What can we learn from Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda?

Having lived in California for an unforgettable summer, I am interested to learn from Journey to Ixtlan (1972) by Carlos Castaneda. I will also always remember the determination of my Mexican friend to visit me at San Diego, crossing the dangerous borders. He is indeed a traveller, having done the trans-Siberian rail journey, the longest railway in the world which has been one of my dream destinations [1], in spite of being considered as the most boring by some people. Perhaps, the rail journey will give me both new connections with new people and solitude for my creativity.

On 20160614, listening to El Condor Pasa (1970) by Simon & Garfunkel that I have loved since my graduate study days, I attempted to absorb a little lessons from people who embrace living in the nature.

"I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would
If I could, I surely would
I’d rather be a hammer than a nail.
Yes I would
If I only could, I surely would.

Away, I’d rather sail away
Like a swan that’s here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world
Its saddest sound, its saddest sound

I’d rather be a forest than a street.
Yes I would
If I could, I surely would.
I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would
If I only could, I surely would

Herein, enjoy the gists from the Journey to Ixtlan:

  1. Appreciate the wonder and mystery of the universe. Such an appreciation can help us to overcome boredom and refresh our perspectives of lives. Learn. Travel. Be a traveller, instead of a tourist. Live in different foreign lands. Through these journeys, we become exotic too and live a unique life, our own story. As a city dweller, it’s always a good idea to have an escapade to the wilderness once in a while. Yes, I cherish my travel adventure to global destinations like Arashiyama, Bali, Iceland and the Empty Quarter desert.
  2. Love our lives. Death is lurking behind everyone, albeit at different speed. Be decisive enough to make everyday counts and shoulder our personal responsibility. "In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions." ~ Carlos Castaneda
  3. Be humble and keep a low-profile because "there is great freedom in being anonymous." In truth, nobody is anonymous; newborns are identified the moment they were born, or else they won’t have access to health, educational and other benefits. Nevertheless, I personally find that there is no need to boast our achievements, but focus on what we can do today. "Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant,"quoting Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. Decide to be positive. "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." ~ Carlos Castaneda
  5. Do not worry and do not sweat the small stuff. "To worry is to become accessible, unwittingly accessible. And once you worry you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to." ~ Carlos Castaneda

[1] "You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life." ~ Carlos Castaneda

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