During the 70's I, like many of my generation, read Carlos Castañeda's books. It was an exciting series of books that went on for many years. I felt constantly inspired and impatiently waited for the next book in the hope that it would bring light to what I had not understood and that Carlos would someday reveal the techniques, physical and/or mental, which was necessary to obtain some of the fantastic qualities which he talked about. I was not alone in my frustration. I met some who had fallen victims of drugs, while some others made up daydreams of a castañedian world that they chose to live in. These options did not appeal to me. I wanted to know whatever was true and useful in those books.
In his third book, "Journey to Ixtlan", he named an interesting technique, "erasing the personal history". Intuitively, I felt it to be true and important, but what did "personal history" really mean? It could not be what we usually talk about when introducing ourselves to new acquaintances or what we would write in our 'curriculum vitae'. It just could not be so simple, so superficial. If it were that easy, it would not seem interesting nor important. How could such a loss of memory benefit our development? I was totally convinced that it was not that what that technique was about.
In the fourth book, "Tales of power," Carlos claims that he met a very advanced female disciple of "Don Juan". She would have introduced herself to him with a short narrative of her life, whereupon Carlos wondered why she had not erased her personal history. To which she replied that that did not apply to women, but only to men.
By this conversation, it became clear to me that Carlos and his female colleague perceived "personal history" as an autobiographical description. I could not accept that. A biography, and even an autobiography, is only an interpretation of the past, a sort of novel based on selected memories. I suspected that Carlos had heard something of the kind and made up a story around it. The idea of "erasing the personal history" sounded right anyway somewhere inside of me and I decided to continue my search elsewhere.
Later on I came across a genuine doctrine, which is a part of the Mayan culture and which very elegantly explains the technique. It turned out to be part of a much broader teaching. It is called "The Five Movements of the Book of Life" and is described as the Tonal movement to the Nagual.
The following is my summary of the doctrine, as I got it from mestizo medicineman Harley Swift Deer:
"The Five Movements of the Book of Life" are the keys to how to deal with and relate to life, as we manifest it here and now, in the highest spiritual awareness. These movements are continuously experienced and we can find ourselves in more than one movement at a given time.
The First Movement:
"Erasing the personal history"
Knowing the self and releasing dependencies. Knowing life.
When we interact with others and with ourselves, we often play back old "recordings" of past experiences printed in the body and the mind.
These recordings bring forward feelings from the past that control our reactions. These reactions are often inappropriate and lead to pain rather than pleasure. To erase these old recordings, we must allow ourselves to shift our frame of reference and thus more clearly "see" what is actually happening right here and now. This way we can develop a new response and also a new "belief system" that brings love, joy and harmony instead of suffering.
The attention needs to be sharpened first and then needs to be kept constantly awaken and focused on what is happening inside and outside. This is the work of the warrior, who is hunter being game at the same time.
Nothing should be evaluated; everything must be observed objectively.
The Second Movement:
"Meeting Death – Our Adviser"
Understanding change and nearing the Great Round.
This Movement makes it possible for us to know ourselves and how we create our realities by virtue of the way we perceive ourselves and others in our various "belief systems". We experience death as our "adviser" when we accept total responsibility to who we are, where we are and how we act. When we no longer blame our suffering on the actions of others, we overcome death and become truly alive.
The Third Movement:
"Control of Our Dreams" (*)
Walking awake in the dreams – The Sun Dance of the Innermost Mind.
This Movement shows us how our dreams are reality and that indeed, our physical reality is but the "dream" of our own Inner Divinity; and is thus under our complete control.
Once we have become aware of this truth and begin to manifest this new-found power in our everyday life, we enter into our full power and can start working in the Nagual or in the Tonal at will.
The Fourth Movement:
"Stopping the World"
Learning to control the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious.
This Movement gives us total control over the first and third Movement and we are able to " freeze time", "transcend space" and "switch our frame of reference" at will.
We can see and experience all "belief systems" and see that they are all equally true.
We can then decide which "belief system" is valid at any given time, so that we can stay at our highest level of consciousness at all times.
The Fifth Movement:
"Assuming Authority" or "Love is All There Is"
Taking self-authority - Acting within Love.
This is the last Movement but really all the others as well, for only when we totally live Love as all there is, can we come to understand the true purpose of our lives. To experience only joy, love, peace and harmony. Seeing and knowing our absolute oneness with all; the rocks, the trees, the animals and our fellow man is the beginning and end of our total reality.
To experience the realization that you have always been, that you are here and now, and knowing you always will be, is the enlightenment of "Assuming Authority".
Then you begin to manifest all the powers of the great masters and can choose to live in an ascended state of being; free to be in any "Dream" at will. Free from any limitations of time, space or mind.
Truly, Love is All There Is.
(* I have published an appropriate technique to develop the Third Movement in my article "Advanced Course for Dreamers" under Category "Extraordinary")