The Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 2 August / September 1994
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Tips one reader feels are worth passing along.

There is no better way to learn about recapitulating than by recapitulating. It produces all of the promised benefits, and those benefits in turn teach one how to recapitulate even better.

When I first started, I worried that my list wasn't complete enough. It had approximately 1,500 entries, but I was sure I had missed a lot. After recapitulating for 1 - 2 years (I've lost track of it), I now believe that missing events on the initial list is inevitable. It's important to remember everything you can, but there is no possibility of getting everything. As I recapitulated, I remembered enough new events and people to double the size of my list.

Don Juan once said that the first recapitulation was basically just a review of events that stand out in the most obvious manner. I don't feel that should be taken as a license to be careless. It's important to start out with everything you can remember. The recapitulation uses Intent.

I discovered, through recapitulating, that the additional events recalled during recapitulation are of a different nature than those remembered while making the list. Often, I would just let myself go on a particular topic and not refer back to the list of items under that heading. I would recapitulate that topic for hours, discovering so many events not on my initial list, that I assumed I had covered everything. Yet, when I was done and could not recall anything else, I would refer back to my original list and find additional events I had not remembered during recapitulation. I now believe that memory outside recapitulation is like a bird's eye view. It allows you to peg general locations from which you can investigate. Memory inside is narrow and lets you follow an event to those touching it. A complete list is necessary to cover the field, but one need not worry excessively about forgotten events.

If I were to start over again I would be more careful organizing the list in the first place. There's no reason to rush to start something that's likely going to take a couple of years. Nothing is going to happen overnight.

I learned the most about organizing the list after my recollecting took on a new depth: after about 8 months. I knew there was a difference because the additional events I remembered tickled & surprised me. Most of what I learned was about places; I'm still lacking with people. Here is a summary of what I learned:

1. The list tends to be so large that some topics are accidentally put into the wrong location. For instance, there might be a restaraunt next to a store and by accident the restaraunt is put later in the list. It's important to keep relative places or events together. That's because it's disturbing to switch locations or events too often during recapitulation. Staying with one place or feeling fosters deeper recapitulation and triggers more memories.

In fact, after finishing a location with many memories, it's possible to enter a vague state of dreaming where one can scan the landscape for unexplored feelings and "follow" them to a new memory. All you have to do to accomplish this is visualize some area from that topic and "walk" around in your thoughts. It doesn't matter if you have a full fledged dream view of the scenery or you are merely thinking about it. Just look for any type of feeling which you don't know the source of and follow it to a memory. These memories, deeply hidden, are thrilling to uncover. Discovering these tended to make me burst from the recapitulation crate with a happy, tingly feeling and my dreaming always changed following a lot of these discoveries.

Using this technique, I uncovered the memory of some reoccurring dreams from my childhood. I believe it's a good idea to recapitulate these too. Another time, I saw an orange pink band of light sticking out of a wall in a shopping center I was recapitulating. The band of light, as bright as if I were looking at a real flame in the dark, gave me a feeling of guilt, worry, and physical pressure.I couldn't trace the band of light to it's source; the wall was blocking it. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I decided to breathe in the band and exhale anything that came out. The result was a vision of beams of light criss-crossing my eyes.

2. There are cases where one can put an event or place in either of two categories. For instance, my mother took me to a particular shoe store often. I discovered, through recapitulating, that my mother was quite a flirt and enjoyed the salesman in that store. Thus the store could have gone under the Mom heading or under the heading of that shopping center. In such cases, consider which category would trigger more associated memories. In this case, I already had the shopping center to trigger finding more in that area. I put the shoe store in the Mom heading so that I could examine her flirting, and this caused me to remember a drug store on the other end of town.

3. If you have two complicated or perplexing events to recapitulate, don't put them back to back on the list. Give yourself some type of a break in between. It makes recapitulating more pleasant. I don't mean to suggest indulging to protect yourself. Just break it up a little so there is light at the end of the tunnel. It reminds me of the time I discovered that my dog was happier if I didn't keep filling her food bowl as she ate. She liked the feeling of finishing all of the food. It depressed her that I kept filling the bowl and there was no possibility of finishing it all. She ate less as a result.

4. Think category. Example: you will likely have lots of tiny memories from childhood such as a fort, favorite toys, hiding places, games. Don't write them down helter skelter going backwards in time. Put the toys together, the games together, the hiding places together. Doing this will surely help you discover ones you've forgotten. And you won't have to refer to your list every 10 minutes.

In the final analysis, the main thing is to recapitulate faithfully. Then you'll uncover your own secrets.

Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 2 Aug. /Sept. 1994