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42: Humbleness

(Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda)

“Genaro is stupendous,” he said. “But for the time being, there is no sense in talking about him or about what he does to you. Again, you don’t have enough personal power to unravel that topic. Wait until you have it, then we will talk.”

“What if I never have it?”

“If you never have it, we’ll never talk.”

“At the rate I’m going, will I ever have enough of it?” I asked.

“That’s up to you,” he replied. “I have given you all the information necessary. Now it’s your responsibility to gain enough personal power to tip the scales.”

“You’re talking in metaphors,” I said. “Give it to me straight. Tell me exactly what I should do. If you have already told me, let’s say that I’ve forgotten it.”

Don Juan chuckled and lay down, putting his arms behind his head.

“You know exactly what you need,” he said.

I told him that sometimes I thought I knew, but that most of the time I had no self-confidence.

“I’m afraid that you are confusing issues,” he said. “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 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.”


I told him that I felt unworthy and that perhaps I should go home and come back when I felt stronger.

“You’re talking nonsense,” he snapped. “A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be, and accepts it in ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as grounds for regret but as a living challenge.”

“It takes time for every one of us to understand that point and fully live it. I, for instance, hated the mere mention of the word “humbleness”. I’m an Indian and we Indians have always been humble and have done nothing else but lower our heads. I thought humbleness was not in the warrior’s way. I was wrong! I know now that the humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of a 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 for anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.”

“That’s why I told you earlier today that I didn’t understand what masters felt like. I know only the humbleness of a warrior, and that will never permit me to be anyone’s master.”


(The Eagle’s Gift Carlos Castaneda)

“The third, that a warrior, aware of the unfathomable mystery that surrounds him and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place among mysteries and regards himself as one. Consequently, for a warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means being a pebble, or an ant, or oneself. That is a warrior’s humbleness. One is equal to everything.”


(The Active Side of Inifinity Carlos Castaneda)

Don Juan spoke to me next in the tone I was accustomed to. What he said was also very familiar. He said that the backbone of a warrior-traveler is humbleness and efficiency, acting without expecting anything and withstanding anything that lies ahead of him.


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