You Are the Love of Your Life: Wisdom from the Toltec Teachings

You Are the Love of Your Life: Wisdom from the Toltec Teachings

In the best-selling book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz, Mexican author of Toltec spiritualistic texts, delivers principles to transform our lives into an expression of unconditional love.

Ruiz’s sons continue his legacy through their own teaching and writing. Don Jose Ruiz is the international best-selling author of The Fifth Agreement, written in partnership with his father. Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is an internationally celebrated author and Toltec master of transformation who apprenticed to his father and grandmother. Recently, our partners at 1440 Multiversity caught up with the Ruiz brothers to talk about faith, self-mastery, and unconditional love:

1440: Jose, you talk a lot about faith in your teaching. What does faith mean to you?

Jose: Faith for me is when we get out of our own way. When we have a connection to source and the source is not outside us. When I was young and I used to hear people say they channel Merlin or they channel Moses, I said, “Why doesn’t anyone ever channel themselves? Who has respect for their own word?” It was almost nobody!

I began to see my grandmother having faith, just opening the channel and letting the waterfall come.

When we get out of the way, the words just come out of us and we begin to see the divine everywhere.

I see the divine everywhere, from a tree to a statue to a church to a house. I’ve witnessed so many miracles that there is no doubt. And I’ve witnessed many people try to break my faith, to make me doubt. For a while I gave my power away, and it shut me down. But I have faith in myself now.

1440: One of the ways you both talk about finding faith is through self-mastery. What is self-mastery, and how is it different from control?

Miguel: The funny thing about control is that you become a master when you let go of control, when you listen and interact with your environment and, like Jose says, have faith and confidence in yourself. Then you have the ability to live life, to enjoy life, to enjoy being you.

The moment we become the master of self is the moment we stop pretending to be something we are not and accept ourselves just the way we are.

Right now I am the sum of every decision that I have ever made.

Every choice, every yes or no I’ve ever given, every consequence—both good or bad, right or wrong—has led me here. At the same time, I’m the youngest I will ever be. I have my whole life ahead of me.

The moment I become a master of myself is the moment when I choose clarity and enjoy being me. Do I choose to let go of the illusion or lie to myself?

Do I make a choice from illusion or accept the truth and make a decision from there?

That’s faith in action—having faith in myself that I can do it and enjoying where I’m at.

Here’s an example. There are days where I am a man who doesn’t take things personally. And then there are days where I am a man who does take things personally. I am free to say yes to taking things personally and free to say yes to not taking things personally, and I know what will happen if I do one or the other.

If I do take things personally, it will come with a hangover that I don’t want to experience, and that awareness is what guides me to make my choice.

It’s not about controlling myself or my emotions, it’s about respecting them and accepting them.

Then instead of letting my emotions dictate my actions, I’m actually free to choose how I want to channel that emotion. When I’m triggered and take something personally, I’m going to learn from that. This is what allows me to bring unconditional love and healing to my life.

You Are the Love of Your Life: Wisdom from the Toltec Teachings

1440: How do you define unconditional love?

Miguel: Let’s define love as energy that allows us to create a bond with other beings and within ourselves. In the Toltec tradition, the mind and body exist because life exists in it, and my love exists because I’m here to manifest it, along with every other emotion that I experience.

So I’m the source of my love and all the love I’ve ever experienced in my life comes from me.

Now let’s imagine love flows like water in a river. I live in Reno, so I get to see the Truckee River flow from up in the Sierra Nevadas into the desert. It flows out of Lake Tahoe, through Little Canyon, and eventually into Pyramid Lake. Imagine unconditional love flowing as freely as those waters do. It flows with the seasons, going up and going down as it needs to.

Conditional love sees love from a place of scarcity.

It says you must meet certain expectations to be worthy of love. If you don’t, you’re rejected. When we meet those expectations, we are accepted, and we confuse that acceptance with love. But what’s really happened, to return to our metaphor of water, is we’re afraid we’re going to run out of water. So we build dams and reservoirs. Each of these is a conditioned belief, and it’s only when all those conditions are met that the floodgates open and we let love through because in that moment it’s safe.