(Encounters with the Nagual by Armando Torres)
I once told Carlos once how difficult it was for me to understand the postulates of sorcery, and asked him for some definitions which could guide my rationality. But he told me that this was neither possible nor useful, since he didn’t live in a reality of ordinary consensus.
“Not even I understand myself,” he assured me with absolute seriousness.
He maintained that ‘to comprehend’ is to fix our attention on a specific point, from where things can be explained. The more accepted that point is by people in general, the truer we find it.
“But the universe is not reasonable, its essence is beyond all description. Security and common sense are islands floating around in a bottomless sea, and we only cling to them out of fear.”
“If you continue on the path of knowledge, you will soon discover that explanations are placebos, since they never fulfill what they promise. For each thing they clarify, they generate a trail of contradictions. In fact, we never understand anything; true teaching is physical and we only get it after years of fighting. That is the nature of the lessons of the nagual.”
“However, sorcerers have found that it is possible to understand things without reasoning them out, and that has led them to practice. An hour of practice can sweep years of explanations off the table, and real results appear, results that stay with you forever. As you turn yourself into a witness of power, the obsessive pressure of your mind to be in charge will be cancelled out, and in its place the childlike spirit of adventure and discovery will be reborn in you. In that state you don’t think anymore, you act.”
Then he asked me to what extent my interest in the knowledge of the sorcerers of ancient Mexico was honest. I assured him that there could be no doubts about my sincerity, and that I was willing to make any effort, except to transgress my principles concerning honesty and charity.
He shook my hand effusively.
“You are the ideal candidate!” he exclaimed, I don’t know whether he was joking or sincere. To my surprise, he stated that my principles – which were not mine, but those of any intelligent and normal person – were a very good base to work from.
“They are your basic materials. But now you have to transform them into an unbending intent, because as long as they just remain ‘good intentions’, they won’t serve you in any way.”
After a pause, he added:
“I can help you to elucidate the beliefs of the seers of ancient Mexico by means of a combination of studies and experiences.”
Interpreting my silence as agreement, he continued by describing an action program that I should incorporate in my daily life, based on three points: stopping my internal dialogue with the help of pure intent, compacting my energy by means of rearranging my way of life, and loosening the bounds of my mind in order to dream. He said the program was designed to help me loosen a little the collective fixations, and encourage me to enter into a practical commitment with the postulates of sorcerers.
I accepted his proposal and prepared to listen. But Carlos was anything but a good instructor. When I read his books, at least I had the opportunity to pause, to reread a sentence or to leave everything for later. But when I was right there beside him, his impatience and his uncontainable torrent of words overwhelmed me. Also, he gave the impression that he was avoiding, in every possible way, establishing a human relationship.
When I pointed out to him that his method didn’t work, he told me that it was a deliberate hunting strategy. Apparently, he was stalking the routines of my mind through what he called ‘conceptual saturation.’
I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained:
“Reason becomes saturated when you give to it too much content to work with. Don Juan used to say that strange concepts, like those sorcerers deal with, should be repeated to the point of fatigue. That way, they gain a definite place in our awareness, burdened by the weight of so many trivial matters.”
“What scares us in front of a sorcerers’ lesson is that even if we don’t want to, we are constantly evaluating everything that comes to us. When the object of that analysis is an irrational proposition, it requires a lot of power to avoid prejudice.”
“If you want to know the magical side of the world, be implacable with your reason. Don’t let it make itself comfortable; take your rational thoughts to their limit, to the point of rupture. Under such circumstances, your mind will only have two options: to impose itself, forcing you to abandon the apprenticeship, or to be quiet, leaving you alone.”