The Death Pass
A Separate Reality, p. 197-198

Death enters through the belly," [don Juan] continued. "Right  through the gap of the will. That area is the most important and  sensitive part of man. It is the area of the will and also the area through which all of us die. I know it because my ally has guided me to that stage. A sorcerer tunes his will by letting his death  overtake him, and when he is flat and begins to expand, his impeccable will takes over and assembles the fog into one person again."

Don Juan made a strange gesture. He opened his hands like two  fans, lifted them to the level of the elbows, turned them until his  thumbs were touching his sides and then brought them slowly together at the center of his body over his navel. He kept them there for a moment. His arms shivered with the strain. He brought them up until the tips of his middle fingers touched his forehead, and then he  pulled them down in the same position to the center of his body.

It was a formidable gesture. Don Juan had performed it with such force and beauty that I was spellbound.

Journey To Ixtlan

I stood up and went into the chaparral and buried the pebble. "I was teasing you a little bit," don Juan said when I returned and sat down again.  "And yet I know that if you don't talk you don't understand.  Talking is 'doing' for you, but talking is not apporpriate and if you want to know what I mean by 'not-doing' you have to do a simple exercise.  Since we are concerned with 'not-doing' it doesn't matter whether you do the exercise now or ten years from now."

He made me lie down and took my right arm and bent it at the elbow. Then he turned my hand until the palm was facing the front; he curved my fingers so my hand looked as if I were holding a doorknog, and then he began to move my arm back and forth with a circular motion that resembled the act of pushing and pulling a lever attached to a wheel.

Don Juan said that a warrior executed that movement every time he wanted to push something out of his body, something like a disease or an unwelcoming feeling. The idea was t push and pull an imaginary opposing force until one felt a heavy object, a solid body, stopping the free movements of the hand. In the case of the exercise, 'not-doing' consisted in repeating it until one felt the heavy body with the hand, in spite of the fact that one could never believe it was possible to feel it.

I began moving my arm and in a short while my hand became ice cold. I had begun to feel a sort of mushiness around my hand. It was as if I were paddling through some heavy viscous liguid matter.

Don Juan made a sudden movement and grabbed my arm to stop the motion. My whole body shivered as though stirred by some unseen force. He scrutinized me as I sat up, and then walked around me before he sat back down on the place where he had been.

"You've done enough," he said. "You may do this exercise some other time, when you have more personal power."

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No. 'Not-doing' is only for very strong warriors and you don't have the power to deal with it yet.  Now you will only trap horrendous things with your hand. So do it little by little, until your hand doesn't get cold any more. Whenever your hand remains warm you can actually feel the lines of the world with it."

He paused as if to give me time to ask about the lines. But before had a chance to, he started explaining that there were infinite numbers of lines that joined us to things. He said that the exercise of 'not-doing' that he had just described would help anyone to feel a line that came out from the moving hand, a line that one could place or cast wherever one wanted to.  Don Juan said that this was only an exercise, because the lines formed by the hand were not durable enough to be of real value in a practical situation.

"A man of knowledge uses other parts of his body to produce durable lines," he said.

"What parts of the body, don Juan?"

"The most durable lines that a man of knowledge produces come from the middle of the body," he said, "But he can also make them with his eyes."

"Are they real lines?"


"Can you see then and touch them?"

"Let's say that you can feel them. The most difficult part about the warrior's way is to realize that the world is a feeling. When one is 'not-doing', one is feeling the world, and one feels the world through its lines."

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The Power of Silence