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Don Miguel Ruiz, Author of The Four Agreements, Discusses Life, Death & the Afterlife

DON MIGUEL RUIZ, M.D.: “This new interview is with don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. I originally thought I’d be interviewing him about a near-death experience, but quickly learned that he had an out of body experience (OBE) without going into the spirit world. Yet what don Miguel learned from his OBE altered the way he saw things and ultimately changed his life from neurosurgeon to psychologist to philosopher. In this interview, don Miguel talks about what he learned about dreaming from his mother, how our body and brain are matter but we are life incarnated in matter, and the importance of accepting when we detach from matter and return to the eternal and infinite. And you won’t want to miss the deeply moving story Dr. Ruiz shares about the moment he had with his son at a time when don Miguel thought he was dying from a heart attack. With his lovely accent and natural storytelling talent, don Miguel is both mesmerizing and insightful in this interview that is quite different than anything I’ve done to date.” ~ Bob Olson, Afterlife TV

DON MIGUEL RUIZ’S BIOGRAPHY: don Miguel Ruiz , MD is the international bestselling author of The Four Agreements (a The New York Times bestseller for over 7 years, which recently topped Amazon’s #1 list after his appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday), The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge, and The Fifth Agreement (co-written with his son don Jose). His simple yet profound
teachings, based in truth, shared through his books, lectures, and journeys to sacred sites has helped millions of people worldwide transform their lives. Visit don Miguel Ruiz’s website at

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Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

Don’t miss another Afterlife TV episode. Join our email list to get new video announcements (and to download a free excerpt of Bob’s book): CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Hi everybody, Bob Olson here with Afterlife TV. You can find us at This is where we search for evidence of life after death and ask the meaningful questions around that subject.

There’s something very special about this. The man that you see to the side of me is kind of famous. One of the things that happened was I heard he had a near death experience and I couldn’t find any information about it, so I thought, “Oh what an opportunity to maybe interview him and ask him about his experiences and some of the lessons that he learned from it.

First of all, I’m just going to say most people will know him by this book, The Four Agreements. It’s a very famous and popular book. His name is Dr. Don Miguel Ruiz. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Don Ruiz: It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be with you and the … audience, it’s great.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well thank you. I will tell you when I think of you, I just think of how much love you emanate. That’s just the way I think of you like you emanate love and anytime I’ve ever seen you, that’s the way it’s been.

I saw you when you came to Andover, Massachusetts, years ago. I think you were talking about the book, The Voice of Knowledge. It was through a woman named, Cathy Levine, and her metaphysical story was called Circles of Wisdom, at A wonderful lady.

She had you come to Massachusetts and my wife and I went. Boy, we just enjoyed it so much. It was just so great to hear you speak that day.

What I want to start off with is if you could just tell us a little bit about your background. I know you were a medical doctor at the time of your near death experience. Tell us a little bit about your area of focus as far as being a doctor is concerned.

Don Ruiz: Well, I just followed a family tradition. All of my brothers are doctors. One is a neurosurgeon; the other is an oncology surgeon. So I followed their steps and I also became a surgeon and I was part of their team.

With my brother, Carlos, who is the neurosurgeon, I did a lot of neurosurgery. It was a great time, but at a certain moment, what I discovered is that most of the people create their own physical problems and I was very interested to understand the human mind. So I decided to change directions in my career and not necessarily live medicine. Medicine is one of the greatest arts. I just changed the direction into psychology, because I really wanted to understand what was going on in the human mind because something that I discovered is it’s so easy to suggest to people – you know the human mind is like a field that is fertile for ideas, for opinions. Depending on whatever is fertile is what will grow in the human mind.

I just followed the tradition of my family, which is the Toltec tradition. You know the word “Toltec,” means artist. When I talk about Toltec, I’m really talking about the entire humanity, because we all are artists. Even if we don’t have the awareness, we’re always creating. The biggest art that we humans create is a story – the story of ourselves, the story of our life. It looks so real, and we live in that story.

We accumulate all of that knowledge by using the work. We give a meaning to every single word that we use. We give our personal power to knowledge, then knowledge has the need to understand and knowledge creates a massive piece also, which is the main character of our story. Which means it creates us, what believe we are, and the whole story is based on the main character.

But it also creates secondary characters that are based on people that really exist. Because we perceived everyone around us, but what we have in our mind is not the real person/the real people, but the way we perceive them.

In our story, everybody is just a secondary character. What is very interesting is that everybody else; they do exactly the same thing that we do. They create their own story and in their story, they are the main characters, and we are also only a secondary character in everybody else’s story. We are completely different in everybody’s story that they really don’t know us and we don’t know them.

Knowledge has the need to understand and is so afraid of anything that it doesn’t understand. This is the main reason why we are so afraid of the unknown, especially to death; because we don’t understand what happens after the body dies.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Boy, you said a mouthful there. There’s so much wisdom in everything you’ve just said. It’s kind of mind-blowing there for me, but also the perfect segway to what we’re going to talk about today.

First of all, I want to congratulate you, and I’m sure all the audience does as well, on your Oprah interview. You were brilliant on that. It was beautiful.

Don Ruiz: Thank you.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It was really great. She talked vaguely about a near death experience that you had and I wanted to hear so much more about it. But, of course, that’s my passion. I love this kind of stuff. I’m sure a lot of people in the audience thought the same thing. I went online trying to find out more information about it and I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I thought, well this is a great opportunity to see if he would be willing to talk to us about it here on Afterlife TV.

Have you have more than one near death experience in your life?

Don Ruiz: Definitely, yes. It’s not the first time that it’s happened to me.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Was the first one the car accident. Do I have that correct?

Don Ruiz: Yes.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: So we’re talking the late 1970’s, at least that’s what I learned from the Oprah Show. Is that correct?

Don Ruiz: Yes, it’s correct. I was driving a Volkswagen and I made the same mistake that many people do; I drank too much. I used to be a medical student and it was very close to my graduation. I was in … that is very close to Mexico City. And being drunk, I decided to drive back to Mexico; a very bad decision.

In a sudden moment, I slid driving the car. The car went directly into a concrete wall and the car was totaled. But what is incredible is that I was out of my body, I saw the whole experience, and I saw my own body slipping in the wheel. What I did is just protect my physical body. Like I said before, the car was totaled, but at that moment, I knew without a doubt that I was not in my physical body.

Before I had the notion – you know, I heard so many times, and even I understood that I’m not in the physical body, but from that moment on it was no longer a theory. For me, it was a fact. Of course, I don’t expect that people believe or not believe that, but for me it was a fact I am not in the physical body.

And of course, that changed my life completely because that pushed me to learn even more. When going in my training with my mother, my father, and my grandfather because I wanted to repeat the same experience, but without the trauma of the accident. It took some time, but I did it again, and again.

You know, with my mother, she created a group of what she called “Dreamers.” At first, I asked me grandfather how can I do that again, and he told me, “You have to renounce to everything, you need to let go all of the attachments, and for sure you will have the experience.” I tried to do that and it really didn’t work.

Then my grandfather passed and next in the line was my mother. The explanation of my mother was much easier. She told me, “Well Miguel, it’s like when you are so tired that you have to sleep. You really want to sleep. You don’t care about anything any longer. You don’t care where you’re going to sleep. You don’t care if you have family, you don’t care if you have a business; you just want to sleep. And if you are able to do that, you will find out that you will be out of your body again.” And that works.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s a different approach. I can see the difference between the two. Can we back up a little bit?

So at the time of your accident, if I understood it right, you were watching your body before the accident was even over. Is that correct?

Don Ruiz: Yes, before the car crashed. And I even protected my body.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: You protected your body. Well first of all, whereabouts are you when you see – is there a location or do you just see your body? I’m trying to get a vision of this.

Don Ruiz: Well, I was in the body. I was inside the car, and I was outside my physical body. You know time is so relative. Everything was so slow that I had time to do whatever. Then like I just surrounded my body, then the crash happened, but nothing happened to my body.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: So you believe or you know that that saves your body from harm by doing that.

Don Ruiz: Oh definitely. I have no doubt about it.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s amazing. Was there more to it from that point on? Did you travel further? Did you go into a spiritual place at all after that, or did you go back into your body?

Don Ruiz: No, I just was unconscious until my body woke up.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Again, I know from that place there’s no sense of time, but from where you are now, do you know how much time might have gone by from when your body woke up?

Don Ruiz: Well, I guess it was several hours.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Oh wow! Did anything happen with you – and forgive me, because I’m only going to use my own terminology here. As a spiritual being outside your body, did anything else happen after the initial accident; after the car has stopped, the body has stopped moving.

Don Ruiz: Well, my whole personality changed. The way I perceived life was completely different because before that accident, everything was so important, and after the accident, I saw everything completely irrelevant. I continued to study. I graduated and I started working, but I had a lot of doubts.

Now the knowledge in my mind wanted to understand why? Because the first question was, well what am I? Because I am not the physical body; that’s obvious. It’s obvious that I am not my identity; I am not what I believe I am. I don’t know what I am and that really scared my knowledge. You know, I see many other people that have the same kind of experience, and they start denying what happened. They just let go and they adapt to the life they cannot forget.

Well, I go exactly in the opposite direction. I really wanted to know and I wanted to have the same experience. And even when I graduated and I was part of my brother’s team as a surgeon, I really was very interested to see how the mind works. Because for me, it was obviously a separation between the body, the mind, and what I really am. I really wanted to understand the mind because I thought I understood the body completely and the body is matter. But the mind is not matter.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Okay, the mind is not matter; how would you define the mind. What would you call the mind?

Don Ruiz: That’s extremely interesting. When I go back to the story of my legacy, I had an encounter with what I call the truth, and that changed my life once again. We have been searching for the truth for millenniums and it looks very complicated, because I found out that everybody has their own truth, and it’s not the truth. It exists – the truth exists long before digression of humanity and will exist long after the extinction of humanity. The truth as it that we belief are not in the truth.

The truth is really simple, it’s just commonsense, and it’s just two things. We don’t need to prove that it exists. The first is life. We don’t need to prove that life exists, because we all are alive. Our existence proves that life exists.

The other is death, because sooner or later we will die and we see death all the time. We see people dying, animals dying; it is so obvious. The truth is life and death. It’s a is or is not, is life and death. And of course, that reminds of my classes of physics when the teacher says that matter only can move if a force moves matter. And if matter isn’t movement, it can only be stopped if a force stops matter. But matter by itself cannot move. So the force that moves matter is life, and matter itself is death. And everything is just an interaction between life and death.

When I had that encounter with the truth and I see my hands. My hands are dead, is matter, but I moved my hands. I am the force that moves my hands. It’s life but it’s moving the hands. Life lives in matter and matter is alive because life is living in matter, because life incarnates in matter.

I understood right away, that since the moment of my conception, I incarnate in matter. And thanks to me, the very first cells start dividing, dividing into millions of cells. They shift to forms, to all the organs, and after nine months of life, moving matter, finally a baby is born. It starts growing up, growing old, and the moment will come when life leaves matter.

Because it’s easy to understand that everything that has been created will have an end. But the force, which means life is eternal – and we see that in science, of course, energy cannot be destroyed, it can only transform.

It’s so obvious, the truth. Life and death and everything is moving. If you see an atom, if you see all the elements moving around the nucleus, you see the action between life and death and it’s easy to understand that we live among death.

Nature is life and life lives in every animal, every vegetable, etc. That is completely understandable that I live in my body and my body is my home. So like my house is my home, my city is my home, and then finally the entire planet is my home. And also, it’s easy to understand that the same force that moves my body, is the force that moves everybody else’s body. It’s exactly the same thing; it’s just life. Life moves the entire manifestation, the entire creation. This is the big phenomenon; something that I understood right away, that there’s only one being and it’s alive.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: So when death comes to anyone of us, what happens at that point? Do we join all of life again? Is there still the singular part of us? Is there still Miguel? Is there still Bob? Or does Miguel and Bob leave this body and then just rejoin all of life again?

Don Ruiz: This is the interesting part. We exist long before our conception, and because of our life we cannot be destroyed. Then we have to see which point of view we will see. Is the point of view of what we really are, that we call life? But it’s just a name, because the truth is we don’t know what we are. That is true.

We can use the point of view of the physical body, the one that when we go out we’ll decay and be destroyed, but the point of view of the mind and the mind is the reflection of light. Because we don’t see objects, we only see light that is being reflected to every single object that we perceive. If you see a mirror, it looks like everything that is inside that mirror is real and is full of objects. But that’s not true. If you touch these objects, you will only touch the surface of the mirror.

But everything that is outside the mirror is real. You can touch it, you can weigh it, and you can prove that it is real. But everything that is inside the mirror is a virtual reality, a copy of what is outside.

If you watch television and you see other sports that is happening right now in some other place, but you see television is a visual reality; it’s not real, but it’s based on reality.

Well our mind is exactly the same thing. When you see a mirror, you see a copy of your own mind. The only difference between the mirror and your eyes is that behind your eyes, there is a brain and that brain has everything that you know. And with your reason you will distort everything. Now if you … everything that you see then for that moment, this is not just a glass cup; you can describe it and write a whole book about this cup and its description.

That what you write is not the truth, but you grab the cup and this is true. The mind is just a reflection of light that the brain perceives and that might create all the knowledge that you have and knowledge creates every single thing that you think. It creates your imagine, and with your imagination, you go to the infinity because it’s a copy of whatever is outside. You go to the infinite.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: When you were in the car accident – out of your body and looking at your body – was that part of the dream too, or was that different?

Don Ruiz: Well obviously, it was part of the dream. … the dream it was the real me. Then … talk about that is by choosing what I know in order to make sense of whatever happened. Right now I know that is not exactly true, but it is the only way that the mind can be safe, but it was … that time. But that changed already, because even though I cannot explain my knowledge through existence, I know that I am, I exist, I am alive. This is what is important and life will be eternal.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And that part of the story changed your life; it changed the way you thought. It changed your focus. Eventually you went from neurosurgery to psychology and you’ve brought up physics many times, so obviously, that part of the story changed the rest of the story, didn’t it?

Don Ruiz: What we can see is you have the experience, but the challenge is to put it in words. Not just for yourself, but for everybody to understand. You know I hear so many times that nobody comes from death. Is that true?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It’s beautiful. Have you ever thought about writing a book about death?

Don Ruiz: Oh definitely. It’s in my schedule and I’m working on that one, but I want to take a little more time because I’m very busy right now, but definitely.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: First of all, I appreciate this. One of the things that I’ve learned doing these interviews is that sometimes it’s good to ask questions and sometimes it’s good just to step back and let the person talk. Because there was just wisdom pouring out of you and I didn’t want to interrupt it, so thank you. That was absolutely beautiful.

I do want to mention you had even talked about a lot of these things, in The Four Agreements, in The Voice of Knowledge, and even in The Four Agreements, you talked about Heaven on Earth, and we have the power to create hell and we have the power to create Heaven. That was towards the end of the book.

I think you even talked about surrendering to the Angel of Death, which is basically about detachment, was it not?

Don Ruiz: Exactly, because our body is already dead. It is always reminding us that sooner or later we will leave and detach from that body. The … is to accept it, to embrace it, and that Angel of Death is really teaching you to live, to be alive. Because from that point we live our life like perhaps this is the last day of our life, but we can plan that we will live forever without expecting that whatever we plan will be real or not. But what exists is this moment.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well that’s true and you see that with a lot of people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or something. You see them make that change in their life, don’t you?

Don Ruiz: Well what they should do is just enjoy their life the best they can and not to be afraid to die, because they only will leave the body. The rest of the people who live around them, they keep that image of them. And while they still are a secondary character in everybody else’s story, they’re still alive in their mind.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I was going to ask you if you have a message for the grieving. We have a lot of people in our audience who are grieving. I think you just gave it really, did you not?

Don Ruiz: Well, I think it’s very interesting. When I had this heart attack; even though it was a very strong pain, I was so excited, so happy that it was happening. Because for me, it was the greatest opportunity to share with everyone how to let go of the body, how to detach from the body; to teach them how to die. First I called 911…

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right.

Don Ruiz: …because I have to defend my life until the last moment. And then I called my manager that I had at that time, Stephanie …. I asked her to call everybody because they can have the experience to see how I die, but they can understand not being afraid to die.

Well what I didn’t think of at that moment, was that Intensive Care will not allow anyone to come and see me. It was futile to ask everybody, but my middle son, Jose, he came on time and I had the opportunity to share with him, when he came to see me. Because he’s been my apprentice for a long time; he had learned a lot already. He was like 21-years-old at that time or something like that. When he came to see me, he was full of tears. He was crying saying, “Father don’t die, please don’t leave me. Please don’t die.” It was not the Jose that I knew.

Then I just sat up and said, “Jose, is this is the way that you will celebrate the death of your father? Get out of the room, fix yourself and when you are ready come back because I need to talk to you before I go.”

Of course, he was shocked; he never expected something like that. He went out of the room and a few minutes later he came back and now he was the Jose that I knew. He came to me and said, “Father, thank you very much and I apologize to you. I see all my selfishness. I see that I will spend the last moments of your life by feeling sorry for myself, to be so sad that you’re going to die and you’re not even dead yet.”

What I did is just shift places and I imagined that I was the one who wasn’t dying. I went further than that. “I was in the coffin and I see you crying for me, I see you letting go of everything that you were doing all those years; that you didn’t want to see anyone and you just wanted to be alone feeling sorry for yourself and decided not to do your work any longer.

I see how you were so devastated for my death. Then I have just one minute to talk to you and then I came back and told you father, I am fine. I have no pain. I’m very happy and I don’t want to go back. Please let me go. You are alive. Just in the memory for me, enjoy your life. Enjoy every moment of your life. I’ve had my time; I enjoyed it, now you do the same with yourself.” I say, “Wow, that is exactly what I wanted to tell you.”

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I’m sure that changed his life to have that experience and changed the way he deals with people who are ready to pass, I’m sure.

Don Ruiz: Well years later he wrote The Fifth Agreement.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Do I have that one here? No, I gave it away and it didn’t come back to me. The other books: So I showed, The Four Agreements, and then there’s The Four Agreements Companion Book. I have The Voice of Knowledge; that I did show.

Let’s just talk a little bit about this, The Five Levels of Attachment.

This is your son, the one who shares your name with Junior at the end. This is a new book, The Five Levels of Attachment. Tell us a little bit about that. You wrote the forward to that.

Don Ruiz: Well, after the fifth agreement, you finally win over knowledge, you know. With the fifth agreement, you recover that respect for yourself; your whole story and you recover your respect for everyone around you.

Well, the next step is the five levels of attachment. Because when you become a real master, you have the awareness that you are living in the present moment, and in that present moment, is the only way that you deal with everybody else’s true attachment and detachment.

Then he described five levels of detachment. What he says is the majority of us are between the third and the fourth levels of attachment. He describes it like a flower that when it is completely open, it is the first level, you know that you are alive.

Then in the second level, it closes a little because you have preference. Because with preference, you enjoy more of whatever is around you. When on the first level, everything is the same. You know your God, you know your everything, and you know your life. You know that everybody is God, everybody is life and there is no difference. When you have preference, then you engage with whatever is happening around you.

The third level, now you attach even more, but you’re aware that you can let go, or you can attach and detach. Just attaching to what is happening right now it’s over and you just attach; the flowers are closing and open. But then at the fourth level, it closes even more, and now you identify yourself with whatever is your environment.

You say, “Well I am a medical doctor and everybody should be that way.” “I’m a vegetarian, and this is the way it should be.” “I’m a Protestant and that’s the way it should be.” Just trying to convince everybody to be like you; to enthrall everybody around you.

At the fifth level, the flower closes completely and it is fanaticism. You become so fanatic in your fanaticism that you lose humanity. You don’t care to die for what you believe or to kill for what you believe. It’s like you just have one point and you don’t want to see anything else. Then when you’re really a master you play with that, but with awareness.

Then it’s like a flower that is opened and closed, and it’s open in so many different directions. Like in some directions, it’s completely open; in other directions it’s completely closed. You know it’s so beautiful how he explains it.

He uses sports in order to explain those levels of attachment, because by using sports, everything is so easy to understand and is so irrelevant. But you can see when you become fanatic in some sports, you then kill or die because of the sport. But instead of the sport if we go into religion, into politics, into so many other things and now we see all the tragedy that happens in humanity. I think it’s a great book that really will help many people.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I think so, too. Here it is again. Everybody can pick that up. There will be a link to it underneath this video. Five Levels of Attachment, Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr.

The website for you is, correct.

Don Ruiz: Correct.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Those links will be below as well, so people can find out things about you and they can learn more about you.

I can’t imagine that too many people in our audience don’t already have most of your books. I’m glad we could let them know about that.

You must be so proud of your sons. You must get to work with them a lot. How wonderful is that?

Don Ruiz: Well, it’s great. We are so close and we love each other so much. It’s just great!

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It sounds wonderful to me. It just seems like the perfect setup, the perfect system. And it’s a great compliment to you that they want to go and do that. What a wonderful compliment to you.

Don Ruiz: They’re really doing it in their own way; they really don’t need me at all.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right.

Don Ruiz: It’s good, but just to see them in action, I love it.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That is. So, thank you very much, Dr. Ruiz. I really appreciate it. It was such an honor listening to you. I think people are going to watch this several times over just to sort of take it all in. I appreciate it and I hope we get to talk again.

Don Ruiz: Please let’s do it again.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Thank you very much.

Don Ruiz: You’re very welcome. You have all my love.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: You too, bye-bye.

Don Ruiz: Bye.

Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

Don’t miss another Afterlife TV episode. Join our email list to get new video announcements (and to download a free excerpt of Bob’s book): CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER.

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