Book Review: The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" by Carlos Castaneda

I chose to read this book because of my interest in eastern philosophy and mythology. 

This is an autobiographical account by Carlos Castaneda, an anthropology student from UCLA who traveled to Mexico over a period of many years to study shamanism and do an apprenticeship with Yaqui Indian, Don Juan.

This now classic book has inspired generations of seekers dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western worldview.

Although Castaneda provides plenty of impractical information about the use of Peyote, a psychedelic drug that Yaquis used to acquire non-ordinary states of reality, he nonetheless points to an alternative way of seeing and a revolution in cognition. 

This book will show you how to see the world differently—and as some of us know, an important aspect of anthropology is to note that the world is defined differently in different places. For the Yaquis, Peyote was a means to disrupt everyday routines and patterns of behaviors. We cannot possibly comprehend our world in its awesome totality—yet we are cultural animals, and so we are taught a system of beliefs in a process of conditioning that will allow us to function properly in society.

Take some of the eccentric aspects of this book with a grain of salt, but realize that every once in awhile we need to reassess beliefs we take for granted.