I’m not sure I will make it through the third book in the collection. I probably will because I already have it, but I can guarantee I won’t look into the fourth book, The Fifth Agreement or any of the other works by Ruiz.
As I mentioned when I responded to The Four Agreements, this isn’t really my cup of tea and I think The Mastery of Love made that even more apparent the further I got through the book. I found myself getting more agitated the more I read, thankfully it came it at just under 200 pages.
I’m not sure if it’s the deepening spirituality of the books or what, because Ruiz is very careful not to use only Judeo-Christian references, even if he chooses predominantly Western religious references including the Ancient Greeks.
I really am not sure whether it’s the spirituality, Ruiz’ writing or the pretty much common sense Ruiz talks about. It is probably a combination of all three. For some reason as I continued to read this book, I felt like Ruiz was talking down to the reader more-and-more. This may be from the over use of religious parables (Jesus, Artemis, Hercules, “the Master”, etc.) or maybe it’s just my projections of frustrations. Maybe all of it comes down to his native language and writing ability in English? According to Wikipedia he’s fluent in English and Spanish, so I’m not convinced of that.
All of this being said, there were some decent pieces of (common sense) advice that it never hurts to hear again, see a couple of the additional quotes below. So the book wasn’t a total write-off, but I’ve ready better self-help books with better advice.
Recommendation: Pass. There are other better written books out there that deal with the same subject. If you’re going to read one of his, check out The Four Agreements, but don’t put too much stock in it as again I think there are better written books dealing with the same things out there.
Opening Line: “Once upon a time, a master was talking to a crowd of people, and his message was so wonderful that everyone felt touched by his words of love.”
Closing Line: “Life is nothing but a dream, and if you create your life with Love, your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)
Additional Quotes from The Mastery of Love
“Humans use fear to domesticate humans, and our fear increases with each experience of injustice. The sense of injustice is the knife that opens a wound in our emotional body.” (33)
“Love is completely responsible. Fear avoids responsibility, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not responsible. Trying to avoid responsibility is one of the biggest mistakes we make because every action has a consequence. Everything we think, everything we do, has a consequence. If we make a choice, we have an outcome or a reaction. If we don’t make a choice, we have an outcome or a reaction. We are going to expereince the consequence of our actions in one way or another.” (61)
“If you don’t feel like being happy, and you only want to be quiet, it’s nothing personal. It has nothing to do with your partner. Perhaps you have a problem and you need to be quiet. But that silence can cause your partner to make a lot of assumptions: ‘What did I do now? It’s because of me.’ It has nothing to do with your partner; it’s nothing personal. Left alone, the tension will go away, and you will return to happiness.” (84-85)
“If you observe self-destructive people, you will see they attract people just like them. What do we do if we don’t like ourselves? We try to get numb with alcohol to forget our suffering. That’s the excuse we use. Where are we going to get alcohol? We go to a bar to drink, and guess who’s going to be there? People just like us, who try to avoid themselves also, who also try to get numb. We get numb together, we start talking about our suffering, and we understand each other very well. We even start to enjoy it. We understand each other perfectly because we vibrate in the same frequency. We are both being self-destructive. Then I hurt you, you heart me — a perfect relationship in hell.” (116)