The Book of Miguel Ruiz



The Four Agreements (Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA, 1997)

Be Impeccable with Your word.
Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Don’t Make Assumptions.
Always Do Your Best.

To which his son, Jose Ruiz, later added a Fifth Agreement:

Be Skeptical but learn to listen

Of the first, Miguel Ruiz writes,

Through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything….

The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby create the events of your life…it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word which creates a living hell. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love and heaven on earth. Depending on how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know.

In the process of domestication, you lose your innocence, but in losing your innocence, you start to search for what you have lost, and this leads you to gain awareness. Once you gain awareness you become completely responsible for your own evolution – for every choice you make in life… once you recover awareness of what you are, the war in your head is over.

That is why I have to repeat that it’s so important to be aware. The tyranny of the symbols is extremely powerful… and if we give our power to them… we need a saviour because we don’t have the power to make it on our own… Oh God, please save me. But it is not up to God or Jesus or Buddha or Moses or any other master, shaman, or guru to save us. We can’t blame them if they don’t save us. Nobody can save us, because nobody else is responsible for whatever happens in our virtual world. No one else can change that world, because that world only lives in our heads.

Instead of using words perhaps a better way is to put you face to face with God, so you can see God. And if I show you God, face to face, what you are going to see is yourself. Believe it or not but you are the manifestation of God. And if you could see what is moving your body then you would see the real God… [And]if you go for the truth, the force that moves your fingers is the same force that makes you dream; it’s the same force that opens a flower, or moves the wind… or makes the stars move throughout the universe…. There is only one living being, and you are that being. You are the force that manifests itself in infinite ways throughout the entire universe.
(Emphases in the original).

In 1999 he wrote The Mastery of Love, also published by Amber-Allen, from which these highlights are taken:

The only way to master love is to practice love. You don’t need to justify your love; you don’t need to explain your love; you just need to practice your love…. [so] … love in action can only produce happiness. Fear in action can only produce suffering

And here is an interesting set of comparisons between those two opposites:

Love has no obligations. Fear is full of them.
Love has no expectations. Fear is full of them.
Love is based on respect. Fear doesn’t respect anything, including itself.
Love is ruthless; it doesn’t feel sorry for anyone, but it does have compassion. Fear is full of pity and feels sorry for everyone.
Love is completely responsible. Fear avoids responsibility. But that does not mean that it is not responsible.
Love is always kind. Fear is always unkind.
Love is unconditional. Fear is full of conditions.

The one who loves you, loves you just the way you are … so the right person is someone who wants to go in the same direction as you do, who is compatible with your views and your values – emotionally, physically, economically and spiritually.

We are alive and we need to take risks, and if we fail, so what? Who cares? It doesn’t matter.

In 2002, he suffered a significant heart attack that left him in a coma, a dream state, for nine weeks, while his shamanic mother used all her powers to keep him alive. In 2010, an unknown deceased young woman gifted him with her heart, which enabled him to return to good health. So, in 2015, with the aid of a spiritual teacher named Barbara Emrys, he wrote what he called an autobiographical novel, The Toltec Art of Life and Death (Harper Collins, New York, 2015) from which the following excerpts are taken. And it is worthwhile noting that he quickly echoes some of his earlier writings but using different words. For example:

The age-old human conflict … [between] … good and evil exists only in the human  mind and nowhere else in the universe. And it is not actually a conflict between good and evil: it is a  conflict between truth and lies. When we believe in truth, we feel good and our life is go0d. When we believe in things that are not true, things that encourage fear and hatred in us, the result is fanaticism…. All the violence and suffering in the world is a direct result of the many lies that we tell ourselves. e.g. that we are separate from the world out there, and not the Force, as he mentioned earlier, that manifests itself in infinite ways throughout  the entire universe.

To feel that force we must first realize that we are life.We are the power that guides us, keeps us and continually saves us….To use that power with awareness is the work of a true seer who becomes his own saviour and a comfort to others who share his dream.

To which he adds this cautionary note:

Everyone is dreaming his or her life in a unique way … based on their perception  of reality. We assume that the dreams of others are just like ours, but they are not.. The important thing is to respect  the way others dream even if we don’t approve of their interpretation of reality. We can’t force someone else to see life as we see it…. Just as we would like to be perceived without assumptions or past prejudices, we can allow their unique qualities to impress us all over again … expecting nothing and accepting them as they are.

Respect creates a natural equilibrium, a balance between generousity and gratitude. Receive life, and give thanks by growing and thriving. This process infuses everything with more life. Be generous and life is generous in response. The balance that comes from giving and appreciating is the proof of love in action.

He continues:

What all of us want is the truth, and it cannot be told in words. Like everyone, like everything, truth is a mystery posing as an answer….. Truth existed before words, before humanity and before this known universe. Truth will always exist.

We want truth, but we reach for more knowledge instead ~ and then we must defend what we believe… [Moreover] … once words are spoken, the truth is lost.. Symbols might be carved into granite and recorded for the ages, but truth will always live beyond the words, the reach of those wonderful artists who drew pictures in stone … and beyond the minds of all those who interpret them.

Achieving personal freedom means liberating ourselves from the penalties of knowledge. Change one thing ~ one idea, one habit ~and the frontiers open. Freedom is a beloved idea in the human dream, an idea that is not fully comprehended. Freedom begins when each individual mind dares to liberate itself from the prison it created. We are free when the war in our heads is over. We were born authentic, responding directly to life, but we lost our authenticity on the battlefield of ideas. We can be authentic again, of course. We can become immune to the effects of knowledge. We no longer have to believe ourselves, but we can learn so much from listening ~ listening to our own minds, to the opinions of others, and refusing to pay the emotional price they demand…. Change one idea, make a different agreement, and the prison bars begin to bend ….

Knowledge is the backdrop to all human dreaming….. all the agreements we make about reality ….  It’s meant to serve as an ally to awareness. From that perspective we can see that knowledge is the angel that delivers us … or the demon that possesses us. That recognition … that awareness … enables us to take control of  our stories so that they more consistently reflect the truth. Taking control of the story is our first tentative leap to freedom….

Surrendering to life is an act of power. Giving up on old stories is an expression of gratitude ~ from the mind, to a loyal body.

Knowledge must ultimately yield to love…. [And] …. If each of us could love ourselves as we wish to be loved, then we would not let our hunger for love make decisions for us.

Intent/ Faith is the physical force of life.

When we refer to body, mind, and spirit, we create misleading distinctions. There is only life, and life’s countless points of view…. [So]… What does it mean to see from life’s point of view. What does it mean to be infinite in the present moment? It may be impossible to say, but it is possible to experience.

Life is seeing  and life is being seen.

In life, you want find out what you’re capable of  as a human, and practice becoming better and better at those things.

All political and cultural wars begin in one person’s mind ~ and that mind wants company.

Death means something specific in my imagination. It means matter. Matter is conceived and then it is born. It grows, it multiplies,, but it will certainly end. Matter needs an outside force to move and, once it’s in motion, to stop it. That force is life.

From this point of view, it makes sense to identify matter as death ~ a substance that requires life’s energy to create it and to animate it. At the precise point when matter, or the human body, cannot support the force of life ~ because of an injury, sickness or deterioration ~ it begins to decay. The power that gave birth to life than consumes it. Death surrenders to life, not the other way around.

Physical death is a homecoming. Light is expanding into light. Energy goes on endlessly, shifting intensity and never stopping to rest. As light, it informs all universes, from the bewilderingly small to the unimaginably great. It pounds into matter and radiates outward with unyielding intensity. It fills all objects, as well as the looming mystery between objects.

Within the space of a heartbeat, a person can see all of this, remember all of it, and follow the power of intent into the next dynamic instant…. Intent is the force of life that we are.