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Self-actualization: The power of limiting our accessibility October 2, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development Potential.
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If we are to fully realize our potential in personal development, we need to reduce our accessibility to the outside world, and we must learn to be “deliberately available and unavailable,” according to Don Juan Matus. (1)

Don Juan stresses, for example, that “The art of the hunter is to become inaccessible… [which] means that you touch the world around you sparingly. You don’t eat five quail; you eat one…you don’t damage the plants just to make a barbecue pit…you don’t use and squeeze people until they have shrivelled to nothing.”

Don Juan further explains that the hunter, confident in his ability, knows that he can obtain game repeatedly through his skills, and so he does not worry about that aspect of his existence, and in that respect is inaccessible.

He is not desperate, like the person who worries they will never eat again, and so eats five quail at once.

According to Don Juan, when we worry we cling to things out of desperation and by repeatedly doing this we become exhausted, and we also exhaust whomever or whatever we are clinging to.

(1) As detailed in Carlos Castaneda’s book, Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan. The book, part of a series, features “conversations” between a Mexican shaman, Don Juan Matus, and Carlos Castaneda, when the latter was doing anthropological research in Mexico.

In these “conversations” Don Juan speaks using images of the world he is familiar with in the Mexican desert, to make his philosophical points.  There is discussion/debate concerning whether Castaneda’s writings should be viewed as anthropology or as dramatized literature, or as a combination of both.

—Dennis Mellersh

Personal development: The power of accepting our mortality October 1, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development Potential.
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It may be possible that we could fall short of reaching our full potential because we often act as if we are going to live forever; and because of that tendency we do not make a concerted effort to change.

This is one of the life lessons that Carlos Castaneda tries to convey through the following reported “conversation” with the shaman Don Juan Matus, who admonishes Castaneda:

“You think your life is going to last forever.”

“No, I don’t”

“Then, if you don’t think your life is going to last forever, what are you waiting for? Why the hesitation to change?”

This is a tough message.

For most of us, accepting our mortality and the very real brevity of our lives is something we put beneath the surface of our active thinking as we go about our everyday lives.

But we are going to die, and as Don Juan reminds us, “There is no power which could guarantee that you are going to live one more minute.”

What then, should we do?

“Trust your personal power. That’s all one has in this whole mysterious world,” Don Juan advises.

This verbal exchange* takes place in Carlos Castaneda’s book, Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan.  It is one of a series Castaneda wrote on “the teachings of Don Juan.”

They are intriguing and challenging books, featuring a lot of provocative advice on personal behaviour patterns and ways to develop our personal power.

* There is some discussion/debate as to whether this series of books by Castaneda should be considered as anthropology, as literature, or as a combination of both. It is a remarkable series, which some people have found transformative.

— Dennis Mellersh