The Four Agreements - A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
By Don Miguel Ruiz
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS
The Four Agreements is a wonderful, life-changing book by Don Miguel Ruiz. It begins with a story about a Toltec man. The Toltecs were an indigenous peoples living in what is today called Mexico. This Toltec man realizes one day through a waking dream that he, like everything in the world, is made of light.
But even as he realizes this, he realizes that others are unable to recognize this light in themselves because of screens that we've created in our minds, based on what we've been taught by the modern day world & society. These are the standards we've been taught of how we should be, behave, and look - and they are a "dream" that we are living and assuming that we need to act within. “Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.”
The author then goes on to explain that if we break out of these dreams and choose to live by the Four Agreements, we will discover a simple path to true peace and happiness. He goes into great detail with each Agreement, but we hope you enjoy our summaries of each one below!
Be impeccable with your word. Impeccable is "free of sin". Do no harm with your word; do not use it against yourself (we are our harshest critics) nor against others. Gossip is toxic. Only speak with integrity & always say what you mean so that you can use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
“Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself.”
“You can speak. What other animal on the planet can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates a living hell.”
Don’t take anything personally! Remember that NOTHING others do is because of you. What others say and do is only a projection of their own reality, a reflection of their own dream and the things they believe to be important and true. When your realize this, you will find yourself immune to the opinions and actions of others, and thus prevent needless suffering on your part or even conflict if you lash out when your feelings are hurt.
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”
“Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.” During the period of our education, or our domestication, we learn to take everything personally. We think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, me, always me! Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.
Don’t make assumptions! Always find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. This will avoid misunderstandings. Don't be afraid of direct conflict. When you choose to always communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. you can completely transform your life with just this one agreement.
“Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems. Often we make the assumption that our partners know what we think and that we don’t have to say what we want. We assume they are going to do what we want, because they know us so well. If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel so hurt and say, “You should have known.”
“Very young children are not afraid to express what they feel. They are so loving that if they perceive love, they melt into love. They are not afraid to love at all. That is the description of a normal human being.”
“We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others.”
Always do your best. However, realize & accept that your best is going to change depending on the moment. For example, depending on if you are healthy or sick. But make the pledge to do your best under any circumstance for that moment and in this way you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
“Say no when you want to say no, and yes when you want to say yes. You have the right to be you. You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best you are denying yourself the right to be you. That’s a seed that you should really nurture in your mind. You don’t need knowledge or great philosophical concepts. You don’t need the acceptance of others. You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others. It is an expression of God to say, “Hey, I love you.”