A Spiritual Warrior has to believe! Another tribute to Don Juan’s teachings.
“The trump card of the warrior is that he believes without believing. But obviously a warrior can’t just say he believes and let it go at that. That would be too easy. To just believe without any exertion would exonerate him from examining his situation. A warrior, whenever he has to involve himself with believing, does it as a choice. A warrior doesn’t believe, a warrior has to believe.” -Don Juan
from “The Wheel of Time” pg. 141, by Carlos Castaneda.
I think that Socrates would have liked and got along well with Don Juan. They both believed that an essential task in life was to become paragons of reason. They both held logical thinking to be their religion. And ironically there conclusions about how to live life were remarkably similar. Both of them are only known to us through the reports of their disciples, neither of them having been interested in posterity.
This above quote from Don Juan is central to the teachings he gave Carlos Castaneda over a ten year period. It is a very interesting take on faith, for those of us with some experience studying and examining faith within religious milieus. Don Juan’s faith is logical; that is, he asserts that if one truly is a deep thinker one will come to the conclusion inevitably that to have faith is the only logical choice in life. A human really has no other logical choice than to believe in life, as fully as possible, because the opposite is to believe in death and to believe in death makes no sense because it is definitely coming anyway.
A warrior doesn’t believe, he has to believe, Don Juan teaches. I believe this is another way of describing the perspective of the mahatma. Krishna gives a description of the mahatma within the Bhagavad Gita and I believe it is congruous with Don Juan’s statement about faith. Krishna describes the mahatma to be someone of infinite care, concern and attention but with no preferences. I believe that is the same thing as saying that the mahatma “does not believe, he or she has to believe.” In other words the mahatma doesn’t believe because believe would involve giving the ego an importance that it doesn’t have but a mahatma has to believe because he or she is made up of love.
Faith, if we have it, is somewhat blind for most of us. We believe in something that seems right and good but is really beyond our capacity to understand. The warrior, in Don Juan’s descriptions, doesn’t however make anything out of his or her lack of capacity to understand. He knows that his lack of mental facility is inherent to his condition as a human and so doesn’t think he or she will ever have the capacity to understand so deeply that his belief will ever not be blind. But at the same time the warrior concludes that belief or faith is a fundamental component of true living. There is no way that a warrior can engage life fully without encountering what is beyond his intellectual faculty and so faith must be invoked or else he becomes a convention person, willfully denying the existence of what doesn’t fit his fixed world view. No, a warrior refuses to deny anything because that is death and so a warrior recognizes that he or she must believe. But because he or she will never have sufficient knowledge to truly believe (without a doubt) the warrior chooses to believe knowing that he or she cannot ever fully believe. Thus the warrior admits his or her limitations but pledges him or herself to the side of truth and goodness.
As I describe in detail in my book, THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE, this type of logic made sense to me when I came to an impasse in my life over 20 years ago. I knew then that I didn’t believe because I didn’t understand. I also saw that my lack of faith translated directly into self-destructive behavior and that self-destructive behavior, even when it was small and minor, was cumulative in life and would lead prematurely to death. Acknowledging, as Don Juan teaches, that death was the only certainty in life, I saw that my lack of belief was the height of foolishness and ignorance. From that point on I didn’t believe but I made the decision to believe because there really isn’t another logical choice in life. I didn’t really think that I could make something positive of my life, something that would make a difference somehow on this planet, but I knew that I had to act as if I did. Giving lip service to a faith is not enough, I realized. In fact, I didn’t actually have to believe but I did actually have to live as if I did. I had to live a life of faith despite my doubt because maybe, just maybe, I was wrong and miracles can happen.
“Death is the indispensable ingredient in having to believe. It is only because death is stalking him that a warrior has to believe that the world is an unfathomable mystery.
Having to believe in such a fashion is the warrior’s expression of his innermost predicament.” -Don Juan
“The Wheel of Time,” pg. 142.
Posted on April 27, 2015, in Don Juan, Scorpio Ring of Fire and tagged Belief, Death, Don Juan, faith, logic, mystery, reason, Scorpio Ring of Fire, self-destruction, Socrates, warrior. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.