When I lived in Brazil, I became very close with a community of passionate Argentinians, dedicated to the path of Shamanism. The prominent author they showed me was Carlos Casteneda.
Castenada wrote about the teachings of Don Juan Matus, who consistently painted the path of the warrior. In the warrior path one must accept responsibility foreverything. This demands one to look within in every action and to be willing to bring forth the strongest yet most subtle side of who they are.
Now and then I reflect on his teachings. I seek to balance them in my mind and heart with the tenants of Buddhism- the middle path. I also consider studies on the development of willpower.
Research suggests that willpower must be treated like a muscle. In order to make it stronger, it must be exercised daily. It must be allowed proper rest. Its development must be gradual and patient.
To paraphrase Kelly McGonigal from The Willpower Instinct, if we go too hard toward one aspect of our personality and suppress the other side of ourselves, we will create a split personality. We may be able to suppress the one side for some time. Eventually though the unwanted side will rear its head up and demand to be fed. This could express itself in an emotional outburst or in self-destruction through addiction.
I believe that the path of the warrior and the middle ground integrate together. I have to be willing to put forth my best every moment regardless of how miserably I failed the moment before.
Sometimes a good kick in the butt and the words of a sharp, wise man is exactly what I need to snap me out of lethargy into warriorhood. Then the teachings of Don Juan awaken my sleeping giant.
“The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”
-From Tales of Power
“We hardly ever realize that we can cut anything out of our lives, anytime, in the blink of an eye.”
-From Journey To Ixtlan
“The flaw with words is that they always make us feel
enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always
fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without
enlightenment. For this reason, a warrior seeks to act rather than
to talk, and to this effect, he gets a new description of the
world where talking is not that important, and
where new acts have new reflections.”
-From Tales of Power