Personal Change, Social Change And Global Change
Don Miguel Ruiz, guide, Shaman, master of the Toltec Tradition, and author of The Four Agreements talks about personal, social and global change with Dr. Michael Laitman.
Host: Welcome. We're in conversation today with Dr. Michael Laitman - Professor of Ontology, and Doctor of Philosophy and Kabbalah; the founder and President of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Institute - and Don Miguel Ruiz, Guide, Shaman, and Master in the Toltec tradition, which is an ancient spiritual science.
He is a New York Times bestselling author and his book, The Four Agreements is very influential, having sold over four million copies. He has thousands of followers who learned from these ancient traditions that he has translated into simple, practical language, which people use for transformation. Welcome gentlemen.
Don Miguel, on your website you have a beautiful statement; it really impressed me and really touched my heart when I was looking at it, and it was, "I need your help to change the world." Why? What is happening in the world? What do you see? What do we need to change?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Well, we have to understand that I don't refer to the planet; Earth is so beautiful and perfect the way it is. I really refer to the world that each one of us has in our own mind. It's the story that we create about ourselves, and we are its main character, and everybody that we know is just a secondary character because our world is a virtual reality that only exists in our mind. If we are aware of that, we will find out that we learn all the symbology that we name as a language, and that's what we use in it in order to communicate with each other, in order to express what we feel, what we need.
Host: What is it that has to change? When you say that we need to work together in order to change the world, that inner place in people that you're speaking about, is that a correct place where we are? How is it affecting the world and the situation that we see now globally?
Don Miguel Ruiz: The world that we live is the story that we create about ourselves. It's only real for us, but for nobody else. If I asked everybody, "Please help me change the world," I'm referring to the world that they create for themselves, because we all are artists. Our biggest art is the story that we create about ourselves, and in this world there are six billion artists, but we are not aware that we create a world...
Host: We're creating different stories and they're kind of conflicting with each other.
Dr. Laitman, if people create their own reality and the world that they see, then why is it that we're seeing a situation in the world where these situations are conflicting and creating a...
Michael Laitman: Because man is inherently evil. Our internal qualities are bad ones.
Host: What do you mean by evil?
Michael Laitman: Well, bad in the sense that we are evil toward each other. We are selfish. We want to use the world, and we want to use other people, everything around us. We think that we are above nature.
Don Miguel said it very correctly, we are within nature; we should be in harmony with the world, and we think we are above it. By that, we are destroying the world; we are destroying our society. We have a lot to learn about how to change.
Indeed, the world that appears to us is a reflection of our internal qualities. If our internal qualities change from bad to good, from hatred to love, from exploitation to consideration, and participation and sharing, then we'll see a different world. Not only will our relationships change, as if we were previously hateful and now we're friends and we love each other. The world itself will seem different, everything around us, because it's all a reflection of our internal qualities.
Host: Why don't we design the same world with each other? What is going on in the stories that we're creating? How do we create a similar picture or a picture that involves everybody into this same sort of story of a life we can share?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Okay, well what I can say is that, as we said in the beginning, in this world there are six billion artists. Every human is an artist, and everybody creates their own story and they live in those stories, but they don't have the awareness that they create the story and that they live in the story that is only true for them. We believe for centuries, for thousands of years, that the big problem of humanity is that it's a conflict between good and evil.
Host: What's good and what's evil?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Okay, I am going exactly in that direction, and I can tell you that good and evil is just the result of the real conflict that happens only in the human mind, not in the rest of nature.
Host: Not outside the person?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Not outside of humans.
Host: In nature there is no good and evil?
Don Miguel Ruiz: There is no good and evil, it's just the way it is. Anyway, the conflict in the human mind is between the truth and lies. When we believe in lies, the result is what we know as evil. When we believe in truth, the result is what we know as goodness.
Host: For the common person, they already have a story about what good and evil are, and what truth is, and so on. When you say "truth," are you talking about qualities of nature, a sort of goodness and connection inherent in nature?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Not exactly. When I talk about truth, it's something that exists long before humanity. It's what is real, what you can touch; it's the atoms, the planets, everything that is tangible, everything that exists, and that exists long before humanity.
We understand; we give meaning for what we understand. We understand so many lies, we learn from many lies, and we believe in those many lies, and by believing in those lies, it becomes the anger, the jealousy, violence, war, all the conflict that exists in humanity.
Host: Give me an example of what is the big lie.
Don Miguel Ruiz: The biggest lie at this moment is: nobody is perfect. That is the biggest lie, because only perfection exists. We are not aware that we are perfect. We believe that we are not perfect and by believing that, we have all those conflicts.
We judge ourselves; we judge everybody else; and we always find ourselves guilty; and we live in shame, in blame; and we are the center of the whole universe who we create. The key to change: the whole thing is awareness, to be aware that we created and we suffered the consequences in whichever direction it takes.
Host: Dr. Laitman, from the point of view of your studies, does humanity exist in a kind of perfected state, and what is that perfected state we don't sense?
Michael Laitman: We agree in that too, if I understood correctly, which I think I did. We, indeed, are in a perfect reality. We are complete beings, and we are in an infinite world, in an enlightened world, in a beautiful and perfect world. But the picture that is created within us of that perfect and beautiful world, is how we create it, because of our blindness. Because of our qualities, we create the world as a bad world. We picture it as a bad world and all we need to correct are our tools of perception, our attitude toward the world and toward ourselves. Then, we will discover that we are in a perfect world.
Host: How do we begin to see? It seems to me that people, a lot of people all around the world, are beginning to get the beginning of this, like some kind of sensation, that it might be like what you're talking about, or at least that their reality is inadequate. Is nature bringing us to a place where we can achieve that first perception?
Michael Laitman: You can see that we did not think about it throughout history. Special people thought about it, whether it be from my teaching, which stems back thousands of years, and also from Don Miguel's teaching, which also stems back thousands of years. These are ancient teachings. But humanity has entangled itself; it has evolved with its egoism; people started engaging in and playing with reality, which seems to them like it is the actual reality.
We are removed from the actual perception. First of all, we are discovering the need for it now because we see the world as a world of lies. It is actually emerging as such to us, appearing to us as such, and the picture that we are designing for ourselves is subjective; it exists only in our brains. If we want to know the reality as it truly is, we have to kind of exit our bodies; we have to feel the reality beyond our physical qualities. But how do we do that?
Host: Exit our bodies? What does this mean, to exit your body?
Michael Laitman: To exit in our perception. We don't want to be limited by these five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. I don't want to depict the world through this animal that seems that way to me. I want to see the world the way the world is outside of that. If I had different eyes, different ears..., in other words, if I had different tools of perception, then perhaps I would see the world as different. I want to know where I'm living. Perhaps, I'm not me, at least not the way I see myself, and the world is not the world as I see it.
Host: People are sort of arriving at a place where there is just the beginning of this consideration that maybe things are not the way that we thought that they were, and it's not so good to live in the place where we have been living. Maybe we have the first little point of realizing that sort of perception that you were talking about. Once that happens to people, and they feel a need that they must answer this, and they say, "Well, maybe this is an illusion." Then, what is the next thing that they need to do?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Once we understand that this is a virtual reality, and the way we live our life in this moment is the result of every action, reaction we have our whole life, and if we don't like how we live our life, we can change it. Nobody else can change it but us. Only I can change my life; I can change my perception. And we can say that if I made so many mistakes in the past, just with awareness, I just let go everything: that I no longer can live with guilt, with shame, but to accept myself just the way I am. And if I accept myself just the way I am, the benefit is not just only for me, it's for my family, my beloved, my children, my parents, my brother, my sister, my society, our country; the whole world will have the benefit if I change.
Then when I say, "Please, help me change the world," I am talking to the people of the world because it is time to let go of all those lies, to stop believing in all the superstition, and to stop being fanatics. It is time for us to become what we really are because we have the right to live our life with happiness, with joy. We are not here to suffer; we are here to enjoy life. Then, if we really want to change our world, we will do it for the best, according to ourselves, the best way we can do it.
Michael Laitman: We have to change our main quality, which is a desire to receive, our egos, that constantly forces us to absorb, to receive, and to use our environment and the world. The still, the animate, the vegetative, other people - we constantly want to receive from them, and to fulfill ourselves.
If some people come to sense the universe, the general force of the universe - which is the power of love and giving - then out of feeling it, they become like the general force that they feel. Then they extend themselves and start truly, from the bottom of their hearts, from what appears in them, they start to give and to give, and to love, and they start telling others about it.
The problem is that others don't really understand what those people who received this revelation of the Godly nature are saying. It requires a lot of explanation, and a whole method to open up to people because you have six to seven billion people. We need to promote a little bit toward that feeling. We cannot wait until they discover it by themselves.
We can see that this discovery comes only to special people in the world. We have to create a method by which to bring every person to it, all those billions, to bring them closer to that feeling, to open it to their senses, this general force of nature.
Host: There are, in different traditions, they speak about a time like this. I don't know what the perspective of the Toltec tradition is because it predates the Mayan, right? There is a lot of attention on 2012 and what that could mean. Is it destruction? Everybody speculates about all this. Does this have something to do with a kind of heightened state that we are going through, and a possibility that we will be able to reach this interconnection with each other?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Once again, I love your questions. Okay, the Mayans have a very big Toltec influence. In their symbology they talk about Kukulcan, which is Quetzalcoatl, but it's just a symbol, which is not really that important. And this is the end of a calendar, and the beginning of a new calendar, then it really means like every New Year's Day, it ends a time and begins a new time. But what is beautiful about this is that it didn't have the meaning that we want to give to this end of the calendar.
Host: What do you mean by "give to" it?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Well, yes, because as any symbol, the symbols will represent what we want them to represent. Do we have a symbol? As a teacher, I tell my apprentices, "Okay, this symbols means this, this, this, and that," but I keep the meaning of that symbol.
Host: You have to be consciously engaged in that?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Exactly, then we are giving the symbol to the new year, that it will begin. And if it is a coincidence that this is a big crisis in the world once again, in the world they've got crisis and stability, crisis and stability, crisis and stability. For me the moments of crisis are the moments of opportunity when the dream is changing, society is changing. If we notice the last century and these first ten years of this century, science and technology, they grow so big, so fast, but psychology is still on the backlist; we still believe in Freud, and it's obviously that this is on the back....
Host: Psychology, meaning how we understand ourselves and what we are here for?
Don Miguel Ruiz: Exactly, our awareness is still very low compared with the advance of science and technology. It looks like we need to change psychology to catch up with science and technology if we don't want to destroy our beautiful planet.
Host: Dr. Laitman, in the science of Kabbalah there is also something similar to this. The Zohar speaks of a time in which there is this kind of transformation. Is this connected to 2012?
Michael Laitman: No. There is no mention of 2012, but there is a mention that the world exists in a certain form, and there is a set time for the correction of the world. We need to correct the world over a period of six thousand years. From Adam, who started the correction, he was the first person to start the correction, to the last person who will complete the correction.
When all people complete their correction - in other words, correction means they all move from the perception of the world in egoistic relations to an altruistic perception of giving and love in the state of "love thy neighbor as thyself" - from Adam to the last person, it'll take six thousand years. According to this calendar, we are in the year 5769; in other words, we have two hundred and something years, but let's hope we can do it quickly. The crisis now occurring in the world is prompting us toward that; is forcing us to complete this correction quickly.
The correction depends only on people. The more we explain to them, Don Miguel, and myself, and other people who speak about the same things, really in every nation, in every part of the world, in every tribe maybe, there are people who feel the universe as one. The quality of love and the connection between everyone is something that has to be, that has to appear between everyone. If we manage to show it to all the people, to humanity, we will make our world, of course, a better place, and I think the time has come for it.
Don Miguel Ruiz: What is happening right now, like I was telling you that psychology is so behind, and we are giving the tools to everybody for them to have awareness and to see what they do to their life, to see all the evil is really because they believe in bad lies; all that anger, all the violence, war, etc., etc., is because they believe all those lies.
If we have that awareness and we stop, number one, judging themselves and stop judging everybody else, they will find out that the world is so easy to be in. I really want to believe that it is happening. I don't think it will happen in my generation, maybe not even in the next generation, but we are going exactly in that direction. Everybody is becoming more and more aware and we believe less and less in all those lies.
We have to become completely responsible for our own decisions, and know that every action will have a reaction. Then, if we don't want to have a reaction that goes against us, we don't need to take the action against anybody else, either. Then, if we can get them aware more and more, for every agreement that you break that comes from lies, the faith that you invest in that agreement will return to you, and your personal faith will keep growing, and growing, and growing.
Because to have faith is not really to believe in a...believing in a big master; faith is believing in yourself, in the real you. And you can make your own choices and you can be responsible for whatever choice you make. Then, to believe in yourself, you become your own guru.
Host: If this is going to happen, if we must make this as a total, as a collective, together, all of us finally arriving at these perceptions and these inner strengths that you are telling us about, what will give us the strength; what do we need to connect to in order to make this happen for us, Dr. Laitman?
Michael Laitman: The discovery of Godliness, of this Higher Force, that's the only thing that can mend us, that can make us relinquish ourselves, our nature, to which we are all opposite. We all have the opposite nature of that. When we "see," when it appears to us, we will be able to surrender our own nature; we'll be happy to do it; and we will be happy to bond and unite.
Host: But where does it appear to us? Right now, it feels like it's up there and it's all completely hidden. It must be some place... If we're at a place where we seem to be pushed by nature to go and really perceive this thing, where is it appearing for us in our lives?
Michael Laitman: It can't appear from within us; it doesn't exist "in us." Within us there is only evil; there is nothing good in us. The good should appear from Above, and when it appears, all of us like little kids will surrender and unite. This is what we need to come to, to that state, to that situation; we have to cause that situation, and we are on the way.
Host: Yes, and it is really very inspiring to see the closeness, the unspoken, and the similarity of language - not only between ancient traditions but just in the hearts of people - to see that this is what you both want, and what we feel that the world really wants. And it's not like it was in the past, where this was even hidden in our own hearts. It's very inspiring to see that it's coming forward and we can have friends who have the same desire.
I want to thank you both very much for engaging in this conversation, and I am glad that you. Don Miguel, revealed things from your tradition and your teaching, and that you did the same, Dr. Laitman. I want to thank you for being with us. See you again.