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UNWORLDING... the art form formerly known as 'out of body experience,' 'astral travel,' 'lucid dreaming,' 'phasing,' 'the quick switch,' etc.



"Does he know that he is in two places at once?"

Both of them looked at me and then they exchanged a glance.

"Where is the other don Genaro?" I asked.

Don Genaro leaned towards me and stared into my eyes.

"I don't know," he said softly. "No sorcerer knows where his other is."

"Genaro is right," don Juan said. "A sorcerer has no notion that he is in two places at once. To be aware of that would be the equivalent of facing his double, and the sorcerer that finds himself face to face with himself is a dead sorcerer. That is the rule. That is the way power has set things up. No one knows why."

Don Juan explained that by the time a warrior had conquered dreaming and seeing and had developed a double, he must have also succeeded in erasing personal history, self-importance, and routines. He said that all the techniques which he had taught me and which I had considered to be empty talk were, in essence, means for removing the impracticality of having a double in the ordinary world, by making the self and the world fluid, and by placing them outside the bounds of prediction.

"A fluid warrior can no longer make the world chronological," don Juan explained. "And for him, the world and himself are no longer objects. He's a luminous being existing in a luminous world. The double is a simple affair for a sorcerer because he knows what he's doing. To take notes is a simple affair for you, but you still scare Genaro with your pencil."

"Can an outsider, looking at a sorcerer, see that he is in two places at once?" I asked don Juan.

"Certainly. That would be the only way to know it."

"But can't one logically assume that the sorcerer would also notice that he has been in two places?"

"Aha!" don Juan exclaimed. "For once you've got it right. A sorcerer may certainly notice afterwards that he has been in two places at once. But this is only bookkeeping and has no bearing on the fact that while he's acting he has no notion of his duality."

My mind boggled. I felt that if I did not keep on writing I would explode.

"Think of this," he went on. "The world doesn't yield to us directly, the description of the world stands in between. So, properly speaking, we are always one step removed and our experience of the world is always a recollection of the experience. We are perennially recollecting the instant that has just happened, just passed. We recollect, recollect, recollect."

He turned his hand over and over to give me the feeling of what he meant.

"If our entire experience of the world is recollection, then it's not so outlandish to conclude that a sorcerer can be in two places at once. This is not the case from the point of view of his own perception, because in order to experience the world, a sorcerer, like every other man, has to recollect the act he has just performed, the event he has just witnessed, the experience he has just lived. In his awareness there is only a single recollection. But for an outsider looking at the sorcerer it may appear as if the sorcerer is acting two different episodes at once. The sorcerer, however, recollects two separate single instants, because the glue of the description of time is no longer binding him."

When don Juan had finished talking I was sure I was running a temperature.

      --Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power

My fear that putting Carlos up in my apartment would cost me money was unfounded. He insisted on turning down the heat when it was cold, wouldn't let me run the air conditioner when it was hot, wouldn't let me eat fast food, and made me stop buying a chocolate candy bar every day.

Worse than that, he told me I was not going to eat breakfast anymore until lunchtime. He said I had to lose 30 pounds in a hurry or else he would move out, and when I threatened to move out first, he just laughed and pulled my wallet out of his pocket. I almost had a heart attack, but when he showed me that it had somehow grown a pile of bills in it that I knew I couldn't possibly own, I begged him to put it back in his pocket and grow some more of them.

He took a five dollar bill out and went somewhere for less than an hour. When he came back he had a bag of donuts, and a used bathroom scale from the thrift shop and told me I was now gonna weigh myself each morning upon waking up, and if I didn't lose two pounds a week, I could do without lunch also.

I knew what the scale was for, but the donuts puzzled me. He saw me drooling over them and took the sack over to the open third-story window. He signalled me to join him. He leaned out the window and pointed at a yuppie walking past, far below on the sidewalk.

"These aren't really donuts," he whispered. "These are actually yuppie grenades. I am going to teach you how to wake yuppies up."

Carlos grabbed a donut and heaved it at the man on the sidewalk below. He missed by a mile. Then it was my turn. I missed my target too. In short order, all the donuts were gone and we were laughing our asses off.

"You see?" Carlos said. "The yuppies never even knew we were lobbing donuts at them. Which just means that they can't be woken up. They are robots. In order to make them real, we'd have to force our worlds to intersect with theirs." He seemed to shudder at the thought.

The diet he imposed on me was easier than it sounds since I was fairly active anyway and the 30 pounds he said I had to lose was about two or three pounds more than I actually could lose without cutting parts off of me. Which he also threatened to do if I failed to fulfill the part of the assignment that was hard: jumping rope before breakfast. And breakfast was not till noon. When I objected that I hated to exercise, he said, "It's either the rope or pushups. Suit yourself." I told him I would get dizzy and weak from exercising when I was hungry and he just told me to stop being hungry.

He said that hunger, like other appetites including even the need for air, would come in waves. Ignoring hunger pangs for a few seconds would carry me through for another five minutes, then another ten minutes, then another hour. And he was right about that too. He also said that without the bread, oatmeal, and sugary treats I was used to stuffing myself with--and the coffee that was the highlight of my day--I would never get dizzy or weak even if I was hungry. And he was right. Without any other highlight to my day, I quickly learned to enjoy my exercise-laden mornings without bloatmeal bogging me down and forcing me to live my life around constant snacks. I quickly learned to not fear hunger.

Not that I had to obey him if I didn't want to; I could always call the police and say he'd followed me home and then had refused to leave, but I'd watched this fella dematerialize a yuppie in an eight-dollar-coffee joint and I couldn't forget that experience. So when he started to materialize money, I decided I was ready to become a jumprope fanatic. He promised he would continue to materialize money in my wallet as long as I never told him how 'his' money should be used.

I was not allowed to eat any grains, junk food, or bread. No fruit juice, and no dried fruits except olives; only fresh fruit including tomatos, bell pepper, eggplant, and hot chili. No root vegetables except onions. I could drink tap water but he wouldn't let me buy bottled water or any other beverages except plain green tea. He said that green tea alone could get me unworlded, but I'd have to drink a couple gallons before noticing the effects. And he said I couldn't drink more than five glasses of water a day unless I was sweating a lot.

When I informed him that tomatos, peppers, and eggplants were vegetables, he said wouldn't argue about it, but they were really 'low fiber, almost digestible' fruits sold in the vegetable section of the supermarket because of their low sugar content. Then he said it didn't matter anyway because he ate them out of respect for all the datura or jimson weed he used to eat as a young anthroplogist, which he blamed for the liver cancer that later killed his first body. He said these plants were all slightly toxic because they were all related to the Nightshade family, so every time he ate them, they reminded him of the many terrifying experiences he'd had 'gagging at the gates of hell' and learning to maintain equanimity when faced with frightening experiences.

When I brought a bunch of sweet organic carrots and potatos home from a friend's garden one day, Carlos threw them in the trash and said they'd make good compost if we had time for gardening, but we didn't. He listed the things I was encouraged to eat, as much as I wanted, as long as I only ate one or two meals a day: meat, nuts, cheese, butter, plain yogurt, fresh fruit, dried olives, and eggs. That was about it.

And he made me drink a glass of salt water as soon as I woke up, and told me to stock up on vitamin C in large quantities in case I got constipated. Which I did as soon as I stopped eating breakfast, but once I started taking massive doses of vitamin C with my salt water wake-up drink, I was afraid to leave the house. He had forced me to take more and more vitamin C till it gave me diarrhea, and when I complained about that he said that this form of diarrhea, unlike the kind caused by bacteria, was harmless and would save me from obstinate constipation due to not eating in the morning, and due to having eaten what he called 'horseshit fodder' all my life and ending up with enlarged, desensitized intestines that could no longer detect their own state of fullness. He called his diet the 'contrary being diet,' explaining that it was contrary to the low-fat, high fiber diet being universally preached at that time. He said eating fat would give me energy and 'fiber' is a medical term meaning 'indigestible, like wood'. He said the medical notion that eating fat would make me fat was as scientific as believing that eating frogs would turn me into a frog.

I lost five pounds in the first week and thought this was a great accomplishment, but he said this was just five pounds of hot air. I got pretty good at jumping rope. After quickly losing another two pounds, I was just about ready to ask him when he was going to teach me how to dematerialize yuppies, when he brought home a dozen spiral notebooks and some expensive ball point pens.

He dropped the sack of supplies on the little wooden kitchen table that we used for a desk, workbench and eating place, and announced, "You will now rewrite your life as a dream character." I told him I didn't mind writing fiction but I'd rather type on the antique computer I'd bought from Goodwill, which wasn't good for anything much, but it could handle word processing. He said, "We don't process words. Words process us. And you no longer own a computer. I took that thing back to the thrift store and bribed them not to sell you another one. And what you're gonna write ain't fiction. You will record in these notebooks every dream you can remember, from your whole life, and every time you wake up, morning, noon or night, you will jump out of bed immediately and write down every detail of the dream before it can fade from your memory, and then go back to bed and use the Breath of Flight to put yourself back to sleep."

I tried to obey, but sometimes I got the impression the breathing was keeping me awake. Once I slept through the night and had nothing to show him in my notebook the next morning. He was furious, so I lied and said I'd had no dreams, and I thought he was going to pop a cork. All he said was, "You unemployed, unshaved, unwashed little piece of earthworm snot, you have 24 hours a day to do anything you want and you act like that makes you some kind of god. If you don't want to re-invent yourself as a dream character, then at least have the decency to hang yourself with that jumprope, because the life you had before I came here will not be viable for you anymore after I leave."

And I knew he was right. After watching him dematerialize a yuppie, I knew I would never again be satisfied with the slovenly state he had found me in.

As soon as I started writing down my dreams, they doubled in vividness and intensity. But I quickly lost enthusiasm for waking up to write in the middle of the night, and asked him if it was really necessary.

He looked me up and down as if deciding whether or not to give up on me, and started a lecture I will never forget.

"Actually, I was about to increase the assignment. Your problem isn't that your dream journal is too hard. It's really too easy. You're bored with it because you gloss over it and don't take it seriously."

I tried arguing that I was careful to write down every detail I could recall from my dreams, but he gestured for silence and took up where he'd left off.

"Your superficial form of dream journaling will be good enough to give you some intense experiences and a few higher-level unworldings here and there. But your problem is that you're aiming too low. Do you want to get unworlded twice a month or twice a day?"

I opened my mouth to answer but he gestured for silence again.

"You don't know what a rhetorical question is, do you?" I wagged my head in agreement and he petted me on my head like a dog. "Good boy. Go fetch!" He stuck his tongue out and panted like a dog so I was careful to stop being so kneejerkingly responsive after that. Without my constant interruptions he was able to continue his lecture.

"As you know, I read every word you write in your journal. I notice that you have an apologetic attitude about labeling your experiences in the way I've tried to teach you."

I knew what he was talking about. I was careful to write just what happened in the dream, as I'd experienced it, without placing an interpretation on anything. Then [in brackets] I would mention that, according to Carlos, this character was the Dream Usher and that character was Cwahacoy and such-and-such a place was really the Nowhere, and on and on like that.

"This way you have of separating your memory of your unworldings and my prescribed interpretation of them is keeping your dream bodies from helping you to the greatest possible extent. You don't have to worry about how to interpret them; I told you how. Otherwise you could go off the deep end due to your tendency to feel sorry for yourself and tell yourself that you had a rough childhood and your parents screwed you up and you are broken and need to be fixed by having some sort of life-changing dream. I'd hate to see you turn into a self-fondling wanna-be auto-psychologist, and that's why I've told you what to look for in the Unworld and how to label everything in your journal. What I'm teaching you is not dream interpretation. I'm teaching you how to map out your subjective experiences with consistency bordering on objectivity, in a way that will cause your conscious mind and your remote mind to start speaking the same language."

He pulled out my dream journal and jotted a list of terms inside the front cover. The terms were not new to me, but he said I needed to read through them before going to sleep and again before recording an unworlding in the middle of the night or in the morning or after a daytime practice session. I thought about telling him he was being dogmatic, but bit my tongue.

"I know this sounds dogmatic," he said, looking me straight in the eyes as I said this. I could feel my face flush. There was no privacy in his world. "But what you have to understand is that you are a robot living the existence of a machine in a world that is a prison or a mental institution for robots just like you and worse. Most of them a lot worse. I chose you because somewhere deep inside you, I sense that you have the motivation to drag yourself out of the mental swamp of the human form and escape from this nuthouse."

He pushed his chair back and started pacing. I detected that this might be a long lecture.

"You have to stop writing your journal for some imagined fan base."

My face turned red again. He nodded and smirked at some inner joke and went on.

"If your reason for learning unworlding is to impress others or bag some chick down at your friendly neighborhood drumming circle, then I will know that and I won't let you proceed in that direction. The less sense your journal makes to someone else, the more sense it will make to your dream bodies. You are not writing for me or anyone else, you're writing for you own dream bodies. They evaluate how ready you are by what you put in that notebook, and they respond accordingly. So when I say, 'This type of dream character is the Dream Usher' or 'This type of dream character is Cwahacoy,' or 'A large lawn or any large flat surface like a concrete wall or a carpet is the Nowhere,' or whatever, I mean that's what you write, like this: 'I wake in the Nowhere but mistake it for a green lawn.' Instead, you've been writing apologetically, 'I wake on a lawn' and you put '[the Nowhere according to CC]' in brackets as if you're afraid you might be making it up."

I could see his point and kept my skepticism to myself. I thought surely a person should not be told how to interpret his own dreams.

"You're right, of course, no one should be allowed to interpret your dreams. But technically speaking, this is not interpretation, and these experiences you're having are less like dreams all the time."

That part was true. Immediately upon starting the journal, my dreams had become epic, detailed, twisted, hallucinogenic, and more lucid by the day. Carlos went on.

"It doesn't matter that there are no facts to report in an unworlding journal. Only memories, right? What would you say if I told you that everything you experience is real, and every memory is as real as any other, even if that memory comes from an unworlding experience, even the kind you call a 'dream'?"

I opened my mouth and he reached over to shut it for me.

"The human form is an obsessively dualistic reality. As you should already know, due to the number of 'spirituality' books you've checked out from the library. What's dualistic about the human form is that we use all our energy solidifying our waking important experiences in the daily dream like going shopping, balancing the checkbook, and keeping the personal computer functioning properly, then we have no zip left over, no pzazz remaining, for consciously experiencing the actual dynamic experiences available to us either here or in the Unworld. You think the body goes to sleep at night, but it doesn't. Your whole damn being dissolves. Your world dissolves and goes with you. There is no body.

"The simultaneously generated illusions of mind, body, and world are decided by an energy configuration that is you, the real under-the-surface you, and this process gels whenever and wherever you happen to find yourself waking up: in the so-called real world or the so-called dream, this process is exactly the same. Infinite awareness shines through a lens, a filter, and what comes out is your body, your mind, and your world. These three things are equally reflections of the same thing, and that thing is your Troovammickle. Your personal configuration, which unfortunately is based on the human form, but if you work hard and learn a lot, you can recover from the ridiculous fate of having gotten yourself caught in the whirlpool of human existence.

"The duality of the human form lies in the fact that people split themselves into the conscious mind and the subconscious mind, which are terrible terms that we're getting ready to stop using. Slightly better is the terminology used by the uninitiated seekers for millenia past, and that is 'chakras'. I prefer to say that the chakras are energy centers that create the body, mind, and world at the same time. You have your energy centers and I have mine. You have your unique body, mind, and world, and I have mine. Our worlds intersect, but remain separate. You and I live in two separate realities. All this duality and separateness is twoness in just a few of its infinitude of forms."

Carlos had been trying to teach me that the Taoist notion of Oneness or the Tao had to be modeled and extended to seeing the world in other forms too, such as twoness, threeness, fourness, etc. I think he could tell he wasn't getting through to me.

"I know I'm not getting through to you," he went on, "but all in good time. First things first. Knowing what kind of books you've checked out from the library, you don't have to be told what oneness is. Pure awareness, indivisibility, unlimited unlimitedness, the Source, the Tao, infinity, God, blah blah blah. The descriptions of the undescribable go on and on. Twoness refers to the ongoing birth of the universes as we know it, in the form of a collection of entities or discrete parts, while oneness is the pure awareness, the real reality underlying what we mistake for reality. Twoness is the imposition of wavelike behavior on the still surface of indivisible infinity."

He looked at me and I guess he could tell that I was starting to catch on.

"Another way to see it is that we exist as parts of the universe because twoness is infinity seen as an infinitude of parts. Moving along quickly now, threeness is when the parts join together into infinitely complex connections, and fourness is when the infinite chains of joined parts are ordered and arranged in infinitely complex patterns according to measurings, valuations of their qualities. For example, time is a reflection of 4ness and solidity is a reflection of 3ness."

I broke in, "So the real world is 3ness..."

Carlos shook his head. "You aren't getting it, but you will eventually. Reality is the basis of everything, and it is infinity. Reality is just awareness. Physicality, what you wrongly call 'the real world,' is not reality but a cover-up for reality, an interpretation of it. Solidity and reality are two different things. But we'll cover that later. Now where was I?"

He paced silently for a minute, and I got the impression he was feeding me information as slowly as possible without putting himself to sleep. Finally he continued.

"As a species, the human race has experienced many bizarre forms that historians don't suspect ever existed. You're old enough to look back and see this process taking place within your own lifetime. Historians don't see the big picture--the evolution of consciousness from mutually unintelligible form to mutually unintelligible form within the overall framework of the human form--because they make excuses for the past. They ignore the evidence. They see that ancient peoples painted two-dimensional characters and make excuses, 'The ancient peoples hadn't learned how to paint well.' Poppycock! They painted what they saw, same as anyone would. My point is that entire populations think alike within their own culture, different cultures think differently, and different cultures live in literally separate worlds from each other, just as individuals live in separate worlds from each other.

"Like that yuppie in the diner, who I dissolved in your world, but in his world, he might still be there sipping the same cup of coffee, reading the same newspaper. We don't know. Individuals, cultures, and entire eras of civilization take twists and turns through forms of awareness that don't exist equally in the mind of everyone. No one knows what someone else's world is really like. The simplified version is that once upon a time, the human race became aware of its own existence and panicked, suddenly fearing existence, and then once they got their head above water, they panicked again, afraid of death for the first time. The same thing happens to individuals when they're born, which is why children raised alone in big houses are prone to killing each other if allowed to: they're scared out of their minds, and ever since television took over the work of parents, the level of insanity has skyrocketed on earth.

"Similarly, the human race was a newborn once, helpless and scared. All decisions were made emotionally because we were just shadows of awareness, just twoness. We could tell one thing from another but didn't know what to do about it. The gods had to help us all along the way. The gods were inner voices from our other dream bodies, 3ness, 4ness, 5ness, all the way up to 8ness. So twoness invented the gods when in fact it was the individual's own dream bodies speaking to him, helping him to navigate novel situations. And within any given culture, your gods and my gods had better be in agreement with each other or all hell would break loose. So consensus reality was formed as a means of population control. That much has not changed.

"Sooner or later when twoness became more managable, some of the energy that had been tied up in expressing existence as identifiable entities was freed up and twoness started learning how to merge with threeness. That meant a more solid, reliable world, with one less god in the head speaking words of wisdom; the voice of twoness was internalized, became part of the mind, which changed the world and even the body. Then when we learned how to say yes or no to threeness, energy was freed up to give to fourness and we became aware of value and time, that is fourness. One less god in the head, 3ness absorbed. Twoness and threeness merged.

"So, as a species, we are now at a unique juncture, fighting tooth and nail among ourselves because some want to be done with the age of 4ness and stop letting our obsession with time and values dictate everything we do and waste all our energy, while those who are still obsessed with 4ness are more worried than ever about obeying the gods in their heads that tell them to enforce or die. This war will not be won anytime soon on a specieswide level, but when it is, we won't need history books anymore, we won't need money anymore, everything will be absolutely different. The next level is fiveness, and in the series of the seven harmonics of awareness, the fiveness dream body is the center of our being. We've reached the point in our development when the human form is symmetrically split into the 2-3-4 mind/body/world or the lower chakras, and the uppers, that is the 6ness, 7ness and 8ness dream bodies or higher chakras. With 5ness, the heart chakra, trying to moderate energy exchange between the 2-3-4 or the conscious mind and the so-called subconscious mind or the uppers."

I was starting to get lost, but somehow I've managed to remember most of what he said and reconstructed it the best I could. Of course, this lecture was repeated many times over the coming months of our time together.

"At this point in the development of the human form, the 2-3-4 world is in a fight for its life. In order to create and control a solid, physical world, where we keep waking up in the same bed each morning, the 2-3-4 mind has to hoard energy. It senses the encroachment of the 5ness dream body, the Dream Usher, and knows that the Dream Usher wants some of that energy. It doesn't know why. It thinks the Dream Usher is an intruder, a thief in the night. In fact, the Dream Usher knows how to distribute our sum total of energy correctly so that the uppers get their share and the 2-3-4 gets its needed share instead of almost everything, with the result that you become able to dissolve the solid world at will and go anywhere you want in the Unworld.

"And this world we are forced to live in now, due to our incompetence as energy-wielding beings, is just an offshoot of the Unworld. We're here because we're human. When you learn how to share your energy with your Uppers, who live in the Unworld and know it like the back of their hand, then they'll teach you from right within the unworlded state how to dissolve physical reality and reconstitute more balanced worlds where all seven dream bodies have equal access to your limited energy. The result is a new body, the body of air instead of the body of meat. The future self, as a vehicle that can navigate the Unworld effortlessly. The seven merged into one."

I asked, "What does that feel like?"

"You'll know when you get there. What I have to convey to you today is what it feels like to merge with the Dream Usher, because that's the next step. It feels scary and painful, like slimming down. And that's what it is. The 2-3-4 is used to hoarding every drop of energy it can get, because it takes a lot of energy to hold our daily dream of a physical world in place. You have to force yourself to yank energy away from the 2-3-4 and let 5ness have it so the Uppers can wake up and show you around the Unworld."

"How is that done?" I asked.

Carlos stabbed my unworlding journal with his finger.

"When you write something in here, you're sending a message to the Dream Usher and to the Uppers as to whether or not you give two hoots about having anything to do with them. Adjust your attitude accordingly. When you wake up from an unworlding, don't lay there feeling sorry for yourself because you hoped to get more lucid that you did. Jump out of bed while the details are fresh. And if you jump up soon enough--or fortuitously too soon, depending on how you look at it--you will be jumping up before the 2-3-4 body has fully formed and reglommed-onto its usual component of hoarded energy, and you will be in the Unworld-at-large, ready to test your wings."

"And besides that, you need something to do and you can't jump rope all morning." He picked up the dream journal and playfully slapped me in the face with it. "This is you, muchacho. Rewrite yourself as a conglomeration of dream characters. Besides what I wrote in here about re-interpreting your unworldings, you have to re-interpret your waking experiences too, the daily dream. Start by listing the seven most influential people in your life, outside of your immediate family. Consider everyone else you've met either a subordinate of one of those seven categories, a composite of them, or a meaningless cardboard character."

"What about my parents?" I asked.

"Isn't that obvious? They are you as twoness. If you were oneness, they would be twoness. This Synfonemia is infinite in scope and complexity. Never try to get to the bottom of it. You have to see it from the inside out. In fact, you have no choice."

I persisted, "So what about my brothers and sisters?"

He thought for a second, eyes turned up and stroking his chin, as if he were pretending to make up a good answer. Finally he looked at me and said softly, "Knowing you, those are your enemies." He laughed at my consternation since I was obviously speechless. "Just kidding, amigo. Your siblings are distortions of you. Just little ole you, with slight adjustments made; variations of you. Any more stupid questions?"

I was determined to keep my mouth shut, so he went in his bedroom--I didn't have one anymore--and pretended to go to sleep. Later when I snuck in to see if he was meditating or really sleeping, he was gone. He wasn't even there.

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