While a popular author, it has only been recently that I’ve read the works of don Miguel Ruiz Jr. In fact it was last week that I picked up the book “The Mastery of Self.”
What I found the book were great takes on things I hold dear and true. For the next few posts I’m going to cover aspects of this book in greater detail.
Love is an interesting topic. At times, the topic of unconditional love is spoken in flighty wisps of fancy. Our society, and even some of our orthodox religious leaders have cast dispersions on love.
In truth, anyone who speaks of division speaks of the antithesis of love. Love is union – it is unity.
What I had to do, in my personal life, was to get rid of my resistance to the topic of unconditional love. As a young person I saw it as a “hippy” ideology. Even though my very upbringing in the Christian faith was all about God’s “unconditional love,” I found it a debased phrase when relating to the world.
Unconditional love is just that, love without conditions. There is no requirement for respect. No requirement to be loved or thought of as one with another.
It doesn’t have to be a love without reason, which is where many trip up on the subject of love. The solemn Buddhist and the quiet Stoic both follow the path of unconditional love.
An early influence on my philosophy was a book called “Radical Forgiveness.” I found it very useful in practice and it allowed me to let go of deep resentment and pain that I had held onto.
For most, the idea of forgiveness equates to “allowance.” This isn’t the case at all. Forgiving doesn’t mean you condone what was done, it is a tool that allows you to be free of the pain (and the one who caused the pain.)
Without forgiveness we tie ourselves to the one who hurt us. Their actions don’t happen just the once. It happens in our mind over and over again, as we re-experience the pain.
By forgiving the person (mentally) we let go of the situation. I’ve found in my personal life that I held onto the pain of others (done to me) so that I could have a victim story. People would be introduced to me and I would look for ways to bring up my past pain. I suppose I thought that would get their attention. For that reason alone, I couldn’t forgive. I was still needing the painful situation to be my identity. Such a life is hard. The pain becomes the identity of self and the world reflects that back to us.
In don Miguel Ruiz Jr’s book “The Mastery of Self,” he outlines a forgiveness ritual. There are several important steps involved, but I’d like to point out two sections:
“I, __, am ready to forgive all those who inflicted pain and suffering on me in the past. I choose to forgive them so that their actions of the past can no longer affect my present. My wish is to see them through the eyes of unconditional love. I also forgive myself for anything and everything related to these events. I was doing my best at the time. I pray that these people, and myself, can experience only love and peace going forward.”Ruiz Jr, don Miguel. The Mastery of Self (pp. 60-61). Hierophant Publishing. Kindle Edition.
He has a great idea here, but for me it’s a bit too wordy to memorize. Instead I took the ideas conveyed above and put it into my own words. I kept it short and simple. There are some key points that must be spoken:
- Forgiving those we have identified as causing pain
- Understanding that the pain of the past has clouded the present – now we are ready to release it
- Seeing with the eyes of unconditional love
- Forgiving ourselves (we may feel some guilt for why something happened, if so we need to release it)
I bolded the third point above. The words alone don’t really convey for me the depth of what is being asked. We must first tune into this feeling of unconditional love.
Tuning Into Unconditional Love
One way to tune into unconditional love is to think of someone we love dearly. It could be our mother, a child… Hold that moment, that feeling of love… Or if you meditate, we could use meditations to bring us close to the presence of God where unconditional love is directly experienced.
Then, with that feeling of unconditional love, we use it as described above.
If a reader hasn’t felt unconditional love, then the above words will have no meaning. The spiritual quest of the individual is necessary to really experience unconditional love directly. Most human relationships are conditional (even between parents and children.) Once the conditions for respect, political views, social norms or the like are crossed, then the love shuts down.
The template for unconditional love isn’t easily found in this world, but it is directly experienced in the spiritual experience of God presence.
Further into the chapter don Miguel Ruiz Jr offers some more advice. This time it’s about those who are particularly difficult to forgive. He suggests the following statement (replacing the _ with the name of this person or situation):
“I pray that _ receives everything they want in life, including the experience of unconditional love, peace, and happiness.”Ruiz Jr, don Miguel. The Mastery of Self (p. 62). Hierophant Publishing. Kindle Edition.
This is a hard one. It can almost feel like you’re hoping the abuser succeeds in life. But what we really want to focus on, is that they too experience unconditional love, peace and happiness.
If after several tries we really feel this way for this person, we truly disconnect from the situation that causes so much pain and agony.
Extensions from God
In my book “Henosis: Union with God,” I describe each person (and created thing) as an extension from Source (God.) Like a ray of light, each of us has a higher state and a lowest state. At one point, we are connected to God and at another we nearly shut off from ethical and pure behavior. It is our consciousness that determines the state we are currently at in this present moment. That consciousness fits itself along the extension from God and there we are. By changing our actions, thoughts and feelings, we can change the state of our consciousness (either closer to God or further away.)
Talking to the Higher in Another
I’ve had a personal spiritual tool that I’ve used for some time. At times I imagine I’m speaking to someone’s higher self. As though it were standing before me. I mentally acknowledge it and either apologize for my own thoughts towards them, or I forgive them for the deeds or actions this person’s lower nature may have done to me.
don Miguel Ruiz Jr. states something very similar in his book Mastery of Self:
This next part involves your imagination. I want you to imagine that you are meeting the person who hurt you in their spiritual form only. In this meeting you can talk directly to the other person’s Authentic Self, the part of them that is awake, not lost in the fog or drunk at the party. In this form, they are imbued with unconditional love, and you can say whatever you want without fear. Tell them how you really feel about them and the situation, and then imagine what this person would say to you from the perspective of their Authentic Self. Write that dialogue out between the two of you.Ruiz Jr, don Miguel. The Mastery of Self (p. 66). Hierophant Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The quote is out of context. What don Miguel Ruiz Jr. describes as the authentic self – is what I would call the highest self. What he describes as the fog or being “drunk at the party” is the lower nature. It’s the relationship a person has with the world, when they don’t think or see clearly. Jesus referred to people like this when He said at the crucifixion:
Father forgive them, for the know not what they do.Luke 23:34
We have triggers – at least I do. When I turn on the news, when I read the comments on social media… I get triggered. I get angry. Intolerance and hypocrisy are my triggers… and for a time in 2016/2017 I lost myself to those feelings.
In time I found my way back onto the spiritual path. I had to let go of “needing to be right” or “proving a point” to those on a different philosophy or religious faith.
All this to say, why not put the worst political figure (in your world view) in this practice. Is it Donald Trump? Is it InfoWars? Is it Hilary Clinton? Is it Obama?
Write the names that trigger you the most. Follow the practice above. It may be hard to expect these people that bother us to have a blessed life of unconditional love. But if we can’t do that for those who upset us, how can we really say we practicing the path? We lock ourselves into some form of pain. Maybe it’s not too extreme, but it’s enough to keep us in the human condition of suffering.
It’s time to let go and the process starts with Forgiveness and Unconditional Love.