The Toltecs were a group of artists, writers, and spiritual seekers who came together more than 2,000 years ago in the highlands of central Mexico. Their most profound discovery was that we are all unique expressions of one unbounded and eternal consciousness—one living being. For years the teachings went underground, but their ancient wisdom has recently resurfaced. Totltec mentor Brandt Morgan explains how we can call on their teachings for a happier, fuller and more enriching life.
Be Present And Pay Attention
There is an old Toltec saying, “Without awareness, you don’t have a chance.” Most of us are imprisoned by social and family conditioning. As children, we were taught to win the love and approval of others. We believed things that weren’t true. We gave away our energy and precious parts of ourselves. Even as adults, we still suffer from trying to be what we’re not.
You can reclaim your true self by being present and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, reactions, beliefs, opinions, and attachments. Pay attention without judgement. Be present with the detached, welcoming awareness that allows you to see the world and yourself as you really are. This is the first step towards freedom and happiness.
Stop Believing In Lies
Once we start paying attention, we soon discover that most of our suffering is the result of believing in lies. So the next step towards happiness is to take stock of what we believe.
Make a list of all your beliefs — especially the ones that are making you miserable — and ask, “Is this really true? If not, as a Toltec master once told me, “throw it in the bin!”
Do this by simply noticing, without judgment, each time you act under the spell of an old lie, and do something different. In this way, you will gradually create new habits based on truth.
Let Go Of The Past
Not only have most of us accumulated old lies, but we’ve also collected so many old wounds. All too often we cover up or ignore these experiences because they’re too painful. But with awareness we can be free of them, too.
To do this emotional housecleaning, the ancient Toltecs recommended doing a detailed “recapitulation” of every relationship. A quick way to do this is to make a list of all the people and situations that still cause you pain. Then design a forgiveness ritual—maybe something as simple as burning or burying the list—that will release them forever.
Become A Master Of Gratitude
As you release old lies and wounds, you begin to feel not only more freedom and energy, but also more wonder and magic. This is a sure sign that you are reclaiming the truth of who you are.
Now strengthen that truth. Each day, take note of the blessings and magic that surround you. Give thanks for the wonders in your life. Not only the obvious things, but also the so-called problems, setbacks, and difficulties. They all have hidden gifts.
As you re-evaluate your life, you begin to find blessings in everything. You start to feel truly happy, and you project that happiness onto the world. Gradually, you become a master of gratitude.
Melt The Little Me
One of the biggest obstacles to happiness is the insatiable appetite of the ego. The ancient Toltecs used to go to great lengths to “crush personal importance,” as they put it, sometimes even humiliating themselves in public.
A gentler way to do this is to “melt the little me,” as I call it. At any moment, you can ask yourself: “Am I doing this for approval? Do I need to help or impress or control people? Do I always need to be right? Do I attract a lot of drama?” Gradually, your conscious awareness will weaken the influence of the false self, allowing the real you to shine more brightly.
Appreciate Your Petty Tyrant
In the old days, a Toltec apprentice considered himself lucky to find a petty tyrant—a person who could torment them and even threaten their life. The apprentice’s goal was to survive and, if possible, shift the relationship without taking anything personally.
We all know people who appear to make life difficult, maybe even miserable. Identify one or two in your own life and resolve to relate to them in a different way. From now on, see them as your allies helping to make you wiser and stronger. Notice what a difference this makes. Then practice relating to them without taking anything personally, and see what happens.
Be Happy For No Reason
One of the highest achievements of the ancient Toltecs was to be happy for no reason. Even in the face of severe pain, hardship, and death, they could summon a genuine smile. And when they suffered, they practised “enjoying their suffering.”
We may not be happy all the time, but we can practice being happier. How? Live in the moment. Let go of outcomes. Practice humility and simplicity. Appreciate the miracle of being alive.
Most importantly, remember to look beyond things to the radiant emptiness that contains all things. Then imagine you are this emptiness. From this point of view, what could possibly hurt you or affect your happiness? When you get the answer to this question, you’re free.
About the author
Brandt Morgan is a Toltec Mentor trained by don Miguel Ruiz. With a passion for helping people find their true selves and live their greatest dreams, he offers classes, workshops, and spiritual journeys. He is also the author or co-author of eight books, including The Five Agreements Game and Vision Walk