents, using as little as possible the railings of pre-defined ideas.
Infinity is a conscious force that deliberately intervenes in the lives of sorcerers. You will seek explanations with linear cause and effect. Each of your recollections will become more and more vivid, more and more maddening to you, because as I told you already, you have entered an irreversible process. Your true mind is emerging, waking up from a state of lifelong lethargy.
Infinity is claiming you. Whatever means it uses to point that out to you cannot have any other reason, any other cause, any other value than that. What you should do, however, is to be prepared for the onslaughts of infinity. You must be in a state of continuously bracing yourself for a blow of tremendous magnitude. That is the sane, sober way in which sorcerers face infinity.
Everything you do has to be an act of sorcery. An act free from encroaching expectations, fears of failure, hopes of success. Free from the cult of me; everything you do has to be impromptu, a work of magic where you freely open yourself to the impulses of the infinite.
The sorcerers of my lineage considered that one of the most coveted results of inner silence is a specific interplay of energy, which is always heralded by a strong emotion. Such an interplay manifests itself in terms of hues that are projected on any horizon in the world of everyday life, be it a mountain, the sky, a wall, or simply the palms of the hands. This interplay of hues begins with the appearance of a tenuous brushstroke of lavender on the horizon. In time, this lavender brushstroke starts to expand until it covers the visible horizon, like advancing storm clouds.
A dot of a peculiar, rich, pomegranate red shows up, as if bursting from the lavender clouds. As sorcerers become more disciplined and experienced, the dot of pomegranate expands and finally explodes into thoughts or visions, or in the case of a literate man, into written words; sorcerers either see visions engendered by energy, hear thoughts being voiced as words, or read written words.
There’s nothing gentle about sorcerers or sorcery. The first time that infinity descends on you it may be a total takeover of your faculties. Insofar as the speed of your visions is concerned, you yourself will have to learn to adjust it. For some sorcerers, that’s the job of a lifetime. Energy may appear to you as if it were being projected onto a movie screen. Whether or not you understand what’s projected is another matter. In order to make an accurate interpretation you need experience. My recommendation is that you shouldn’t be bashful, and you should begin now. Your true mind is emerging, and it has nothing to do with the mind that is a foreign installation. Let your true mind adjust the speed. Be silent, and don’t fret, no matter what happens.
Anyway, infinity chooses. The warrior-traveler simply acquiesces to that choice. But above all, don’t be overwhelmed by the event because you cannot describe it. It is an event beyond the syntax of our language.
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