Some Thoughts on Violence
By Allan Hardman
For many people, the worst violence lives inside their own minds.


My teacher, Miguel Ruiz, was unconscious for over two months after a heart attack last year. When he decided to return to this world, he said that the most shocking thing he realized was how violent our society is. I began to watch, and see if I could truly understand what he meant.

This morning I turned on the radio and thought I had found an Iraqi War broadcast when I heard someone saying: "We were out for blood. We knew there was no turning back. I am not real proud of some of the things we had to do, but we knew we were faced with our survival." Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was listening to a basketball player talking about winning last night's game.

Much has been written about the violence that our young people are exposed to in the name of entertainment (in video games, films, TV, and many sports), as well as the horrors of race and gang conflicts. I now wonder why we are not talking about concern for the violence that the rest of us are exposed to, also. We absolutely do live in a violent society, as evidenced by our entertainment, games, and our wars. In fact, I am told there are well over 100 active wars on this planet at this time. We live in a culture of violent Humans.

The Toltec tradition taught by Miguel Ruiz shows us that everyone is dreaming their own personal dream, based on their beliefs and the unique way they interpret reality. No two people dream the same personal dream, because each person is conditioned with different opinions, facts, filters, agreements, beliefs, and other distortions of reality.

Conflict and violence occurs between mates, parents and children, nations, friends, neighbors or lovers when there is not mutual respect for the beliefs of the other. When one side needs their personal dream to be RIGHT, they must make the other wrong. Since nobody wants to be wrong, each must fight to be right. In the fight to be right, there are no winners.

Our challenge, if we are to live in a saner and more peaceful world, is to know that our personal dream is unique to us, and has nothing to do with anyone else. Nobody is wrong, because everyone is dreaming their own personal dream, and their version of reality is perfectly right for them. . .even and including their beliefs about war. (Note: Accepting someone's personal dream does not mean that you like it or want to have lunch or a war with them!).

For many people, the worst violence lives inside their own minds. I believe this is the real problem. So few people live with real peace in their own minds. Who among us does not judge themselves, and then condemn and punish themselves for their imagined wrongs and failures? Listen to your own mind. Do you hear the conflict and violence there? Do you feel the anger that lives in you for not living up to impossible standards set by some voice within-- and do you feel the hurt that steals your vital life force when you are judged so mercilessly. Listen within. There is violence there. Conflict. There is a war within.

To live in a peaceful world, I believe we must end the conflict and violence that lives in our minds, and which becomes projected onto our bodies, mates, other cultures, our parents and children, and our mother planet. We must learn to live in peace with ourselves, to love our uniqueness, and allow ourselves to simply be who and what we are. It is a simple concept, and not always an easy task. Can you love and accept all of the different dreams and belief systems that live inside your own mind? Each has its own story, and if each is respected you will end the conflict that lives inside of you. An end to the conflicts in our own minds will surely lead to an end to the violence in the world.

As within, so without.

These are challenging times. I believe that as Humans, our basic nature is not fear and violence, but Love. The challenge is to remember. And find peace within.

This is the intent and dedication of the Toltec Path, and of through our Journeys, writings, and TACO, the Toltec Apprentice Community OnLine. To read our mission statement, go here.




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Allan Hardman is an author and expert on personal and spiritual transformation, relationships, emotional healing-- and a Toltec Master in the lineage of don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.™ Allan teaches in Sonoma County, CA, and from “The House of the Eagles,” his winter home in Chacala, Nayarít, Mexico. He guides Journeys of the Spirit to sacred sites in Mexico, and hosts wellness vacations in Chacala. He is the author of The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book, and co-author of two books with Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Dr. Andrew Weil, Prince Charles, and others. Visit Allan’s extensive website at, and TACO, his online spiritual membership community.