MALACHI CONSTANT: Good evening. We are joined again by Professor von Helsing, author of “Yes, We Have No Mananas”. So, Professor, just what is the path with heart?
PROFESSOR VON HELSING: 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. As Joseph Campbell expressed it, it is following your bliss.
MC: But how is this different from hedonism, from narcissism?
PVH: Precisely because the warrior has declared self-importance as the enemy. Warriors deal with the abstract, not the personal. They expect no reward other than awareness. Awareness is the name of the game, not personal gratification. Carol Tiggs told us that Carlos Castaneda left the world “saturated with awareness”. This is the warrior’s way.
MC: Is it better to avoid the world of men? Don’t they, the petty tyrants, attempt to make things personal?
PVH: Warriors don’t hide from the world, they romance it.
MC: How does one romance the world, or anything, without it becoming personal?
PVH: There is an entry in the warrior’s way called abstract affection. Just as the petty tyrant is indispensable for fighting self-importance, abstract affection is indispensable for following the path with heart. The combination of the two, selflessly loving a petty tyrant, is powerful indeed.
MC: So warriors do fall in love?
PVH: What most people call love, what I have called it, is in fact a complicated mixture of emotion and physical desire. These are two very different things: love is selfless, desire is not. One can spend a great deal of time and energy attempting to separate the two. This is what is implied by the idea of the “blank check of affection”. By issuing such a check, we are offering to give with no expectation of receiving in return. I can say that nothing I have ever done has so quickly and pointedly exposed to me the merchant temperament of my own heart. It is hard to give without receiving appreciation or gratitude at the very least. And yet, if accomplished, however infrequently, briefly, or hard-heartedly repented of later, it is the sweetest thing on earth.
MC: Which is indirect evidence of the “foreign installation”— why would I willingly deprive myself of the thing I want most? For the sake of “fairness”, of “justice”?
PVH: It hardly seems a sane bargain, does it?
A selfless lover has two responsibilities: The first is trust. Trust that the loved one will make the proper decisions for themselves, regardless of the consequences of those decisions.
MC: “Having to believe” again?
PVH: Yes. Once one has made one’s availability known, the selfless lover trusts that the object of their affection will find them when they want them, that the world will bring them together as appropriate. The selfish fear is that one will never share the experiences one desires, so one clings. We attempt to force the world as it is to conform to our idea of what we deserve. A warrior knows that “never” is indeed one of the many possible futures that exist, but chooses not to believe in it. Not out of a sense of specialness or destiny, but because it isn’t useful to believe in “never”. One deserves nothing, and so has nothing to defend. This is not true of the typical “Hollywood” ideal of what love is—the inevitable fulfilling of a divine plan which has been revealed to one, which requires heroic efforts to attain (but can only be attained, for one is right!), which must be rescued from “never” at any cost.
MC: You must have the other to fulfill your agenda.
PVH: Precisely. By trusting, a warrior acquiesces to the idea that the world unfolds as it intends, even though no plan has been revealed. This trust or acquiescence is exactly what is needed to relinquish the unconscious stalking technique of “me” which holds us in place. This trust is subtle and very difficult to attain, especially when accomplished through the rational application of control over the physical desires and emotional neediness of the “self”. Attaining even a modicum of “selflessness” through rational “self-control” can consume so much energy that often one fails in the second responsibility.
MC: Which is?
PVH: To be at one’s best when with the object of one’s affection. To have as much available in your account as you can, so that they can draw on it freely. Since the timing of the interaction is unknown, this requires being one’s best at all times. It requires recognizing that all human acts are folly, yet having no choice but to try one’s best— to control that folly. Hoping when there’s no use. Giving your best, then letting go…. loving for the hell of it……………
PVH: …………….. which is the secret of affection in the abstract, and why it is so necessary. For only through unconditional affection for the world, by making one’s availability known by voicing (and embodying) one’s intent, and by trusting that the world will find you when it wants you, can one find the motivation to be one’s best at all times, in order to be ready for those precious moments when they come. For they are precious and awesome, each and every one.
MC: The price we pay for our ideas of ourselves, our “me”, is that we lose sight of that fact.
PVH: The only way to drop that idea is to regain the recognition of the awesome beauty which we are swimming in. Because it shows us beauty, abstract affection is the indispensable ingredient in a life well-lived. And in the warrior’s way. It is the art of feeling awe.
MC: The path with heart…
PVH: The Nagual Carlos Castaneda said, “To journey with someone, that is something.” Most of us haven’t learned how to give affection in the abstract, so we seek out individuals to act as surrogates for the world—our lovers become our entire world. This is obviously a mistake. For one thing, most of us feel that the world owes us something–so we transfer that debt to our surrogate. But even having realized this, it is valuable to learn with people before we attempt the world. It’s a place to begin.
MC: The world owes us—what? Love, happiness?
PVH: Yes, and all the rest of our “entitlements”. Our dignity, our pride, our rights, justice, gratitude, commiseration, pity, recognition, entertainment, the list is endless—as are our grievances.
MC: And we’re owed none of it.
PVH: To follow the path with heart is to realize that it is we who are in debt, for the gift of life, and that the only thing we can do is to make the most of it. To realize that no one owes us anything, ever, no matter how much we’ve given them. Certainly not payment in kind, or gratitude, or recognition. Carlos Castaneda used to say, “A warrior takes the cash and lets the credit go.”
MC: We have nothing to give that we were not ourselves given.
PVH: Exactly. None of it belongs to “me”. No one owes “me” anything. Who knows? Perhaps we will learn that instead we owe ourselves a romance with life, and this will be a gift to the world, and to those we love.