Everything that I’ve done with you was done to accomplish one single task, the task of cleaning and reordering your island of the tonal. I’ve told you countless times that a most drastic change is needed if you want to succeed in the path of knowledge. That change is not a change of mood, or attitude, or outlook; that change entails the transformation of the island of the tonal.
Once that transformation has been accomplished a teacher would usually say to his disciple that he has arrived at a final crossroad. To say such a thing is misleading, though. In my opinion there is no final crossroad, no final step to anything. And since there is no final step to anything, there shouldn’t be any secrecy about any part of our lot as luminous beings. Personal power decides who can or who cannot profit by a revelation; my experiences with my fellow men have proven to me that very, very few of them would be willing to listen; and of those few who listen even fewer would be willing to act on what they have listened to; and of those who are willing to act even fewer have enough personal power to profit by their acts. So, the matter of secrecy about the sorcerers’ explanation boils down to a routine, perhaps a routine as empty as any other routine.
At any rate, you know now about the tonal and the nagual, which are the core of the sorcerers’ explanation. To know about them seems to be quite harmless. We are talking innocently about them as if they were just an ordinary topic of conversation. But before we venture beyond this point a fair warning is required; a teacher is supposed to speak in earnest terms and warn his disciple that the harmlessness and placidity of this moment are a mirage, that there is a bottomless abyss in front of him, and that once the door opens there is no way to close it again.
The years of hard training are only a preparation for the warrior’s devastating encounter with whatever lies out there, beyond this point. What will happen in that encounter depends on whether or not you have enough personal power to focus your unwavering attention on the wings of your perception, so let’s review what we’ve done.
The first act of a teacher is to introduce the idea that the world we think we see is only a view, a description of the world. Accepting that seems to be one of the hardest things one can do; we are complacently caught in our particular view of the world, which compels us to feel and act as if we know everything about the world. A teacher, from the very first act he performs, aims at stopping that view. Sorcerers call it stopping the internal dialogue, and they are convinced that it is the single most important technique that an apprentice can learn.
In order to stop the view of the world which one has held since the cradle, it is not enough to just wish or make a resolution. One needs a practical task; that practical task is called the right way of walking. It seems harmless and nonsensical. As everything else which has power in itself or by itself, the right way of walking does not attract attention.
Walking in that specific manner saturates the tonal, it floods it. You see, the attention of the tonal has to be placed on its creations. In fact, it is that attention that creates the order of the world in the first place; so, the tonal must be attentive to the elements of its world in order to maintain it, and must, above all, uphold the view of the world as internal dialogue.
The right way of walking is a subterfuge. The warrior, first by curling his fingers, draws attention to the arms; and then by looking fixedly, without focusing his eyes, at any point directly in front of him on the arc that starts at the tip of his feet and ends above the horizon, literally floods his tonal with information. The tonal, without its one-to-one relation with the elements of its description, is incapable of talking to itself, and thus one becomes silent.
The position of the fingers does not matter at all. The only consideration is to draw attention to the arms by clasping the fingers in various unaccustomed ways. The important thing is the manner in which the eyes, by being kept unfocused, detect an enormous number of features of the world without being clear about them. The eyes in that state are capable of picking out details which are too fleeting for normal vision.
Together with the right way of walking, a teacher must teach his apprentice another possibility, which is even more subtle: the possibility of acting without believing, without expecting rewards – acting just for the hell of it. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I told you that the success of a teacher’s enterprise depends on how well and how harmoniously he guides his apprentice in this specific respect.
We function at the center of reason exclusively, regardless of who we are or where we come from. Reason can naturally account in one way or another for everything that happens within its view of the world. Sorcerers have learned after generations to account in their views for everything that is accountable about them. I would say that sorcerers, by using their will, have succeeded in enlarging their views of the world. Some though are not men of knowledge. They never break the bounds of their enormous views and thus never arrive at the totality of themselves.
Only if one pits two views against each other can one weasel between them to arrive at the real world. That is, one can arrive at the totality of oneself only when one fully understands that the world is merely a view, regardless of whether that view belongs to an ordinary man or to a sorcerer. What matters is not to learn a new description but to arrive at the totality of oneself. One should get to the nagual without maligning the tonal, and above all, without injuring one’s body.
The tonal doesn’t know that decisions are in the realm of the nagual. When we think we decide, all we’re doing is acknowledging that something beyond our understanding has set up the frame of our so-called decision, and all we do is to acquiesce.
We’re at the end of our review. All in all, then, you have been being led into the nagual. But here we have a strange question. What is being led into the nagual? Not reason. Reason is meaningless there. Reason craps out in an instant when it is out of its safe narrow bounds. Your tonal? No, the tonal and the nagual are the two inherent parts of ourselves. They cannot be led into each other. Your perception!
We’re coming now to the sorcerers’ explanation. It won’t explain anything and yet…
Sorcerers say that we are inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has sealed us in. That bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all of our lives. And what we witness on its round walls is our own reflection.
If what we witness on the walls is our own reflection, then the thing that’s being reflected must be the real thing. The thing reflected is our view of the world. That view is first a description, which is given to us from the moment of our birth until all our attention is caught by it and the description becomes a view. The teacher’s task is to rearrange the view, to prepare the luminous being for the time when the spirit opens the bubble. The bubble is opened in order to allow the luminous being a view of his totality. Naturally this business of calling it a bubble is only a way of talking, but in this case it is an accurate way.
The delicate maneuver of leading a luminous being into the totality of themself requires that the teacher reorder the view of the world. I have called that view the island of the tonal. I’ve said that everything that we are is on that island. The sorcerers’ explanation says that the island of the tonal is made by our perception, which has been trained to focus on certain elements; each of those elements and all of them together form our view of the world. The job of a teacher, insofar as the apprentice’s perception is concerned, consists of reordering all the elements of the island on one half of the bubble. By now you must have realized that cleaning and reordering the island of the tonal means regrouping all its elements on the side of reason. My task has been to disarrange your ordinary view, not to destroy it but to force it to rally on the side of reason.
The art of a teacher is to force his disciple to group his view of the world on the right half of the bubble. That’s the side of the tonal. The teacher always addresses himself to that side. By presenting his apprentice with the warrior’s way he forces him into reasonableness, and sobriety, and strength of character and body. The other half of the bubble, the one that has been cleared, can then be claimed by something sorcerers call will.
We can better explain this by saying that the task of the teacher is to wipe clean one half of the bubble and to reorder everything on the other half. The spirit then opens the bubble on the side that has been cleaned. Once the seal is broken, the warrior is never the same. He has then the command of his totality. Half of the bubble is the ultimate center of reason, the tonal. The other half is the ultimate center of will, the nagual. That is the order that should prevail; any other arrangement is nonsensical and petty, because it goes against our nature; it robs us of our magical heritage and reduces us to nothing.
We have one single issue left. Sorcerers call it the secret of the luminous beings, and that is the fact that we are perceivers. We men and all the other luminous beings on earth are perceivers. That is our bubble, the bubble of perception. Our mistake is to believe that the only perception worthy of acknowledgment is what goes through our reason.
To be ready for the sorcerers’ explanation is a very difficult accomplishment. It shouldn’t be, but we insist on indulging in our lifelong view of the world. The mystery, or the secret, of the sorcerers’ explanation is that it deals with unfolding the wings of perception. The nagual by itself is of no use, it has to be tempered by the tonal. The sorcerers’ secret in using the nagual is in our perception.
There’s no way to get to the sorcerers’ explanation unless one has willingly used the nagual, or rather, unless one has willingly used the tonal to make sense out of one’s actions in the nagual. Another way of making all this clear is to say that the view of the tonal must prevail if one is going to use the nagual the way sorcerers do.
Order in our perception is the exclusive realm of the tonal; only there can our actions have a sequence; only there are they like stairways where one can count the steps. There is nothing of that sort in the nagual. Therefore, the view of the tonal is a tool, and as such it is not only the best tool but the only one we’ve got.
This is the sorcerers’ explanation. The nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feelings and beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful, unaltered, forever. Then the glue of life binds some of them together. When the glue of life binds those feelings together a being is created, a being that loses the sense of its true nature and becomes blinded by the glare and clamour of the area where beings hover, the tonal. The tonal is where all the unified organization exists. A being pops into the tonal once the force of life has bound all the needed feelings together.
I said to you that the tonal begins at birth and ends at death; I said that because I know that as soon as the force of life leaves the body all those single awarenesses disintegrate and go back again to where they came from, the nagual. What a warrior does in journeying into the unknown is very much like dying, except that his cluster of single feelings do not disintegrate but expand a bit without losing their togetherness. At death, however, they sink deeply and move independently as if they had never been a unit.
There is no way to refer to the unknown, one can only witness it. The sorcerers’ explanation says that each of us has a center from which the nagual can be witnessed, the will. A warrior can venture into the nagual and let his cluster arrange and rearrange itself in any way possible.
I have called that cluster the bubble of perception. I have also said that it is sealed, closed tightly, and that it never opens until the moment of our death. Yet it could be made to open. Sorcerers have obviously learned that secret, and although not all of them arrive at the totality of themselves, they know about the possibility of it. They know that the bubble opens only when one plunges into the nagual.
The secret of the double is in the bubble of perception. The cluster of feelings can be made to assemble instantly anywhere. In other words, one can perceive the here and the there at once. You are a nameless cluster of feelings. There is another center of assemblage, the will, through which it is possible to judge or assess and use the extraordinary effects of the nagual. One can reflect the nagual through the will, although one can never explain it.
The conviction that there is a real you is a result of the fact that you have rallied everything you’ve got around your reason. At this point your reason admits that the nagual is the indescribable, not because the evidence has convinced it, but because it is safe to admit that. Your reason is on safe ground, all the elements of the tonal are on its side.
To make reason feel safe is always the task of the teacher. The teacher tricks the apprentice’s reason into believing that the tonal is accountable and predictable. I have laboured to give you the impression that only the nagual is beyond the scope of explanation; the proof that the tricking was successful is that at this moment it seems to you that there is still a core that you can claim as your own, your reason. That’s a mirage. Your precious reason is only a center of assemblage, a mirror that reflects something which is outside of it.
The last piece of the sorcerers’ explanation says that reason is merely reflecting an outside order, and that reason knows nothing about that order; it cannot explain it, in the same way it cannot explain the nagual. Reason can only witness the effects of the tonal, but never ever could it understand it, or unravel it. The very fact that we are thinking and talking points out an order that we follow without ever knowing how we do that, or what the order is.
Sorcerers say that through the will they can witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing.
The wings of perception can take us to the most recondite confines of the nagual or to inconceivable worlds of the tonal. The tonal of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable unknown filled with order; the nagual of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable void that contains everything. You have nothing except the force of your life that binds that cluster of feelings. Turn off your internal dialogue; gather the power needed to unfold the wings of your perception and fly to that infinitude.
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