about yourself too much and that gives you a strange fatigue that makes
you shut off the world around you and cling to your arguments.
A light and amenable disposition is needed in order to
withstand the impact and the strangeness of the knowledge I am teaching
you. Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy, and vain. To be a man of
knowledge one needs to be light and fluid.
One has to reduce to a minimum all that is
unnecessary in one's life.
Once you decide something put all your petty fears away. Your
decision should vanquish them. I will tell you time and time again, the
most effective way to live is as a warrior. Worry and think before you
make any decision, but once you make it, be on your way free from worries
or thoughts; there will be a million other decisions still awaiting you.
That's the warrior's way.
A warrior thinks of his
death when things become unclear. The idea of death is the only thing that
tempers our spirit.
a warrior you have to be crystal clear.
My acts are sincere but they are only the acts of an actor
because everything I do is controlled folly. Everything I do in regard to
myself and my fellow men is folly, because nothing matters.
Certain things in your life matter to you because they're
important; your acts are certainly important to you, but for me, not a
single thing is important any longer, neither my acts nor the acts of any
of my fellow men. I go on living though, because I have my
will . Because I have tempered my will
throughout my life until it's neat and wholesome and now it doesn't matter
to me that nothing matters. My will controls the folly of my
Once a man learns to see he
finds himself alone in the world with nothing but folly. Your acts, as
well as the acts of your fellow men in general, appear to be important to
you because you have learned to think they are
We learn to think about everything, and
then we train our eyes to look as we think about the things we look at. We
look at ourselves already thinking that we are important. And therefore
we've got to feel important! But then when a man learns to
see , he realizes that he can no longer think about the
things he looks at, and if he cannot think about what he looks at
everything becomes unimportant. Everything is equal and therefore
We need to look with our eyes to
laugh. When our eyes see , everything is so equal that
nothing is funny. My laughter, as well as everything I do is real but it
also is controlled folly because it is useless; it changes nothing and yet
I still do it.
One must always choose the path
with heart in order to be at one's best, perhaps so one can always
You don't understand me now because of your
habit of thinking as you look and thinking as you think. By "thinking" I
mean the constant idea that we have of everything in the world.
Seeing dispels that habit and until you learn to
see you will not really understand what I mean.
Our lot as men is to learn. I have learned to
see and I tell you that nothing really matters. A man of
knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking
about what he will think when he has finished acting. A man of knowledge
chooses a path with heart and follows it; and then he looks and rejoices
and laughs; and then he sees and knows. He knows that his
life will be over altogether too soon; he knows that he, as well as
everybody else, is not going anywhere; he knows, because he
sees , that nothing is more important than anything else. In
other words, a man of knowledge has no honor, no dignity, no family, no
name, no country, but only life to be lived, and under these circumstances
his only tie to his fellow men is his controlled folly. Thus a man of
knowledge endeavors, and sweats, and puffs, and if one looks at him he is
just like any ordinary man, except that the folly of his life is under
Nothing being more important than anything else, a man of
knowledge chooses any act, and acts it out as if it matters to him. His
controlled folly makes him say that what he does matters and makes him act
as if it did, and yet he knows that it doesn't; so when he fulfills his
acts he retreats in peace, and whether his acts were good or bad, or
worked or didn't, is in no way part of his concern.
You think about your acts, therefore you have to believe your acts
are as important as you think they are, when in reality nothing of what
one does is important. Nothing! But then if nothing really matters, as you
ask me, how can I go on living? It would be simple to die; that's what you
say and believe, because you're thinking about life, just as you're
thinking now what seeing would be like. You want me to
describe it to you so you can begin to think about it, the way you do with
everything else. In the case of seeing , however, thinking is
not the issue at all, so I cannot tell you what it is like to
see . Now you want me to describe the reasons for my
controlled folly and I can only tell you that controlled folly is very
much like seeing ; it is something you cannot think
Our lot as men is to learn and, as I've
said, one goes to knowledge as one goes to war; with fear, with respect,
aware that one is going to war, and with absolute confidence in oneself.
Put your trust in yourself. There's no emptiness in the life of a man of
knowledge, everything is filled to the brim and everything is equal. For
me there is no victory, or defeat, or emptiness. Everything is filled to
the brim and everything is equal and my struggle is worth my
In order to become a man of knowledge one
must be a warrior. One must strive without giving up, without a complaint,
without flinching, until one sees , only to realize then that
nothing matters. You're too concerned with liking people or with being
liked yourself. A man of knowledge likes, that's all. He likes whatever or
whoever he wants, but he uses his controlled folly to be unconcerned about
My controlled folly applies only to myself and
to the acts I perform while in the company of my fellow men.
You must talk to the plants you're
going to pick before you pick them. In order to see the
plants you must talk to them personally, you must get to know them
individually; then the plants can tell you anything you care to know about
You fail to understand that I am not joking.
When a sorcerer attempts to see , he attempts to gain
You think everything in the world is simple
to understand because everything you do is a routine that is simple to
You have to
have an unbending intent in order to become a man of
takes responsibility for his acts; for the most trivial of his acts. He
waits patiently, knowing that he is waiting, and knowing what he is
waiting for. That is the warrior's way.
us unhappy is to want. Yet if we would learn to cut our wants to nothing,
the smallest thing we'd get would be a true gift. To be poor or wanting is
only a thought; and so is to hate, or to be hungry, or to be in pain. They
are only thoughts for me now, I have accomplished that feat. The power to
do that is all we have, mind you, to oppose the forces of our lives;
without that power we are dregs, dust in the wind.
It is up to us as single individuals to oppose the forces of our lives.
Only a warrior can survive. A warrior knows that he is waiting and what he
is waiting for; and while he waits he wants nothing and thus whatever
little thing he gets is more than he can take. If he needs to eat he finds
a way, because he is not hungry; if something hurts his body he finds a
way to stop it, because he is not in pain. To be hungry or to be in pain
means that the man has abandoned himself and is no longer a warrior; and
the forces of his hunger and pain will destroy him.
* * *
The countless paths one traverses in
one's life are all equal. Oppressors and oppressed meet at the end, and
the only thing that prevails is that life was altogether too short for
You must act like a
warrior. One learns to act like a warrior by acting, not by talking. A
warrior has only his will and his patience and with them he
builds anything he wants. You have no more time for retreats or for
regrets. You only have time to live like a warrior and work for patience
and will .
something very special. It happens mysteriously. There is no real way of
telling how one uses it, except that the results of using the
will are astounding. Perhaps the first thing that one should
do is to know that one can develop the will . A warrior knows
that and proceeds to wait for it.
A warrior knows
that he is waiting and knows what he is waiting for. It is very difficult,
if not impossible, for the average man to know what he is waiting for. A
warrior, however, has no problems; he knows that he is waiting for his
Will is something
very clear and powerful which can direct our acts. Will is
something a man uses, for instance, to win a battle which he, by all
calculations, should lose. It is not what we call courage. Courage is
something else. Men of courage are dependable men, noble men perennially
surrounded by people who flock around them and admire them; yet very few
men of courage have will . Usually they are fearless men who
are given to performing daring common-sense acts; most of the time a
courageous man is also fearsome and feared. Will , on the
other hand, has to do with astonishing feats that defy our common sense.
You may say that it is a kind of control.
Will is not what one calls "will power." Denying oneself
certain things with "will power," is an indulgence and I don't recommend
anything of the kind. The indulgence of denying is by far the worst; it
forces us to believe we are doing great things, when in effect we are only
fixed within ourselves.
Will is a
power. And since it is a power it has to be controlled and tuned and that
takes time. When I was your age I was as impulsive as you. Yet I have
changed. Our will operates in spite of our indulgence. For
example your will is already opening your gap, little by
There is a gap in us; like the soft spot
on the head of a child which closes with age, this gap opens as one
develops one's will . It's an opening. It allows a space for
the will to shoot out, like an arrow. What a sorcerer calls
will is a power within ourselves. It is not a thought, or an
object, or a wish. An act of "will power" is not will because
such an act needs thinking and wishing. Will is what can make
you succeed when your thoughts tell you that you're defeated.
Will is a force which is the true link between men and the
The world is whatever we perceive, in any
manner we may choose to perceive. Perceiving the world entails a process
of apprehending whatever presents itself to us. This particular perceiving
is done with our senses and with our will . Will
is a relation between ourselves and the perceived world.
What the average man calls will is character and strong
disposition. What a sorcerer calls will is a force that comes
from within and attaches itself to the world out there. One can perceive
the world with the senses as well as with the will
An average man can "grab" the things of the
world only with his hands, or his senses, but a sorcerer can grab them
also with his will . I cannot really describe how it is done,
but you yourself, for instance, cannot describe to me how you hear. It
happens that I am also capable of hearing, so we can talk about what we
hear, but not about how we hear. A sorcerer uses his will to
perceive the world. That perceiving, however, is not like hearing. When we
look at the world or when we hear it, we have the impression that it is
out there and that it is real. When we perceive the world with our
will we know that the world is not as "out there" or as
"real" as we think.
Will is a force,
a power. Seeing is not a force, but rather a way of getting
through things. A sorcerer may have a very strong will and
yet he may not see ; which means that only a man of knowledge
perceives the world with his senses and with his will and
also with his seeing .
Now you know
you are waiting for your will . You still don't know what it
is, or how it could happen to you. So watch carefully everything you do.
The very thing that could help you develop your will is
amidst all the little things you do.
When a man embarks on the paths of sorcery he
becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been forever
left behind; that knowledge is indeed a frightening affair; that the means
of the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and that he must
adopt a new way of life if he is going to survive. The first thing he
ought to do, at that point, is to want to become a warrior. The
frightening nature of knowledge leaves one no alternative but to become a
By the time knowledge becomes a
frightening affair the man also realizes that death is the irreplaceable
partner that sits next to him on the mat. Every bit of knowledge that
becomes power has death as its central force. Death lends the ultimate
touch and whatever is touched by death indeed becomes power.
A man who follows the paths of sorcery is confronted with
imminent annihilation every turn of the way, and unavoidably he becomes
keenly aware of his death. Without the awareness of death he would be only
an ordinary man involved in ordinary acts. He would lack the necessary
potency, the necessary concentration that transforms one's ordinary time
on earth into magical power.
Thus to be a warrior
a man has to be, first of all, and rightfully so, keenly aware of his own
death. But to be concerned with death would force any one of us to focus
on the self and that would be debilitating. So the next thing one needs to
be a warrior is detachment. The idea of imminent death, instead of
becoming an obsession, becomes an indifference.
Now you must detach yourself; detach yourself from everything. Only the
idea of death makes a man sufficiently detached so he is incapable of
abandoning himself to anything. Only the idea of death makes a man
sufficiently detached so he can't deny himself anything. A man of that
sort, however, does not crave, for he has acquired a silent lust for life
and for all things of life. He knows his death is stalking him and won't
give him time to cling to anything, so he tries, without craving, all of
A detached man, who knows he has no
possibility of fencing off his death, has only one thing to back himself
with: the power of his decisions. He has to be, so to speak, the master of
his choices. He must fully understand that his choice is his
responsibility and once he makes it there is no longer time for regrets or
recriminations. His decisions are final, simply because his death does not
permit him time to cling to anything.
with an awareness of his death, with his detachment, and with the power of
his decisions a warrior sets his life in a strategical manner. The
knowledge of his death guides him and makes him detached and silently
lusty; the power of his final decisions makes him able to choose without
regrets and what he chooses is always strategically the best; and so he
performs everything he has to with gusto and lusty efficiency.
When a man behaves in such a manner one may rightfully say
that he is a warrior and has acquired patience. When a warrior has
acquired patience he is on his way to will . He knows how to
wait. His death sits with him on his mat, they are friends. His death
advises him, in mysterious ways, how to choose, how to live strategically.
And the warrior waits! I would say that the warrior learns without any
hurry because he knows he is waiting for his will ; and one
day he succeeds in performing something ordinarily quite impossible to
accomplish. He may not even notice his extraordinary deed. But as he keeps
on performing impossible acts, or as impossible things keep on happening
to him, he becomes aware that a sort of power is emerging. A power that
comes out of his body as he progresses on the path of knowledge. He
notices that he can actually touch anything he wants with a feeling that
comes out of his body from a spot right below or right above his navel.
That feeling is the will , and when he is capable of grabbing
with it, one can rightfully say that the warrior is a sorcerer, and that
he has acquired will .
A man can go
still further than that; a man can learn to see . Upon
learning to see he no longer needs to live like a warrior,
nor be a sorcerer. Upon learning to see a man becomes
everything by becoming nothing. He, so to speak, vanishes and yet he's
there. I would say that this is the time when a man can be or can get
anything he desires. But he desires nothing, and instead of playing with
his fellow men like they were toys, he meets them in the midst of their
folly. The only difference between them is that a man who
sees controls his folly, while his fellow men can't. A man
who sees has no longer an active interest in his fellow men.
Seeing has already detached him from absolutely everything he
Don't let the idea of being detached
from everything you know give you the chills. The thing which should give
you the chills is not to have anything to look forward to but a lifetime
of doing that which you have always done. Think of the man who plants corn
year after year until he's too old and tired to get up, so he lies around
like an old dog. His thoughts and feelings, the best of him, ramble
aimlessly to the only things he has ever done, to plant corn. For me that
is the most frightening waste there is.
We are men
and our lot is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds.
Seeing is for impeccable men. Temper your spirit now, become
a warrior, learn to see , and then you'll know that there is
no end to the new worlds for our vision.
When you see there are no longer
familiar features in the world. Everything is new. Everything has never
happened before. The world is incredible! Everything you gaze at becomes
Things don't disappear they don't vanish,
they simply became nothing and yet they are still there.
Seeing makes one realize the unimportance of
Seeing is learned by seeing.
A warrior treats everything with
respect and does not trample on anything unless he has to. He does not
abandon himself to anything, not even to his death. He is not a willing
partner and not available, and if he involves himself with something, you
can be sure that he is aware of what he is doing. For a warrior there is
nothing out of control. Life for a warrior is an exercise in strategy. But
you want to find the meaning of life. A warrior doesn't care about
meanings. He would set his life strategically. Thus if he couldn't avoid
an accident he would find means to offset his handicap, or avoid its
consequences, or battle against them. He would be battling to the
A warrior is never available; never is he
standing on the road waiting to be clobbered. Thus he cuts to a minimum
his chances of the unforeseen.
A warrior is never idle and never in a hurry.
When a man learns to see
, not a single thing he knows prevails. Not a single one. Nothing is
known; nothing remains as we used to know it when we didn't
warrior lives strategically and never carries loads he cannot
pending in the world, nothing is finished, yet nothing is
of knowledge is a forced one. In order to learn we must be spurred. In the
path of knowledge we are always fighting something, avoiding something,
prepared for something; and that something is always inexplicable,
greater, more powerful than us. The inexplicable forces will come to you.
Later on it'll be your own ally, so there is nothing you can do now but to
prepare yourself for the struggle.
The world is
indeed full of frightening things and we are helpless creatures surrounded
by forces that are inexplicable and unbending. The average man, in
ignorance, believes that those forces can be explained or changed; he
doesn't really know how to do that, but he expects that the actions of
mankind will explain them or change them sooner or later. A sorcerer, on
the other hand, does not think of explaining or changing them; instead, he
learns to use such forces by redirecting himself and adapting to their
direction. That's his trick. There is very little to sorcery once you find
out its trick. A sorcerer, by opening himself to knowledge, falls prey to
those forces and has only one means of balancing himself, his
will ; thus he must feel and act like a warrior. I will
repeat this once more: Only as a warrior can one survive the path of
knowledge. What helps a sorcerer live a better life is the strength of
being a warrior.
It is my commitment to teach you
to see . I am compelled, therefore, to teach you to feel and
act like a warrior. To see without first being a warrior
would make you weak; it would give you a false meekness, a desire to
retreat; your body would decay because you would become indifferent. It is
my personal commitment to make you a warrior so you won't
A warrior should be prepared only to
battle. His spirit is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it
geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to
struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the
outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior
lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing
that his will is impeccable, a warrior laughs and
A warrior selects the items that make his
world. He selects deliberately, for every item he chooses is a shield that
protects him from the onslaughts of the forces he is striving to use. The
average man who is equally surrounded by those inexplicable forces is
oblivious to them because he has other kinds of special shields to protect
People are busy doing that which people
do. Those are their shields. Whenever a sorcerer has an encounter with any
of those inexplicable and unbending forces we will talk about, his gap
opens, making him more susceptible to his death than he ordinarily is. We
die through that gap, therefore if it is open one should have his
will ready to fill it; that is, if one is a warrior. If one is not
a warrior, like yourself, then one has no other recourse but to use the
activities of daily life to take one's mind away from the fright of the
encounter and thus to allow one's gap to close.
Act like a warrior and select the items of your world. You cannot surround
yourself with things helter-skelter any longer. I tell you this in a most
serious vein. A warrior encounters those inexplicable and unbending forces
because he is deliberately seeking them, thus he is always prepared for
the encounter. The first thing you must do, then, is be prepared. A
warrior takes the responsibility of protecting his life. Then if any of
those forces tap him and open his gap, he must deliberately strive to
close it by himself. For that purpose he must have a selected number of
things that give him great peace and pleasure, things which he can
deliberately use to take his thoughts from his fright and close his gap
and make him solid.
In his day-to-day life a
warrior chooses to follow the path with heart. It is the consistent choice
of the path with heart which makes a warrior different from the average
man. He knows that a path has heart when he is one with it, when he
experiences a great peace and pleasure traversing its length. The things a
warrior selects to make his shields are the items of a path with heart.
You must surround yourself with the items of a path with heart and you
must refuse the rest.
You must stop talking to yourself. Every one of us does that. We
carry on an internal talk. We talk about our world. In fact we maintain
our world with our internal talk. Whenever we finish talking to ourselves
the world is always as it should be. We renew it, we kindle it with life,
we uphold it with our internal talk. Not only that, but we also choose our
paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and
over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal
talk over and over until the day we die.
is aware of this and strives to stop his talking. This is the last point
you have to know if you want to live like a warrior.
First of all you must use your ears to take some of the burden from
your eyes. We have been using our eyes to judge the world since the time
we were born. We talk to others and to ourselves mainly about what we see.
A warrior is aware of that and listens to the world; he listens to the
sounds of the world. He is aware that the world will change as soon as he
stops talking to himself and he must be prepared for that monumental
The world is such-and-such or so-and-so only
because we tell ourselves that that is the way it is. If we stop telling
ourselves that the world is so-and-so, the world will stop being
so-and-so. You must start slowly to undo the world.
Your problem is that you confuse the world with what people do. The
things people do are the shields against the forces that surround us; what
we do as people gives us comfort and makes us feel safe; what people do is
rightfully very important, but only as a shield. We never learn that the
things we do as people are only shields and we let them dominate and
topple our lives. In fact I could say that for mankind, what people do is
greater and more important than the world itself.
The world is all that is encased here; life, death, people, the allies,
and everything else that surrounds us. The world is incomprehensible. We
won't ever understand it; we won't ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must
treat it as it is, a sheer mystery!
An average man
doesn't do this, though. The world is never a mystery for him, and when he
arrives at old age he is convinced he has nothing more to live for. An old
man has not exhausted the world. He has exhausted only what people do. But
in his stupid confusion he believes that the world has no more mysteries
for him. What a wretched price to pay for our shields!
A warrior is aware of this confusion and learns to treat things
properly. The things that people do cannot under any conditions be more
important than the world. And thus a warrior treats the world as an
endless mystery and what people do as an endless folly.
Focus all your attention on listening to
sounds and do your best to find the holes between the sounds. Stay in
Everything is meaningful for a
sorcerer. The sounds have holes in them and so does everything around you.
Ordinarily a man does not have the speed to catch the holes, and thus he
goes through life without protection. The worms, the birds, the trees, all
of them can tell us unimaginable things if only one could have the speed
to grasp their message.
Fright is something one can never get over. A warrior cannot indulge, thus
he cannot die of fright. Your difficulty is that you want to understand
everything, and that is not possible. If you insist on understanding
you're not considering your entire lot as a human being. Your stumbling
block is intact.
Understanding is only a very
small affair, so very small--yet sober understanding is vital.
Only by acting can one become
You now have
the need to live like a warrior.