Ageless Wisdom for a Changing World, or… How to Change the World the Toltec Way An Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz & Don Jose Ruiz

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The Toltec Nation emerged some thousands of years ago throughout southern Mexico. A nation of scientists and artists, they lived in accordance with sacred, esoteric — yet universal — laws. In the ancient city of Teotihuacán (“place where man becomes God”), the naguals (masters) and apprentices transcended ordinary human consciousness to realize personal liberation.

The teaching’s basic three masteries are:  Awareness, Transformation, and Intent or Love. These masteries fundamentally align with every mystery school in the world, and embrace all ascended masters who have walked the Earth. The Toltec Way is not a religion, but a template for life, one notable for delivering great peace, love, joy, and oneness with God.

Widely known for his books The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge), Don Miguel Ruiz is the popularized face of the Toltec Tradition. Joining him in the international teachings is his son, Don Jose Ruiz. Together they make the Toltec Way accessible to everyone, regardless of their religion, culture or language.

Awareness Magazine visited Don Miguel and Don Jose to find out more about the Toltec tradition, their mission to change the world, and what this means on an individual level in terms of living an abundant life.

Mischa: Your books have sold over 5 million copies in the U.S. alone, and have been published in 36 different languages! What is it about your message that resonates with people from all over the world? How does your message increase “prosperity consciousness,” especially at a time when many are concerned about the world economy, the war in Iraq, and the upcoming presidential election?

Don Miguel: The message is extremely simple. It is based on common sense. I think that everybody knows — no matter what language he or she speaks. It is something that comes from human integrity and is based on Truth. When I wrote The Four Agreements, I put myself in that book, gave life to that book, and sent it as a messenger. Messenger means “angel.” In this world there live six billion angels — six billion messengers who are each delivering a message!

One of the problems is that all of those angels, those messengers, are not aware of the message they deliver. Either you deliver Truth, or you deliver lies. The main problem with the world is that we — the six billion messengers — are delivering lies. We create superstition, fear, injustice, war, you name it.

All drama that exists on Earth is because we deliver lies, believe in those lies, and ultimately create nightmares. But if we just use common sense, we can deliver Truth, or something I call “the dream of heaven.” This is available to everyone, and it is actually extremely easy.

The message of my books goes exactly to the core of human integrity. What the books say is really nothing new. It [the message] has no formal language because we create languages. Therefore, it comes from what we already know — even without words. When people read the books, they just have a way of knowing, of recognizing themselves in the message.

The second point to this is that the act of power really came in putting the message into words that make sense and that make life extremely easy. These simple four agreements are a tool that can break millions of agreements based on lies and superstition.

When you create doubt in someone’s mind, things start to shift. It is like when I say, “Help me to change the world.” I am not talking about planet Earth. I am talking about the individual world. The only one who can help me change the world then, is the individual.

If people change the world, it is because of the changes they have made in themselves. It is not because of me. I just offer tools that people can understand and use. They shift their minds, and life becomes easier and better.

Once we get rid of all those lies and superstition, Life will bring you everything you want. You don’t even have to go out looking. All opportunities come to you, and you simply choose those that you want from those you don’t.

We don’t need to be afraid of the future, of what might happen economically, of a depression, or anything really. If we have awareness, it will be so easy to survive in any circumstance, including war.

Don Jose: Prosperity is in the mirror. And what those books do is mirror our life. This is why when we first read the books, we usually think, “I know this stuff!” That’s because we know our integrity. When we mirror that integrity, we find prosperity. The message the books deliver is to be aware and to be strong. There is no better place to deliver a message than to the mirror, so to speak. Every time we talk to ourselves — to our Creator — it is like going to “church” everyday. We don’t have to confess to anyone else about ourselves. We don’t need to gossip about ourselves.

When we are ready to prosper, the best place to look is in the mirror, and to see the change. This opens the heart, and creativity. It opens the door for people to create their “art” [life]. This creates a [personal] Book of Revelations. For every human who “opens the book,” their personal story of how they can go beyond lies is revealed. This is a chance for each person to deliver his or her own message. They can see their creation and that they did their best.

The mirror, the world, is always going to reflect what we believe. When we recognize the Truth, it is because we are ready to change. The warrior’s biggest challenge is to not believe anybody else, to not believe even him or her self. Because we are very intelligent, we can use knowledge and hide behind it.

I have gratitude, gratitude that there are those six billions angels out there to help us see what we are naturally born to be and do. We recognize our personal integrity in the messages of Truth. When we recognize the opposite in the lies, the doubts in our own heads, the problems of life, the wars, we become aware of the solution and aware of the fact that we can change the world! This is a good day to be a messenger.

Mischa: When you speak about the awareness, and that being the key to changing on the inside, what advice do you have for any of us who may not always be at that level of awareness? Does obtaining that level of constant awareness require daily meditation, for example? In practical terms, how do we become aware?

Don Jose: When I teach my practices, I give specific homework. Get a recording device, and when you are feeling happy, strong and empowered, hit “record” and talk. Give yourself a message. Then listen to it. Listen to it the next day. Record new messages for yourself.

This homework is for the times when you feel heartbreak, pain, or too much pressure. Just push “play.” Hear yourself when you are happy and strong and not believing any victim story about yourself.

When we gather knowledge and awareness for change, we see our transformation. The one who is suffering builds up in his or her mind that change is unattainable, and the message gets distorted. If we look at all the mystery schools, they all teach the same thing: how to go beyond lies, “smoke,” our personal hell, to get to the truth about ourselves.

The shaman, the nagual, the swami, he [or she] is the one who is always in Truth. He is not swayed by lies or guilt. He lives by love and respect. Even with the body. We have to take care of the body as well as the mind. The body is there to support the mind.

The ancestors call the true healer “the one who can heal himself from his own lies.” So we train ourselves to heal from the lies, and then it becomes a different conversation with oneself. This information is well known to each of us because we have all been trained by the same master [teacher], which is Life and the dream of the planet, or whatever we want to name it.

There are no problems because Life respects us and knows that we can handle whatever comes to us, that we can move through it, grow and change. So if Life itself has this immense respect for us, how can we not have that same respect for ourselves?

This is the highest law of the Toltec. Respect. Respect for everyone’s and our own dreams. If one is living lies, or living a nightmare, we know this is not respect.

Don Miguel: We deliver not just a message to other people, but also a message to ourselves. There is a voice in our head that is talking all the time. It delivers a message that we have learned over the course of an entire lifetime. If you are talking in your head, who is listening? {Pause. Mischa: I am.} Yes! It is up to us believe or not believe in the message we deliver to ourselves.

We realize that we don’t have to believe in superstition or to lie to ourselves any longer. We can learn to listen to the way we talk to ourselves, and that can make a big difference. By the way, this is The Fifth Agreement, and it is very powerful. My son has written a book, The Fifth Agreement, which is now in the hands of the publisher and will be available next spring.

Mischa: How does one differentiate between that parroting voice in our head, the Voice of Knowledge, between the voice of Truth?

Don Miguel: Well, it is very easy. Lies need us to believe in them in order to keep them alive. If we don’t believe in the lies, they will not survive. The Truth doesn’t need anyone to believe in it. Truth is Truth, regardless of opinions or stories. It does not need to prove or defend itself.

Mischa: Is this why you are notorious for saying, “Don’t believe in me. Don’t believe yourself,” because Truth stands unwaveringly on its own?

Don Miguel: Exactly. Truth just is.

Mischa: Relating the word to The Mastery of Love and the prosperity of harmonious relationships, how does the word work in relationships?

Don Miguel: Let’s say you are a person who likes to drink a lot, and you want to have a relationship. Because you like to drink, you go to bars. What you find in the bars are other people who like to drink a lot too. Do you see the correlation? It works this way with everything. What you like to do is what you become. And as you become, you will find people who are like you and who like what you like. You’ll match in a certain way.

You can change the whole thing by changing yourself. The other person may change with you. But if you change and grow more than the other person, the other will try and pull you down. You will no longer fit that original model. What do you think (turning to his son)?

Don Jose: Ah, the power of conversation!

When you really care, you want to love unconditionally. Say when you marry, supposedly, it is for better or for worse, until death do us part. It comes down to what you will do for love. Will you stay in a marriage that goes against yourself, all in the name of love? That is not really loving unconditionally. That is more like possessing.

It is a different dream [from the one in which] you marry Life. When we marry Life, we can go freely into the dream because we understand there are certain things [on Earth] to which we have to adapt. When we adapt, we have a chance to master love, to love unconditionally, and to learn to forgive and let go.

When we attract, we really attract ourselves. Two dreams attract to each other. If something changes in the relationship and we say we love but are not showing respect, then we are holding on to the residue of an old dream. First we have the honeymoon. Then, over time all of the drama and poison start to emerge. Two dreams are living together now. In that moment, it takes a big step into awareness to see yourself.

You cannot depend on someone else for your happiness. In a marriage, there must be communication and an agreement to respect Truth. If these things are taken away and you are not respecting yourself, you will see that you are trapped in a dream. It becomes a sacrifice in the name of love. For what dream are we willing to sacrifice ourselves? For what heartbreak — a dream we don’t want to live in — are we going to sacrifice our entire being?

Some people realize the Truth, but decide not to take any action. They decide to stay in the unwanted dream. The dream of the planet says this is your “sentence.” There are people who do not believe in changing their dream. Instead they grow angry and drag each other down. They do not have freedom.

The most beautiful gift you can give to yourself or your beloved is the gift of freedom. If you have ever seen a relationship in which the people have been fighting for years and years, and then they finally decide to let go, that [letting go] becomes the highest expression of unconditional love.

We all have limited time on Earth. Maybe 50 years, 80 years, a short time. Imagine going to a travel agency and choosing where to go, where to spend your life. Are you going to choose Heartbreak Hotel or Holiday Inn? You really don’t need [to choose] either if you are adapting to Life.

You are a messenger and you are married to Life, and are able to master forgiveness. The Mastery of Love is the mastery of forgiveness. We must first master forgiving and respecting ourselves.

Do not let any human go against you. The moment you allow that, you show the world you do not want to be respected. You won’t deserve respect because you are not respecting yourself. Respecting yourself has nothing to do with the outside world. It is Truth, and that doesn’t need to be proven or seen. When it comes to personal freedom, it is better that no one sees it. It is for you.

Don Miguel: In the Mastery of Love, we say that you are only responsible for half of the relationship. You are not responsible for the other half. By being responsible for your half, it is up to you to make yourself happy. In order to do that, you need to clean your past. [Clinging to] your past is like carrying a corpse around with you. It is very heavy and stinky.

If you live your dream in your past, if you are reliving your heartbreaks and injustices, bad decisions and judgments, you will give all of that to someone else. If you deal with your past and release it, practice self-love and forgiveness, you will be able to be happy. You will bring something valuable to the relationship.

Still, you are only responsible for your half. Do not use each other to try to create happiness. That is up to each person to do for him or her self. As we have said, respect is the key. If you respect your own dream and each other’s dream, you will be happy.

If you try to control the other’s dream, you are not showing respect to the other. When you deal with your past and focus on creating your own happiness, there is a much greater chance for the other to be happy as well.

Don Jose: It (happiness) also depends on the power and intent of the will. What you really want will happen. If you are ready to leave your “corpses” behind, then you can create happiness for yourself. Clearing the past is a gift to yourself; it is an act of self-respect, and respect to the One who gives us life. There are many things we take for granted. We take the gift of life for granted and forget to enjoy our life before it is gone.

Mischa: In closing, will you speak about your mission to change the world and how we can help? You’ve touched on it, and the significance of being a “spiritual warrior.” We would like to know more.

Don Jose: I have asked my father, “What is the best way I can repay you?” I have spent enough time in my dream of hell, of suffering and rebellion. My father has helped me. He put the mirror in front of me. And so I wanted to know how I could repay him for this. He says the best repayment is for me to be happy, to clear my own smoke, and return to my center. This will be contagious and will change the world.

The only way to change the world is to first change ourselves. If you are living a nightmare, change it. Become the best artist you can be. Dream beautiful dreams. Take time in meditation and then take action so a new dream will manifest. Especially when we feel passion for our dreams, we can create the new art of today. As I have said before, “It is a great day to be a messenger!”

Mischa: And this is a great day for us to receive your message! Thank you so much! We will be looking forward to Don Jose’s new book, “The Fifth Agreement,” next spring.

Don Miguel: Please let everyone know that we love them, even if we don’t know them. Love is universal, not personal.

To learn more about Toltec Teachings and the work of Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz, visit:

This article first appeared on Awareness