don Miguel: Do your best.
Ellen: Do my best—the fourth agreement, yes. And even if you falter, you don't beat yourself up.
don Miguel: You don't judge yourself and you don't judge your colleagues.
Ellen: You had a car accident that changed your resistance to Toltec wisdom, right? What happened?
don Miguel: About 25 years ago I crashed my car, but what happened physically was less important than what happened emotionally. Can you imagine if nobody had ever seen light but had created a whole reality out of sound? Then imagine that you open your eyes and see that sound is not the only reality. You don't know what you're experiencing, but you have an overwhelming emotional reaction. But how do you explain to yourself what happened? How can you tell other people? We have no words to explain colors, forms, and shapes because we only have words to explain sounds. I need to call it enlightenment. The best way I can say it is, I have an attitude of love. I could say I was with the angels, but that could cause superstition, more dogma. I don't want that. I don't believe in gurus. There's only one force moving everything, and that force is life. It is so profound. How could my life be the same?
Ellen: You changed immediately?
don Miguel: Immediately I understood. But my first reaction was to try to explain it away. After all, I was in medical school. But I asked my grandfather if he could teach me how to experience that state again. He told me you have to surrender—it's like if you knew you were going to die, if you had only one day to live, you wouldn't care if you had money to buy things. You wouldn't care about anything except being happy. There's a kind of supreme trust that comes with surrendering. It took me a couple of years to experience that state without being in an accident. But I don't think that's the goal.
Ellen: Is the goal not to have a goal?
don Miguel: The goal is to enjoy the life we have. We love because we have the capacity to love. We feel like we have to justify love by being in a relationship. We don't have to be in a relationship to love.
Ellen: Yes, but I love being in a relationship. I love sharing. I can look at a flower and think it's absolutely beautiful, but it enhances the experience to have someone to share it with. In the book you talk about making yourself happy, and if someone says they love you, it's not about you, it's about them. Or if they hate you or they leave you, it's not about you. That's easy to say, but if somebody leaves you and they do it in a very hurtful, deliberate way—
don Miguel: It's normal that it hurts. If someone cuts your hand, it hurts. But if you don't contaminate the wound with poison, it heals fast. And you know, we can write the most beautiful poetry with a broken heart. We can enjoy a broken heart without indulging it.
Ellen: I know, and I don't feel like I have a right to complain about anything. I'm healthy, I'm living a beautiful life. I do look at every experience as an opportunity to grow.