Recently I have been reading more and more on the life and works of Carlos Castaneda.
For those of you who don’t know who he is here is a brief bio:
Carlos Castaneda was one of the greatest anthropologist of the new era. Born in Peru in 1925, he lived and studied in United States and graduated as an Anthropologist and Ethnographist. He later on studied Shamanism.
One of Carlos Castaneda’s greatest books is “The teachings of Don Juan”, here he relates his experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui man named Don Juan Matus.
Castaneda withdrew from public view in 1973 to work further on his inner development. He founded Cleargreen, an organization which promoted tensegrity; purportedly a traditional Toltec regimen of spirituality and powerful exercises.
Castaneda’s books make the reader experience a different reality. One focused not just on inner self but on a etherical world; a world we can’t experience due to our naked eye limitations. His books challenges us to question our own existence as we traditionally see it. His books challenges our traditional views by bringing to our awareness the reality of a world we seldom get in touch with.
It makes sense we would feel challenged, as most of our thoughts derive from our experiences and the information we absorb each and every day. We have developed a tendency to forget not everything we see is all there is. Our reality is like a dark room in which our eyes are the flashlight. Just because we can see a part of the room does not mean the rest of the room does not exist. To go around adjusting and living life as if all there is, is what we see with the flashlight, is not only foolish but limited; as a result our growth and experiences become limited.
I would like to share with you some of the greatest lessons taught to Castaneda. “The 4 natural enemies of man”. These lessons were shared with him after Castaneda raised the question on how can one become a man of knowledge. He was told in order to become a man of knowledge one must defeat the 4 natural enemies which have always been there and are always ready to feed off our light and seek to convince us we are limited instead of divine.
- FEAR. When a man starts the path of knowledge he comes to realize what he learns is never quite what he pictured or even imagined, as a result he begins to feel afraid. Every step of learning is a new task, so it’s natural it is never what one would expect. The fear we can experience at having our reality or ideas challenge is intense and the mind can become a battlefield. Fear is not an enemy, it is a sign to show us we need to heal or expand; however, it can become a terrible enemy if it remains concealed and one chooses to run away. The enemy then grows and wins by putting an end to his search of becoming a man of knowledge.
Castaneda’s teacher explained how if one runs from fear, one runs the risk of becoming a bully or a coward as the person becomes a defeated soul who no longer feeds the craving for knowledge and self discovery.
Castaneda was taught to defeat fear, one must overcome it. One must continue stepping in learning, no matter how hard, or how challenging to our beliefs it may be. He must be fully afraid and yet keep going, no stopping; after a while, his first enemy will retreat. Once, one has defeated fear one obtains full clarity. One can anticipate the steps of learning and a sharp clarity takes over everything, but the first victory will lead to the second enemy.
2) CLARITY. The clarity of mind which was so hard to obtain dispels fear but also blinds. It can force a man never to doubt himself. If the person gives into this make belief power, he will succumb to the second enemy; he will be clear but won’t learn anything else or even yearn to.
In order to defeat the illusion of power that comes with clarity, one must do the same as with fear. One must understand clarity is only a reference point. That particular reference point deludes one to believe one has unlimited power; one is a co-creator and can do as one pleases. Real clarity is understanding power needs balance and has to be handle responsibly.
By doing so one conquers the “illusion” but victory will lead to the third enemy.
3) POWER. A person at this stage finds it hard to notice the third enemy closing in. Suddenly without knowing, the enemy will have won.
Power can turn one into a cruel, capricious person; spoiled. A person defeated by power dies without knowing how to conquer it. Power becomes a burden, as the person does not know when or how to use power appropriately. Power makes him a slave through the opinion of others. The person hates to be challenged by others yet at the same time he does not want to disappoint.
In order to defeat this enemy, one has to defied it deliberately. One needs to realize, the power that he has was never part of one, but there to be used. He must keep in line at all times while using all that which he has learned.
One must learn to balance knowledge with experience. One must learn to live peacefully yet never allow atrocities to continue. One must learn not put weight in the opinions of others.
In conquering the third enemy, one comes across the fourth and last enemy.
4) OLD AGE. This enemy can be the cruelest of all. The one no one can defeat completely but only fight away. However if one has lived life conquering each of the previous three enemies, that person can have the peace of knowing that he has become a man of knowledge. Someone who has brought a little more light to the world. One has become a person who has shown others how to balance life; when to be peaceful, when to fight. Someone who knows there is more to life than what is seen; because of this he fears death no longer. When we lose our fear of death, we conquer our last enemy.
At our last moment on this physical plain, if we have achieve clarity, balanced power and knowledge, we will enjoy pure peace without fear of crossing over. After all the end is only a new beginning!