Death: Our Eternal Companion & the Only Infallible Advisor We Have


Death—Our Eternal Companion & the Only Infallible Advisor We have” – Carlos Castaneda

Death is our eternal companion, it is always to our left, at an arm’s length. How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us? The thing to do when you’re impatient is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death. An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that your companion is there watching you.

The issue of our death is never pressed far enough. Death is the only wise adviser that we have. Whenever you feel that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you’re wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, “I haven’t touched you yet.”

We have to change, and change fast. We have to learn again and again that death is the hunter, and that it is always to one’s left. We have to ask death’s advice and drop the cursed pettiness that belongs to those who live their lives as if death will never tap them.

Think of your death now. It is at arm’s length. It may tap you any moment, so really you have no time for crappy thoughts and moods. None of us have time for that. The only thing that counts is action, acting instead of talking. . . .

Perhaps you can recall what I said to you about one of our biggest flaws as average human beings. The big flaw I am talking about is something you ought to bear in mind every second of your existence. For me, it’s the issue of issues, which I will repeat to you over and over until it comes out of your ears.

We are beings on our way to dying. We are not immortal, but we behave as if we were.

This is the flaw that brings us down as individuals and will bring us down as a species someday.

The warrior’s advantage over their average fellow men is that warriors know that they are beings on their way to dying and they don’t let themselves deviate from that knowledge. An enormous effort must be employed in order to elicit and maintain this knowledge as a total certainty.

Why is it so hard for us to admit something that is so truthful? It’s really not man’s fault. Someday, I’ll tell you more about the forces that drive a man to act like an ass. Many of us make sense when we talk because we are prepared to use words accurately. But most of us are not prepared to take ourselves seriously as men who are going to die.

The nagual Julian used to tell me about the conquering generals of ancient Rome. When they would return home victorious, gigantic parades were staged to honor them. Riding with them was always a slave whose job was to whisper in their ear that all fame and glory is but transitory.

If we are victorious in any way, we don’t have anyone to whisper in our ear that our victories are fleeting. Warriors, however, do have the upper hand; as beings on their way to dying, they have someone whispering in their ear that everything is ephemeral. The whisperer is death, the infallible advisor, the only one who won’t ever tell you a lie.

About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
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5 Responses to Death: Our Eternal Companion & the Only Infallible Advisor We Have

  1. Deborah says:

    My thoughts for many years have been to live fully… for life is short but sweet…to make every moment count, to realize that we are all here on a temporary measure…that change is as constant as the wind. How fortunate I feel to breathe the air, to have my sight…to be able to touch, to hear, and to feel. What a gift I was given to be manifested from all the energy that life breathes! I feel that while I have nothing to do with being born, yet I do have everything to do with what I make my life to be…. full knowing that most likely (for who I am to say) that I someday will be but merely the thoughts of another. For me to live my life with the awareness of my death…to leave a mark on someones soul…to give myself the opportunity to have a rich, full life and face the obstacles that come my way with an attitude of hope, not despair. I have been given the gift of life, therefore to make the best of my time and enjoy all the richness that I am responsible in bringing to myself, is for me, the best gift I can give myself, and ultimately to others as well. If people could only see how very short life truly is….I believe that mortals (after all, that is all we know as fact…the only real truth provided) should put aside the immortal hope that we do go on forever…and live as though this is our only time….not to live a life for the reward of having another life eternal. Here and now is exactly that…here and now….so I agree, if we live our lives realizing that sooner than we think our last breathe we may truly possibly take…then all the richer our lives would be.

  2. Deborah says:

    Afterthoughts….Two words that came to mind after I sent my comment in…CHERISH and FORGIVE. If we cherish all that we are given, and those we love…if we make the best of what we have, or have lost….if we forgive ourselves and others, for whatever the circumstance may be, then I believe, we can open ourselves to truly recognizing the gift of life, and make the most of the time we have.

  3. Deborah says:

    …something else I would like to say.
    Thank you for your words, as well as the recognition of others you wrote of. They resonate deep. Thank you for this gift to myself and to all that read your site. I am sure you will make a mark on many who encounter it.

    • realtruelove says:

      Thank you, Deborah, for the very kind words, for visiting my site, and for taking the time to share so openly and eloquently your thoughts and insights.

      I agree with you about learning to more and more cherish life, others, ourselves, the moments and experiences we have and that come to us. And I agree also with you about forgiveness.

      For me, I sense two very similar capacities to what you mentioned welling up and increasing in me. The first, which seems synonymous to cherishing, is an increased sense of gratitude, of the simple wonder and joy of being alive, of just being here. I sense this capacity to really be expanding and deepening in me. And the other, closely related to forgiveness, is resilience. For me, that’s the real beauty and power of forgiveness–that we are able not to be forever wounded and hardened by the pains and betrayals we suffer here and that others perpetrate on us, but that we are able to stay open or learn to reopen, and become even more tender, continue to show our soft spot or our soft underbelly, be vulnerable, and not live afraid, behind our walls and armor, or in some numb way full of denial and magical thinking.

      This is how I am going about my life from now on–I am fully committed to this process and this ideal–to keeping my heart open and soft and vulnerable; and staying as present as I can in difficult and anxious and intimate moments; to not being anxious and afraid or letting these get the best of me (at least not too easily!), to being more Loving and open, to looking at things through the lens of “What would I truly want to do in this situation if I had only one week to live?”

      Thanks again, Deborah, for taking the time to stop by and read this site and then to write and share of yourself with me and the rest of those who pass by here.

      Namaste,

      John

  4. Shashi Moore says:

    Dear John, Very much thought provoking post. Something to meditate upon and to plan how we are ready to make that change. I can feel the quest for that level of ‘collective maturity’ you are thirsting for. Love wins more love and compassion wins more compassion. God bless your loving soul. I would like you to visit Oceans. A site that you will thoroughly enjoy. Thank you for posting and keep writing 🙂

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