A Path with Heart – Don Juan

From Carlos Castaneda: “Don Juan’s Teaching”

Don Juan said:
Anything is one of a million paths.
Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path;
if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions.
To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life.
Only then will you know that any path is only a path,
and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do.
But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition.

I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question.
This question is one that only a very old man asks.

My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it.
Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is:
Does this path have a heart?All paths are the same: they lead nowhere.
They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush.
In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere.
My benefactor’s question has meaning now. Does this path have a heart?
If it does, the path is good; if it does not, it is of no use.

Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart the other does not.
One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it.
The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path.

A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it.
On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.

For me there is only the traveling on paths that have a heart, or on any path that
may have heart. There I travel… and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length.

And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.

Don Juan, a Yaqui Sorcerer

I’ve posted this in response to a comment about  ‘the possibility of  Technology and the heart being an oxymoron’ listed under ‘Another Digital Fathers Day’, I feel that it is extremely thought provoking.

Hopefully I haven’t breached copyright.  It comes from one of the books by Carlos Castenada. My favorite was ‘The Journey to Ixtlan’…buy the book.  Many people mind find the word ‘sorceror’ confronting.  The original word was ‘Brujo’ and doesn’t translate properly. 

TH – alias drNerdy


9 comments so far

  1. Fiona on

    You wouldn’t believe this, but I found a path with heart through the internet. Technology is like everything in this dualistic world -it can be used for good or evil. They call it the information super highway – the question is “Are there any limits to where it can take you?”

  2. plantrubber on

    I’m confident that we have all created our own limitations. So maybe the next step is to recognize what are the thoughts that are limiting us and then develop a strategy for leapfrog them.

  3. leasblog on

    Hi Tony
    Thanks for the comment, I was a little excited thinking someone had commented on my blog, but then it was someone I knew, but it was still nice.
    I haved linked Dr Nerdy to my blog, or is that obvious because you commented on mine?(I’m a little lost moving around in here). I was going to quickly comment on your post a Path with a Heart and realized I’d needed to read it more than once. And I’ve read it more than once and I’m not going to comment. I can’t get past the first sentence.

  4. Kat on

    Thanks for your comment; it made me come and take a look at your blog and now I understand. Yes, I have found a path with a heart. My passions have lead me on a road less traveled but I have peace in what I call the pursuit of “soul satisfaction” and doing what I was created to do.

    Great post. Thanks.

  5. Kat on

    Thanks for your comment; it made me come and take a look at your blog and now I understand. Yes, I have found a path with a heart. My passions have lead me on a road less traveled but I have peace in what I call the pursuit of “soul satisfaction” and doing what I was created to do.

    Great post. Thanks.


  6. plantrubber on


    that’s really nice to hear that.

    I can’t and won’t take any credit for the post, I just happened to like it 30 years ago when I first found it and even today it’s still relevant


  7. Tbulb on

    “If you want to be in love, begin by loving each breath.

    Begin by falling in love with understanding, with clarity, with the truest sincerity. These are the angels in your life.

    When all is dark, they come — all lit, graceful, beautiful with clarity. One second of clarity, and all the darkness vaporizes. Don’t try to remove the darkness—it won’t work. All you have to do is usher in the light.

    Fall in love with living. Fall in love with that which is within you.”
    (quote by Prem Rawat, teacher of Inner Peace)

    There are many pathways of heart, as there are many humans. But, as I only have one heart, there is only one pathway for me. The trick is to find that one; to listen to the the calling of the heart, amidst the noise & chaos of the world.

    Thanks for posting Castenada’s dialogues. He is one of the most amazing writers of this time. His words helped many of us understand the world of energy, the world of joy & delight.


  8. Peta-de-Aztlan on

    I appreciate this reminders… the teachings of Don Juan and I go back a long ways…

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