– don Juan Matus from The Second Ring of Power by Carlos Castaneda
Today I woke up on David’s couch. It was February 18, 2016 and still likely to be dark in the morning. I wondered what time it was. As long as it was after 5am and I wasn’t tired, I’d get up and make a pot of coffee. I was surprisingly chipper after having spent the past four weeks sleeping on his couch after the 80-year-old woman whose house I was living in and renting a room from went ballistic for no apparent reason — except that she claimed to have TBI and PTSD — which I now believe might actually be true.
As a “warrior in training,” my goal was to take the opportunity to deal with the situation as a warrior. In the end, I realized that it was my ego more than anything else that balked at the idea of living on someone’s couch. At a deeper level, where I am a warrior, I didn’t really care.
At one time, I thought these sorts of things mattered, but now I know they really don’t. In fact, I discovered through this experience that no one, other than oneself and the person whose couch you might happen to be sleeping on, even knows.
No one knows anything unless you tell them.
When don Juan Matus taught Carlos Castaneda to be a warrior, he insisted that a warrior erase personal history and eliminate the non-essentials. But most people can’t do this. They find it much too terrifying. I, on the other hand, am a natural-born warrior-hunter. The thought of being trapped and imprisoned by my fears and all the stuff I could bury myself in is much more terrifying.
In the series of books that Castaneda wrote, don Juan Matus, a Yaqui sorcerer, taught Castaneda how to be a warrior, hunting power. But what does it mean to be a warrior, hunting power?
It comes down to a concept he called “impeccability.” When a warrior is impeccable, she doesn’t waste energy. One of the ways a warrior avoids wasting energy is by not getting attached to a specific outcome. For a warrior, all outcomes are equal.
So, for me, accepting my new living arrangements with grace and ease was a way of being “impeccable.” And as I mentioned, it’s really just the ego that gets upset. This is what don Juan called “self-importance”. In modern lingo, we usually call it the petty ego.
Finally having reached a point where I think I can actually understand the concept of impeccability and possibly even live it, I really understand that it doesn’t matter what we do, the way don Juan used to tell Castaneda. He said in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, “All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. … Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.”
So that’s all that really matters – not what we do, since it all leads nowhere — but walking the path with heart.