I'm an easily-pleased book buyer. If there is just one memorable sentence in a book I've bought, a line that sticks with me, I consider my money well-spent.
Don Miguel Ruiz' "The Voice of Knowledge" has that sentence.
If you want to know the truth, if you are ready to take your faith out of the lies, then remember: Don't believe yourself, and don't believe anybody else.
I really like that advice. Sure, it sounds shocking. But Ruiz does a good job explaining why it makes sense. Here's some excerpts from the book.
...Now we know what is going on in our head. The storyteller is there; it is that voice in our head. That voice is talking and talking and talking, and we are listening and listening and believing every word.
...All humans create their story with their own unique point of view. Why try to impose your story on other people when for them your story is not true? When you understand that, you no longer have the need to defend what you believe. It's not important to be right or to make others wrong. Instead, you see everybody as an artist, a storyteller. You know that whatever they believe is just their point of view. It has nothing to do with you.
...It's so difficult to be what we are not, to pretend to be what we are not. I used to pretend that I was very happy and very strong and very important. Wow! Living that way is truly a deep hell. It's a set-up, it's a no-win situation. You can never be what you are not, and that is the main point. You can only be you, and that's it. And you are you right now, and it's effortless.
...As little children, we are authentic. When we are hungry we only want to eat. When we are tired, we just want to rest. Only the present time is real for us; we don't care about the past and we aren't worried about the future. We enjoy life; we want to explore and have fun. Nobody teaches us to be that way; we are born that way.
...You live in the story that you create, and I live in the story that I create. Your story is your reality -- a virtual reality that is only true for you, the one who creates it.
Long ago somebody said, "Every head is a world," and it's true. You live in your own world, and that world is so private. Nobody knows what you have in your world. Only you know, and sometimes even you don't know. Your world is your creation, and it's a masterpiece of art.
...I continued to study the story of my life, and what I discovered is that everything in my story is about me. Of course, it has to be that way because I am the center of my perception, and the story is from my point of view. The main character who lives in my story is based on someone who really exists -- that is true. But what I believe about me is not true -- it's a story.
I create the character of "Miguel," and it's just an image based on what I agree to believe about myself. I project my image to other people in society, and other people perceive that projection, modify it, and react to me according to their stories.
...The truth is that we only know what we know, and the only thing we really know is our story. But how many times have you heard people say, "I know my children very well; they would never do something like that!" Do you think that you really know your children? Do you think that you really know your partner? Well, you are probably certain that your partner doesn't know you! You may be certain that nobody really knows you, but do you really know yourself? Do you really know anybody?
...Only my mother knows what she is, and surely she doesn't know either.
...You are the only one who can change your story, and you do this by changing your relationship with yourself.
...When we reach this level of awareness, it is easier not to take what other people say personally. We know that every human around us is a storyteller, and that everyone distorts the truth. What we share with one another is just our perception; it is just our point of view. And it's completely normal because the only thing we have is our point of view. This is how we describe whatever we witness.
...As artists, with our own style, we have the right to distort our story, and that is the best we can do anyway. That distortion is our point of view, and for us it has meanings.
...When we experience something we like, we want to tell everybody about it. That's why we talk so much to one another. Even when we are by ourselves, we have the need to share our story, and we share it with ourselves. We see a beautiful sunset and we say, "Oh, what a beautiful sunset!" Nobody is listening except us, but we talk to ourselves anyway.
...The voice of knowledge is telling you what you are and what you are not. It's always trying to make sense out of everything. I call it the voice of knowledge because it's telling you everything you know. It's telling you your point of view in a conversation that never ends. For many people it's even worse because that voice is not just talking nonsense; the voice is judging and criticizing. It's constantly gossiping in your head about you and the people around you.
That voice is usually lying because it's the voice of what you have learned, and you have learned so many lies, mainly about yourself. You cannot see the liar, but you can hear the voice.
...How many times has the voice made you say yes when you really wanted to say no? Or the opposite -- the voice made you say no when you really wanted to say yes? How many times has the voice made you doubt what you feel in your heart? How many times have you missed opportunities to do what you really want to do in your life because of fear -- fear that was a reaction to believing the voice in your head?
...If you have to talk to yourself, then why not be friendly? Why not tell yourself how beautiful and wonderful you are? Then at least you have someone to talk to when you're alone. But if the voice in your head is nasty and abusive, then it's no fun at all.
...Long ago I stopped listening to the voice of knowledge. I remember that I used to go outside and tell myself, "Oh, look at the beautiful clouds, the flowers, mmm, they smell so good" -- as if I didn't know that! I no longer make up stories for myself. I know what I know. Why tell myself what I already know? Does that make sense? It's just a habit.
...You don't need internal dialogue; you can know without thinking. The value of cultivating a silent mind has been known for thousands of years. In India, people use meditation and the chanting of mantras to stop the internal dialogue. To have peace in your head is incredible.
Imagine being in an environment where there is a constant sound -- bzzzz, bzzzz, bzzzz. The moment comes when you don't even notice the noise. You know something is bothering you, but you no longer notice what it is. The moment the noise stops, you notice the silence and feel the relief, "Ahhhh..."
When the voice in your head finally stops talking, it feels something like that. I call it inner peace.