I recently picked up Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements, re-reading it after many years, and thought it would be fantastic if we could share it in community. If nothing else, creating conversation would help my personal integration of the teachings so thank you in advance. I believe that true transformation doesn’t happen in isolation. While only WE can change ourselves, we need that reflective and integrative experience to have transformation come alive.
So you are officially invited to explore with us the Truths shared by Don Miguel in this book. Share your insights, experiences, thoughts, and questions - as a personal reflective practice and also so that others may learn and grow in kind. I’ll post an Agreement weekly, hopefully providing enough explanation so we can understand it and create conversation. There’s no need to get the book (although I know several of you already have it) but I’m sure your local library has copies or you can message me on how to get cash back if you decide to purchase. It’s easy to post your comments here in the blog so please do so. And also feel free to share with others.
As beginning background, Don Miguel, in his own way, talks about inter-being; that we are all inter-connected on the deepest level of pure existence. There is no separation between anything... we are all Light and Love. What we have done, however, is forgotten this as our minds have been trapped in the false Dream of misperceptions, misguided belief systems, and a collective unconsciousness. Through the process of our humanity, rules of engagement have created the Dream of the planet, of society, and of the family. Belief systems on how to act, talk, dress, speak, interpret and understand, work, and live have created system structures that have blocked awareness to Original Truth.
Our life has evolved through the filters of society’s collective unconsciousness. As a baby, our attention is directed to what our personal society believes. At a very young age, this is our family, which itself represents the larger society. From our ancestors we are transmitted the definitions of ”right and wrong”, “true and false”, and all sorts of other ways of being. Our capacity to develop true individuality is thwarted by the designs of our social environment. Rules and concepts about how to behave and what to believe in the world are governed from the external. We take them in as internal truths.
Not sure? Take a moment to think about some of your belief systems and how they arrived from your own upbringing. For instance, what defines success, what is the importance of money, how long do we breast feed, what do we eat for dinner? Reflect on the cultural diversity that exists in this world and the ‘programming’ that each person experienced to arrive at that belief. Who we call terrorists are really only those that don’t believe as we do... likewise we may be terrorists in their eyes. We only know what we are taught and our teachers only teach what they were taught. Where is the opportunity to choose what to believe and what not to believe? It’s an extraordinarily long lineage!!
These belief systems are referred to agreements. We’ve ‘agreed’ that they are true, even though (as Don Miguel quotes) 95% of these beliefs are false. As we wake up and try to gain our own ground, we are faced with not fitting in, not being accepted, being questioned at each turn about a different way of being that we may exhibit. Fear is a big motivator in our personal change process and, not only do we engage with the external pressures of compliance, we are our best opponent. Humans are the only life force on the planet that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. In our mind, we beat ourselves up for all the ways we don’t live up to our definition of ‘perfection’ (developed from misguided and distorted belief systems), for all the things we did or said wrong, all the ways we faltered, etc. Then we transfer this into relationship with others which continues the cycle.
The Four Agreements are very powerful. Like so many of the ancient wisdoms, they are simple but not easy. Working with them will help to break the cycles of separation and return us to knowing that we are all One, that we are in deep relationship with one another, and that we have the ability to authentically honor ourselves and others in each moment. They are based upon ancient Toltec teachings and, like the Buddha’s path, help us to establish perseverance, strength, awareness, and freedom in the face of suffering. Withe them we come to be in charge of our experience and are also gifted with the wonderful opportunity to create peace and awareness for others, awakening the collective consciousness.
So stay tuned for the First Agreement... coming your way shortly.
In Gratitude and Peace,
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach