The Mastery of Love Book Summary - The Mastery of Love Book explained in key points
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The Mastery of Love summary

Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills

A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship

4.5 (561 ratings)
24 mins
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    The Mastery of Love
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    We begin accumulating emotional wounds in childhood.

    Imagine you live on a planet where all people are affected by the same disease. Their skin is covered in open, painful, infected wounds. The disease starts when people are around three or four years old, and everyone believes that having it is completely normal. 

    Sound awful? Well, this situation is actually the current state of humanity. Most people’s skin isn’t covered in wounds, of course. But the human mind, which Don Miguel refers to as the emotional body, is full of wounds. And those wounds are infected by an emotional poison we call fear. All other negative emotions –⁠ anger, sadness, envy, and so on –⁠ stem from fear. 

    When children are born, they’re free of emotional poison, but it doesn’t take long to start accumulating.

    The key message here is: We begin accumulating emotional wounds in childhood.

    Our emotional wounds start to appear when we’re around three or four years old. Before that, we’re completely healthy. Two- and three-year-old children are unafraid to express love –⁠ most of their time is spent laughing and playing. Of course, when they experience pain or something bad happens to them, they react. But it’s usually not long before they return to playing. 

    This way of being is actually the normal, healthy state of the human mind. But as children grow older, they begin to learn from adults who have long been infected by emotional poison. They learn to fear punishment and seek reward. They fear not being accepted, or they fear that who they are isn’t good enough. These fears are all emotional poison.

    As a result of these feelings, children begin to create images of themselves that fit what they think other people want. They create images to project at school, at home, and eventually at work. Then, when one of these images is inevitably challenged, they feel immense pain. 

    For instance, picture a teenage boy whose self-image includes the notion that he’s very intelligent. One day, he participates in a debate –⁠ but another student outperforms him. Suddenly, the boy begins to feel stupid and worthless. He feels pain because there’s now a discrepancy between his internal image of himself and the image he’s trying to project. 

    Each of us develops these relationships between ourselves and the world in childhood –⁠ and then the rest of our lives are ruled by them, causing us to suffer.

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    What is The Mastery of Love about?

    The Mastery of Love (1999) uses anecdotes and examples to illustrate the erroneous assumptions and lies that characterize most people’s relationships. It is a guide to overcoming emotional wounds and transforming relationships from wars of control into harmonic connections based on love, joy, and freedom.

    Who should read The Mastery of Love?

    • Anyone struggling with a relationship
    • Soul-searchers interested in ancient wisdom
    • People seeking advice on how to overcome misery

    About the Author

    Don Miguel Ruiz is an author and spiritual teacher schooled in the ways of the Toltecs, an ancient Mesoamerican people. One of his books, The Four Agreements, in addition to being a New York Times best seller, was featured on Oprah. Ruiz regularly gives lectures and leads retreats across the United States.

    Janet Mills is an editor, publisher, and the founder of Amber-Allen Publishing. Along with don Miguel Ruiz, she coauthored the best-selling Toltec Wisdom Series, which includes titles like The Four Agreements, The Voice of Knowledge, and The Fifth Agreement.

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