Castaneda on not trashing or squeezing people

Journey to IxtlanA 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?

BoT Student

  1. Excerpted from Journey to Ixtlan:  The Lessons of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda.  (New York:  Washington Square Press, 1991.)  As included in The Basket of Tolerance by Adi Da Samraj.
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7 comments · now closed

  1. Daniela Morena   Thumb up +2

    Great books. Never mind whether he was a real or an imaginary person. He was the very first one to open my mind to other possibilities apart from my ordinary life.

    My memories about our own Teacher (yours and mine) are that He always was extremely respectful, even when He would thrash you in front of everyone!

  2. Rob Gaasbeek   Thumb up +1

    Around ’73 we were really ‘into Carlos’, very much identified with his stumbling into the world of shamans and sorcery. Feeling into the elements and nature around us from a whole new perpective. And.. so much wanting it to be so! Looking for omens and trying to converse with plants and animals. Becoming a warrior was no mean feat :-)

    I remember being disappointed to find out that Don Juan and Don Genaro were fictional characters. I always wished for our Teacher to have some friends in His ‘league’ to romp around with instead of us dingbats. Little did we know what was really still in store for us. Unmeasurable Grace.

    • Hi Rob,
      I don’t know if the Castaneda stories are 10% made-up or 100% made-up, but some of them are certainly interesting to me just as stories. Particularly this idea of not squeezing people.

      So now that you have found a new teacher, does he talk about having a psychic awareness wherein you can read omens? Or does he set an example of respecting people and animals and plants and inanimate things?

      One of the things I want to do with this blog is to explore commonalities. I used to think that having a spiritual teacher meant I was better than everyone else and had nothing in common with anyone else outside my little “group”, but I’m trying to explore if that’s really in fact true. :)

    • Rob Gaasbeek   Thumb up +1

      Dear BoT man,
      thanks for your reply. I can relate very much to what you’re saying since you and i share the same Teacher. My preoccupation with Carlos pretty much faded as soon i set foot on Persimmon. Now mind you, at the time we had no clue Who was in our midst. To think that we played volleyball and romped around with Beloved is hard to imagine now. That’s why i said: Little did we know…

      You’re touching on a basic issue here with your blog and i must praise you for frankness and attempting to go ‘outside the box’. In that sense i always considered the Basket of Tolerance a great vehicle to bridge the distance between the little “group”and the world at large. You might possibly consider a forum format to go a bit deeper into upcoming considerations, although moderating the wheat from the chaff takes stamina.

      Either way, keep up the good work. You have great source material at your disposal.

  3. I’ve noticed a real artful timing in my Teacher. He can be very shocking, but it is always very appropriate to what I am ready or able to hear in that moment.

  4. Rob Gaasbeek   Thumb up +1

    ..or as Meher Baba used to say: ‘I always give you a little bit more than your preferred tolerance’.

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