(The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castaneda)
“The power of the recapitulation,” don Juan said, “is that it stirs up all the garbage of our lives and brings it to the surface.”
Then don Juan delineated the intricacies of awareness and perception, which were the basis of the recapitulation. He began by saying that he was going to present an arrangement of concepts that I should not take as sorcerers’ theories under any conditions, because it was an arrangement formulated by the shamans of ancient Mexico as a result of seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe. He warned me that he would present the units of this arrangement to me without any attempt at classifying them or ranking them by any predetermined standard.
“I’m not interested in classifications,” he went on. “You have been classifying everything all your life. Now you are going to be forced to stay away from classifications. The other day, when I asked you if you knew anything about clouds, you gave me the names of all the clouds and the percentage of moisture that one should expect from each one of them. You were a veritable weatherman. But when I asked you if you knew what you could do with the clouds personally, you had no idea what I was talking about.”
“Classifications have a world of their own,” he continued. “After you begin to classify anything, the classification becomes alive, and it rules you. But since classifications never started as energy-giving affairs, they always remain like dead logs. They are not trees; they are merely logs.”
He explained that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico saw that the universe at large is composed of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments. They saw zillions of them, wherever they turned to see. They also saw that those energy fields arrange themselves into currents of luminous fibers, streams that are constant, perennial forces in the universe, and that the current or stream of filaments that is related to the recapitulation was named by those sorcerers the dark sea of awareness, and also the Eagle.
He stated that those sorcerers also found out that every creature in the universe is attached to the dark sea of awareness at a round point of luminosity that was apparent when those creatures were perceived as energy. On that point of luminosity, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called the assemblage point, don Juan said that perception was assembled by a mysterious aspect of the dark sea of awareness.
Don Juan asserted that on the assemblage point of human beings, zillions of energy fields from the universe at large, in the form of luminous filaments, converge and go through it. These energy fields are converted into sensory data, and the sensory data is then interpreted and perceived as the world we know. Don Juan further explained that what turns the luminous fibers into sensory data is the dark sea of awareness. Sorcerers see this transformation and call it the glow of awareness, a sheen that extends like a halo around the assemblage point. He warned me then that he was going to make a statement which, in the understanding of sorcerers, was central to comprehending the scope of the recapitulation.
Putting an enormous emphasis on his words, he said that what we call the senses in organisms is nothing but degrees of awareness. He maintained that if we accept that the senses are the dark sea of awareness, we have to admit that the interpretation that the senses make of sensory data is also the dark sea of awareness. He explained at length that to face the world around us in the terms that we do is the result of the interpretation system of mankind with which every human being is equipped. He also said that every organism in existence has to have an interpretation system that permits it to function in its surroundings.
“The sorcerers who came after the apocalyptic upheavals I told you about,” he continued, “saw that at the moment of death, the dark sea of awareness sucked in, so to speak, through the assemblage point, the awareness of living creatures. They also saw that the dark sea of awareness had a moment’s, let’s say, hesitation when it was faced with sorcerers who had done a recounting of their lives. Unbeknownst to them, some had done it so thoroughly that the dark sea of awareness took their awareness in the form of their life experiences, but didn’t touch their life force. Sorcerers had found out a gigantic truth about the forces of the universe: The dark sea of awareness wants only our life experiences, not our life force.”