The world is full of people that act like victims, blaming others for their problems. Acting this way is not acceptable for warriors.
Warriors continually shift their focus from others to themselves, so they can catch self-limiting behaviors. Doing this is a process that don Juan calls “the art of stalking” in The Second Ring of Power.
Don Juan explains this art to Carlos Castaneda:
“It doesn’t matter what anybody says or does. You must be an impeccable man yourself. The fight is right here in this chest. It takes all the time and all the energy we have to conquer the idiocy in us. And that’s what matters. The rest is of no importance. To be an impeccable warrior will give you vigor and youth and power.”
The principles for self-stalking are practices we do continually; the principles teach us how to be impeccable with our attention while we practice, whether we are rock climbing, at home, or at work.
The Seven (7) Principles of Self Stalking
- We choose the arena: “The first principle of the art of stalking is that warriors choose their battleground. A warrior never goes into battle without knowing what the surroundings are.” Our daily lives are full of challenges, many of which we don’t select. They seem imposed upon us. Yet, we can live each day with awareness, which helps us know our surroundings.
- We focus: “To discard everything that is unnecessary is the second principle of the art of stalking.” We miss important elements in the battleground or are caught off guard unless we focus. Therefore, we discard unnecessary mental chatter and focus our attention on our surroundings.
- We align our motivation: “Apply all the concentration you have to decide whether or not to enter into battle, for any battle is a battle for one’s life. This is the third principle of the art of stalking. A warrior must be willing and ready to make his last stand here and But not in a helter-skelter way.” We evaluate our motivation and continually align it with intrinsic learning-based processes, which keep our attention in the here and now.
- We trust the process: “The fourth principle of the art of stalking is; relax, abandon yourself, fear nothing. Only then will the powers that guide us open the road and aid us.” We don’t know what we need to learn before we learn it. Therefore, we trust how situations guide our learning. A great way to do this is developing the practice of honoring petty tyrants, those irritating people, and situations that distract our attention. We honor stress instead of being offended by it.
- We cycle out of battle if needed: “The fifth principle is; when faced with odds that cannot be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment.” We can’t stay in stress Therefore, we pay attention to our need for rest and seek ways to retreat if needed.
- We pay attention in the moment: “The sixth principle: warriors compress time; even an instant counts. In a battle for your life, a second is an eternity; an eternity that may decide the outcome.” Warriors value each moment by being present. They pay attention to what’s occurring now.
- We are covert, not overt: “A stalker never pushes himself to the front. Only a master stalker can be a master of controlled Controlled folly is not an outright deception but a sophisticated, artistic way of being separated from everything while remaining an integral part of everything.” The worst thing we can do is draw attention to ourselves. That only emboldens the ego. Therefore, we go about our lives controlling the folly that balances separating from an achievement-oriented life while remaining integrally connected to a learning-based life.
What is the result of self-stalking?
Don Juan shares the results of practicing self-stalking:
“Applying these principles brings about three results. The first is that stalkers learn never to take themselves seriously; they learn to laugh at themselves. If they’re not afraid of being a fool, they can fool anyone. The second is that stalkers learn to have endless patience. Stalkers are never in a hurry; they never fret. And the third is that stalkers learn to have an endless capacity to improvise.”
We’re able to laugh at ourselves, be patient, and improvise because warriors value the process. Only end results cause us to get frustrated, impatient, and be inflexible to change.
Warriors flow with life by adapting themselves to a life that is continually changing. Self-stalking helps them learn who they are and diminish limiting behaviors. They practice with their attention, letting it flow along the ever-changing river of life.