YAY I’m done! I don’t have to read this dribble ever again. That is of course assuming I don’t go through a life changing experience like Ruiz. If you haven’t been following along, you might wonder about the sass in that previous sentence.
I have not become a fan of Ruiz or his philosophies having finished the first three books of his Toltec Wisdom Collection. I am glad I read them because it showed a different point of view, but I was struggling to figure out why I was so offended by them and this one finally made it click. I’ll talk more about that momentarily, but for let’s take a moment to breathe deep and appreciate I don’t need to re-read these again. Ever.
Although, not the primary reason, one of the reasons I decided I am not a fan of Ruiz is that these three books could have been better edited and reduced into one. A lot of this book and the previous book just seemed to be additional fluff to add padding to the original four agreements. Meh.
What really offended me, however, was Ruiz’s take on life, religion and spirituality. By the time I finished this book I’d realized two things about Ruiz:
1) Appropriating Toltec culture to espouse Judeo-Christian beliefs. He isn’t necessarily appropriating culture, he is Mexican and he claims to be a Toltec descendant. However, he IS using Toltec culture to frame Judeo-Christian beliefs and parables. He even says it himself:
“If we take away the superstition and mythology from the traditions around the world, the result is pure common sense. When it comes to common sense there is no difference between the Toltec tradition, the Egyptian tradition, the Christian tradition, the Buddhist tradition, the Islamic tradition, or any other tradition, because all of these philosophies come from the same place. They come directly from human integrity.” (120)
Seriously? I mean he basically says there is no difference, but why are you prioritizing Christianity over the others then? Sure he uses other stories, but in the end he’s ultimately coming across as sharing his views.
2) Tearing down other cultures’ myths and beliefs but propping up those he chooses to believe as true. In essence it’s the same as #1, but what really got me was this line:
“Centuries ago, the Greek gods were worshiped by hundreds of thousands of people; today, they are just legends. When we don’t believe in lies, the lies disappear, and the truth becomes obvious.” (99)
Why would that apply to the Greeks, the Egyptians and anyone else historically, and yet not apply to today? Just because a system of beliefs has become “mythology,” that doesn’t mean the Christian values he’s espousing will not also become “mythology.” UGH.
I had other issues with his philosophy in general (don’t believe me, don’t believe yourself), but I’m going to leave it at these two things because they are the two that drove me most nuts as I was reading the book.
Recommendation: Hard pass. Seriously, there was very little added value to reading the second and third books and he says it in the book, this is all common sense. There was one quote that really got to me and I read it a few times because of how interesting it was, so technically it wasn’t all bad: “As an artist, I only rearrange what already exists.” I just liked that thought.
Opening Line: “A beautiful and ancient legend that almost everyone has heard before is the story of Adam and Eve.”
Closing Line: “The question is: What are you going to do with your story? My choice is to write my story with truth and with love. What is yours?” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)
Additional Quote from The Voice of Knowledge
“The same is true for you. Your mother can swear that she knows you very well. But is it true? I don’t think so. You know that she has no idea what you have in your mind. She only knows what she believes about you, which means she knows almost nothing. You are a secondary character in her story, and you play the role of the son or the daughter. Your mother creates an image of you, and she wants you to fit the image she creates. If you are not what she wants you to be according to her story, guess what happens? She feels hurt by you, and she tries to make you fit her image. That is why she feels the need to control you, to tell you what to do and what not to do, to give you all of her opinions about the way you should live your life.” (63-64)