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So What?

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So what?

After reading the other material on this site, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Why is music played in alternate tunings - and the music on Memories of Home in particular - so important?

Because it has the ability to stop the inner dialogue.

The term inner dialogue was used by Carlos Castaneda to describe the constant mental dialogue we have with ourselves. It is at first glance what we "think about," but when we consider it more closely we realize it is rather something that controls us because we often can't direct it and, what is worse, we can't turn it off.

It consists literally of everything we think about during every waking moment: worries about countless everyday events, planning what to eat, how to do a task, what to wear, how to spend an evening, a tune running through our heads, what others think of us and what we think of them. Think about it and you'll realize you're always thinking about something.

So why would anyone want to stop their inner dialogue? Most people don't ever think about what they think about, which sounds fairly ridiculous except that it is of supreme importance for certain people who wish to develop past who they currently are into states of greater awareness of themselves and the world. Don Juan Matus, Castaneda's nagual teacher, called these kinds of people warriors, and he

... defined inner silence as a peculiar state of being in which thoughts were canceled out and one could function from a level other than that of daily awareness. He stressed that inner silence meant the suspension of the internal dialogue - the perennial companion of thoughts - and was therefore a state of profound quietude. ( The Active Side of Infinity , p. 103)
... inner silence is the avenue that leads to a true suspension of judgment - to a moment when sensory data emanating from the universe at large ceases to be interpreted by the senses; a moment when cognition ceases to be the force which, through usage and repetition, decides the nature of the world. ( ibid p. 105)
The ultimate goal of man is to achieve true freedom.

The result of being able to achieve inner silence for a certain amount of time is the ability to stop the world, a state where the sensory world we are all used to ceases to exist and is replaced by something utterly different, a process and state of awareness Castaneda endeavored to relate in his books. (In particular, The Fire from Within and The Active Side of Infinity.) Achieving this state is the gateway to accessing vast new worlds and achieving total freedom, Don Juan's ultimate goal. He said this state was the true nature of man.

From this beginning of inner silence can come all the transformations Don Juan taught Carlos Castaneda for thirteen years. The music on Memories of Home can assist a warrior to achieve this state.

Castaneda was not the only person to discuss these matters. Every culture has produced a few rare individuals who have attained such advanced states. Using different terms, they all seem to be talking about a single thing. A few of the other notable sources are these:

This is by no means an exhaustive list. The Tarot cards conceal keys to the exact transformational process that few have decoded. Norse mythology also contains many clues. Certain forms of Wicca, the Old Religion, provide developmental steps towards the same goal, as does the inner Faery Tradition from Northern Europe , and the ancient Polar Tradition, which is relatively unknown in modern times. The key to finding an authentic tradition is to determine if its emphasis for change is "in here," inside one's self, or "out there," dependent on some other being, or idea of one.

All authentic inner traditions require a great deal of inner work on the part of the seeker or warrior. No boon, gift, blessing or redemption given by another can substitute for real work done by oneself on oneself; only guidance along the way by a qualified teacher, in one form or another, is of any real help. Deliberate confusion on this issue in the Western world for nearly two thousand years has held back individual spiritual development. Most people don't even know such inner development is possible (or desirable). A pity.

It is said that when the seeker is ready, the teacher will appear, but these days, are there enough qualified teachers? How many Don Juans are there? If we regard Jesus primarily as a teacher, how many like him are around today? Is the situation hopeless? Not at allScared turkey, since teachers do not always come to us in the form or manner we expect. One's teachers may remain hidden perhaps for years, administering occasional tests to see of we are ready for more overt contact yet. I remember a scene from my childhood of a great many turkeys in a large pen, all pecking the ground looking for food. It was easy to see the one or two who raised their heads as if wondering what was really going on. Qualified teachers find us in the same way. Who stick their heads up repeatedly, looking for answers and willing to pursue them? Such risky behavior never goes unanswered. It is risky because one might get one's head chopped off. (That losing one's head might, in fact, be a good thing is a deep, esoteric mystery. But that's a story for another time.)

Among modern writers and teachers, several may be identified who described the same perennial Theme of inner development. A few of these are:

There are many other relevant sources, ancient and modern, but this list should be a sufficient beginning. The common thread that runs through them all is this: Reason is used, either orally or through the written word, to indicate that there is much to the full world that is not amenable to reason - that is beyond reason - and therefore that cannot be understood by reason at all. To become aware of and enter into these other realms one must suspend reason, one must gain a state of inner silence by stopping the inner dialogue of reason. To use Don Juan's terms again, the world of reason that we are all familiar with is called the first attention. Don Juan was trying to get Carlos (and the rest of us, of course) to access the second attention, where one becomes aware of other worlds that are just as real as our own ordinary world. The first step of this process is achieving a state of inner silence.

An aid to taking this first step is listening to Memories of Home. The most effective way is this: Listen to the entire CD or tape in a quiet setting where you won't be disturbed. Enter a light meditative state if you have practiced doing this before, or just close your eyes and relax your body in a comfortable sitting position. (Don't lie down, or you're liable to fall asleep.)

The tracks are arranged in a sequence that gives the best chance that at some point you will notice that you are no longer thinking to yourself. Your mind is still and therefore able to access what is mostly hidden behind the incessant inner dialogue . With some practice, you may find that the single cut "Nocturne" is sufficient to induce inner silence . If you program your CD player to just play this single track, you won't have to reach over and switch it off when the piece ends. Relax and maintain this state as long as you can.

This is all it's possible to say in a forum such as this, although there is much more material that will soon appear elsewhere, so check back from time to time.

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