Continued from Chapter 14.
“Light energy is pouring down on us constantly…like rain, entering into the top of your head. Let this energy flow through your whole being. Take it in, knowing that your body and spirit are being revitalized with this infusion of light, this energy.” Don Emilio
By Richard Juarez
Tony was fidgeting so much it was obvious he was anxious to talk about what we had done during the month. We had arrived a few minutes early and were already seated as Don Emilio walked in. Once he was seated and ready to begin, he asked us how our practice exercises went.
“My shamanic journey practice went well,” said Tony jumping in immediately. “I got even more information than the first journey. The wolf that came to meet me went through a whole process of getting to know me—looking, smelling, and listening until he trusted me as a friend. I felt comfortable with the wolf, and felt like we really connected. That was cool. Then we took a trip to the zoo, to try to connect with a real animal. At first, I wasn’t sure I got anything out of sitting there watching the wolf in its enclosure. But as I sat there for a while, I really got into watching it move around in its enclosure, seeing how it closely observed all that was going on around it. When we left the zoo, I was surprised to realize that I was looking at my surroundings like a wolf would do, looking back and forth, being very aware of everything around me.”
“So your wolf nature stayed with you after you left the zoo,” said Don Emilio.
“Yeah, for a little while anyway. But even after that, when I think about it, it seems natural for me now to look around and be more aware of what’s going on around me, like the wolf.”
“Yes,” said Don Emilio, “the more you connect with your wolf, the more it will feel normal for you to be in your wolf nature.”
Don Emilio almost fell out of his chair, and quickly reached over to Tony to make sure he was okay. I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t know what was funnier, the surprised look on Don Emilio’s face or Tony doing the howl. Don Emilio looked confused and concerned.
“That was my wolf howl,” said Tony, “to connect me with the power of my animal.” He explained what he had found about how the wolf scares away intruders. “I think I will use that with my karate moves.” He demonstrated once more, a little less blood curdling the second time, and the three of us had a good laugh.
“I like the idea of incorporating that into your karate moves, at appropriate times,” said Don Emilio. “It will help move the energy … as well as scaring off other wolves.”
“I didn’t get much from my power animal journey,” I said, feeling a little frustrated. “I kept losing track of the eagle, thinking instead about how good it felt when we did the journey with you and when I had my eagle dream. I didn’t get a chance to be with this eagle enough on the journey, and didn’t get much out of the zoo experience except feeling like the eagle didn’t belong in that little cage. It needed to be free to fly. I thought I was supposed to have some kind of special relationship with eagles. And now I’m not so sure. I can’t seem to connect. I think I need to go see some eagles out in the wild.”
“Well, that sounds like an excellent idea,” said Don Emilio. “I will see if I can arrange to do that some time soon. But don’t let a few problems with these practices negate what you know in your heart about your connection with eagles, or negate what you experienced in your dream and in the first power animal journey. Those were too powerful to now act like they were nothing. Which felt the most connected to the eagle,” he asked me, “your experience being the eagle in your dream, or being with the eagle in the cage at the zoo?”
“Oh, no question,” I answered, “flying like an eagle in my dream.”
“If you want to nurture your connection with your power animal,” Don Emilio continued, “live in the power of those moments when you felt most connected, rather than wallowing in the frustration of those times when you had trouble connecting. Does that make sense to you?”
I nodded my head, and as I thought about it, it certainly did feel more powerful and more energizing to remember being connected to my soaring eagle than trying to merge with an injured, captive eagle in a small cage. No wonder I couldn’t connect.
“So,” he continued, “how about your progress with the breath exercise?”
“Like before, sometimes it was easy and sometimes hard,” said Tony. “At first, it was simple to listen to myself inhale and exhale. But after a few minutes, my mind would wander, thinking about all kinds of stuff, and I realized I wasn’t aware of my breathing anymore.”
“Yeah, same for me,” I added. “Sometimes I spent most of the time thinking about all the stuff that popped into my mind when I was supposed to be listening to my breath.”
“As I said before, this is all normal,” said Don Emilio. “It will take a lot of practice to be able to shut down the constant mind chatter. When you realize you are no longer aware of your breath, simply come back and put your awareness on your breath as you inhale and exhale.
“Overall, I would say this was a good month for both of you in terms of progress with your exercises. And Vicente, even though you haven’t been able to connect well with your eagle, at least you have an idea to follow—to try going out in nature to connect.”
I nodded my head in agreement.
“Let us now focus on today’s lesson,” said Don Emilio, “about other ways to increase personal energy. As you recall, increasing our personal energy and stopping the leakage of energy is just the starting point for increasing our awareness. What are other ways to increase our energy? One way is to connect with the Great Spirit in a manner that allows the energy around us to come naturally into our bodies and be made available to us.
“Light energy is pouring down on us constantly,” Don Emilio continued, “from the sun, the stars, from All-That-Is. This energy is always available to us, if we ask for it and allow it in. So now, I am going to give you a way to consciously connect with this energy. This method is very powerful and easy to use at any time of day, no matter what you are doing.” He told us to take three deep breaths, and to relax all our muscles, from head to toe.
“Now see a constant stream of energy coming down on you, like rain, entering into the top of your head. Let this energy flow through your whole being. Take it in, knowing that your body and spirit are being refreshed and revitalized with this infusion of light, this energy.” He paused to allow us to experience taking in the energy.
“Simply be aware of this rain of energy from the heavens, and let it pour down on you, onto the top of your head and into your whole body. Let this light fill up every space within you. Feel it filling up your feet and legs … up through your stomach and your chest … it fills up your hands and arms … your neck … then it fills you up to the top of your head. You can stop when you feel totally full of healing light energy, or you can continue and let the healing energy run a little longer through a hurt muscle or other ailment.”
Don Emilio let us experience the feeling briefly. I just sat there, letting it run through me. It really did feel good, like having an internal shower of energy!
“Don Emilio … what happens to … the extra light … after we get all filled up?” My question came out so slowly it surprised me.
“It just keeps coming, like it did before you started focusing your awareness on it. Once you feel full of light energy, you can do something else with it. You can share it with others. Remember, I said one of our goals is to increase the amount of energy within our personal field of energy. When we increase our light energy, we vibrate at a higher rate, which helps us bring good things our way, and to those to whom we send this energy. You can do this right now. Think of someone you want to send this light energy to…. Now send out this energy from your heart area. See a beam of energy traveling out in front of you. For a few moments, keep thinking about that person, and in your mind’s eye, see your light energy flowing into them.”
He was silent as we sent light energy on its way. I visualized sending it to Tata.
“Keep sending that energy. Doing this strengthens your connection with the person receiving this flow of energy. It raises their vibration rate. When a person is sick or feeling down, their energy is low. The energy you send will help them, even though they do not know you are sending it. While you send energy out, keep aware of always filling yourself up with energy. See new energy flowing in, as you are sending energy out, in a balance of inflow and outflow.”
He paused again as we practiced filling ourselves with energy and sending it out.
“When you are ready, you can open your eyes. We have completed that exercise for today.” Once Tony and I were both “back,” and alert, Don Emilio continued.
“You can send energy out from your heart area, as you just did, not only to someone who is sick but to any persons, or animals and plants. Sending energy in that manner increases your connection with them, and also carries a level of communication between the two of you.”
“Communication?” asked Tony. “Are we supposed to talk to them when we send energy?”
“No, the communication is not of words, but rather sending good feelings from the heart. If we had to translate into words, it would be sending feelings of love and joy. These feelings are encoded in the energy sent from the heart. And when the recipient–person, animal or plant receives the energy, its energy level in increased, and its heart center decodes the information or good feelings being transmitted.”
“You can repeat these exercises on your own. Know that anytime you think about light energy, it is immediately drawn to you. You can take a few brief moments during each day to think about light, and as you become aware of it pouring down into the top of your head, it will fill you with energy and raise your vibration.”
Don Emilio paused to see if we had any questions, but neither of us did. So he moved on to the next topic for the day. He stood up and, as he had before, looked out into the garden where Nana’s crops were still growing even though it was the end of August. She had a few tomato plants with lots of tomatoes still ripening, cilantro and other herbs, as well as some squash plants, with a few small zucchini growing, although most of what remained were the ones she left on the vine to get bigger—for large stuffed zucchini.
“There is another way that we increase our spiritual energy, and we make use of it every day,” he said, still looking out at the garden. “We accept the gift of life-giving, energy-giving sustenance from our animal and plant brothers. They give themselves up to be consumed by us, letting go of their energy, so that others can benefit. We humans consume plant life—vegetables, fruit, nuts, and so on––as well as animal life. Our bodies transform what we eat into energy.”
I thought it seemed appropriate to talk about plant and animal life while sitting in the shed next to the flowering plants and vegetable garden. Plus, Tata used to raise chickens and rabbits in the back yard.
“This exchange of energy is a sacred ceremony, a ritual, the giving and receiving of life,” Don Emilio continued. “People were more in touch with the sacred nature of this sharing when they lived as hunters and gatherers, coming face to face with the beings who sustained them. Or, as farmers, tilling the soil and carefully tending the precious growing beings in the fields, and at the end of their growing cycle, holding harvest ceremonies to celebrate life.
“Most of us are no longer that close to the actual taking of the animal’s or plant’s life, but we still participate in the transfer of that life force into our bodies through buying, preparing, cooking, and eating food. To gain the most benefit from this chain of transforming energy, we must be aware of the exchange between ourselves and the food we eat. We can treat that exchange with respect, by increasing our spiritual awareness of the magic of the moment. This is one reason for prayers before meals. Do you and your families say prayers before your meals?”
“At home we say prayers before we eat dinner,” I answered, “but after what you just said, those prayers don’t seem to be enough. I mean, we thank the Lord for the food, but in that prayer we don’t thank the animals or the plants.”
“At least you pray before the meals,” he said.
“Yeah, but we just sorta say the words quickly to get through them, so we can eat,” I said.
“If you make a commitment to connect with your food and its source before you eat, not only will the food transform more effectively into usable energy, you will also strengthen the connection with each being that you consume, and with each person who has been involved in the process of getting the food to you.”
“All that just for saying grace?” Tony asked.
“The words of the prayer are not important,” Don Emilio answered. “What is important is being grateful for what you are receiving, connecting with the spirits of the people responsible for getting the food to you, and with the spirits of your brothers the plants and animals, thanking them for giving their life force so that you may continue your earthly life.”
“Wow,” said Tony, shaking his head, “that makes eating seem to be really heavy. It’s like you can’t take a bite to eat without involving everyone, everywhere.”
“You are right,” said Don Emilio. “Eating is really heavy. It is a spiritual experience that many people miss in their rush to eat the food. Make a habit of giving proper thanks when you eat, and it will change your life.”
“So, Don Emilio, what prayer should we say?” I asked.
“Your prayer should always come from your heart. Say what you feel in your heart. But I can provide an example, a structure, if you like. I first thank the Great Spirit, God, for providing the food. Then I thank the plants and the animals for giving up their lives so that we can be nourished. You can be very specific and thank the carrots and the chicken, for example.”
Tony laughed. “Thank the carrots and the chicken? Everyone at the table will laugh.”
“I would hope not,” answered Don Emilio, “not if you have been saying your prayer in a devout, thoughtful, spiritually-connected manner. This may all seem a little strange to you at first, but I think you will find yourselves building a strong spiritual energy connection, a positive connection with the Great Spirit and the spirits of all whom you acknowledge when you do this regularly and sincerely. Others will feel it too, because your words will come from your heart.
“Third, I thank the people involved in getting the food to us. You can be specific here, too, if you wish, and thank the people who raised the crops or animals, the fieldworkers, the meat processors, the food packagers, and so on. Fourth, I give thanks for those who honor us by preparing our meal. Lastly, I like to add thanks for other blessings and people in our lives.
“On some occasions, you may wish to give a full, heartfelt thanks out loud, so that all present can share in the blessing with you. On other occasions, when you are alone, you may wish to say a shorter version to yourself. Whether your prayer is short or long, silent or out loud, it should be with real feeling of connection to those you are thanking or blessing.”
I had a feeling we would have that chance real soon. I’d been hearing Nana moving around in the kitchen the whole time we’d been there. “Speaking of food,” I said, sniffing the air, “If I’m not mistaken, that’s my Nana’s special chile colorado. Man, I’m getting hungry!”
“That smells really good,” said Don Emilio. “I saw Julia toasting the guajillo chilies earlier before making the red chili sauce. Very authentic—no bottled chili powder for her. I understand why you are distracted, but hold on a little while longer. I wanted to mention that where we place our attention when we eat is also important. We must be mindful of what we are doing, and remain connected to our brothers the plants and animals while we eat. We must be aware that a sacred transformation is taking place, changing this food into life-giving energy. Slowly and thoroughly chewing our food while we think about this will help increase our level of energy.
“So practice this mealtime contemplation at dinner, at least one time per week, along with saying your prayer before eating. If your family uses another prayer, just silently practice your own prayer. Say yours for the family if you want to.”
“But Don Emilio,” I protested, “I … I never….”
“Do not get upset thinking about having to perform,” he said, stopping my whining. “It is just a prayer. Write it out beforehand and read it if you want to. I can assure you that your family will appreciate your contribution. So work on these exercises as well as the previous ones.”
“Man, our list of exercises is getting pretty long,” said Tony.
“Well, just do what you can. What you practice, you will learn. What you don’t practice, you will have difficulty remembering.”
“Just like practicing hitting baseballs or shooting hoops.” I added.
“And you need all the practice you can get hitting baseballs,” said Tony laughing.
“Yeah, like I said, it’s those curve balls.”
Don Emilio glanced into the house, and then turned back to us. “I believe Julia is ready for us now.”
Nana must have heard us moving our chairs around in the shed, because as we walked into the house, she was already heating a pile of flour tortillas. She invited us to sit down at the dining room table, and soon brought out big portions of that chile colorado, big chunks of pork in a dark red chili sauce, served over a bowl of Mexican rice and her delicious soupy beans. Lucky me! Nana and Tata had already eaten so it was just the three of us at the table. We said a prayer of thanksgiving, Don Emilio leading, with Tony and me adding a few words of thanks to it. The prayer turned out to be pretty simple—and short.
After passing around the tortillas, and a dish of onions, oregano and cilantro, we finally dug in. I didn’t hear anything for a while except a few mmmm’s, and a few slurping sounds. About halfway through my bowl, I came up for air, and I had to ask him.
“Don Emilio …” I said, dipping the tortilla into my bean juice, as I struggled to find the right words, “it seems like you have been telling us a little more about energy each time we meet. You said if we did these prayers at meals, our lives would change, and if we did the exercises we could stop the talking in our head, and start hearing intuition or guidance that could change our lives. And that if we practice connecting with our power animal, it will help us.”
Don Emilio looked up from his food, and nodded.
“So when will all this help start? How long do we have to practice?”
“I have the same questions,” said Tony, chewing on a mouthful and holding up the last piece of his tortilla. “I know you said this was a lifelong process, but how long in this life do we have to wait before we start seeing results?”
“You are correct,” said Don Emilio, “we have focused on energy so far. My first goal has been to show you how to increase your level of energy. This is the starting point for increasing your awareness, so that you can begin to hear messages from your Higher Self and spirit guides, and be able to access the ancient truths inside of you. The energy practices are tools to help you increase your awareness of higher energy. As you do, it will become easier for you to hear messages that come to you. And as this spiritual awareness increases, you will begin to understand and perhaps see and feel your connection with all things.
“At that point you will understand that you have the power to make anything happen, the power to create the change you are looking for, and to create the life you want. You have that power right now, but you do not believe it. You have already had some successes, but because you do not believe in your own power, you dismissed your successes as not related to your studies.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Tony, “like the baseball game. I’m still not so sure about that one.”
“Antonio,” Don Emilio continued, “you fulfilled a long time desire to get close-up seats for a Padres-Dodgers game. You think I was the one who did it for you, but I did not know you had that strong desire, and I had no plans to go to the game until very late in the day. I know that the inspiration came from your energy, your messages.”
“What were the other things you mentioned?” I asked.
“The amazing work that both of you did with your power animals,” he answered. “You both did much more than others typically do on a first power animal journey. Plus Antonio connected so deeply with his animal during your visit to the zoo that he took on its mannerisms without consciously trying. That was also quite an accomplishment.
“Other more subtle changes are happening as well. How you spend your time, relationships with family and friends, your outlook on life, thoughts about your future—these are all changing. You are not fully aware of the extent of these changes because it is hard for us to see day-to-day changes in ourselves. But when you spend time meditating—focusing on your breath or filling up with light, you are changing your focus from this physical world and connecting with your spiritual guides, and your Higher Self. You are a spiritual being, a part of your Higher Self, which has taken on a physical body at this time on earth. The more you allow yourselves to be in that greater spiritual awareness of who you really are, the more it will change the physical person here before me.”
“So let me see if I understand this right,” said Tony. “These meditation exercises are not just to stop mental chatter, or to increase energy. They are also to allow us to spend time with our Higher Self, and to hear messages from it?”
“That is correct,” said Don Emilio. “When you focus your attention on something, or meditate, you shut out the distractions of this physical world. You allow yourself to take in the flowing energy, increasing your vibration. As your vibration increases, you become more aware of your Higher Self, and learn to hear, or just know, your own guidance. It all starts with very simple meditation exercises and an awareness of increasing your energy.
“Change in you is happening. Your families have already noticed. But other than the baseball game and your experience with your power animals, you wonder when you will be able to see it. Over the next few months, believe me, you will begin to notice significant changes.
That last session with Don Emilio kept me focused on the positives during the four-week break that followed. I stopped moaning about having to sit and meditate for twenty minutes each day, struggling to keep stray thoughts out, and realized those twenty minutes were a chance to connect with a more powerful me who was waiting for the little me to get my act together. But Don Emilio wouldn’t be so judgmental. He’d probably say my Higher Self was happy to see that I was becoming more aware of myself as more than just this physical me. I also found out that when I was meditating on the rain of light and connecting with my Higher Self, it really seemed to help keep the mental chatter down, better than when meditating on my breath.
It was the last Saturday of the month, time for another session with Don Emilio. I had a little extra time, so I met Tony at his house and we set out to Nana and Tata’s house from there.
“Hey dudes, where ya been?” Pablito called out. He was on the corner at Beardsley and Logan, leaning against the wall of the pump equipment company. Pablito had spray-painted this wall a number of times, although today you couldn’t tell, as it had a new coat of paint. Most of the businesses in the neighborhood knew that it was best to paint over the graffiti right away or they would soon have a wall full of it.
“Don’t see you guys around much,” he said, as we got closer.
Tony was a little ahead of me as we walked up, and he immediately got into it with Pablito. “I’ve been busy, man, doing things like studying with the brujo, working lots of hours at Amador’s, yard work at my house. What else you wanna know? You just been hanging around as usual? I heard you had to take some summer school classes. Are you keeping up?”
“Heck, I ain’t even cracked the book yet!” Pablito said, laughing.
“Man, you’re not taking care of business,” Tony continued. “Pablito, you’re….”
“Hey, homie,” I said, walking past Tony, “good to see you, man!” I did the Chicano handshake with Pablito, then took another step forward and gave him a hug.
Surprised, he stepped back, looking confused, with one guy tearing him down, the other acting like he was a long lost relative. I reached out again and patted him on his shoulder.
“I been wondering what you been up to, man,” I continued. “Haven’t really had much time lately to hang out with you guys. Everyone doing okay?”
He nodded his head. “Yeah, the guys are good. But … listen up man. Some of them have been saying stuff about you two, wondering how come you don’t spend time with your homies no more.”
“Your dad working?” I asked, ignoring his warnings about the other guys. I knew they had been having problems at his house because his dad had been laid off a while back.
“Yeah. They got a new Navy contract at Southwest Marine, so he’s working now.”
“That’s great,” I continued. “Hey, we were just going over to my Tata’s house for another lesson with Don Emilio. You wanna come?”
“No way, José!” he snapped. “It’s okay with me that you guys got religion or brujo-ism or whatever, but it’s not for me, man. But …” he paused, as if hesitant to ask, then blurted out, “so what have you been learning?”
“Remember what I told you last time?” asked Tony. “Well, we’ve just about got it down. I’ve been practicing this one for you. Let me show you.”
Pablito backed up two steps and moved toward me. I didn’t want to bust up laughing, so I turned away and looked down the block.
“Uno, dos, calling in the ghost,” began Tony. Then louder, “Tres, cuatro, send it to Pablo.” The volume increased a bit more. “Cinco, seis, in his face!” Tony raised his hands high and stepped toward Pablito, who was turning white and shaking slightly. Tony yelled loudly, “Siete, ocho, now do the …” He paused. “Darn. I can never remember the last part.”
Tony and I both started laughing. Pablito looked back and forth at both of us, then relaxed his very tense body, heaving a loud sigh of relief and smiling weakly.
“Oh, man! You got me again, vato,” Pablito said, giving Tony a playful shove.
“We gotta get going,” I said, taking a couple of steps away and stopping. “Hey, you guys enjoy that Padre game this afternoon. Only about a month left in the season. Don’t forget to take binoculars. It’s a long way to home plate from those bleacher seats.”
“How did you know we were going to the game? And how did you know we were gonna sit in the outfield seats? I just talked with Arturo this morning.”
“That’s part of what our lessons with Don Emilio are about,” I said. “We gotta go see him now, but we’ll talk about it sometime. We waved to him as we headed down Beardsley Street.
“What was that all about?” Tony asked after we walked far enough away so Pablito couldn’t hear. “How did you know about the game and the seats? And what was all that handshaking and hugging?”
“When I saw you jumping on his case, I decided to try out what we’ve been learning. So, I focused on energy entering the top of my head. Keeping my awareness there, I wanted to reinforce my energy connection with Pablito. So we did the Chicano handshake. But that didn’t do much for a personal connection, so I hugged him. And when he backed off, I reached out and patted him on the shoulder. Don Emilio said we are all balls of energy connected by energy fibers. So I imagined Pablito and me connected by an energy fiber. As I was talking to him I let my energy flow to him through that connection, and I waited to see what information might come through. While you were doing that ‘uno-dos’ thing on him, suddenly I got a really strong sense that he couldn’t wait to get out of there and get going to the Padre game.”
“How did you know where they’d be sitting and who else was going with him?”
“I never said who was going with him. I just said ‘you guys’ because I know he never goes anywhere without his homies. And he never has much money, so I guessed he’d be sitting in the cheap seats, just like us.”
“That was good, logical guessing. But you did read his mind about going to the game. It looks like you are starting to get this stuff.”
He slapped me a high five.
“Yeah, this stuff is working,” I said, “just like Don Emilio said it would.”
“You’re really going to have Pablito and the guys talking now,” said Tony. “I bet he’s really freaking out, trying to figure out how you knew.”
“Just like I always say about Don Emilio, ‘How did he do that?’ ”
We walked down the alley and up to the back gate of Nana and Tata’s yard. Because of the delay with Pablito, we got there a little later than our usual time. I noticed that the car wasn’t in the back yard where they usually park it. We walked up to the shed and didn’t see Don Emilio in there, so I figured he must be inside. As we walked toward the back door of the house, we heard music start. It sounded like an Indian flute and drums, with a good beat. I walked ahead of Tony and was surprised when we got to the kitchen. I could see into the living room, where
Don Emilio had moved the big chair out of the room. He was dancing to the beat of the music!
His eyes were closed, and he moved to one side of the room, then back, his body moving to the beat, his arms swaying above his head. It was beautiful. He looked graceful, like a deer when it runs. But he wasn’t jumping like a deer. Just moving. I didn’t think about old guys dancing like that, moving so freely and into the music.
“Wow,” said Tony when the music stopped, “that was pretty cool. You really got the beat down on that one. What was that, a special Mexican-Indian dance?”
“It was just free-form motion, moving to the beat,” he said as the next track started up. “This is another way to raise your energy level.” As he talked, he moved to the beat of the music, but not as fully as before we had walked into the room.
“Movement like this is good for your physical system as well as your energy system,” he said. “The movement gets things flowing. Our bodies have a tendency to get sluggish when we do not use them. We sit all day and the systems slow down. So it is good to get up, get the blood flowing faster, and get the air moving through the lungs. This kind of movement is good for the body and the life force, what the Chinese call chi. It keeps everything tuned up. Dancing like this increases the flow of energy.
“Come,” he said, waving his hands, motioning for us to join him.
Tony got right into it, waving his arms in the air and moving his butt from side to side. I didn’t move. Don Emilio waved again as if pulling me toward him in the center of the room.
“I can’t,” I said. “I ain’t got no rhythm.”
“Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh,” Tony laughed or chanted in beat to the music as he looked at me, while continuing to bounce around like he’d been doing this all his life.
“Oh … how do you say it,” said Don Emilio, “oh, baloney. All Mexicans have rhythm. It is in the blood. You are just thinking too much. Your body wants to move, but your mind….”
“It’s embarrassed,” Tony cut in, “or afraid of looking silly.”
“Which you do!” I shot back.
“Come on, do not think,” said Don Emilio. “Focus on your breath and stop your internal judgment of yourself. Once you start to move, you will be fine.”
I took two steps forward and started to move, tentatively. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t see Tony looking at me.
“Do not worry about what you look like. No one is here to see you. That is why the house is empty. I asked them to give us some private time here.”
Neither of them commented on my dancing. All three of us continued to move as the music went on to the next track. I finally started getting into it. After a while, Don Emilio spoke. “Continue to move as I speak. Now, movement of this type can bring forth what some people call a peak spiritual experience. Others call it an ecstatic experience, a trance, or simply ‘spacing out.’ In other words, you may lose awareness of what your hands and arms are doing, and lose track of whether your feet are keeping the beat. The music may seem to take you somewhere else. A portion of your awareness may leave this level of consciousness and go to a higher energy level. When this happens, you are truly dancing with the spirits. You may have a strange feeling inside of you, a lightness, a glow, a feeling of being connected to a higher force.”
Just then the drumming stopped abruptly. I opened my eyes.
“You may not want it to stop,” he continued, “but sometimes the music cuts out, like that, and brings you right back to earth.” When the music began on the next cut, Don Emilio began performing some karate moves. “Martial arts movements are also good for getting energy moving and increasing it.”
“I mentioned that I’ve been taking karate classes for a couple of years,” said Tony.
“Yes, and it would be good for you to take karate too, Vicente. Karate is excellent for building strength, flexibility, and self-confidence. All of these contribute to increasing your energy. ” He continued with the moves. “Then there is tai chi, which is for any age, and it works well for us older guys.” He started doing what looked a lot like karate moves except in slower motion.
“Tai chi looks similar to martial arts, and preceded many of them. But tai chi can be used for energy work instead of self-defense. Some tai chi movements are in fact very similar to an ancient Toltec system of physical movements, used by Toltec sorcerers,” he said, shifting to another position and beginning a different set of movements.
“Is that the Toltec stuff or the tai chi?” asked Tony.
“The Toltec. I wanted to show you a few movements of each type. These movements are a physical regimen for maintaining the body and mind in peak condition. They are also a means of circulating energy through the human energetic field. The Toltec sorcerers found that doing these movements helped them achieve inner silence. The Toltec sorcerers used movement to access states of heightened awareness. They could see energy flow and could access other realities.”
Don Emilio continued doing Toltec energy movements as Tony and I attempted to copy him. He was so smooth and fluid, so light on his feet. Tony leaned over toward me and said very softly, “Not bad for an old man, huh?”
Not bad, I thought to myself. I hoped I could move like that when I was fifty years old.
“You guys take this energy and body movement stuff seriously now, and when you are my age, you will both be able to move like me. Maybe even better.”
“Man, reading our minds again!” I said, looking at Tony.
“Okay, we briefly reviewed free-form, karate, Toltec, and tai chi movements,” Don Emilio continued. “We did the free-form movements together. For the rest of the session we will spend time doing karate, Toltec and tai chi movements. Antonio, I would like you to lead us througha series of karate movements, if that is okay. Basic movements, so Vicente can keep up.”
“Oh, great!” Tony said excitedly. “I already taught him a few moves, last year.” Then turning to me, he said, “I’ll go slow and demonstrate if you don’t remember all of what I showed you before.”
So for the next fifteen or twenty minutes Tony led us in doing karate moves. By the time Don Emilio had us stop I was feeling a little tired physically, in my arms and legs. But I was energized. I could feel that my energy level was up. I thought we were going to take a short break, but Don Emilio moved right into the Toltec moves he was doing before, but did them slow so we could follow along. We did those for about fifteen minutes too. We finally took a very short break, then spent the rest of the session doing tai chi moves. Don Emilio showed us only a few of the basic moves so that we could repeat them on our own. Once I got the foot positions down and learned to keep my body centered over my feet and legs, I did okay. I could feel energy building up in my hands on some of the moves. My hands got warm, and I could feel them tingling after awhile. On other moves I could feel my feet getting warmer as we visualized moving energy down through the legs and feet and into the earth.
By the time we finished, I was buzzed. I could feel the energy in my hands and arms, my legs and feet and head. Don Emilio had us lie down and rest, and said to let the energy flow, from the top of our heads down through our feet and into the ground. We did that for a little while, and I became more and more relaxed, and a little spaced out.
The music player started up again, this time with the sounds of a gong. Don Emilio told us to focus on the music, and just go with it. Simple enough instructions, and before I knew it, I was traveling inside the sound, deeper and deeper into wave after wave of sound and colors. It was really an amazing experience. I don’t know how long we did that, but eventually I heard Don Emilio’s voice lightly calling us back, from someplace way out there, to the room in Nana and Tata’s house. I had forgotten that was where we were.
“Man, that was trippy,” said Tony, once we were fully back and sitting up. “You said you would show us how to get high without drugs. That was it!”
“Hey,” I said, “can we get a copy of that gong music?”
“Not yet,” answered Don Emilio. “If I gave it to you now, you would be frustrated that you could not repeat this experience. The intense movement exercises before meditating with the gong sounds raised your energy vibration significantly. That is what allowed you to be transported by the sounds. That was a taste of what we can work on in future classes.”
“Okay,” said Tony, “I look forward to doing this later. That was some trip.”
“Moving on, I understand you compared notes about your daily energy practice.”
“Yes, we did. It really helped to talk together. I think I learned some things from Vincent.”
“And I learned from Tony.”
“That is the advantage of going through this learning process with another person,” said Don Emilio, “because as you move into the next phase of learning, the focus will be about your own experience, rather than new information I may share with you. It helps to talk with someone who is learning the same thing and going through the same experiences you are.”
“Yeah,” Tony responded, “I felt like I needed to talk to you about this stuff, but then I realized what I really needed to do was just practice the techniques on my list. Just do them. Then, when Vincent and I talked, it really helped me to understand better.”
“It sounds like your energy practice is going well. Tracking each other’s progress is good because I will not always be around to answer your questions. As you raise your energy, you will have fewer questions for me. You will begin to believe in your own knowledge, and recognize that you have many answers already. It will continue to be helpful for you to speak to each other—as you said, confirming each other’s insights, and helping each other learn. You are reaching the stage of actually teaching each other.”
“Don Emilio,” said Tony, “you said something about the next phase of our studies. There’s a second phase?”
“Yes, we are coming to the end….”
When I heard him say “the end” I almost jumped out of my seat in panic. “What? Wait a minute! I thought we were just going to start some new material, not end the sessions. We can’t stop now!”
“Calm down, Vicente,” he said reassuringly, “We are not at the end of the first phase yet. But even then, that is not the end. We will start the next phase when you are ready. But first you have to live it. You have to incorporate into your life what you have in your head. It has to drop down to your true knowingness. That takes some time. Slowly you will realize that you just know it. You will become comfortable admitting to yourself that you know. More and more, those magical events will take place and you will see what you needed to see. You will get what you asked for, and things will start falling into place for you. At first you will be surprised, and later you will simply expect it to be that way.”
“That sounds pretty cool,” said Tony.
“Then, when things start to not go so smoothly,” Don Emilio continued, “that will be a message to you that you have slipped, that you have an energy block somewhere. I cannot do this part for you. It is a path you each must walk for yourselves. When you slip, you will know that you need to refocus on your energy practice.”
“When we get into that groove, Don Emilio, what then?” I asked. “It’s not just about making our own lives easier, is it? That’s not what you do.”
“No, it is not just about the self. But it has to start there. You need to have internal awareness and internal knowingness first. Then you can move on to other things.”
“What other things?” asked Tony. “What else is there?
“We have only scratched the surface. There are many paths that a person can take. Among them are healing physical conditions energetically, using plants to help heal physical conditions, using dreaming to travel and learn, creating positive changes for your life and for your family, working with groups and communities to create change on a community scale, and developing psychic abilities to help others with insights about their lives. And most important, helping others to understand the implications of the fact that we are all spirit entities, all connected, and a part of All That Is.”
“So we’re supposed to choose one of those paths?” I asked.
“Or maybe when we become more psychic, we’ll be able to see our own future,” said Tony smiling.
“You are joking, Antonio,” answered Don Emilio, “but you are not that far off. As you continue to do your energy work, you will know which path or paths you prefer. And you will also get messages from your guides who will be helping you on the path.”
Our list of energy practices kept getting longer, but neither of us was complaining too much just yet. School had started and we now had homework to do, but we were mostly keeping up. I wasn’t able to do all the practice exercises every day, but I was doing most of them. Starting a karate class was going to take up a good chunk of my time, but Tony was already doing that, so I couldn’t complain. Plus, I had wanted to take a karate class for a while now.
I think Tony and I both knew that all this energy practice would help us understand what Don Emilio wanted us to know about increasing and moving energy. We were beginning to get the point. And the more we understood, the more both of us could sense the change that was starting to come over us.
Copyright © 2013 Richard Juarez
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