Tensegrity® is the contemporary form of the practices for wellbeing and greater awareness that Yaqui seer don Juan Matus taught his students. (For more complete description of Tensegrity®, please click here.) The practices include movements and sequences of movement known as magical passes, self-review or recapitulation, dreaming, and silence.
Don Juan sometimes referred to the practitioners of his knowledge as “sorcerers” meaning beings who are actively linking with Source—the intelligence of the universe, reflected in the stars, in the earth, in everything around us. The practices of Tensegrity® help us to stay connected to Source, where we recognize that we are interdependent with all being.
And there is more ease in whatever you do—if you are a baker or a teacher, whatever it is—if you are aware of your connection with source.
Things can appear quite “difficult” from a place of disconnection—where we seek distractions, or approval—so we call on connection. A little experiment—notice the vibration of saying to yourself, “I am not connected” versus saying “I am connected.”
Ultimately when we know we are one with Source, dualisms like “easy” and “difficult” and “connected” and “disconnected” fall away. This is a state where we are conscious of the part of us that does not change—our essence, our energy body—our soul.
Our body and mind are constantly changing. Each of us takes many bodily forms in this lifetime—infant, child, youth, young adult, adult, older adult, etc. The mind may judge these forms, it has expectations of how the body should move, look, perform, etc.
Our essence recognizes that instead of judging the changing body, we can love it—and loving means listening. So we ask the mind to listen to, rather than fight or ignore the body—what is the body saying? Is it asking for more rest? More movement? For a more sustainable pace of movement? For nourishment? More joy?
And we can listen to our thoughts. If we want to know if we are connected—to Source at that moment: Are they nourishing to oneself? Are they nourishing to others? Source is nourishing and life-enhancing.
For further information see Magical Passes: The Practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, by Carlos Castaneda.
Freedom is connecting consciously with source. It’s opening your heart, and your eyes, and ears, so you are free from the blinding effects of judgment, resentment or blame toward others or yourself—and you can see and feel the wonder of the world. It’s freedom from holding others responsible if you are not experiencing what you want to experience. You have the power to connect consciously with source. That gives you freedom to dream, alone and with others, your life, your encounters and your world.
Yes, each workshop and class is designed for new and experienced participants, so that each can leave with practical tools for his or her own daily awareness practice. And at some level, we are all beginners, because we are always starting from this moment. This moment is informing the next moment.
Movement and dance that is accessible and adaptable for all body types and abilities, individual and interactive awareness exercises in a supportive environment, music, camaraderie, self-discovery, leaving lighter and stronger and more connected than when you arrived.
How often should I practice the movements on my own? How much time? How many repetitions of each movement or sequence?
The movements help you calm the body, which calms the mind, and helps you connect to your own being, and to earth and sky. And they can serve as a barometer of your own energy level. So it’s recommended that you do them to the extent of your own comfort, noticing: How is your energy flowing? This helps you find the balance, where you are practicing not too much or too little.
If you get fatigued—how wonderful that the movements have gotten you to where you can feel that—and make the adjustments needed. If you feel really sleepy—then it is a good time to take that power nap.
If you don’t feel anything as you do them, you might be in your mind filled with expectation: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” And some days we have a delicious practice, other days not – that’s all part of the moment-to-moment experience. There is no right or wrong way of practicing, there is only “right now.” We adjust to those cycles of our own energy level, and the cycles of the day, the sun, the moon, the seasons, our own season of life, etc., to create a sustainable practice. As a culture, we are interested in the sustainability and fuel efficiency of our cars—What about our bodies? Are we present to what they are telling us? Or are we more present to our To Do List (Check! Check! Check!)
So the movements and sequences can bring us to notice: When you are tired, do you rest? What’s your expectation when you practice? Are you using your energy beyond your means, living for your mind, and not your heart? The movements can get you into a state of being. What is that? It is a wordless place. A place where we can make decisions that are aligned with a greater order, with infinity.
Being is paying attention to: Where are you? Maybe today is the day for you to take a walk up the hill, another day is the day for lying on the sand or the grass. Our culture tends to emphasize “Do do do do do”. Something must be done!” So you can look at: Are you doing the movements rather than being the movements? There is a doing part to everything –you learn the sequence. And then you let go, and feel the movements, let them tune you.
And you can listen to your body, this beautiful vehicle, rather than trying to push past its messages, with dialogue such as “Other people can do this, so I should be able.” Everybody is unique, so comparison can be a poison. The way you will know the most experienced students is you will see that they go at their most authentic pace when they practice.
Yes, it depends on the conditions—it’s recommended, for example, that you can see where you are walking, wear functional footwear, and avoid being in extreme temperatures or allowing strong drafts of air on a perspiring body! Of course this all applies whether one is indoors or outdoors. You want to notice all the factors—your own mental and emotional state, your energy level, the weather conditions, how used you are to those conditions—if you are a surfer, for example you are probably used to cold winds. However if you are not used to them, then you want to pay extra attention. In general, it’s recommended that we urbanites avoid cold damp on the vulnerable energy spots on the back of the neck and the lower back—these are vulnerable because of the stress we put on them sitting for long periods with over-flexed spines, crunched over our keyboards, iPads or smartphones.
Yes. The movements and sequences are interdependent with time and space. Again, your own being is your guide. And you can make any form more gentle or more active by the way you practice it, which often will be according to daylight or dark. Whales act differently in deeper water than they do on the surface—when there is more light they are more visibly active. We are the same. If you are in the middle of winter, or later in the evening, you may notice that you need more gentle movement, more rest, stimulation of the flow of energy in our own bodies and electromagnetic fields. This is a time for restoration, for the mystery, a time, where you may find a deeper silence in your practice, and deep rest, where a lot is happening under the surface in preparation for morning, or for Springtime. If it is the height of summer, or midday, you may need to find your feet in your stance, to help give you roots for more active sequences which stir the cardiovascular system.
No. You just need to practice! In your individual practice, you can find your own speed, and notice how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with certain movements or sequences. In a group, you have the opportunity to practice movements that you might not otherwise; others there have gone to different Tensegrity® events and carry with them a different library of movement to share. This could enhance your practice by getting out of your ‘habit’ of certain movements and expand your curiosity to try different ones. One of the benefits of the movements is silence; and generally your silence will go deeper in a group, where you are connecting into others’ silence. Of course ultimately the benefits of individual and group practice are different from one another, and it is interesting to watch the story you tell yourself about why you think you don’t want to do one or the other.
In the earliest Tensegrity® workshops, we practiced movement sequences for hours at a time. Now we are pausing more to practice recapitulation exercises, and often the movement sequences are more gentle or quiet. What changed?
Our teachers saw that there was a benefit to saturating the body and the being with Tensegrity® movement—a vigorous effort was required to create a new, practical consensus in which vitality, wellbeing and greater awareness were the new norm. And that saturation was achieved. From this they noticed first that practitioners could practice the individual movements of the sequences fewer times, and achieve the same effects.
Also, they saw that it was time to take the tremendous energy boost that had been created amongst the practitioners through that saturation of movement, and use that energy to start reviewing the interactions of one’s life, and one’s day, in earnest. Otherwise the energy gathered was just going to go into more vigorously repeating the same old patterns of belief, thought and action, whereas through the recapitulation, one has the opportunity to put the energy gained from magical passes into new ways of interacting.
Someone who has shown leadership and initiative in organizing a local Tensegrity® practice group, undergone an intensive training in all the Tensegrity® practices, and led the six Tensegrity® class series that comprised their Level 1 training. Their job is to facilitate, which means to “make easy” for another person to connect with his or her essence—to help provide the Tensegrity® tools that will ease this quest. The beauty of Tensegrity® is that it is based on the assumption that we each have within us all the resources we need to find our own alignment with the greater order of infinity. So anyone who helps us cannot really tell us what is best for us—that’s the individual decision of each one of us. A Tensegrity® Facilitator honors that ability within each person who comes to him or her.
Carlos Castaneda was intrigued by something that R. B. Fuller pointed out—in his later years, Fuller said that in his own lifetime—which spanned from 1895 to 1983—that he watched the literacy rate shoot from 5% to 65%. And that changes the game for all of us—we have unprecedented direct access to knowledge. And so that means that what really counts in our time is the integrity of the individual. We can no longer be “innocent bystanders” watching while others make the major decisions that affect all of us. We can be informed, and make informed decisions ourselves. And Fuller and Castaneda were very optimistic about that—we do have the option to choose success, as a species.
For more information on the program and the requirements, please click here.
Yes we do. This offers a wonderful way to get feedback to help shape your own daily awareness practice and to dream your life. More information
I read in Carlos Castaneda’s book that we need to erase personal history. Does that mean I have to leave my friends and family behind?
Absolutely not—as he said, it simply means leaving behind your judgments about them, and about yourself. It means observing and questioning your limiting views about them and about yourself.
I also read in the books of your teachers that having a sexual partner drains your energy, and if you want to dream, you need to be celibate. What should I do?
This is more a question of the use of one’s energy in all areas of one’s life. Are we present with what we are doing and choosing, or are we engaged in diversion or distraction? You can’t dream if you are distracted, if your energy is dispersed all over the place. Anything we engage in, whether it is eating a snack or embarking in a relationship, we can be present or we can be engaged in diversion. So the invitation is to examine oneself—how am I using my energy? Am I nourishing myself, or am I eating candy?
In the stories our teachers wrote about the dreaming energy and sexual relationships, they said they were relating what they were taught as young practitioners: That in a sexual union, the partners are merging energy fields—they are blending energies at the deepest level with another human being. We take on the thoughts, the longings, the energetic vibration of the partner. So our teachers recommended taking a pause, and saving your energy for a moment, including your sexual energy so that you can get to know yourself—what are your own thoughts, longings, challenges, etc. What do you want? What are your expectations? What is your personal history so far—your story? Who are you? Also what is your personal story in partnership? What patterns have you inherited or copied from your parents and lineage? From your culture?
According to don Juan, when you merge on a sexual level with a partner, your two fields create a third field. Our sexual energy is our creative energy, our dreaming energy—which ultimately means it’s our evolution energy. What do you want to dream, or evolve, in your life? What do you want to dream, or create, or evolve with this person? If we meet another in an intimate partnership, we want to do so as consciously as possible. And if we are going to create a family, then that third field, in the context of a conscious, truly loving, sacred union, can be a wonderful field of support for everyone in the family.
One of the oldest images of alchemy represents the merging of masculine and feminine. Gold is said to come from this union. So it’s a sacred merging—rather than a “release” or “escape” as our consumer culture sometimes depicts it. That seems to be part of the shadow of consumer culture—to take what is sacred in its origin, such as the sexual union, or corn, or chocolate, or tobacco, and turn it into an addictive commodity.
To evolve as a species, we need to remember the sacred in all aspects of our lives, including the sacredness of sexual energy.
I also read in Carlos’ book that if you have children it leaves holes in your energy field and that you “lose your edge.” Help!
Carlos Castaneda said in writing his books, he was describing his apprenticeship with his teacher, and that he hoped the reader could abstract certain principles for their own lives—principles such as: be impeccable with your energy—meaning use it wisely. If you are going to have and raise children, do it consciously. If we are raising children unconsciously, meaning we are expecting them to fulfill our unfulfilled longings, or live out our unlived dreams, or we are trying to be liked by them and therefore don’t set needed limits, or we resent them and cite them as our excuse for not living our dreams—that can create a drain of one’s energy that, to the eye of a seers of this lineage, has the appearance of holes in our energetic fields.
However, if we raise them with awareness, recognizing that they are gifts from infinity, with many lessons to teach us, we have a great advantage. We have a built-in motivation to get past excessive concern with “me” and instead get into dreaming another being, and dreaming together.
And if we see them doing something that is unhealthy to themselves or others, we can set limits, and at the same time check in with ourselves—do I do that? Have I ever done that?
Regarding “losing one’s edge”— some of our best energy naturally goes to our child—and would you want it any other way? We are sending the next generation forward with our very best love and awareness. In return we gain focus, caring, and the wisdom of knowing we don’t have “energy to burn.”
If they are attracted to it—if they ask to join you when you practice the Tiger, for example, then yes, by all means. Children naturally move well if we don’t train them out of it.
The most important thing to know is: Children copy. They will copy your moods, and your actions. So if you are practicing presence, healthy movement and breathing, self-care, not judging yourself or others, enjoying your life, taking responsibility for your actions, they will practice those things too.
Tensegrity® is compatible with any practice. Just keep the practices distinct, meaning if you are practicing T’ai chi, for example, practice that for as long as you wish, then practice Tensegrity® movements.
The art of dreaming is the art of attention. Of being conscious of where you place your attention during your waking hours or sleeping hours. Much has been written that ‘this life is a dream.’ And it is, if we understand that our current state of perception is one of many available to us. It’s the art of recognizing that there are many possible ways for each of us to experience, respond to, and in some ways shape “reality” in this human form. Dreaming is exploring those options in an orderly, healthy, intentional way. When we understand that anything we are experiencing is a dream, we gain a certain kind of lightness and detachment that allows us to start taking ourselves less seriously. That is the gateway to begin shifting our vibrational state, and if you can shift your vibration, you can shift the dream—and you are free. Of course, this takes consistent effort.
You start by dreaming in daily life—meaning suspending judgment of yourself, of others, and allowing the generosity, the wonder, the inspiration, the grace, the love of infinity to guide your interactions. It’s a daily practice of being conscious—which all the other practices of Tensegrity® help with—you review your interactions every day and see—where did my attention and energy go today? What do I want to shift in the next encounter, the next day? Also look at where is your attention before you go to sleep. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you reading or watching or giving attention to deleterious or enhancing stories, thoughts or activities beforehand? If you pay attention to these things, you will naturally find yourself shifting to a more present and expansive attention in your sleeping dreams. In other words, the degree to which you are conscious in your waking time will be the degree to which you are conscious in your sleep.
I have read about don Juan’s students recapitulating for hours at a time, in a big box or a cave. My schedule and situation don’t allow for that. What do you recommend?
There are many ways that one can recapitulate, or review one’s encounters—Carlos Castaneda described his teacher Florinda Matus’s recapitulation in a box, Taisha Abelar wrote about starting out her life review in a cave, and later moving to a treehouse. Florinda Donner-Grau described recapitulating while walking in the countryside. There are practitioners who recapitulate as they wash the dishes, or as they sit by a tree, or in a quiet spot in their house. The important thing is to do what works best for you, with the time that you have. You can just take ten to fifteen minutes at the end of the day and review. Where did my energy get stuck? How can I free it? Where was it flowing? What can I learn from my interactions today?
You can also review key life scenes through the joyful and liberating practice of Theater of Infinity™, which is an integration of all the Tensegrity® practices: the Magical Passes®, silence, and dreaming. With the help of supportive peers, we play ourselves, or others in scenes from our own lives. And we can learn that in life, there are many roles we play, many masks we wear. And we can approach those roles with controlled folly, meaning with awareness of our habits and patterns—with controlled folly, I can choose whether I am going to play that pattern out or not. If I do choose to play it out, the seer within me is watching the play.
Yes—absolutely! To be conscious in the present moment. Which means not caught in regret or idealization of the past, or fear or fantasy about the future. Do we really know the story of our past? Of ourselves? Our parents? Our lineage?
If we are telling an incomplete story of our past, that’s the narrative that’s running our present—and most likely our future.
We can just recapitulate or review our interactions of the day, and most likely that will be a hologram of our story. The degree to which we are conscious of our story will be the degree to which we are conscious during our day.
How do I shift my attention from complaining about others to looking inward and taking care of myself?
Care means you start every day acknowledging your being. You make yourself present…not past or future.
It means looking at: How do I start my day? With gratitude. I can’t change them. I can only change myself, my attitude. So it’s a practice. If I keep on going every day to the places of higher vibration, of greater awareness, then it becomes automatic.
If someone does something that bothers you, they are reminding you to ask yourself, or a trusted friend: “Why is that bothering me so much?” “Do I do that?”
If you are irritated with someone else, that is an opportunity for you to pause, and intentionally put out a higher frequency. When a nagual enters a room, the room gets a little cleaner. Carlos Castaneda said that in our time, we can each be our own nagual, meaning that everyone can do that—everyone can lift the vibration around them by lifting the vibration within them.
We hear: “But I have a right to complain!” Yes you do. However, the question is: Is that helping anyone? Instead of complaining about others, you can raise your frequency, which makes it easier for others to raise theirs.
And you can notice: has complaining ever worked? After you do it, don’t you usually feel lifeless and without energy; doesn’t it usually just bring you down?
Let’s look at an example of this: It’s interesting how we are more understanding with animals sometimes than we are with humans. A dog in a pound has a history, he might have been locked in a box and left hungry, and barking was a survival technique for him or her to get attention and food. And so we would be very understanding and approach the dog slowly, with calming movements and a kind voice tone. “What happened with you? There, there it’s okay,” etc. Yet if a human being “barks” at us, often we come unglued—and we blame them. “He/ She came in and had a rough tone! What nerve!”
The key is to watch where you get triggered. If someone shouts, “Hey ugly!” on the street, do you assume they are talking to you? Or do you, laugh and keep walking. If I have an issue with my beauty or attractiveness, then I will take offense. And I can review my own history with that issue. Freedom, choice, affection in our lives—it all starts with us, as beings in connection with source, with infinity—and infinity is inside each one of us.