don Miguel Ruiz is the author of The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, and numerous other best-selling books. He is also one of the most influential spiritual teachers on the planet, having touched the lives of millions of people around the globe.
No one has been more affected by his teachings than his own son, don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., who has compiled his father's wisdom into one small but extremely powerful book. The essential teachings in this comprehensive work come from don Miguel's recorded lectures, workshops, interviews, and most importantly, the private moments between a father and his son. This book is a wonderful edition to the Ruiz family's existing literature and will especially appeal to those who enjoyed The Four Agreements.
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About the Author
don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., is a Nagual, or a Toltec Master of Transformation, and the author the The Five Levels of Attachment. He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Knight lineage, and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz, Sr., author of The Four Agreements. He lives in Sacramento California with his wife and two children. www.miguelruiz.com/index.php?p=MiguelJr
Read an Excerpt
Don Miguel Ruiz's Little Book of Wisdom
The Essential Teachings
By DON MIGUEL RUIZ JR.
Hierophant PublishingCopyright © 2017 Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
All rights reserved.
Here is my father's own account of his near-death experience and the realizations that followed.
The story of Miguel Ruiz changed dramatically for me in one night, when I was a young medical student. This particular night, I made the same mistake that many young people do. I drank too much at a party, and afterwards I decided to drive back to Mexico City. This was, of course, a very bad decision. Not surprisingly, I fell asleep at the wheel and I hit a concrete wall. The car was totaled and my body was unconscious, but unhurt.
Now what is incredible is that when this happened, I saw the whole accident as though it was in slow motion. I saw my own body, unconscious at the wheel, and I knew my brain was unconscious as well. I saw that the car was totaled, but my body was completely safe. At that moment, I knew: I am not my physical body. Before then, I had heard so many times from my mother and grandfather that I wasn't my physical body, and of course I believed them, but from then on it was no longer a theory — for me it was a fact. That changed the course of my life completely, because this experience created a desire to learn even more.
After the near-death experience in the car crash, my whole personality changed. The way I perceived life was completely different: before the accident I thought everything was so important, and after the accident I could see everything I thought was important before — school, work, etc. — was completely irrelevant. I became consumed with one question: what am I? After the accident, I knew I wasn't this physical body; it was obvious. And it was obvious that I was not my identity either — Miguel the soccer player, or doctor, or husband, or whatever. Suddenly, since I was not what I believed I was prior to the accident, I realized I didn't know what I was. That really scared the knowledge in my mind. I know that many other people have had the same kind of experience, but some have denied it to themselves, and they just let it go and they adapt to life. They let knowledge take back over. I went in exactly the opposite direction; I really wanted to know who and what I am.
So I went deeper into the Toltec training of my family's tradition, and I was guided by my mother, my father, and my grandfather. It wasn't long before I had another profound experience.
It was in the summer, at around midnight, and I was in the desert. It was so hot that night that I couldn't sleep, so I decided to just walk around the desert. The moon was full, and as I gazed up at the sky, I had an experience that changed my understanding of everything yet again.
In that moment, I turned my face to the sky and I saw all those millions of stars. Without words, without thought, I knew that the light I was perceiving from all those stars, it came to me from millions of light-years away, and that all those stars were shining from different distances, but I was perceiving all those stars at the same time.
In that moment, I knew that some of those stars probably didn't even exist anymore. Maybe they had stopped existing thousands of years ago, or even millions of years ago, but I perceived everything in that single, present moment. It was so obvious to me then that everything I perceive is simply light coming from all the different directions to a place that seems like it is right behind my eyes and just between my ears, a place that represents only one point of view.
I also knew without a doubt that in the same way that I perceive the stars, the stars always perceive me. It was at this moment that I understood there is only One beingthat truly exists, and that being is alive. I saw my own body and I understood without a doubt that my body is a whole universe, it is complete in and of itself. Further, as I looked at my hands, I knew that every single cell of my body is also a whole universe. I looked around and saw the beautiful desert, and, without a doubt, I knew that the earth is a living organism and that I am a part of this Planet Earth. I understood also that all of the humans, all of us collectively, we are only one living being.
In this way, humanity is one organ of this beautiful Planet Earth. The oceans are another organ, the forests are another organ, all species taken together are yet another organ. We all work together for the benefit of this Planet Earth. Of course, at that time, I couldn't have put this into words; I just knew, and it's difficult to explain it even now. Please remember that the words I am using only point to the truth, as what I experienced cannot be fully explained with words.
That night in the desert, when I perceived all of this, I felt so much gratitude that it was overwhelming. That gratitude turned into generosity from that moment on, as my purpose became what it is today — to share the experience wherever I go and to let everybody know that life is so simple, so easy, but we make it very complicated. We complicate everything, and if we look at the story of humanity, we can see how we complicate things through violence, injustice, war, and more. You know this part of the story, of course.
In that moment of awakening, I knew that love is nothing but a perfect balance between gratitude and generosity. I also knew I had to make a choice, because I could deny the experience and forget about it, or I could embrace it and really share it with my own kind, with all of you. I knew in that moment that real love is completely unconditional. That realization changed my life completely.
I also understood that I am an artist, that every single human who lives on this Planet Earth is an artist, and that I was perceiving a masterpiece of art. The entire universe is a masterpiece of art, and as I was perceiving it, I was also recreating everything in my own brain.
What we call knowledge is simply the result of this perception we all have and our efforts to make sense of it to one another. In that moment, I understood that through my unique perception I create my own reality, my own world, my own universe. Of course I also understood right away that every single human around me does exactly the same thing, with or without awareness that it is happening. Each person creates their own reality, using the word as the instrument to create a story about that reality and themselves. That is why, for me, the impeccability of the word is the most important agreement that we can have with ourselves and with everybody around us, because it creates a world. Like me, everybody is an artist. Whatever I perceive is beautiful. Without a doubt, I know that perfection is the only state possible in existence. We humans, with or without our awareness of this fact, are perfect just the way we are.CHAPTER 2
I come to you asking for a favor, and that favor is to help me to change the world. I'm not referring to the world of humanity, not the one "out there." I mean the world that you create in your own mind — the world that is only true for you and not for anyone else. You see, you create the story of your life. You create an entire reality that is only true for you. There are seven billion people in the world, all who create their own story. I create my personal world, but it is just a story. It's not real, and it's not true. In that same way, your story is not true either. The difference is that you believe it is true, and I do not. You begin to change your world the moment you realize it is not true, it is only a story.
Do you like the way you are living your life? Or, put another way, are you happy? If you are not happy, and you don't like the way you are living your life, then your first job is to find out why. Instead of blaming anyone else for this, start by finding out what you believe about yourself. Find out what you learned about yourself from your parents, your friends, and your teachers — not to blame any of them, no, but just to see if it helps you understand why you don't like the way you are living your life. Are you trying to live up to an image in your mind that was created by someone else? I mean, of course you created it, but whose standards did you use?
You are good enough — you are perfect — just the way you are. The goal of all this work is to love yourself exactly as you are, and to live your life the way you want to live it. That is what will make you happy.
Whatever we think we know is only an agreement, and it is based on our language. It's just words. If we call something a tree in our language, it is only true because we agree with the meaning of the symbol, not because it is really true. We have no idea what that thing is really, we just call it a tree. That's why I say we're all artists, and what we create is a whole story about ourselves and our world, and it's just a story. This story is only true because we narrate it with the language that we learn. It takes awareness to see beyond the stories we have created.
The Toltec teachings are the introduction to a new way of life that I call the way of the artist. In my own case, I became a medical doctor, a surgeon, and then I decided to change, to shift. That is what an artist does, and we are all artists — whether we realize it or not. In my own case, I wanted to leave the practice of medicine and go further into the human mind to really understand why humanity is the way it is.
What I found is that we create a story about ourselves through the way we perceive life and everything around us. We use the word in order to create the story that we live. We learn language, and our parents and others hook our attention, they download into our brain what they know. Then we go to school and the teachers do exactly the same thing. In this way, we learn to communicate with everyone around us. We use language in order to create everything that we believe — our whole story. It's really very simple when you see it, but the realization of it will change your life.
When you were born, you believed what you were taught without question. You accepted the identity and the roles that your parents gave you — this is your name, this is your home, and this is what we believe about life, and God, and more. They told you who you are, and before long, you were answering to the name they gave you, and by believing them you became like them. That isn't good or bad, it is simply the way it is. When you become aware, you realize that they don't know who you are, because they don't know who they are. Nobody does.
We don't need to know who we are in order to exist and be happy.
Knowledge presents the biggest challenge to personal freedom, because knowledge creates the image that you have of yourself. To conquer knowledge means to take away little by little every piece of the definition that you have built for yourself. This is so scary for most people, and many feel they cannot do it, because without knowledge to cling to the mind feels like it will die, or end up in a psychiatric institution. But when you let go of all those things you think you know about yourself, of all your images, you find freedom.
One of the most important things I do is to try and help people change their point of view. For instance, instead of focusing on all the drama that you have created in the past, or becoming overwhelmed by all the events that have happened in your life that you suffered over, you can put your attention on what you like and it will grow. It's your choice. In your mind you can have millions of ideas, but the work of the artist is to take action on those ideas, because you know that you have in your mind the power to make it real. That's why, in the Toltec tradition, the concept of dreaming is so important. The Toltecs know that dreaming is the first step to making a dream a reality. Put your attention on your dreams rather than your dramas.
Many people try to change the world by changing the secondary characters in their story. They try to control everybody around them. How do they do that? It's easy to understand. They love people the way they themselves were loved: they love with conditions. Which means, "I love you if you let me control you. If you do what I want you to do, we can be so happy." We learn to love everybody with conditions, because everybody loves us with conditions.
The problem is that we can't change the secondary characters; we can only change the world by changing the main character of our story — ourselves. The biggest way you can change yourself is by learning to love yourself unconditionally.
So, to be clear, you can help me to change the world by changing your own world, through unconditional love for yourself. And when you do, it's like magic, because everyone around you will also change.
People suffer for one reason or another, depending on what their story is. But once they have found a reason, they practice and practice this suffering until it becomes a habit, a habit that is difficult to break. Then, when everything is going well and there is no reason to be suffering, they look for something to make them suffer in order to feel comfortable.
In this way, we can say that humans are addicted to suffering. If everything is okay, we will still find something. It's too good to be true. We have to spoil everything, and then we feel better. It is not easy to break this habit, especially if you're not even aware you are doing it. Even when you have that awareness, you may try to stop suffering, but it is a habit that has taken years and years of practice to develop. The only way to break the habit is to practice the opposite — the habit of seeing everything as beautiful. When you appreciate everything that you see and interact with, your whole world changes. Everything you perceive is beautiful; you understand that it is all a work of art.
When you were born, you didn't have knowledge, yet you learned a whole language by the time you were four or five years old. That was not easy. It took years of practice, as you had to agree with every single word, and every single symbol.
Our language builds our knowledge, and when you look at it this way, you can see the power we have given to the word. But what we forget is that we are the ones who created language — not the other way around. The problem is that knowledge has taken over our minds, and it is so afraid of what it doesn't know that it makes up all of these stories to pretend it knows something that it doesn't. Then we are the ones who feel the fear, but the fear is not real; because in reality there is nothing to fear. When the mind is making up stories and pretending, try this instead. Simply say, "I don't know," and see what happens.
Imagine that you live in a place where there are no mirrors, and that you don't even know what a mirror is. It is beyond your comprehension. You can see everybody, you can see their faces, you can hear them, but you cannot see yourself. If you try to see yourself, you will only see the point of your nose, you will see your hands and your feet, but you will not see your neck, you will not see your ears, you will have no idea what your face looks like. You can see everybody's face but not your own, and vice versa. Others will tell you what they think you look like, and from their opinions you will formulate your own self-image. They might say, "Your eyes are just like your mother's eyes," and "You have your grandpa's ears." You are left to imagine your own face, but you won't know what you look like.
Then, imagine that for the first time you are given a mirror, and you can see your own face. The image you created about yourself based on other people's opinions will undoubtedly be different than what you see in that mirror. You grew up believing that you looked a certain way, but the reality is that it's not true. You do not look like what you thought you did.
When you find your authentic self, the same thing happens. You realize that who you thought you were — which was based largely on the opinions of others and who they think you should be — isn't who you really are. You don't need a mirror to find your authentic self; you only need to stop trying to be anything, and simply just be. You become your authentic self by letting go of who you think you should be.
Our individual point of view is changing all the time. For instance, my world when I was nine years old was completely different than when I was thirteen, or seventeen, or when I became a father, or when I became a surgeon, or when I became a shaman. In this way, my world keeps changing all the time, and the same is true for you. Every day, every moment, you change your perception of the world, and it changes constantly as you change. However, there is a part of you that does not change. Can you find that part inside yourself?
"In the beginning there was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God, and everything was created by the Word." That passage from the New Testament is extremely beautiful, and we see from the very beginning that the word is the tool the artist uses to create beauty, and of course everything really is beautiful. If we are not aware that something is beautiful, it is only because we are focusing our attention on lies. A lie might say, "This person is old, this one is fat, this one is ugly," and these lies are nothing but distortions of the truth. Because the truth is the only thing that exists, and the truth is that everything is beautiful. Can you see it?
Excerpted from Don Miguel Ruiz's Little Book of Wisdom by DON MIGUEL RUIZ JR.. Copyright © 2017 Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Hierophant Publishing.
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Table of Contents
Explanation of Key Terms,
Part 1: Awakening,
Part 2: Wisdom Passages,
Part 3: Wisdom Stories,
My Apprenticeship to the Toltec Agreements,
Why Are You Paying for Me?,
Don't Be Afraid to Die,