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  • Writer's pictureby Essence Diaries


Updated: Jul 24, 2023

In his books 'Journey to Ixtlan' or 'The Eagle's Gift', Carlos Castenada describes a practice of sorcery called the not doing.

It is a good way to trap reason and its wide range of routines. The main task of the warrior’s behaviour is "not to do". "To do" is the behaviour of the ordinary man. This behaviour leads him to always act in the same way, that is to say to constantly manufacture his world according to the criteria he has been taught as soon as it solidified.

For this reason, ordinary life is composed of an infinity of habits, which inevitably leads man to be in conformity with the opinion of others.

Thus, the not doing, which brings attention out of its usual furrow, is the way to consider that there is much more to perceive for the warrior.

Memory is obviously the other key to perception: we only remember, our perceptions are only memories, and our memory is selective. We only pay attention to the things that fit into the description we have learned – that is, we spontaneously censor our feelings. It is the role of reason to compel the world to be interpreted narrowly and selectively: it thus constitutes a mould by which we form the universe. By trapping reason, the practice of “not doing” helps the warrior to stop his inner dialogue and reach another level of perception.

Some exercises like, contemplating leaves or shadows, walking backwards in the forest, putting a hat at home, using the fork with the left hand if you are right handed, turning your socks upside down, starting your meal with the dessert, climbing the stairs backwards, walking around your house with your eyes closed…are not doings.

The not doing is an act without desire.

The not doing is pure uselessness, and it is this uselessness, that is to say, this "not to order" quality, that forces us to remember…

this is my decision.


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