The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom: A Toltec Wisdom Book, was written by don Miguel Ruiz and published by Amber-Allen Publishing in 1997 (138 pages). As don Miguel explains, the Toltec were known thousands of years ago throughout southern Mexico as “women and men of knowledge.” They were scientists and artists not practicing a religion, but instead forming a society exploring and conserving spiritual knowledge and ancient practices, which they then passed on to subsequent generations. These teachings informed don Miguel,and he passes that knowledge on in this and other books he has authored.
The book addresses a few different topics, including the domestication of our societies and planet, explaining the need for such domestication but the drawbacks as well. Using the language of domestication helps us communicate with others by having a common language; however, we also use that language to communicate certain ideas to ourselves that limit our personal power.
The highlight of the book, of course, is the in-depth analysis of the Four Agreements. If we are able to live our lives guided by the Four Agreements, we create personal power which we can then use for the greater good. The Agreements are:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word – words have an amazing amount of power, so choose them carefully, thinking not only of what you want to communicate, but how the other person will hear your words. And carefully consider the types of words you select internally when addressing yourself.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally – what someone may say really is never about you; it’s about their situation and interpreted through the personal”filter” they have created over a lifetime.
- Don’t Make Assumptions – this eliminates so much controversy and misunderstanding; if something isn’t clear, just ask!
- Always Do Your Best – our level of “best” differs when we are, for example, sick or tired, but we should always do our best wherever we are at the time.
Applying this analysis to my life and actions has made a huge difference for me. It has eliminated miscommunications with others and has allowed me to be more gentle and forgiving of my harshest critic – myself.
If you are looking for a straightforward set of principles to utilize to start exploring the quality of your life and personal interactions, I highly recommend The Four Agreements.
Happy reading. Stay safe and namaste.