In my umpteen readings of Carlos Castaneda's classic self-improvement book, Journey to Ixtlan, I couldn't help but feel that he was trying to tell us something, and that something would be something like this:
If it ain't easy, or scares the crap out of you, or makes you face up to your innate resistance to breaking out of your rut--i.e. what today they're calling "getting out of your comfort zone"--then all that extra energy you seem to be expending to remain out of that zone could be considered an investment. It's as if Carlos were trying to tell us that in order to save energy, we have to spend it strategically. Spending it on routines and addictions is too safe, it just makes us fat and useless. Well not useless, but about as useful as an image in a mirror. Expending energy outside of the comfort zone is another thing entirely, as if that energy somehow comes back to us.
I came upon an illustration of this concept when hiking one day in the mountains. I found that when I tried to make a beeline down to the bottom of the mountain where I was ultimately headed, I kept running into tangled brush and other barriers and had to laboriously climb back up a ways to find a clear trail down. Because I was in a hurry, blindly heading straight down, I ended up climbing the mountain more than once to find a way down that I could actually traverse, without swinging from trees like Tarzan and leaping giant boulders like Superman. The easy way, straight down, turned out to be not only harder, but impossible. Going up and down was the only way to get where I wanted to go.
Speaking of superheros, something really basic about energy finally occurred to me this week, while re-reading for the umpteenth time the volume mentioned above, where it talks about bizarre experiences in the desert which Carlos was forced to undertake in order to "gather power". While reading, I am aware that these supreme Castanedian hardships are the fictional part of the narrative while the non-fiction (the practical self-improvement part) is where "Carlos" and "don Juan" have their long sit-down talks in which the student asks the same stupid questions over and over and the teacher is anywhere from evasive to preachy to grandiosely inspirational. Much of it makes little sense, so while Carlos gets his share of credit among dreamsters for telling us to look at our hands, he takes his share of abuse also due to the fact that his books merely inspire the B. Jesus out of so many of us without actually telling most of us what to do.
Carlos Castaneda was a crafty devil. He was smarter than you and I put together, and he knew that the route to the Unworld was personal for each and every person who attempts to find his way there. He knew that he could do us the most good, and probably sell more books, by inciting our curiosity and inspiring us to try harder and to leave fewer stones unturned in our searchings. But unlike everyone else including me, he did not condescend to answer our questions. It was his job as a Trickster, the Dream Usher of the post-1960s social environment, to make us wonder what the right questions even were, and to test us to see whether we're capable of laughing at ourselves. He had to make us want to take action and find out for ourselves.
Unlike Carlos, I don't depend on selling books, I beg for a living in order to burn up my filthy self-importance, and that makes it possible for me to tell it like it is. What I'm about to tell you has been known for thousands of years, but presented in language that is veiled to the western mind by layers of eastern traditional terminology. For confirmation of what I'm about to present, you may consult The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
We have seven dream bodies, and the physical body is a conglomeration of the human form at its current level of development. That is to say, we as a species have gotten a bit of a handle on twoness, threeness, and fourness, and there we are stuck. So the 2-3-4 Body/Mind/World is us in a whirlpool, locked into the Earthville system for our own good because we don't have enough energy to get out, and if we did, we wouldn't have enough energy to survive in the Unworld. I may have mentioned before that plenty of entities are just two-dimensional images or reflections, with no particular awareness of their own existence. For example, they may seem to be stuck in some sort of heaven or hell based on their beliefs and/or karma, but in fact it is only their beliefs and/or karma--2D entitites--which get stuck in those places. Resultingly, these images don't have the capacity for happiness or suffering. Fortunately we are not those images; unlike those 2ness-only bodies, we humans have seven dream bodies. Our seven dream bodies constitute the human form, which is awareness as we know it. Those trapped images are made out of infinity like everything, and infinity is pure awareness, but as entities or individuals or separate things, they don't have awareness as we humans know it. Not everything that humans give birth to is human.
I believe that Carlos was afraid that we might end up stuck in those places if we didn't work our way into better shape, able to manipulate our own awareness at will, able to assemble worlds at will, that sort of thing. Or else our useless identity would be swallowed back into awareness-at-large upon death, a process which he called "being consumed by the Eagle". He was concerned with power and control, not power over others, but over ourselves. He thought we were wasting our energy upholding the ego instead of using that energy to gain our freedom. And unlike the Buddhists and Hindus that he had obviously studied, he never said we could have 10,000 reincarnations on earth to get our act together. Like almost anyone with a Catholic background, he dealt with the individual as someone who lives, dies, and that's it, except for some sort of afterlife off earth. But Carlos didn't seem sure that we had to die. I agree with him on that.
It boils down to sacrifice. Some New Agers with their airy-fairy notions might say we have access to unlimited energy and infinite intelligence. If so, I've never noticed any such thing except fancy claims in books. It seems to me that to be an individual means exactly that we have certain limitations, and the most basic, underlying limitation other than individuality itself--or twoness--would be that we only have so much energy.
When Carlos described his long, difficult, scary sojourns in the desert to gather power, he wasn't just blowing smoke down our shirts. He also didn't know quite what he wanted to say, or didn't want to just come out with it, for fear that a sequel wouldn't be needed. So I will come right out with it. Unlike Carlos, I'm a beginner, so I still have plenty of sequels in me no matter how much I think I'm revealing today.
The 2-3-4 in its lust for life and addiction to physical pleasure is an energy-sucking monster that causes the emaciation of its own partners, the Remote Mind (fiveness, sixness, sevenness, and eightness). We've been over and over this. So why is it that Blaffinveigle, Nubberzuck, Metsuke and the other Frawmbickly Acts help us in our struggle to attain the Miruvorning Vroombelleration? It's all about energy. We have to provide energy to the Uppers by giving it to the Dream Usher, 5ness, which is the center of our being. We are at a crossroads as a species, because our hoarded energy, the overwhelmingly physical 2-3-4 World, has got us stuck so bad it's almost impossible to believe there's a way out, short of death or some other pumped-up, fictional experience like enlightenment in which all is perfectly well and one lives happily ever after on top of a mountain.
I don't blame people for wanting to believe in a way out. Because there is one. I don't give much heed to the solutions offered by others, but I don't ignore them either. In fact I try hard to discipline myself to not hold the opinions of others in contempt, but to listen to what they have to say. I take what I can use and leave the rest. One thing that's worth looking at is the age-old belief system of seven chakras. Not that it's limited to that number exactly, but that seems to be the consensus for the main human energy centers. When we realize that the chakras, as vibrational events, are really harmonics of oneness or awareness, then it's easy to understand that each harmonic builds its own harmonic series, each harmonic having its own amplitude, volume, or energy usage, and thus the 2-3-4's basic configuration--its Troovammickle--is infinitely complex, more unique than any fingerprint. But it boils down to this: we humans in general are stuck in the whirlpool of fourness to such an extreme degree because we're at the threshold of real transformation, the next step in the evolution of consciousness via the human vehicle. We're standing at the edge of a precipice, as a species, afraid to make the leap. We're dabbling in attempts to learn how to give energy to 5ness, which is Change Central. It is the heart chakra, the Dream Usher. So 2-3-4 knows that in a sense, change is death. True change means the 2-3-4 will never be bull goose loony at the Earthville Mental Institution again. The realized individual will become fluid and powerful by giving up control to its own Uppers which represent Change, Appreciation, Intuition, and Expansion. Being above fourness in the hierarchy, these harmonics of awareness incorporate control while the whole reason for being stuck in fourness is obsession with control and other reflections of fourness. Silly notion or not, like a science fiction novel, the species as a whole could someday step through the Urumara and Presto! new species. Transformational processes of human consciousness have happened before; it takes time, and it proceeds one individual at a time. So most likely it will be gradual and unnoticed.
As far as the individual is concerned, the 2-3-4 doesn't want to go through with anything so final. What if it turns out to be a mistake? So the 2-3-4 clings to the relative comatoseness of its current situation and makes do with all this suffering and indulgence and suffering and indulgence. When we could simply chop our addictions off, one by one, and be done with this place?
Well it ain't that simple and easy. Until you know what to do. And then it's pretty straightforward, but you still have to do it and it can seem to take forever. I won't pretend to be an expert. All I have is opinions. Me and enlightenment don't necessarily get along. So let's stick to the practical actions we can take and let enlightenment judge for itself whether it is reachable, already attained, or some pie-in-the-sky carrot-dangling of pay-per-gurus who stand to profit if attainment is beyond the individual's puny efforts.
Take Blaffinveigle for example. In what way does it gather power to remain mentally silent and not mull over a bunch of junk that you can't do anything about? Just guess.
Because of the Synfonemia framework we no longer have to settle for the vagueness of Castaneda or counting lotus petals of the Hindu traditions.
When the momentum of the 2-3-4 whirlpool is slowed, some energy automatically flows to fiveness because the relaxation of the whirlpool allows it to escape. Fiveness is the regulator, the heartbeat, the heart and lungs of the whole operation. With fiveness given the reins, it could be sorta like the individual's personal expression of the human form goes through a shift, which unwraps the other untapped possibilities too, because the Dream Usher knows all about both the physical world and the Unworld, knows all about the Uppers, and will distribute any conserved energy appropriately. At least a lot more appropriately that the hoggish and perennially miseducated 2-3-4.
When you shut off the internal dialog, instead of feeding energy to the entanglements of the identity and self-importance and emotional replay and endless worrying and figuring stuff out and trying to make yourself out to be better and more righteous than whoever is daring to ruin your life today, the energy is conserved and automatically spills out of the 2-3-4 whirlpool and lands in the lap of Change. The Dream Usher is all about change and fluidity. Things start moving fast when you can finally get the 2-3-4 mind to relax its typical daily hissy fit. When you deny the ego its food, the food isn't tossed out for the dogs, it's conserved and goes straight to the Uppers where it's needed.
So when Castaneda talked about enduring awesome discomfort in acts of gathering power, he was talking about making the effort to step out of the 2-3-4 world so the energy thus gathered could teach itself, most efficiently, to assemble new worlds. The conscious mind is not being assigned the task of figuring out the unknown. Energy is needed so that the Uppers can take over and guide the 2-3-4.
I've noticed that the dream characters which populate the relatively less lucid regions of the Unworld are the same characters over and over, from dream to dream. Many realize this, but gloss over the details, oversimplifying everything by saying "all the dream characters are just me" and the rest is just noise.
Well, I'm here to tell you, there are no dreams, dream characters, dream events, dream objects or dream places which are just noise. We don't dream randomly. Everything has a purpose. I pity the fool who thinks that any experience is just noise. I detect the jaded death rattle of Quackademia in the remark, "Ignore hypnagogia, it's just noise."
I'm teaching myself to recognize each of my dream bodies as a separate individual when I wake up and think about a dream. I'm feeling the idents of my soul partners. The goal is to nurture the ability to have this recognition during the experience instead of waiting till I write in my journal. I'm often more or less 2-3-4 when I'm in a dream. Sometimes the 2ness, 3ness, or 4ness dream bodies unmerge from each other. For example, when I dream of 4ness separate from me, it means the dreaming is getting under control; lucidity could be about to increase. Fourness is all about systematic, orderly, control stuff like values and time, events in a sequence, keeping one's ducks in a row, etc. My 4ness twins, who I call Nitpicker and Potwatcher, usually appear as a pair of workers of some sort, and dressed for the part.
Another thing that happens is that "I"--the 2-3-4, in general--will merge with another dream character, and that character is one of my dream bodies. The act of merging is generally symbolically represented but innately real. It's a literal act of merging. Our awareness joins so we share the Attention. Since the dream bodies of any given individual are built from a single mold or Troovammickle, it's only natural for them to resonate together so well that they can merge and unmerge many times during a dream or other experience. These mergings generally go unnoticed but can be recovered from a detailed dream journal if you know what to look for. Our dream bodies are not just guides; they are us. Oftentimes the only clue that a merging has taken place is that a dream character will disappear, there will be a short lapse, and the dream plot will shift gears. This might mean that he or she is now a part of me. This very real thing, me-ness, is just a matter of where Attention happens to be located at any given time. I've had little dreams where a dream body and I trade first person perspective back and forth. For example, if my dream body wants to wake me up in the 2-3-4 world, he can make some intense physical motion such as pointing at me or pretending to kick me in the head. These things happen in an endless variety and I've written many of them down after remembering them upon Awakening from Little Sleeps. My job is so much easier than Castaneda's because I don't have to make stuff up.
When we dream, we pass our attention from dream body to dream body. When 2-3-4 gives all or most of its energy up, it will not have memories of what happens next. Once through the Urumara, when he gets some of his energy/awareness back, he will have an experience in the Unworld, of more or less lucidity, which he might remember, but during the experience he often won't remember who he is (me). When he gets all his usual energy back, the 2-3-4 World reconstitutes itself in a few seconds and we call this 'waking up,' though in a sense it's kinda like going back to sleep, since it means we have once again found our padded cell in the Earthville Mental Institution, locked the door behind us, and tossed the key to the guard. I call this 'waking up in the Dayly Dreame.'
The Remote Mind has its own conglomerate dream body. In the same way that the usual sense of self is hogged by the conglomerate 2-3-4 more or less, the Remote Mind is more or less comprised of any or all of 5ness, 6ness, 7ness, or 8ness, whichever ones are not holding the attention or focus in the experience. This dream body conglomerate is the complement of the so-called 2-3-4 which might sometimes be just 2-3 or whatever. Another dream body conglomerate is called the Silent Companion. He or she often appears as a dream character that we notice and interact with, but later upon considering what memory we might have of the dream, the Silent Companion was for the most part unseen and unheard. Its presence is assumed and taken for granted, and during the experience, its identity is often assigned to someone we know in real life, like Mom or Dad or little sister or some long lost friend or the spouse or someone we recognize in the dream for no apparent reason once we wake up and can't imagine where we might have met that person. The Silent Companion is usually unobtrusive but crucial to the dream goings-on. Whereas a specific dream body might play a specific, more noticeable character.
It becomes apparent that some dream characters are just two-dimensional images, receptacles for emotions or beliefs or just plot elements. While others are important somehow, for example the one I call Cwahacoy is 6ness and the one I call Mouse is 7ness and the one I call the Dream Usher is 5ness, and the twins which I call Nitpicker and Potwatcher are 4ness. Twoness and threeness are often "me" in the dream but sometimes 2ness is the Inventor (creation of something from nothing, for example emotion) and 3ness is the Boss (stability, memory, solidity). My 8ness dream body is a character I call Limberluck, and my future self, the merging of all seven dream bodies, is my 9ness body, the body of air, which as a dream character I call Whirly or other names. He can be recognized by his calmness, his humor, or he can appear out of control in a way that controls and moderates the dream plot. He can do anything he wants, and rarely hogs the spotlight. When fully functional, I will be he, able to go anywhere and do anything. So he is my Miruvor, my future self.
Now I know, believe, imagine or suspect all this because I've developed a certain degree of paying Attention in dreams, especially pertaining to recurring object, place, plot elements, and character idents. Attention is the volitional direction, use, and manipulation of awareness, and awareness is oneness, which is not a dream body but the fundamental energy of the universes. What counts for us individual practitioners--wanna-be escapees from the Earthville Mental Institution--is the ability to perform Frawmbickly Acts, either the ones I describe or ones you invent for yourself. This takes energy. Everything that has to do with progressing to greater and greater familiarity with the Unworld, and the freedom to act volitionally therein, takes energy.
How to acquire and distribute that energy? Perform the Frawmbickly Acts while you are wide awake. You don't have to contrive to somehow send the energy thus conserved to the Uppers; it's automatic. The energy hoarded by the 2-3-4 is under pressure so it flows uphill when it's released from the whirlpool we experience as the physical. You--the 2-3-4, roughly speaking--Frawmbickle because you're willing to let go and share the normally hoarded excess energy of the conscious mind in order to allow your other dream bodies to do what they do best. Any of the Frawmbickly Acts accomplish this, while fretting and moaning about whether or not you're 'getting lucid' or 'getting OBE' usually have the opposite of the desired effect. When you temporarily get good at Gralthifying a Miruvorning Vroombelleration, you'll get to frolic in the Unworld at some unappointed time. All dreams qualify as unworlding experiences and should be appreciated as steps in the right direction. Unworlding is easy when it works, so don't make it hard by being a whiner, for example the kind of ingrate who complains he can't get out of his body and asks stupid questions on forums and then after you waste time with him it turns out he's been having lucid dreams all his life which he doesn't appreciate.
You have to be a good parent to your developing lucidity, caring the right amount, and making adjustments to your goals as needed. It's a balancing act. That's how you eventually become more and more lucid in the Unworld. By knowing that the time is right, Somewhere, and that Somewhere is where you are headed, by however circuitous a route. Meanwhile, it's two steps forward and one step back, a process which you can learn to love and appreciate because it's the only game in town.
Here's a little story about how intuitively curing myself of a pain in the neck changed my life.
I had gotten into the habit of making a nest of nine pillows. Really seven or eight, I suppose. This started when I had a bad cold and propped myself up in bed so I could breathe well enough to get to sleep. This was in addition to the long-used pillow between me and my little boy so he wouldn't bump into me during the night and wake me up. At some point I added a pillow under each arm. A pillow between me and the wall so I wouldn't smash into the concrete wall in my sleep. A pillow or two under my knees. Enough pillows so that no part of my skin would ever come into contact with the coarse texture of the mosquito net. This is not an exaggeration. And it was the same every night. I looked forward to collapsing each night into the same exact nest and waking up the next morning having not moved from this position at all, since it was pretty hard to get out of the nest. I should have realized how lethal it can be to not move for a long time.
On top of spending every night in the same exact artificially enforced position, I was spending each day staring into the computer, addicted either to online genealogy or trying to become a web developer--which was basically impossible for a team of one in his late 50s who is no genius. I don't remember which screwball hobby it was that obsessed me and soaked up all my energy at the time my neck ache developed and stayed; either way, I was addicted to filling out databases, of all things. And gradually becoming aware that I needed an actual reason to live. Soon. Point being, I was staring into a screen all day, drinking too much coffee, sitting in a chair endlessly, and more or less slowly killing my body. And then spending the whole night without moving.
The rigidity of posture and lack of exercise finally took its toll. It even put me in the hospital once with a UTI that got up into my kidneys, so I had to quit drinking coffee. In March of whatever year this was, I suddenly looked away from my database by rotating my whole body and thus realized I had been unable to move my neck properly for at least two or three months. I thought about how I had cured myself of lower back pain decades earlier by doing the opposite of what chiropractors told me to do, so using the "fuck this bullshit" technique, I proceeded to apply similar principles to my severe, potentially chronic neck ache. I developed a simple, passive practice which cured the neck pain and immobility slowly over the next two years. I can now do things in regards to neck and back flexibility that I once thought were impossible.
The first part of the program was to do away with all nine pillows. I decided to enjoy my little boy rolling over and bumping me awake in the middle of the night. I began to relish lying down to sleep with no pillows whatsoever. I gave up some longtime pursuits that I was forcing myself to try and complete for no particular reason, and decided I should be digging into my long-awaited retirement hobby, learning how to get unworlded.
But it all started with getting rid of those pillows. When I traded nine pillows for zero pillows, something clicked.