Don Miguel Ruiz Jr , is a Toltec Master of Transformation. He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Night lineage, and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz, author of New York Times bestseller The Four Agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is the author of the newly released book ‘The Five Levels of Attachment’: Toltec Wisdom for a Modern World. Along with his family, he teaches workshops and offers transformational journeys around the world.
The Five Levels of Attachment picks up from where Don Miguel Ruiz Jr’s father’s book, The Four Agreements, left off. Building on the principles found in his father’s international bestseller, Don Miguel explores the ways in which we attach ourselves inappropriately to beliefs and the world. This is ancient wisdom for finding your true self.
Ruiz explores the five levels of attachment that cause suffering in our lives. The five levels are:
– Level 1: Authentic Self
– Level 2: Preference
– Level 3: Identification
– Level 4: Internalization
– Level 5: Fanaticism
More information about his book here.
After our recent interview with don Miguel Ruiz Sr. we managed to have an interesting conversation with his friendly son, Miguel Jr.
Soul Love: What makes your family so successful that millions of people are drawn to your messages?
Don Miguel Ruiz Jr: What we have learned from my dad is to put the Toltec wisdom into words we can all understand. There is a lot of symbology in the Toltec tradition and my dad shifted it, he stripped it down to the bare basics to what he understands as common sense and you can see that in the book ‘Beyond Fear’, written by Mary Carroll Nelson, where he stripped it down to the basics and developed ‘The Four Agreements’ from it. He basically writes down all the lessons in words we can all understand. It goes deeper and it allows us to expand more because if we stay in that certain language then only a certain group of people would be into it. You know, the people who want that kind of symbology in their lives. But when you broaden it up in a language everyone can relate to then the lessons go beyond that limitation. In this way the lessons become alive and we can see it as something functional in our everyday lives.
SL: Your father is the author of many NY Times bestsellers including The Four Agreements? What made you decide to follow in his footsteps?
MRJ: At first I rebelled against it, like any child would. I actually worked in the film industry for quite a few years and at some point I thought: “What will my life look like when I am in my thirties?” as I wanted a family. Even if there are people out there successfully raising a family and working in the film industry, I wanted to be that kind of dad who is around his family a lot. So I let go of my career and I joined my dad in his classes and learned so much and it became a lot of fun. Like the conversation we are having right now. It is the funnest way of just serving.
So you can say that I am following in my family tradition, because it was also my grandma and my brother Jose. Once I understood it and allowed it, it became something functional.
SL: You just mentioned your grandmother, how did she influence your spiritual training?
MRJ: I would imagine this was a typical bond between a grandmother and her grandchild. There are grandparents who might not be very inviting or make their home their family. But then there are the grandmas like the one I have. They are home. She opens up the house and she always has something on the stove, ready to feed just in case people show up. And if they don’t show up she just put it away and saves it for another day. For me, the relationship with my grandmother was one of a loving family environment, as well as that of a teacher – apprentice, as she also took the time to teach me. And to a certain extend she taught me my responsibilities.
SL: How did your book come into being? What inspired you to write it?
MRJ: In the beginning I had an attachment to the outcome of a book but as I started writing, something else came up that I wanted to say, so towards the end it wasn’t about the end result, it was about that I have something to say and that’s why I wanted to write the book and finish it. It was a fun process. I was once sitting down in an interview with my dad and someone asked what the difference was between him writing The Four Agreements and me writing The Five Levels of Attachment and my father answered: “Well, the main thing is that when I wrote The Four Agreements I had already gone through that process long before and when my son wrote The Five Levels of Attachment he was actually going through the process and learning that as he wrote the book. So it took four years to write because he was processing everything and learning everything he was writing”. I think the book captures that process.
SL: You say the mind’s main job is to ‘dream’, what does that mean?
MRJ: In our tradition ‘to dream’ means to perceive and to project. I perceive information continuously and I project information continuously. My senses, my hearing, my sight, the nerves that finish at every point of my body allow me to perceive information 360 degrees around me and it all goes to one point of perception. You can say it’s my brain, it’s my heart, wherever it may be, it is all going to this one point of perception. And from there I am able to project.
So you can say that the first objective of dreaming is understanding that I am perceiving that I am awake. [he now moves his fingers freely in front of the camera and knocks his fingers on a hard object]. Time is also linear. When I am asleep and I am dreaming this object doesn’t exist and I can put my fingers right through it. Whether I am asleep or awake I am perceiving it and I am the constant point between the two forms of perception, you can say ‘dreaming’. Sometimes when I am awake I can also daydream. I can be speaking to you right now but I can also let my imagination think what my son is currently doing and totally visualize that, even while speaking to you, which means that I am perceiving you in this material frame yet I am still able to use my imagination to daydream what is happening over there. The truth is I am still that point of perception that allows me to perceive and my reason is the compass.
My reason allows me to tell the difference between something that is real and my imagination or when I am asleep. When I wake up I can tell the difference between what I perceived when I was asleep and the dream I had when I was awake. So from that point of view I describe the individual dream.
You can say that the individual dream can be explained much simpler than everything I just said. What I just said was the long way. The short way, like my father likes to put it is this:
If I am the one talking inside my mind, who’s listening? Me! I am listening. Well, if you are the one who is listening, who is talking? Well me, I am talking. Right there, that’s the relationship between mind, body and soul. That’s the individual dream and it is the relationship between me and me. Like me as my body [moving his limbs again] and me, my mind, the instrument that I use to perceive work hand in hand to create. Because based on what I perceive I take action.
You and I talking right now, we are the smallest piece of the dream of the planet because we are two individual dreams talking to one another, or you can say two individual points of perception. We can say that the bond that brings us together is an agreement to talk to each other and that’s the first bond that we have. The rest of it is the meaning of the minds and what is going to happen between you and I is the mutual agreements you and I create and that’s the relationship between you and I.
Now that is the smallest there is. When we expand this to seven billion people (let’s leave out the animals, because they know what they are doing..), we will have the dream of the planet, which is the collective dream between each other. We are all individually perceiving life in our own way. You can say that we are dreaming life in our own unique way. But when we come together we create a ‘dream of us’ and that’s what we call the dream of the planet. So for us the mind’s job is to dream. Basically it is that instrument that we use to not only perceive the other but also communicate with others and it is knowledge that allows us to create our agreements and that’s what I understand as dreaming the dream.
“Forgiveness is the action of accepting and letting go”
SL: Can you briefly explain The Five Levels of Attachment?
MRJ: To me The Five Levels of Attachment is an instrument for transformation, it basically allows us to understand where we’re at. You can say that it allows us to reestablish unconditional love with ourselves as we recognize how attached we are towards unconditional love. I like to raise this question to myself: “Do I control knowledge, or is knowledge controlling me?” So I will present each level as with that answer.
Level 1: Authentic Self – I am a living being regardless of what I know. I give life to this body and I give life to my belief system. But regardless of what I believe, I am alive.
Level 2: Preference – I use knowledge as the instrument to go in the preference of my life which is the direction I am. I am still aware that I am life, I am the authentic self but because of that I can go in any direction in life. I mean to express my preference and I will use knowledge to go in that direction to manifest it as the instrument. I use it by attaching to knowledge in that moment and detaching when I am done. Basically I can engage in the moment and when the moment is done, I let go because I never lost awareness of self.
Level 3: Identity – I use knowledge to give me a basis of who I am and I use knowledge to reflect my truth. Basically in the direction of my preference and where I want to go in life with my passions, I will name myself. I can name myself a pianist, I can call myself a musician or I can call myself a Toltec. When I give myself a definition it allows me, based on knowledge, to understand myself. Life is now attached to a definition.
Level 4: Internalization – I use knowledge to give me the rules of my own self acceptance and the acceptance of others. Meaning that based on my identity, I can use my identity to give me the rules of how I can live my life. This is the level where domestication comes in. My dad talks about that in The Four Agreements. Domestication is the system of reward and punishment to live up to something. If we live up to a certain identity, then we get that reward, which is our conditional love, our acceptance. If we don’t live up to that identity we will punish and self-judge ourself. We basically reject ourself. We model our behaviour to live up to that expectation, so we use knowledge in that way.
Level 5: Fanaticism – My knowledge has now complete control over my intent. This an extreme form of domestication where acceptance is still the same conditional love but the punishment is dramatic; anger, hate, prejudice. All those things are just instruments of that conditional love, which gives us strength. I become so attached to what I know that I don’t want it to change, so I will reject anything that will contradict it. It is like Don Quixote who wants to see giants, when in reality there are windmills. His attachment to what he wants will distort his knowledge, thus distorts how he sees the world.
You can say that awareness is like a flower. At level 1, the flower is completely open.
At level 2 we engage, so it closes a bit, because since we know that we have awareness of who we are and once the moment passes we let go (and it opens again). Attachment (closing), detachment (opening) and so on.
At level 3 it closes more since it is really difficult to detach because now the attachment is to my idea of who I am. So I become to lose awareness of who I am.
At level 4 and 5 the flower closes completely. I am only able to see that little portion [Miguel closes his fingers all together] to the point where everything becomes a filter and doesn’t let me see beyond the tip of my nose.
Letting go in life is like this [he opens and closes his fingers] because we’re continuously interacting with life. Life happens, you might get a tax bill, an injury or something else and the flower suddenly closes and it totally depends where we put our attention.
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”
Letting go, is from level 5 at the very basis, that recognizing that my life is worth something. Because at level 5 an idea becomes more important than my own life is. If I can’t get what I don’t have, if I have conditional love for myself, then I will have conditional love for everyone else. So at the basis of self love or unconditional love, it starts with accepting that my life is worth something and it is worth more than an idea. This is also where Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, all these wonderful teachers come in, the Bible, the Koran etc. about how to have unconditional love for ourself and for our brothers and sisters. It is all about accepting our truth. As we accept the truth, we forgive ourselves for using that energy in that way. So forgiveness is the action of accepting and letting go. And by letting go and accepting that, I am also accepting complete responsibility for my intent or intention, which is my ‘yes’ and my ‘no’, how I control this body. And when this happens I let go of level 5 and 4 and go into level 3.
At level 3, when we have identity and something happens, we no longer corrupt knowledge. And when we are at level 4 and 5 we corrupt knowledge as our personal importance is based on knowledge. So in order for us to be right, we need to make it right. But when we let go of our conditions and let knowledge once again be a clean reflection of life, you have that awareness that you are moving from level 3 to level 2.
We are now becoming aware of this system and everything in our mind at the very root of it is a ‘yes’, an agreement. There is nothing in our mind where we say ‘no’ to. We will only see where we once said ‘yes’ to. We can also see it in our mind. Everything in our mind is what we said ‘yes’ to. It might be a negative, but if we become aware of this, we can change our ‘yes’ into a ‘no’, because we have the capacity to change our mind, which means I am not this mind. Just as I am not this body, I am not this mind, which means at the very root of it, knowledge exists because I exist, which means I am alive.
Now we become aware of that ‘I am alive’ and we will automatically be going into level 1 because level 2 is the ability we have to attach and detach. So we can say that we are going up and down the levels of attachment by opening and closing the awareness of self, and go to unconditionally love for myself. It’s all the same energy, but it’s more how we apply the intensity of this energy. We are talking about being able to let our energy flow in a way that allows us to engage life. Life moves and it goes up and down. I like this expression: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” and John Lennon said it best: “Life happens when we are busy making other plans”.
SL: And is this how can we attain true freedom? By letting go?
MRJ: I believe that we acquire freedom when we become aware that in our hands is the power of our intent. When I say ‘yes’ and something will be done, and I say ‘no’ and it won’t be done. When I become aware that this is the power that I have, I am free.
When we say to ourself that we love ourself unconditionally, that we accept who we are at this very moment, we are saying that at this very moment in life, this is who I am. The person that I used to be even a day ago doesn’t exist anymore because it is the past and the future is the consequence of my action now, so everything that is real is only at this very moment.
By knowing that you have the capacity to change as long as you are alive, everything becomes possible. To accept that in yourself and to take full responsibility of that, that is freedom.
For information, please visit Miguel’s website: miguelruizjr.com
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER
Enjoy this post? Subscribe here so you don’t miss the next one.