Review of “The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda”

I had read a number of Carlos books a long time ago and my interest was captivated by Carlos finding a teacher and a path to self knowledge. I felt as if I was on the journey with him, a true journey. Yet, his books became a bit strange around the 4th or 5th one and interest was lost after that.

Carlo’s life, what he learned from don Juan, what was taken from Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way—rephrased to hide its origin, his strengths and weaknesses are all explored in The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda.

Of particular interest was the chapter Ideas & Sources. Carlos appears to have definitely learned something from don Juan but he used many of the ideas from The Fourth Way and expressing them in sorceric terms. Unfortunately sometimes Carlos expressed those ideas in personal terms.

Even though Carlos broke the human mold it appears there were many things or something he still did not understand or was not aware of about himself. In The Summing Up it speaks of his guilt, the guilt of his killing someone or something he judged as equivalent. It appears to me he really didn’t travel the full path of heart as he spoke of, or only up to a certain point, but was diverted by the guilt and judgment he could not absorb.

The book is well worth reading, especially anyone who has heard of Carlos or read some of Carlos’ books. It sheds light on a lot of what I did not understand about Carlos Castaneda when I first read his books and even for years after.