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The Mastery of Love: Review and coaching application


This is a review of “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. He is a member of the Toltec lineage dedicated to the preservation of spiritual knowledge. This book explains our wounding and provides the path to reclaiming our birthright.

In each situation that we encounter, we create images and roles of each aspect relative to us.

When we experience a reward for a certain behavior it becomes a habit we include. Conversely, when we experience a punishment it becomes a behavior we avoid and replace with a pattern that keeps us safe. This action and reaction shapes our behavior to minimize loss and maximize gain. Don Miguel uses a metaphor for this as sores on the skin. If we touch a sore that we believe leads to loss, it hurts. If we touch a sore that appears to restrict gain, it hurts. This skin disease is driven by fear that shows up as a range of negative emotions. This is so endemic it is considered normal. These emotional wounds are denied so that they appear as truth even though they are lies.


In this way, we are living in an imaginary creation of hell. This creation introduces a need to be accepted that did not exist before this programming. Perfection becomes the image that appears to bring the greatest acceptance. Our societal norms and education leverage this need for acceptance to domesticate us further into this cocreated imaginary experience. The programming becomes a game of risk that leads to the loss of innocence, freedom, and happiness as well as the loss of the ability to just love.

Our not feeling accepted creates pain. We seek relief from this pain which occurs momentarily when we pass the lack of acceptance we feel onto others.. Everything is judged according to the imagined creation that we have absorbed as children without question. We want to be right and impose our ways of thinking striving for the perfection outlined in the dream.

Love has no obligation, is without expectation, doesn’t hurt, is respectful, feels compassion, and is responsible. In contrast, fear is full of obligation, has expectations, hurts, pities, is unkind, and avoids responsibility. Love in action brings happiness, and fear in action brings suffering.

If you have no love for yourself, you want someone who needs you to justify your experience. No one abuses the self more than you. Your limit of self-abuse is what you are willing to tolerate from others. The only person responsible for your happiness is you. It is impossible to be responsible for someone else’s happiness. Happiness cannot flow freely through you if you make it dependent on another. It is impossible to know another and all their wishes. The only person you really know is yourself. It is only by loving and accepting yourself as you are that you can truly be and express what you are.

Escaping Hell

The urges of our body are completely natural and come and go. Our mind can take us out of alignment with this flow so that we eat when we are not hungry, drink when we are not thirsty, or think about sex when the urge has abated. We have become confused into thinking these are the body’s needs, but what the mind tells you is part of the dream. In truth, you are not the mind, body, or soul, you are the force of life.

Love is not outside us it is inside us so it is necessary to hunt the beliefs arising from the dream. This means taking care of the body and treating it with love according to its real needs and not the ones the dream is telling you.

It is painful to uncover the lies in the dream. However, these memories of hurt are not true in the present. Question the dream and follow the guidance of your heart to acknowledge the lies with compassion for all those involved and let it go. This allows you to forgive the wrongs of others and the wrongs the dream caused you to do to yourself. As you clean the wounds you heal and begin to experience more unconditional love for yourself and all. Ultimately all of your focus turns towards love.


The real you is pure love, nothing to do with the dream, but obscured by the dream. If you wake up out of the dream you become love, You become the servant of love. You have so much love, you are free from being controlled for love.

How do you relate to people still in the dream who are emotionally wounded and sick with fear? Love is accepting what is. In relationships with others, this means being able to accept others for being themselves. At the same time, you love yourself enough not to take any garbage.

Don Miguel brings awareness to how our habits form as a response to reward and punishment. The way to drop these habits is by releasing attachment to this reward and punishment. when the carrot and stick no longer motivates but instead just appreciation the world is a gift no matter if our experience is objectively good or bad. Through the law of averages, both will occur intermittently.

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay