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#1981 - Friday, November 19, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  

Carlos Castaneda  

Intending and Function  

The universe in general is predatorial to the maximum, but not predatorial in the sense
in which we understand the term: the act of plundering or stealing, or injuring or
exploiting others for one's own gain. For the shamans of ancient Mexico, the predatory
condition of the universe meant that the INTENDING of the universe is to be continually
testing awareness. They SAW that the universe creates zillions of ORGANIC BEINGS and
zillions of INORGANIC BEINGS. By exerting pressure on all of them, the universe forces
them to enhance their awareness, and in this fashion, the universe attempts to become
aware of itself. In the COGNITIVE WORLD of shamans, therefore, awareness is the final

Don Juan Matus and the shamans of his lineage regarded AWARENESS as the act of being
deliberately conscious of all the perceptual possibilities of man, not merely the
perceptual possibilities dictated by any given culture whose role seems to be that of
restricting the perceptual capacity of its members. Don Juan maintained that to release,
or set free, the total perceiving capacity of human beings would not in any way interfere
with their functional behavior. In fact, functional behavior would become an
extraordinary issue, for it would acquire a new value. Function in these circumstances
becomes a most demanding necessity. Free from idealities and pseudo-goals, man has only
function as his guiding force. Shamans call this IMPECCABILITY. For them, to be
impeccable means to do one's utmost best, and a bit more. They derived function from
SEEING energy directly as it flows in the universe. If energy flows in a certain way, to
follow the flow of energy is, for them, being functional. Function is, therefore, the
common denominator by means of which shamans face the ENERGETIC FACTS of their COGNITIVE

CARLOS CASTANEDA Commentaries on the Occasion of the Thirtieth Year of Publication of The
Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

From The Other Syntax list    


Labyrinths are right up there with angels, Oprah, and mindfulness. Maybe even the Celestine Prophecy. I don't know. Stories about labyrinths grace the religion section of every newspaper sooner or later, I guarantee you. And think about it. Labyrinths are easy to get into, compared to other things spiritual people get into. For example, you don't have to wash your guru's feet. (Like I'm really gonna do that.) You don't have to go to India for chrissakes. (Like I'm really gonna do THAT.) You don't have to go to satsang and let some very calm guy or chick hynotize you into not thinking. (That I might do.) None of that crap. All you gotta do is walk. No angels to imagine. No books to read. No shui to feng.   Labyrinths are even portable. Afterall, a labyrinth is as minimal as a spiral trail of stones leading to an empty central space. The high end models have a miniature golf course attached. And a funnel cake concession. I thi-i-i-nk.   Unlike a maze, you can't get lost in a labyrinth. You just follow a path laid out with stones. You can see the center. You don't even have to follow the path. You can step over the stones and go right to the center. Or maybe somone else walking the labyrinth dropped a five dollar bill and you don't want to walk the entire winding path to get it. You can just walk over the little stones straight to the money and pick it up and put it in your pocket. His loss. Then you can go back to the portion of the trail you were on and continue your spiritual walk.   The idea behind the labyrinth is described as follows at  


A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

...end of quote  

So you see, a labyrinth is a very nice thing. It really is. Boring, yes. That's why I've invented the Nonduality Salon Labyrinth. We throw in a wicked witch and some flying monkeys (recognized by keen readers as online gurus), and we find that that is sufficient to keep you from getting to the center of the labyrinth in any state that resembles simplicity and peace. We know you wouldn't want it any other way.   --Jerry Katz

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