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Setting up the Path of the Warrior

(Carlos Castaneda Lecture in The Phoenix Bookstore, Los Angeles, California– 1993)

A Nagual is a person with a double energy configuration. There were twenty seven Naguals in don Juan’s line. Don Juan called it sorcery. I think I could call it something else. Maybe Nagualism? Don Juan was teaching a way to break the psychological conditioning of the cognitive division that keeps us cut off from our sources. The world as we perceive it, was formed a priori. It was given to us. The most important thing don Juan said was that all our energy is engaged in defending our self. All of our effort goes into that. We have been involved defending our self-concept for so long that we don’t even notice it. It’s time we begin to find out for ourselves. Begin to “recapitulate” our life. Every action, every event, to find the “hinge” that represents our life. Our hinge is the way we relate to people. When I began to recapitulate I found I related to the world as a baby. I felt sorry for myself. My whole life was nothing but the endless repetition of this fact. When don Juan had me recapitulate my life, l saw how I spent my life defending this position. This was a horrendous realization. All I wanted was for someone to listen to my sad story and feel sorry for me. These ideas of self-importance blind us so much that we can’t see anything else, but it’s possible to dislodge one’s self from ideas of self-importance. Another way we do remain blind is by thinking fulfillment will come when we find a companion. We can even be married and still keep searching for someone to fulfil our needs. “She’s just my wife.” We don’t want to give, we are incredibly selfish, we only want to receive. Warriors, seers, Naguals, love without asking for anything in return, in this world or beyond. We don’t notice this self-importance that rules our existence. If we did, we wouldn’t do what we do to our bodies. The idea of the self is not ours, it’s time we untangle it. Don Juan gave a series of premises so we could begin to see what has happened to us, what they have done to us. Not as a comparison but as an enquiry.

Once I worked for a psychiatrist, as a research assistant, transcribing case histories from tapes. He had 3000 tapes with their stories. When I listened to the tapes I discovered they were all me. Their stories were my stories. Don Juan used to ask me what was my uniqueness. There was nothing unique about me. There were 3000 different people on those tapes and they all were me. There’s nothing unique, but there is something magical about us, we’re all going to die. Don Juan pulled me out of the social order so I could see they that they don’t care if I lived or died. It is destroying us. Why do we adhere to this absurd social order that only leads to our destruction? Affection, love – is only need. If you examine the social order through yourself you will see it’s not leading anywhere. Look at the social order not as a comparison but as an examination. A full realization of the social order and we see it has no meaning or purpose. Is it money or the other things we think has value? Or is it the biological imperative? Recapitulation is a way to attack self-importance. We need the energy that is supplied by an unbiased examination of reliving our horseshit, our self-importance.

Recreational drugs, ecstasy San Pedro? Saint Peter! We can’t find meaning from that. Dope makes us incapable of sustaining pressure. Don Juan used plants to heal and train my attention because I didn’t have an ounce of it. Instead of using drugs to find the magic in life there’s something much better. Self-discipline. It’s the only way out of the trap of the social order. With self-discipline we can do wonders. The warrior that is aware of death, he is aware of the trap of social order, he is aware of the trap of self-importance, he is aware of the trap of reason, he wants only freedom. Freedom is a leap into the inconceivable. Self-discipline is not catholic, it is fluid and free-flowing enjoyment that comes from 25 hours of awareness. These are the basic patterns of responsibility for a warrior: Don’t ask stupid questions. Don’t say I don’t understand, or could you tell me why. There is no rational explanation. If you want to know you have to try it – experiment!. Accepting that you are going to die. Death is non-negotiable, everyone that lived dies. Grab the idea and assume the responsibility that you are going to die. Naming it aloud is the primal force that obeys our call and we never use it. Say out loud, “I want the responsibility that I’m going to die”. It has to be said out loud, you just can’t think it. Power is not a mind reader. As you progress there will be an adjustment. Make your word final. A warrior has the consistency to stand by his word. Be committed to something for once in your life even if it’s your death. A warrior dies for his word. Saying something aloud is mysterious and magical but it’s subtle. The loud and clear voicing of your intent is the secret of secrets. Do it. Look in unknown places. Assume the responsibility to stand in front of the boundless. It isn’t weak, it doesn’t respond to supplication – it will piss on you. It doesn’t care. With the first premise alone you can have a stupendous experience. We have never been able to explain, with words alone.

We carry the world in us. The answer has to be constructed and we accept it. A warrior must stop right here. The most important thing for a warrior is to voice the responsibility of perceiving. We have no purpose, nothing to look forward to but senility. Everything is possible. We are already magicians. Go to the bottom, the lowest level and formulate the world on what’s there. At the bottom is death. I’m a human being therefore I am sublime. Voice your intent to be someone else to heal yourself. When I was ill I just jumped. I did what don Juan said. Disease is merely an indulgence. I loved my pain. You change your channel by voicing your intent. Then comes the Cloak of Confidence. Timidity and stiffness is our enemy. It’s not reasonable to believe that wings are the only way to fly. There are other options. Look for them. Ask a being who is going to die. Ask the mirror. Something will happen.

The third item for a warrior is indebtedness. Who am I indebted to now for this? Become responsible for what is given to you. Acquire a new kit. In receiving a teaching you are responsible for it. You are indebted for the rest of your life. Only something out there can cancel it out. You are responsible for seeing what sustains us. In paying you become free, if you refuse you become entangled by it. A being that is going to die assumes responsibility. Without responsibility we’re only egomaniacs. The pee is for the Baba. Suffice it to say everything that comes out of the Baba is sacred.

In the next talks I’ll talk about Dreaming, then Stalking and finally I’ll talk about the ethereal man. I won’t hold anything back. I tell you as a witness – I’ve been there. I’ve seen incredible things. It’s like tears in the rain. Wimp Gurus need to get a job. Not to reason.


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