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Meditation Essentials

From Skepticism to Unbreakable Faith

How Skeptics attain a powerful belief system that may lead them to the very secrets of Truth

Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz


Please enjoy this brief interview with Toltec Wisdom Teacher Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements (New York Times best-seller), The Mastery of Love and The Voice of Knowledge.


Don Miguel’s, The Four Agreements, continues to inspire millions with its powerful wisdom and empowering concepts. In this exclusive interview for “Lotus Guide” Don Miguel speaks about his book ‘The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery’, co-written by Don Miguel and his son, Don Jose Ruiz, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a Toltec Wisdom Keeper and Teacher.


The interview gives us powerful insights about how skepticism itself becomes a belief system that may help us find the truth behind the appariences.


Q: It seems to me that to be skeptical should be a process of asking, and sometimes demanding, validation for what we have traditionally accepted as true, usually through indoctrination at an early age. But what I’ve noticed is the tendency for people who have maintained a system of skepticism over a period of time to unknowingly slip into “being a skeptic” at which point their skepticism has become a position they take against everything. How do you maintain balance while being skeptical?


Don Miguel Ruiz: Yes it’s true that skepticism can go in two directions. One way is to pretend to be skeptical because you think you’re too smart to be gullible. “Look at how intelligent I am. I don’t believe in anything.” This isn’t skepticism. To be skeptical is not to believe everything you hear, and you don’t believe because it’s not the truth, that’s all. The way to be skeptical is just to be aware that the entire humanity believes in lies. All humans distort the truth because we are dreaming, and our dream is not the absolute truth. It’s a relative truth — it’s just a point of view.


Then how do you “maintain balance while being skeptical?” The answer is awareness and respect. When you’re aware that every human distorts the truth, you use the power of doubt to discern what is true and what is not true. People will come to you and tell you their personal story. They will tell you their point of view, what they believe is truth. But you don’t have to judge if it’s truth or if it’s not truth. You don’t have any judgment, but you do have respect. Respect is so important. All of us have the right to believe whatever we want to believe; we have the right to say whatever we have to say, but if you don’t learn to listen, you will never understand what other people are saying.


When you learn to listen, you show respect for the way people express themselves; you show respect for their opinions, for their point of view. You know that whatever they say is distorted by their beliefs. You know that what they’re telling you is nothing but a story. But you also know when their words come from truth, and you know because you can feel it. By listening to the intent behind words, you will understand the real message.


Q: The more I dismantle some of the beliefs I’ve been told since I was a child, the greater the mystery of life becomes. This statement sounds profound and engaging, however, the reality is that it brings to the surface many of the fears I have suppressed with my beliefs, such as my mortality. If this particular fear surfaces too early in a persons spiritual growth it is almost assured they will revert back to their earlier belief system to find comfort even though they know, at least at some level, they are pretending to know something that is in fact, unknowable. How can we prepare for this moment that will surely arise, some call it the “dark night of the soul”?

The Four Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz and his son, Jose Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz: In every moment, you make the choice of where you put your attention, and where you put your attention is what you’re going to experience. If you take responsibility for your choices, if you learn to take control of the attention, you prepare yourself for almost anything. You can begin by choosing to keep your attention in the present moment. When your attention is in the moment; you are not afraid of what the future will bring.


Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen to me?” To die? We are all going to die, and there’s nothing we can do. We can enjoy the ride, or resist it and suffer. Resistance, however, is futile. We are programmed to die; we are programmed to be what we are, and we can only be whatever we are. But inside the virtual reality of our mind, we can go against Life — against our own programming, and that’s how we create a whole world of resistance. The struggling is just the resistance, and resistance creates suffering.


When you surrender to life, everything changes just like magic. You surrender to that force that is coming through your body, through your mind, and it’s a whole new way to see life. It’s a way of being. It’s being life. You are happy wherever you are, whatever you do. Even when you create problems, you enjoy life because you are free, and it’s the freedom that comes when you’re not attached to a particular outcome. You completely surrender, knowing that everything is just the way it is. And because you accept everything as it is, you no longer worry about anything. You know that everything that has happened was meant to happen; you know that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Then life becomes exciting because there’s no more fear.


Q: It’s been my experience that when people say to have faith in what they’re telling you that it’s nothing more than a license to believe something that lacks evidence. Is there a time and a place for something called faith and what is your definition of it when used correctly?


Don Miguel Ruiz: Faith is a force that comes from deep inside us; it’s the power of creation that all humans have, and it doesn’t have anything to do with religion. Faith is the result of an agreement. When you agree to believe in something one-hundred percent without a doubt, you invest your faith. If you have no doubt about what you believe, then for you it is truth, even though it may really be a lie.


You can put your faith in scientific theories, in religions, in all sorts of opinions, but this is not real faith. Faith in yourself is the real faith. Real faith is to trust yourself unconditionally, because you know what you really are. What you really are is a force; you are Life. When you have faith in yourself, you respect yourself. You completely accept your body, your emotions, your life, your story. You live your life in love, and you are not afraid to express your love, to say “I love you” to others. And in that moment when you love yourself unconditionally, you only put your faith in agreements that support life, that add to your joy, to your happiness, to your freedom.


Q: I know this may be a tough question but being a skeptic as the Fifth Agreement tells me to be, I must ask it. You say that by making the Five Agreements your way of life that you will be living in your personal dream of heaven. Is this not where all religious believers live, and like them, you have no evidence. So my question is how do you know you’re not falling into the area of wishful thinking?


Don Miguel Ruiz: Heaven refers to the way we perceive reality; it’s a point of view, a state of mind, and so is hell. We don’t have to die to go to heaven or hell. Heaven is all around us, just as hell is all around us. Whoever believes in truth, lives in heaven. Whoever believes in lies, sooner or later lives in hell.


When we are educated to be a member of society, we learn so many lies. Our belief system creates millions of little barriers to the truth, and we inadvertently create our own hell.


A personal dream of heaven means a life lived in truth, love, and respect for everything in existence, beginning with yourself. With truth, love, and respect, everything changes. You no longer feel the need to defend your opinions — to be right and to make others wrong.
You accept everything in existence just the way it is, not the way you want it to be. When you decide to love and respect yourself completely, when you learn to love and respect everybody else, then you no longer judge yourself or anybody else.


When you give meaning and importance to everything you learned in life, your attention is dispersed on many things at once. When you take away the meaning from everything, you are in communion, and you become the only living being that exists. There’s no difference between you and any star in the sky or you and any rock in the desert. Everything in existence is part of the only living being in existence. When you experience this truth, even for a moment, the structure of your belief system disappears, and you are in that wonderful dream of heaven.


In the dream of heaven, you become aware that you are life — not just as a concept, but as an action, as complete awareness. No wishful thinking is involved; in fact, there’s no thought at all. Now you can see with the eyes of truth, and this is a completely different point of view. You see yourself not just from the point of view of a human, but from the point of view of a force. You no longer see everything outside of you as if it’s separate from you. You feel the totality of yourself in everything. You feel yourself as the only living being that exists, and you don’t just feel it; you know it.


But first you have to unlearn all the self-limiting agreements that make you suffer in life, and there are Five Agreements that help you to do this: If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take anything personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, and if you are skeptical while listening, there won’t be any more conflict in your head; there will be peace. Instead of being your adversary, the voices in your head will become your ally, and instead of guiding your life into drama, they will help you to keep the peace. Then the mind becomes a powerful tool of the spirit; it becomes a powerful ally. The result is a completely different dream: your personal heaven.



From Skepticism to Unbreakable Faith


Meditation Essentials: Concentration and Self Control (part two)


Concentration and Self Control are key elements of discipline that bring together spiritual and mental forces that help us achieve goals. They are the abc of it all.


Concentration is a very high spiritual matter. What to concentrate in, and what is that that gets concentrated? Our essence is that concentrates. In the outer world our essence is deluded with other substances and thoughts. A concentrated essence is very powerful. Our essence gets concentrated in whatever takes its attention, its heart. The decision for a path to follow. This happens since there are two opposite natures in us. Life and death are in us each and every breath. The nature of living breaths in us with positive, constructing, happy thinking, while the nature of death expires in us with destroying, heavy and dense vibrations.

Self Control is the moderator and the decision maker.

Let me recall the second story i was thinking of before, in the previous post. It is a story of another friend who had a terrible accident where her beloved husband was killed in very sad conditions in the traffic of North Carolina. He actually died next to her, while she was also struggling to save herself from all her injuries inside their completely destroyed car. In the first hour of being trapped in the vehicle he expired in front of her eyes.


After she woke again she was in the hospital, recalling all that had happened. In the middle of her grief she saw her two younger boys and only thought to be strong for them. She said to herself that there would be a time when she would concentrate in crying deeply her husband’s death, and that she needed to show her step sons how to recover from the pain and to have joy for life. At times, by  herself, she would start to cry, alone, for some time; then she would show again joyful and happy. She told me this practice of self control had helped her in ways she did not realize originally. She was still loving and deeply respecting her husband and learned how important it was to stay alive and learn from her sad fate some deeper meanings of life and death.


Concentration and Self Control helped her and her family very nicely and brought the power to achieve, to learn, to absorb, to understand better. Strong power of will is needed each and every moment. Interestingly in those days my friend could learn and was aware of how many things could weaken her power of will, and that is the most interesting lesson. Family members, friends, advertising everywhere call us, and some times even forces us to like something and to indulge somehow. We accept and for certain reasons go against our own selves, our own thoughts and brake our own goals, our own thoughts, and eventually we make weak our power of will. My friend could find many many things that were making her will weak. This article is too small to make details and explain further these weakening factors, but i am sure we all can recognize many of them.


We will come back deeper on these matters early next year. You will enjoy learning interesting and very powerful aspects of these essentials that we do not know. All discipline in every path of life and faith involves Concentration and Self Control, and these are also what feeds our very beliefs.


In our next post we will recall another basic matter, another essential common to all meditation paths and faiths.. This matter is DEVOTION.


I think recalling certain aspects of devotion may help us make our December holidays more meaningful and  enjoyable. So, we’ll meet later. Please let us know what is in your mind in your comments.





Meditation Essentials: Concentration and Self Control (Part One)

The next few posts will talk of several basic topics that are important when we want to tune up and set our minds up for meditation. Of course there are many ways to do meditation, and actually we are meditating all the time somehow, as it has been stated in previous posts.


So, meditation is something we do on daily basis, and the different practices of meditation we can find here and there are intended to help us find some power we need in our day to day chores in order to achieve some specific goals, material or spiritual. It is basic discipline.


Concentration and Self Control are key elements of discipline. Concentration, lets put a different word: FOCUS; and Self Control, lets call it: POWER OF WILL, are the essentials that bring together the spiritual and mental forces that can help us achieve goals. They are the abc of it all. Concentration is actually a very high spiritual nature, and Self Control is the moderator.



A person having problems with obesity will not achieve any success in loosing weight unless he or she does something about it. Thinking deeply of what is to be done and actually performing the plan and following the path we thought would be better, is that brings all achievements and changes. I learned something very important when i had so many friends who are top practitioners of alternative medicine. They agree that there is no pill that will cure any disease if there is no power of will in the patient. Nobody, whatsoever he does will be of real help for a person who does not do anything for herself. Lack of power or a weakened power of will is a disease of the soul and its natural remedy is awaking it.


So both, body and mind are to be focused and performing correlated things in a coordinated and positive way so that powerful universal forces come together and provide their help. Body and mind are to be trained to work like this. I know this all I am saying is nothing new. However I feel like recalling two different stories that were particularly useful for me and made me put these two basic abilities in a place of very high importance.


First story about a friend I knew when we were involved together in business with natural supplements in Orlando, Florida. When we first were introduced to each other and had our first talks, we found out that we eventually practiced the same meditations. She really did not develop that meditation, she would meditate only every now and then. However her father, who was lot more active in this regards and had developed more understanding on this matter, was used to teach and train her and her brother and sister very helpful and pragmatic things.


My friend told me for example, that when she was a child and she and her brother and sister would fight for something, and they would tend to argue and hurt or insult each other, like the other kids would do, their dad would sit them by the table, give them some little talk, and put them to write down a hundred times some sentence like: “I must not insult my brother, just discuss and agree”, and then made them delete all disagreement from the heart and come to a peace.


She told me this practice performed a wonderful relationship with all the family and through the years her brother and sister kept very happy with each other and did not save any hard issues in their hearts.


This practice also, as she revealed to me, helped them a lot in their business and professional lives. In her case she had all kind of issues to solve at work, professional and personal. She worked in an important executive office of a major oil corporation. The training her dad provided to her mind made it very easy for her to delete hard issues when she had to deal with very arrogant people or with the envy of coworkers, etc., and have a very nice working environment, and even provide help to many friends and coworkers by advising them how to handle family and work chores and relationships. And then, when she would come into meditation, the result of it was more enjoyable in many ways.


This is a very pragmatic and useful approach. Minds can be trained, it is easier when younger, but age is no restriction. Concentration and Self Control are a part of our daily life in each and every choice we make. They can make our lives easier and also, when applied to things of the heart and spirit, they perform wonders.


Concentration and Self Control are essentials we need to develop for powerful, deep meditations, and deep, meaningful change of directions we chose every day.


These abilities are main pillars in all beliefs, yoga and life improvement systems, and religions.


“He who has no discipline has no wisdom,

He can not concentrate his mind in one only point

Where there is no concentration there is no peace.

And where there is no peace, can there be any joy?



Talk soon. Please leave your comments…





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