Energy is the Irreducible Residue of Everything; To see Energy Directly is The Bottom Line for a Human Being
(The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castaneda)
Don Juan said that the inorganic beings who populated our twin world were considered, by the sorcerers of his lineage, to be our relatives. Those shamans believed that it was futile to make friends with our family members because the demands levied on us for such friendships were always exorbitant. He said that that type of inorganic being, who are our first cousins, communicate with us incessantly, but that their communication with us is not at the level of conscious awareness. In other words, we know all about them in a subliminal way, while they know all about us in a deliberate, conscious manner.
“The energy from our first cousins is a drag!” don Juan went on. “They are as fucked up as we are. Let’s say that the organic and inorganic beings of our twin worlds are the children of two sisters who live next door to each other. They are exactly alike although they look different. They cannot help us, and we cannot help them. Perhaps we could join together, and make a fabulous family business corporation, but that hasn’t happened. Both branches of the family are extremely touchy and take offense over nothing, a typical relationship between touchy first cousins. The crux of the matter, the sorcerers of ancient Mexico believed, is that both human beings and inorganic beings from the twin worlds are profound egomaniacs.”
According to don Juan, another classification that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico made of the inorganic beings was that of scouts, or explorers, and by this they meant inorganic beings that came from the depths of the universe, and which were possessors of awareness infinitely sharper and faster than that of human beings. Don Juan asserted that the old sorcerers had spent generations polishing their classification schemes, and their conclusions were that certain types of inorganic beings from the category of scouts or explorers, because of their vivaciousness, were akin to man. They could make liaisons and establish a symbiotic relation with men. The old sorcerers called these kinds of inorganic beings the allies.
Don Juan explained that the crucial mistake of those shamans with reference to this type of inorganic being was to attribute human characteristics to that impersonal energy and to believe that they could harness it. They thought of those blocks of energy as their helpers, and they relied on them without comprehending that, being pure energy, they didn’t have the power to sustain any effort.
“I’ve told you all there is to know about inorganic beings,” don Juan said abruptly. “The only way you can put this to the test is by means of direct experience.”
I didn’t ask him what he wanted me to do. A deep fear made my body rattle with nervous spasms that burst like a volcanic eruption from my solar plexus and extended down to the tips of my toes and up to my upper trunk.
“Today, we will go to look for some inorganic beings,” he announced.
Don Juan ordered me to sit on my bed and adopt again the position that fostered inner silence, I followed his command with unusual ease. Normally, I would have been reluctant, perhaps not overtly, but I would have felt a twinge of reluctance nonetheless. I had a vague thought that by the time I sat down, I was already in a state of inner silence. My thoughts were no longer clear. I felt an impenetrable darkness surrounding me, making me feel as if I were falling asleep. My body was utterly motionless, either because I had no intention of setting up any commands to move or because I just couldn’t formulate them.
A moment later, I found myself with don Juan, walking in the Sonoran desert. I recognized the surroundings; I had been there with him so many times that I had memorized every feature of it. It was the end of the day, and the light of the setting sun created in me a mood of desperation. I walked automatically, aware that I was feeling in my body sensations that were not accompanied by thoughts. I was not describing to myself my state of being. I wanted to tell this to don Juan, but the desire to communicate my bodily sensations to him vanished in an instant.
Don Juan said, very slowly, and in a low, grave voice, that the dry riverbed on which we were walking was a most appropriate place for our business at hand, and that I should sit on a small boulder, alone, while he went and sat on another boulder about fifty feet away. I didn’t ask don Juan, as I ordinarily would have, what I was supposed to do. I knew what I had to do. I heard then the rustling steps of people walking through the bushes that were sparsely scattered around. There wasn’t enough moisture in the area to allow the heavy growth of underbrush. Some sturdy bushes grew there, with a space of perhaps ten or fifteen feet between them.
I saw then two men approaching. They seemed to be local men, perhaps Yaqui Indians from one of the Yaqui towns in the vicinity. They came and stood by me. One of them nonchalantly asked me how I had been. I wanted to smile at him, laugh, but I couldn’t. My face was extremely rigid. Yet I was ebullient. I wanted to jump up and down, but I couldn’t. I told him that I had been fine. Then I asked them who they were. I said to them that I didn’t know them, and yet I sensed an extraordinary familiarity with them. One of the men said, matter-of-factly, that they were my allies.
I stared at them, trying to memorize their features, but their features changed. They seemed to mold themselves to the mood of my stare. No thoughts were involved. Everything was a matter guided by visceral sensations. I stared at them long enough to erase their features completely, and finally, I was facing two shiny blobs of luminosity that vibrated. The blobs of luminosity did not have boundaries. They seemed to sustain themselves cohesively from within. At times, they became flat, wide. Then they would take on a verticality again, at the height of a man.
Suddenly, I felt don Juan’s arm hooking my right arm and pulling me from the boulder. He said that it was time to go. The next moment, I was in his house again, in central Mexico, more bewildered than ever.
“Today, you found inorganic awareness, and then you saw it as it really is,” he said. “Energy is the irreducible residue of everything. As far as we are concerned, to see energy directly is the bottom line for a human being. Perhaps there are other things beyond that, but they are not available to us.”
Don Juan asserted all this over and over, and every time he said it, his words seemed to solidify me more and more, to help me return to my normal state.
I told don Juan everything I had witnessed, everything I had heard. Don Juan explained to me that I had succeeded that day in transforming the anthropomorphic shape of the inorganic beings into their essence: impersonal energy aware of itself.
“You must realize,” he said, “that it is our cognition, which is in essence an interpretation system, that curtails our resources. Our interpretation system is what tells us what the parameters of our possibilities are, and since we have been using that system of interpretation all our lives, we cannot possibly dare to go against its dictums.
“The energy of those inorganic beings pushes us,” don Juan went on, “and we interpret that push as we may, depending on our mood. The most sober thing to do, for a sorcerer, is to relegate those entities to an abstract level. The fewer interpretations sorcerers make, the better off they are.
“From now on,” he continued, “whenever you are confronted with the strange sight of an apparition, hold your ground and gaze at it with an inflexible attitude. If it is an inorganic being, your interpretation of it will fall off like dead leaves. If nothing happens, it is just a chicken-shit aberration of your mind, which is not your mind anyway.”
The shamans of don Juan’s lineage were deeply engaged with the redeployment of their inherent energy. This involvement wasn’t an intellectual endeavor, nor was it the product of induction or deduction, or logical conclusions. It was the result of their ability to perceive energy as it flowed in the universe, “Those sorcerers called this ability to perceive energy as it flowed in the universe seeing,” don Juan explained to me. “They described seeing as a state of heightened awareness in which the human body is capable of perceiving energy as a flow, a current, a windlike vibration. To see energy as it flows in the universe is the product of a momentary halt of the system of interpretation proper to human beings.”
“What is this system of interpretation, don Juan?” I asked.
“The shamans of ancient Mexico found out,” he replied, “that every part of the human body is engaged, in one way or another, in turning this vibratory flow, this current of vibration, into some form of sensory input. The sum total of this bombardment of sensory input is then, through usage, turned into the system of interpretation that makes human beings capable of perceiving the world the way they do.
“To make this system of interpretation come to a halt,” he went on, was the result of tremendous discipline on the part of the sorcerers of ancient Mexico. They called this halt seeing, and made it the corner, stone of their knowledge. To see energy as it flowed in the universe was, for them, an essential tool that they employed in making their classificatory schemes.
Because of this capacity, for instance, they conceived the total universe available to the perception of human beings as an onionlike affair, consisting of thousands of layers. The daily world of human beings, they believed, is but one such layer. Consequently, they also believed that other layers are not only accessible to human perception, but are part of man’s natural heritage.”
Another issue of tremendous value in the knowledge of those sorcerers, an issue which was also a consequence of their capacity to see energy as it flowed in the universe, was the discovery of the human energetic configuration. This human energetic configuration was, for them, a conglomerate of energy fields agglutinated together by a vibratory force that bound those energy fields into a luminous ball of energy. For the sorcerers of don Juan’s lineage, a human being has an oblong shape like an egg, or a round shape like a ball. Thus, they called them luminous eggs or luminous balls. This sphere of luminosity was considered by them to be our true self-true in the sense that it is irreducible in terms of energy. It is irreducible because the totality of human resources are engaged in the act of perceiving it directly as energy.
Those shamans discovered that on the back face of this luminous ball there is a point of greater brilliance. They figured out, through processes of observing energy directly, that this point is key in the act of turning energy into sensory data and then interpreting it. For this reason, they called it the assemblage point, and deemed that perception is indeed assembled there. They described the assemblage point as being located behind the shoulder blades, an arm’s length away from them. They also found out that the assemblage point for the entire human race is located on the same spot, thus giving every human being an entirely similar view of the world.
A finding of tremendous value for them, and for shamans of succeeding generations, was that the location of the assemblage point on that spot is the result of usage and socialisation. For this reason, they considered it to be an arbitrary position which gives merely the illusion of being final and irreducible. A product of this illusion is the seemingly unshakable conviction of human beings that the world they deal with daily is the only world that exists, and that its finality is undeniable.
“Believe me,” don Juan said to me once, “this sense of finality about the world is a mere illusion. Due to the fact that it has never been challenged, it stands as the only possible view.
To see energy as it flows in the universe is the tool for challenging it. Through the use of this tool, the sorcerers of my lineage arrived at the conclusion that there are indeed a staggering number of worlds available to man’s perception. They described those worlds as being all-inclusive realms, realms where one can act and struggle. In other words, they are worlds where one can live and die, as in this world of everyday life.”