My wise man of the woods...
My wise man of the woods...

Carter has an unusual way of expressing himself, which I find delightful and provokative. He is a quiet man who thinks a lot. I was telling him pretty much what I posted to all of you last time in my autumn reflection. He wandered downstairs to his computer, and wrote this for me, and I liked it and thought I would share it with you. So, here it is, unedited: Carter speaks!

“Patience. The idea arose in our morning conversation today. Waiting, I think is another word for it. Word’s thesaurus gives “endurance, staying power, tolerance, lack of complaint, persistence, fortitude, serenity” as alternative words.  But none of them capture, for me, the feeling of patience. But, I think tolerant, serene persistence does. Carlos Castaneda’s Juan Metus had much to say about waiting and patience. For don Juan the key was impeccable intent. Impeccability and intent were prevalent in all of his teachings the core of which is “Personal Power”.

Personal power is the accumulation and use of energy by an individual. Our activities can give us energy or rob us of energy. Adrenalin is the body’s way of providing us with energy when we are under stress or threat. In olden times when hominids lived in and with nature, adrenalin energy was used to fight or flee.  An instant decision was made to make a stand or run away based on the circumstances, the ability to perceive them and the ability of the mind to evaluate and respond. If the mind couldn’t make a decision (or the situation were perceived as hopeless) the individual would freeze, fail to respond and become a victim of the circumstances. Adrenalin energy is autonomic. It is a direct response by the body to a circumstance that affords a boost so we can react. If we freeze, we give ourselves over to fate and forfeit control to fear. However, if we act impeccability, we use the energy that adrenalin gives us to take action, take control of our fate and act with the knowledge that we have done our best.

That knowledge comes from our intent. The most dangerous warrior, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, is one who finds himself cornered and hopeless. He will not freeze. He will not give himself over to fate. He will war to his honorable death, for war is at his core. This brave warriors’ intent is impeccable. His intent is the knowledge of what he is and being true to what he is to the very end. Had the warrior recognized his situation as hopeless and surrendered with the intent to live to fight another day he too would have acted with impeccable intent. You see, either warrior assesses the situation and makes a choice and acts true to his core. A third warrior might be shaking in his boots with fear and throw down his arms and beg for mercy. Unless we know what is in his mind, we cannot know his intent. Was it a charade to stall for time, a diversion to give others an opportunity to escape, cowardice or something else?

In any case, it is the warrior’s knowledge, the warrior’s action and the warrior’s intent that allows the warrior to know that he has done his best to remain true to his core. Accumulation of personal power is different. Personal power comes from taking action that is true to your core and being energized by it. Some things make us feel good. And some things are neutral and some things make us feel bad. The range between good and bad is large and a matter of degree. Jogging, for example, may be energizing if we jog within ourselves and feel good while we are jogging and we feel good afterward.  But the result may be depleting if we have a cold, sore feet and a bad back. The better choice might be to take two aspirin and go to bed. It’s all a matter of our assessment of the conditions, knowledge of our core and acting true to that core.

If we remain true to our core, honest to ourselves and do things that actually make us feel good we receive energy. The more good feelings that our actions give us, the more energy we get from our activities and the better we get at storing that energy for times of need. The more energy depleting actions we take the less energy we have when we need it. Things that make us feel bad may still be energizing. We might be involved in a task that we don’t like. We can surrender to dislike and allow dislike to rob us of energy and allow it to control our fate. Or we can see the task as necessary, accept the necessity of it, perform the task to the best of our ability, and be energized by a job well done under difficult circumstances.

In the latter case, personal power sees us through. The energy we have stored transforms a depleting task to an energizing task without changing a thing. We have used our personal power with impeccable intent to achieve a positive result which increases personal power. The more stuff we do that feels good AND energizes us the more personal power we acquire. The more depleting things we do, the more we are robbed of energy and the less personal power we have.  The whole thing begins with finding our core and remaining true to it. Things that embellish our core will generate energy that increases our personal power. When we use personal power with impeccable intent, we are satisfied that we have done our very best and if we have stored enough personal power we are energized by the knowledge that we have remained true to the core and acted with impeccable intent.

We use our personal power with impeccable intent when we wait patiently. In this case we must not do impeccably. “Not doing” does not mean “do nothing”. It is not freezing. Not doing means waiting impeccably for a result from our actions. We have assessed a situation, determined what is needed and taken action to the best of our ability. Once we have done the best we can the result is out of our control. We cannot control all the variables. We must recognize that all we can do is our best, accept that we have done our best, maintain impeccable intent and be true to our core.”

When everything is done to our able best we wait patiently and accept whatever the result. Waiting patiently with impeccable intent is “not doing”. We have done what was needed and now we are letting Mystery unfold. If we are haunted by doubt or fear we are questioning our actions. We cannot wait patiently with impeccable intent when we doubt or fear because what we are really doing is questioning our actions. We are robbing ourselves of energy and wasting our personal power. We are taking depleting action by worrying and torturing ourselves with doubt. “Not doing” is necessary when we finished doing. Waiting patiently is “not doing” with impeccable intent.

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