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The Toltec Secret to Happiness: Create Lasting Change with the Power of Belief

The Toltec Secret to Happiness: Create Lasting Change with the Power of Belief

by Ray Dodd, don Miguel Ruiz Jr. (Foreword by)

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Previously published as The Power of Belief

Imagine being happy and content even in the most difficult times. An impossible dream? Not at all. But if your desire for happiness isn't being reached by trying harder, having more, or knowing more the problem may lie hidden within the core of your deepest beliefs.

Our deepest beliefs impact every aspect of


Previously published as The Power of Belief

Imagine being happy and content even in the most difficult times. An impossible dream? Not at all. But if your desire for happiness isn't being reached by trying harder, having more, or knowing more the problem may lie hidden within the core of your deepest beliefs.

Our deepest beliefs impact every aspect of our lives: our performance at work, our issues with money, the state of our health, and how we conduct all our relationships.

In The Toltec Secret to Happiness Ray Dodd reveals how hidden beliefs create barriers to living a happy life, and how to break through self-limiting boundaries by changing those beliefs.

In 1996, after a chance meeting at the pyramid ruins in Teotihuacan, Mexico, Ray embarked on a six-year apprenticeship with don Miguel Ruiz, MD, author of the widely beloved and best-selling book, The Four Agreements.

"Now, building on the Toltec Wisdom Path popularized by don Miguel, Carlos Castaneda, and many others, The Toltec Secret to Happiness offers four simple steps to transform any belief that stands in the way of your happiness.

Read it and discover:

  • How to Identify and Change any Self-Limiting Belief
  • The Key to Eliminating Regret, Worry, and Self-Doubt
  • The Secret to Staying Balanced and Happy, Even When Things are Falling Apart
  • The Most Effective Way to Achieve Lasting Change

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for BeliefWorks: "An inspiring, practical road map for creating the kind of life we all long to live." -Patricia Aburdeen, author of Megatrends 2010
"I highly recommend this inspiring book as a guide for experiencing a life overflowing with peace, happiness and love." -Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, author of The Biology of Belief

"Don Miguel Ruiz Sr. brought the ancient wisdom of the Toltecs into current mainstream consciousness. Now Ray Dodd has followed his famous teacher's example and crystallized the lessons he was given, putting the powerful metaphors into his own words, and making them even more accessible to other people. Readers will learn about the way perception affects belief, the limitations that arise from those skewed beliefs, and why change must begin by redefining what we believe. Dodd defines the self-created system that limits our happiness, as well as the things that need to be done in order to revise that system and reclaim our innate ability to live the lives we dream of. Clearly written, infused with the powerful energy of ancient Mexico, and offered to readers without judgement or demands, this a quick read with lasting effects. Customers who are ready to take their lives into their own hands and make themselves and the world they live in better will welcome these teachings." -Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

"One of the most concise and accessible books ever written about the Toltec belief system. Fans of Castaneda and Miguel Ruiz, and new readers alike, will enjoy Dodd's simple yet penetrating writing style. Fresh, original thinking. Every page of this book is written with faith, authority, and conviction." -Dr. Simeon Hein, author of Opening Minds

Praise for Ray Dodd: "When you change what you believe, you change your story about yourself, and suddenly life becomes a beautiful dream. Ray Dodd will show you how." -don Miguel Ruiz, MD, author of The Four Agreements

"A beautiful work of art and a fundamental instrument in your path of transformation." --don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., author of The Five Levels of Attachment

Praise the previous edition: " An excellent self-improvement guide written in plain and simple terms." -Midwest Book Review

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Red Wheel/Weiser
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Read an Excerpt

The Toltec Secret to Happiness

Creating Lasting Change with the Power of Belief

By Ray Dodd

Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Ray Dodd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61283-322-4



A belief is a dream, a simulated reality shaped by your most pivotal experiences and what you have decided those experiences mean. A conviction that exists beyond language, belief projects its point of view onto all that you perceive, distorting what is.

If you want to change your life—Right Now—there is nothing more powerful than changing what you believe!

Belief creates your personal reality: a unique world view where often what is true is true only for you. What I am referring to are not political beliefs or beliefs about religion, but the unseen agreements you made long ago that impact every word you say, every thought you think, and every action you take. The voice of those agreements is the conversation you hear chattering in your mind—proclaiming how things are, describing what you know, telling you about everything you believe.

Your interpretation of life through your filter of beliefs alters what you perceive. Imagine you and I are looking at a dog. If you remember your high school biology, the light reflecting off the dog enters the retina in your eye and through a series of biochemical reactions, receptors process what you see, sending an electrical impulse to the brain and creating an image in your mind. The image is raw data. What you actually take in is modified by how you interpret the data.

We project what we believe onto whatever we are experiencing. The process is similar to the way a movie projector works. Light passes through a moving film and the images on the film are projected onto a screen through a lens. If the lens isn't clean the images are distorted. In the same way, your beliefs coat the lens of your awareness; and when light reflects off what you see, your beliefs alter what you perceive inside your mind.

What you observe is not actual but virtual. If I love dogs and you are afraid of dogs, we are each going to have a different experience. What you see and feel and what I see and feel are not exactly the same even though we are looking at the same dog. In a similar way, if a college art class is drawing a human model, the students don't all draw the same thing in the same way. Granted, some of this is because not everyone has the same level of skill or technique, but more importantly, the artists are expressing what they see inside their own virtual reality.

Most of the time we don't have any direct contact with what we observe at all. Unless we are tasting something, or feeling the texture and temperature by touching it, our perception is derived largely from the image in our mind and the sounds we hear.

No one has a pure perception of the world they encounter moment to moment because we alter the information received by the senses based on past experiences and our agreements about those experiences. An example: If I invite you to dinner at my mother's house and she serves us my favorite dish, what you taste will likely be different from what I taste. Similarly, if you invite me to a concert where they are performing music you're familiar with, but I've never heard before, my experience is not going to be the same as yours.

To make matters worse, we distort the already altered version of reality presented to us by other people. To illustrate, let's say you are my friend. You know me and we have talked many times. You go to a party and get into a conversation with a man you've never met before. You tell the man about me but you don't give him my name. My sister goes to the same party and talks to the same man about me but also does not mention my name. By chance the next day my mother runs into the very same man in the supermarket and while they are waiting in the checkout line, she starts to tell him about me, her son. It is likely this man will think he was told about three different people because what he heard was how I existed in each of their minds. What he experienced was their perception of me through the lens of their judgments, opinions, and beliefs.

The typical understanding of belief is that it is a product of the mind, produced by our reason. Something is true because we think it is true. We are under the impression that what we think we believe is actually what we believe. However, what we think we believe is often just an opinion. Opinions are not beliefs but the application of all the accumulated knowledge we have agreed to and our relentless defense of those agreements. Belief is so much more than what we think is true. The origin of belief is not words but experience, the emotion that arises from that experience, and the evolution of what we perceive that experience to mean.

Is it possible to develop a belief without language, without thinking about it? Of course it is! A toddler that has been scratched by a cat develops an instant belief about cats (watch out!) without understanding words.

From the Toltec perspective, everything we believe about ourselves, and everything we have decided we know about our world is filled with illusions fabricated by the dreaming mind.

So, consider a broader definition for the word "belief."

A belief is a dream, a simulated reality shaped by your most pivotal experiences and what you have decided those experiences mean. A conviction that exists beyond language, belief projects its point of view onto all that you perceive, distorting what is.

What you believe is what you have no doubt about. Let's say you need to run an errand and you decide to drive your car to get there. You leave your house, walk out to the car, open the car with your keys, get in, put the key in the ignition, start the car, and begin to drive away. For most people, this whole sequence is pretty routine. You don't think much about it. You aren't considering how a key works in a lock or how the motor of a car operates after you turn the key. You don't consider it because you've done it many times, and you don't have any doubt about what will happen. It's not conscious, it's automatic. You believe it works. You believe it works because that is where you have invested your faith.

Where your faith is invested is powerful and very difficult to change just by changing your thinking. As an example, according to psychologists the greatest fear people have is not of dying but of speaking in front of other people. Many people have stage fright and so one way to overcome this fear is to take a public speaking course. A course like that can be helpful, but what it really does is help manage fear. When they step out onto the stage, even after they've finished the course, there is often still something trying to overpower all the affirmations, techniques, and good intentions. That something is what they believe about themselves.

Many times our most deeply held beliefs are invisible to us. We think we know what we believe, but maybe we really don't. Ask yourself: What do I believe about money? What do I believe about my work? What do I really believe about God, love, family, or the immense world around me? You can probably come up with some pretty good answers, but are they true? Suppose you tell everyone that you believe in being kind, considerate, and loving. What happens when someone doesn't act kind, considerate, and loving towards you? How do you feel when someone doesn't act kind or considerate towards someone you care about? When you are driving your car and another driver does something you don't like, is your reaction in conflict with what you told everyone you believed?

Belief can be so powerful that it controls your entire body. Just look in the mirror when you are upset or stressed. Look at your face and how you are standing—your posture. Notice whether your breathing is deep or shallow. Belief affects our biological systems too. There is much written about how fear, stress, and negative thinking can cause dis-ease in the human body. There is also mountains of evidence about how love, positive thought, laughter, and touch aid in the healing of the same diseases.

Because belief lives below the level of ordinary awareness, you don't notice the agreements you made long ago. What you notice is the emotional point of view of the belief. When you are triggered by a stressful situation, what you're really aware of is being overwhelmed by an emotion. Even if you have learned to hold back your words, your reaction is far more powerful than any thought you might have about how you should or shouldn't act. It's a runaway train and you're not in control. In those moments, forcing yourself to behave in a way you think is acceptable can be like trying to strap down the lid on the pot so the water doesn't boil over while the flame underneath is turned all the way up.

Real transformation of the belief system cannot be accomplished simply by deciding to believe something else, reciting affirmations, or collecting more information. Have you ever been to a seminar, come back all fired up with lots of good information and the best intentions. Only to find months later that not much has really changed? You learn to talk the talk, but you can't seem to walk the walk. The change doesn't last because what really drives behavior is belief. Real transformation of your beliefs comes from engaging the totality of what you are, not just your mind. You are so much more than intellect and reason. You are vastly more than your thinking. You are this human body with the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. You are instinct and intuition. You are a feeling being with emotions. You are spirit imbued with the force of LIFE—aware—and through your perception, a dreamer.

For years, I had a very hard time understanding the Toltec perspective that we are always dreaming. I thought it meant nothing was real. That's not exactly true. What it means is that we don't accurately experience what is in front of us, but perceive instead a virtual image altered by the activity of the dreaming mind. How we interpret what we experience is dramatically influenced by the structure of our beliefs.

Our personal dream, our individual simulated reality, is the solid and familiar story we exist in. It becomes so familiar that we no longer notice it. Only when something drastic happens to suspend it—like an accident, illness, sudden loss, or other tragedy—do we get a glimpse of the world without our usual filters. In those moments, the mirage evaporates and we begin to see the limitless possibilities available by changing what we believe.

Years ago, after a trip into the interior of Mexico, I came down with malaria. I was very sick with a high fever. Six weeks later, I finally started to get better, but I was still weak and had lost a lot of weight.

Some friends of mine took me out for a walk in a local mountain park. They thought it would do me good to get outside into the fresh spring air. We walked for a short way and then I decided we should turn back because I was getting tired. Just as we turned around to go back, we passed a man and a woman walking the other way. The man called my name. He said, "Ray?" I turned around and looked at him. He seemed pleasant but I didn't recognize him. I began to walk away. "Ray?" he said again. I looked harder. I had a warm feeling looking at him. His face was bathed in the late afternoon light and seemed soft, like the effect you get when you spread gel on a camera lens. Still, I couldn't recall his face and so I started to walk down the hill. He called out loudly, "Ray!" I looked back at him and struggled to place him. I stared directly at him for what seemed to me to be a very long time. All of a sudden, I heard a popping sound as if something that had been stuck released, and there was a return to a more familiar feeling.

I could now see this was Steve, a man I'd known for several years. Steve worked at the same company I did. I liked him and thought he was immensely intelligent, but we would often disagree because I thought he had a habit of rushing into things with way more enthusiasm than planning. Like just about everyone else in my life I had a judgment about him. My long illness, however, had severely diminished my attachment to just about everything—my possessions, my personal history, and my judgments. Much of what I had deemed serious and important was no longer even worth considering. I just didn't have the energy to maintain being right. Part of my world before I became sick was Steve; the way I judged him, defined him, and even gossiped about him. Because the illness had largely dissolved that, I saw him in a very different way. So different in fact I could not even recognize him!



What you are experiencing in this very moment is the culmination of everything you have agreed to believe.

In order to change any of the beliefs that are holding you back from creating the life you want, it's important to understand how they were formed and what got you to this point.

For many years behavioral scientists have studied human infants to determine what their experience is and how they develop. Very small children can't express in words what is happening to them, so all we can do is observe. Just looking at a baby you can see that their eyes act like the lens of a video camera. Their attention shifts from moment to moment. They focus on whatever is enchanting, interesting, and catches their eye. They stare at it until it holds no more fascination and then move their attention to something else. They seem to gravitate towards what gives them pleasure and move away from what is confusing or doesn't feel good. What they perceive, what channels of communication they establish, and what they experience are determined solely by where they focus their attention.

Babies and toddlers are little human beings without language. They don't possess the ability to express to others in words what they are experiencing. They observe the world through the five physical senses and their intuitive sense of feeling. How things feel is a big part of how they perceive and process their surroundings. Unlike adults, who use words to describe what they feel, babies don't have language to interpret the emotion, yet their emotional awareness carries terabytes of information about the essence of what is happening moment to moment.

A friend of mine was in the process of deciding whether she and her husband would get a divorce. They were still living together, but emotionally they had already separated. They had a two-year-old son who was walking but had not yet begun to speak. Her son would make them sit down on the couch and insist they hold hands. Although he didn't have the ability to understand the words they were speaking, he could sense exactly what was going on between them. It didn't feel good, so he took action to make it different.

Little children exist in a kind of paradise. They have the capacity to perceive what is without a lot of distortion, unlike the adults who interpret everything through their experiences. Little children notice the essence of things guided by the truth of their emotions. Emotions never lie. They advise impeccably based on how it feels.

These little humans are free to be who they are. Sometimes they hurt and sometimes they are afraid, but they live in the present moment with a great capacity to enjoy life—to play, to be endlessly curious, and to love.

As adults, we need to be able to communicate with our children. We want to give instructions, ask questions, and when necessary, take control. Parents have a basic understanding of their small children through a series of nonverbal clues, but eventually they have to establish a better channel of communication. In order to successfully communicate, children need to learn the code. They need to learn language—an agreement about what the sounds mean. Once the code is understood, information can be given.

The passing of any information requires the focus of your awareness. The focus of your awareness is your attention. You receive pictures, sounds, feelings, and words from any situation through your attention. To learn anything you have to pay attention, and ... you have to agree.

By capturing our attention and teaching us the code, the adults in our lives pass on to us their personal view of the world. They teach us what everything is. They tell us their opinions about everybody and what they think of themselves. They tell us what we are, and maybe more importantly, what we are not. It's like downloading a program onto a computer. Unfortunately, if it is a view of the world infected with irrational fears, it acts like a virus in the program, eventually creating beliefs anchored in the very same fears.

One of my clients told me a story about his fear of heights. For as long as he could remember, he had been afraid of ledges, cliffs, and stairs to high places. In working toward his belief about this, he remembered that as a kid his mother had shrieked at him when he got too close to the edge of a ravine, stood on a wall, or tried to climb a tree. "David!" she would yell. "Be careful! Look out!" His fear was her fear of heights, and she had infected him with it.


Excerpted from The Toltec Secret to Happiness by Ray Dodd. Copyright © 2014 Ray Dodd. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Ray Dodd is a leading authority on belief, helping both individuals and businesses forge new beliefs to affect lasting and positive change. A former professional musician and engineer with many years in corporate management, Dodd leads seminars, applying ageless wisdom of the Toltec to life and business.

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