One of the most misunderstood words presented by Castaneda is “intent”. In his books, he creatively intertwines the multiple meanings of intent with each other which leads most to focus on creating an intention or intending something rather than simply aligning with intent. But, aligning with intent is not simple.

The dictionary version of the definition for intent includes:

1. firmly directed or fixed; earnest; intense; an intent look
2. having the mind or attention firmly directed or fixed; engrossed intent on his studies
3. strongly resolved intent on going
1. an act or instance of intending
2. something intended;
3. one’s mental attitude, including purpose, will, determination, etc., at the time of doing an act

While many of the things that Carlos explains demand focused intent as described in the descriptions above, he often speaks about connecting with intent or the links with intent or the knowledge of intent. He speaks about “intent” as an entity, an energy, an intelligence. In the Power of Silence, he says, the only way to know intent is to know it directly through a living connection that exists between intent and all sentient beings. Sorcerers call intent the indescribable, the spirit, the abstract.

This said it is apparent that intent is an intelligent otherworldly energy force that constantly flows through and around us at all times. Castaneda was trying to get across that the Toltecs held knowledge of intent in a way that greatly exceeded other people’s limited understanding of a minimized religious god.

The following paragraphs from The Power of Silence are testimony to this knowledge; every act performed by sorcerers, especially by the naguals, is either performed as a way to strengthen their link with intent or as a response triggered by the link itself. Sorcerers, and specifically the naguals, therefore have to be actively and permanently on the lookout for manifestations of the spirit. Such manifestations are called gestures of the spirit or, more simply, indications or omens. When a sorcerer interprets an omen he knows its exact meaning without having any notion of how he knows it. This is one of the bewildering effects of the connecting link with intent. Sorcerers have a sense of knowing things directly. How sure they are depends on the strength and clarity of their connecting link.

The feeling everyone knows as “intuition” is the activation of our link with intent. And since sorcerers deliberately pursue the understanding and strengthening of that link, it could be said that they intuit everything unerringly and accurately. Reading omens is commonplace for sorcerers–mistakes happen only when personal feelings intervene and cloud the sorcerers’ connecting link with intent. Otherwise their direct knowledge is totally accurate and functional.

Toltecs aligned themselves with intent. They were open to that flow of energy at all times. This was the result of the disciplined work that they did; recapitulation, cleaning links, losing human form, sobriety, impeccability, etc. They were in a constant state of creation, re-creation and co-creation as it relates to the unfolding of each moment. They did not remain fixated on anything because to do so would eliminate the fluidity of their existence and cause them to lose their connection with intent. And this is why Carlos spoke of the importance of moving the fixated assemblage point, to be able to align and flow with intent.

The natural knowledge of intent is available to anyone, but the command of it belongs to those who probe it. The spirit is the force that sustains the universe. Intent is not something one might use or command or move in any way–nevertheless, one could use it, command it, or move it as one desires.

To understand this, one must see it from a point of merging, not controlling. Carlos explains, you must reach the point where you understand what intent is. And, above all, you must understand that that knowledge cannot be turned into words. That knowledge is there for everyone. It is there to be felt, to be used, but not to be explained. One can come into it by changing levels of awareness; therefore, heightened awareness is an entrance. But even the entrance cannot be explained. One can only make use of it.

Knowing this continues to provide me with an amazing level of freedom and the desire to delve deeper into the Toltec mystery. The freedom of aligning with intent and allowing the mystery of life to unravel and simultaneously be created as a distinctive and unique enigma is unlike anything, anywhere.

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