One must strive without giving up, without a complaint, without flinching, until one sees, only to realize then that nothing matters." In this book, Castaneda returns to his apprenticeship with don Juan after leaving due to his fears after using don Juans ally (smoking mushrooms). This one focused mainly on seeing and learning to be a warrior and also more about sorcerers and allies. Instead of seeing with our spiritual eyes, we are trapped into a way of viewing things based on what our physical eyes are trained to know. My review on book one, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.
I saw imagery and a quote from Castaneda in his artwork, and thought this might be a time to see what I could learn from the book.
A Separate Reality (the second in the series) describes his studies with Don Juan, the Yaqui shaman that he first wrote about in Teachings of Don Juan, a Yaqui Way of Knowledge.
Too many get lost in the indulgence of connecting to the drug-story lure, which is immaterial to the magic of this book. Such a potential is gifted us in this monumental work if we can see past the tests-of-self which are part of this challenge-of-being. If we connect to Don Juan not for his magical powers, but to his essential Character-of-Self, we connect to his ethics, his integrity, his Joy-of-Being and all the other marvellous examples of a self we can move toward being. But, to connect to this power of the book, we have to read past the story, past the character interactions, and truly listen, truly hear what's conveyed. Our read-perception has to include identifying what we *don't* want, what's irrelevant and immaterial, and in that simple selectivity, we come to see what's truly of issue and important to our Deep-Self. We are thus required to read and connect to the implications of what's imparted, to look past the tests-of-self such as the rituals and the indulgences of Carlos and look at the Way-of-Living and Deep Sobriety Don Juan Shares so incredibly. When we read to hear him, feel him, know him, imbibe him, and connect to this paragon of possibility who is Don Juan, especially if we don't over-mythologise him, and read not to remember what he said, but to BE what he Shares, then we shift into our journey toward living in a reality which more and more becomes A Magic Reality of actuality.
When I was an undergraduate in the mid-70's, Castaneda's "Don Juan" trilogy (with maybe a little Hermann Hesse thrown in) was what one read to be considered deep and interesting.
Don Juan had once told me that a man of knowledge had predilections. "What do you mean by that?" "I like to see" he said, "because only by seeing can a man of knowledge know." "What kind of things do you see?" "Everything." "But I also see everything and I'm not a man of knowledge." "No. You don't see. "I think I do." "I tell you, you don't." "What makes you say that, don Juan?" "You only look at the surface of things." "Do you mean that every man of knowledge actually sees through everything he looks at?" "No. That's not what I mean. So he dances and knows." "Is the predilection of a man of knowledge something he does in order to know?" "Yes, that is correct." "But how could dancing help Sacateca to know?" "One can say that Sacateca dances with all he has." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "What's it like to see, don Juan?" "You have to learn to see in order to know that.
Don Juan turns Castaneda's whole world upside down by teaching him the ways of a sorcerer and the results are some of the most beautiful and touching pieces of nonfiction. In "A Separate Reality" Castaneda attempts to explain don Juan's teachings about the art of 'seeing'. Throughout "A Separate Reality" I found myself questioning my own views of the world. Don Juan has a way of making you think twice about nearly everything you've come to accept and Castaneda describes his experiences with a deftness the likes of which I have rarely seen. There were moments in "A Separate Reality" where I found myself laughing out loud, Castaneda's experiences with don Juan's friend don Genaro are especially hilarious.
But instead of reading these as the non-fiction they are marketed as, I am reading them as fantasies. That said, I love the new character Castaneda introduces here, don Genaro. Instead of grounded, here Castaneda seems to imply that the etheric body has physical manifestations. So perceiving and using your etheric body to gain power over the spiritual realm is a trap. What's more, the "wisdom," is often pretty good, and more grounded than the "think and grow rich" nonsense that New Age has developed into, like "The Secret." The problem is that today, most (if not all) archaeologists who look at Castenada's work in depth think he made "Don Juan" up. So he hunkered down, and his pride made him believe his fiction.
The books, narrated in the first person, relate his experiences under the tutelage of a man that Castaneda claimed was a Yaqui "Man of Knowledge" named don Juan Matus.