Nagual and Tonal – the approach of Carlos Castaneda and the evolution of thought.


Carlos Castaneda talks about the difference between the “tonal and the nagual”. The “island of the tonal” is our world as we know it. It is full of labels, symbols, interpretations about the nature of our universe. It is the principles we know of in our conscious thinking.

The tonal is an island on the nagual, including everything in the universe which is not named yet. A lot of people take our world for granted. The way we look at our universe is our universe. Everything we can imagine is the only thing in existence. I think that is an absurd statement. We have no possibility to know that we see as reality is all there is.

An example: 2000 years ago a computer was part of the nagual. It didn’t exist yet. It was impossible for humans to think of something like a computer. It probably couldn’t exist for the people of that age.

Copernicus turned the world view around of so many people. Now we see it as evident truth that our world turns around the sun and is part of a solar system. How many of us really realize that there could be an infinite amount of copernican evolutions yet to come?

String theory has a similar concept, in a sense that our dimensions and perceptions are built out of strings and an infinite amount of other strings are possible.

We can only see what we are “trained” to see. We can only percieve the what our senses allow us to see.

There is no one doubting there are radio-signals in the air, together with wi-fi, television, telephone, light, gps,… But yet to some the eastern concept of energy, qi, prana, kundalini are impossible.

The difficult moment in every big discovery or new way of thinking is the point where worldview isn’t the right anymore. This means alienation, fear, the unknown.

I had the same experience with the ideas of Carlos Castaneda and his of way of approaching them. The books can be creepy, confusing, dark and frightening while they pretend to have the only worthwhile answer to life. They give access to another experience of the world, but they can be very confusing as they don’t give a fulfilling answer to all the feelings of emptiness that comes with these truths.

In one of his books Don Juan, the teacher of Castaneda says life makes no sense to him. He enjoys the greatness of perception, but doesn’t care about mankind and it’s follies. Most people to him are unaware, idiots.

I don’t like this way of thinking and I long searched for an answer. I give my answer later on, but first I want to explain how the problem of clarity manifests in our daily reality.

A good description of the nagual, though a bit different as I approach it:


Convergent and divergent thinking


One way of approaching the difference between static and dynamic thinking is by the difference between “convergent” and “divergent” thinking.

As simple as I can explain:

convergent thinking: only one solution is possible to one specific problem.

divergent thinking: many solutions are possible to a problem and there are many  possible ways to get to those solutions.

Here is a beautiful video about this subject:

Leaving ideas next to each other,  “and” vs “or”:
This is part of the difference between convergent and divergent thinking. Ideas can exist next to each other instead of needing to take the one place available for this idea. The word “and” indicates option, “or” indicates only one possibility. Should I do this “or” should I do that? I have this option “and” I have this option.

It might seem to obvious at, but I noticed it is a common mistake. Often I was searching for a way, a clarity to see how I can do right, to find meaning in my life, to direct the meaning in my life. I searched for “the” right answer. The possible answers started to compete. Perfectionism or searching for “right” and “wrong” doesn’t allow the whole to be and to the possibility there might be different answers to one problem.

One of the biggest problems in convergent thinking and communicating is that it means one dominating the other. By definition it doesn’t allow for another idea or feeling to exist. You need to make choices and before you make those choices you can allow multiple perspectives.

We are often cought in judgmental thinking, in moralisation in which we only leave the space for one option. There are many ways to deal with life and many of them are worthwhile. There is no one truth. The truth is carried in many ways.

The multiple meanings of words

The same words are often used in different ways, with different meanings. The way a word is defined for a particular person is not clarified enough.  I give a few examples:

The Ego:

For a lot of guru’s, religion’s and thought systems the ego is something to conquer, to vanquish, to eliminate.

To other’s it is something you need to balance in order to be able to achieve something in society.

What is it exactly? Well it is defined differently by different people.

a few possible definitions:

  • your idea of self worth
  • your entire concept, all of your ideas about who you are
  • the one that makes decisions in you
  • the part of you that believes your emotions are important
  • your pride

More on the unfortunate different and unclear uses of the word ego in this text: The ego By James Harvey Stout

The biggest risk in this misconception is that people actually start to believe the ego is something to get rid of without exactly knowing what they are getting rid of. And that can be a destructive conviction, it can make people believe they are battling the source of all evil while in fact they are killing their ability to make decisions. I don’t say healing your self-perception or humbling or questioning your feeling of importance is a bad thing. I’m saying it needs to be with care for the multiple meanings of the word.

How are we Thinking?

Philosophy, Uncategorized

I believe ingrained patterns in thought are feeding big problems worldwide. The aim of this post series is to give principles and examples to arrive at a more dynamic, adaptive and rich way of thinking.

We all have our crises. It’s normal to get “stuck” while searching for answers to life’s biggest questions. Some believe searching for existential answers only gives rise to more questions, more thinking and a frightning feeling of emptiness. Yet I found that next to confusion, unrest and mental overload there are mental principles that actually help to understand the world.

These principles are often implicit and therefore not communicated clearly enough. They might seem evident, but everyone is blundering on them. I really mean everyone including me. Even the highest spiritual guide, the people regarded as the wisest, they all fail because our reality is a highly complex and dynamic entity. Clarity is fading in and fading out and not appearing what it seems to be. We are all juggling to get it right. It’s most serious and at the same time it is a play, because the truth is elusive.

I have long searched for these kind of answers, at times it was really a struggle. In the process I realized this is actually a fundamental problem of our society. I noticed my own thinking has different qualities in different situations. Sometimes my thought is sloppy and chaotic, other times it is clear and insightful. I recognize everyone in our society has the fluctuations in the quality of their thinking. The construction of our thought systems and beliefs are most of the time not fundamental enough. We don’t take the necessary time and don’t have the right techniques to think it through and we don’t realize that most fundamentally truth – reality is dynamic. That is what this post is about – learning new ways of thinking that open up our thinking potential in order to build a better world for ourselves and others.

My basic statement:

  • The universe is dynamic in nature.
  • A lot of thinking is static in nature.
  • It is better to learn how to think dynamically.


True Openness

Perception, Uncategorized

True openness means not knowing the answer, knowing that we are searching. Humanity is searching. Theory is searching. Science is searching. Spiritual people are searching.

We can allow ourselves to not know. This notion can be liberating  and can also be daunting and complex.  We have a choice as human beings. We can define our lives within the limits given. Or is it beyond? The limits we can percieve are not the true limits, they are most of the times common limits. They seem “true” because they have been before most of times. But true innovation often is surprising, unknown, unimaginable.

You couldn’t imagine a computer in the middle ages. Maybe Nostradamus could but still…

What is there to be discovered what right now seems unimaginable, unknown, untapped, unseen, unspoken…?



C is shifting

About this Website, Perception, Self Improvement, The Story, Uncategorized

Our human race is developing at a crazy pace. At the same time things that should change seem stuck behind large structures, behind a dishonest elite. But also by our own judgments, our disability to to connect with something that makes sense existentially and on a larger scale, our difficulty to honestly and truly openheartedly nourish our personal and professional relationships, the fear to be vulnerable. How can we know what to do to make a real difference?

One moment i started noticing how perception is different for everyone. What seems honest and sincere to someone might seem fake and far fetched to another. What seems cool to one seems bland to another. What seems absolute truth one moment is completely reversed and countered the other.

And I noticed I had hard time to believe in my own experience of wonder. I was almost ashamed of feeling wonder by watching nature videos on national geographic. I felt uneasy to say that in my dancing any idea could be valuable, any way of dealing with art can be of value. I saw cloud formations with awe. I woke up in nature, any kind of nature and saw true beauty.

I was searching for radically honest answers to complex questions. I noticed we don’t like to think about what really matters because it is blocked by myriads of criticism, complexity and self doubt,  we hide in fear of worthwhile seeming sarcasm and dislike. I used a lot of sarcasm myself but at one moment I noticed this is not what life is about.  Not that I started to completely dislike sarcasm, but I noticed something was not showing because of it’s “touchy feely quality”. For many it is hard to just be themselves because of possessing an unaccepted quality. Because self value comes with validation. And validation has a way to be strangely harsh and categorical.

My own views are constantly shifting. Allowing the vulnerable. Trying to get out of a black hole of realisation of what our world is really about. Seeing political, economic and religious structures and feeling overwhelmed and pinned down at first. I started a search that by many was seen as unrealistic, yet I hold on to the belief more is possible.

I grew up with this idea somewhere in the back of my mind. I had many euphoric maybe manic moments where I thought I had a great idea about who I was or what I could and would do but I’d always fall back. But somehow I kept remembering and understanding more and more. Things can be better. For real. The possibilities are here. What I experienced was real, no matter how many would like to prove me wrong.

What is this shift of C’s?

C is for consciousness. C is for seeing. C is for Common perception, C is for Collaboration, C is for Close to our heart which is opening up and growing.

C is for coming back even if all the odds are against you. C is for creases in our existence, parts that need to be discovered. Creative, Community, Complementary health, Canvas, embracing the Crazy.

C is for something very open and wide, which makes waves that make you calm or great and giant powerful ones of epic proportion.

I love discovering new. I am a most vulnerable individual. I have power. I want to learn and grow. Infinitely. I want to change things. Big things. To realize our true potential. And to C the shift.


Radical optimism


Cshift is about a radical form of optimism.

It is about knowing better is possible. Saying no to defitism, nihilism, to “things are as they should be”, fatalism,…

It’s remembering happiness. Remembering what really matters to us.

This is not a forced, moralistic thing, it’s about going for what is real and what is inner.

It’s about finding real answers to complex problems, knowing they are possible.

It’s in and beyond your imagination. It’s beyond any conceived limit. And yet it searches for radically honest and realistic answers.

Even if depression is eating your life or any other pattern, disease or worry you know it is true because deep inside you want a more beautifull, satifying life, you want significance, you want to be significant to others. You want to live fully.

Online Governance – A way to arrive at the bigger global solutions?


Online governance and public management

How could we build a discussion and management platform to solve complex and international problems? 
I think our world needs an online governance platform. A platform which allows people to facilitate, discuss, mediate, structure, build up and understand issues, solutions and knowledge.

A collaborative platform where everyone could work on policy and debate and make things happen. A project development software that allows big groups of people to work together.

It is a huge research and brainstorm. The pieces of the puzzle are there and it is so dauntingly complex I realise it will take time to put all together.

The application of the website could be all areas: it could serve personal, community, political, corporate and organisational, NGO and non-profit organisations and issues.

The idea is to weigh, discuss, structure and mediate projects/questions/problems that arrive from a community-based website comparable to, yet more complex than Quora. I’m developing a workflow which could serve as an example. Please let me know if you’d like to join the brainstorm.