You may recognize this name, as he is the author of one of the most influential spirituality books in our time. I sit down with don Miguel to discuss how we can implement these four agreements into our lifestyle, from our kids being bullied to more, and what really matters in life.
Connect with don Miguel at donmiguelruiz.com
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Episode 188 – The Four Agreements with don Miguel Ruiz
By Sahara Rose
SAHARA: Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose, and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast. A place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. Wow, I never thought a year and a half ago when I started this podcast that one day, very soon, I would be introducing Don Miguel Ruiz to “Highest Self” Podcast listeners. I mean, I am pinching myself in this moment right now. So if you’re not aware of Don Miguel Ruiz, he is the author of “The Four Agreements,” which is probably one of the most influential spiritual books of our time, published in 1997, sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone, translated into 40 languages, “New York Times” best-seller for more than ten years, and one of Oprah’s favorite books.
I mean this guy really has changed the world with his work, and the thing is, “The Four Agreements” is so simple. I mean, if you read these agreements, you’re like, “Of course, try your best, of course, don’t take things personally. Like aren’t these obvious?” But to really embody them is a whole other practice.
So I had the privilege to sit with Don Miguel Ruiz to discuss these four agreements and how they apply to our everyday lives. And I asked you on my Instagram @iamsahararose what questions you had for Don Miguel. So you asked different things, which I’m going to discuss with him on this podcast from what to do if your kids are being bullied, and how to apply it in, you know, your everyday life, and just really understanding, okay, if it’s so simple, how does it work when so many emotions and feelings are attached.
And you’ll see, his answers are so simple. In fact, some of it may surprise you because you’re like, “Oh, I already knew that,” but that’s the point of his work. He’s not here to, you know, tell you something you’ve never heard before, he’s here to bring out the most innate wisdom inside of yourself and really keep it as simple as it needs to be that you are love, and anything that is not love is not in alignment with your truth.
So Don Miguel Ruiz is the youngest of 13 children, born in rural Mexico, whose parents were ancient Toltec practitioners. He became a doctor, a medical doctor, and he practiced neurosurgery in Tijuana. And until he had a near fatal car crash that forever changed the direction of his life, he decided to leave medicine and examine the essential truth about life and humanity. And with his mother’s help, and through his ancestral Toltec teachings, he became aware of his own highest self, and his own spiritual practice, which led to him understanding human consciousness and the virtual world of the mind. So he combines this Toltec mythology and scientific perspective, but really, really so down to earth.
I mean, I ask him a question in this episode that I thought the answer would be very, very different, and he was just very matter of fact. And I respect that, he is 100% himself, and I think that in the spiritual world we can get really heady sometimes, and he just brings it back to basics, and just reminds you of what matters, and also to keep it really practical, and to keep it really real. So without further ado, let’s welcome Don Miguel Ruiz to the “Highest Self” Podcast. And before we get started, check out these brands that make “Highest Self” Podcast possible.
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DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, it is my pleasure to be with all of you.
SAHARA: Mm. The first question I would love to ask you is what makes you your highest self?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: What makes me my higher self? Well, I did always like this since—even when from my conception, like everybody else. I always feel my higher self.
SAHARA: Yes, it’s something that you already were, you didn’t have to become.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: And it’s the same for every single human, not just me.
SAHARA: Mm, very true.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Just like when you was born, you are already your highest self.
SAHARA: Yes, it’s not something outside of you it’s something that you already are, and just have to remember.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, you have everything inside of you, the entire universe is inside of you, the problem is that we don’t have that awareness, we don’t know, and discovering we are searching all the time and looking for something that we already have inside of us.
SAHARA: Very true, very true. And you’re someone that’s done a tremendous amount of work for helping us remember who we are and just really the most simple, basic agreements that we can all use to benefit of our lives. So I would want to know how did you get the download to write “The Four Agreements”?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: All right, as you know, I used to be a medical doctor, I used to be a surgeon. At a certain point I wanted to understand how the human mind works. Because as a doctor, I only can work with the physical body to interpret what I can, but I saw in certain moments that the human mind of the entire humanity is not the way we love to be. And we see all this injustice, all the violence, you know, and I didn’t understand why that happened. Then this is what I decided to do to explore the human mind in the study, until I find that the human mind is so clear that I can understand almost everything.
And it took me like ten years in order to find out with—I have a lot of apprentices, I practice for ten years, and the result was a very simple book, “The Four Agreements,” which is really a psychology book, but it’s not explaining what ego, super ego, et cetera is. But giving the tools to solve the problem because I saw that the problem of humanity is that we are domesticated and we learn from everybody else a lot of knowledge that we believe that we are. But the challenge is to understand that we are programmed to be what we believe we are. And this illusion is four simple agreements who help us to challenge our belief, to challenge our fear, and finally become free of ourself to be really what we are, and not what we pretend to be.
And this is in a very small summary “The Four Agreements,” and the challenge was to make it in a way that everybody can have a sense to this knowledge, to make simple that everyone can understand from people who hardly went to school, to the most intelligent people, and to make it so simple that it was like around a hundred pages to explain what other books use a whole encyclopedia maybe to explain the same thing.
SAHARA: Mm, I love that, and I think that’s why it resonates with so many people because you could be at any level of your spiritual journey and understand it. So did “The Four Agreements” come to you suddenly at once, or did this gradually take time as you were meditating and doing your work?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, it was the result of a study of mine to see every actions and reactions. And once that the mind was so clear for me, it was so easy to put it in words, but the challenge was to find the words that everyone can understand. And of course, when you read the book, you understand it very well. You try to apply these four agreements, then you find that it’s so difficult, and it’s so difficult because we learned exactly the opposite. We practice all of our life to be what we believe we are. We are programmed to have all those rules that those rules becomes big superstitions that we have, and we become very fanatic defending those superstition than to break all those lies it takes so long and it requires our attention to break every single agreement that we made against ourself.
And to understand it is easy, to apply it is difficult. And what is very interesting is that every time that you read the book again, you feel like you’re reading a different book, but it’s not the book what changes. We are the one who changed, but every time that we read it we find something new, and keep applying what we learn and learn.
SAHARA: That is so true, and different agreements will resonate with you at different times of your life. So the one that’s really supported me the most is don’t take it personally. I’m someone who when someone says something that I feel like is mean, I can overthink and really take it personally, and I think a lot of listeners can agree. So what are some mindset shifts or tools you recommend so we don’t take what people say to us so personally?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, it’s about to be aware. Then you’re aware that you create a story in the one you live, the story of your life. That story is only truth for you, but for nobody else. Then in that story you are the main character, which mean that everything is about you. And everybody that you know it becomes a secondary character in your story. But they do exactly the same thing, everybody create their own story, and in their story, that is only truth for them, you are only a secondary character of their story. The same way that they’re secondary characters in your story, you are a secondary character in everybody else’s story.
Then when you think that you know somebody, the only thing that you really know is what you believe about that person, and vice versa. Whoever thinks that that person knows you, they really don’t know you, they only know what they believe about you. When you don’t take anything personally, that means that you really know that that person only know what they believe about you, they don’t have any idea what you really are. Then whatever they say may be true in their story, but not in your story.
Just by knowing this, that give you immunity in any direction that you have with anybody else because you already know that has nothing to do with you but with the secondary character that represents you in their story. And that gives you a big advantage in your interaction with anybody because you no longer believe whatever judgment they have about you, any criticism, whatever they say about you, you just don’t believe it because you know it’s not true. Maybe true for them, but I doubt it, and the same thing when you do something to somebody, you’re doing it basing in the secondary character who live in your story because you really don’t know anybody else, you don’t even know your own parents, your beloved, or your own children, neither your friends. You only know what you believe about them, that really gives you a big advantage in any interaction that you have in any place in your life.
SAHARA: Mm, so true, and I love that even the people that we think we know the most about really we’re just seeing that one side of them, and we can only know them to the level that we know ourselves first.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Exactly, they become like a kind of reflection of yourself.
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So when should we take it personally? Let’s say you keep hearing the same criticism, or someone is saying what they believe is constructive criticism for you. Are there any times that we should take it personally?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Oh, definitely, yes. Whatever assumption they made, whatever they say, it will affect you and destroy that you create. Because you have to defend yourself in certain point. You don’t take it personally, but you take action. If you don’t like this movie of Don Corleone, “The Godfather,” when they say, “This is not personal, it’s business,” you will take action, of course.
SAHARA: Mm, so if someone’s saying something, they feel like you’re bothering them, or upsetting them in a certain way, take action on that but don’t feel like it’s a personal attack to you.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, it is not, it’s like they say, “It’s just business.” If they create an action, they will have a reaction.
SAHARA: Mm, very true. So how can we teach children not to take what other kids say to them personally?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, they will learn by example. They will learn for what you do, what you are. Then you can say whatever you will say to the children, and they may believe you or not, but when they see you acting in a different way, that is what they really will learn. They become a copy of you.
SAHARA: Mm, so let’s say the kid was bullied at school, it’s somewhere that it’s out of your control, what can you say when they come home, they’re so upset, to just support them in that pain?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, you support them, you give them some advice, and you go to school even if they don’t know, you talk to the teacher, whoever is in charge, and you let them know what is happening, and you give them the responsibility to take care of your child.
SAHARA: Mm, so take action, but just to keep setting that example, and maybe not let them see that you’re upset about it just to be like, “Don’t take it personally,” and then actually take the action to support them in that environment.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: And of course, you will teach them to defend themselves, to reject whoever bully who come into their life, you will tell them what to do in case that nobody do anything.
SAHARA: So what do you think that they could say back to the bully that could help them defend and support themselves?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, that depends on circumstances because there are so many variations for events that happen. The first thing is if they can ignore, nothing will happen if the bully cannot hurt them. If not, they have to find a way to stop them, and if it’s necessary, to fight back. You know, they have to live their own life. We bring it to life, and they need to be prepared that we send them to school. And in school they prepare them because some day they will be alone in life, and it’s not the same as being in school. But they need to have a voice, something wrong is happening, they need to tell somebody and find help. Like if they have friends, some friends that are bigger, stronger than the bully, and if the friend love her, the friend will defend them, and by defending him, nobody will bother him any longer. There’s so many things that may happen.
SAHARA: Mm, so just let the child learn how to handle it on their own as much as possible while you still take action with the teachers, and whatever you can do.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Exactly, but it’s important that your child get the confidence and trust himself or herself in order to keep living life. And once that they face the problem, either the problem is solved, they get stronger.
SAHARA: Mm, yeah. Yeah, I think a lot of times parents are very quick to get involved in situations when maybe it’s a lesson for the kid to learn that strength that you’re speaking of.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, the same thing happened to us. We can say that because we are grown up or whatever, it doesn’t mean that there will not be bullies who try to hurt us. And we learn how to handle that, and we find solutions what to send with our kids gonna do the same thing, they will find solutions.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Because we will not be all the time with them. It will be so important for them to learn.
SAHARA: Very true, yes, they’re these souls that we brought here, and we’re just protecting for a small amount of time, and let them free.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Yes, maybe because the time that we no longer can protect them, and especially if they don’t let us to protect them.
SAHARA: Yes, so true. So I’d love to know what do you recommend for us to harness our own intuition?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, like I said before, it’s so important to love ourself and accept ourself just the way we are. To love ourself unconditionally because you will find out that the main problem that the entire humanity have is that we learn to love in the wrong way. And this is for 99.99% of humans, we learn to love the same way that our parents loved, the same way that society love, and they love with conditions. Which means “ I love you if—if you let me control you, then I love you. If you don’t let me control you, I will reject you.” This is how we learned, this is how we see everybody around us. And the worst part is that we learned to love ourselves the same way with conditions. I love myself if I become the way I should be according everybody else’s point of view, and including our own point of view.
SAHARA: So true, I definitely see how we do that to ourselves. If I lose the weight, if I get this accomplishment, then I will love myself. And really, in loving yourself, you’re saying, “This is how we harness our intuition.”
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Exactly. This is the way.
SAHARA: And do you recommend any practices, any meditation practices, writing, anything else that you do to help with your intuition?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, like I say a little before, it’s important to see ourself the way we are and just accept ourselves just the way we are. We cannot be anybody else, we only can be ourself. Then if we don’t like ourself, we never going to be happy because we will always go judge ourself, and we will punish ourself for not being the way we’re supposed to be.
SAHARA: Mm, so again, coming back to just that self-love, and that self-acceptance, and everything else will unfold.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Yes, because it’s this illusion and conditional love will b the solution.
SAHARA: Mm, so beautiful. And what advice do you have for aspiring authors?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Well, I spend so many times with so many authors. With—I did so many lectures all around the world, and this—I repeat the same thing: be authentic, be yourself, don’t try to be what you’re not. I think this is the best advice I can give to anybody because if we see we all are authors and we create a story, the story of our life, and it’s the most wonderful art that anybody can have, it’s your own story. And only you can modify your story if you’re going to modify it. But if you don’t have the awareness that you are the creator, the author of your story, you never will change it.
SAHARA: So beautiful. And again, just looking inwards and seeing everything that you’ve already learned. There’s so many books in our own lives.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Mm-hmm.
SAHARA: So, the last question I’d love to ask you is what advice would you have for your 20-year-old self?
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: My 20-year-old self. Well, I will tell myself, “Don’t worry any longer. Don’t try so hard. Just be yourself and enjoy every single moment of your life, which is the only thing that you really can do. Enjoy your life.”
SAHARA: So true. I think we spend a lot of time worrying about the future, things that never really happen, and let life go by.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: And I can see that my own smile saying thank you.
SAHARA: Mm. So, so beautiful. Well, I’m sure your 20-year-old self would be so proud and astonished by how many lives you’ve affected, and thank you, on behalf of all “Highest Self” podcast listeners for your work. We really are touched by your words, and are looking forward to seeing all else that you create in this beautiful lifetime.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Wonderful that you have all my love and share the love with everybody who is listening to you.
SAHARA: Mm, thank you so much, have a beautiful day.
DON MIGUEL RUIZ: Oh you’re very welcome. You too, bye-bye.
SAHARA: Wow. Don’t you just love his voice? I love his voice and his accent, I could listen to it all day. I feel like I’m in rural Mexico sitting with him right now.
So if you loved this episode, I would love to know your insight, how do you practice the four agreements in your life, what agreements are the hardest for you, what are the agreements that you’ve been practicing without even being aware of it your whole life. Let’s talk about it over on my Facebook group, “The Mind Body Balancer” Facebook group, which is free for all “Highest Self” podcast listeners. Head over there, it’s where we discuss the episodes, and be sure to discuss it over on my Instagram @iamsahararose. Would love to know your perspectives on these topics as well because all of us coming together and discussing what makes us our highest selves is what makes the world evolve.
If you loved this episode, I would love to share with you the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type,” which is different from my book “Eat Feel Fresh.” It is my unreleased, never to be released book because it is now part of my “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type” program. I would love to send it to you absolutely free. All you gotta do is leave me a review in the iTunes store, take a screenshot, and email it over to me at [email protected] Again, take a screenshot of the review and email it to me at [email protected] and I will send you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.” Namaste.
Episode 188 – The Four Agreements with don Miguel Ruiz