February 26th, 2009
One of the characteristics of the unconscious mind (aka the subconscious or other-than-conscious) mind is its ability to allow for and be comfortable with a both/and awareness. It operates from a both/and logic base.
This separates it from the conscious mind in that the conscious tends to operate from an either/or logic base. To the conscious mind, things are either good or bad, right or wrong, up or down in or out, this OR that… an either/or logic base.
That reminds me of a story…
At the very end of his training as a warrior, Carlos Casteneda was taken by Don Juan to a pair of twin mesas in the Sonora dessert. It was an arduous journey just to get there and an even more strenuous climb to the top. These were tremendously high mesas. They were a easily a thousand feet high. Little did Carlos know that this was no ordinary day. This was his final exam to see if he could graduate from being a warrior to being a Sorcerer. His task was simple. He was to leap from one mesa to the other. The only problem with that was that they were a thousand feet up and the mesas were a good 12 feet apart (similar to but different from the ones pictured above). Now, he had jumped twelve feet on solid ground. He had also NOT jumped twelve feet on solid ground and when he missed he dusted himself off and tried again. There could be no second chances this time. If he missed, he’d fall to his death.
Herein lay the quandary. To not jump meant giving up every thing he’d worked for for years. Dismal failure. Emotionally equivalent to a long, slow death. To complete the jump meant achieving all he’d worked for but if he missed… certain, sudden death.
Carlos had to abandon himself to the moment; abandon himself to the the task. He had to let go of all fears and all doubts and give absolutely everything he had, no holds barred. But wait – he couldn’t abandon control. Remember, there was no margin for error. Twelve feet was his limit. If he planted his foot and took off even an inch back from the edge, he would not make it. He had to plant that foot PRECISELY on the edge. And it had to be his left foot since he was right footed. So he had to be totally controlled. Each foot step measured and planned out with enough steps so he’d reach maximum velocity right at the very moment of leaping
This was not a place or time when he could choose one OR the other. This was not about choosing between being contolled or abandoned. No. He had to have BOTH. He had to be totally controlled AND totally abandoned AT THE SAME TIME.
He carefully measured his steps several times, practicing the choreography of what he was about to do. His body was electric, his heart in his throat and yet his mind was clear and quiet. He knew this might be his last act on earth and he was doing it impeccably. He measured his steps one last time, stood at the place he’d chosen as his starting point, paused for a moment as time seemed suspended, and then, letting go of all hesitation, he went.
Now, I would wager he was in a pretty profound trance as he launched himself into the sky, wouldn’t you? I would also wager it was nothing like what many people think of when they think hypnosis. I’d bet his eyes were wide open. I’d bet his senses were on maximum alert.
(I’d also bet he made the jump since he wrote the book to tell about it.)