Navigating with a Stick
By Daniel Lawton

The Nagual [Castaneda] one day told us about taking a wooden pole, about 1 3/8" in diameter and about 14-15" long, depending on your height, and putting padding on one end of it. You sit "Indian style", with the soles of your feet together, put the unpadded end of the stick between your feet, put the padded part of the stick just above your eyebrows in the depression in the center of your forehead, while leaning over, and lightly place your elbows at the tendons below the knees with your fingers and thumb lightly pressing the points on either side of your ankle.

I discovered I could only do this for 20 minutes before my back ached and my butt fell asleep, so out of laziness I shortened the technique to sitting in a big lazyboy chair with a soft pillow on my lap, a 12" stick, and just barely bent over from a sitting position till my head balanced on the end of the stick. I dropped the knee and ankle stimulation.

I was able to keep that up for 3 hours at a stretch, although honestly I only went that long when I blanked out and lost track of time. You don't ever fall asleep or else your head falls off the stick, but you can blank out. Realistically, try 1 hour, then go to sleep for a couple of hours, then get back up again and do another hour, and repeat as many times as you can stand. As a side effect, this stimulates the conventional type of dreaming.

My original intention was just to learn to be silent, but I discovered a whole smorgasbord of possibilities for navigating. Here's some of them:

  1. Learn what your time till silence is. At first you'll waste hours before you realize you have to fight harder, then eventually you'll actually be able to get silent in a few minutes. I know I'm getting silent because I start to feel like I'm moving though something, I get tingly sensations up and down my spine, which sometimes stick to the top of my head. Sometimes I'll even feel a sudden jolt on my back, exactly where Carlos described being struck. After that I start to enter dreaming, meaning that I start to visually see scenes. It took me 6 months to learn to do this, 3 hours per night. That's just a guess, it might have been 2 years, it's not a black and white thing.
  2. Learn to visualize anything you want to see. After you learn to get the dreaming started, if you can maintain silence and interject just a single thought, you can see whatever you want. For instance, from a silent perspective with dreaming scenes drifting by, think "spatula" and there will be a spatula, in full 3D glory. Then the technique is to see how long and how closely in detail you can observe the spatula. It's like riding a wild horse, it's really easy to get thrown off, but in the process you're learning to examine something without turning your internal dialogue back on. Unfortunately, after a few different objects I always ended up thinking "teenage girl in panties," so I had to drop this technique.
  3. Learn to travel with your dreaming window. This is difficult to describe, but while silent you "stroke" the scene you are vaguely seeing and it becomes stronger. I used to roll my eyes very slightly in a counterclockwise direction, as if I was looking at a gnat in the scene, slowly flying around in small circles. Some kind of orange/gold light would superimpose over the area I was stroking; sometimes so bright it was just like a literal small flame over the area. This was completely visual for me, not imagined. I didn't invent this technique, my body did it automatically a few times, and I started to do it on purpose once I realized what it was good for.
  4. After stroking the scene, it can become fixed and vivid. Then you can cause it to pan to the left or right by focusing your curiosity on that direction. I believe you could learn to pan over an entire city, looking any direction you wanted, but as I said it's an avenue, not something I have had the time to fully explore.

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  5. Learn to dream the room you are in. This just happened to me accidentally. While getting silent I discovered a tendency to end up dreaming of the chair and floor below my pillow, the same as if my eyes had accidentally opened up. The Nagual used to talk to us about this but I don't remember what he had to say.
  6. I explored this and got to the point that I had my "dreaming" eyes fully opened, looking at the room in front of me. From there I discovered 2 possibilities. I could stand up physically, and open my eyes and "superimpose" the dream copy of the room over the original. For me that's a very frightening possibility, that produces immediate and total nausea. The scary part is that you're in a strange dream copy of the room at the same time you're awake in the room, and every object looks different without any difference. I didn't do that very much; I didn't like the feeling. I always had the impression that once I fully succeeded it could become a permanent condition, and I didn't want that to happen.

    The other possibility is to get up from the chair in your dreaming body, leaving your physical body sitting, and go out into the room, or even leave your dwelling. I've made it as far as to the street outside. I consider this a possibility for dreaming of the real world, as opposed to waking up inside a random dreaming scene at night. Naturally my real motivation was to travel to Santa Monica, track down the Nagual, and in my dreaming body see if he'd notice me. I've gotten over that now. Besides, the dreaming copy of the real world isn't quite right, I could never get a perfect match, and there were always odd elements as soon as I left the immediate room. That's probably why I gave up this avenue.

  7. Learn to gaze into a crystal ball. I know this sounds really far fetched, but hear me out. The Nagual one time told us that hobbies were good because they used up time that might be poorly spent. He made furniture and built things around his house. At the time he was telling us this, I was in the middle of my chair dreaming techniques and got the idea to take up oil painting, of a live scene from dreaming.

My idea was that since I could see dreaming scenes with reliability, maybe I could have a canvas in front of me, and paint the scenes while I viewed them. Eventually I discovered that it might be possible to dream the scene directly onto the canvas and just paint over it. Then I got the really weird idea that if you painted over a vague dreaming scene it would more readily remain in view, so that the more you painted the more it would be stable. Maybe when you were done you could invoke the same dreaming scene by looking at the painting. Then if that was the case, you could certainly stare at a distant object in the dreaming scene, and zoom into the dream. In other words, you could produce a portal into a dreaming world. If I could laugh like an insane mad scientist I'd do it at this point. That's the beauty of navigating. Nothing's impossible if you can get a hook on it. You could certainly do this portal thing, given a lot of time.

I believe you could do the same with a crystal ball, learn to focus your dreaming scene down into the crystal ball, and become a crystal ball gazer, except that you would really be seeing the scenes and not just making it up. If this sounds really impossible to you, don't forget that Taisha used to gaze at the palm of her hand to get her address and phone number, so it's not really a new avenue of exploration.

One day, when I was in the heart of practicing this chair technique and all its possibilities, I planned a weekend practice session some friends. Someone mentioned the stick technique to someone from Cleargreen, and they remarked in an offhanded way, "that technique was back then, now we do..." By the way, I really admire the Cleargreen person who said it, and would happily marry her immediately and spend the rest of my life with her, so I don't intend any bad remarks about her personally. She was reflecting the discipline the Nagual had created within that group of people, a discipline that often expresses itself as a form of absolute narcissism. Once sorcerers of that type move in their current direction they become oblivious to anything in any other direction. You need that on a personal level, but it's wrong when you apply it to everyone. You may be moving one way, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to run to go your direction. If someone gets excited about anything at all in the world of sorcery, you should encourage them to grab hold and go as far as possible. It's so rare for people to get excited; killing it is a crime.

The Nagual used to encourage anyone that discovered anything new. I remember one time when one of the energy trackers had discovered some beams of light coming from infinity somewhere, beams that had swapped her with someone else. The Nagual explained that he didn't know what the hell she was talking about, but he thought it was great for her to pursue it.

The nice thing about the stick technique is that you can't lose! If you fail to get something exciting to happen you'll at least learn to be more silent. My advice is that it's like pulling taffy, although I've never done that. You have to keep it up steadily. If you stop for a day, you might be back to square one. The effect builds up over time. You can actually feel when you're "moving" after a few days of real hard work. And when you stop moving, you can feel that too.