(The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castaneda)
To sit in silence with don Juan was one of the most enjoyable experiences I knew. We were comfortably sitting on some stuffed chairs in the back of his house in the mountains of central Mexico. It was late afternoon. There was a pleasant breeze. The sun was behind the house, at our backs. Its fading light created exquisite shades of green in the big trees in the backyard. There were big trees growing around his house, and beyond it, which obliterated the sight of the city where he lived. This always gave me the impression that I was in the wilderness, a different wilderness than the barren Sonoran desert, but wilderness nonetheless.
“Today, we’re going to discuss a most serious topic in sorcery,” don Juan said abruptly, “and we’re going to begin by talking about the energy body.”
He had described the energy body to me countless times, saying that it was a conglomerate of energy fields, the mirror image of the conglomerate of energy fields that makes up the physical body when it is seen as energy that flows in the universe. He had said that it was smaller, more compact, and of heavier appearance than the luminous sphere of the physical body.
Don Juan had explained that the body and the energy body were two conglomerates of energy fields compressed together by some strange agglutinizing force. He had emphasized no end that the force that binds that group of energy fields together was, according to the sorcerers of ancient Mexico, the most mysterious force in the universe. His personal estimation was that it was the pure essence of the entire cosmos, the sum total of everything there is.
He had asserted that the physical body and the energy body were the only counterbalanced energy configurations in our realm as human beings. He accepted, therefore, no other dualism than the one between these two. The dualism between body and mind, spirit and flesh, he considered to be a mere concatenation of the mind, emanating from it without any energetic foundation. Don Juan had said that by means of discipline it is possible for anyone to bring the energy body closer to the physical body. Normally, the distance between the two is enormous. Once the energy body is within a certain range, which varies for each of us individually, anyone, through discipline, can forge it into the exact replica of their physical body-that is to say, a three- dimensional, solid being. Hence the sorcerers’ idea of the other or the double. By the same token, through the same processes of discipline, anyone can forge their three-dimensional, solid physical body to be a perfect replica of their energy body-that is to say, an ethereal charge of energy invisible to the human eye, as all energy is.
When don Juan had told me all about this, my reaction had been to ask him if he was describing a mythical proposition. He had replied that there was nothing mythical about sorcerers. Sorcerers were practical beings, and what they described was always something quite sober and down-to-earth. According to don Juan, the difficulty in understanding what sorcerers did was that they proceeded from a different cognitive system.
Sitting at the back of his house in central Mexico that day, don Juan said that the energy body was of key importance in whatever was taking place in my life. He saw that it was an energetic fact that my energy body, instead of moving away from me, as it normally happens, was approaching me with great speed.
“What does it mean, that it’s approaching me, don Juan?” I asked.
“It means that something is going to knock the daylights out of you,” he said, smiling. “A tremendous degree of control is going to come into your life, but not your control, the energy body’s control.”
“Do you mean, don Juan, that some outside force will control me?” I asked.
“There are scores of outside forces controlling you at this moment,” don Juan replied. “The control that I am referring to is something outside the domain of language. It is your control and at the same time it is not. It cannot be classified, but it can certainly be experienced. And above all, it can certainly be manipulated. Remember this: It can be manipulated, to your total advantage, of course, which again, is not your advantage, but the energy body’s advantage. However, the energy body is you, so we could go on forever like dogs biting their own tails, trying to describe this. Language is inadequate. All these experiences are beyond syntax.”