Don Juan teaches about making friends with your death.

“A warrior thinks of his death when things become unclear.
The idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit.”

Don Juan quoted within
The Wheel of Time
by Carlos Castaneda, pg.39.


“One of the great aids that the shamans of ancient Mexico employed in establishing the concept of the warrior was the idea of taking our death as a companion, a witness to our acts. Don Juan said that once that premise is accepted, in whatever mild form, a bridge is formed which extends across the gap between our world of daily affairs and something that is in front of us, but has no name; something that is lost in a fog, and doesn’t seem to exist; something so terribly unclear that it cannot be used as a point of reference and yet it is there undeniably present.”
ibid, pg.70.


Some of you may have already read my book, THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE, in which I describe how I came to realize the importance of the idea of death to living life and also how I began to develop a personal relationship to that idea. As I outline in that book, I took Don Juan up on his advice to consider my own death when making decisions in life. I also took his advice on different types of exercises designed to help make such a difficult consideration. I can certainly say that Don Juan’s promises were not empty; they did deliver on their promises to me.

The most valuable result of a healthy relationship to my own death has been what Castaneda calls in that above quote, the formation of “a bridge.” If I had to describe that bridge in the simplest terms I would call it a connection, or a junction, created between the practical, subjective reality and the Absolute, objective one. Don Juan was not the first spiritual teacher to impress me with the importance of creating such a bridge. I had imagined that anything that could shift my consciousness out of the “me-first” orientation that was its default would be valuable in providing relief to the heaviness of life. Religions often describe this same bridge in terms of the figure of God. They describe it as a connection to God, developing faith in God, deriving joy in God, etc.

But this “bridge” is not confined to the simply religious. In Plato’s works Socrates continually implored everyone to re-orient their lives in the same way. Socrates asked his fellow citizens to reground their lives in the Absolutes of philosophy and rational thinking. By considering the Absolutes of philosophy we come to identify with them and then we eventually change our ideas about death. Thus, Plato quotes Socrates in his work “Phaedo:” “Is not philosophy the practice of death? . . . . What does [success for the soul] mean other than she [the soul] has been a true disciple of philosophy and has practiced how to die easily?”

Knowing “how to die easily” is valuable for the reasons that Castaneda gives above: it creates that valuable “bridge” between this fixed and limited world and the other, unseen and yet ever-present and completely perfect one. Spiritual practices are thus practices in “dying easily” and have as their first goal, overcoming fear, as their second, overcoming the false ideas about death that created those fears, and then as their third, building the “bridge” to the Absolute, to the Divine, to the Eternal.





About Kilaya

Kilaya is a yogi who is also well-versed in the sciences. He studied physics and mathematics at college, biology and molecular biology on his own, fluid dynamics while working as a professional plumber and has always had a passion for in-depth psychology. Now he adds what he has learned from his spiritual master, Amma, and from his life as a professional astrologer to his writings in order to make discoveries that may inspire others.

Posted on April 25, 2015, in Don Juan, Scorpio Ring of Fire, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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