(The Eagle’s Gift)
In the course of that year, her benefactor also introduced her to the Nagual Juan Matus, whom she described as very witty and thoughtful but still the most unruly and terrifying young man she had ever met. She said that it was the Nagual Juan Matus who helped her escape from Celestino.
He and Silvio Manuel smuggled her out of the city through police and army roadblocks.
Celestino had filed a legal complaint for desertion, and being an influential man, he had used his resources to try to stop her from leaving him.
Because of this her benefactor had to move to another part of Mexico and she had to remain in hiding in his house for years; this situation suited Florinda as she had to fulfill the task of recapitulating and for that she needed absolute quiet and solitude.
She explained that a recapitulation is the forte of stalkers as the dreaming body is the forte of dreamers. It consisted of recollecting one’s life down to the most insignificant detail. Thus her benefactor had given her that crate as a tool and a symbol. It was a tool that would permit her to learn concentration, for she would have to sit in there for years, until all of her life had passed in front of her eyes. And it was a symbol of the narrow boundaries of our person. Her benefactor told her that whenever she had finished her recapitulation, she would break the crate to symbolize that she no longer abided by the limitations of her person.
She said that stalkers use crates or earth coffins in order to seal themselves in while they are reliving, more than merely recollecting, every moment of their lives. The reason why stalkers must recapitulate their lives in such a thorough manner is that the Eagle’s gift to man includes its willingness to accept a surrogate instead of genuine awareness, if such a surrogate be a perfect replica. Florinda explained that since awareness is the Eagle’s food, the Eagle can be satisfied with a perfect recapitulation in place of consciousness.
Florinda gave me then the fundamentals of recapitulating. She said that the first stage is a brief recounting of all the incidents in our lives that in an obvious manner stand out for examination.
The second stage is a more detailed recollection, which starts systematically at a point that could be the moment prior to the stalker sitting in the crate, and theoretically could extend to the moment of birth.
She assured me that a perfect recapitulation could change a warrior as much, if not more, than the total control of the dreaming body. In this respect, dreaming and stalking led to the same end, the entering into the third attention. It was important for a warrior, however, to know and practice both. She said that for women it took different configurations in the luminous body to master one or the other. Men, on the other hand, could do both with a degree of ease, yet they could never get to the level of proficiency that the women attained in each art.
Florinda explained that the key element in recapitulating was breathing. Breath for her was magical, because it was a life-giving function. She said that recollecting was easy if one could reduce the area of stimulation around the body. This was the reason for the crate; then breathing would foster deeper and deeper memories. Theoretically, stalkers have to remember every feeling that they have had in their lives, and this process begins with a breath. She warned me that the things she was teaching me were only preliminaries, that at a later time, in a different setting she would teach me the intricacies.
Florinda said that her benefactor directed her to write down a list of the events to be relived.
He told her that the procedure starts with an initial breath. Stalkers begin with their chin on the right shoulder and slowly inhale as they move their head over a hundred and eighty degree arc. The breath terminates on the left shoulder. Once the inhalation ends, the head goes back to a relaxed position. They exhale looking straight ahead. The stalker then takes the event at the top of the list and remains with it until all the feelings expended in it have been recounted. As stalkers remember the feelings they invested in whatever it is that they are remembering, they inhale slowly, moving their heads from the right shoulder to the left. The function of this breathing is to restore energy. Florinda claimed that the luminous body is constantly creating cob-weblike filaments, which are projected out of the luminous mass, propelled by emotions of any sort. Therefore, every situation of interaction, or every situation where feelings are involved, is potentially draining to the luminous body. By breathing from right to left while remembering a feeling, stalkers, through the magic of breathing, pick up the filaments they left behind. The next immediate breath is from left to right and it is an exhalation. With it stalkers eject filaments left in them by other luminous bodies involved in the event being recollected.
She stated that these were the mandatory preliminaries of stalking, which all the members of her party went through as an introduction to the more demanding exercises of the art. Unless stalkers have gone through the preliminaries in order to retrieve the filaments they have left in the world, and particularly in order to reject those that others have left in them, there is no possibility of handling controlled folly, because those foreign filaments are the basis of one’s limitless capacity for self-importance. In order to practice controlled folly, since it is not a way to fool or chastise people or feel superior to them, one has to be capable of laughing at oneself. Florinda said that one of the results of a detailed recapitulation is genuine laughter upon coming face to face with the boring repetition of one’s self-esteem, which is at the core of all human interaction.
Florinda emphasized that the rule defined stalking and dreaming as arts; therefore they are something that one performs. She said that the life-giving nature of breath is what also gives it its cleansing capacity. It is this capacity that makes a recapitulation into a practical matter.
In our next meeting Florinda summed up what she called her last-minute instructions. She asserted that since the joint assessment of the Nagual Juan Matus and his party of warriors had been that I did not need to deal with the world of everyday life, they had taught me dreaming instead of stalking. She explained that this assessment had been radically modified, and that they had found themselves in an awkward position; they did not have any more time to teach me stalking. She had to stay behind, on the periphery of the third attention, in order to fulfill her assignment at a later time, when I would be ready. On the other hand, if I were to leave the world with them, she was exonerated from that responsibility.
Florinda said that her benefactor considered the three basic techniques of stalking – the crate, the list of events to be recapitulated, and the stalker’s breath – to be about the most important tasks a warrior can fulfill. Her benefactor thought that a profound recapitulation is the most expedient means to lose the human form. Thus it is easier for stalkers, after recapitulating their lives, to make use of all the not-doings of the self, such as erasing personal history, losing self-importance, breaking routines and so forth.