Four Agreements: A Practical Guide
In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide published by Janet Mills, tells the story of an ancient civilization, the predecessors to the Aztec culture in what is now south central Mexico. The Toltec were an ancient, esoteric civilization of artists and scientists. They were not a religion, but they practiced a way of life that embraced the spirit and paid tribute to all spiritual teachers. Toltec wisdom comes from the same essence as other esoteric traditions around the world, they are simple yet profound. Don Miguel Ruiz, a shaman of sorts in the Toltec tradition is the one sharing this wisdom with us and his main points are as follow.
The four agreements are:
Be impeccable with your words
Do not take anything personally
Do not to make any assumptions
Always do your best
The first agreement speaks to having integrity. Say only what you want to say and to be precise. It advices against injurious words towards yourself or making gossip about others. It advices us to use our speech for purposes of truth and love.
The second agreement wisely advices not to take anything personally: Nothing others do is because of us. By becoming immune to others opinion or actions, we can avoid suffering unnecessarily, at the whim of others.
The third agreement recommends that we do not to make any assumptions: It advices us that it is better to ask questions, and express our desires. It invokes us to reach out to others and be clear with our intent, thus avoiding miscommunication, disappointment or tragedy.
The fourth agreement is to always do the best we can: Although this will change from time to time; as our best will be different when we’re healthy as opposed to sick, regardless, under all circumstances, we should do our best. We should avoid being harsh on ourselves, being judgmental, or having regret.
The author says we chose to believe what society has programed us to believe. Recognizing that it is difficult to change our basic beliefs, Don Miguel simply makes practical suggestions on how one can see the world differently. If you are open to new ideas, with an open mind and attitude, you are then set free to explore new ideas.
Don Miguel goes on to tell us that we must have a strong desire to maintain these four agreements. We don’t have to go to a specific church according to him. We are advised to live in the present and not worry so much about the future. These are the main teachings of the Toltec, artists and scientists who thousands of years ago came together in an ancient city (the city of the gods) with its grand and beautiful pyramids just outside of Mexico City, known as the city of Teotihuacan.