Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Teachings of don Juan

 Join us below for information in regards to the teachings of don Juan. When I have time to get to this post, it will be in regards to my own opinions about what constitutes 'the teachings of don Juan.' What does this mean? The core or what don Juan taught Carlos Castaneda.  I'm still working on others posts right now, so when I have a bit more time, I'll get to working on this post.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Controlled Folly as Described by Carlos Castaneda

Controlled Folly as described by Carlos Castaneda ~ Please note that these quotes were taken from many different pages of many different books. Thus, the comments below may not 'flow' very well, as in one reading a story. I attempted to get to the 'gist' of controlled folly from the books. 

"It's possible to insist, to properly insist, even though we know that what we're doing is useless," he said, smiling, "But we must know first that our acts are useless and yet we must proceed as if we didn't know it. That's a sorcerer's controlled folly."

"I wonder if you could tell me more about your controlled folly," I said.

"What do you want to know about it?"

"Please tell me, don Juan, what exactly is controlled folly?"

Don Juan laughed loudly and made a smacking sound by slapping his thigh with the hollow of his hand.

"This is controlled folly!" he said, and laughed and slapped his thigh again.

"What do you mean ... ?"

"I am happy that you finally asked me about my controlled folly after so many years, and yet it wouldn't have mattered to me in the least if you had never asked. Yet I have chosen to feel happy, as if I cared, that you asked, as if it would matter that I care. That is controlled folly!"

We both laughed very loudly. I hugged him. I found his explanation delightful although I did not quite understand it.

"With whom do you exercise controlled folly, don Juan?" I asked after a long silence.

He chuckled.

"With everybody!" he exclaimed, smiling.

"When do you choose to exercise it, then?"

"Every single time I act."

I felt I needed to recapitulate at that point and I asked him if controlled folly meant that his acts were never sincere but were only the acts of an actor.

"My acts are sincere," he said, "but they are only the acts of an actor."

"Then everything you do must be controlled folly!" I said truly surprised.

"Yes, everything," he said.

"But it can't be true," I protested, "that every one of your acts is only controlled folly."

"Why not?" he replied with a mysterious look.

"That would mean that nothing matters to you and you don't really care about anything or anybody. Take me, for example. Do you mean that you don't care whether or not I become a man of knowledge, or whether I live, or die, or do anything?"

"True! I don't. You are like Lucio, or everybody else in my life, my controlled folly."

I experienced a peculiar feeling of emptiness. Obviously there was no reason in the world why don Juan had to care about me, but on the other hand I had almost the certainty that he cared about me personally; I thought it could not be otherwise, since he had always given me his undivided attention during every moment I had spent with him. It occurred to me that perhaps don Juan was just saying that because he was annoyed with me. After all, I had quit his teachings.

"I have the feeling we are not talking about the same thing," I said. "I shouldn't have used myself as an example.

What I meant to say was that there must be something in the world you care about in a way that is not controlled folly. I don't think it is possible to go on living if nothing really matters to us."

"That applies to you," he said. "Things matter to you. You asked me about my controlled folly and I told you that everything I do in regard to myself and my fellow men is folly, because nothing matters."

"My point is, don Juan, that if nothing matters to you, how can you go on living?"

He laughed and after a moment's pause, in which he seemed to deliberate whether or not to answer, he got up and went to the back of his house. I followed him.

"Wait, wait, don Juan." I said. "I really want to know; you must explain to me what you mean."

"Perhaps it's not possible to explain," he said. "Certain things in your life matter to you because they're important; your acts are certainly important to you, but for me, not a single thing is important any longer, neither my acts nor the acts of any of my fellow men. I go on living, though, because I have my will. Because I have tempered my will throughout my life until it's neat and wholesome and now it doesn't matter to me that nothing matters. My will controls the folly of my life."

He squatted and ran his fingers on some herbs that he had put to dry in the sun on a big piece of burlap.

I was bewildered. Never would I have anticipated the direction that my query had taken. After a long pause I thought of a good point. I told him that in my opinion some of the acts of my fellow men were of supreme importance.

I pointed out that a nuclear war was definitely the most dramatic example of such an act. I said that for me destroying life on the face of the earth was an act of staggering enormity.

"You believe that because you're thinking. You're thinking about life," don Juan said with a glint in his eyes.

"You're not seeing."

"Would I feel differently if I could see?" I asked.

"Once a man learns to see he finds himself alone in the world with nothing but folly," don Juan said cryptically.

He paused for a moment and looked at me as if he wanted to judge the effect of his words.

"Your acts, as well as the acts of your fellow men in general, appear to be important to you because you have learned to think they are important."

He used the word "learned" with such a peculiar inflection that it forced me to ask what he meant by it.

He stopped handling his plants and looked at me.

"We learn to think about everything," he said, "and then we train our eyes to look as we think about the things we look at. We look at ourselves already thinking that we are important. And therefore we've got to feel important! But then when a man learns to see, he realizes that he can no longer think about the things he looks at, and if he cannot think about what he looks at everything becomes unimportant."

Don Juan must have noticed my puzzled look and repeated his statements three times, as if to make me understand them. What he said sounded to me like gibberish at first, but upon thinking about it, his words loomed more like a sophisticated statement about some facet of perception.

I tried to think of a good question that would make him clarify his point, but I could not think of anything.

I asked him if he was in a mood to answer some questions.

"What do you want to know?" he replied.

"What you told me this afternoon about controlled folly has disturbed me very much," I said. "I really cannot understand what you meant."

"Of course you cannot understand it," he said. "You are trying to think about it, and what I said does not fit with your thoughts."

"I'm trying to think about it," I said, "because that's the only way I personally can understand anything. For example, don Juan, do you mean that once a man learns to see, everything in the whole world is worthless?"

"I didn't say worthless. I said unimportant. Everything is equal and therefore unimportant. For example, there is no way for me to say that my acts are more important than yours, or that one thing is more essential than another, therefore all things are equal and by being equal they are unimportant."

I asked him if his statements were a pronouncement that what he had called "seeing" was in effect a "better way" than merely "looking at things." He said that the eyes of man could perform both functions, but neither of them was better than the other; however, to train the eyes only to look was, in his opinion, an unnecessary loss.

"For instance, we need to look with our eyes to laugh," he said, "because only when we look at things can we catch the funny edge of the world. On the other hand, when our eyes see, everything is so equal that nothing is funny."

"Do you mean, don Juan, that a man who sees cannot ever laugh?'

He remained silent for some time.

"Perhaps there are men of knowledge who never laugh," he said. "I don't know any of them, though. Those I know see and also look, so they laugh."

"Would a man of knowledge cry as well?"

"I suppose so. Our eyes look so we may laugh, or cry, or rejoice, or be sad, or be happy. I personally don't like to be sad, so whenever I witness something that would ordinarily make me sad, I simply shift my eyes and see it instead of looking at it. But when I encounter something funny I look and I laugh."

"But then, don Juan, your laughter is real and not controlled folly."

Don Juan stared at me for a moment.

"I talk to you because you make me laugh," he said. "You remind me of some bushy-tailed rats of the desert that get caught when they stick their tails in holes trying to scare other rats away in order to steal their food. You get caught in your own questions. Watch out! Sometimes those rats yank their tails off trying to pull themselves free."

I found his comparison funny and I laughed. Don Juan had once shown me some small rodents with bushy tails that looked like fat squirrels; the image of one of those chubby rats yanking its tail off was sad and at the same time morbidly funny.

"My laughter, as well as everything I do, is real," he said, "but it also is controlled folly because it is useless; it changes nothing and yet I still do it."

"But as I understand it, don Juan, your laughter is not useless. It makes you happy."

"No! I am happy because I choose to look at things that make me happy and then my eyes catch their funny edge and I laugh. I have said this to you countless times. One must always choose the path with heart in order to be at one's best, perhaps so one can always laugh."

I interpreted what he had said as meaning that crying was inferior to laughter, or at least perhaps an act that weakened us. He asserted that there was no intrinsic difference and that both were unimportant; he said, however, that his preference was laughter, because laughter made his body feel better than crying.

At that point I suggested that if one has a preference there is no equality; if he preferred laughing to crying, the former was indeed more important.

He stubbornly maintained that his preference did not mean they were not equal; and I insisted that our argument could be logically stretched to saying that if things were supposed to be so equal why not also choose death?

"Many men of knowledge do that," he said. "One day they may simply disappear. People may think that they have been ambushed and killed because of their doings. They choose to die because it doesn't matter to them. On the other hand, I choose to live, and to laugh, not because it matters, but because that choice is the bent of my nature.

The reason I say I choose is because I see, but it isn't that I choose to live; my will makes me go on living in spite of anything I may see.

"You don't understand me now because of your habit of thinking as you look and thinking as you think."

This statement intrigued me very much. I asked him to explain what he meant by it.

He repeated the same construct various times, as if giving himself time to arrange it in different terms, and then delivered his point, saying that by "thinking" he meant the constant idea that we have of everything in the world. He said that "seeing" dispelled that habit and until I learned to "see" I could not really understand what he meant.

"But if nothing matters, don Juan, why should it matter that I learn to see?"

"I told you once that our lot as men is to learn, for good or bad," he said. "I have learned to see and I tell you that nothing really matters; now it is your turn; perhaps some day you will see and you will know then whether things matter or not. For me nothing matters, but perhaps for you everything will. You should know by now that a man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting. A man of knowledge chooses a path with heart and follows it; and then he looks and rejoices and laughs; and then he sees and knows. He knows that his life will be over altogether too soon; he knows that he, as well as everybody else, is not going anywhere; he knows, because he sees, that nothing is more important than anything else. In other words, a man of knowledge has no honor, no dignity, no family, no name, no country, but only life to be lived, and under these circumstances his only tie to his fellow men is his controlled folly. Thus a man of knowledge endeavors, and sweats, and puffs, and if one looks at him he is just like any ordinary man, except that the folly of his life is under control. Nothing being more important than anything else, a man of knowledge chooses any act, and acts it out as if it matters to him. His controlled folly makes him say that what he does matters and makes him act as if it did, and yet he knows that it doesn't; so when he fulfills his acts he retreats in peace, and whether his acts were good or bad, or worked or didn't, is in no way part of his concern.

"A man of knowledge may choose, on the other hand, to remain totally impassive and never act, and behave as if to be impassive really matters to him; he will be rightfully true at that too, because that would also be his controlled folly."

I involved myself at this point in a very complicated effort to explain to don Juan that I was interested in knowing what would motivate a man of knowledge to act in a particular way in spite of the fact that he knew nothing mattered.

He chuckled softly before answering.

"You think about your acts," he said. "Therefore you have to believe your acts are as important as you think they are, when in reality nothing of what one does is important. Nothing! But then if nothing really matters, as you asked me, how can I go on living? It would be simple to die; that's what you say and believe, because you're thinking about life, just as you're thinking now what seeing would be like. You wanted me to describe it to you so you could begin to think about it, the way you do with everything else. In the case of seeing, however, thinking is not the issue at all, so I cannot tell you what it is like to see. Now you want me to describe the reasons for my controlled folly and I can only tell you that controlled folly is very much like seeing; it is something you cannot think about."

He yawned. He lay on his back and stretched his arms and legs. His bones made a cracking sound.

"You have been away too long," he said. "You think too much."

He got up and walked into the thick chaparral at the side of the house. I fed the fire to keep the pot boiling. I was going to light a kerosene lantern but the semidarkness was very soothing. The fire from the stove, which supplied enough light to write, also created a reddish glow all around me. I put my notes on the ground and lay down. I felt tired. Out of the whole conversation with don Juan the only poignant thing in my mind was that he did not care about me; it disturbed me immensely. Over a period of years I had put my trust in him. Had I not had complete confidence in him I would have been paralyzed with fear at the prospect of learning his knowledge; the premise on which I had based my trust was the idea that he cared about me personally; actually I had always been afraid of him, but I had kept my fear in check because I trusted him. When he removed that basis I had nothing to fall back on and I felt helpless.

I told don Juan that my conflict arose from the doubts into which his words about controlled folly had thrown me.

"If nothing really matters," I said, "upon becoming a man of knowledge one would find oneself, perforce, as empty as my old friend and in no better position."

"That's not so," don Juan said cuttingly. "Your friend is lonely because he will die without seeing. In his life he just grew old and now he must have more self-pity than ever before. He feels he threw away forty years because he was after victories and found only defeats. He'll never know that to be victorious and to be defeated are equal.

"So now you're afraid of me because I've told you that you're equal to everything else. You're being childish.

Our lot as men is to learn and one goes to knowledge as one goes to war; I have told you this countless times.

One goes to knowledge or to war with fear, with respect, aware that one is going to war, and with absolute confidence in oneself. Put your trust in yourself, not in me.

"And so you're afraid of the emptiness of your friend's life. But there's no emptiness in the life of a man of knowledge, I tell you. Everything is filled to the brim."

Don Juan stood up and extended his arms as if feeling things in the air.

"Everything is filled to the brim," he repeated, "and everything is equal. I'm not like your friend who just grew old. When I tell you that nothing matters I don't mean it the way he does. For him, his struggle was not worth his while, because he was defeated; for me there is no victory, or defeat, or emptiness. Everything is filled to the brim and everything is equal and my struggle was worth my while.

"In order to become a man of knowledge one must be a warrior, not a whimpering child. One must strive without giving up, without a complaint, without flinching, until one sees, only to realize then that nothing matters."

Don Juan stirred the pot with a wooden spoon. The food was ready. He took the pot off the fire and placed it on an adobe rectangular block, which he had built against the wall and which he used as a shelf or a table. With his foot he shoved two small boxes that served as comfortable chairs, especially if one sat with his back against the supporting beams of the wall. He signaled me to sit down and then he poured a bowl of soup. He smiled; his eyes were shining as if he were truly enjoying my presence. He pushed the bowl gently toward me. There was such a warmth and kindness in his gesture that it seemed to be an appeal to restore my trust in him. I felt idiotic; I tried to disrupt my mood by looking for my spoon, but I couldn't find it. The soup was too hot to be drunk directly from the bowl, and while it cooled off I asked don Juan if controlled folly meant that a man of knowledge could not like anybody any more.

He stopped eating and laughed.

"You're too concerned with liking people or with being liked yourself," he said. "A man of knowledge likes, that's all. He likes whatever or whoever he wants, but he uses his controlled folly to be unconcerned about it. The opposite of what you are doing now. To like people or to be liked by people is not all one can do as a man."

He stared at me for a moment with his head tilted a little to one side.

"Think about that," he said.

"There is one more thing I want to ask, don Juan. You said that we need to look with our eyes to laugh, but I believe we laugh because we think. Take a blind man, he also laughs."

"No," he said. "Blind men don't laugh. Their bodies jerk a little with the ripple of laughter. They have never looked at the funny edge of the world and have to imagine it. Their laughter is not roaring."

We did not speak any more. I had a sensation of well-being, of happiness. We ate in silence; then don Juan began to laugh. I was using a dry twig to spoon the vegetables into my mouth.

"How does a man of knowledge exercise controlled folly when it comes to the death of a person he loves?" I asked.

Don Juan was taken aback by my question and looked at me quizzically.

"Take your grandson Lucio," I said. "Would your acts be controlled folly at the time of his death?"

"Take my son Eulalio, that's a better example," don Juan replied calmly. "He was crushed by rocks while working in the construction of the Pan-American Highway. My acts toward him at the moment of his death were controlled folly. When I came down to the blasting area he was almost dead, but his body was so strong that it kept on moving and kicking. I stood in front of him and told the boys in the road crew not to move him any more; they obeyed me and stood there surrounding my son, looking at his mangled body. I stood there too, but I did not look. I shifted my eyes so I would see his personal life disintegrating, expanding uncontrollably beyond its limits, like a fog of crystals, because that is the way life and death mix and expand. That is what I did at the time of my son's death. That's all one could ever do, and that is controlled folly. Had I looked at him I would have watched him becoming immobile and I would have felt a cry inside of me, because never again would I look at his fine figure pacing the earth. I saw his death instead, and there was no sadness, no feeling. His death was equal to everything else." Don Juan was quiet for a moment. He seemed to be sad, but then he smiled and tapped my head.

"So you may say that when it comes to the death of a person I love, my controlled folly is to shift my eyes."

I thought about the people I love myself and a terribly oppressive wave of self-pity enveloped me.

"Lucky you, don Juan," I said. "You can shift your eyes, while I can only look."

He found my statement funny and laughed.

"Lucky, bull!" he said. "It's hard work."

We both laughed. After a long silence I began probing him again, perhaps only to dispel my own sadness.

"If I have understood you correctly then, don Juan," I said, "the only acts in the life of a man of knowledge which are not controlled folly are those he performs with his ally or with Mescalito. Isn't that right?"

"That's right," he said, chuckling. "My ally and Mescalito are not on a par with us human beings. My controlled folly applies only to myself and to the acts I perform while in the company of my fellow men."

"However, it is a logical possibility," I said, "to think that a man of knowledge may also regard his acts with his ally or with Mescalito as controlled folly, true?"

He stared at me for a moment.

"You're thinking again," he said. "A man of knowledge doesn't think, therefore he cannot encounter that possibility. Take me, for example. I say that my controlled folly applies to the acts I performed while in the company of my fellow men; I say that because I can see my fellow men. However, I cannot see through my ally and that makes it incomprehensible to me, so how could I control my folly if I don't see through it? With my ally or with Mescalito I am only a man who knows how to see and finds that he's baffled by what he sees; a man who knows that he'll never understand all that is around him.”

To be continued...

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Crack Between The Worlds

The Crack Between The Worlds is the new name for this blog. I've changed it many times so stick with me. :-) So, what does 'crack between the worlds' mean? I'll quote from my favorite author, Carlos Castaneda, on the meaning, listed below. Understand that these are quotes snipped from different books and they may not flow together very well. I tried to just get the 'gist' of the meaning in regards to the crack between the worlds. 

Perhaps I will add my own comments, but not at this time. 

"The twilight is the crack between the worlds," he said softly.

"The particular thing to learn is how to get to the crack between the worlds and how to enter the other world. There is a crack between the two worlds, the world of the diableros and the world of living men. There is a place where the two worlds overlap. The crack is there. It opens and closes like a door in the wind. To get there a man must exercise his will. He must, I should say, develop an indomitable desire for it, a single-minded dedication. But he must do it without the help of any power or any man. The man by himself must ponder and wish up to a moment in which his body is ready to undergo the journey.

"It is the door to the unknown."

Don Juan had also talked to me at great length about the crack between the worlds. I had always believed that he was talking in a metaphorical sense about a subtle division between the world that the average man perceives and the world that sorcerers perceive.

La Gorda and the little sisters had shown me that the crack between the worlds was more than a metaphor. It was rather the capacity to change levels of attention. One part of me understood la Gorda perfectly, while another part of me was more frightened than ever.

"You have been asking where the Nagual and Genaro went," la Gorda said. "Soledad was very blunt and told you that they went to the other world; Lidia told you they left this area; the Genaros were stupid and scared you. The truth is that the Nagual and Genaro went through that crack."

But the worst thing happened to you in Mexico City; there he pushed you one day and you went into an office and in that office you went through the crack between the worlds. He intended only to dispel your attention of the tonal; you were worried sick over some stupid thing. But when he shoved you, your whole tonal shrunk and your entire being went through the crack. He had a hellish time finding you. He told me that for a moment he thought you had gone farther than he could reach. But then he saw you roaming around aimlessly and he brought you back. He told me that you went through the crack around ten in the morning. So, on that day, ten in the morning became your new time."

"My new time for what?"

"For everything. If you remain a man you will die around that time. If you become a sorcerer you will leave this world around that time.

"Did he disappear like that, over a bridge?"

"Not over a bridge. But you witnessed how he and Genaro stepped into the crack between the worlds in front of your very eyes. Nestor said that only Genaro waved his hand to say good-bye the last time you saw them; the Nagual did not wave because he was opening the crack. The Nagual told me that when the second attention has to be called upon to assemble itself, all that is needed is the motion of opening that door. That's the secret of the Toltec dreamers once they are formless."


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Responsibility And The Warrior's Path

I often hear people express a desire for deeper understanding. Why is it that some people seem to have understanding, and some don't seem to have so much? It might seem unfair. But you know, in daily life, we have a kind of proving ground for realization. Or we could say, a proving ground for the responsibility of realization.  

Many people in the world don't have enough food to eat. But in America we are so fortunate that we end up worrying about whether it's organic or not, or whether it is ‘cage free’ or not. But someone in Afghanistan would take it any way they could get it! This means they are grateful for the privilege of food. They are not snooty about it at all.  This is something that is important for us to keep in mind, even though we have plenty.  

In the same way some people have work, and some don't, especially over the past several years. The people that were around during the Depression (like my parents) in this country know that there are times when nobody has work. Or very few people have work. I mean it is not just the money, but work is a very valuable commodity. Work and love: the most wonderful things to have in your life. And yet, at times there are things that are challenging or difficult in our work. At least, as I observe it in my world, there are often people who seem to think that things are just not going the way they would like. Therefore, they are not grateful for the work and end up losing the opportunity. They don't see it as a privilege. They are so used to there being plenty to go around. It has no rare quality for them. And so, they throw it away unthinkingly.  

Clearly, it is the same way with relationships. If you do not appreciate the relationship you have, you soon will lose it. I am not talking about just spousal relationships here, but any kind of relationship.  

There are many small things that go with maintaining your daily life. And there are opportunities for each one of us. And often these opportunities are just out there and someone will pluck one and take it as their own, and own it, and do it. The cubic centimeter of chance, as Carlos Castaneda described it. This is something that is an opportunity for you to be grateful for. But the down side of this situation that we all find ourselves in is when we are not grateful for it, and don't see that it is a privilege, a privilege to have this opportunity. Then it is taken from us, and we don't get more.  

This is true in relationships and it is true in work. And these areas are just proving grounds. This is nothing yet. We are, in this, not even into the meat of it yet. These are just introductory. So, if you cannot handle the heat in regular everyday living, if you cannot be grateful and live your life for the privilege that it is, then you will never be given any deep level of realization, because the responsibility is a thousand-fold.  

You know, it might seem like, "Oh boy I would like to have bliss consciousness, some kind of rapturous realization that I could carry around with me all the time". But it's not like that at all. I mean it is a tremendous responsibility. Every little iota, and speaking from my own experience, every little iota that is given, it is made clear that there is a responsibility that goes with it. And if you don't see it as a privilege in the deepest part of your heart and are grateful for it and honor it, then indeed it will be taken from you, sooner or later. And you certainly won't be given any more. You won't be moving on, at least not until that issue is relived and appreciated for what it was.  

So, if you find yourself in your life, not moving ahead in financial, physical and emotional realization, then of course the same thing has to be true on a deeper, more spiritual level.  

I hope that this doesn't seem vague in some way. Because it seems very clear to me. Of course, we all make mistakes. We all fall down. We all forget things. We all forget to be grateful. It happens to me all the time. But, constantly remembering what I am writing about at this moment, bringing that back to your consciousness over and over again during the day, then it doesn't matter that you make mistakes.  

Then you will recover. Then you don't become bankrupt like the USA will soon be if someone doesn't take some action. If a company or a country becomes bankrupt, it already made the same mistake of forgetting to be grateful over and over, until finally all the money is gone. It doesn't happen with one fell swoop; never from a single event. You fall down once you get up again. I mean the way you progress is by making a mistake and learning from that, so of course that is not the end of things. Making a mistake means that you forgot to see this as a privilege. You forgot that you had been given a gift. Whatever you are engaged in that is a gift to you to be grateful for, and for you to honor, no matter how difficult. And if you do, then you will see things that you could never have seen in any other way. And you cannot tell others about them, actually. Because the only way you can see them is to get through that fire of difficulty to the other side. And it is that struggle that produces the substance, or character trait that we know of as maturity.  

These are just things that have sort of been washing over me lately, and naturally when that happens to me, then you get to hear about them too. I hope that you will think about this. I know if you think about it right now you can see how it played a part in your life this very day, today. Because this, in fact, is all that happens every day.


The Gap

When I look in the mirror, if I stay and look long enough, I will notice that my image shifts. But actually, the image is not shifting. It is my mind that is shifting. It is very difficult for me to focus or concentrate without my mind jumping from here to there.  

I look in the mirror universe or beautiful crystal ball of the universe and I polish myself.  

I pierce the mirror that reflects nothing. 

We say mirror universe, traditionally that mirror is the mirror that only has a mirror in front of itself. There is no object in the mirror. When we look in this mirror, this mirror is our mind. It is the essence of what is. As long as there is an object in that mirror then this is something to be sought after or feared. When this mirror is pure, when we see clearly then we say there is no image in the mirror. This is a pure mirror universe, not showing anything. 

With a sharp sword of my Will, I pierce to the pure mirror universe so that I polish myself.  

We hear about awakening, freedom from suffering. Where is that? In our struggle aren't we struggling for that freedom? In our pain aren't we disappointed and resistant to the lack of this fear? And in our fear aren't we afraid because we won't get to have this illusive freedom?  

Happiness, in other words. Satisfaction. Everybody wants that. We look for consciousness or mind. Where is this consciousness? All that fear and struggling and gathering. Hanging and clinging to and pushing away is all inside this mind. The mind is this condition that we have right here. We are searching for that which is just this. How silly. 

Suddenly, to experience being here, which of course is a fearless and pain-free and struggle-free condition. Sounds great. When I realized there was nothing there, I realized there was nothing to defend. What is there to be afraid of? 

Struggle against struggle. This fearful running from fear, which I was talking about. The pain is caused by a struggle to find something that we already have. This turns out to be foolishness to require this.  

If one practice’s meditation then we know that our mind tends to jump all over the place. Every time the mind shifts, we must begin again. So that's why, when we are practicing meditation or stopping the internal dialogue, it takes some time, some practice, before we can concentrate through a period of time where there isn't some gap, or hiccup, created by this mind shifting.  

Let's just look at this business of slack, or gap, or space between when someone ask you to do something and you do it. What is that gap made of? Well, it is made of you wanting to be the right one; it's made of a person's wanting to do a good job.  

It is a matter of learning to calm your mind. If you can calm your breath, then you can calm your mind. If you can calm your mind, you can calm your environment.  

Every time I ask folks, "If you have a choice between a positive life and a negative life, what do you choose?” I have never heard anyone say that they would choose negative! Is anyone here going to say they choose negative? Of course not.  

But in our daily life we do choose negative sometimes. So, this is another example of a gap here, right? This is a contradiction. In other words, is anyone here free of suffering? No. And we suffer because, maybe without knowing it, we choose negative. We want to choose positive, but our "choices" are not actually choices at all, but conditioned responses coming out from our history, and perhaps they may lead to a negative result. And when we see the negative result, we say, "But I don't like this. I wanted positive". Then always the answer is to review our choices and next time to overcome our conditioning to make the ones that lead to positive.  

This is the value of what we call a self-realized life.  

If we want to have a clear path to what we are doing, or any aspect of our evolving of our consciousness training, let alone in daily life, then we have to do the practice that develops us in that direction. If we want to go north, then we must head north, not south.  

What practices are you developing that lead in the right direction?


The Teachings of don Juan

 Join us below for information in regards to the teachings of don Juan. When I have time to get to this post, it will be in regards to my ow...