“A 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 . . . Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.” ― Carlos Castenada
Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico January – June 2014
I read the first 3 books by Carlos Castaneda, as many of my generation did, in the early 70’s. I remember well the profound feelings the books stirred in me. I also remember thinking they probably were not real stories about a real person (while also acknowledging that it was possible they might be). When I discovered Puerto Escondido I also decided I might like to read some of the other works by Carlos Castaneda that continued the saga, and I put one on my Kindle before heading south to Mazunte for what was to be my first stint out of the country upon retirement. I felt there was magic in the Mexican State of Oaxaca, of the kind spoken about in the books. I wished to explore what that was all about, for me, absent of anything in popular opinion or my own for that matter.
It was there, at the house, and in the surrounding area near Mazunte, a palpable presence. Subtle, to be sure, but absolutely in attendance. In (not on) the land, the sea, the air. It was the spirit in all things that I felt. The birds most certainly had it in them, but it was pervasive in an entirely different way than I had experienced before. When I would walk out my front door and enter the deserted peninsula that was the Nature Preserve it was barren of big living things. Yet the spirit of all things was there nonetheless. It is in the rocks, and the sand, and of course the trees. It is most certainly in the water, so vast and close at hand, and so endlessly inaccessible. I studied the sky at night as I never have been able to before, as I had a huge view of it, every night, from my patio on the second floor of the house, above the surrounding trees. I spent every evening watching the sun set on the ocean in front of me, and the gentle power of that was part of it as well. I would wake in the morning to the feel of the earth being shaken by the power of the waves breaking on the beach 200 feet below. I would take my coffee outside and sit under the palapa and stare at the water and admire the flora and it was all around me.
It was peaceful, and it was nature, so it was also violent. The two things do coexist. It is about balance. Gathering nourishment in nature (we call it eating) is a simple transfer of energy. Our intelligence allows us to examine our environment in a way many creatures do not. One result is that we often are fearful for our well being. For most living beings fear is not a part of life. Defense is, but not fear. And when it ends, as it must, energy is transferred.
Life is much more than what we usually associate it with, the moving things. It is bigger than that. I felt it here. You probably have too, if you pay attention you must. It is easier to feel when one is apart from the frenzy of large groups of humans, but not impossible. Most towns and cities create parks for that reason.
These pictures don’t really speak well on the subject, but perhaps a few may give a bit of a hint.