Super Soul Sunday
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The Day That Changed don Miguel Ruiz's Life Forever
Posted: Wed 08/14/2013 12:01 AM
Photo: Aaron Landman
In a special message to "Super Soul Sunday" viewers, don Miguel Ruiz opens up about the day that changed his life forever. Read on to see how the lessons he learned from that experience have impacted millions around the world. (An encore Oprah's interview with don Miguel Ruiz airs this Sunday at 11 a.m. on OWN..)
Often major blessings in life come disguised as startling curses. In 1978, this is exactly what happened to me. Following what should have been a fatal car accident, resulting in a profound out-of-body experience, my life was unavoidably changed, forever.
You see, from the day of my birth, I was surrounded by the love and ancient wisdom of my Toltec lineage. The Toltec were known throughout southern Mexico as "women and men of knowledge." Anthropologists have spoken of the Toltec as a nation or a race, but in fact, the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together as masters (Naguals) and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside Mexico City known as the place where "Man becomes God."
My grandfather, Leonardo, was a nagual (shaman), and my beloved mother, Sarita, a curandera (healer). At the feet of these incredible masters, I grew into manhood enveloped in the special mystery and knowledge of the "old ways" of my ancestors. Although I knew that I was expected by my elders to carry on the family tradition, in my heart, I felt deeply drawn to the healing arts of the medical profession. I entered medical school with the dream of becoming a surgeon. In the years to follow, I worked as a surgeon with my brother, who is a neurosurgeon.
In spite of my success as a medical doctor, it was impossible for me to escape the vivid reality of the way I saw myself after the accident. I experienced myself as pure consciousness, I saw the universe and myself as one. I realized I was a part of everything, and everything was a part of me...including God! By allowing the infusion of this truth into every cell of my being, it began to loom larger than anything else I believed in. Subsequently, my perception of life began to transform.
Then, inexplicably, all of the ancient wisdom I remembered learning from my mother and my grandfather came flooding over me; especially the recollection of my grandfather telling me we were all living in a dream, that permanently hooked my attention. He'd also said “when we awaken from the dream, we have the power to change it —not just for ourselves, but for everyone we know.”
With this epiphany, I placed my feet upon the shamanic path, in quest of the truth. For at this point, I could no longer attempt to escape the fact my soul had made a divine agreement to fulfill a mission designed to understand and share my knowledge of the Toltec wisdom with the entire world.
Newly transformed, my mission complemented by my medical training, compelled me to write The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. This book (published by Amber Allen in 1997) quickly gained international and critical acclaim, with millions of copies sold globally. The content of my book is based on fundamental Toltec concepts. Believe me, they are very simple to understand, perhaps challenging to implement, yet powerful enough to change the way you live your life.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
It is very important to understand this agreement, because we use the word to create a complete reality. This reality is only true for us, and not necessarily true for anybody else. Based on this agreement, our personal story could become a heaven or a hell.
2. Don’t Take Things Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
In reality, you are no more than a secondary character in everybody else’s story, just as they are also secondary characters in your story. When they judge you, they are actually judging the secondary character in their story. They do not know you, and believe that you are what they imagine you to be. It works the same for you. When you judge them, you are only judging what you believe they are. Whether or not we are close to other people, we can never truly know them. We can never truly understand the way they think, how they feel, or how they create their own sense of reality.
3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
This Agreement has to do with your personal knowledge, and the thoughts generated by this knowledge. Our thoughts are the ones in charge of making assumptions. We think we know. We think, and presume to know. Although some assumptions might be correct, most of them encourage the emotional disturbances that we use to make ourselves needlessly suffer.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
This is what turns our imagination into reality. This is how we create all human civilizations. We could have thousands of ideas, but if we do not take action, these ideas will vanish and never become a reality.
By practicing The Four Agreements, we find the truth of ourselves. By transforming old habits, we can accept ourselves unconditionally. We can recover our confidence. We can rediscover our inner beauty and our self-love.
Don Miguel Ruiz is highly respected throughout the world. He has received numerous recognitions, including a U.S. Air Force challenge coin engraved with The Four Agreements, and he is referenced as a National Heirloom of Mexico. The Four Agreements®, published in 1997, was a New York Times bestseller for more than 7 years and the 36th best selling book of the decade. Other books have followed: The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge, Prayers, and The Fifth Agreement, a collaboration with his son Don Jose Ruiz. Learn more at www.miguelruiz.com