Over the years on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Toltec Wisdom Teacher Don Miguel Ruiz about his work and his books including The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love and The Voice of Knowledge. Don Miguel’s New York Times best-seller, The Four Agreements, continues to inspire millions with its powerful wisdom and empowering concepts.
I’m so pleased to have this opportunity to chat with Don Miguel Ruiz again, this time for a special Father’s Day interview here in my column as the National Metaphysical Spirituality Writer for the Examiner. In this exclusive interview, I speak with Don Miguel about his new book – ‘The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery’, which was co-written by Don Miguel and his son, Don Jose, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a Toltec Wisdom Keeper and Teacher.
Kala: Don Miguel, it’s wonderful to speak with you again, thanks so much for taking the time to come chat with me. Don Jose, I’m so happy we have you here to speak with you about the work and tradition that you are carrying forward into the next generation. Welcome!
Don Miguel: It is really my pleasure.
Don Jose: Thank you very much for having us.
Kala: Don Miguel, ‘The Four Agreements’ book has transformed many lives. In your new book, ‘The Fifth Agreement’, you mention that when writing the previous book, you felt that people were not ready at that time to take on the Fifth Agreement. What has changed in people and in the world, that made you feel that they are now ready for the Fifth Agreement?
Don Miguel: At the end of the last century, my apprentices found it difficult to understand the concept that we live in the reality that we create — that we use the word in order to create the story that we live in. That story is made by everything we know, and that knowledge makes us feel safe, even if what we know is not true. The Fifth Agreement is “Be Skeptical, but learn to listen.” We don’t need to invest all of our faith in every concept, in every symbol, in every opinion that forms the totality of our knowledge. Faith means to believe in something 100% without a doubt, and to doubt our own knowledge can seem like the most frightening thing that can happen to us. But now, ten years later, people are ready to hear this message because society has changed. With all the information being shared via computers, via the internet, it’s easier for people to accept that the opinions that come from everywhere are not necessarily the truth. It’s easier to be skeptical because it’s easier to understand that every human lives in their own world. The dream of life is really an illusion, and everybody lives in the reality he or she creates — a virtual reality that is only true for the one who creates it.
Kala: Don Jose, as a child growing up with the Four Agreements, did you follow these teachings or did you rebel against them, like many children do from their parent’s teachings? What inspired you to embrace the teachings, to the point that you are teaching them today with your father?
Don Jose: Of course I rebelled, and in that rebellion I thought I knew everything. As a kid, I succumbed to peer pressure; I created an image of myself that was not true. But that belief system ended with the death of a close friend. It was then that I reached out for help from my father. It wasn’t the teachings of The Four Agreements exactly, it was just my father’s teachings in general. And because of this, I am grateful to continue my family’s legacy. In this way, I say “thank you” to my family and teachers before me.
Kala: Don Miguel, in The Fifth Agreement, you mention that your son has succeeded in teaching some of the agreements to students that you were unable to reach before. You state that it may have to do with his ‘complete faith in sharing the message’. Can you explain for our readers what you mean by this?
Don Miguel: In February of 2002, I had a massive heart attack, and in my belief that I was close to dying, I took the opportunity to teach my son about death. That lesson increased his faith in such a way that he completely accepted all the changes that life brings us. He learned that only the present exists. From that moment on, Jose began living in the present time, knowing that the future is just a possibility, and without believing all the opinions from the past. He understood that the time for superstition and fanaticism was over, that there are no gurus, guides, or masters that can save us. Each one of us is our own guru, and we can only save ourselves.
Kala: The Fifth Agreement is: ‘Be Skeptical, But Learn to Listen’. Can you both describe the essence of this teaching?
Don Miguel: Be skeptical, but not as a social position, not claiming to be so intelligent that you cannot believe what other people say. It’s not about being right and making everybody else wrong. No, you are skeptical because you know without a doubt that everybody lives in their own story, and in their story they have their own truth. But it’s only truth in their mind, just as your truth is only truth in your mind, and nobody else’s.
The essence of this teaching is “Don’t believe me, don’t believe yourself, and don’t believe anybody else.” Don’t believe me, because what I say is only truth for me. Don’t believe yourself, because most of the time what you tell yourself is only truth for you — especially when you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, you’re not intelligent enough, you’re not beautiful enough — when you reject yourself before anybody else can reject you. And don’t believe anybody else, because what they say is only truth for them. But learn to listen. That is the key. When you practice the fifth agreement, when you listen, you understand where people are coming from, and you respect their story, even if you don’t believe it.
Don Jose: Someone told me that “being skeptical” sounds very negative, and I responded, “It’s only negative if you think negative. But think how positive it can be if you think positively.” With the Fifth Agreement, you also learn to listen to yourself. You create an awareness that lets you know when you are not being impeccable with your word. When you are skeptical, you will not believe your own self-judgments — your own story. Instead, you learn to listen to your heart, to common sense.
For me, the essence of this teaching is all about the message we’re delivering in this world. If you ask yourself “What kind of messenger am I?” you will know what message you are giving — not only to yourself, but to your beloved, to your family, and to your friends. And with this awareness, you can change your world and become a better messenger to yourself and to everyone in your life. In this stage of the Toltec teachings, you resurrect faith in your authentic self, and live in gratitude just to be alive in this world.
Kala: At the end of the book, you ask the reader to ‘Help Me Change the World’. Each day, I receive emails from people who feel so lost at this time and powerless. They talk about the overwhelming feeling of being helpless and out of control with situations like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the downward economic situation, ongoing wars, the crumbling housing market and the recession. Many people feel that they are fighting an uphill battle just to survive right now in the world and have no idea how to help change the world. What do you believe that people can do to help change the world?
Don Miguel: We ask everybody to help us to change the world, but we are not talking about our planet Earth; we are talking about the world that each one of us creates within our mind. We are talking about the story that we create. The only way to change the world is to change the main character of our story — the one we believe that we are. If we change the main character, if we respect ourselves, then just like magic, all the secondary characters will change. We can only give what we have, and if we don’t respect ourselves, how can we respect others? When we respect ourselves, our lives change because the conflict in our mind ends. Then the relationship with our beloved also changes, and there will be peace in our family, in our friendships, in our community, and so on. Just imagine what kind of planet this would be if everybody respected themselves and everybody else?
Don Jose: The best thing that we can do is to change the world in our heads, the world we live in everyday. We cannot confront everything that humans create — all of the dreams, the wars, the greed, the false power and personal importance, the injustice that happens in life. What we can do is not let these things affect us. The best thing we can do is to not become a victim, and to not harbor hatred against someone else. If our country is at war with another country, the best thing we can do is to make peace with ourselves and to live our lives in peace. In this way, we learn to listen to our own heart and enjoy every moment of our lives.
Kala: Don Miguel, one of your students, Cari Cole, was inspired to write her album, ‘Circle of Fire’ after studying the teachings with you. The song ‘Beautiful Life’ from her album, won her a grammy nomination and she has graciously allowed us to use this song as the intro for The Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. We are all artists in our own way, creating our lives. How can each person touch into their creativity and best express it?
Don Miguel: Yes, we are creators, just like the one who created us. And we are always expressing our creativity, with or without awareness. The word “Toltec” means artist, and every human is an artist. Our main art is the mastery of the language that we speak and write. As I said before, we use the word in order to create everything we know, everything we believe about ourselves, and everything we perceive. And with knowledge, our creation can go in any direction — from the worst kind of drama, to the most beautiful dream. Then the best way to express our creativity is with love and awareness of what we really are.
Kala: Don Miguel, several years ago when you and I were speaking during an interview, you invited me to join you for an event you were holding at the Pyramids of Teotihuacan during the Spring Equinox. It was my great regret that due to my travel schedule at that time, I was unable to join you. What events are you and Don Jose offering this year in the U.S. and Mexico?
Don Miguel: Because of my heart condition, it’s difficult for me to travel, so my son, Miguel, Jr., has created The Academy of Awareness, which offers our teachings online. He developed this academy for my family and I to teach and share what we know with people all over the world. It’s a way by which I can continue to create and express my art and reach places in the world that I can’t travel to. This year, from August 6 to 10, we will be in Teotihuacan, Mexico for a very special retreat where everybody will have the opportunity to spend time with me and my son, don Jose.
Kala: Don Jose, as your father mentioned, on the website http://www.miguelruiz.com/ there is the ‘Academy of Awareness’. What does one learn at the academy?
Don Jose: One of the beautiful things about the academy is that you get to learn all kinds of teachings from my father via the internet. The Academy of Awareness is a school without walls. You are your own guide, while at the same time listening to the guidance of other teachers. You can watch videos, do exercises, and of course, listen to don Miguel’s beautiful teachings.
Kala: Is there a Sixth Agreement? Or will we go on to create new agreements for ourselves?
Don Miguel: No, the Fifth Agreement is the end of the self-training that begins with the Four Agreements. The Four Agreements are the initiation of a life based on common sense; they are an initiation of a rebellion against lies. During the rebellion, life becomes easier and easier, depending on your commitment to practice these agreements. The Fifth Agreement is the end of the rebellion and the beginning of inner peace. As I said before, inner peace comes as a result of self-respect and respect for everything in creation.
Don Jose: Every time somebody asks me this question, I say “No, there’s not a sixth agreement,” but at the same time, yes, the sixth agreement could be the one you make with yourself to live impeccably, with integrity. What most people are perceiving is not integrity, but their own assumptions. It is so beautiful when we realize that we are the creators of the world we experience, that we are the spirit of every word we speak.
Kala: Don Jose, what have you most learned from your father? and Don Miguel, what have you most learned from your son? What advice can you offer to fathers and sons who are looking to connect and be closer with each other?
Don Jose: The thing I have most learned from my father is to live in gratitude and to always live in the moment. My father lives with 15% of his heart capacity; he lives in pain all the time, but he doesn’t complain. You see his face and you would think there is no problem. He taught me that there is never an excuse to not fulfill your dreams because the only one who can stop you is you. One of the best gifts from my father is to not believe my own lies, my own stupidity, and to be grateful to all the masters I have learned from. So thank you, father, for giving me the gift of life. Happy Father’s Day!
Don Miguel: What I have most learned from my son is to respect him and to love him unconditionally. I believe that if parents respect their children and educate them with love and justice (and not just with words, but with their own behavior) the relationship with their children will be wonderful. Then parents will always be proud of their children, and children will always be proud of their parents. There will be peace in the family, and the home will be a sanctuary.
Kala: Father’s Day is this Sunday. With the concept of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine energy, do you feel that the roles of the Divine Father and Divine Mother are shifting with the coming new age?
Don Miguel: From my point of view, humanity is one living being. Male-female — we complement each other in a sacred communion. But once again, respect is the key. Respect is what makes the sacred communion possible.
Don Jose: The divine masculine and feminine energies are just one being expressing what love is. Some people relate to the image of the father, and others relate to the image of the mother. But people forget that it is all one being working in unison. It is all life, it is all love, and it is all God.
Kala: Don Miguel and Don Jose, a pleasure to speak with you both. Wishing you both great joy and love.
Don Miguel: It was my pleasure. You have all my love, and please share it with everybody. God bless you.
Don Jose: The pleasure is all mine, and thank you for your time and for sharing this message.
About the authors:
Don Miguel Ruiz was born into a family of healers, and raised in rural Mexico by a curandera (healer) mother and a nagual (shaman) grandfather. The family anticipated that Miguel would embrace their centuries-old legacy of healing and teaching, and carry forward the esoteric Toltec knowledge. Instead, distracted by modern life, Miguel chose to attend medical school and become a surgeon. A near-death experience changed his life. Stunned by this experience, he began an intensive practice of self-inquiry. He devoted himself to the mastery of the ancient ancestral wisdom, studying earnestly with his mother, and completing an apprenticeship with a powerful shaman in the Mexican desert.
In the tradition of the Toltec, a nagual guides an individual to personal freedom. Don Miguel is a nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage, and is dedicated to sharing his knowledge of the teachings of the ancient Toltec. He is the author of The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, The Four Agreements Companion Book, The Voice of Knowledge, Prayers, and The Fifth Agreement, published by Amber-Allen Publishing. www.amberallen.com
Don Jose Ruiz was born and raised in Mexico, and at the age of 21, he came to the United States to live and study with his father, don Miguel Ruiz (teacher and bestselling author of The Four Agreements). Don Jose lectures widely across the United States and at sacred sites around the world. For more information, please visit www.miguelruiz.com
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More about Kala Ambrose: Kala Ambrose is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala’s book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. Kala’s Guided Meditations CD’s include a sacred site trilogy including Spirit of Hawaii, Egyptian Mystery Temple and Tibetan Mountain Journey. Kala lectures on Wisdom Teachings, Developing Business Intuition, Working with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Wise Woman Wisdom (also known as the Divine Feminine).