As a person of bipolar persuasion, my quest continues to find substantial, workable tools for managing my illness and living at my greatest potential. The tools that have worked best for me come from a wide variety of spiritual traditions and integrated studies. Recently, I’ve been reminded of the teachings of the Toltecs—the work found in the writings of Carlos Castaneda and Don Miguel Ruiz. The Naguals, the keepers of the ancient wisdom and practices, taught that reality is only a description, not Truth, and that we live our day-to-day lives in an endless flow of perceptual interpretations of that description. We mistake the finger pointing at the Truth as the Truth. We live in a dream, a world of illusion. The stories we tell ourselves, and choose to believe in, create our reality. Most of these stories, these beliefs, are lies. Our task as human beings is to awaken from the dream.
This approach seems even more vital for those of us with mental illness. We layer on more skewed perceptual interpretations, then believe them. We act from our beliefs, which only reinforces the dream. Waking up is not just a task for us, it’s the only way we can break the illness’ hold on us.
Long ago and far away, I used to teach this material. I’m taking a big step out of the shadows by offering some of that instruction here. If you choose to tag along with me, you’ll need a journal. There’s homework. I know. Sorry.
One of the first steps in waking up from the dream is to identify our beliefs and start questioning them. You will be creating your own Book of Law in your journal. Below are some categories suggested by Don Miguel, but make up ones that fit you. As you work with these categories, ask what’s good/bad, right/wrong about each one (ie. what’s good/bad about your physical appearance).
When our beliefs are challenged, we feel fear.
Please do not attempt this work if you are suffering from an episode or already feeling anxious.
Book of Law Categories
Your Body and Your Self
- Personal Appearance
- Diet and Health
- Mental Health
Family and Friends
- Love and Sex
- Marriage and Family
- Friendship and Social Interactions
Life and God
- Religion and Spirituality
- Death and Loss
- Nature, Animals and All Forms of Life
Work and Career
- Your Unique Skills and Talents
- Money and Finance
- Success and Failure
If you are willing, share your experiences and any “Eureka” moments. We’ll take it nice and slow.
- Castaneda, Carlos, Journey to Ixtlan and Tales of Power.
- Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements and Mastery of Love.