Pentamental Ep.4 w/ Bill Klaus & Donald DeGracia

#1
No. 4 posted this past Friday 1-2-15. Synchromystic/Psychonaut Bill Klaus & Author/former Skeptiko guest Dr. Donald DeGracia. Happy New Year!

http://thesyncbook.com/?pagename=pentamental&ep=4


Part 1 - SET & Setting w/ Bill Klaus:
Topics: Bee Arthur, Poker, Making Reads, Sync, Authority, Magick & Poetry, Kubrick, Relaxing Dogma, Fool's Magick, Language & Firewalls, Modern Alchemy, Information, Stoned Exodus, Magick Formula, Beauty, Direct Experience.

Part 2 - What Is Science? w/ Dr. Donald DeGracia:
Topics: What Is Science, Yoga & Method, Consciousness, Dynamic Gunas, Archetypes & Four Worlds, Jung, Whirlpools, Pranayama, Wizard of Oz, Integration, Alan Watts, Ego Death, Super-Current, Torture, Samadhi, Galileo.

Referenced links:
. . . Donald DeGracia's Website . . . Poster Art by Matt Bowers . . . Original Music by John Sevier
 
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#2
Interesting stuff, Don. Not much new to anyone who has read your stuff. Especially when followed up with a reading of the Taimni you suggested.

I'm lately rereading Castaneda and am surprised to see how it meshes with some of the hindu stuff. I'd only ever read the first three books in college decades ago. My jaw dropped this week when in "Tales of Power" don Juan lays out the tonal and the naugal as identical to maya and brahman. I was left wondering if Castaneda was influenced by prior knowledge of hinduism. I supposed it would be hard for him during that time to not be influenced by Eastern ideas.

Do you have a take on Castaneda? I'm in a frame of mind when right now I read it as a literal transcription of events, although that is likely to pass.

Chuck
 
#3
Interesting stuff, Don. Not much new to anyone who has read your stuff. Especially when followed up with a reading of the Taimni you suggested.

I'm lately rereading Castaneda and am surprised to see how it meshes with some of the hindu stuff. I'd only ever read the first three books in college decades ago. My jaw dropped this week when in "Tales of Power" don Juan lays out the tonal and the naugal as identical to maya and brahman. I was left wondering if Castaneda was influenced by prior knowledge of hinduism. I supposed it would be hard for him during that time to not be influenced by Eastern ideas.

Do you have a take on Castaneda? I'm in a frame of mind when right now I read it as a literal transcription of events, although that is likely to pass.

Chuck
I'll let Don answer the majority of your questions himself, but just wanted to mention The Active Side of Infinity, which was Castaneda's last book (pretty sure) before he passed. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm stumbling upon it at a time in my life when it seems particularly applicable (borderline spooky), but might be something worth checking out. Really smooth/easy read.
 
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#5
Interesting stuff, Don. Not much new to anyone who has read your stuff. Especially when followed up with a reading of the Taimni you suggested.

I'm lately rereading Castaneda and am surprised to see how it meshes with some of the hindu stuff. I'd only ever read the first three books in college decades ago. My jaw dropped this week when in "Tales of Power" don Juan lays out the tonal and the naugal as identical to maya and brahman. I was left wondering if Castaneda was influenced by prior knowledge of hinduism. I supposed it would be hard for him during that time to not be influenced by Eastern ideas.

Do you have a take on Castaneda? I'm in a frame of mind when right now I read it as a literal transcription of events, although that is likely to pass.

Chuck
Dear Chuck

Thank you for listening to the interview and offering up comments! Unfortunately, I have almost zero experience with Castaneda. I read one of the books about 25 years ago but don't even remember which one. I was not so drawn in to want to read the remaining books. The impression I remember is that it struck me as similar to the theosophy I was reading intently at the time. Different forms, different context, but very similar meanings. Sorry I can't offer up anymore than that.

Best wishes,

Don
 
#6
Hi Don,

I listened to the podcast (twice!) and (sort of) understood it. Now intrigued, I've downloaded Beyond The Physical and What is Science. I'll get back to you as and when I have anything to ask.
 
#7
Hi Don,

I listened to the podcast (twice!) and (sort of) understood it. Now intrigued, I've downloaded Beyond The Physical and What is Science. I'll get back to you as and when I have anything to ask.
Michael -- Maybe it's sort of weird/sick, but I derive a certain pleasure from having had a hand in creating something that confused you enough to drive you to question/investigate further/deeper. Really appreciate you listening once, let alone twice! I choose to think it was the hypnotic quality of my voice (possibly Tom's) that brought you back more so than Don :)
 
#8
Hi Don,

I listened to the podcast (twice!) and (sort of) understood it. Now intrigued, I've downloaded Beyond The Physical and What is Science. I'll get back to you as and when I have anything to ask.
Hi Michael

Nice to talk to you again! Hope you have been well, and Happy New Year too! That is very kind of you to listen twice! Please feel free to hit me up with any questions or anything you don't understand. I'm happy to try to clarify and explain. Especially Beyond the Physical is quite ponderous and rambling. It was my first attempt at a book and it is, you know...a first attempt!

Take care and look forward to hearing from you again!

Best,

Don
 
#9
Michael -- Maybe it's sort of weird/sick, but I derive a certain pleasure from having had a hand in creating something that confused you enough to drive you to question/investigate further/deeper. Really appreciate you listening once, let alone twice! I choose to think it was the hypnotic quality of my voice (possibly Tom's) that brought you back more so than Don :)
I don't know, John. I droned on pretty well, like this guy. :) -Don
 
#13
Dear Chuck

Thank you for listening to the interview and offering up comments! Unfortunately, I have almost zero experience with Castaneda. I read one of the books about 25 years ago but don't even remember which one. I was not so drawn in to want to read the remaining books. The impression I remember is that it struck me as similar to the theosophy I was reading intently at the time. Different forms, different context, but very similar meanings. Sorry I can't offer up anymore than that.

Best wishes,

Don
Cool. That all this stuff basically points in the same direction is part of what makes it fascinating. What Castaneda presents that is unique is a compelling narrative. Not terribly intellectual. But a great tale for sure.
 
#14
Cool. That all this stuff basically points in the same direction is part of what makes it fascinating. What Castaneda presents that is unique is a compelling narrative. Not terribly intellectual. But a great tale for sure.
I have to disagree w/ you & Don a bit here. Certainly there is a highly subjective element to all this, but I feel Castaneda's perspective/advice stays quite true to shamanic tradition/teachings, and is therefore "sophisticated" enough. Complexity does not = superior. I think Castenada's is a bit more like "Fools Magick" in that there isn't a highly rigid/formulaic process/ritual behind what he's telling you (to some extent yes, but far different from someone like Crowley for example who focuses a ton on the pomp & circumstance of the ritual). You're left with general individuation frameworks to fit into your own unique situation, such as "recapitulation" as well as the concept of "sorcerer mind" vs. standard/superficial, egoic "false mind". These are incredibly powerful sign-posts in my opinion.
 
#15
I have to disagree w/ you & Don a bit here. Certainly there is a highly subjective element to all this, but I feel Castaneda's perspective/advice stays quite true to shamanic tradition/teachings, and is therefore "sophisticated" enough. Complexity does not = superior. I think Castenada's is a bit more like "Fools Magick" in that there isn't a highly rigid/formulaic process/ritual behind what he's telling you (to some extent yes, but far different from someone like Crowley for example who focuses a ton on the pomp & circumstance of the ritual). You're left with general individuation frameworks to fit into your own unique situation, such as "recapitulation" as well as the concept of "sorcerer mind" vs. standard/superficial, egoic "false mind". These are incredibly powerful sign-posts in my opinion.
I agree with you, John. I think Castaneda presents a very sophisticated system within the narrative. But I don't think it is intellectual per se. I'm another book or two into the series now and I think anyone interested in other states of consciousness or dreaming who doesn't read Castaneda is really missing a important piece of the pie.
 
#16
I agree with you, John. I think Castaneda presents a very sophisticated system within the narrative. But I don't think it is intellectual per se. I'm another book or two into the series now and I think anyone interested in other states of consciousness or dreaming who doesn't read Castaneda is really missing a important piece of the pie.
Agreed, well put. While I think it's rather non-opaque, at the same time it can easily be dismissed/overlooked by people who -- like the most recent episode of Skeptiko w/ Jack Hunter focused on -- deny their experience. And I think I'm more forgiving of the content because I found authors before Castaneda, who had been inspired by Castaneda, and now I look back and think "Oh, that's where those ideas/concepts came from!" (Like Joseph Chilton Pearce & Charles Eisenstein)
 
#17
Gotta pop in and offer 2 cents: I agree that the intellectual thing is WAY over-rated. First, yoga itself is not "intellectual". It is designed and set up so that anyone who is properly motivated can succeed. I think it is similar with Castaneda's teachings.

Second, being intellectual often gets in the way of spiritual growth and enlightenment. The intellect is too often the unwitting tool and dupe of the ego (with a little "e"). One can rationalize until the cows come home, but that doesn't make it so.

That said, the intellect can also be a massive aid to spiritual growth when freed of the self-aggrandizing tendencies of the ego. This is recognized in yoga via Jnana yoga, or the path where the intellect plays a major role.

Finally, in classical occultism, there is a clear cut distinction between the lower and higher minds, or lower and higher mental bodies. This is reflected in the Yoga Sutras in the distinction between manas (intellect) and buddhi (judgement). Eventually, the mind will serve the greater good, even if it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming by the higher forces that cause things to unfold in space and time.

Best to you all,

Don
 
#18
Gotta pop in and offer 2 cents: I agree that the intellectual thing is WAY over-rated. First, yoga itself is not "intellectual". It is designed and set up so that anyone who is properly motivated can succeed. I think it is similar with Castaneda's teachings.

Second, being intellectual often gets in the way of spiritual growth and enlightenment. The intellect is too often the unwitting tool and dupe of the ego (with a little "e"). One can rationalize until the cows come home, but that doesn't make it so.

That said, the intellect can also be a massive aid to spiritual growth when freed of the self-aggrandizing tendencies of the ego. This is recognized in yoga via Jnana yoga, or the path where the intellect plays a major role.

Finally, in classical occultism, there is a clear cut distinction between the lower and higher minds, or lower and higher mental bodies. This is reflected in the Yoga Sutras in the distinction between manas (intellect) and buddhi (judgement). Eventually, the mind will serve the greater good, even if it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming by the higher forces that cause things to unfold in space and time.

Best to you all,

Don
Good stuff, Don. Thanks.
 
#19
First, yoga itself is not "intellectual". It is designed and set up so that anyone who is properly motivated can succeed. I think it is similar with Castaneda's teachings.
Can you clarify this statement?

I know several people who have been on the eight fold path of yoga for at least two decades and all they've gotten is lower blood pressure, limber body (sometimes with over-extended joints and associated problems), a bit calmer emotional state and not necessarily much else.

What is success? How does any form of yoga guarantee success? I'd like to find one :-D
 
#20
Can you clarify this statement?

I know several people who have been on the eight fold path of yoga for at least two decades and all they've gotten is lower blood pressure, limber body (sometimes with over-extended joints and associated problems), a bit calmer emotional state and not necessarily much else.

What is success? How does any form of yoga guarantee success? I'd like to find one :-D
Hi Satyan. Nice to see you posting! This is a good question. I don't know if it will make any difference to you, but the works of "Jed McKenna" whoever that is, made a big difference for me. He basically cuts through all the spiritual "bullshit" which passes for buddhism or any other practice today and cuts to the core of being. He's not for everyone. Almost certainly a pseudonym, his stuff is available to torrent, e-book and audio book editions. The pointer to Jed came during an especially strong synchronicity for me, so I know it was what was required for me at the time. He can seem quite obnoxious and off-putting for quite a while until you settle in with him. The gist of his work is that what passes for 99% of spiritual practice is aimed at putting people to sleep, not waking them up. If you are interested just google Jed McKenna audiobook damnedest for his first book. Not for everyone. But changed my entire viewpoint of reality--for better or for worse. I'm still not sure.
 
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