[ Back to Spirit Index ]
The Mastery of Love
By Don Miguel Ruiz
ISBN 1-878424-42-4
Chapter 11 ~ Healing The Emotional Body

LET'S IMAGINE AGAIN THAT WE HAVE A SKIN disease with wounds that are infected. When we want to heal the skin, and we go to a doctor, the doctor is going to use a scalpel to open the wounds. Then the doctor is going to clean the wounds, apply medicine, and keep the wounds clean until they heal and no longer hurt us.

To heal the emotional body, we are going to do the same thing. We need to open the wounds and clean the wounds, use some medicine, and keep the wounds clean until they heal. How are we going to open the wounds? We are going to use the truth as a scalpel to open the wounds. Two thousand years ago, one of the greatest Masters told us, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The truth is like a scalpel because it is painful to open our wounds and uncover all of the lies. The wounds in our emotional body are covered by the denial system, the system of lies we have created to protect those wounds. When we look at our wounds with eyes of truth, we can finally heal these wounds.

You begin by practicing the truth with yourself. When you are truthful with yourself, you start to see everything as it is, not the way you want to see it. Let's use an example that is emotionally charged: rape.

Let's say that someone raped you ten years ago, and it is true that you were raped. Right now, it is no longer true. It was a dream, and in that dream someone abused you with violence. You didn't look for that. It was nothing personal. For whatever reason, it happened to you and can happen to anyone. But by being raped, will you condemn yourself to suffer in your sexuality for the rest of your life? The rapist is not condemning you to do that. You are the victim, and if you judge yourself and find yourself guilty, for how many years will you punish yourself by not enjoying something that is one of the most beautiful things in the world? Sometimes being raped can destroy your sexuality for the rest of your life. Where is the justice? You are not the rapist, so why should you suffer the rest of your life for something you didn't do? You are not guilty for being raped, but the Judge in your mind can make you suffer and live in shame for many years.

Of course, this injustice will create a strong emotional wound and a lot of emotional poison that could take years of therapy to be released. The truth is that, yes, you were raped, but it's no longer true that you must suffer this experience. That is a choice.

This is the first step in using the truth as a scalpel: You find that the injustice that created a wound is no longer true, right now, in this moment. You discover that perhaps what you believe hurt you so badly was never true. Even if it was true, it doesn't mean that now it is true. By using the truth, you open the wound and see the injustice from a new perspective.

The truth is relative in this world; it's changing all the time because we live in a world of illusions. What is true right now is not true later. Then it could be true again. The truth in hell could also be just another concept, another lie that can be used against you. Our own denial system is so powerful and strong that it becomes very complicated. There are truths covering lies, and lies covering truth. Like peeling an onion, you uncover the truth little by little until in the end, you open your eyes to find out that everyone around you, including yourself, is lying all the time.

Almost everything in this world of illusion is a lie. That is why I ask my apprentices to follow three rules for seeing what is true.

The first rule is: Don't believe me.
You don't have to believe me, but think, and make choices. Believe what you want to believe according to what I say, but only if it makes sense for you, if it makes you happy. If it guides you into your awakening, then make the choice to believe it. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not responsible for what you understand. We live in a completely different dream. What I say, even if it is absolutely true for me, is not necessarily true for you. The first rule, is very easy: Don't believe me.

Rule number two is more difficult: Don't believe yourself.
Don't believe all the lies you tell yourself - all those lies that you never chose to believe, but were programmed to believe. Don't believe yourself when you say you are not good enough, you are not strong enough, you are not intelligent enough. Don't believe your own boundaries and limitations. Don't believe you are unworthy of happiness or love. Don't believe you are not beautiful. Don't believe whatever makes you suffer. Don't believe in your own drama. Don't believe in your own Judge or your own Victim. Don't believe the inner voice that tells you how stupid you are, that tells you to kill yourself. Don't believe it, because it isn't true. Open your ears, open your heart, and listen. When you hear your heart guiding you to your happiness, then make a choice and stick to it. But don't believe yourself just because you say so, because more than 80 percent of what you believe is a lie - it isn't true. The second rule is a difficult one: Don't believe yourself.

Rule number three is: Don't believe anyone else.
Don't believe other people because they are lying all the time anyway. When you no longer have emotional wounds, when you don't have the need to believe other people just to be accepted, you see everything more clearly. You see if it is black or white, if it is or is not. What is right now, maybe in a few moments is not. What is not right now, maybe in a few moments will be. Everything is changing so fast, but if you are aware, you can see the change. Don't believe others because they will use your own stupidity to manipulate your mind. Don't believe anyone who says she comes from Pleiades and she wants to save the world. Bad news! We don't need anyone to come and save the world. The world doesn't need the aliens to come from the outside to save us. The world 's alive; it's a living being, and it's more intelligent than all of us together. If we believe the world needs to be saved, soon someone will come and say, "Okay, a comet is coming, we need to escape from the planet. Kill yourself and boom! You will reach the cornet and go to heaven." Don't believe these mythologies. You create your own dream of heaven; no one can create it for you. Nothing but common sense will guide you to your own happiness, your own creation. Rule number three is difficult because we have the need to believe other people. Don't believe them.

Don't believe me, don't believe yourself, and don't believe anyone else. By not believing, whatever is untrue will disappear like smoke in this world of illusion. Everything is what it is. You don't need to justify what is true; you don't need to explain it. What is true doesn't need anyone's support. Your lies need your support. You need to create a lie to support the first lie, another lie to support that lie, and more lies to support all of those lies. You create a big structure of lies, and when the truth comes out, everything falls apart. But that's just the way it is. You don't need to feel guilty because you are lying.

Most of the lies we believe simply dissipate if we don't believe them. Whatever is not true will not survive skepticism, but the truth will always survive skepticism. What is truth is true, believe it or not. Your body is made of atoms. You don't have to believe it. Believe it or not, it is true. The universe is made of stars; this is true, believe it or not. Only what is true will survive, and that includes the concepts you have about yourself.

We have said that when we were children, we didn't have the opportunity to choose what to believe and what not to believe. Well, now it is different. Now that we are grown, we have the power to make a choice. We can believe or not believe. Even if something is not the truth, if we choose to believe it, we can believe it just because we want to believe it. You can choose how you want to live your life. And if you are honest with yourself, you will know you are always free to make new choices.

When we are willing to see with eyes of truth, we uncover some of the lies and open the wounds. Still, there is the poison inside the wounds.


Once we open the wounds, we are going to clean the wounds of all the poison. How are we going to do this? The same Master gave us the solution two thousand years ago: Forgiveness. There is no other way but forgiveness to clean the wounds of all the poison.

You must forgive those who hurt you, even if whatever they did to you is unforgivable in your mind. You will forgive them not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because you don't want to suffer and hurt yourself every time you remember what they did to you. It doesn't matter what others did to you, you are going to forgive them because you don't want to feel sick all the time. Forgiveness is for your own mental healing. You will forgive because you feel compassion for yourself Forgiveness is an act of self-love.

Let's take an example of a divorced woman. Imagine you have been married for ten years, and for whatever reason you have a big fight with your husband over a big injustice. You get divorced, and you really hate your ex-husband. Just hearing his name, you feel a strong pain in your stomach and you want to throw up. The emotional poison is so strong that you can't stand it any longer. You need help, so you go to a therapist and say, "I am suffering so much. I am full of anger, jealousy, envy. What he did is unforgivable. I hate that man."

The therapist looks at you and says, "You need to release your emotions; you need to express your anger. What you should do is have a big tantrum. Get a pillow, bite the pillow, hit the pillow, and release your anger." You go and have the biggest tantrum, and you release all these emotions. It really seems to work. You pay your therapist $100 and say, "Thank you very much. I feel much better." Finally, you have a big smile on your face.

You walk out of the therapist's office, and guess who is driving through town? As soon as you see your ex-husband, the same anger comes up, but even worse. You have to run to the therapist again and pay another $100 for another tantrum. Releasing your emotions in this way is only a temporary solution. It may release some poison and make you feel better for a while, but it does not heal the wound.

The only way to heal your wounds is through forgiveness. You have to forgive your ex-husband for the injustice. You will know you have forgiven someone when you see him and you don't feel anything anymore. You will hear the name of the person and have no emotional reaction. When you can touch a wound and it doesn't hurt, then you know you have truly forgiven. Of course, a scar is going to be there, just as it is on your skin. You will have a memory of what happened, of how you used to be, but once the wound has healed, it won't hurt you any longer.

Perhaps you are thinking, "Well, it's easy to say we should forgive. I have tried, but I cannot do it." You have all these reasons, all these justifications why you cannot forgive. But this is not the truth. The truth is that you cannot forgive because you learned not to forgive, because you practiced not to forgive, because you mastered not to forgive.

There was a time when we were children when forgiveness was our instinct. Before we caught the mental disease, it was effortless and natural to forgive. We used to forgive others almost right away. If you see two children playing together, and they start to fight and hit each other, the children cry and run to their mothers. "Hey, she hit me!" One mother goes to talk with the other mother. The two mothers have a big fight, and five minutes later the two children are playing together again as if nothing happened. Now the mothers hate each other for the rest of their lives.

It is not that we need to learn forgiveness, because we are born with the capacity for forgiveness. But guess what happened? We learned the opposite behavior, and we practiced the opposite behavior, and now forgiveness is very difficult. Whoever does something to us, forget it, that's it, she Is out of our life. It becomes a war of pride. Why? Because our personal importance grows when we don't forgive. It makes our opinion more important when we can say, "Whatever she does, I will not forgive her. What she did is unforgivable."

The real problem is pride. Because of pride, because of honor, we add more fire to the injustice to remind ourselves that we cannot forgive. Guess who is going to suffer and accumulate more and more emotional poison? We are going to suffer for all kinds of things people do around us, even though they have nothing to do with us.

We also learn to suffer just to punish whoever abused us. We behave like a little child having a tantrum, just asking for attention. I'm hurting myself just to say, "Look at what I am doing because of you." It's a big joke, but that's exactly what we do. What we really want to say is, "God, forgive me," but we will not say a word until God comes and asks us for forgiveness first. Many times we don't even know why we are so upset with our parents, our friends, our mate. We are upset, and if for some reason the other person asks us for forgiveness, right away we start to cry and say, "Oh no, you forgive me."

Go and find the little child in the corner having a tantrum. Take your pride and put it in the trash. You don't need it. Just let go of the personal importance and ask for forgiveness. Forgive others, and you will see miracles start to happen in your life.

First, make a list of everyone you believe you need to ask for forgiveness. Then ask them for forgiveness. Even if there is not enough time to call everyone, ask for their forgiveness in your prayers and through your dreams. Second, make a list of all the people who hurt you, all the people you need to forgive. Start with your parents, your brothers and sisters, your children, your spouse, your friends, your lover, your cat, your dog, your government, and God.

Now, you are going to forgive others by knowing that whatever anyone did to you had nothing to do with you. Everyone dreams her own dream, remember? The words and actions that hurt you are merely a reaction to the demons, in that person's own mind. She is dreaming in hell, and you are a secondary character in her dream. Nothing anyone does is because of you. Once you have this awareness, and you do not take it personally, compassion and understanding will lead you to forgiveness.

Start working on forgiveness; start practicing forgiveness. It will be difficult at first, but then it just becomes a habit. The only way to recover forgiveness is to practice again. You practice and practice, until in the end you see if you can forgive yourself. At a certain point, you find that you must forgive yourself for all those wounds and all that poison you created for yourself in your own dream. When you forgive yourself, self-acceptance begins and self-love grows. That is the supreme forgiveness - when you finally forgive yourself.

Create an act of power and forgive yourself for everything you have done in your whole life. And if you believe in past lives, forgive everything you believe you did in all of your past lives. The concept of karma is true only because we believe it is true. Because of our beliefs about being good and bad, we feel ashamed about what we believe is bad. We find ourselves guilty, we believe we deserve to be punished, and we punish ourselves. We have the belief that what we create is so dirty that it needs to be cleaned. And just because you believe it, then, "Thy will be done". It is real for you. You create your karma, and you have to pay for it. That is how powerful you are. To break old karma is simple. You just stop that belief by refusing to believe it, and the karma is gone. You don't need to suffer, you don't need to pay anything; it is over. If you can forgive yourself, the karma is gone just like that. From this point on, you can start all over again. Then life becomes easy, because forgiveness is the only way to clean the emotional wounds. Forgiveness is the only way to heal them.


Once we have cleaned the wounds, we are going to use a powerful medicine to accelerate the process of healing. Of course, the medicine also comes from the same great Master: It is Love. Love is the medicine that accelerates the process of healing. There is no other medicine but unconditional love. Not: I love you or I love myself if. There is no if. There is no justification. There is no explanation. It is just to love. Love yourself, love your neighbor, and love your enemies. This is simple, common sense, but we cannot love others until we love ourselves. That is why we must begin with self-love.

There are millions of ways to express your happiness, but there Is only one way to really be happy, and that is to love. There is no other way. You cannot be happy if you don't love yourself. That is a fact. If you don't love yourself, you don't have any opportunity to be happy. You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. But you can have a need for love, and if there's someone who needs you, that's what humans call love. That is not love. That is possessiveness, that is selfishness; that is control with no respect. Don't lie to yourself; that is not love.

Love coming out of you is the only way to be happy. Unconditional love for yourself. Complete surrender to that love for yourself. You no longer resist life. You no longer reject yourself, You no longer carry all that blame and guilt. You just accept who you are, and accept everyone else the way he or she is. You have the right to love, to smile, to be happy, to share your love, and to not be afraid to receive it also.


That is the healing. Three simple points: the truth, forgiveness, and self-love. With these three points, the whole world will heal and will no longer be a mental hospital.

These three keys to heal the mind were given to us by Jesus, but he is not the only one who taught us how to heal. Buddha did the same; Krishna did the same. Many other Masters came to the same conclusions and gave us these same lessons. All around the world, from Japan to Mexico to Peru to Egypt to Greece, there were humans who were healed. They saw that the disease is in the human mind, and they used these three methods: the truth, forgiveness, and self-love. If we-can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure. We don't have to suffer any longer; if we are aware that our mind is sick, that our emotional body is wounded, we can also heal.

Just imagine if all humans could start being truthful with themselves, start forgiving everyone, and start loving everyone. If all humans loved in this way, they would no longer be selfish; they would be open to give and receive, and they would no longer judge each other. Gossiping would be over, and the emotional poison would simply dissolve.

Now we are talking about a completely different Dream of the Planet. It doesn't look like the planet Earth. This is what Jesus called "Heaven on Earth," Buddha called "Nirvana," and Moses called "The Promised Land." It is a place where all of us can live in love because we put our attention on love. We choose to love.

Whatever you call the new Dream, it is still a dream as real or as false as the dream of hell. But now you can choose which dream you want to live in. Now you have the tools in your hands to heal yourself. The question is: What are you going to do with them?

Support your Local Independent Online Book Stores:

Return to Start of Excerpt
Back to Spirit Index