At the end of his journey of learning, and almost without warning he will come upon the last of his enemies: old age! This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away. This is the time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind – a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature. His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge. – Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan
In 2015 I wrote a blog entitled warriors and the four natural enemies. Today I want to talk about the natural enemy of old age because this is the era that many who have aligned themselves with the Toltec path of knowledge and awareness are entering into. I bring this up at this time because I am witness to a group of warriors – who I have done work with for decades – succumb to old age, and some of them are still in their 40s. As a result, I felt myself slipping into a state of perma-rest until recently when faced with the choice of acquiescing to the predator or continuing the battle against it. Wake up call! The battle for knowledge and freedom continues.
Anyone can try to become a man of knowledge; very few men actually succeed, but that is only natural. The enemies a man encounters on the path of learning to become a man of knowledge are truly formidable; most men succumb to them. – Don Juan, The Teachings of Don Juan
In The Teachings of Don Juan, don Juan discussed the four natural enemies with Castaneda. These, he explained, are fear, clarity, power, and old age. Moving through my life I have found that most warriors are able to overcome fear. They are committed to facing their fears, defying it, and eventually defeating it. In their new states of fearlessness they begin to explore new areas of awareness which brings them to a state of clarity.
Clarity, however, presents a deeper battle, one that sometimes stifles a warrior’s growth. As a warrior arrives to a state of clarity their growth may become halted because they come to believe that they have become expert seers with all the answers. This clarity, don Juan said, is hard to obtain but also blinds and prevents them from learning anything new as they impose their limited knowledge onto others through the belief that they have become powerful seers. They must come to understand that their clarity was merely a point before their eyes.