"Only if one loves this Earth with unbending passion can one release one's sadness,” Don Juan said. “A warrior is always joyful because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the Earth, embraces him and bestows on him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their being.”
Carlos Castaneda, “Tales of Power”
Violence always has its reasons. Intimacy does not know reason, and reason cannot begin to grasp it. Violence is always reductive; it reduces an entity to a victim or perpetrator, an object to be feared, used, or destroyed. The complexification of our life is a form of violence. It reduces our existence to a choreography of thought-forms, and thus tears us away from the simple intimacy of Being. The Earth, in this case, is the true teacher... it is only she who can remind us. She does not speak, she is beyond the violence of language. She invites us to intimacy, a true, deep, wordless understanding.
In another place don Juan tells Carlos that there is no kindness without sadness. Sadness, when freed from self-pity, reminds us of the other as a being with feeling, in need of love. Kindness allows sadness to move naturally by immediately embracing the other, and to therefore be transformed into empathy and understanding. These are the seeds of Intimacy, which is the total absence of separateness. In an inescapable prison or self-made fortress (same thing, edifices of the pain-body), the sadness becomes absolute. And then there is only violence.
The ecological situation we face today is, no doubt, a war. But it is not a war that needs to be fought. It is a war that needs to be ended. The more fighting there is, the more war. This war can only be ended on the energetic level, and it can be “ended” continuously with a shift in the quality of our actions... action after action. It is also necessary to understand that while individual actions in everyday life have their importance, the true power lies in lifting the veil of separateness, that veil full of opinions, strategies, pride, which somehow block so-called 'conscious' people from supporting each other's work. Nobody has the truth, for the truth is a collective endeavour. And so is change. (By way of synchronicity, this article is being concluded during a New Moon bearing a fixed cross. The four elements are astrologically aligned.)
At the store, some days ago, I was attentively looking at a plastic package to verify whether it was recyclable where I live. In a moment of realization I asked myself, “why am I doing this? Is this action arising out of love for the Earth, or am I simply indulging in my guilt patterns?” This is an important question, for the same action can have different consequences, according to its energetic quality. In one case one is adding to the frequency of intimacy, in the other, one is simply adding to the power of the collective pain-body through recurring acts of violence on oneself.
Any course of action the warrior is called to take is secondary to the subtle action that underlies it. The true end of this war can happen only at its source. And this is primarily an energetic matter. The power of a vampiric life-form like the collective pain-body lies in our unconsciousness of what our actions are “made of”. The correct response is to free ourselves and therefore our actions from unconscious pain.
But first there has to be acceptance. Without acceptance every action is already a pollution. The negative feelings created within us by the acts of violence committed on Mother Earth need to be acknowledged, as these pollute our lives with anger, hopelessness and guilt.
We must become increasingly aware of the fact that ecological anxiety and guilt are now present in the very fabric of everyday life. Most actions we have to perform in order to simply live, now come with an added burden of their possible ecological implications.
This is not at random, it is pain-body 101. Pain-body creates the problem, pain-body feeds on the problem. Strong, negative, irresolvable emotion and endless mental tension is the kind of food the collective and individual pain-body relishes.
Any action, no matter how noble on the outside, carried out under the auspices of guilt, fear, self-importance, self-pity, or anger, will inevitably manifest more negativity. The more our actions are freed from the commands of the pain-body, the less residue they will leave for the pain-body to nourish itself on.
Reducing Residue is, in fact, the name of the game.
“Genaro's love is the world,” he said. “He was just now embracing this enormous Earth but since he's so little all he can do is swim in it.”
Carlos Castaneda, “Tales of Power”
The ending pages of Tales of Power are a true revelation to the heart of the warrior. In them the Path with Heart is revealed as a relationship of mutual love and nurturing between Man and Earth. And it is from this love that any practice in true ecological living must have its origin.
The Intimacy don Genaro expresses, along with the carefully chosen words of don Juan, provide us with a priceless map of how to end this war.
Don Juan allows us to hold our sadness. And yet it is a sadness of love, the kind that leads to kindness. And this kindness starts with being kind to ourselves; to find, underneath all the fear, agitation and guilt that we must face every second of our lives, the simple joy of being alive on this magnificent and generous Earth.
“A warrior is always joyful because his love is unalterable”.
Through his 'swimming' don Genaro acknowledges our insignificance, our smallness. At the same time, however, he also acknowledges the significance of the love we can give, and the joy of living for and in this gift. He also, and perhaps most significantly, points us towards pleasure and humour, that irreverent, boundless enjoyment of life that the serious man's world is always so baffled by.
The end of the war is the birth of inner freedom.