...In issue #3 you mentioned that you haven't seen any other groups with the goal of physically somersaulting into the inconceivable.
Concurrently with reading CC's books - which seemed fantastical as they came out, so that I suspended judgment - I also was reading from Tibetan Buddhist writings. The act of leaving the material plane without leaving a body behind is not only referred to in mythical or historical accounts of Buddhism, but is also described by at least one (maybe more) current teacher/writer, Namkhai Norbu, as having been the way his teachers and some of his family members left the world in this century, by achieving transformation of their ordinary bodies into a Rainbow Body, or Body of Light (p. 67 of Dream Yoga, and pg. 125-128 of The Crystal and the Way of Light). Pg. 43 of 1st edition of T. Abelar's Sorcerers' Crossing seems to me an interesting, relevant comparison: "... we die because the possibility that we could be transformed hasn't entered our conception... this transformation must be accomplished during our lifetime..."
As I understand it, these Tibetan teachings also have this transformation, or somersault into the inconceivable, as their goal.
Editor: Another reader reported that Swami Ramalinga (India, 1823-1874) is reported to have disappeared in his hut following a brilliant, violent light burst.
Readers can order Dream Yoga, along with lots of other esoteric books and toys (including a book on using drumming to enter dreaming by Michael Harner), from The Mystic Trader, 1334 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove, OR 97116. Or call 1-800-634-9057 to get a catalog ((503)-357-1669 outside the U.S.). I know that sounded like a commercial endorsement, but they sent a catalog and I was so charmed by the wealth of useless goodies that I wanted to pass it along.
The enlightenment pursuers.
...There are quite a few similarities between the lore of the enlightenment pursuers and that of the Nagualists.
I think that the yogic concept of "disincarnation" might be derived from striking a deal with the inorganics. Disincarnation happens when you do specific rituals aimed at specific beings or powers. This technique is roughly described in the Rig Veda. If you are successful in performing the ritual, you get to live until the end of the universe in your own little world, as lord and master of whatever you performed the ritual to be. It is emphasized that you don't get to remain forever. When the world ends, you're out. It is considered a bad thing to do, you have stepped outside the normal evolutionary cycle and will eventually lose your sense of self-determination. Agni is an example of someone who performed this ritual.
Another example of the presence of the inorganic beings in enlightenment lore is a comment made by the Maharashi Mahesh Yogi, sometime in the 70s. He's the leader of the modern day TM camp. He remarked, to a small assembly of followers, that a huge being had attached itself to the world and was feeding off the negative emotions of the planet. He made it clear that perceiving this kind of thing was done only by Seers and that to him the being resembled a gigantic caterpillar. He also stated that the earth was a gigantic being too, one that he perceived as a mother cow. He believed that if a way was not found to dislodge the predatory being soon, nuclear war or some other disaster would result. While I'm not sure if this constitutes an inorganic being, it's interesting to think of the possibility that since the earth is a living being, there might be predatory beings of the same general size. This Yogi is interesting because he hasn't emphasized enlightenment in his teachings, rather he emphasizes practical application through specific techniques and describes his followers as being on the path to become seers. Maharishi means seer.
Another yogi, Yogananda, claimed that there are saints in India who are over 2000 years old, and gave an extensive account of one in Autobiography of a Yogi. Those Yogi's presumably found a way to extend their life, as did the death defier. Also in that book, the Yogis certainly taught their students from within a dreaming state. An interesting story in that book is how the wife of one of these yogis woke up one evening to find her husband's dream body floating above the bed, surrounded by servants. Yogananda's book is good to read because it breaks the American concept of enlightenment pursuers as people who sit around and repeat "Om" with their hands in awkward positions. His book is filled with dreaming experiences.
And then there's that little book the Hari Krishna's like to give away for a "donation" in airports. It claims that their leader didn't die, but simply walked into a forest and never came back. Presumably, he walked into another reality, with Krishna.
Another interesting similarity between these consciousness based techniques and Nagualism, is the concept of astral planes. I've seen it said many times that these places are passed from master to disciple and have been "carved out" so to speak, and passed down. Reading direct accounts of them makes them sound as if they are built out of, or discovered through, intent, and are not locatable without a connection to the original intent. It's very much like the death defier's dream church. It was built by the death defier by visualizing it a brick at a time. These astral planes are also built in this manner and handed down to descendants in a relatively sturdy form.I believe Muktananda elaborates very well on astral planes in one of his books. But in that same book he mistakes a dream of hell for an actual visit to a place everyone goes after death.
It's also interesting to take a close look at the two schools of enlightenment (the gradual and abrupt schools) and analyze the experiences of their participants. Jung had his own analysis of this, and I found it particularly frustrating. It's fine to get inspired, and run around with the idea that you're educated and know the truth, but at some point you're going to notice that you haven't gotten anywhere. I find it more fruitful to examine these schools from the point of view of Nagualism. Given the premise that enlightenment is permanent heightened awareness, or dreaming-awake, some interesting things pop up.
The Zen school believes that enlightenment comes in a flash and remains permanently. Yet nearly all of their participants never make it. Usually, that's blamed on the participants.
But perhaps they aren't to blame. Don Juan described how some luminous cocoons had a peculiarity that made them permanently deform the first time the assemblage point moved to heightened awareness. Carol was said to be such a case. Maybe those who are capable of reaching enlightenment instantaneously are merely those who's luminous cocoon has that peculiarity. That would seem to make sense. Since most people don't permanently retain that state, without a personal struggle, and since the Zen situation is not one where a Nagual is automatically putting all students into heightened awareness on their first meeting, you would expect enlightenment to be a rare occurrence under such conditions.
Then there's the gradual school of enlightenment. Traditionally, this camp is inhabited by the Yogis and Buddhists. They believe they can meditate and practice consciousness altering techniques which gradually transform their state of consciousness into an ideal one.
If one were to experience this directly, through their techniques, while retaining the Nagualist point of view, one might conclude that their meditation works because it shuts off the internal dialogue. This often allows them to retain awareness and sneak into other states of consciousness. They don't quite see it that way. They have added elements of religious belief, and while they will often acknowledge the effectiveness of shutting off the internal dialogue, or quieting the mind as they would put it, they don't seem to believe one can learn to do that directly through practice. They see that more as a side effect of practicing the meditation techniques or as the result of reaching other states of consciousness.
I once had a conversation with Chakurpani, one of the most likely candidates to take over for Muktananda when he died. At that time I was concerned that shutting off the internal dialogue was dangerous. I still wasn't quite sure Carlos hadn't made it up, and I feared my mind would shut down and my bodily functions fail. I asked Chakurpani, and he said, "Oh, no. The more you stop your mind, the more you evolve." I then asked him a question that amounted to "well why all the other techniques then?" His reply was something to the effect that, "not everyone could do that."
During meditation, Yogis and Buddhists often experience the same types of things readers have reported during recapitulation: blacking out and not remembering what happened, dreaming while not asleep, muscle twitching and movement, consciousness moving downwards into the center of the body, etc. And of course they experience all of the accompanying sensations of such a shift: loss of physical boundaries, direct connection to knowledge, bliss and increased healing ability, perception of heaven, angels, and God. My conclusion is that these are the side effects of an assemblage point shift along the left side of the band of man. I believe it's a good assumption, since their descriptions of the results correspond exactly to what don Juan described for such a shift. And he said that was the preferred direction of shifting for most people. The Yogis themselves often say their techniques are "designed" to be safe for all. And don Juan said that this band of emanations was the portion of the luminous cocoon which was perfectly safe to perceive. Finally, there's Carlos' statement after experiencing this kind of shift that he believed mystics and saints must have made this journey too.
The users of these techniques get better and better at this specific shift, because their specific technique produces consistent results. These results may vary from person to person, often being frustratingly poor, but they are predictable. Still, the gradual school isn't any better off than the Zen camp, and the Zen criticism of them is true. They achieve other states of consciousness, but only temporarily. They keep extending their practices in an attempt to retain their gains longer, but this extension usually amounts to a retreat from the world in one form or another. They keep telling themselves, "I need to spend more time meditating and keep away from all of this worldly activity." Even when they do manage to stabilize these new states of conscious, it seems to me that they have simply added a bit more to their perceivable universe, the same way the ancient Toltecs increased the size of their reality. And their results are a lot less practical than those of the Toltecs.
In the final analysis, you really have to wonder if these things are all that similar to Nagualism. The leaders of all of these groups don't seem to have the same concept of total freedom. They surround themselves with symbols, buildings, traditions, and followers. Nagualists behave very differently. Would anyone really expect to see a famous yogi or Zen master working as a fry cook in a restaurant in Tucson?
Source: Orange, CA