Facing Fear the
Interview with don
By Randy Peyser
The Four Agreements, a New
York Times bestseller with more than seven million copies sold
worldwide, don Miguel Ruiz revealed how a set of four simple rules
can help us to align with personal freedom, happiness, and love.
These Four Agreements are: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t
take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do
don Miguel Ruiz joined his son don Jose Ruiz to bring forth a new
book called, The Fifth Agreement, which is intended to lead us to a
deeper level of awareness of the power of the Self, and to return us
to the authenticity that we were born with.
nearly three decades, don Miguel Ruiz has shared his unique blend of
ancient Toltec wisdom and modern-day awareness through workshops and
journeys to sacred sites around the world. You can find The
Fifth Agreement and the
other Ruiz titles in bookstores, and through ebook retailers and the
information about his upcoming journeys to Mexico, an Alaskan cruise,
and other workshops, please visit www.Miguel
Peyser: I recently received a surprise cancer diagnosis and had
surgery. However, a second surgery may be necessary, and I’m
facing many unknowns. It’s been challenging to stay out of
fear. Can having a better understanding of the Agreements help
anyone, like me, who is facing a challenge or an unknown in their
lives to stay out of fear?
Miguel Ruiz: This is very
interesting. In 2002, I had a major heart attack. I was in a coma for
many weeks. When I came back from the coma, it took 8-1/2 years
before I had a heart transplant. I can understand exactly how you
feel, but I was not afraid.
How is that possible?
I was not afraid because I have
awareness. In fact it was the opposite. I was excited when I had the
heart attack. I thought: Finally, I will experience what death is.
Several times, I had near-death experiences, but when I had that
strong pain in the chest, I knew that this was it; I knew I was
dying. The pain was very strong but the excitement was even stronger.
Finally, I could show everyone a better way to let go of everything.
I could show a proper way to die.
called 911 and I called my manager to let everybody know I had a
heart attack. I wanted everyone to witness how I would handle
everything. However, they wouldn’t allow people in the ICU
except for the family.
first one to see me was my middle son, don Jose, who wrote The Fifth
Agreement. He was in his early twenties. He came to see me, and he
looked like everything he had ever learned was completely gone from
him. He was in tears with a lot of fear. He said, “Please
Father, don’t die. Don’t leave me alone. I need you.”
surprised me because I had taught my children since they were very
little. I even sent him to the swamis in India when he was sixteen.
He had a lot of knowledge. However, when he came to see me, it was
like he’d forgotten everything. I looked directly into his eyes
and told him, “Is this the way you are going to celebrate the
death of your Father? Get outside and fix yourself. Then come back in
because I have something really important to share with you.”
shocked by the way I treated him. He went out to think about what I
said, and he understood his selfishness. He came back to the room a
few minutes later and everything was completely different.
said, “Oh Father, please forgive me. I didn’t notice all
my selfishness. I was taking the last moments of your life for my
misery. I was using your death to hurt myself when you really want me
to be happy. I can see that.” He took my hand and said, “I
am with you, Father.”
started talking to him. I told him to just imagine that, instead of
me, that he had had a heart attack because it was his time. I said to
him, “Let’s imagine that you are dead in the coffin, and
you can see the pain of all the people you love — your wife,
your mother, your grandmother, and your friends. You can see that
their pain is real. They are in pain because they will not see you
anymore and they want you to live. Imagine that you have two minutes
to talk to them so that you can give them a message. What is the
message that you would tell them?”
said, “I would tell them that I am perfectly fine. I have no
pain. I am happy. I understand that everything I did in my life was
completely irrelevant. Everything I accumulated, it really was never
mine because I cannot take anything with me. Do not use me in order
to hurt yourself because I am dead. You guys are alive. So celebrate
my death because I am no longer in pain, I have no worries anymore,
and I have no more reasons to suffer, no justifications. I am
completely free right now.”
dying all the time. Every time a tree falls over, it is a death. When
I finished high school, when I lost a car or a relationship,
everything I lost was dying. But every time something died, something
new came and replaced it.
Do you believe in intuition? I am confused about making assumptions
versus following one’s intuition.
They are two different things. We make
assumptions because we have a language and use words. We make
assumptions about whether something is good or bad and then defend
our belief systems in that part of our mind that is knowledge.
Intuition happens before we create knowledge.
we are four, five or six, we start creating an identity. It’s
made of words. We learn the language that our parents speak, that our
society speaks. When we are five, six or seven, the knowledge starts
speaking with sounds that no one can hear but us, and we call this
“thinking.” We use thinking — all those words —
in order to justify and make interpretations about everything we
perceive. This is how we make assumptions.
grow older, we can have entire conversations in our heads. We think
about something that happened to us and we think about all the things
we should do, say, or not allow someone else to do, etc. We shape a
whole story. All of this is made by assumptions.
is always there. Intuition comes directly from our integrity, from
what we really are. It’s so important to follow our hearts.
This is another way to say it.
your case, it is completely normal to feel fear. The biggest fear of
knowledge is the unknown. We have a need to understand in order to
feel safe. If we are afraid, it is because we don’t understand.
Even if the information is not true, it still makes us feel safe.
Hundreds of years ago, to know that the earth was flat made us feel
safe. It is normal for you to feel fear because there are so many
things that you don’t know.
the biggest unknown is death. “What happens when I die?”
When I had that heart attack, I wanted to share with everyone who
wanted to listen so I could help them to face the unknown. There is
nothing wrong to feel the fear. That’s okay. But to have the
awareness, face that fear, and overcome the fear of death is the real
challenge. Be yourself, be authentic. Enjoy your life. This is our
mission — to enjoy life. How to do it? There are 7 billion
people and 7 billion different ways – one for every single
human. We are unique. There is no one like you. There never was
anyone like you and never will be anyone like you. Only we know
exactly what makes us happy or unhappy and what we want or don’t
want. This is what makes humanity extremely beautiful.
that exists in the universe is perfect. We are all perfect. We say,
“I’m human. I’m not perfect. Nobody’s
perfect.” It’s the biggest lie. We don’t understand
our own perfection. But we are perfect. Every atom, electron,
particle, and organ is perfect. Imperfection only exists in our
knowledge, in our minds. It is what we believe that is imperfect.
Illness doesn’t feel like perfection.
Of course it’s perfection.
Everything that is created will end. But new creation is replacing
it. There are two things that are true: one is life and the other is
death. We know that life is real because we all are alive. We know
that death is real because all of us will die. And also, we are
alive. That is a fact. Disease is normal. Only our knowledge can say
it is not perfect.
If everything is irrelevant after we die, what about all the love and
the giving we’ve done in this lifetime? Isn’t that
Synonymous with “life” is
“love.” Love just exists. Truth is also synonymous with
love and life. It just exists.
people ask me, “What is the opposite of love?” They
expect me to say hate or fear. But no — the opposite of love is
Can you explain that?
Look at yourself in a mirror. Your left
hand becomes your right hand. The image in the mirror is the opposite
of what you really are. It’s the same thing with love. Love
just exists. We perceive love and we are a mirror for that love.
distort love with knowledge. What we think of as love is exactly the
opposite of what love really is. What we describe as love is
jealousy, possessiveness and controlling others. That creates a lot
of drama and emotional pain. We say, “Love hurts.” No,
it’s not that love hurts; it’s that image of love that we
have in our heads. Real love just exists.
exists in gratitude and generosity. That is real love. Real love has
no expectations or obligations. It just exists. People don’t
feel safe to love because we have so many broken hearts. People can
say they do things to us for our own good. Then we have to deal with
their garbage and their judgments and opinions and we call that love.
They try to control us. That is not love.
Many people are stuck in relationships like the ones you are
describing. It seems hard for people to leave those relationships.
That is because we grew up surrounded
by those kinds of relationships. That is what we have practiced. It’s
not our fault. We’ve learned what society has taught us. It’s
complicated. All of it is in the mind and in the knowledge that we
Can you talk about the Toltecs?
I can tell you who the Toltecs are now,
since the ancient Toltecs no longer exist. Toltec means artist. We
are all the Toltecs; we are the artists. Every human being is an
artist because we create all the time. As artists, we see the world
in a different way, as a thing of beauty. It takes practice to live
that kind of life, the life of an artist.
is our legacy for all of planet earth, with all humanity. We are
unique, but we have similar programs. We complement each other. This
humanity is just like an organ for a bigger living thing. We are just
one organ of the planet earth. The forest is another one, the ocean
is another one. We all work together. In medicine we call it “the
metabolism of the planet earth.” We are the earth and the earth
is extremely beautiful.
artists, the biggest creation we make is the story of our lives. The
real world is in the truth, in life. Everyone lives in the world in
the reality that they create. It is real for them and for nobody
else. The fifth agreement
is Be skeptical, but learn to listen. When
we say “be skeptical,” we know that we live in the story
that we create and everybody lives in the story they create. The
truth is the “unstory.” Every human has their own truth
and that is the reason why we try to make everybody else wrong.
someone speaks their story, we don’t have to believe it. But as
we listen to them, we can take from them what can help us, or what we
can use to make our world better.
skeptical, but learn to listen is the end of the consciousness that
exists in our minds. For thousands of years, we have tried to stop
that noise in our heads, that dialogue, that thinking. We use
mantras, meditation, dancing, and music — any-thing that really
inspires us to stop the mind. The fifth agreement takes you to that
point where you are no longer a worrier. You don’t have that
worry in your mind anymore. Finally, you are at peace. You respect
your own story. You respect yourself. You love yourself. You respect
everyone else and you help everyone to become free. Nobody is
responsible for our creation but us. They are responsible for their
creation. We are not responsible for their creation. But we respect
the creation that they created.
In The Fifth
Agreement you mention
that we are all messengers.
As humans we are always messengers.
Angel means messenger. We are those angels. Our wings are our
imagination. Everything that humans create first exists in our
imaginations. With action we make things real and transform what
already exists before humanity. All the feelings, cultures, cars,
computers, everything. It’s in our imagination first and we
make it real.
How can we use the Agreements to restore the world to balance?
It is happening right now. It’s
working. The Agreements speak directly to the human integrity. It is
exactly the same for every single human. Please help me to change the
world. The Planet Earth needs humanity to be aware of the world we
each create in our own minds. That is the world that only we can
benefit when you change your world is that you can live in peace,
love, and joy. The benefit is not just for you. It’s for your
friends, your children, your relatives, the community. By changing
your world, you are part of the change of all of humanity. Just
imagine what would happen if we all changed. How different everything
more information, please visit www.MiguelRuiz.com
Peyser edits and ghostwrites books and helps people get book deals
with literary agents and publishers. www.AuthorOneStop.com