02/03/2014 05:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Where Is the Exit?


Seventeen years ago, on a rainy day, I was sitting in a Cuban restaurant in Los Angeles with close associate and fellow traveler, Carlos Castaneda. We had been discussing the near impossibility of, somehow, freeing oneself from the mind . . . the ego centered self or me.

Carlos saw the mind as a foreign installation that had been fixed on each one of us; controlling us completely, supplanting our true identity, literally creating and regulating who we believe we are . . . creating, in fact, the world we believe in and literally perceive. The ego driven mind's tyranny, had, in his view, imprisoned us with deeply programmed patterns and habits . . . futile, often fictional considerations and beliefs, which in lucid moments, we could see, as not even ours.

This matter of personal identification with the mind was a familiar topic that dominated most exchanges with Castaneda. Shifting perception and consciousness away from the socially fabricated and installed, ego based, mental persona was the ultimate, pragmatic, end result of the knowledge and teachings of his lineage. All of the practices, techniques and philosophical constructs that comprised the way of life that he believed paved the road to ultimate freedom, led to a state known as inner silence. The prerequisite for achieving this state is turning off the internal dialogue, that is, stopping the incessant thinking or silent, mental chatter that we continuously engage in, as we go about the business of our daily lives.

Carlos Castaneda, the last of an ancient lineage of shamanic seers, positively maintained that inner silence is the stepping stone for a huge evolutionary shift in human awareness. When this shift is achieved, awareness, no longer constrained and limited by reason and language, is capable of intuitively apprehending the unbounded wholeness of a universe that is composed of energy, rather than things. This evolutionary threshold is called silent knowledge, a state of human awareness where knowing is intuitive, instantaneous and immediate. The controlling, filtering, censoring lens of the mind is bypassed. Knowledge is not taught. It is grasped directly. The world is no longer limited to the handful of reasonable concepts, definitions, truths and words that we have been taught to believe in and accept as constituting the world. The universe is no longer limited to include only those items for which we have words and acceptable, ready made definitions. The doors of perception and awareness are flung open. We are free.

It was about three thirty in the afternoon, Castaneda's favorite time for dining in this very popular and typically crowded eatery. "So", I asked, "how do we leave the seamless labyrinth of the mind . . . where is the exit?"

He looked up, swallowed a bite of his favorite, rib eye steak and with a mischievous smile and a nasty wink, responded, "The mind is a wonderful thing to lose. It is only there to block the exit".

A more developed treatment of the path to inner silence, awakening and the evolution of human awareness can be found in Joseph Carlisi's book, "Playing God on the Eve of Extinction", available from Amazon: )

Carlisi's paintings may be viewed at: