(The Eagle’s Gift)
“It is easy for me to understand why the Nagual Juan Matus didn’t want us to have possessions,” Nestor said after I had finished talking. “We are all dreamers. He didn’t want us to focus our dreaming body on the weak face of the second attention.”
“I didn’t understand his maneuvers at the time. I resented the fact that he made me get rid of everything I had. I thought he was being unfair. My belief was that he was trying to keep Pablito and Benigno from envying me, because they had nothing themselves. I was well-off in comparison. At the time, I had no idea that he was protecting my dreaming body.”
Don Juan had described dreaming to me in various ways. The most obscure of them all now appears to me as being the one that defines it best. He said that dreaming is intrinsically the not-doing of sleep. And as such, dreaming affords practitioners the use of that portion of their lives spent in slumber. It is as if the dreamers no longer sleep. Yet no illness results from it. The dreamers do not lack sleep, but the effect of dreaming seems to be an increase of waking time, owing to the use of an alleged extra body, the dreaming body.
Don Juan had explained to me that the dreaming body is sometimes called the “double” or the “other,” because it is a perfect replica of the dreamer’s body. It is inherently the energy of a luminous being, a whitish, phantomlike emanation, which is projected by the fixation of the second attention into a three-dimensional image of the body. Don Juan explained that the dreaming body is not a ghost, but as real as anything we deal with in the world. He said that the second attention is unavoidably drawn to focus on our total being as a field of energy, and transforms that energy into anything suitable. The easiest thing is of course the image of the physical body, with-which we are already thoroughly familiar from our daily lives and the use of our first attention. What channels the energy of our total being to produce anything that might be within the boundaries of possibility is known as will. Don Juan could not say what those boundaries were, except that at the level of luminous beings the range is so broad that it is futile to try to establish limits – thus, the energy of a luminous being can be transformed through will into anything.
“The Nagual said that the dreaming body gets involved and attaches itself to anything,” Benigno said. “It doesn’t have sense. He told me that men are weaker than women because a man’s dreaming body is more possessive.”
The little sisters agreed in unison with a movement of their heads. La Gorda looked at me and smiled.
“The Nagual told me that you’re the king of possessiveness,” she said to me. “Genaro said that you even say goodbye to your turds before you flush them down.”
The little sisters rolled down on their sides laughing. The Genaros made obvious efforts to contain themselves. Nestor, who was sitting by my side, patted my knee.
The Nagual and Genaro used to tell great stories about you,” he said. “They entertained us for years with tales about a weird guy they knew. We know now that it was you.”
I felt a wave of embarrassment. It was as if don Juan and don Genaro had betrayed me, laughing at me in front of the apprentices. Self-pity took over. I began to complain. I said out loud that they had been predisposed to be against me, to think that I was a fool.
“That’s not true,” Benigno said. “We are delighted that you are with us.”
“Are we?” Lydia snapped.
All of them became involved in a heated argument. The men and the women were divided.
La Gorda did not join either group. She stayed sitting by my side, while the others had stood up and were shouting.
“We’re going through a difficult time,” la Gorda said to me in a low voice. “We’ve done a lot of dreaming and yet it isn’t enough for what we need.”
“What do you need, Gorda?” I asked.
“We don’t know,” she said. “We were hoping that you would tell us that.”
The little sisters and the Genaros sat down again in order to listen to what la Gorda was saying to me.
“We need a leader,” she went on. “You are the Nagual, but you’re not a leader.”
“It takes time to make a perfect Nagual,” Pablito said. “The Nagual Juan Matus told me that he himself was crappy in his youth, until something shook him out of his complacency.”
“I don’t believe it,” Lydia shouted. “He never told me that.”
“He said that he was very crummy,” la Gorda added in a low voice.
“The Nagual told me that in his youth he was a jinx, just like me,” Pablito said. “He was also told by his benefactor not to set foot in those pyramids and because of that he practically lived there, until he was driven away by a horde of phantoms.”
Apparently no one else knew the story. They perked up.
“I had completely forgotten about that,” Pablito explained. “I’ve only just remembered it now. It was just like what happened to la Gorda. One day after the Nagual had finally become a formless warrior, the evil fixations of those warriors who had done their dreaming and other not-doings in the pyramids came after him. They found him while he was working in the field. He told me that he saw a hand coming out of the loose dirt in a fresh furrow to grab the leg of his pants. He thought that it was a fellow worker who had been accidentally buried. He tried to dig him out. Then he realized that he was digging into a dirt coffin: a man was buried there. The Nagual said that the man was very thin and dark and had no hair. The Nagual tried frantically to patch up the dirt coffin. He didn’t want his fellow workers to see it and he didn’t want to injure the man by digging him out against his will. He was working so hard that he didn’t even notice that the other workers had gathered around him. By then the Nagual said that the dirt coffin had collapsed and the dark man was sprawled on the ground, naked. The Nagual tried to help him up and asked the men to give him a hand. They laughed at him. They thought he was drunk, having the d.t.’s, because there was no man, or dirt coffin or anything like that in the field.”
“The Nagual said that he was shaken, but he didn’t dare tell his benefactor about it. It didn’t matter because at night a whole flock of phantoms came after him. He went to open the front door after someone knocked and a horde of naked men with glaring yellow eyes burst in. They threw him to the floor and piled on top of him. They would have crushed every bone in his body had it not been for the swift actions of his benefactor. He saw the phantoms and pulled the Nagual to safety, to a hole in the ground, which he always kept conveniently at the back of his house. He buried the Nagual there while the ghosts squatted around waiting for their chance.
The Nagual told me that he had become so frightened that he would voluntarily go back into his dirt coffin every night to sleep, long after the phantoms had vanished.”