So I picked this book up from a friend’s shelf. It totally justified my thinking and simplified my life’s purpose. The thing I noticed immediately is, my friends and I had been spending hours each night speaking on the agreements but not knowing what they were. We had a sense of meaning and how life should be… we knew it was much easier than folks made it. We also understood how hard it was for us, as creatives and intellectuals, seeing the word for what it was when others looked at the projection society has given us. Man, we had been saying this kind of stuff for years in ciphers, poems, and songs. We painted it and danced it. We protested for it and wept because of it. We got jam sessions together and sat around bonfires to share it.
There it was on the bookshelf of a friend of mine. It was dusty, forlorn, and forgotten. The friend’s whose shelf I found the book is also beaten by life, hiding away, and morose. I couldn’t give him his own book that he had turned from. So I will offer to you, my readers words to live by in the hope that someone will see your glow and walk away with some light.
In the best selling book The Four Agreements don Miguel Ruiz gives four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life. Adopting and committing to these agreements is simple. Actually living and keeping these four agreements can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. It can also be one of he most life changing things you will ever do.
As you practice living these four practices your life will dramatically change. In the beginning these new habits will be challenging and you will lapse countless times. With practice these agreements become integrated into your being and every area of your life and become easy habits to keep.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word:Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything PersonallyNothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make AssumptionsFind the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your BestYour best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
We have out of years of habit not paid attention to how we express our self. The responses that come out of our mouth are often automatic. They were learned from years of habit living by the agreements we learned. We do not consciously choose our words, or the emotion, tone, and attitude that we express.
Over years our mind has filled with beliefs that generate incessant thinking. In all that thinking we have many assumptions that we are not aware of. We even make the assumption that what we think is true. We imagine and assume what others think of us and how they will react. We also assume that the judgments and self criticisms we have are true. We have learned to make so many assumptions that we aren’t aware of. These assumptions are not the truth. These assumptions and the faith we put in them is just one way that we are not impeccable with our word.
Through our domestication we have also learned to take things personally. We assume that when someone has an opinion about us that their opinion is valid. We end up having an emotional reaction to what someone says because we assume it is true. We can also take personally our own opinions. We also take personally our own self judgments. These self judgments are nothing more than an assumption. Over years the mind has developed many habits of making assumptions and taking them personally.
Just because you adopt the Four Agreements doesn’t mean that all these habits in the mind will stop with that commitment.
When you decide to change your life and adopt the Four Agreements you are challenging the beliefs you learned and the habits you practiced since your childhood domestication.
Adopting the Four Agreements creates a conflict in the mind between expressing your self Impeccably with love and your existing fear based beliefs.
Avoiding Double Jeopardy
One of the hidden assumptions that people often make when adopting the Four Agreements is about time. Without awareness the mind makes the assumption that they should immediately be able to keep the Four Agreements 100% of the time. The mind completely ignores that there are already existing agreements and habits of taking things personally that have been in place for years.
With the expectation of the new agreement that we will not break any of the Four Agreements we are set up for failure. We have an emotional reaction and take something personally which feels bad. (but is completely normal part of our old habits) But then the inner judge reprimands us for failing to not take something personally. Now we feel twice as bad. The inner judge tells us that we failed and the voice of the victim in the mind accepts this proposal.
The result is that we are not only upset, but we also feel like a failure. If you just look at your emotional state at this point it will seem like things are getting worse instead of better. It can seem like attempting to keep the Four Agreements is causing more problems and making you feel worse.
If you are aware that you are judging your self for taking something personally it can get worse. Your inner judge might use that awareness to judge and reject your self for judging your self for taking something personally. In the beginning of this process the mitote of voices in your head are likely to use your new found awareness as material for self judgment.
In actuality the problem is not that you adopted the Four Agreements. Nor is the problem that you are a failure. What is really happening is that you are having an awakening. You are waking up to how your mind makes assumptions, has emotional reactions, and is so quick to make self judgments. These realizations about the belief system in your mind are not usually pleasant but are part of an awakening. It is usually uncomfortable realization but through it your awareness is growing.
With some more awareness and practice you can move beyond this uncomfortable awakening about the mind. You will come to see that it is not You that is judging your self for failing. It is the inner judge. With practice you will see the ridiculous expectations and assumptions for what they are and not feel like a failure when you lapse in your journey to impeccability. This comes as you gain more awareness and gain more personal power over your agreements.
–I wish you much Love, Joy, and Laughter in your Journey,
Gary van Warmerdam
Gary van Warmerdam is a Spiritual Guide for individuals seeking a life of Love, Gratitude, and freedom from fear and judgments. He has spent over 15 years personally studying and learning from don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements and other best selling books. He is available for personal coaching. You can reach him at 805-742-4131.
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