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What Carlos Castaneda Taught Me About Time

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Time it is like a thought, or a wish.

Time is measured by the intensity of the moment you are living.

Time suspends when experiencing inner silence.

Time is a form of attention.

Time is not measured by the clock.

Time bends when you pay attention.

It is 5 to 12, I am running out of Time!

I am living in no Time. I am facing the oncoming Time.

These are some of the phrases I heard Carlos Castaneda expressed from the moment I met him. He expressed his concerns about time; he re-defined his relationship with time, and hechallenged the idea of time, daily.

Castaneda was on time for each appointment; he didn’t like other people waiting for him. And he was not expecting anyone. Time, how to handle it, how to stretch it, how to experience non-linear time was an intrinsic part of my training with it.

In a calm and sober way, he spoke about his own death as if it were something imminent that would happen in a matter of days or minutes. And yet he acted as if he had all the time in the world.

He was never in a rush or hurry, relaxed at ease, enjoying his meals, there was no hurry in his mood, even when under the pressure of his books presentations or the pressure of delivering a talk in a conference to hundreds of people. He took his time to walk to the stage to deliver his thoughts, with his hands on his pockets and an open expression of ease and cool. He took his time to feel the audience laughter at his jokes and remarks, to answer questions, to engage eye to eye as if truly connecting with people.

Every day of my training with him was filled with the intensity of learning to stop unconscious habits and new ways of behaving, of being. My days felt long, as if stretched out by the intention to arrive to “enlightment” as soon as I could, before he died.

In the early mornings I went to school to learn English, then I worked at his company, then I engaged in physical training at his studio for another 3 or 4 hours, for the rest of the evening. But my routines were not regulated by time, or my time was not regulated by routines, or by the handles of my watch, as it was while living in Argentina. During my apprenticeship I had no routines, since Castaneda would change schedules often and I learned to flow with the daily events, as if facing the oncoming time.

Because I was in a new country, learning a new language, eating unfamiliar foods, and living with people I barely knew, I felt as if suspended in time.

I gave myself permission to ‘disappear’ for a while from the ‘real world,’ like some writers do to write a novel, or some people do after retiring to grow spiritually, and I relinquished my time to follow a different time.

I experienced suspension of time during the long hours of practicing sequences of movements, like martial arts, and long hours of sitting in silence. After overcoming my initial resistance, both physically with my muscles trembling and being out of breath, and mentally with self-defeating thoughts “I can’t do this’, ‘this is way too long,’ ‘I want to go home, sleep, eat tacos, etc”, I experienced states of extasis.

A rush of well being and vitality would flow through my body renewing the joy of my joints moving in unison, the happiness of my lungs fully expanding, the fresh blood oxygenated running through all the blood vessels and cells in my body, removing waste, detoxifying, revitalizing my right to belong here, in this planet at this time.

After long periods of exercises practiced in slow motion, I could experience the tasteful sweetness of calm, and the assurance that I was loved.

Later I started to experience those states when pruning the tress and working in the garden. Or when having lunch with friends, or even at the movies. Or when awakening into the morning, aware of the uniqueness of the day, gratefully aware, sitting at the edge of my bed, closed eyes, taking in the first inhalations of the day, feeling my heart beating, my skin soft and warm, some birds singing at the distance, the honk of the neighbors car, the newspaper throw of the street, the smell of toast, the children laughter passing by on the way to school, the splash of water my husband in the shower, my son at the piano playing Ode to Joy.

The experience of awaken vitality keeps flowing through me as if my teacher had create a vortex through which all experiences are one and Time is just a small part of the constant flow of life that keeps happening in and out of me.

CARLOS CASTANEDA’S NEW YEAR’S RITUAL

Here is the ceremony that our teacher Carlos Castaneda taught us:

It starts during the last days of December, and finishes after the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of Spirit or the Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, forged by the combined intent of the planet over millennia, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel and become acquainted with.

We have been practicing this ritual without failure for the last 23 years and it has brought us, and countless practitioners around the world, a sense of direction, purpose and inspiration to unfold our goals and intentions for the New Year, as well as a sense of connection with the cycles of nature and the entire planet.

We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:

  • Clear out the old before the New YearRenew from the inside out. From December 28 onwards, and even throughout the day of December 31, clear up space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home, physically and also energetically, to clean your psyche from negative thoughts and feelings accumulated during the year so that you can be receptive for the New to come in.
    • Throw things away that are not needed any longer or that are not bringing you joy
    • Write down all negative thoughts in a piece of paper, writing in a flow and without reading back what you wrote. When you feel you have put all out, burn the piece of paper and wash you hands.
    • Practice affirmations out loud, of appreciations for your life, for you belongings, for your friends and family
  • On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or personal space. Organize your books and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of Intentions, affirmations, dreams and projects you want to manifest or co-create in 2019. Sit in Silence and call onto the light of Spirit, to clear your mind and body and to connect deeply with yourself.
  • Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
    • Recapitulate the most salient experiences that happened in your life during the year, and appreciate what you learnt in 2018. What challenges did you experience? What was the outcome? What new friends did you make? What new things did you learn, for example, a new recipe, a new skill, a new language? And what would you like to learn in 2019? You may choose to divide your year in basic areas, such as family, work, health, relationships and personal development:
    • How was your health in 2018 and what would you like to intent for 2019?
    • What about your work? What experiences did you have? What new projects you have in mind for 2019?
    • And in your family and relationships? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What needs to be healed?
    • What about your legacy? Write a paragraph describing what you would like your legacy for 2019 to be.
    • And about the larger community of planet earth, what dreams for a better world would you like to intend?

Listen to your heart, and follow with your pen the wisdom of your heart.

  • Around 11:30 p.m. (it’s almost midnight!)Sit in silence with your hands in your heart and appreciate your life. You can put your attention on items from your 2019 Intentions—those things that you want to experience in the next year. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure by the time the clock strikes midnight it finds you engaged in some practical aspect of your intentions (researching something, preparing some initial plans, etc) and that you feel connected with them, with your personal life path, and with the Universe.

At midnight, during the first minutes of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams bathe over you with a sentiment of peace, love and gratitude.