Words are tremendously powerful and important and are the magical property of whoever has them. Sorcerers have a rule of thumb: they say that the deeper the assemblage point moves, the greater the feeling that one has knowledge and no words to explain it. ~ Don Juan, The Power of Silence
It’s a funny thing, these words. Any words. One of my predilections is communications. I am a communicator. My major was communications; international communications, multi-cultural communications, bi-lingual communications, interpersonal communications. And, I love to write as a means of communicating.
I also have a love-hate relationship with words. Since my joy is in learning, I love words that are creative, or an act of creation or the sharing of ideas, the words that are used for problem solving, for expressing ones deepest feelings and for conveying awareness. I love the words that others use when trying to explain something that…well…there are just no words for because it forces them to be creative. I love the words that are used in song, the ones that someone thoughtfully put together with a melody in order to express their own joy, or sorrow. Spoken word is awesome to witness too, as one becomes art in motion within a rhythmic beat that allows the speaker to express their own consciousness and often, radical viewpoints. And the words that challenge one’s perspective are often the best since they cause one to pause and review their perception often providing them with the opportunity to move beyond that perception and into new or greater awareness.
So what is the other side of this coin? It’s the finger pointing and the one-upmanship, the blame and condemnation that arises as a direct response to someone else’s words. It’s the lack of respect or honor that one has towards another person when they are merely attempting to convey their, sometimes, innermost thoughts. And yet, we all have the proclivity to do this in one way, shape or form and I do not exempt myself from this observation. Words have the propensity to entrap people and, to entrap one’s self, one’s attention and to fixate the assemblage point. Don Miguel Ruiz, who offers simplification to the Castaneda works says, “Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
When is it appropriate to challenge someone’s words and when is it best to remain silent? Sometimes silence is the best response and speaks volumes. Silence is good when we want to avoid starting a debate or when dealing with ignorance and fools. Don Juan says that a warrior takes nothing personally and has no points to defend. When the Buddha was asked to declare a truth, the Buddha remained silent because he knew that everyone had to arrive at their own truth which arrives based on one’s perceptions gained through their experiences.
Some situations, however, require a response. These include opportunities for discernment when someone’s words can create a dangerous situation for others or when lies are spoken that could impact many. Responses lead to dialoguing and conversation which leads to communication which leads to knowledge and awareness. I suppose though, that these are human responses and not the response of some enlightened monk or flawless warrior. Thank goodness I’m still human.
Protocols and the myriad of words to express them are something that have always irritated me since they dictate the manner through which one must act in order to be “acceptable” to others. Over the course of ten years while I was learning how to conduct ceremony from my Native American benefactor, he always encouraged me to do my best, to enter silent knowledge and always work from vision. Others who walk this path imposed upon me the “right” way to do this and when to sing that and what to wear and how to pray and when to approach others, bla, bla, bla. I took the advice of my benefactor and worked from vision dismissing all protocol to the dismay and accusations of many.
Religion does this too. Words, words, words; what’s Christian, what’s not, whose right, wrong, upside down and hypocritical. This Toltec Path of warriors of freedom is proving to be similar…the ones who say they know it are the ones who will impose it on you. There are those who seem to have it down pat as far as what it means to be an impeccable warrior and know how to always act in accordance to WWCD (what would Carlos do). My perception of the works of Castaneda has been grounded in pure freedom, freedom to think independently, act independently and dance through this mysterious life with awareness and in beauty, always willing to continually learn.
I have long thought of myself as a Toltec Warrior but maybe, based on the perceptions from those who are expert Toltec Warriors, I’m not. And I have a lot of gratitude to those who have challenged me to realize that perhaps I have pigeonholed myself into this paradigm which I have apparently outgrown as I recognize the limitations that cause me to feel bound and restricted. I will heed my own advice and recapitulate even this paradigm of “freedom” to ensure that I am not pinned down by the thoughts and expectations of others. I am a female and I am a warrior who will keep communicating and writing and most of all, keep dancing! Thank you all, happy NEW year!
A warrior acts as if she knows what she is doing, when in effect she knows nothing. ~ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan