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Alternative Medicine

Personal Power

Personal power doesn’t mean power over others, but rather accumulating power to accomplish great deeds.

Carlos CastanedaIn the Toltec shamanic tradition one of the core ideas is accumulating power.

Often, when people hear this idea, they assume it refers to power over others. It doesn’t. Power over others is more correctly referred to as force.

Personal power refers to conserving and increasing your personal energy by eliminating ways in which it gets sapped. This energy then becomes available for productive action in the world. And when enough is stored, uncommon feats become possible.

This idea always intrigued me. The qigong practices from Share Lew became vehicles for me to conserve and increase energy.

In 1982, I decided to see how well this approach worked. I decided to see if I could do something that I thought was virtually impossible.

During that time, the works of Carlos Castaneda were very popular. One of the ideas in the books – making oneself inaccessible – was something he was personally famous for. Anyone who wanted to reach him had to go through his publisher. And he would accumulate these requests in a big box, which he mostly ignored.

However, periodically he picked just one request out of this box with the idea of responding to the request. In this way, a select few people were able to meet him in person. It was not common.

Because of his intentional inaccessibility, most people who were familiar with him felt it was almost impossible to reach him. So I set my intention to find him.

This was an audacious intent. But I knew I had to see if my accumulated personal power could pull it off.

Intent, in the way I’m using it here, is a combination of clarity and trust. So I set a very clear intent to meet Castaneda in person. Once I had a very clear idea about this, I let go of any attachment to it. The Toltecs call this, “Trusting Personal Power.”

I promptly forgot all about it.

To my surprise, within a few weeks an acquaintance of mine casually mentioned that Carlos Castaneda was going to give a presentation to an anthropology class at a nearby university. I asked her if this was something anyone could attend. She said that she thought so and she gave me the date, time and location of the class. It was about a month away.

Honestly, I didn’t quite believe it would happen. But I knew that my intent was clear, so I made plans to be there.

On the day of the class, I got there an hour early. I found the classroom. There were students milling around, so I asked them if the anthropology class would take place in an hour. They said yes.

Still, that didn’t mean that Castaneda would be there. I went outside to lay on the grassy hill near the classroom.

Since intent, when done properly, has the clarity of non-attachment, I was intentionally non-attached to whether he would be there or not. I felt light and happy, enjoying the sunshine.

About 10 minutes before class time, I went to the room. It seemed quite full, but I found a seat near the back.

At class time, the professor stood in front of the class and spoke briefly about Carlos Castaneda. After that, a pleasant looking Hispanic man walked into the room. He introduced himself as Carlos Castaneda.

For the next hour he spoke. He covered topics relevant to the Toltec approach to life. I listened as he spoke. But more than that, I sat in complete wonderment at the fact that setting my intent had led to this event. It was, to me, proof positive of the validity of the concept.

And it started the seed of an idea in my mind…

All the best for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

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