Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does Your Path Have Heart?

Back in 1960's and 70's I was heavily influenced by the writings of Carlos Castaneda and his books about the Yaqui Sorcerer, Don Juan. This post I just want to share some of his teachings. Don Juan's way is the Way of the Warrior and he speaks of this often. One of his most famous teachings is about having a path with heart and is worth considering as you walk your warrior's path.

"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. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave the path must be free from fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times at you think necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead to nowhere; but one has 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....

...A path without heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it."

Just some words to consider as you look at the myriad of paths that come our way each and everyday, especially the path of Budo. Does your path have heart?

In Gassho,


  1. As an Anthropology major, I'm forced to stay in the camp that damns Casteneda for his academic fraud.

    But the mystic, the shamen, the seeker acknowledges the truths he shared. What is 'real'? Where does 'dream' end? *shrug*

    As my own guide tells me, 'You are a stupid white woman...but I will teach you.'

  2. As a young man I didn't care much if Carlos' experiences were 'real' or not. It invoked my imagination and touched a cord of truth within.

    Stories, fictional or not, are wonderful teachings...and I know you know this. Thanks for commenting.