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The Four Agreements

By:
DON MIGUEL RUIZ
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In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

  • As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information that was passed to us from the dream of the planet via other humans. The only way to store information is by agreement. The outside dream may hook our attention, but if we don’t agree, we don’t store that information. As soon as we agree, we believe it, and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally.
  • There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame. It is the part of us that says, “Poor me, I’m not good enough, I’m not intelligent enough, I’m not attractive enough, I’m not worthy of love, poor me.” The big Judge agrees and says, “Yes, you are not good enough.”
  • In India they call the mitote maya, which means illusion. It is the personality’s notion of “I am.” Everything you believe about yourself and the world, all the concepts and programming you have in your mind, are all the mitote. We cannot see who we truly are; we cannot see that we are not free.
  • Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are.
  • In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else.
  • We have the need to be accepted and to be loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves. The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal. Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.
  • The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word.
  • During our domestication, our parents and siblings gave their opinions about us without even thinking. We believed these opinions and we lived in fear over these opinions, like not being good at swimming, or sports, or writing. Someone gives an opinion and says, “Look, this girl is ugly!” The girl listens, believes she is ugly, and grows up with the idea that she is ugly. It doesn’t matter how beautiful she is; as long as she has that agreement, she will believe that she is ugly.
  • You may believe you are stupid, and you may have believed this for as long as you can remember. This agreement can be very tricky, causing you to do a lot of things just to ensure that you are stupid. You may do something and think to yourself, “I wish I were smart, but I must be stupid or I wouldn’t have done that.” The mind goes in hundreds of different directions, and we could spend days getting hooked by just that one belief in our own stupidity.
  • A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.
  • Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.
  • Human gossip works exactly the same way. For example, you are beginning a new class with a new teacher and you have looked forward to it for a long time. On the first day of class, you run into someone who took the class before, who tells you, “Oh that instructor was such a pompous jerk! He didn’t know what he was talking about, and he was a pervert too, so watch out!” You are immediately imprinted with the word and the emotional code the person had when saying this, but what you are not aware of is his or her motivation in telling you. This person could be angry for failing the class or simply making an assumption based on fears and prejudices, but because you have learned to ingest information like a child, some part of you believes the gossip, and you go on to the class.
  • You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace.
  • If someone gives you an opinion and says, “Hey, you look so fat,” don’t take it personally, because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions.
  • Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally.
  • Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally. The mind has the ability to talk to itself, but it also has the ability to hear information that is available from other realms. Sometimes you hear a voice in your mind, and you may wonder where it came from. This voice may have come from another reality in which there are living beings very similar to the human mind.
  • Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. Humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and we support each other in maintaining these addictions.
  • We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — we take it personally — then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word.
  • The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as you can be, and even then do not assume you know all there is to know about a given situation. Once you hear the answer, you will not have to make assumptions because you will know the truth.
  • There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a Master to help him. He went to the Master and asked, “Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years.” Thinking he could do better, the man then said, “Oh, Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years.” “But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?” the man asked. The Master replied, “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy.”
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action.
  • The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
  • Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self-pity, suffering, and tears.
  • You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and you no longer have an emotional reaction. You will hear the name of the person and you will have no emotional reaction. When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven.
  • Close your eyes now, and then open them and look outside. What you will see is love coming out of the trees, love coming out of the sky, love coming out of the light. You will perceive love from everything around you. This is the state of bliss. You perceive love directly from everything, including yourself and other humans. Even when humans are sad or angry, behind these feelings you can see that they are also sending love.
  • You can see everything with the eyes of love. You can be aware that there is love all around you. When you live this way, there is no longer a fog in your mind.
  • PRAYER FOR FREEDOM Today, Creator of the Universe, we ask that you come to us and share with us a strong communion of love. We know that your real name is Love, that to have a communion with you means to share the same vibration, the same frequency that you are, because you are the only thing that exists in the universe. Today, help us to be like you are, to love life, to be life, to be love. Help us to love the way you love, with no conditions, no expectations, no obligations, without any judgment. Help us to love and accept ourselves without any judgment, because when we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty and we need to be punished. Help us to love everything you create unconditionally, especially other human beings, especially those who live around us — all our relatives and people whom we try so hard to love. Because when we reject them, we reject ourselves, and when we reject ourselves, we reject You. Help us to love others just the way they are with no conditions. Help us to accept them the way they are, without judgment, because if we judge them, we find them guilty, we blame them, and we have the need to punish them. Today, clean our hearts of any emotional poison that we have, free our minds from any judgment so that we can live in complete peace and complete love. Today is a very special day. Today we open our hearts to love again so that we can tell each other “I love you,” without any fear, and really mean it. Today, we offer ourselves to you. Come to us, use our voices, use our eyes, use our hands, and use our hearts to share ourselves in a communion of love with everyone. Today, Creator, help us to be just like you are. Thank you for everything that we receive this day, especially for the freedom to be who we really are. Amen.