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REVIEW OF THE MASTERY OF SELF: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom

July 17, 2019

Review of The Mastery of Self: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom

by Author Ross Victory in 500 words

I finally completed The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz! The Mastery of Self is a look at humanity through the lens of Toltec tradition which originated in 10th-12th century Mexico.


Mr. Ruiz frames the notions of society and self through two key ideas:

(1) The Dream of the planet which is society/collective thought

(2) Personal Dream which is personal perspective

The Dream of the planet and the Personal dream coexist in a state of constant friction. Mr. Ruiz draws parallels between the Dream of the planet and ‘being drunk at a party.’ We’ve all been there or at least seen people who’ve lost count! There are those who are super drunk and need to sit their asses down; those who attend but do not engage; and those who arrive standoffish but are easily lured, even if just for a moment.

The Dream of the planet (party drunkenness) is fueled by mass domestication that is so forceful that it perpetuates and expands its effects without effort. Domestication from our childhood, from influential people in our lives, and from authoritative bystanders all compile over a lifetime. Domestication is defined by Mr. Ruiz as beliefs and restraints on behaviors, some of which exist heedlessly. Domestication is fueled by conditional love which are rewards and punishment from those who seek for us to behave in a certain way. The antidote to the nightmare is conditional love.

How do you escape? How do you get on a path to “mastering self?” Mr. Ruiz says that we can never fully escape the Dream of the planet nor can we fully resist the “intoxicating music” of the party. It can only be thoughtfully managed, starting with awareness of collective thought and personal perspective.

· Mr. Ruiz offers several practices to stimulate awareness in the book

· Identify how you have been domesticated and your willingness to survey your attachments

o Most domestication happens during childhood through reward/punishment scenarios. Mr. Ruiz refers to this as conditional love.

o Unconditional love is the acceptance self in the midst of domestication and attachments

· Spot the traps, awareness of the party is the first step

o Know that you cannot avoid all the traps

· Ask “who am I?” The answer is energetic, not written or spoken words

“Negative external talk is anything you hear in conversation that attempts to impose conditional love.”

“When domestication occurs, you listen to others’ opinions and mislabel them as facts.”

I highly recommend this! Engaging, quick read.


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