There's no way to put a limit on what one may accomplish individually if the intent is an impeccable intent. Don Juan's teachings are not spiritual. I repeat this because the question has come to the surface over and over. The idea of spirituality doesn't fit with the iron discipline of a warrior. The most important thing for a shaman like don Juan is the idea of pragmatism.
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The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.
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That's your doing. Now in order to affect that doing I am going to recommend that you learn another doing... It may hook you to another doing and then you may realize that both doings are lies, unreal, and that to hinge yourself to either one is a waste of time, because the only thing that is real is the being in you that is going to die. To arrive at that being is the note-doing of the self
I too did not want to take the path of a warrior. I believed that all that work was for nothing, and since we are all going to die what difference would it make to be a warrior? I was wrong. But I had to find that out for myself. Whenever you do realize that you are wrong, and that it certainly makes a world of difference, you can say that you are convinced. And then you can proceed by yourself. Any by yourself you may even become a man of knowledge
A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive.
Death is the only wise advisor that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you're about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you're wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, 'I haven't touched you yet.
The dying sun will glow on you without burning, as it has done today. The wind will be soft and mellow and your hilltop will tremble. As you reach the end of your dance you will look at the sun, for you will never see it again in waking or in dreaming, and then your death will point to the south. To the vastness.
A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you... Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use.
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
"Personal history must be constantly renewed by telling parents, relatives, and friends everything one does. On the other hand, for the warrior who has no personal history, no explanations are needed; nobody is angry or disillusioned with his acts. And above all, no one pins him down with their thoughts and their expectations."
All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimeter of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. The difference between an average man and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this, and one of his tasks is to be alert, deliberately waiting, so that when his cubic centimeter pops out he has the necessary speed, the prowess, to pick it up.
Don Juan assured me that in order to accomplish the feat of making myself miserable I had to work in the most intense fashion, and that it was absurd. I had now realized I could work just the same in making myself complete and strong. "The trick is in what one emphasizes," he said. "We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
Intent is not a thought, or an object, or a wish. Intent is what can make a man succeed when his thoughts tell him that he is defeated. It operates in spite of the warrior's indulgence. Intent is what makes him invulnerable. Intent is what sends a shaman through a wall, through space, to infinity.
When a warrior has put an end to his routines, when he doesn't care anymore whether he has company or is alone, because he has heard the silent whisper of the spirit; then you can say that, truly, he has died. From that point on, even the simplest things in life become extraordinary for him.
"Only if one loves this earth with unbending passion can one relieve one's sadness," don Juan said. "Warriors are always joyful because their love is unalterable and their beloved, the earth, embraces them and bestows upon them inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings." Don Juan again caressed the ground with tenderness. "This lovely being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me freedom."
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A hunter that is worth his salt does not catch game because he sets his traps, or because he knows the hunting routines of his prey, but because he himself has no routines. This is his advantage. He is not at all like the animals he is after, fixed by heavy routines and predictable quirks; he is free, fluid, unpredictable
Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely and deliberately. There is a question that a warrior has to ask, mandatorily: 'Does this path have a heart?'
One day I found out that personal history was no longer necessary for me and, like drinking, I dropped it... Little by little you must create a fog around yourself; you must erase everything around you until nothing can be taken for granted, until nothing is any longer for sure, or real. Your problem now is that you're too real. Your endeavors are too real, your moods are too real. Don't take things so for granted. You must begin to erase yourself.
What is wrong with us human beings, and has been wrong since time immemorial, is that without ever stating it in so many words, we believe that we have entered the realm of immortality. We behave as if we are never going to die - an infantile arrogance. But even more injurious than this sense of immortality is what comes with it : the sense that we can engulf this inconcievable universe with our minds.
The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to himself. Perhaps you are chasing rainbows. You're after the self-confidence of the average man, when you should be after the humbleness of a warrior. The difference between the two is remarkable. Self Confidence entails knowing something for sure; humbleness entails being impeccable in one's actions and feelings.
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Whenever you are in the world of the tonal, you should be an impeccable tonal; no time for irrational crap. But whenever you are in the world of the nagual, you should also be impeccable; no time for rational crap. For the warrior intent is the gate in between. It closes completely behind him when he goes either way
We talk to ourselves incessantly about our world. In fact we maintain our world with our internal talk. And whenever we finish talking to ourselves about ourselves and our world, the world is always as it should be. We renew it, we rekindle it with life, we uphold it with our internal talk. Not only that, but we also choose our paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die. A warrior is aware of this and strives to stop his internal talk.
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Malicious acts are performed by people for personal gain ... Sorcerers, though, have an ulterior purpose for their acts, which has nothing to do with personal gain. The fact that they enjoy their acts does not count as gain. Rather, it is a condition of their character. The average man acts only if there is a chance for profit. Warriors say they act not for profit but for the spirit.
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The reason you keep on coming back to see me is very simple; every time you have seen me your body has learned certain things, even against your desire. And finally your body now needs to come back to me to learn more. Let's say that your body knows that it is going to die, even though you never think about it. So I've been telling your body that I too am going to die and before I do I would like to show our body certain things, things which you cannot give to your body yourself... So let's say then that your body returns to me because I am its friend
It isn't that a warrior learns shamanism as time goes by; rather, what he learns as time goes by is to save energy. This energy will enable him to handle some of the energy fields which are ordinarily inaccessible to him. Shamanism is a state of awareness, the ability to use energy fields that are not employed in perceiving the everyday-life world that we know.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.
The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of the beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor to anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.
"Dreaming is the vehicle that brings dreamers to this world," the emissary said, "and everything sorcerers know about dreaming was taught to them by us. Our world is connected to yours by a door called dreams. We know how to go through that door, but men don't. They have to learn it."
For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
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In the Art of Dreaming Don Juan tells Carlos, "... most of our energy goes into upholding our importance... if we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two we would provide ourselves with enough energy to ... catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe."
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One cannot enter don Juan's world intellectually, like a dilettante seeking fast and fleeting knowledge. Nor, in don Juan's world, can anything be verified absolutely. The only thing we can do is arrive at a state of increased awareness that allows us to perceive the world around us in a more inclusive manner.
The greatest flaw of human beings is to remain glued to the inventory of reason. Reason doesn't deal with man as energy. Reason deals with instruments that create energy, but it has never seriously occurred to reason that we are better than instruments: we are organisms that create energy. We are bubbles of energy.