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.
The ancients started with an understanding that we are transitory, but they allowed themselves to become corrupted by seductive ideas of survival. As a result, they were filled with self-importance and lapsed into exclusivity. The new seers discontinued all that by giving the fluidity of the assemblage point first priority. They had observed that, as soon as that point moves, the idea of secrecy changes into idiocy, because in the realm of energy there are no rigid limits between conscious beings. In consequence, what became most important for them was to get rid of all speculation and emphasize the practical side of the path. ~ Carlos Castaneda, Encounters with the Nagual
The exclusivity of the sorcerers’ party in the Castaneda paradigm basically became their demise as they attempted to remain in isolated separation from the rest of the world. They diligently worked at honing their skills towards connecting more deeply with intent and silent knowledge for their goal of ultimate freedom but guarded it intensely as though they had been carefully chosen to be the sole warriors of awareness from a long lineage that preceded them. They lived within a concept that they called “the Rule” and were dedicated to a tradition of people of knowledge that stretched back thousands of years, however, they were extremely private and believed that everything outside of the strict adherence to the teachings was a waste of time. And then when Carlos left this world his party disappeared completely!
We are children of the Earth, it is our ultimate source. The option of sorcerers is to unite with the awareness of the Earth, for as long as the Earth will live. ~ Carlos Castaneda,Encounters with the Nagual
Don Juan described an ally as being “a power capable of transporting a man beyond the boundaries of himself”; that is, an ally was a power that allowed one to transcend the realm of ordinary reality. Consequently, to have an ally implied having power; and the fact that a man of knowledge had an ally was by itself proof that the operational goal of the teachings had been fulfilled. Since that goal was to show how to become a person of knowledge, and since a person of knowledge was one who had an ally, another way of describing the operational goal of don Juan’s teachings was to say that they also showed how to obtain an ally. The concept “man of knowledge,” as a sorcerer’s philosophical frame, has meaning for anyone who wants to live within that frame only insofar as he had an ally.