A couple days ago, I was horrified to realize that in a moment of frustration I had dumped a load of my own garbage on someone in an email. I was pretentious, obnoxious, demeaning, inappropriate, humorless, and it was with someone I hardly knew.
Aside from feeling sick to my stomach with shame, it felt like a wake-up call about my life in general.
It also reminded me of this passage from Journey to Ixtlan:
Don Juan: “To be inaccessible means you touch the world around you sparingly. You don’t eat five quail; you eat one. You don’t damage the plants just to make a barbeque pit. You don’t use and squeeze people until they have shrivelled to nothing. . . .
“To be [a warrior] means you deliberately avoid exhausting yourself and others,” he continued. “It means that you are not hungry and desperate, like the poor bastard that feels he will never eat again and devours all the food he can, all five quail!”
Don Juan was definitely hitting me below the belt. I laughed and that seemed to please him. He touched my back lightly. . . .
“A hunter uses his world sparingly and with tenderness, regardless of whether the world might be things, or plants, or animals, or people, or power. A hunter deals intimately with his world and yet he is inaccessible to that same world.”1
Questions for consideration:
- What does don Juan mean when he says “a hunter uses his world sparingly and with tenderness”?
- When you think of your own role models or teachers, do they treat people and things this way? Do they wait until they have an invitation or some kind of permission from someone before giving them their opinions, etc.? I used to think that my own teacher gave his opinions forcefully to everyone, all the time, but when I paid closer attention I realized this was not true at all, it was simply my own projection onto him.
- Have you ever taken someone or something for granted, and squeezed the person or thing until they disappeared? How did that feel, during and afterward?
- Why would we want to treat inanimate things with respect? Do your role models or teachers do that?