I had little awareness that I was that “someone.” Sometimes life feels this way. We feel overwhelmed, lonely, and separate.
Love is a force that connects us, not just to each other, but to the greater world; love limits feeling overwhelmed and separate. Don Juan emphasized this to Carlos Castaneda in Tales of Power.:
“This is the predilection of a warrior. This earth, this world. For a warrior there can be no greater love. Only if one loves this earth with unbending passion can one release one’s sadness. A warrior is always joyful because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the earth, embraces him and bestows upon him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings.”
Sadness is a natural human emotion. It’s exacerbated by feeling separate. Feeling separated physically is different than feeling separated mentally. We can be separated physically, be alone in a forest, and still feel joyful and connected. We can be connected physically, feel lonely in a crowd, and still feel sad and separated.
Don Juan tells Carlos:
“You’re more alone than ever, because without an unwavering love for the being that gives you shelter, aloneness is loneliness. Only the love for this splendorous being can give freedom to a warrior’s spirit; and freedom is joy, efficiency, and abandon in the face of any odds.”
Shifting loneliness to aloneness requires shifting focus.
If we focus our attention on how lonely we are, then we’ll feel at odds with the world. Our problems will overwhelm us. If we focus our attention on our connection with others and the world, then we feel the strength to meet any odds. Instead of being self-centered, we’re other-centered. Our attention is connected to the world around us, which can offer solutions to our problems.
Love & Connection Helps Solve
If focusing on love and connection helps us solve our problems, then we need to care for that love and connection.
Don Juan emphasizes this, telling Carlos:
“If you are a worthy warrior- traveler, be impeccable! Take care of your world. Honer it; guard it with your life!”
My life is still immersed in problems, but I relate to them differently.
Warriors have the awareness that it’s us that solves our problems. And, that loving and staying connected is what helps us feel joyful in the midst of the problems. Warriors don’t solve problems to get rid of problems, feeling sad until they’re problem-free.
They solve problems for their own sake, feeling joyful for the challenge provided to them. Warriors honor their problems as part of caring for their world.
Practice Tip: Shift Problem to Opportunity
The problem isn’t the problem. Thinking you shouldn’t have problems is the problem. Shift your perspective from problem to opportunity.
Notice when a problem presents itself and catch yourself before you react to it.
Then, don’t solve the problem. Look for the learning opportunity.