CURRENT MOON

Sunday, March 25, 2012

ART OF STALKING DESCRIBED BY CASTANEDA



The art of stalking was introduced to me as a set of procedures and attitudes that enabled one to get the best out of any conceivable situation.

The stalkers are the ones who take the brunt of the daily world. They are the business managers, the ones who deal with people. Everything that has to do with the world of ordinary affairs goes through them.

The stalkers are the practitioners of controlled folly, just as the dreamers are the practitioners of dreaming. In other words, controlled folly is the basis for stalking, as dreams are the basis for dreaming.

Don Juan said that, generally speaking, a warrior's greatest accomplishment in the second attention is dreaming, and in the first attention his greatest accomplishment is stalking.

Don Juan said that his benefactor had taken extra time and care with him and his warriors in everything that pertained to their mastering the art of stalking. He used complex ploys to create an appropriate context for a counterpoint between the dictums of the rule and the behavior of the warriors in the daily world as they interacted with people.

He believed that that was the way to convince them that, in the absence of self-importance, a warrior's only way of dealing with the social milieu is in terms of controlled folly.

Don Juan said that the force with which his benefactor carried out his designs originated from his knowledge that the Eagle is real and final, and that what people do is utter folly.

The two together gave rise to controlled folly, which don Juan's benefactor described as the only bridge between the folly of people and the finality of the Eagle's dictums.

I asked her how she expected me to address her. "Just Florinda will do," she said. "Insofar as to who I am, I can tell you right off that I am a woman warrior who knows the secrets of stalking.

And insofar as that I am supposed to do for you, I can tell you that I am going to teach you the first seven principles of stalking, the first three principles of the rule for stalkers, and the first three maneuvers of stalking."

"The first principle of the art of stalking is that warriors choose their battleground," she said. "A warrior never goes into battle without knowing what the surroundings are”.

"To discard everything that is unnecessary is the second principle of the art of stalking”.

Florinda said that Celestino's anger had also permitted the curer to point out, not to her reason, but to her body, the first three precepts of the rule for stalkers.

Although her mind was focused entirely on herself, since nothing else existed for her outside her physical pain and the anguish of losing her beauty, still her body had acknowledged what had happened, and needed later on only a reminder in order to put everything in place.

"Warriors don't have the world to cushion them, so they must have the rule," she went on. "Yet the rule of stalkers applies to everyone.

"Celestino's arrogance was his undoing and the beginning of my instruction and liberation. His self-importance, which was also mine, forced us both to believe that we were above practically everybody. The curer brought us down to what we really are - nothing.

"The first precept of the rule is that everything that surrounds us is an unfathomable mystery.

"The second precept of the rule is that we must try to unravel these mysteries, but without ever hoping to accomplish this.

"The third, that a warrior, aware of the unfathomable mystery that surrounds him and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place among mysteries and regards himself as one.

Consequently, for a warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means being a pebble, or an ant, or oneself. That is a warrior's humbleness. One is equal to everything."

"Don't complicate things," she said in a tone of command. "Aim at being simple. Apply all the concentration you have to decide whether or not to enter into battle, for any battle is a battle for one's life.

This is the third principle of the art of stalking; A warrior must be willing and ready to make his last stand here and now. But not in a helter-skelter way."

Without knowing I had used the third principle of the art of stalking. I had put my life, or what was left of it, on the line. I was willing and ready to die. It wasn't such a great decision for me, I was dying anyway. It is a fact that when one is half dead, as in my case, not with great pain but with great discomfort, the tendency is to get so lazy and weak that no effort is possible.

"Good," Florinda said. "I see that you're applying the fourth principle of the art of stalking. Relax, abandon yourself, fear nothing. Only then will the powers that guide us open the road and aid us. Only then."

"You've correctly applied the fifth principle of the art of stalking" she said. "Don't let yourself wander away."

"What is the fifth principle?" I asked.

"When faced with odds that cannot be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment," she said. "They let their minds meander. They occupy their time with something else. Anything would do.

"You've done just that. But now that you've accomplished it, you must apply the sixth principle: Warriors compress time; even an instant counts. In a battle for your life, a second is an eternity; an eternity that may decide the outcome. Warriors aim at succeeding, therefore they compress time. Warriors don't waste an instant."

She explained that a recapitulation is the forte of stalkers as the dreaming body is the forte of dreamers. It consisted of recollecting one's life down to the most insignificant detail.

Thus her benefactor had given her that crate as a tool and a symbol. It was a tool that would permit her to learn concentration, for she would have to sit in there for years, until all of her life had passed in front of her eyes. And it was a symbol of the narrow boundaries of our person.

Her benefactor told her that whenever she had finished her recapitulation, she would break the crate to symbolize that she no longer abided by the limitations of her person.

She said that stalkers use crates or earth coffins in order to seal themselves in while they are reliving, more than merely recollecting, every moment of their lives.

The reason why stalkers must recapitulate their lives in such a thorough manner is that the Eagle's gift to man includes its willingness to accept a surrogate instead of genuine awareness, if such a surrogate be a perfect replica. Florinda explained that since awareness is the Eagle's food, the Eagle can be satisfied with a perfect recapitulation in place of consciousness.

Florinda gave me then the fundamentals of recapitulating. She said that the first stage is a brief recounting of all the incidents in our lives that in an obvious manner stand out for examination.

The second stage is a more detailed recollection, which starts systematically at a point that could be the moment prior to the stalker sitting in the crate, and theoretically could extend to the moment of birth.

She assured me that a perfect recapitulation could change a warrior as much, if not more, than the total control of the dreaming body. In this respect, dreaming and stalking led to the same end, the entering into the third attention. It was important for a warrior, however, to know and practice both.

She said that for women it took different configurations in the luminous body to master one or the other. Men, on the other hand, could do both with a degree of ease, yet they could never get to the level of proficiency that the women attained in each art.

Florinda explained that the key element in recapitulating was breathing. Breath for her was magical, because it was a life-giving function. She said that recollecting was easy if one could reduce the area of stimulation around the body.

This was the reason for the crate; then breathing would foster deeper and deeper memories. Theoretically, stalkers have to remember every feeling that they have had in their lives, and this process begins with a breath.

She warned me that the things she was teaching me were only preliminaries, that at a later time, in a different setting she would teach me the intricacies.

Florinda said that her benefactor directed her to write down a list of the events to be relived.

He told her that the procedure starts with an initial breath. Stalkers begin with their chin on the right shoulder and slowly inhale as they move their head over a hundred and eighty degree arc.

The breath terminates on the left shoulder. Once the inhalation ends, the head goes back to a relaxed position. They exhale looking straight ahead. The stalker then takes the event at the top of the list and remains with it until all the feelings expended in it have been recounted.

As stalkers remember the feelings they invested in whatever it is that they are remembering, they inhale slowly, moving their heads from the right shoulder to the left. The function of this breathing is to restore energy. Florinda claimed that the luminous body is constantly creating cob-weblike filaments, which are projected out of the luminous mass, propelled by emotions of any sort.

Therefore, every situation of interaction, or every situation where feelings are involved, is potentially draining to the luminous body. By breathing from right to left while remembering a feeling, stalkers, through the magic of breathing, pick up the filaments they left behind.

The next immediate breath is from left to right and it is an exhalation. With it stalkers eject filaments left in them by other luminous bodies involved in the event being recollected.

She stated that these were the mandatory preliminaries of stalking, which all the members of her party went through as an introduction to the more demanding exercises of the art. Unless stalkers have gone through the preliminaries in order to retrieve the filaments they have left in the world, and particularly in order to reject those that others have left in them, there is no possibility of handling controlled folly, because those foreign filaments are the basis of one's limitless capacity for self-importance.

In order to practice controlled folly, since it is not a way to fool or chastise people or feel superior to them, one has to be capable of laughing at oneself. Florinda said that one of the results of a detailed recapitulation is genuine laughter upon coming face to face with the boring repetition of one's self-esteem, which is at the core of all human interaction.

Florinda emphasized that the rule defined stalking and dreaming as arts; therefore they are something that one performs. She said that the life-giving nature of breath is what also gives it its cleansing capacity. It is this capacity that makes a recapitulation into a practical matter.

Florinda said that her benefactor considered the three basic techniques of stalking - the crate, the list of events to be recapitulated, and the stalker's breath - to be about the most important tasks a warrior can fulfill.

Her benefactor thought that a profound recapitulation is the most expedient means to lose the human form. Thus it is easier for stalkers, after recapitulating their lives, to make use of all the not-doings of the self, such as erasing personal history, losing self importance, breaking routines and so forth.

Florinda said that her benefactor gave all of them the example of what he meant, first by acting out his premises, and then by giving them the warrior's rationales for his actions.

In her own case, he, being a master of the art of stalking, acted out the ploy of her disease and cure which not only was congruous with the warrior's way, but was a masterful introduction to the seven basic principles of the art of stalking.

He first drew Florinda to his own battleground where she was at his mercy; he forced her to discard what was not essential; he taught her to put her life on the line with a decision; he taught her how to relax;

in order to help her regroup her resources, he made her enter into a new arid different mood of optimism and self-confidence; he taught her to compress time; and finally he showed her that a stalker never pushes himself to the front.

Florinda was most impressed by the last principle. To her it summarized everything she wanted to tell me in her last-minute instructions.

"My benefactor was the chief," Florinda said. "And yet, looking at him, no one would've ever believed it. He always had one of his female warriors as a front, while he freely mingled with the patients, pretending to be one of them, or he posed as an old fool who was constantly sweeping dry leaves with a handmade broom."

Florinda explained that in order to apply the seventh principle of the art of stalking, one has to apply the other six. Thus her benefactor was always looking on from behind the scenes. Thanks to that he was capable of avoiding or parrying conflicts. If there was strife, it was never directed toward him, but towards his front, the female warrior.

"I hope that you have realized by now," she went on, "that only a master stalker can be a master of controlled folly. Controlled folly doesn't mean to con people. It means, as my benefactor explained it, that warriors apply the seven basic principles of the art of stalking to whatever they do, from the most trivial acts to life and death situations.

"Applying these principles brings about three results. The first is that stalkers learn never to take themselves seriously; they learn to laugh at themselves. If they're not afraid of being a fool, they can fool anyone. The second is that stalkers learn to have endless patience. Stalkers are never in a hurry; they never fret. And the third is that stalkers learn to have an endless capacity to improvise."

She explained that stalkers are inherently different than dreamers in the way they use the world around them, and that what dona Soledad was doing was trying to help me to turn my head.

When don Juan had described the concept of turning a warrior's head to face a new direction, I had understood it as a metaphor that depicted a change in attitude. Florinda said that that description was true, but it was no metaphor. It was true that stalkers turn their heads; however, they do not turn them to face a new direction, but to face time in a different way.

Stalkers face the oncoming time. Normally we face time as it recedes from us. Only stalkers can change that and face time as it advances on them.

He said that the most effective strategy was worked out by the seers of the Conquest, the unquestionable masters of stalking. It consists of six elements that interplay with one another.

Five of them are called the attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, timing, and will. They pertain to the world of the warrior who is fighting to lose self-importance. The sixth element, which is perhaps the most important of all, pertains to the outside world and is called the petty tyrant.

Don Juan stopped talking and stared at me fixedly. There was an awkward silence; then he started to talk about stalking. He said that it had very humble and fortuitous origins.

It started from an observation the new seers made that when warriors steadily behave in ways not customary for them, the unused emanations inside their cocoons begin to glow. And their assemblage points shift in a mild, harmonious, barely noticeable fashion.

Stimulated by this observation, the new seers began to practice the systematic control of their behavior. They called this practice the art of stalking. Don Juan remarked that the name, although objectionable, was appropriate, because stalking entailed a specific kind of behavior with people, behavior that could be categorized as surreptitious.

The new seers, armed with this technique, tackled the known in a sober and fruitful way.

By continual practice, they made their assemblage points move steadily.

"Stalking is one of the two greatest accomplishments of the new seers." he said. "The new seers decided that it should be taught to a modern-day nagual when his assemblage point has moved quite deep into the left side.

The reason for this decision is that a nagual must learn the principles of stalking without the encumbrance of the human inventory. After all, the nagual is the leader of a group, and to lead them he has to act quickly without first having to think about it.

"Other warriors can learn stalking in their normal awareness, although it is advisable that they do it in heightened awareness - not so much because of the value of heightened awareness, but because it imbues stalking with a mystery that it doesn't really have; stalking is merely behavior with people."

He said that I could now understand that shifting the assemblage point was the reason why the new seers placed such a high value on the interaction with petty tyrants. Petty tyrants forced seers to use the principles of stalking and, in doing so, helped seers to move their assemblage points.

I asked him if the old seers knew anything at all about the principles of stalking.

"Stalking belongs exclusively to the new seers," he said, smiling. "They are the only seers who had to deal with people. The old ones were so wrapped up in their sense of power that they didn't even know that people existed, until people started clobbering them on the head. But you already know all this."

He said that as time passed and the new seers established their practices, they realized that under the prevailing conditions of life, stalking only moved the assemblage points minimally. For maximum effect, stalking needed an ideal setting; it needed petty tyrants in positions of great authority and power. It became increasingly difficult for the new seers to place themselves in such situations; the task of improvising them or seeking them out became an unbearable burden.

He explained that stalking practices are not something one can rejoice in; in fact, they are downright objectionable. Knowing this, the new seers realize that it would be against everybody's interest to discuss or practice the principles of stalking in normal awareness.

I pointed out to him an incongruity. He had said that there is no way for warriors to act in the world while they are in heightened awareness, and he had also said that stalking is simply behaving with people in specific ways. The two statements contradicted each other.

"By not teaching it in normal awareness I was referring only to teaching it to a nagual," he said. "The purpose of stalking is twofold: first, to move the assemblage point as steadily and safely as possible, and nothing can do the job as well as stalking: second, to imprint its principles at such a deep level that the human inventory is bypassed, as is the natural reaction of refusing and judging something that may be offensive to reason."

The art of stalking is the riddle of the heart; the puzzlement sorcerers feel upon becoming aware of two things: first that the world appears to us to be unalterably objective and factual, because of peculiarities of our awareness and perception; second, that if different peculiarities of perception come into play, the very things about the world that seem so unalterably objective and factual change.

"We are going to talk now about the third abstract core," don Juan said. "It is called the trickery of the spirit, or the trickery of the abstract, or stalking oneself, or dusting the link."

"The art of stalking is learning all the quirks of your disguise," Belisario said, paying no attention to what don Juan was telling him. "And it is to learn them so well no one will know you are disguised. For that you need to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet."

He made don Juan practice his womanly behavior skills in every town they passed through.

And don Juan honestly believed he was teaching him to be an actor. But Belisario insisted that he was teaching him the art of stalking. He told don Juan that stalking was an art applicable to everything, and that there were four steps to learning it: ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness.

I felt compelled to interrupt his account once more.

"But isn't stalking taught in deep, heightened awareness?" I asked.

"Of course," he replied with a grin. "But you have to understand that for some men wearing women's clothes is the door into heightened awareness. In fact, such means are more effective than pushing the assemblage point, but are very difficult to arrange."

Don Juan said that his benefactor drilled him daily in the four moods of stalking and insisted that don Juan understand that ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence, and sweetness should not be foolishness.

He taught him that these four steps had to be practiced and perfected until they were so smooth they were unnoticeable. He believed women to be natural stalkers. And his conviction was so strong he maintained that only in a woman's disguise could any man really learn the art of stalking.

"I went with him to every market in every town we passed and haggled with everyone," don Juan went on. "My benefactor used to stay to one side watching me. 'Be ruthless but charming,' he used to say. 'Be cunning but nice. Be patient but active. Be sweet but lethal. Only women can do it. If a man acts this way he's being prissy.' "

Don Juan explained to me that ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness were the essence of stalking. They were the basics that with all their ramifications had to be taught in careful, meticulous steps.

He stressed repeatedly that teaching stalking was one of the most difficult things sorcerers did. And he insisted that no matter what they themselves did to teach me stalking, and no matter what I believed to the contrary, it was impeccability which dictated their acts.

He asserted that stalking was the beginning, and that before anything could be attempted on the warrior's path, warriors must learn to stalk; next they must learn to intend, and only then could they move their assemblage point at will.

"The very first principle of stalking is that a warrior stalks himself," he said. "He stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently, and sweetly."

I wanted to laugh, but he did not give me time. Very succinctly he defined stalking as the art of using behavior in novel ways for specific purposes. He said that normal human behavior in the world of everyday life was routine. Any behavior that broke from routine caused an unusual effect on our total being. That unusual effect was what sorcerers sought, because it was cumulative.

"The real challenge for those sorcerer seers," don Juan went on, "was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates sorcerer seers from plain witches."

He said that for sorcerers stalking was the foundation on which everything else they did was built.

"Some sorcerers object to the term stalking," he went on, "but the name came about because it entails surreptitious behavior.

"It's also called the art of stealth, but that term is equally unfortunate. We ourselves, because of our nonmilitant temperament, call it the art of controlled folly. You can call it anything you wish. We, however, will continue with the term stalking since it's so easy to say stalker and, as my benefactor used to say, so awkward to say controlled folly maker."

"When the pressure of their connecting link is too great, sorcerers relieve it by stalking themselves."

"I still don't think I understand what you mean by stalking" I said. "But at a certain level I think I know exactly what you mean."

"I'll try to help you clarify what you know, then," he said. "Stalking is a procedure, a very simple one. Stalking is special behavior that follows certain principles. It is secretive, furtive, deceptive behavior designed to deliver a jolt. And, when you stalk yourself you jolt yourself, using your own behavior in a ruthless, cunning way."

He explained that when a sorcerer's awareness became bogged down with the weight of his perceptual input, which was what was happening to me, the best, or even perhaps the only remedy was to use the idea of death to deliver that stalking jolt.

"Your problem is very simple," he said. "You become easily obsessed. I have been telling you that sorcerers stalk themselves in order to break the power of their obsessions. There are many ways of stalking oneself. If you don't want to use the idea of your death, use the poems you read me to stalk yourself."

"As I hear the words," don Juan said when I had finished reading, "I feel that that man is seeing the essence of things and I can see with him. I don't care what the poem is about. I care only about the feeling the poet's longing brings me. I borrow his longing, and with it I borrow the beauty.

And marvel at the fact that he, like a true warrior, lavishes it on the recipients, the beholders, retaining for himself only his longing. This jolt, this shock of beauty, is stalking."

"In order to protect themselves from that immensity," don Juan said, "sorcerers learn to maintain a perfect blend of ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. These four bases are inextricably bound together. Sorcerers cultivate them by intending them. These bases are, naturally, positions of the assemblage point."

He went on to say that every act performed by any sorcerer was by definition governed by these four principles. So, properly speaking, every sorcerer's every action is deliberate in thought and realization, and has the specific blend of the four foundations of stalking.

"Sorcerers use the four moods of stalking as guides," he continued. "These are four different frames of mind, four different brands of intensity that sorcerers can use to induce their assemblage points to move to specific positions."

He smiled, his eyes shining like two spots of light. He said that sorcerers, in an effort to protect themselves from the overwhelming effect of silent knowledge, developed the art of stalking. Stalking moves the assemblage point minutely but steadily, thus giving sorcerers time and therefore the possibility of buttressing themselves.

"Within the art of stalking," don Juan continued, "there is a technique which sorcerers use a great deal: controlled folly. Sorcerers claim that controlled folly is the only way they have of dealing with themselves - in their state of expanded awareness and perception - and with everybody and everything in the world of daily affairs."

Don Juan had explained controlled folly as the art of controlled deception or the art of pretending to be thoroughly immersed in the action at hand - pretending so well no one could tell it from the real thing. Controlled folly is not an outright deception, he had told me, but a sophisticated, artistic way of being separated from everything while remaining an integral part of everything.

"Controlled folly is an art," don Juan continued. "A very bothersome art, and a difficult one to learn. Many sorcerers don't have the stomach for it, not because there is anything inherently wrong with the art, but because it takes a lot of energy to exercise it."

Don Juan admitted that he practiced it conscientiously, although he was not particularly fond of doing so, perhaps because his benefactor had been so adept at it. Or, perhaps it was because his personality - which he said was basically devious and petty - simply did not have the agility needed to practice controlled folly.

"What was the nagual Elias's reason for training the Tulios as he did?" I asked.

Don Juan peered at me and laughed loudly. At that instant the lights of the plaza were turned on. He got up from his favorite bench and rubbed it with the palm of his hand, as if it were a pet.

"Freedom," he said. "He wanted their freedom from perceptual convention. And he taught them to be artists. Stalking is an art. For a sorcerer, since he's not a patron or a seller of art, the only thing of importance about a work of art is that it can be accomplished."

Don Juan expressed his bewilderment at the fact that out of all the marvelous things the old sorcerers learned exploring those thousands of positions, only the art of dreaming and the art of stalking remain.

He reiterated that the art of dreaming is concerned with the displacement of the assemblage point. Then he defined stalking as the art that deals with the fixation of the assemblage point on any location to which it is displaced.

"To fixate the assemblage point on any new spot means to acquire cohesion," he said. "You have been doing just that in your dreaming practices."

The old sorcerers called the entire act of acquiring uniformity and cohesion outside the normal world stalking perception.

"The art of stalking," he continued, "as I have already said, deals with the fixation of the assemblage point. The old sorcerers discovered, through practice, that important as it is to displace the assemblage point, it is even more important to make it stay fixed on its new position, wherever that new position might be."

He explained that if the assemblage point does not become stationary, there is no way that we can perceive coherently. We would experience then a kaleidoscope of disassociated images. This is the reason the old sorcerers put as much emphasis on dreaming as they did on stalking.

One art cannot exist without the other, especially for the kinds of activities in which the old sorcerers were involved.

"Let your energy body intend to reach the optimum dreaming position," he explained. "Then, let your energy body intend to stay at that position and you will be stalking."

"We can't have dealings with them [IB’s]," he answered, "and yet we can't stay away from them. My solution has been to take their energy but not give in to their influence. This is known as the ultimate stalking.

"I'm going to propose a line of action for you," he said in a curt tone when we had finished our lunch. "It's the last task of the third gate of dreaming, and it consists of stalking the stalkers, a most mysterious maneuver. To stalk the stalkers means to deliberately draw energy from the inorganic beings' realm in order to perform a sorcery feat."

"I want you two to break the boundaries of the normal world and, using awareness as an energetic element, enter into another," he said. "This breaking and entering amounts to stalking the stalkers. Using awareness as an element of the environment bypasses the influence of the inorganic beings, but it still uses their energy."

"Your total physical mass has to be added to your energy body," don Juan replied, looking into her eyes. "The great difficulty of this maneuver is to discipline the energy body, a thing the two of you have already done.

Lack of discipline is the only reason the two of you may fail in performing this feat of ultimate stalking. Sometimes, as a fluke, an average person ends up performing it and entering into another world. But this is immediately explained away as insanity or hallucination."

cybershamans
(karmapolice) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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