When we are rigid, controlling, grasping, there is no room for Spirit. This is why don Juan counseled Castaneda to live the fluid life of a warrior and let go of material possessions. He says in The Eagle’s Gift, “The recommendation for warriors is not to have any material things on which to focus their power, but to focus it on the Spirit, on the true flight into the unknown, not on trivialities. Everyone who wants to follow the warrior’s path has to rid himself of the compulsion to possess and hold onto things.”
But detachment does not mean that we shut the door against a deep and rich emotional life. He says in The Fire From Within, “There is no completeness without sadness and longing, for without them there is no sobriety, no kindness. Wisdom without kindness and knowledge without sobriety are useless.” And “one of the greatest forces in the lives of warriors is fear, because it spurs them to learn.”
Water flows freely. It slips into the cracks that Spirit has opened. When we are free, fluid, flexible, and formless, we are able to see those cubic centimeters of chance that Power creates. In Tales of Power, don Juan tells Castaneda, “Power always makes a cubic centimeter of chance available to a warrior. The warrior’s art is to be perennially fluid in order to pluck it.” See, you never know when it will come or where it will be. That’s what makes life exciting.
We never know where the rabbit will pop out of its hole and that’s what makes life an adventure. We must be perennially on our toes, flowing gently alongside Spirit, embraced by Spirit, guided by Spirit. This is why warriors feel “lucky.” Because their minds are quiet and they are always open and waiting for that cubic centimeter of chance; when it comes, they slip right in.
“Warriors do not win victories by beating their heads against walls, but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over walls; they don’t demolish them.” Banging one’s head against a wall is like arguing with reality. Warriors do not waste their energy arguing with reality because they know they cannot win. We don’t need to bang our heads against a wall, or argue with reality, or demolish anything. By plucking that cubic centimeter of chance, we slip past any blocks or barriers. In fact, for Spirit and for the formless warrior, there are no obstacles. There is only the waiting and then the action, waiting for that cubic centimeter of chance and then plucking it.
Most people, what don Juan calls “the average men and women,” try to control everything. All the energy is focused on keeping things under control. In other words, they always want to know where the rabbit will pop out of its hole and at what time. When all goes according to their plans, they feel blessed. If all does not go according to their plans, they feel cursed.
Though a warrior lives strategically, which means consciously, she is not interested in controlling the outcomes. Rather she is interested in being free, fluid, flexible, and formless, like a bubbling stream, playful, alive, vital, refreshing, nourishing, enriching, and sweet.
But remember, water is not wimpy. It is one of the strongest, most powerful forces on earth.