“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”– Mortimer J. Adler
When a good book hits you with words you need to hear, it gives one pause and perspective; and often, a necessary shift in mood. For the last few months, I’ve been bouncing between a few books – but nothing that had truly immersed me into it’s literary universe until the other week when I bounded through the last pages of David Brin’s ‘Sundiver’; after several months of investing myself into the characters and plot twists, I had finally made it to the end, fully enthralled in Brin’s ‘Uplift’ sagas. After I make it through any work of fiction, I tend to re-set my mind with a book on the other end of the spectrum – like the natural sciences, psychology, mathematics, etc. As I started pawing my way through my bookshelves on Saturday morning, one popped out at me that I simply couldn’t put down: The Voice of Knowledge from the esteemed don Miguel Ruiz.
“You are alive, and you don’t need to justify your existence.― Miguel Ruiz
You can be the biggest mystery in your own story.”
I’d read ‘The Four Agreements’ and ‘Mastery of Love‘ some years ago, and had apparently forgotten that I was in possession of the third in the series. If you’ve never heard of any of these before, you’re in for quite the treat. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have read his other books to jump into ‘Voice of Knowledge’, but having some rudimentary knowledge of his other materials provides a nice frame of reference to this one.
Inspired by the Toltec wisdom of his family line, don Miguel Ruiz implores his readers to open their eyes, minds and hearts to a healthier way of handling the world – the one we create inside ourselves, and the external world we live in. In ‘The Four Agreements‘, Ruiz implores on us that if we keep the four agreements in our hearts and in our heads, we will find that life is kinder to us – that the world around us vibrates at a loving frequency, and that we are more at peace with ourselves, more in love with our true nature, if we can establish these four agreements as a psychological baseline for how we interact with the world.
If we are impeccable with our word, we pave the way for concise and clear communication – both externally, and (this is the more important part) internally; being true to our own nature, allows others to be more authentic with us. By not taking anything personally, we don’t allow others to dictate our emotions through their actions (or, inactions). Without making assumptions, we deal with the world as it truly is – not an idealized version of it. Finally, always trying your best means you can wake up and go to sleep every day knowing that you did all you could to be you.
Within ‘The Mastery of Love’, we are reminded that the best way to have a fulfilling relationship is to build a relationship of love with yourself. Once we have acknowledged the need for the ‘four agreements’, the first person we must establish those with is in fact ourselves. By learning to respect ourselves with our own truths, we can embody the ‘Mastery of Awareness’; in becoming spiritual masters of our own realm, we immediately commit to the ‘Mastery of Transformation’. When these two masteries are combined, we engage with the full ‘Mastery of Love’
Finally, we meet ‘The Voice of Knowledge’ – and what an enlightening look at the way we deal with our own personal truths, and our own suffering. As society heads back into a ‘new normal’, I think it’s important to own, understand and hold space for our authentic selves – and reading the ‘Voice of Knowledge’ truly drove that home. When we remove the ego driven ‘voice’ of knowledge that we carry in our head, and commit to living the four agreements – we find a life based on respect, love and honesty. First, that involves respect, love and honesty with ourselves. Throughout the book, Ruiz implores on his readers that we need to be kinder to true nature, and revel in being ourselves.
We were all born with a childlike sense of wonder and amazement in the world, and overtime our personal narratives told us that we weren’t good enough as who we are at our core – from teachers, to family, to friends and strangers in between, each interaction with the world molds us into something we didn’t intend on becoming, and never were. The ‘Voice of Knowledge’ helps us dissolve the ideals placed on us by the world without us, as we start listening to our own spirit once again. We are with ourselves all of the time, it’s important to learn to enjoy that relationship with openness and honesty, and that begins with being honest with ourselves. As we discover our authentic voice, the one that we’ve learned to quiet over time because of the words and actions of others, we can start regaining our personal power and live our lives in truly touch with our spirit and soul.
Are there any books or authors that have helped adjust and shift your personal perspective on the world? Let me know in the comments below! For more on don Miguel Ruiz and his other fantastic books on Toltec wisdom, head to his website or social channels.
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“You are divine, you are perfect, but as an artist,
you create your own story and you have the illusion that the story is real.
You live your life by justifying that story.
And by justifying the story, you are wasting your life.”
― Miguel Ruiz, The Voice of Knowledge