“Within our sphere of perception, there is a force separated from what we call ‘oneself,
which is detectable through dreaming. That force can be made aware of itself, absorbing the principles of our personality, and behaving with independence. The sensation that dealing with it produces in us is unspeakable, because it is an inorganic being.”
“Of course! We call our everyday attention ‘organic’ because it depends on a body made up of organs, right?”
“Then what would you call the body with which you perceive and act when you dream?”
“I would say that it is an apparition,” I answered cautiously.
“I agree! It is an inorganic being; it has appearance, but no mass. For you, it is only a mental projection. However, from that being’s point of view, it is our physical body that lives in an imaginary world. If you had the energy and the necessary concentration to become aware of your other self, and you asked that being what it thinks of your everyday world, he would answer that he considers it quite unreal, almost a myth. And, you know what? It would be right!
“Our dreaming body has many uses. It can move in no time to whatever place you want and discover things. It can even be materialized, creating a visual double, something that other people can see, whether they are sleeping or awake. However, it continues being a mere appearance, it does not have any bodily functions. A human being sees it as person, but an animal would see it differently.”
I interrupted him:
“How do you know all that?”
“It is so simple! I verify it permanently, because my dreaming double receives all my attention. When I want to know something from it or about the world where it moves, I ask it and it tells me. You can also do it; it is not that difficult. You can contact your energy this very night, as soon as you fall asleep.”
“There are many ways. For example, look for a mirror in your dreams, lean towards it and look yourself in the eyes; you’ll see what a surprise awaits you!”
I had read something about the double in his books, but my prejudices prevented me from approaching that matter with an open mind, and in my mind there was a great confusion about concepts like the ‘luminous egg’ or magnetic field that surrounds living beings, the ‘energy body’, and the ‘dreaming double’. I asked him if they were the same thing or if there was some difference between them.
He was surprised by my question.
“But haven’t you understood anything? We are speaking of awareness, not of physical objects. Those entities, even the perceptive unit we call ‘the physical body’, are descriptions of the same thing, because there are not two of you. You are you! You don’t ‘have’ an energy body, you are energy, you are an assemblage point that assembles emanations; and you are only one! You can have various dreams and have a different appearance in each one, either human, animal, or inorganic, or you can even dream that
you are several people at the same time, but you cannot fragment your being aware.”
He told me that confusing the description of our various vehicles of awareness with our sense of being is common, particularly for people who have a robust and intellectual internal dialogue.
“Once I went to see an oriental teacher, and our conversation relapsed into dreaming. The man called himself an expert, he showed off to me: ‘I have seven dreaming bodies!’ Overwhelmed by this revelation, I didn’t know what to answer. I admitted: ‘Don Juan only taught me one.”
When he said this, Carlos pulled his head down between his shoulders, as if he was very shy, but was hiding a cynical giggle.
“So when you speak of the dreaming double and of the energy body, you are talking about the same thing?”
“Practically. The first one can be reached through dreaming and the second by means of stalking. Or put in another way, the energy body is the dreaming double with voluntary control on the part of the dreamer; but both are one and the same thing. The difference lies in the way one reaches it.”
“The ancient sorcerers molded their dreaming by the power of their will, and tried to reproduce the physical body down to the smallest detail. Calling it a ‘double’ stems from that tradition. The idea makes practical sense, since we are so accustomed to see ourselves in a certain way and only that way. In the beginning, it is very comfortable for the dreamer to consider himself in physical terms. But the new seers say that taking this intent to its furthest consequences is a useless waste, because it forces us to dedicate huge quantities of attention to details that will never have any practical use. They have learned to see ourselves as what we really are, bubbles of light.”
I asked him if, in the classic nagualism of prehispanic people, sorcerers’ ability to become animals consisted of trying to see themselves with animal bodies.
He looked at me as if saying: “Elementary!”
“Dreaming is the deliberate use of the energy body. Energy is plastic, and if you apply a constant pressure to it, it will eventually adopt the form you want. The double is the nagual, the ‘other’, the stamp of nagualism. When you control it, you are on the road to become whatever you want, from a free being to a beast.”
“Of course, to achieve something so specialized as becoming an animal can’t just be improvised, there are procedures. The double is managed through the fixation of the assemblage point in new positions. Such a fixation has an obsessive nature, and it should be evoked with sorcerers’ methods. For example, if your yearning is to be a hawk and you attempt it with inflexibility, you will end up becoming one! Each one of us will achieve what we look for. That is the trick of the nagual, to manage his obsessions.”
“However, you should know that people who focus on objectives that are not exclusively those of freedom and sobriety, become blocked, which can take them to madness, or to the most crass ordinariness. Truly, that is what we all do: We choose to be men, and we are! Any obsession not properly managed means slavery.”
“The problem with many naguals of modern Mexico is that they have forgotten the abstract possibilities. There are sorcerers who prefer to become turkeys, and they don’t come out of there. What’s more, many don’t have any idea that they can do something more with their energy than pursue strong sensations and scare others.”
“That decadence of the teachings is what moved seers of Don Juan’s lineage to attempt freedom in the most impersonal way possible, abandoning all the capricious positions of the assemblage point which they had inherited from their ancestors. The purpose of freedom is absolutely clean and displaces all others. By attempting it, new seers have restored the purity of nagualism.”
I asked him about the enormous effort which is undoubtedly required, in order to prepare a double in the environment of dreaming.
“For most sorcerers, that effort is the other option, the door to another realm of awareness, an awareness which will allow them, at the proper moment, to intend the definitive step into the third attention. By providing autonomy and purpose to their double, they are preparing to remain conscious after death. When that body is complete and the moment arrives, their awareness abandons the human shell for good, the physical body withers and dies, but the sense of being continues.”