'My Life Is an Ongoing Prayer'

'The Four Agreements' author don Miguel Ruiz sees God everywhere-but not in religion.

don Miguel Ruiz"It was common for me to witness miracles," says don Miguel Ruiz of his childhood in rural Mexico. He did not attend church regularly, but he was raised by his mother and grandfather, both folk healers in the tradition of their ancestors, the Toltecs--a diverse group of indigenous people who dominated northern Mexico from the 10th to the 12 centuries C.E.

In his last year of medical school Ruiz was in a car accident. The out-of-body experience he had during the incident sent him into a spiritual tailspin and led him to reevaluate his life. He found himself drawn to the mystical teachings of his upbringing and left his medical career behind. Ruiz's 1997 book "The Four Agreements" is based on teachings inspired by his Toltec heritage.

In his latest book, "The Voice of Knowledge" Ruiz explores the notion of truth, which, he writes, cannot be captured in words; but like the divine, can only be experienced.


Tell us about your spiritual path.

At the present time I really have no religion at all. But I love and respect all religions and philosophies. I see how they get formed, how they grow up, and how powerful they are. But for me to believe in a specific god-no. Because what I believe is that the infinite, the absolute, is a living being and the only one living being that really exists. And we all are part of that living being. And from that point of view, the way I see the universe, the way I see God is as perfection, like only perfection exists and it's not difficult to understand at all. Life is very, very simple and easy to understand but we complicate it with the beliefs and ideas that we create.

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There is a confrontation between the two important things that really exist, which is the truth and lies. This is something that my grandfather showed me when I was in my late teens. He told me, "Miguel, you know all the philosophies and religions believe that there's a conflict between good and evil." And he said, it's not exactly true because good and evil are just a result of a confrontation that only exists in the human mind. It doesn't exist in animals or anything else. And he told me that conflict is between the truth and lies. If you believe in truth you live in goodness, and everything is about joy and happiness. But if you believe in lies, it will be exactly the opposite.

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Interview by Lisa Schneider
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