Expressing this concept of shifting consciousness in another way, the Mexican Yaqui Indian shaman, Juan Matus, told UCLA anthropologist Carlos Castañeda the two modes of seeing:
Don Juan: “Someday perhaps you’ll be able to see men in another mode and then you’ll realize that there’s no way to change anything about them.”
Castañeda: “What’s this other mode of seeing men, Don Juan?”
Don Juan: “Men look different when you see. The little smoke will help you to see men as fibers of light.”
Castaneda: “Fibers of light?”
Don Juan: “Yes, fibers, like white cobwebs. Very fine threads that circulate from the head to the navel. Thus, a man looks like an egg of circulating fibers. And his arms and legs are like luminous bristles, bursting out in all directions.”
Castañeda: “Is that the way everyone looks?”
Don Juan: “Everyone. Besides, every man is in touch with everything else—not through his hands, though, but through a bunch of long fibers that shoot out from the center of his abdomen… So, as you may see someday, a man is a luminous egg whether he’s a beggar or a king and there’s no way to change anything.”
Don Juan was, of course, talking about the human aura which surrounds every individual, and a which clairvoyant can clearly see.
He explained to Castañeda that the two ways of seeing things are from the point of view of the tonal (the everyday, ordinary sensory reality) and the nagual (the clairvoyant reality). When we are in the tonal mode, we see things like everybody else does. But when we shift to the nagual mode, we see things differently.
In my book “Understanding the Psychic Powers of Man,” I explain that this shift in consciousness happens when we slow down our brain waves from the beta level (which is from 14 to 21 cycles per second) to a lower one, i.e., either the alpha (7-14 cps), theta (4-7 cps) or delta (less than 1-4 cps).
I have had many personal experiences of this shift in awareness or consciousness when psychic information was coming. I go into a trance or an altered state of consciousness. Philippine faith healers and psychic surgeons also go into a trance before they perform psychic surgery.
I believe this shift in awareness or consciousness has something to do with the psychic or sensitive brain waves. Psychic work appears to take place only in the slower brain waves of either alpha, theta or delta.
However, the person may not always be aware that he or she is in a lower level of brain waves when performing a psychic feat. For example, when I met the world-famous Israeli psychic Uri Geller in Dusseldorf, Germany, during an International Conference on alternative healing in 1994, I asked him what state of mind he is in when bending a metallic spoon via telekinesis.
Geller replied, “I do not go into trance or altered state of consciousness. I am fully awake. I just touch the spoon lightly and command it to bend, and it bends.”
I reminded Uri Geller that in a book written by Dr. Andrija Puharich of Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California, at the time the spoon started to bend, Uri’s brain was registering the delta wave.
“Oh, yes,” Geller said in response, “but I am not aware of it!”
The two modes of perceiving the world, ordinary sensory reality or clairvoyant reality, reminds me of the following lesson from a Zen master. He told his pupil, “Before you study Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; while you are studying Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; but once you have had enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers again rivers.”