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14: Tendon Energy

(Magical Passes by Carlos Castaneda)

(….) the shamans of ancient Mexico put a special emphasis on a force they called tendon energy. Don Juan said that they asserted that vital energy moves along the body via an exclusive track formed by tendons.
I asked don Juan if by tendon he meant the tissue that attaches the muscles to the bones.
“I am at a loss to explain tendon energy,” he said. “I’m following the easy path of usage. I was taught that it’s called tendon energy. If I don’t have to be specific about it, you understand what tendon energy is, don’t you?”
“In a vague sense, I think I do, don Juan,” I said. “What confuses me is that you use the word tendon where there are no bones, such as the abdomen.”
“The old sorcerers,” he said, “gave the name of tendon energy to a current of energy that moves along the deep muscles from the neck down to the chest and arms, and the spine. It cuts across the upper and lower abdomen from the edge of the rib cage to the groin, and from there it goes to the toes.”
“Doesn’t this current include the head, don Juan?” I asked, bewildered. As a Western man, I expected that anything of this sort would have originated in the brain.
“No,” he said emphatically, “it doesn’t include the head. What comes from the head is a different kind of energetic current; not what I am talking about. One of the formidable attainments of sorcerers is that in the end, they push out whatever exists in the center of energy located at the top of the head, and then they anchor the tendon energy of the rest of their bodies there. But that is a paragon of success. At the moment, what we have at hand, as in your case, is the average situation of tendon energy beginning at the neck at the place where it joins the head. In some cases tendon energy goes up to a point below the cheekbones, but never higher than that point.
“This energy,” he went on, “which I call tendon energy for lack of a better name, is a dire necessity in the lives of those who travel in infinity, or want to travel in it.”
Don Juan said that the traditional beginning in the utilization of tendon energy was the use of some simple devices which were employed by the shamans of ancient Mexico in two ways. One was to create a vibratory effect on specific centers of tendon energy, and the other was to create a pressure effect on the same centers. He explained that those shamans considered the vibratory effect to be the agent for loosening the energy which has become stagnant. The second effect, the pressure effect, was thought to be the agent that disperses the energy.
What seems to be a cognitive contradiction for modern man – that vibration would loosen anything that was stuck, and that pressure would disperse it – was deeply emphasized by don Juan Matus, who taught his disciples that what appears to be natural to us in terms of our cognition in the world is not at all natural in terms of the flow of energy. He said that in the world of everyday life, human beings would crack something with a blow, or by applying pressure, and disperse it by making it vibrate. However, energy which had become lodged in a tendon center had to be rendered fluid through vibration, and then it had to be pressed, so that it would continue flowing. Don Juan Matus was horrified at the idea of directly pressing points of energy in the body without the preliminary vibration. His contention was that energy that was stuck would get even more inert if pressure were applied to it.

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