What does it really mean?
In the books of Carlos Castaneda, Don Juan said mescalito teaches "the right way to live," but what is really meant by those words? Many heated debates have ensued on my previous forums as a result of this simple question. What IS the right way to live? To start the ball rolling, here are some of my thoughts...
The whole idea of karma has never rung true with me - largely because it implies some sense of "fairness" within the universe which I simply have never observed. There is balance (impeccable balance, actually), but "fairness"? Nada. That's why, when I hear someone say of a murderer or a child molester, "Oh, his karma will catch up to him..." My instant reaction is more likely a private sigh rather than any nod of agreement - even though it would make me feel better to think karma is alive and well.
Because there is no "fairness", my feeling with regard to cruelty is that it is always an entirely human choice. In the animal kingdom, even when dealing with predator/prey situations, I don't sense any cruelty from it. The coyote doesn't hunt for sport, but for dinner. The serpent doesn't torture the mouse. The peregrin doesn't dull her talons to make the rat suffer before it dies. The mountain lion doesn't hunt the jackrabbit to extinction just to feel the power of killing. Only humans seem to torture one another and run rampant through their environment to the point that they begin to threaten even their own survival.
As a result, I can only surmise that humans are completely out of balance - not only out of balance with nature, but within themselves. Don Juan might say they have lost touch with "the right way to live", and so they have lost any sense of empathy. They have forgotten how to look out through the eyes of the other creatures on this planet, and so their world is narrow, limited, and altogether unjust.
In my experience, "the right way to live" has nothing to do with morality, social standards, religion, or even the law. It has to do with knowing right from wrong within yourself - which I personally believe is an attribute most humans are born with, or learn quickly.
Is there a "right way to live?" I believe there is.
For additional reading on this subject...
Quantum Shaman: Diary of a Nagual Woman
Scrawls On the Walls of the Soul
Quantum Shaman Website