Book Review: The Three Questions
How to Discover and Master the Power within You
AS HE DID FOR The Toltec Art of Life and Death, the celebrated author of Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, has collaborated with writer Barbara Emrys to create The Three Questions, a book that describes every person as having a “little government” inside his or her head. “Me is operating as its commander-in-chief,” the authors posit. “Now would be a good time to decide what kind of leader me should be.”
Ruiz and Emrys espouse an inner revolution that begins when we ask the first question: “Who am I?” Perhaps inspired by nondual teachings, they claim that the particular character each of us imagines himself or herself to be is a fabrication. By recognizing the self as a fiction, we free ourselves up to avoid destructive habits, playfully reinvent ourselves, and use our imaginations in positive ways.
Once we’ve seen that the “me” is imaginary, we can more soberly seek answers to the second question: “What is real?” To this end, the authors recommend that we monitor our internal narratives and willfully steer them toward kindness and equanimity. Readers are also encouraged to examine any false beliefs they might be harboring. To wit: “It’s superstitious to believe that life is rewarding you for good behavior and punishing you for breaking rules, just the way your parents did.”
To fully grasp the answer to the third question, “What is love?,” we must learn to love ourselves and others unconditionally. Ruiz and Emrys offer such advice as “Before you go on an angry tirade, consider how it will affect your nervous system.” In advocating this kind of selfdiscipline, they hope to help readers come to realize that we, our surroundings, and love are no more nor less than life energy itself—the only thing that is real, and thus the true answer to all three questions. —DAMON ORION