[R]eality, or the world we all know, is only a description that has been pounded into you from the moment you were born.
The reality of our day-to-day life, then, consists of an endless flow of perceptual interpretations which we have learned to make in common.
I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking, and stopping the world is the first step to seeing.
The sorcerer’s description of the world is perceivable. But our insistence on holding on to our standard version of reality renders us almost deaf and blind to it.
When you begin this teaching, there is another reality, that is to say, there is a sorcery description of the world, which you do not know. As a sorcerer and a teacher, I am teaching you that description. What I am doing with you consists, therefore, in setting up that unknown reality by unfolding its description, adding increasingly more complex parts as you go along.
In order to arrive at seeing one first has to stop the world. Stopping the world is indeed an appropriate rendition of certain states of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow of interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterruptedly, has been stopped by a set of circumstances alien to that flow. In this case the set of circumstances alien to our normal flow of interpretations is the sorcery description of the world.
The precondition for stopping the world is that one has to be convinced; in other words, one has to learn the new description in a total sense, for the purpose of pitting it against the old one, and in that way break the dogmatic certainty, which we all share, that the validity of our perceptions, or our reality of the world, is not to be questioned.
After stopping the world the next step is seeing. By that I mean what could be categorized as responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality.
The Teachings of Don Juan
by Carlos Castaneda