ENCOUNTER WITH CARLOS
In 1983, I was living in an apartment on top of a hill overlooking the city in the Northeast section of Los Angeles. I shared the apartment with my two brothers and we got along just fine, involved with the same interests as we were.
My next door neighbor at that time was a graduate student at Cal-State University Los Angeles. He came over excitedly one evening and informed us that Carlos Castaneda would be speaking on campus the very next day. Well, that was great news to us, having read all of this books up to that time.
The next day I, along with my two brothers, arrived early to the auditorium so as to be at the very first row and get a clear view of the man, his manners, movements, etc. We were there for about fifteen minutes when the crowd began to arrive. We then noticed a medium height stocky dark latin man wearing a suit enter with the crowd and we just knew that it had to be Carlos Castaneda.
He arrived as if he too was there to see and hear Carlos Castaneda speak, the crowd never noticing him for one moment for all were expecting him to appear from behind the curtains on stage and speak at the podium. For some reason or for no reason, he walked straight to where we were and spoke to us, asking "Do you think I should use the microphone or just stand there and speak in a clear voice?" I answered that it was up to him, but in my opinion he should speak in a clear voice, for it seemed evident that's what he really wanted to do. He readily agreed then went on stage and stood next to the podium.
The very first thing I focused on was his eyes. They were clear and peaceful and gave the impression of having great depth. Somehow, I could see that the man had been blasted to other worlds and now needed to attempt to elaborate this knowledge to others.
When the crowd quieted down, he began to speak stating that when he was finished speaking, he would answer questions from the audience. He quickly glanced to a spot five rows behind us and shook his finger and head, telling a young woman that that would not be possible. She promptly put her camera down.
I do not want to write the entire content of his speech, only the main message he wanted to convey. He said that don Juan had told him that we were all living like chickens in a chicken coop. We were going about our lives giving a great deal of importance to our affairs, when in reality we were only preparing our awareness through experience to be consumed and obliterated by the same incredible force that created us in the first place. Don Juan had likened this to chickens, who live to peck and eat only to be slaughtered in the end. That all of us were just nurturing our awareness - not for our own purpose, but for another purpose - that of being consumed at the moment of our death. Hence, we were like chickens in a chicken coop. Don Juan had said that in light of that fate, our only worthwhile challenge was to live to our full potential and escape that fate if we can.
After his speech was over, he answered some superfluous and redundant questions from the audience and it was clear to us that nearly all of what he said flew over most of the crowd's heads. What they were really interested in, was having their books signed.
Having signed over one hundred books, he then went outside and began to walk with a small group of about eight people following him. Some appeared to be university officials, others just curious. It appeared that the university officials wanted him all to themselves, but he said he was going over to the library to one of the study rooms to speak to whomever cared to listen. So, naturally we followed along. As he walked, he would speak to those around him one at a time.
My two brothers prodded me to go over and speak to him. That he was here now and that it was my opportunity. Waiting for a pause in his conversations, I saw my chance and went right up to him and flatly stated, "Based on my own experiences, I was able to follow the context of your speech quite easily."
Carlos stopped walking, turned and calmly looked into my eyes. Giving me his undivided attention, he grabbed my hand then said, "Walk with me." I caught a glimpse of the amused expressions of those around him, as if to say "Sure, sure your experiences."
He then began to talk to me in Spanish and asked me to do the same. He then squeezed my hand in a gesture of solidarity and affirmation and told me, "Isn't it great to be alive?" I answered yes it was and that I had always wanted to meet him, for I too have witnessed the nagual.
That really seemed to perk his interest and he asked me if I would be home later on this evening. That he would come over and speak with me personally one on one. He had no doubts I was speaking the truth. Just write down my name and address on a piece of paper and he would be there tonight.
At the library, he discussed some concepts about child-bearing. That a child was imbued with the feelings of the parents at the time of conception. Therefore, it was very important for the parents to be extremely passionate at the time of conceiving or otherwise they would end up with a bored child. He also spoke about the "Eagle that devoured us," from his most recent work The Eagles Gift.
Carlos then solicited questions from listeners and I asked him the only question that I deemed pertinent at the time. Was the Eagle the nagual? He never really answered my question, but drew a diagram on a chalkboard about the shape and configuration of the luminous shape that all human beings possess. About the assemblage point that assembles all perception for all living beings. This was prior to the release of The Fire from Within, so it was all new stuff for everyone there.
When he was through speaking, everyone was outside once again. It was late afternoon and he had to be going. He walked away with the same university officials and just as he was leaving, I handed him a piece of paper with my address on it.
As he took it from my hand, he said goodbye and then paused once more, took a look at my brother, pointed at him, smiled and went up to him and shook his hand vigorously, and what appeared to be knowingly, about some wonderful undefined something. And that was it.
He did not come to my house that night or ever and I never questioned it. The possibilities seemed too endless for me to do so.
Source: Los Angeles, CA