The Four Agreements – A Path to a Peaceful, Fulfilling Life
The knowledge of the four agreements comes from The Toltec, who lived thousands of years ago in southern Mexico. They were a ‘tribe’ of scientists and artists that explored spiritual knowledge and practices. Called naguals, the Toltec masters conserved this knowledge – the Toltec code of conduct – which holds the wisdom of transforming a person’s life to true happiness and freedom. This code is now available to the world in a little book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz which could transform your life.
“What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream.” – The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
The Domestication of Humans
All the rules in our mind are introduced to us as children and they are taught to us through repetition. What you believe is acceptable is based upon the rules you’ve learned throughout your life. Everything that you’ve learned, including ever word and every letter, is an agreement that you’ve made. Many of the agreements by which you live – your religion, your language, your values, your morals – were established before you were born and passed down to you during childhood. To a point that you are willing to believe unconditionally in some things that you’ve never seen with your own eyes or experienced personally.
During this process of domestication, we create in our minds “a Book of Law” which dictates our truths, and based on these beliefs we start to judge…ourselves, others and the world around us. Our inner Judge can be especially self critical. It judges actions, thoughts, feelings…everything. It rewards…but it also punishes. Your Book of Law and all the beliefs contained within, rule your reality – or what you think reality should be like – even though you often did not choose them. They rule your dream.
Changing Your Dream Takes Courage
The process of domestication has left us with a picture of what we think is ‘perfection.’ Different to everyone, it is the set of characteristics, values and mannerisms that we think will make us acceptable to others around us. Our inner judge is often quite brutal if we don’t live up to a picture of our idea perfection. We start to experience envy, hate and jealousy. We abuse ourselves. We lament. We suffer. We become a victim of our own belief system. But have you considered that your expectations are unrealistic?
“…nobody abuses us more than we abuse ourselves, and it is the Judge, the Victim, and the belief system that make us do this.”
When your beliefs – your agreements – are challenged, you are likely to experience fear, anger, anxiety, confusion, discomfort, guilt or shame, etc. Hence confronting your own belief system takes courage and strong will. But the Toltecs believe that a path to a peaceful, fulfilling life is possible for anyone willing to challenge their beliefs by following the four agreements discussed below:
The First Agreement
“The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor. It is so important that with just this first agreement you will be able to transcend to the level of existence I call heaven on earth. The first agreement is be impeccable with your word.”
“Word” is all expression, all communication, whether it is spoken, written, expressed, gestured, thought – inwardly or outwardly. It manifests itself into all that we see, do and experience. With each word you can manipulate a person into action – good or bad – that could influence entire populations. When you are impeccable with your word, you stop expressing anything that goes against yourself. When you are impeccable with your word, you act out of love and kindness. You use your energy to do good, impact others positively, and start being loving to yourself. You have a choice if you want to say negative things, gossip, cast ugly “spells”, or if you become impeccable with your word. Once your word is impeccable, it is more difficult for others to cast dark spells on you with their words because you are more aware. The negativity of others starts to no longer affect you.
“The word is pure magic – the most powerful gift we have as humans…”
The Second Agreement
“The next three agreements are really born from the first agreement. The second agreement is don’t take anything personally.”
People say and do things because of what is happening with them – we all have our own inner world. If you take things personally, you start to believe that what others say to you is truth. This can make you easy prey for emotional predators who like to send poison to others. If you stop taking things personally, you are no longer easy prey…you can even become immune to this poison. This is the gift of this agreement.
We can also apply this agreement to the voices in our own mind. Most of us have suffered inner conflict, but with this agreement, we start evaluate all of the agreements we’ve made with ourselves. By not taking things personally, we stop reinforcing inner suffering.
“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
The Third Agreement
“The third agreement is don’t make assumptions.”
Are you ready to get rid of the sadness and drama in your life? Then stop making assumptions! Stop creating truths in your mind that are just your interpretations of situations. Or perhaps a more appropriate word is misinterpretations. Assumptions are often our effort to fulfill certain expectations, fill our desire to know and understand, and take the place of actual communication. This applies to our own mind as well, with more inner conflict created by assumptions.
“The day you stop making assumptions you will communication cleanly and clearly, free of emotional poison.”
The Fourth Agreement
“The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.”
By following this agreement, you can find a life balance where you will enjoy most things you do. If you do your best, then you are more likely to accept yourself for who you are. And here you have to realize: your best fluctuates. If you are ill, you may not be as patient as when you are feeling great. If you are tired, you may get your feelings hurt more easily versus when you are well rested. Action upon ideas is part of manifesting your ideas and seeing results in the process of transforming your life into a beautiful dream.
“…forget everything you have learned in your whole life. This is the beginning of a new understanding, a new dream.”
Source: The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
Read more articles by Anna Hunt.
About the Author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
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