More Letters to Sustained Action
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 17:37:9 -0700
From: "Ken Matesz" <email@example.com>
Dear fellow activists:
I have been following CC's work since the late '70s (I was a teen then) but I only learned of his workshops in Jan. of '98. I attended Pomona '98 and many others since. My question is simple: Does tensegrity do ANY of the things it's purported to do (beyond physical fitness which tends to come with any vigorous activity)? My wife can feel energy and she can feel energy moving significantly when she sees someone performing the passes. But I have yet to hear from anyone that their tensegrity can be directly the precursor to dreaming, seeing energy directly, etc.
Some of you at this site apparently have practiced this longer and more diligently than I have to this point. What's the scoop? Quite honestly, I'm willing to put up with some lies and deception if the system itself does what it is presented to do. thanks in advance for your response.
Subject: Practices outlined in The Sorcerers' Crossing
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 12:30:01 -0400
From: "John Rogers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm looking for anyone who has experience with or knowledge about the practices outlined in Taisha Abelar's "The Sorcerers' Crossing". These practices are almost identical to the Chinese practices known as Qi Gong or Chi Kung ("Clara" states that she learned some of the techniques in China). I'm interested in trying out these techniques, but I've been reading books on Qi Gong that warn of the possibility of injury if a certain training sequence is not followed. They warn that the training must be every day without exception and that skipping steps in the sequence or stopping the training midway could injure your body and shorten your life.
Does anyone have any information that might be helpful regarding this?
Name: John Harmer
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000
Thank you so much for taking the trouble to inform about the truth concerning Castaneda. I spent a decade embroiled in a Gurdjieff cult (Fellowship of Friends), and subsequently lightly flirted with the Cleargreen offering. The working through of these private events has been greatly assisted by reading the honest accounts on this site.
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000
From: Dee Jessop <email@example.com>
Very interesting web site. I have thumbed about in Casteneda's material several times, but the discussions on your web site were most revealing and fascinating.
I have studied/practiced several schools of awareness (Incan shamanism, kung-fu, and yoga). I 'see' periodically probably more in the way 'Dan' does in the
Alot of good information, alot of whining and biting too (probably to be expected). Having read some of the discussions, I have some few comment.
1. I think there are several sources of material that people coming to your
web site and involved in the discussions would find interesting (based on what
most of the discussions seem to be about). They are the following books and
True Believer, a good book on the nature of group beliefs and dogmatics
The Hyrum Key, a book on new insights on biblical ideas from a masonic view
The Blood Line of the Holy Grail, fascinating book on biblical mistranslation
Sat Nam Rasayan, a good book on using awareness to heal (Siek tradition)
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a very good book on....influence
Emotional Intelligence, a good book about new views of what happens in the brain
Phantoms of the Brain, this may explain a portion of shamanic experience
Symphony in the Brain, on possibilities with biofeedback and training mental states
MegaBrain, a comprehensive overview of brain technologies and possibilities
The Fifth Discipline, good overview of systems, vision, and leadership
Cheng Hsin: The Art of Effortless Power, good book on awareness and the body
How to Defend Yourself Even Trying, very good little book on awareness and Aikido
The Way of the Human, 3 volumes, little difficult, major material on awareness
The Dark Side of the Inner Child, very good look at spiritualization and guru worship
Mind Trek, good look at remote viewing
2. I think the use of neurofeedback would greatly help settle alot of the debate on 'seeing' and what the brain is doing during it. Could equally apply to dreaming.
Best of wishes,
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 12:13:15 -0600|
From: Dee Jessop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Its would be ok with me if wanted to post my email or the books. I have to make a correction though. The book 'How to Defend Yourself Without Even Trying' is the correct title. Its small, short, out of print, but Amazon can still get it...I think. The author is Chitwood.....otherwise you could substitue the book 'Ki in Daily Life' by Tohei.
Another powerful book is 'Battle for the Mind' by Sargent. Its about mental conditioning and how the mind breaks under stress and brainwashing. Very interesting is its material on occult and shamanic practices to induce trance, as well as psychological controls by governments and institutions. Originally it started as a study of battle stress during WW2.
Joseph Mckoneagle has a new remote viewing book available called 'Remote Viewing Secrets'. It just came out May 2000. Another book your visitors may find interesting is 'Traveling the Interstates of Consciousness'. Its a description of using Robert Monroe's methods (binaural beats, hemisyc) to achieve conscious astral travel in shorter, more controlled periods of time. Monroe's classic original is 'Journies out of the Body'. A couple of web sites your viewers might find interesting:http://www.tanega.com/astral/astral.html
remote viewing sites of Ed Dames, Paul Smith, and Joseph McKoneagle (all part of the original team of viewers) can all be looked up on the net. They are rather
interesting. Current director of the Monroe institute is Skip Atwater...also heavily involved with the original viewers.
I wouldn't mind entering a discussion group....and I tried last night but didn't make it. Haven't ever been in a discussion group on the net before, so its new to
me....mostly use the net for research and work. Wouldn't mind being on the Sustained Action mailing list.
Appreciate your response.
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000
First I'd like to ask, Was Don Juan and the whole thing just made up, or everything after Don Juan left. This is quite a shocker!
Also would like to mention that years ago I came across a Magical Blend magazine with Merilyn Tunneshunde promoting some new book. (I never trusted her, looks like I couldnt trust Castaneda either!) It had a supposed picture of Don Genaro in it. Well a time later I was going through a pile of National Geographics when I came across the exact same picture! It was a picture of some shaman. Sorry I dont have the Magical Blend issue or the National Geopgraphic (1975??mid seventies)But they are there and are the exact same.Don't know why she would bluntly steal it out of a National Geographic
Name: Peter Szasz
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2000
For the most part I find your website and information you provide very interesting. There is an occassional, for lack of a better term, "nya-nya-nya" factor that creeps into your commentary which has a way of detracting from what you wish to convey. One thing that you didn't ever address: the undisputable shutting down of internal dialogue that Carol Tiggs has done in several of the workshops. I mean, those guys seems to know something...maybe the wrapper the candy comes in is of dubious nature, but there definitely seems to be something of value. Brings to mind one of Gurdjieff's statements. He maintained that the general mentation of modern day man has degenerated to such an extent that truth could only reach him in the form of a lie.
Thank you for your reply.
As far as I was aware, which may not be very far, the witches and Castaneda did acknowledge some indebtedness to eastern traditions. Wasn't it mentioned at some point that the nagual Lujan was in fact Chinese and brought a great deal of Marshall arts influence to Tensegrity? Taisha and the other witches with their karate and the connection with Howard Lee - it's all pretty much out in the open for anyone who cares to look - as obviously you and your cohorts did. Now those poor bastards from the hinterlands of outer Siberia who read a few smuggled copies of CC's books then cashed in their life savings to attend a workshop - well, they would be a different story under the best of circumstances.
I have been with the Gurdjieff Foundation of California in SF for over thirty years and CC did pay us a visit; in the mid seventies it was, I believe, and he was given a Movements demonstration. Having had fairly extensive exposure to both, (about fifteen workshops) I can categorically say that they are VERY different in fundamental principle, approach and execution.
As far as Carol's ability is concerned - well, I just don't know. One thing for sure, I had occasion to accidentally look into her left eye at close quarters way before any of her on stage demonstrations; and I was struck speechless, inner and outer. She was merely trying to correct me at a particular position in one of the early workshops as she with Taisha walked among the participants on the floor (in Colorado) and I got quite a shock.
After having had a fairly long (in dog years) and quite eventful life spanning two continents and cultures, I'd like to think of myself as being perhaps a little less suggestible; I studied hypnotism a little bit as well. It seemed to me that there might be something else there.
As far as the Cleargreen crowd; well, heavy identification with any trip is fraught with danger. I think putting a "Patent pending" sticker on might be a good idea.
All the best,
Corey Donovan's response to the above correspondent:
Thank you for your reply. As far as I was aware, which may not be very far, the witches and Castaneda did acknowledge some indebtedness to eastern traditions. Wasn't it mentioned at some point that the nagual Lujan was in fact Chinese and brought a great deal of Marshall arts influence to Tensegrity?
Is that an acknowledgement of indebtedness, or a rather bizarre and highly inadequate explanation for why the long forms they've been teaching for the past two years are nearly identical to Howard Lee's kung fu long forms? Did you know that Howard Lee's teacher's name was Lujan? Are you still buying the idea that there was a Chinese-born and raised leader of a secretive, ancient sect in Mexico in the late 1700s, and that his long forms back then should be so remarkably close to those of modern kung fu practitioners? And that Castaneda should never have mentioned Lujan's supposed Chinese origin in the books, but only when they started going public with martial arts style movements in the late 90s?
Replica Watches Replica Watches
Taisha and the other witches with their karate and the connection with Howard Lee - it's all pretty much out in the open for anyone who cares to look - as obviously you and your cohorts did.
It wasn't out in the open until we worked to bring it out in the open. Castaneda used to tell us in the Sunday sessions that he'd studied with Howard Lee for awhile, because he was a good healer, and that he (Castaneda) had tried, unsuccessfully, to help Howard. He didn't tell us that he had studied kung fu with Howard for 10 years, and that when Castaneda first started giving private classes, in the late 80s, they were known as Castaneda's kung fu classes.
Now those poor bastards from the hinterlands of outer Siberia who read a few smuggled copies of CC's books then cashed in their life savings to attend a workshop - well, they would be a different story under the best of circumstances. I have been with the Gurdjieff Foundation of California in SF for over thirty years and CC did pay us a visit; in the mid seventies it was, I believe, and he was given a Movements demonstration. Having had fairly extensive exposure to both, (about fifteen workshops) I can categorically say that they are VERY different in fundamental principle, approach and execution.
Your background is most interesting. I didn't realize Castaneda paid a visit to the SF Gurdjieff group. I know that he came a few times to see the local L.A. group. And I totally agree--the Tensegrity movements are nothing in particular like the Gurdjieffan ones, and I didn't mean to suggest that they were. The idea of teaching people movements to break their habitual view of the world, etc., etc., is very much inspired by Gurdjieff, however. I believe that as a secretive, authoritarian, sophisticated modern guru figure, Castaneda modelled himself on Gurdjieff, and that teaching an endless series of movements that were constantly being changed is simply another non-coincidental similarity between them.
As far as Carol's ability is concerned - well, I just don't know. One thing for sure, I had occasion to accidentally look into her left eye at close quarters way before any of her on stage demonstrations; and I was struck speechless, inner and outer. She was merely trying to correct me at a particular position in one of the early workshops as she with Taisha walked among the participants on the floor (in Colorado) and I got quite a shock. After having had a fairly long (in dog years) and quite eventful life spanning two continents and cultures, I'd like to think of myself as being perhaps a little less suggestible; I studied hypnotism a little bit as well. It seemed to me that there might be something else there.
Hey, maybe it was just those black contact lenses she was wearing. ; ) I think I know what you mean, but the power of suggestion and the placebo effect are very, very powerful phenomena, as material discussed on the website attests.
As far as the Cleargreen crowd; well, heavy identification with any trip is fraught with danger. I think putting a "Patent pending" sticker on might be a good idea.
I think it's going to take more than that to clean up for some of the outright, major lies they've told in promoting their material. But it's their karma.
Thanks again for your thoughts,
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000
From: Andreas Farsatis <email@example.com>
thank you very much for responding so quick.
In order to be more precise about what I have written in my short comment ,I would like to share a litle story with you.
Well, the teachings of D.J.have dominated the last 11 years in my life and what has really happened,makes it's self visable very slowly becouse from what I can see it's implications are very, very subtile. However, through the sustained action and from my own experience in S.A. with a man who is claiming to be the last teaching nagual,I came to a point where I could definetly concider my self as an unbeliever. Now the fact that I don't believe has brought me to a state of mind , where things, as hidden agentas or dishonesty, have become very obvious to my eyes, as well as all the motivations one has for the best imaginable self presentation.
As an implication of all this, I'm honesly very much aware that there only two things that I can really love: my partner wich I do love and my death,who I have to learn to love.
For one's more I want to thank every one,who had the strength to uncover the lies of C.C and cleargreen, and so to give everyone a real chance for real freedom.
With my warmest regards
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000
From: Elijah Ram Ariel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What a joy it is to find people who are not easily fooled by the Tensegrity smokescreen. I just read the commentary to Cleargreen's attempts to be the infalible know it alls. Ha! Way cool. I like your style. The chances are no guru could trap you with fancy spiritual talk. A true warrior always expects and is ready for spiritual attacks on all fronts. Once he surrenders his will and ability to think for himself he is trapped and has lost. Hell, there is a lot at stake here! I mean, how valuable is your soul? Would you really be willing to take the chance of sacrificing your soul by being a 'good boy' and believing everything Castaneda would teach at face value. Consider how many times the encounters with Don Juan's allies were a terrifying experience. I'm talking about playing games with the essence of our beings which is eternal. Spending eternity stuck in some inorganic bug web periodically and consistently being drained of energy is not my idea of a good time.
By the way, what's the behind the scene scoop on Kylie and those who once called themselves the Chacmools. When I went to a Tensegrity workshop about five years ago I was so shocked at what I spiritually discovered that I stopped reading Carlos' books and put them out of my sight. Dream battles the first night with the Chacmools, then waking dream battles with the watery inorganic (balloon/sleeping bag/French bread on string looking) beings. I 'popped' quite a few of them by sending concentrated bursts of pure, hot 'white energy' up the energetic strings the seven of them attached themselves to me with. Sure was funny when I returned the favor at the next session by detaching what was left of them and attaching them to Kylie. Ha! She looked rather frustrated trying to get them off. Then battles with the voladores who through Taisha Abelar's speaking spell were energetically feeding upon the hapless and unaware workshop students like some sort of dark, red eyed, human looking, energy vampire vultures. Wow, can those beings ever jump and they dance rather beautifully when they are well fed and happy. Amazing the squeeling screams as I chopped them apart with fiery dream ninja darts before I eventually made peace with them. I learned that I had to clearly and relentlessly visualize them catching fire in order for them to actually burn. When their apparent leader confronted me with the fact that they had every right to exist and feed I eventually envisioned surrounding myself with a 'bubble' of energetic white fire that the voladores wanted nothing to do with and let them devour the energy of the ignorants without interfereing. Then there was the dream battle with the one called the Tenant disguised as a transparent woman with a hideous face. I sent wave after wave of what might be termed white 'dream fire' which forced it to disolve from lack of energy to fight. It was quite exciting although I don't really believe any of it actually happened...and yet.... I learned that seeing is a combination of reality and imagination. Unless people dream in pairs or more to corroborate what they see I find it impossible to fully believe anything that happened during those apparent waking dream encounters.
When I psychically communicated "I Love You" to Nyie Murez she seemed to communicate back that she, essentially, could no longer truly love anyone. I eventually got the strong impression that through their associations with Carlos and his world they had been turned into some sort of loveless energy vampires. The closest they could come to actually loving was controlled folly; a cheap substitute for real Love. I still love them and Intend a happy ending for those hopeless witch, worthy opponent sweethearts. I feel inspired when I think of seeing them truly smile with hearts filled with Real Love.
You are the first person in the whole world that I have told these aspects of the story to.
Wishing You Invincible Love, Strength, Health, Wealth, Joy, more Love and Lots and Lots of Laughter. Now there's a goal to reach for.
Beats the hell out of jumping over trees and waterfalls.
Elijah Ram Ariel
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 09:14:25 -0700
From: Jonathon Leifer <email@example.com>
i have been a reader of carlos castaneda's books for about 25 years and, to the best of my ability, have tried to follow the teachings in his books. my study was done pretty much in isolation as i knew few people who took cc's teachings as seriously as i. it wasn't until '97 that i learned about cleargreen, tensegrity, etc, (i never attended a workshop - too much money), and i must say i was disappointed in it as 1) the organization and what it offered seemed to have the same structure and function as the est-type workshops prevalent in the 70s (one of the things i thought authentic about cc is that he never tried to cash-in the way some "new age" gurus did), and 2) the tensegrity movements i saw in the two tapes i bought reminded me of poor imitations of the internal kung fu sets i had been studying for the past 15 years (it was cc's description of the "warrior way" that made me seek out an approximation of it through the chinese martial arts in the first place).
Anyway, all that being said, once i found out that cc had gone public through cleargreen and tensegrity, i tried to learn about it as best i could, which brings me to the purpose of this letter. in some of the material i've read on your site, mention is made of cc's gross sexual escapades, and of fierce in-fighting among the cleargreen hierarchy. i'd like to learn more about this but have a problem wading through some of the dense material on your website. i find the chronologies part of the site especially difficult to navigate. i would like help with the following:
1) where can i find information on cleargreen and the reasons for its formation;
2) where can i find information on cc's sexual relationships with the various female members of his band, and others;
3) where can i find information on infighting in the cleargreen hierarchy.
i want to know this information not just for purient reason (of course, that plays a part), but also to help me better understand this man whose ideas so shaped my thinking so that i can seperate the wheat from the chaff of his teachings and better evaluate them.
your site has really opened my eyes. now i want to take a better look.
Name: Lee Choo
Date: Thursday, August 10, 2000
Thank you very much for your web site. For a long time now I have been trying to reconcile the incredibly beautiful saga of Don Juan and Nagualism, and the seemingly contradictory behavior of the man who brought it to light--Carlos Castaneda.
On the one hand, the teachings has made my life powerful, the path I tread meaningful, heartful. On the other, my instincts told me not to spend even the hundred odd dollars to attend the seminars in hopes of catching a glimpse of Castaneda. There was something amiss between what was in the books and the man who wrote it. It is in this gap that gives me hope that indeed Don Juan existed, and others like him continue to inhabit this earth.
Ultimately, I believe it was a story that just had to be told: That the Universe, that Power intended for the world to read the story, that for some of us to be deeply affected by it, and that for those same ones to change their lives for the better. You see, Castaneda was just the vehicle. And the only way, perhaps, for this most improbable story to be made palatable to the world was to have it told by a pathological lier--an egomaniac who had spent his entire life perfecting the art of fictitious creation. The Universe, Power, is wise, has its own inscrutable ways.
It's the message that matters. The messenger only does the delivering. Of course, when the messenger then takes a pen and adds crap to the message, then it is for us to distill the good from the bad. As warriors on the path, that shouldn't be so hard to do.
So, at the end, don't lose heart. After all is said and done, the Path With Heart is still valid, tying your shoelaces impeccably is still the thing to do, and the lonely barking of the dog in the distance still jolts us to awaken and live the day as if it was our last. Take heart, fellow warriors. Live, and dream, and dance.
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2000 15:10:20 +0100
Phew! I'm still trying hard to gather my thoughts together after hours of reading the content of your site. After my letter requesting an article on Castaneda was recently published in Nexus magazine, I've been contacted by a number of Castaneda readers, including Eric who kindly passed on your link.
I must thank you for your hard work in maintaining such an honest and revealing site. Its truly been a revelation... like many, I've followed Castaneda's work and practices through his works and that of his circle. I always tried to be objective about their validity, but over time I was more convinced than not, (I started to have more doubts after visiting the `official' site and its marketing strategy in '97-'98) and so am still feeling a sense of betrayal mixed with awe at how many of us he duped and why, for money, for power? Was he the Ultimate Trickster?
It's obvious he wounded those who physically followed his teachings at the workshops et al, a lot more greviously. I was touched by the accounts of your feelings and those of Martin Kramer, and others who were more deeply involved. And at your remarks about the narcissist parent many of us have battled to rid the influence of. In a way we are all attempting to re-author ourselves, I guess. What interests and still excites me is this global emergence of people who are waking up and asking the same questions... we were ripe for CC and his patchwork guruism... all these sensitive searchers waiting for someone to lead the way...
Perhaps we are gathering together to form a non-heirarchal loose network of attempting to learn who we really all are... Following some of Castaneda's recommendations has undoubtably altered my perceptions, some for the better, and now I fear, some possibly for the worst? I am now, like you undoubably have, questioning the validity of all `paper gurus', and standing in the middle of my beliefs trying to sort the wheat from the chaff!
The changes in consciousness I've experienced, the `knowing', the dreaming, how do I explain that to myself? I have had extra-sensory perceptions from an early age, but the dysfunction that brought them also left me in doubt of my sanity at times, as I've suffered all those rollercoaster rides of narcissism followed by long periods of self-fear and loathing. Withdrawal from my old life and social circles, therapy helped me find more balance and self-friendship and humour and to lose a bit of my drama queen, but still its not enough... I still get taken in too easily by words rather than actions, as your site has proved to me. I want to do my bit to affect positive change in the world's consciousness, but feel slightly rudderless... still hard to rise above the old ambitious ego wanting to mark its creative mark.
Carlos the Trickster, who stole Native American Coyote magic... perhaps he was always dropping hints, as I later began to suspect. I take responsibility for being sucked in by his particular tales of magic and hope to take the positive out of this lesson, rather than letting my ego go on another ride of indignation.
Feel free to print this on the site, email a reply, whatever! Can I make a suggestion? Maybe you could write an article for Nexus summing up some of your discoveries... a lot of its readers would probably find it enlightening, and might not know of your web-site. You can visit them at www.nexusmagazine.com
I'm passing on your url to anyone who contacts me regarding CC. and I intend to keep dropping in!
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 10:52:28 +0300
From: Alberto Bonisoli <Bonisoli@datacom.bg>
I wish only to tell you that Carlos Castaneda is one of the TEACHERS from the Jesus Christ's team. He was absolutely right in his conclusions!! Don't hesitate to trust him in everything he has studied on our planet! As a confirmation, I'm sending attached one of my messages distributed to the press, concerning the invisible creatures who try to contoll the life on the Earth for many years.
If you have any additional questions, please contact me to my e-mail or home addresses:
Name: Don Fleischman
Date: Wednesday, September 06, 2000
Hi. I found your site very interesting.
Something which is in your site, although not stressed in a "side by side" fashion, is the difference in the stories of how don Juan found Carol, the Nagual Woman. For the life of me, I am having difficulty in "juxtaposing" these essentially two different stories (the government office in Arizona vs. Mexico City). I have an idea, but it is perhaps a bit far- fetched.
The write-ups for the Sunday and Evening classes are REAL interesting. Well, the whole thing is interesting! If you are ever in the mood to show the artifact from "Lujan" that
"Carlos" gave you, I'd be interested in seeing it (I guess I'm materialistic at heart).
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 15:16:30 -0400
From: Jay Newman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've been reading with great interest all the notes you and others took from CC meetings over the years. Daniel Lawton has been kind enough to correspond with me at length by email and I'm very anxious to take this further.
I lived the techniques in Journey when it came out, as a teenager, very thoroughly and the results were astounding... an awareness level, energy level, alertness, calmness, degree of detachment, ability to create personas with people and tune in to exactly what they were thinking, seeing the futility of the ego others support, ability to bring about events and actions and yet totally flow with circumstances, ability to review all considerations and make decisions and act in an instant, and so on.
I finally became so frightened I went back to family and friends and lost the awareness within hours. I've been trying ever since to get back to it (but am buried in a business endeavor).
I have a chi gong master as a teacher who swears his teacher's teacher is 230 years old and I believe him. He's a kung fu master of the highest order. I practice the arts and it does amazing things, but not like the passes in terms of quieting the mind and bringing about new possibilities of thought and action.
Lately I've been doing recapping. I've attended most Tensegrity seminars over the past few years. My first one was at the blue pyramid where CC spoke for the last time. I was convinced he was entirely legit.
Everything the CC teachings say makes perfect sense to me, except, of course, for the many glaring contradictions.
What has be very puzzled right now and what I'm determined to resolve to my own satisfaction is that Daniel insists that the entire nine yards was a grand hoax, that CC really was very ill for the last years of his life, that there was a great deal of garbage going on in terms of sexual interactions and so forth for years within the clan all led by CC, and that most of the people that were closest over the years eventually wrote him off as a fake.
I can actually go as far as justifying that the sexual games could have been consistent with him being legit -- for whatever reasons. I can imagine that his complaining about his health, bragging about fucking all the women, and so on "could" have been consistent with his being legit. I can imagine that the many contradictions could also be consistent with them all being legit. Indeed, it would take a stretch of the imagination to buy all that, but I consider it at least plausible.
But I'm sure starting to wonder.
My only real point in wanting to make judgments about this is to decide where to focus my energies. My dilemma is that it is entirely impossible for me to ignore the fact that practicing the techniques makes all the difference, based on my experience, yet I see the inconsistencies and contradictions myself, and Daniel seems very familiar with extensive close-hand experience, although he is a very "intellectual" person who doesn't even buy into the Oriental concept of "chi" which I know first-hand is VERY real.
As I said, for me it's a matter of deciding how much time to put into the passes versus the chi gong, the latter of which I know is very ancient and authentic and brings about the most amazing level of health and detachment and longevity and "energy" and all that goes with it, how much to push to live the techniques and especially the more abstract techniques such as those in Journey to Ixtlan (not that I can ever ignore their awesome power and that anything less is like being in a coma or a petty dream), and whether to follow diligently the seminar instructors' guidance and perhaps move to LA to be closer to them all and to be able to attend practice groups.
I'd be so very grateful if you'd please tell me what you think based on your experience, and/or direct me to someone who you think could help enlighten me one way or the other.
Thank you so very much!!!
Name: Don Radick
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2000
Corey - I've got a book suggestion. I just finished The Zen Way to the Martial Arts: A Japanese Master Reveals the Secrets of the Samurai ISBN: 0140193448 Viking/ Penguin. It's really, really, good. The master (Tiasen Deshimaru) covers many aspects of martial arts, and also covers ZEN in a "practical" way. His advice? Just sit in zazen, empty your mind, concentrate on your breath, and everything will flow from there. There is no special experiences or consciousness, what happens is a return to our original, true state.
Name: elle mcdonald
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000
Thank you for your sustained action. I am fairly new to all this. I have always known of Castenda, but was never really interested. Since Last year I began reading and studying all of the books, including all tof the witches and others as well. I found the techniques and strategies very effective in my life and they seemed familiar to me as well for some unknown reason. I attended Dreaming awake in SB this August 2000 and was astounded at the reverence that is paid to all this activity and Castaneda. No one wanted to question anything. Like where in the world is Kylie?I must say, I was also in awe. There were rumblings of your site because I was asking many question about things that didn't make sense to me. I asked for it. Now that I have read some of the truths around all this mystique. I have a much better healthier view. Thank you for your sustained action.
Name: Martin Gärter
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000
Dear people of sustained Action,
your website has been of incredible worth to me.
I began reading Castaneda with age 17. Since I stopped to read after the five first books, I never had the opportunity to remark the inconsistencies regarding the recapitulation work. I didn't stop to read, because I wasn't interested any more, but because my aim was to find a teacher as Don Juan was.
With age 24, I found him. He was a very charismatic person and he was in my age. There was no doubt that he had profound knowledge, discipline and awareness of (to me) almost inhuman degree. He was capable of walking over hot coals or fire and taught me to do so, too. I traveled with him to Mexico, where we bought a hacienda in the Sonoran desert. There i stayed for more than a year.
It took me ten years living with him to understand, that he was a complete fraud. Although i knew now how to walk over hot coals and do lots of other things, I had never seen him walk over them himself. His discipline was partially due to an over restrictive personality, and partially due to the fact that he only pretended to practice it himself in order to be able to demand it from others and control them thereby. His awareness was only inhuman regarding the weaknesses or incapabilities of others, which he collected in order to gain power over them. His awareness was also inhuman in terms of greed, since he took energy or money whenever he had the possibility to influence others to give it to him.
Now that I have been able to see this and to get away from him, I found your website and had to understand, that Castaneda was the same fraud and that I had been gravitating to my "teacher" as someone of the same category as Carlos was. By loving Castaneda's work, I attracted the same kind of fraud into my life.
There was great philosophical Truth in Castaneda's work as well as in that of my teacher, but it had been used by them to exploit others from day one. It was used primarily to gain the attention and energy of others and secondly to get their money.
Today, I continue my spiritual and philosophical way of life, and I follow my own Truth and heart.
Greetings to you all
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 16:48:19 PDT
From: (Alex Rochosi, South Africa)
I have just found this site and it is impressive. You have made an astounding and valuable effort. Thank you for your hard work and I am loathe to ask you for more information...
Nothing I have read has convinced me that Castaneda or his group were necessarily frauds--anymore than they profess themselves. They were very strange ( I might expect weirdness if their stories are true). They clearly do not meet y expectations. I posit that our expectations probably contain a lot of bull, but I am all for review of everything--even if it gets me tossed out the club...
The Castaneda people are always talking about personal history, and one of my favorite lines in "Being in Dreaming" is when Florinda is confronting Carlos with some contradictions and his answer is something like, "this is not a story about facts, this is a story about ideas."
I expect Carlos and crew's lives would be bizarre, and full of contradictions, lies, name changes, foreign values-- and normal problems (such as divorces.) if the premises of his teaching were true. The books are one thing, maybe they are didactic texts or "come from dreaming" as they say now. But I got over expecting real people to be as two dimensional and ideal as book characters after I became "an adult."
I also am willing to entertain that my pictures of a "warrior" or a "sorcerer" or an "awakened human being" (whatever the hell these are) are totally imaginary--even if the potentials that Castaneda speaks of are real.
And there are as many possible explanations for the information you have unearthed (that I have read) as there are reasons to doubt Castaneda. All the explanations would have to be weird as hell and "non-linear" as they like to say--but look at the shit they are asserting! Its weird as hell.
Still, It is far more likely that Castaneda is full of shit--lets face it...
I feel that you too have not made a final conclusion about Castaneda, maybe for the same reason that I have not: I have learned more from him than almost anyone, and I have verified some of the weird crap he has said (in books and seminars). You also do not appear to be the most objective critic--it seems very personal (probably for good reasons).
Still, I've been in several groups where people are unwilling to challenge their or there teacher's theories or "beliefs" and that is when I say "check please" if you catch my drift.
But perhaps I am not convinced (either way) because I have not read everything in your site. I guess this response is a selfish and long winded way of asking you what you suggest to read on your site. I want to be challenged, I want the most damning facts, I want to be convinced that the Castanedians are full of shit. Please tell me what on your site you would recommend to read if I wanted to be demystified, disappointed, and yet told "the truth."
Name: name withheld by request
Date: Monday, October 16, 2000
Im a mexican graduate student involved since 1995 in Tensegrity. I began reading your site because i wasnt considered myself as a true believer, instead i thinked that tensegrity effects were empirical, i think it yet, but what im not sure now is that if the effects are benefical.
I began reading you notes about the sunday classes, since that, i considered you as a coherent man, altough wrong in judging Castaneda, because he had told us to be impecable but if we had no personal history we had no problems in telling lies, with more reason if this lies were told for abstract purposes.
Two weeks ago i began to read the discussion forum that served me to realize what person Castaneda was, with all this stories about seduction and summission. Im really dissapointed, i began reading castaneda when i was fifteen, now im 26. Its very difficult to assess what part of behavor that i encarnated is going to stay with me, thinks like loosing personal importance and the premises of impecability.
I am a kind of person that never thinked to be fooled as Castaneda did whith us, i am dissapointed and whith rage. Poor Castaneda he indeed believed in his magic.
I agree with people that says that tensegrity is an not finished product, but it makes changes in perception despite ones health in some cases.
thank you for everything corey.
You are a brave one.
P. S. Maybe you dont know Jose Agustin, he is a mexican contraculture writer, he was Castaneda friend, in his autobiography he tells about many people (mostly intelectuals) involved with Castaneda in Mexico during the seventies and eighties.
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000
This website is wonderful and it has helped me immensely. I became familiar with Castaneda's books while growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, and have read most of them. While in college I pretty much believed everything. Later on, I quite naturally found his writings in direct conflict with the reality of raising a family. Although that's not to say it kept me from buying his books. Now, some twenty years later (I'm forty), I decided it was time to investigate his teachings on the web after thinking about buying his book on Tensegrity. This website was the one of the last sites I came to after an internet search on Yahoo. I was immediately taken back and delighted to see so much information displayed here. I certainly felt the joke played on me. But upon learning the truth, my first reactions were a mixture of relief and laughter. So, perhaps I gained something from the joke, which by the way is one of the longest I've ever encountered. Certainly, if not for this website, I'd still be waiting for somebody to deliver the punchline. My heartfelt thanks and good humor, Ted
Name: Lawrence Puren
Date: Thursday, October 26, 2000
Thank u for this information and for opening my eyes . I am sad that people can exploit others spiritually for monetary gain and nothing should be spared to expose these people. I think your web site is very valuable and a service to people not to give their power away to crooks and charlotans.
Please advise who i may contact to learn about the geniune spiritual teachings of the American Indian people. I have been led to this search thru experiences in non ordinary states of consciouness .
Thanking u in anticipation of your kind help and assistance.
Lawrence Puren. [Durban , S.Africa. ]
Name: Carol J. Culp
Date: Friday, November 10, 2000
I was married to Carobeth Lairds grandson Wayne Culp and I can assure you that she was not in a coma for 20 years. She just got a late start in her book writing. Carol J. Culp Escondido Calif.
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 00
From: yojim <email@example.com>
Thank you again for your "sustained action" (well-named) website. I've read a ton of stuff from it, and it's a real service. Well-laid out, and easy to get to the info.
Have you had the chance to read "Journey to Nowhere: A New World Tragedy," by Shiva Naipaul), (V.S.' brother)? It's about the Rev. Jim Jones, on the face of it, but it's really about the implicit deal between leader and follower. He develops the idea brilliantly, simply by the questions he asks the Black Panther who coined "revolutionary suicide" and mentioned it to Jones, the woman who taught Jones the "chicken liver as tumor trick", and so on down the line. He asks each one, "Do you feel responsible?" Their answers make for a profound journalism of the first order.
What follows started with the first few paragraphs, about meeting Donner, briefly. The rest, I guess I indulged, but read at least the first few paragraphs.
I was at the Omega Tensegrity workshop in May 1995(?). I didn't stay through it but I was there long enough to have an encounter with Donner. I was leaving the bookstore, walking up the path in the general direction of the tent, and I saw her a few feet ahead of me under a tree of the path, just breaking up a chat. Her eye caught mine, I looked away, looked back, she said "Alright then, what do want to ask?"
I go up and ask "You know this jumping between worlds--did you know the Sufis say they've had maps of the possible worlds for centuries?" stating generally the assertion of a Sufi writer. "Have you ever talked with them?"
She says "Sufis are shit! Why are you thinking about this. You should worry about the flyers around your feet!" pointing at my feet. I answer, "Uuuh, huh??!. Well, thanks" and walk off."
Well there's the incident. What's it mean? If you want read my opinion, though really only God knows the truth of the matter. For what it's worth...
The question I asked Donner (talk to Sufis?) could have been to ...Buddhists, Taoists, whatever. It's good to ask a Gurdjieffian what they know about Buddhism, Buddhists, of Christianity--in essence, "do you talk to others not like yourself?" If they don't, odds are that preserving their own equilibrium trumps learning new truths, or at least, your neighbors internal world. Not very useful attitude, these days. But back to Donner.
Her answer, designed to shock, denigrate, and invite fear into the scene (apart from the psychoses it represents), was inappropriate for a simple reason: If she was truly curious about alternate universes, she would have at least asked a question about it! Her wish to apply a lesson when none was looked for made me very doubtful that she knew anything of real use.
I did like the Tensegrity, even bought the tapes later, and felt benefit from the exercise. Of course, experience teaches that self-suggestion can produce pretty positive, and pretty much the same, effects, regardless of what form, as long as one is whole-hearted in attention and effort.
I'm afraid of taking up your time and attention with my ramblings at this point, but up to here I've gotten down the encounter, my reactions.
I'm going to risk writing a little more, and I'll not be offended it you skip to the end. I have a very strong background with Gurdjieff/Sufi experiences and ideas, so I went to the workshop out of curiosity, and from liking movement systems. I had found Castenada's books very conducive to a clear and concentrated mood; and his way with words seemed brilliant restatements of some key themes of the Gurdjieff work. I speculated that Don Juan, if real, was a banker with the work in Mexico City.
But by time I left the workshop, between flyers and blue scouts and jumping into other dimensions, I was feed up. All I heard were "Tales of Petty Advantages." The importance of the flyers was new to me. Well, not really. They were the devils of my early (Eastern European) Catholic upbringing, the "nafsu" of an Indonesian cult, the goblins and trolls of fairytales everywhere. So you better behave, or,....
Well, not so very new at all. Idries Shah (God bless him) had observed that shamanism has the fault of tending to fear. And as to pictures of flyers: there's Photoshop; there's even a Tibetan manuscript which instructs how to make an imaginary being to take form, which can also be done unconsciously; and there are places on the earth which just seem to "dream"...
Anyway, as religion everywhere teaches, acting according to conscience is the sure protector against demons. Which brings up just how tremendously cool it is to do all this dimension jumping, and amazing trick with time, space and form. And my motive for jumping dimensions is--what? To get someplace where homeless won't beg of me? where there are no aging and dying people? it's better than Hawaii? I never did get why they thought it was worth all this jumping. As far as form changing, how about the Taoist woman who turned herself into a heavy rain to relieve her draught-stricken neighbors. Now there's cool! And could she have done it without her neighbor's need mixed with her compassion? Not in the real work.
And the Blue Scout. I could take it that she's in another dimension somewhere, and that Castenada helped her there, but when she appears here, and is his daughter to boot.... That's when I said, "these people are nuts!"
In Gurdjieff-speak there is a (Turkish?) word "Hasnamuss." A student learns some exercises, has some beginning stirring of inner talents, concludes from these "I have arrived" and decides to use their beginners experiences to impress people and so "make a comfortable living" for themselves.
Most people don't realize, as Idries Shah points out, that doing anything whatsoever unaccustomed in terms of internal effort will produce a result. Often these results exist only as a side-effect of a more profound action, and are to be gotten over with as soon as possible. The Hasnamuss, I surmise, soon finds his bag of tricks runs out, but fortunately by that time he's got enough people bound to him by identity that just the inertia of hierarchy keeps things going.
I think in reality, any human who adds a tariff to the Mercy of God cannot possibly be in a position to either heal or teach.
What a rant! Well, that's how deep the info of your website stirred me.
I do want to give you something you might think is offered as solace for your rage and disappointment with Castenada, but that's not my reason.
There is a phrase in the Work "No sincere effort can be wasted." It might take years, but someday (if the Universe agrees), you will see the truth of that, and you will rejoice at all that you thought lost. May it be so.
Name: zooey glass
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Spent two years of my life reading and rereading Castaneda intently and have yet to read what i would consider to be adequate interpretation of his work. Demille does alright at times but is far too interested in proving c. a hoax to actually do any justice to c.'s work. most everything else i have read (along with demille) simply and naively tries to defend the sancity of the scientific method and the ivory tower against the threat they feel c. represents; as such their interpretations must miss essential points c. is trying to make. unfortunately, those that wish to defend him often sound just as naive and simple as the wormy academics. your site contains quite a bit of personal info regarding c. and his accomplices that i was not aware of and although it is undeniably interesting i'm not sure how important all of it is. it appears that you, whoever you are, had some relation with and to c. which probably accounts for this. in any case it seems to me that one of c.'s teachings that is of supreme importance to understanding the man and his work is that the manner in which we interpret, represent, describe, state, and talk about the world and its objects in large part determines the world and its objects. it seems to me that c. disliked the routine mundaneness of our world and tried with every means at his disposal to counter it; hence, the inorganic beings, the blue scouts, the genaros, the allies, et.al. in this sense he appears to have been endlessly creative in combatting the senseless boredom and mechanization of the modern world. he lied out of necessity (he obviously couldn't live with the world "as it is") and, who knows, perhaps out of abundance. i've rambled enough here. your site is the best i've found on the great seducer thus far.
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