Saturday, October 27, 2007

3: A Toltec Shaman Tells His Story

In the next chapter, Ruiz makes the link from Genesis to Toltec philosophy very clear, by introducing the voice of his grandfather, a Toltec shaman. It's a story about a young Miguel attempting to impress his grandfather with his political theories of good and evil. But after respectfully listening to his grandson, the Toltec medicine man corrects him on the sources of all worldly injustice and wars.

It's not a matter of good and evil, but truth and lies. This is, in effect, the second truth of Toltizian Dreaming: the source of all violence, injustice, and human suffering, in society as well as the individual, is believing in lies and defending those lies. If the first chapter tapped into the Judeo-Christian tradition, then this one touches on the Buddhist.

The grandfather explains. Faith is the ability of humans to create a world of belief. If someone believes something to be true, even if it is a lie, then, with faith, it is absolutely true for that person. But actual truth can only be experienced, felt. The first corollary to the second truth. Once one begins describing experience with words, it's no longer truth, but a point of view. It is, the Toltec shaman says, a story.

Furthermore, the grandfather asks, why take anything anyone else believes personally, when it is only true for that person? And why try to force your belief on others, when that belief is only true for yourself, and not for anyone else? Instead, why not look on everyone as artists. We are all Picassos, painting stories about our experience, distorting truth to our particular point of view.

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