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CONVERSATIONS WITH A SHAMAN
by Connie Hill

Don Miguel Ruiz is the best selling author of Four Agreements. His new book The Mastery of Love has recently appeared on book store shelves. Miguel is a nagual or shaman from the Eagle Knight lineage. Recently, I spent a wonderful hour talking to him about his teachings.

Connie Hill: Who are the Toltec?

Miguel Ruiz: Toltec means the supreme artists. It's not a tribe, race or nation. To say Toltec for all Mezzo America, is like saying Lama for Tibet. Toltec is a title for people who teach and share knowledge with us. They are Masters. Toltec is a way of life based in art, beauty, the expression of communication and love, and the supreme art is dreaming. The goal is to become a dream master.

CH: So that's why you talk so much about dreaming in your books.

MR: Right. Everything is a dream. Once we know that we have the power to modify it. Humans are so powerful that they create their own reality, even a drama full of limitations. It's art. Everybody creates their own drama and comedy. Only most people are not aware that it's a dream. When we're aware we can have the control over our life. We have choices. And for sure we'll choose a beautiful life.

The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love are angels. Angel means messenger. A book has a message delivered by who ever wrote the book. These books were my act of power. I gave birth to a couple of angels with the most beautiful message of love and joy.

CH: The Four Agreements, especially feels too simple when you first read them, but when you start working the agreements, you find that the simplicity is deceiving.

MR: The agreements are simple and common sense. They are tools to modify our lives. When we try to apply these ideas we find out that the way we live our lives is exactly the opposite, not common sense, not simple, we make things difficult. That's the reason we have all of our life dramas.

CH: Last year when I got a copy of your book and started reading the first agreement "Be impeccable with your word," I thought it was so easy. Then when I got to #2, "Don't take things personally" it feels so much more difficult.

MR: As I said before the four agreements are very simple and easy to understand. To apply them is another story. It takes practice and practice creates mastery. That's why the fourth agreement is so important--at least we can do our best. With practice our best gets better and better until we are masters. Then it becomes effortless and a habit. Once its a habit life changes just like magic. These books are written to be read again and again. Read them again with the people you want to practice with: your friends, your lovers, your family. What I recommend is that you read these books with the group you want to work with. The group reads the book, understands and practices it, and supports each other in this practice. The support facilitates the process and everyone is changing in the same rhythm. If children start practicing when they are young, their lives will be so easy when the grow up.

CH: How did you come to know this knowledge?

MR: I'm very lucky! My family's had this tradition for centuries. I put it in words, but the most important part is the interaction. When I was a child my parents pushed me to focus on happiness and try to avoid judgment and gossip. When I studied to become a doctor I learned to put this knowledge in words and simplify it. Its so obvious, everybody knows it, but they don't know that they know. When people hear it they know it was always in their hearts. It's not about knowledge, it's about wisdom and wisdom is simple. Knowledge tries to complicate and justify everything.

CH: Our mind gets in the way and tries to make it more difficult.

MR: That's the reason for the traditions of meditations, to stop the mind. Once we stop the mind common sense comes by itself. We say that life is an ongoing meditation. We don't need to go on a mountain. We can meditate where we talk and eat. It's just a way of life.

CH: What if you have a bad day?

MR: It's not right or wrong or good or bad. You can't control what is going on around you. You can control your reactions and that makes the difference. Then we can say the day was not so good, but you don't have to blame yourself. You can't avoid things that happen in the world.

CH: How can we fully accept and forgive ourselves and others?

MR: This is a very important part of healing our emotional body. When we were children we forgave, instinctively. Then we saw our parents not speak to others for weeks, months and we learned not to forgive. We need to unlearn this. Forgiveness is an act of self love and if we practice, our self love will grow. We need to forgive people not because what they did is or is not forgivable. It doesn't matter how awful their deed was. We forgive them because we don't want to feel bad every time we remember what they did, or hear their name, or see them. By not forgiving them we hurt ourselves every time we remember or hear their name or see them. It's an act of freedom when we let go. Forgive does not mean forget. The scar is there but it no longer hurts. When it hurts it's because it is infected with emotional poison. Forgiveness is the only way.

CH: At the bookshop we have worked with this information and we found that in a business sense we had the most difficulty understanding #3--Don't make assumptions .

MR: This agreement is about communication, we're afraid to ask. It's easier to make assumptions and most assumptions are not true. Sometimes you have no other choice than to make an assumption. Being aware you are making an assumption, you're in control and you know the assumption may not work. As you practice you learn to make an assumption as the situation is, not the way you want it to be. When we are unaware assumptions are big problems.

CH: Is there anything else that you want to say?

MR: I want to tell everyone that they have a choice. They always have a choice. That can make a difference in their life. And also to join me when I go to Portland so they have the experience.

Join don Miguel Ruiz Friday, July 30, at 7:30 pm for his talk, THE THREE TOLTEC MASTERIES ($15) or Saturday, July 31, 9-4:30 pm for his workshop, HEALING THE EMOTIONAL BODY ($100). Since we expect both events to fill quickly, preregistration and full payment is required. Call New Renaissance Bookshop, 224-4929 to register or for information.

The interviewer, Connie Hill, is Event & Newsletter Manager at New Renaissance Bookshop and a local astrologer. Contact her at gmnite@yahoo.com or 291-8229 x2.

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