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.

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.

Can you give an example of one of these lies?

You just feel "I am not good enough. I cannot make it. I cannot be happy. I'm born to suffer. Life is a valley of tears and we are here to suffer and if we suffer with patience, when we die, we will reach paradise." All of those are nothing but lies, and we believe it.

And the way we express ourselves in life is with a lot of fear. And we justify it by saying, "Oh, I'm shy. Oh, I'm not a good singer. I cannot speak in public. I'm not a good artist." We use all of those beliefs to limit expression of ourselves. We're really afraid to live life.

What do you mean when you write, "We're all artists of the spirit"?

Every human is an artist. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story. We create stories that we live on and you know it's a little difficult for ordinary humans to understand this, but it's something extremely beautiful when we have that awareness and even more when we can change it. And it's not really that difficult.

You say it is our story that comes between us and God.

Well it's a creation, but when we believe it, we forget what we really are. When we recover awareness, we find out that our relationships become better, the relationship with our beloved, with our children, with our parents, with friends, with everybody around us becomes much, much better.

You finally have enough power to see all those lies face to face and no longer believe in those lies. And the miracle of that is that you trust yourself completely, you don't need to trust anymore in any guru, in any outside God. You understand God because you experience God and you see God everywhere because you just see life in action all the time.

So are you saying is it impossible to put truth into words?

It is impossible, exactly. You have to experience it. When you open your spiritual eyes, what you are doing is experiencing the truth. And yet you try to explain the truth to other people.

Let's say you want to write a book about one single tree. You can use thousands of pages to describe that tree. It doesn't matter how close you are to the description of that tree, you never will describe what it really is. But it doesn't mean that you don't understand, because you had the experience and that is exactly what makes the difference. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Free from all those lies.