"Agree or Disagree? What happens before you agree or disagree with someone?"
It's always seemed odd to me that humans place so much value on whether someone else agrees or disagrees with them. Having examined my own life under a ruthless microscope, I've reached a point where it no longer matters to me if someone agrees or not. But in a way - that's the opposite side of the coin of the question - what happens when we agree or disagree with someone else.
If someone else states an opinion, I may choose to agree or disagree, but as a warrior who is ruthless with herself, that agreement or disagreement will be based on experience and not on some grandiose opinion that probably isn't worth the energy required to express it. Opinions are nothing more than belief systems unless that opinion is based in experience - in which case, it is more accurately a statement of what-is from within the perception and unique reality of the one stating it.
For example, I've had numerous experiences that have proven to me beyond any shadow of a doubt that what we call "time" is an absolute illusion, nothing more than a creation of humans. There is no actual entity or force which can be identified as "time" - therefore, in and of itself, time does not exist. This is not an "opinion". To me, it is a fact of life, a state of being, a knowing from the place of silent knowing. However, it is admittedly subjective, and so whenever I've had people try to argue with me that "time is an absolute", for example, I cannot become invested in their belief systems. In other words: because I have experienced the illusion of time, it makes no difference to me whatsoever if someone else needs to believe in the absoluteness of time or not.
Sure, it can be challenging on many levels to get into debates about things of a spiritual nature - largely because most of those things are going to appear nebulous and non-absolute to most people. The reason discussions in Toltec arenas can get heated is because a lot of warriors have had experiences which contradict the consensual reality - aka, "the agreement" - and sometimes even warriors can run the risk of thinking "it matters" whether someone agrees with them or not. It doesn't. Not one bit.
On forums, for example, I might use the words, "I agree" or "I disagree", but it is from a purely detached perspective - at least 99.9% of the time. (The other .01% I allow for Being Human.) But seriously... if you tell me "Worshiping the Tree is the way, the truth & the light," and I happen to say, "I disagree," why would that matter to you in the least? If it does matter, then there is at least a rudimentary doubt in yourself with regard to your own opinion - and at that point you would need to ask yourself whether it is the opinion itself that bears re-examination, or whether you are simply attached to the opinion because it may support some other pre-existing belief system. You would need to ask yourself why someone else's agreement or lack thereof would have any effect on you at all. You might discover that it's just an old program - something inside of you that still struggles for approval or (in certain cases) actually thrives on disagreement and conflict. And yes, the world is full of people who actually do thrive on conflict - largely as a way to create a distraction for themselves so they can go right on believing the very things that are holding them in spiritual stasis.
Maybe part of it comes down to trusting yourself, but when you say there are things in Castaneda's works with which you do not agree... it might be interesting to ask yourself where that reaction is coming from. If you examine yourself ruthlessly, it won't be difficult to track it down. Maybe you disagree because what is being said somehow conflicts with your existing beliefs. Or maybe you disagree because your own experience contradicts what is being reported. If it's the former... well... you don't have a leg to stand on other than what you believe. If it's the latter, then this begins to address why I have said on occasion that a wo/man of knowledge has what amounts to a "responsibility to the knowledge itself."
Even with the works of Carlos Castaneda there are issues, ideas and notions, some of which I agree with, some with which I do not. Perhaps at some point, without resort to anything more than "I think that is right", information is sorted and accepted or rejected. Perhaps it comes down to a matter of trusting self.
An example from my own experiences with Castaneda. I do not agree with everything he has written about the double and double beings (Naguals) because my own experience has been somewhat different. I do not say he was wrong (because there is no right or wrong), but I do feel that there are other ways of looking at what he presented, and so I have offered up my own experiences not to refute CC, but to basically say... "Here's another possibility, based on another person's experience."
I have no doubt that Carlos described his experiences to the best of his ability, but me agreeing or disagreeing with him is entirely pointless if that is based wholly in what I "think" or what I "believe". Only direct experience really means anything in the warrior's world. So when I might disagree with Castaneda about certain things he stated as absolutes with regard to the double and double beings, that disagreement would be based on an experience of my own that does not "validate" what was reported. Neither is right or wrong, but if we are looking at Toltec as a "system of knowledge", I feel it is important for others on the path to report their Knowledge in the same way CC did. Put it out there and let it be. Doesn't matter in the least if someone agrees with me, disagrees, or thinks I'm completely crackers. What matters is the doing of the thing itself, because that is what enables us to define who we are as individuals, rather than just agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else said.
Point being... it's important to know why you are disagreeing - whether from belief, mere opinion, or personal experience. Having that awareness shows you something about yourself. From there, what you do with that awareness is up to you. It's just one more way of taking back your power.
To read similar articles & essays, please consider the four Quantum Shaman books!