(The Universal Spiderweb by Armando Torres)
“The sense of urgency is a feeling that one develops and trains, just as one can train their senses of smell, hearing or taste. It’s no use running around blindly from one side to another, as you do; that doesn’t count! Simply because that’s not the sense of urgency that I’m talking about. For people to live intensely is to have many activities, always running around in a hurry, getting entangled in an infinite number of superfluous relationships. No! For the warrior, the sense of urgency is to get connected with intent; everything else is unimportant for him.
“The warrior’s urgency is not the same as that of the common man,” he emphasized. “For them, to be urgent means to hurry to increase their possibility for personal gain, whereas for the warrior, the sense of urgency is an internal pressure that forces him to act impeccably.”
Trying to understand what I was getting into, I asked him:
“Does that feeling generate some physical sensation?” “One feels it like a pressure that comes from the
bowels. That feeling is something that can happen little by little or suddenly.”
Responding to another question, he told me: “Only the true awareness of our death can give us the necessary push to acquire the sense of urgency. Think of it this way: If we’re going to die, we’ve already lost everything; then we’re free to do whatever we want, even to take a risk in order to pursue our dreams.
“The big disgrace is that nobody believes that they’re going to die, at least not today, not at this moment; but this is an illusion that weakens us because when we believe that we have time, we leave everything to do later; first the small things, and then matters of life or death.
“Only the awareness of our pending death can lead us to act impeccably; only this can give us the big jolt that forces us to act. As long as we believe we’re immortal, we don’t move. In the end, all that counts is how impeccable we are in our day to day life. That’s what determines whether we can keep going or not.”
Looking directly at my eyes, he said: “Do you know that there’s no guarantee that we’ll finish this conversation alive?”
I felt a chill in my spinal column. I said that I agreed with him, but that to have the constant idea of death in my mind always made me feel apprehensive about everything in my surroundings. He said:
“The only way of acting is knowing that you’ve already died; if you can achieve that feeling, then everything falls into place. Only by acting impeccably can you overcome that obsession.”
“Our doom is to believe that we’ll live forever, that we have all the time in the world, when in fact we don’t have it at all. For that reason, the warrior lives each second as intensely as possible; he permanently stays conscious of the touch of death.”
In the beginning of our relationship, whenever we came to the topic of impeccability, it seemed that the discussion had come to an end, so I asked him again to clarify the concept. He said, “Impeccability makes us focus all possible attention on the details; it forces us to be aware of everything we think, speak and do, twenty-four hours a day, without a break. In fact, after abandoning our natural laziness, we get so used to living in the flow that we no longer accept any other option.”
Once don Juan told Carlos: “Stop procrastinating! Change!”, to which Carlos replied that perhaps he didn’t want to change. Don Juan answered that he didn’t understood how it was possible that he was dissatisfied with his life, and yet he refused to change.
The difficulty of those who opt to follow this path is that they don’t have enough energy to make decisions, and in the end, all they have left is stories of what others have done. Like Carlos, each one of us goes through the same difficulties, and all that’s required is the determination to make the initial decision that could change the course of our lives.
Among the sorcerers of don Juan’s lineage, there was a discussion about why they do what they do, and the answer was that it was due to the fear of death; they maintained that the fear of death is what impels us to keep going in a straight line. Others had the version that the love of life, not the fear of death, was what impelled them to keep going, but it’s not the same thing.
“Warriors know that only the shadow of our pending death can give us the necessary stimulus to stay on the path.”
“Sorcerers say that urgency is a position of the assemblage point and that, once one reaches it, one can notice it because the person’s glance changes; one feels that something different is happening; from the point of view of others, that person exudes determination.”
It was astonishing the changes that happened in my life; once the sense of not having time invaded me, the urgency took possession of me. By carrying out deliberate acts of will, one breaks the vicious cycle and starts to gather energy. As a result, the person begins to feel an unusual trust in himself. It is like a professional that dominates his field completely; he knows in advance what to do without worrying about situations that may arise.
For me, this change happened in a gradual way; as the desperation of not having time possessed me, little by little I started to break free of my moorings, and that finally led me to acquire the desired sense of urgency. Once there, I took a turn of a hundred and eighty degrees in my life. The most remarkable immediate result in this mental state was that I stopped hesitating in making decisions. In the same way, that also helped me to stop being the shy and distracted person that I had been all my life. I became more alert, I stopped foolishly wasting my energy, and, through concrete strategies, I start to manage the saving of my energy in a more intelligent way.
“The sense of urgency, of being alert all the time, makes us never waste even a single minute,” he said. “But that doesn’t imply getting desperate or being obsessed by anything. Rather, the sense of urgency is like a pressure that forces one to proceed impeccably once and again, creating in this way a chain of impeccable moments. In fact, the warrior surrounds his life with impeccability, making of it a work of art.”
“It doesn’t matter if one is working, resting or carrying out any other activity; the important thing is to do everything with full consciousness of every detail. A good way to reach that state is to be aware that “what counts is not how much or how fast you do things, but how well you do them.”
Carlos once said: “If instead of wasting my time looking at the ceiling, I had studied piano, I could already be a concert pianist by now.”
What he meant by this is that we all waste our lives in superfluous activities such as watching television or sitting down in front of the computer for long hours. It’s necessary to be very careful about how we use our time. If one isn’t careful, one can end up as an addict, or obsessed by activities that can deviate one from the path.
On another occasion, he said: “The warrior makes an effort to be productive, creative and if possible, revolutionary in what he does. A warrior is never in hurry, and never wastes his time; for that reason, he’s always occupied in reaching for something, avoiding something or achieving something. For the warrior, life is an endless struggle, and he accepts with humbleness his place in the battle: he wages his war with all possible force, fierceness and passion because he knows that he’s fighting for his life. “Don Juan imbued me with the warrior’s urgency; he made me see that only the awareness of our death can give us the push that we need. He once told me, ‘Only he who is already dead in the daily world can have access to the world of the nagual.’”
(The Shadow Lore)
What is the path with heart?
It is a path that makes us one with it. One that commands our attention. Merely following the path is enough reward, we need no other reason. There are no tears of frustration or regrets on such a path, there is only consuming passion.
Finding this path is our job as probes of the Dark Sea.
The recapitulation teaches us that our fall from grace is in believing that we are separate from that Dark Sea. We are entirely comprised of it. There is nothing we can call “mine”, for all of our experience, all of our being, belongs to the Dark Sea. Giving our experience back to the Dark Sea returns us to our function as probes, which is finding the path with heart. It is Intended that we find it. The Dark Sea seeks that path through us. The Dark Sea’s gift is that we witness the journey.
The key to the path with heart is to give your experience to the Dark Sea up front, as it happens. To realize that you are acting not for your “self”, but for the Dark Sea. This is unavoidable, in any case. All that is left to you is to decide how you will use the power to choose that you’ve been given.
The path with heart is the path that results from choosing impeccably, by choosing what moves you, what you love, what you are passionate about.
Intent is a force we acquiesce to, not one we control. But this does not imply that intending is beyond the grasp of anyone. We all do it, all the time. It’s a question of style. Impeccability is behavior that arises from having a glimpse of what you are acquiescing to, and going with it.