Nagual Series IX

Sun, Feb 15, 2009

Undoing the World

A fundamental goal for the warrior is to perceive all possible perceptions available to man. In order to accomplish this we are given tools such as “inner silence”, “stopping the world”,  “not doing” and “erasing personal history” to break our habitual conceptualization of the world, free up our perception, and loosen our assemblage point.

The fact that our perception is very limited is basic to all of Toltec teachings. When we thoroughly work the Mastery of Awareness we come to understand that the  knowledge we have acquired growing up, and the world it creates, is not real, but is something we have learned. Ultimately we realize that the mental knowledge we have is not just knowledge in our heads – it completely determines our experience. We begin to understand that the world we perceive is nothing but the content of our knowledge and our beliefs, which is something we have absorbed from our parents and the society around us.

I will repeat an example I have used before, that illustrates this clearly. When I was living in Japan I was translating a manual for a machine manufacturer.  The manual said in Japanese, “To start the machine push the ‘aoi’ button.” I didn’t know whether to translate this as blue button or green button. The word ‘aoi’ in Japanese can mean either blue or green. What is most significant about this is that a native Japanese will see the blue and the green as the same color. This can be understood when we look at a color spectrum.  The colors blue and green are right next to each other on the spectrum.  It so happens that most languages of the west divide the spectrum of blue and green into 2 colors. In truth, there are an infinite number of color frequencies within the range of blue and green. We just happen to divide it into 2 basic colors and this is what we see. Other cultures divide the color spectrum up differently so they perceive different colors in the same color spectrum.

A baby doesn’t see blue or green until he is taught the words to define the colors.  He sees the color spectrum as different shades of the same color. The words we are taught define the boundaries or bundles of frequencies we perceive. When we are taught the word blue we learn a concept called blue.  The concept defines the color spectrum with boundaries. When a color frequency falls within a certain boundary we call it blue. Once we learn the concepts defining colors we no longer see one color with different shades, we see blue, green, red and so on. Our language now defines what we perceive.

The same is true of sounds.  A native Japanese speaker does not hear the difference between an ‘l’ sound and an ‘r’ sound. He or she perceives them as the same sound. So we get the ‘flied lice’ jokes. A native English speaker hears two distinct sounds because that is what he or she was taught. What we are taught determines what we perceive.

Toltecs of ancient times realized this. They came to understand that what we perceive is not reality.  What we perceive is our inventory of concepts. A concept takes a chunk of reality and puts borders around it. A baby looks out of a window for the first time and sees different shades of light and colors, but they all are part of the same landscape.  There are no boundaries or distinctions.  The baby does not see blue or green, she or he only sees different shades of one color.  The baby doesn’t see a tree. She or he only sees one landscape that sticks out in places.  Mommy points to a place that sticks out and says, “that’s a tree” over and over again. Finally baby perceives a tree as distinct from the landscape and points to a leaf and says “tree.” Mommy repeatedly says, “no no, that’s a leaf.” And baby finally sees a new concept, leaf.

Our culture and language define our inventory of concepts.  The concepts determine what we perceive. What the average man and woman perceives is nothing more than what they have learned.  It is dead knowledge. A Japanese hears just one sound for ‘l’ and ‘r’.  An English speaker hears 2 sounds.  In reality there are an infinite number of sounds between ‘l’ and ‘r’. But we have been conditioned to hear only 2 sounds out of an infinite number of sounds within the range of ‘l’ and ‘r’.

The elements of the world don’t exist the way we assume they do. They exist only because we discriminate them from other things.  As separate things they don’t exist.  As separate things WE don’t exist.  The problem is that the world we live in is so linked with our concepts that we cannot separate who we are and the world we live in from the content of our minds.  We are not just living IN the past, we are living the past. The known world is a dead world.  The actual world is unknowable.  It is a mystery and is always changing.

The average man or woman believes they know reality and they act and react according to what they believe they know. But what they know is the past. It is just one concept added to a concept added to a concept, a belief added to another belief in their inventory.  Their inventory just grows horizontality.  It has no depth.  When we ‘see’  and have knowingness it comes from another plane.  It does not come from the horizontal plane of our knowledge inventory.

Our concept inventory define ousr perception. In Toltec terms, we assemble the infinite bands of emanations into categories and groups with boundaries.  When we do this we no longer perceive the emanations themselves, only the groups we assemble.

Don Juan told Carlos that our inner dialog creates our world. We can see the truth of this as words symbolize concepts and we only perceive concepts.  Stop the inner dialog for a sufficient amount of time and our perception is no longer bound by our words and concepts.

Erasing our personal history doesn’t just mean to hide our past from others, it means we need to break our definition of ourselves, our self concept. We hold up our self concept by attaching it to people, things, accomplishments and so on, in our past, in our history. Our self concept binds us and our perception. Psychologists say that a baby does not distinguish between itself and its mother.  This is true.  The baby has no self concept. It perceives mother and itself as one. Once the child has a concept of self as distinct from its mother it never perceives reality the same way. It no longer perceives reality, it only perceives its concept. This is why as adults it is so difficult for us to perceive ourselves as one with everything. We only perceive our concept of self, which is distinct from mother.

We practice not doing to bring into our awareness just how habitual we are in our patterns and in our perception. Our habitual ways and routines also bind us and our perception. We habitually resist doing things in a new way just as we resist perceiving things in a new way.

Here is an exercise using a gazing technique used by Toltecs to expand perception. Sit in a familiar place, your room for example.  Just begin to gaze around the room.  Relax your eyes and let them gently be a little out of focus. Be keenly aware of how your eyes want to stop at certain items, and the significance you have placed in that object.  Consciously let go of any significance you have placed in any object whether it be sentimental,  like dislike and so on. Be aware of how your mind wants to put everything you see into a category or concept.  Let go of all categories and release the concepts. Begin to see your room as just one reality without objects or things.  Any object or thing is just part of the reality of your room. You see just shades of light and dark and you have depth perception, but do not distinguish anything as a distinct object. It is all one reality without any distinctions within. Relax your perception letting it expand into this reality.  Perceive yourself as part of this reality, a non-distinct part. There is no longer a self or observer perceiving.  There is only perception.

Doing this exercise repeatedly over a period of time will loosen the binding we have on our perception.  It will also enable us to take back our vital energy.  It takes energy to uphold a concept, especially if it has some emotional significance to us. When you are able to let go of your concepts while gazing you will begin to see beyond physicality.

It is a monumental step to realize that the knowledge and the world it creates is not real, that what we perceive is really no more than what we have learned.  This step is the true Mastery of Awareness.  Some religions and schools say that the physical plane is just an illusion. This is true but not in the way many assume it to be.  The physical plane does not exist as a separate entity. The color blue does not exist as a separate color without our having a concept of blue. Blue is just a conceptionalized chunk of the color spectrum, which is  infinite. The physical plane is just a conceptionalized chunk of all dimensions of reality, which is infinite. Get rid of your concept of physicality and you will not be bound by it. You will perceive the infinite.

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