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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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Journey to Ixtlan (which, apparently, is a real mountain, too)

Picked up an old yellowed paperback copy of Carlos Castaneda's Journey to Ixtlan a few weeks ago and just started reading it the other day. His official site uses frames and doesn't really support deep linking, but there's quite a bit of material on there for those who are interested. The "Tensegrity" page attempts to strike at the heart of don Juan's knowledge transfer to Castaneda and a select few others.

I picked up the book because I've seen it quoted numerous times in the online nonduality communities and lists. There is a number of books in this series, which began with a kind of botanical/anthropological research project on Castaneda's part for his doctoral work, I think it was, regarding hallucinogenic plants such as peyote and psilocybic mushrooms. So far (and I'm not far into it), Castaneda's guru, a Yaqui (Mexican) Indian shaman named don Juan Matus, has been trying to break apart his ego and sense of self-identification. Castaneda is understandably raging against this affront to what he has always considered integral aspects of his personality (and indeed, his very existence), unwilling to accept what appears to him to be the most frightening way to look at himself possible.

I don't know if I'm being naïve or not, but I don't personally think that I'd find what don Juan has to say all that scary. A few years ago maybe, but I think that the 18-month apprenticeship I undertook with my own guru here at my house while we worked together at a corny gig selling software accomplished similar things in my own spiritual progress and practice. To this day, I still don't have a formal practice other than perhaps not practicing at all, but the time I spent with him opened my eyes more fully than any other teaching or book I encountered before or since, really. And he wasn't even consciously trying to teach me anything at the time, I don't think.

The mark of a true guru, that. Taught me everything I needed to know without either of us knowing it. Heh -- I'm probably not giving him enough credit for knowing what he was imparting to me, actually, but the story is more interesting this way.

By the way, what the hell kind of mood is "quixotic" anyway? I picked it from the list of moods in my Semagic LJ client. And how do you pronounce it? I've never read Don Quixote, although I did see it at Chapters today for $3.99.

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lokust September 22nd, 2003
also, as a side note, when cervantes first wrote 'don quixote,' everyone assumed that the character was english, for he had such a strange name with non spanish letters.

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