Don Miguel Ruiz

On Sunday, August 21, don Miguel Ruiz, Toltec leader and author of The Fifth Agreement and The Mastery of Love, held a three-hour workshop along with his son Don Jose Ruiz. The father-son duo shared experiences and tools to enable individuals to set themselves free. In a phone interview, Jose Ruiz said that it’s not about teaching people how to live their lives, but instead about inspiring people to take action.

The word “Toltec” means “artist,” and the Toltec traditions are about how the individual can learn how to accept oneself completely, by not believing in lies and not being manipulated by others. It is important, according to Toltec tradition, to focus on positivity rather then negativity, and to open up your heart. “If you believe in lies, you poison yourself. Lies are hurting this world,” Jose Ruiz said.

It is impossible, however, to avoid negative feelings completely. “The first rule is that we’re not happy all the time. We have to dive into our feelings” at least once in a while, stressed Jose Ruiz. How you deal with negative feelings determines whether you put yourself down or accept that bad things happen. Then, he explained, it’s the way you understand the negative feelings that can teach you to move on happily.

“It’s all about discipline,” said Ruiz. “Only detach yourself from negative feelings. Put your discipline where your words are. Sometimes sadness can keep us from seeing the truth. We become lazy. But you need to treat yourself with respect. Listen to yourself.”

Ruiz also explained that it is important “not to take everything personally. We like to make things complicated because we’re afraid of change.” Only when a person has fully accepted himself or herself, he explained, is that person able to support others in their process of listening to themselves rather than others. For instance, when a teenage girl is determined to change her appearance to look like women on magazine covers, her actions are based on lies told by others, said Ruiz. “You need to realize how beautiful you are. Treat yourself with integrity. People are hurting people every day, which is why it is important to communicate with yourself,” and thus not to take everything personally.

Don Miguel Ruiz was born in Mexico into a family “with ancient traditions,” according to his bio on his Web site. His family believed that he would “continue their legacy in the centuries old Toltec traditions.” Instead he became a surgeon. Neurosurgery was his life for many years until he suffered a near fatal car accident in February 2002, which made him realize, “the Toltec wisdom of his family contained all the tools needed to change the human mind.” His life changed radically and he “returned to his mother to finish his training” to become a shaman, which can mend the soul of individuals by guiding them to personal freedom.

For more than a decade, Don Miguel has been sharing his wisdom with the world and has written several books on the subject of respecting and accepting yourself. For more information, visit


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