Whether Juan Matus was real or not, Carlos Castaneda has some real wisdom to share through his books. Here are some of his precious teachings about life.
Carlos Castaneda was an author who wrote a number of books. His writings center around his purported experiences with a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” named don Juan Matus, who taught him the ways of shamanism. Castaneda’s books and teachings propelled readers into the spiritual realms of seeking out alternate views of reality. The teachings of the books are so powerful that they can transport readers into altered states of consciousness just by reading them.
Castaneda was studying anthropology and journeyed into Mexico to meet with the Yaqui Indian Native American sorcerer as part of a project. Initially, he thought he was embarking on a journalistic journey to learn about their teachings, but he ended up becoming a student of Don Juan and fully immersing himself in the sorcerer’s world, which involved the use of peyote to a great extent.
Castaneda’s books contain various beliefs about the world beyond the veil: spirits, entities, different ways of perceiving the world, forces of energy, malevolent and benevolent, and manipulating our dreaming consciousness. Those who are interested in learning about an alternate view of the world can consider reading his books. Castaneda died of cancer in 1998.
Carlos Castaneda: Aphorisms and Explanations
1. Choose the right perspective
“Everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life” is available to you. We either make ourselves miserable or strong; the amount of work is the same. The trick lies in what one emphasizes.’’
As per Carlos Castaneda, we all have access to everything we need to live our lives to the fullest, regardless of whether we view our lives as extravagant or not. He goes on to point out that the amount of effort required to achieve our goals, whether it is to make ourselves miserable or strong, is the same. The key lies in what we choose to emphasize, that is, what we focus our attention on.
We have a choice in how we approach our lives, and our perspective can have a significant impact on our experience. By emphasizing the positive aspects of our journey, we can cultivate strength and resilience, while focusing on the negative can lead to misery and despair. In other words, Castaneda is encouraging us to choose our focus wisely and to approach life with a positive and empowered mindset.
2. Find balance in life’s challenges and blessings
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.” The aim is to balance the terror and wonder of being alive.’’
Carlos Castaneda’s view is that there is a fundamental difference in mindset between an ordinary person and a warrior. According to him, ordinary people tend to view events in their lives as either positive or negative, as blessings or curses. On the other hand, a warrior sees everything as a challenge to be faced and overcome.
By viewing everything as a challenge, a warrior adopts a mindset of strength and resilience rather than one of victimhood or helplessness. This mindset allows the warrior to confront difficult situations with courage and determination, rather than being overwhelmed by fear or despair.
However, Castaneda also emphasizes the importance of balance in this mindset. The “terror and wonder” of being alive refers to the fact that life is both challenging and awe-inspiring. While it is important to approach challenges with a warrior’s mindset, it is also important to appreciate and enjoy the beauty and wonder of life.
3. Choose your own way with clarity and discipline
‘’Anything is one of a million paths; therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity, you must lead a disciplined life.’’
Carlos Castaneda suggests that there are many paths in life, and it’s important to remember that each path is simply one of many possibilities. If a path doesn’t feel right, it’s important to let it go and choose another. To make such decisions with clarity, one must live a disciplined life. Fear or ambition should not influence the decision to stay on a path or leave it. One should examine each path closely and deliberately and ask whether ‘it has a heart’. It’s better to pick a path with a heart—the one with which you feel content—than one that doesn’t relate to you.
Castaneda emphasizes that all paths in life lead nowhere and that death is the ultimate advisor. When things appear to be going wrong, it can be beneficial to ‘turn to death’ and consider whether it really matters. Death reminds us that nothing matters outside of its touch and that we should live our lives with intention and purpose. Castaneda encourages us to choose our own path in life with clarity, discipline, and a willingness to let go of anything that doesn’t align with our hearts.
4. The pursuit of freedom
‘’To seek freedom is the only driving force I know – freedom to fly off into that infinity out there, freedom to dissolve, to lift off, to be like the flame of a candle which, in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.’’
In this quote, Carlos Castaneda talks about the pursuit of freedom as the primary motivating force in life. The freedom he refers to is not just physical freedom but also spiritual and existential freedom. The desire to be free is what drives us to seek out new experiences, explore new horizons, and push beyond our limits.
Castaneda uses the metaphor of a candle to illustrate his point. The candle represents the human being, with its limited lifespan and finite abilities. However, even though the candle is small and insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe, it possesses a unique quality that allows it to shine brightly among the stars in the universe (by simply being itself).
The reference to “flying off into that infinity out there” suggests that the ultimate goal of seeking freedom is to transcend the limitations of the physical world and achieve a higher level of consciousness. Castaneda believed that this was possible through the use of shamanic practices and other spiritual techniques, which he explored in his books.
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