Carlos Castanada was a student of anthropology when he met Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui shaman and the inspiration for Castanada’s The Teachings of Don Juan. In this controversial work, Castanada relays his experiences being challenged by his mentor on his perception of the world and all living things in it.
©1973 Carlos Castaneda (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
Say something about yourself!
Castaneda tells us that he approached Don Juan, his shaman guru, to learn about peyote. So his first two books focus on the hallucinogenics; and he admits in this third book that he omitted the philosophy and other instruction from Don Juan which Castaneda discounted as nonsense. Well, I am not going to be using peyote, and I truly appreciated Don Juan's pointers for effective living. Not nonsense at all!
I could identify with Castaneda's always taking notes, always talking, always asking questions. He is a graduate student who usually wears a suit and tie and carries a briefcase. Don Juan sometimes teases him about this. I could not identify with Castaneda's reluctance to talk to plants! The author is really anal at several points! Of course all these years later we are more comfortable with meditation, plant and animal communication, all the concepts of the New Age.
I will be getting the paper book because some nuggets have to be underlined or at least marked with a page corner turned down. Don Juan is evidently quite an old man, and yet he can sit on the ground in such a way that he can stand up in one motion if necessary. He is as strong as he needs to be. He climbs or walks as far as he needs to. Carlos, the author, is often winded or needing to be helped! Don Juan gives several hints about how he stays fit -- for sure not a gym membership!
This book is a must-listen for young and old because it lays the ground for so much more. I should have read it in the '70's, but I was reading the Seth books instead. Don Juan has an excellent attitude toward death, personal history, discipline, readiness. The book ends well at a good stopping place. Carlos does indeed "stop the world" and see the magnificent gridwork that Seth referred to and Stuart Wilde discusses. I wish I had skipped over "Separate" and "Teachings" to jump into this book.
The story is very well written and the narrator is really good, changing voices according to the characters makes it incredible fun and addictive. I highly recommend it.
About the book is full of information and great insights.
Naive white boy exposed to desert spirits and nonsense... Think 'Leave it to Beaver' meets 'Airplane'
The humor, the wisdom, the passion for this existence we all share is abundant. A storyteller and teacher whose tales continue to resonate and make more sense as time passes.
The innocence, humility and growing awareness of the author.
Setting up Dreaming:
"I am going to teach you right here the first step to power. I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming. To set up dreaming means to have a concise and pragmatic control over the general situation of a dream, comparable to the control one has over any choice in the desert for instance, such as climbing up a hill or remaining in the shade of a water canyon. You must start by doing something very simple. Tonight in your dreams you must look at your hands."
I enjoyed listening to this book but gave it a low rating because, while it carried some gems of insight, it wasn't very exciting. It's really a "journey into the wilderness with a metaphysical guide that changes one's perspective on everything" story. It's like Jonathan Livingston Seagull (hey, man, there is so much more to life than you know) meets Zen and the Art of Motorcycles (the world can be seen like this or like this and boy do we need to discuss it) meets The Matrix (when you are ready you will be able to know what to do) with a southwestern native american flare. You have to be able to suspend your beleifs and understandings in order to take in what the book wants to tell you. The story is not boring, but it is at times a bit plodding. The narroator is at times a bit dry, detached and monotone and at others, when the story's excitement level called for it, right on with the emotional tone. This was actually a good fit for the story itself, so it works. Again, there were many gems of wisdom or idea that resonated with me and provoked me to see things in new ways and for that it was worth it. But if you want a good story, with plot and characters, well-described setting and lots of action, this is not a story for you. I also would suggest you google the author and find out where this book fits in his real life story (as this book proports to be a chronicle of his real experience) but whether you do this before or after listening will affect how you percieve the story, so it's up to you.
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