In the 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. Yet, living them 100% of the time is the most challenging thing you can do. As you practice living these four agreements, your life will change dramatically. With continued commitment and practice, they become integrated into your being and every area of your life.
The 4 Toltec Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word (This agreement is the most important one and the most difficult one to honor.)
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. It sounds very simple, doesn’t it? As simple as it might sound, this agreement as stated above, is the most difficult one to honor simply because half of the things that come out of our mouths during a normal day is not filtered. Not that you have to calculate every word that comes out of your mouth – but at least modify it simply because your word carries charge… and these charges hold extreme consequences!
Why do our words carry so much charge? Your word is the power you have to create! Regardless of what language you speak, what you dream, or what you feel… your intentions and who you truly are will be manifested through the word.
The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force… it is the power you have to express and communicate; it is the ability to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can either create the most beautiful dream, or can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates living chaos. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which only creates beauty, love, and heaven on earth. Depending upon how it is used, the word can either set you free or enslave you. All the magic you possess is based on your word.
The word is our power to think and express… thereby generating emotions… and then feeling them. You can create dynamics of respect in a relationship by simply being silent and listening attentively. You can create a different experience for yourself and others by refraining from an emotional reaction. You can create an income for yourself by how well you express caring in the activity of your work. You can create a different self image by putting the power of your faith in a thought you have about your self.
You express in a multitude of ways throughout the day and being impeccable with your Word applies to each and every way.
Every human is a magician. We can either put a “spell” on someone with our word or release someone from a spell just as well. We don’t realize that we cast spells all the time with our opinions.
For instance, you see a friend Jack and decide to express your opinion (your word), you say to him: “You look kinda tired dude, are you sick?” If Jack listens to the word and if he agrees, he will be ill with the flu within a month. Yes! That is the power of the word. Growing up, our parents and siblings gave their opinions about us without even thinking! Without even considering the consequences! We believed these opinions and we lived in fear because of these opinions… like not being good at swimming, or sports, or school.
Somewhere in the world a child is faced with a teacher who called her reckless in class. The girl listens, believes she is reckless, and grows up with the idea that she is reckless. It doesn’t matter how smart and careful she is; as long as she has that agreement, she will believe that she is reckless. That is the spell she is under. As she grows up, someone she looks up to lets her know that she is not at all reckless. She listens, believes that person and makes a new agreement with herself. As a result, she will no longer feel reckless. A whole spell is broken, just by the power of the word. Conversely, if that someone carelessly and without intention said something along the lines of, “You really are reckless, aren’t you.” the agreement will be reinforced in herself and become even stronger, thus affecting her whole life. Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system… our world!
Being impeccable with your word is about not using the word against others first. Because when you use the word against another being, you’re really using it against yourself. We live in a world of energy, and energy is always felt… When you have unkind thoughts towards another, or when you use the word to insult another, you’re sending emotional poison to that person; which they in turn will feel it and strike back. Either by hating you or being angry at you which are both problematic for you. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word, send all that emotional poison to you, I’m actually using the word against myself. On the other hand, when I love myself, I express that love in my interactions with others, and this action produces a like reaction. If I love you, you will love me. If I insult you, you will insult me. If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me. If I’m selfish with you, you will be selfish with me. If I use the word to put a spell on you, you are going to put a spell on me, and so on…
So being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; in the direction of truth and love, for yourself and then automatically for others. If you truly commit to this agreement, with just that intention the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison that exists within you.
Impeccability of the word will also give you immunity from anyone misusing words against you. You will only receive and agree with a negative idea if your mind is fertile ground for that idea. When you become impeccable with your word, your mind is no longer fertile ground for words that stem from negativity and fear. Instead, it is fertile only for positive words that come from love. 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 proportional to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good, happy and at peace.
It is possible! Break those old fear-based beliefs and false agreements you’ve made with yourself all these years and create new ones. Impeccability of the word leads you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it takes away all fear and transforms it into joy and love. With the impeccability of the word you can transcend the world of fear and live a different life, create your own reality… a heaven in the midst of thousands of people living in “hell” because you are immune to that reality they call “hell”.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing 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.
When we take something someone said to us personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on theirs. Even when a situation seems so personal like a situation where others are directly insulting you, believe it or not it has nothing to do with you! What they say and do, their opinions, their point of view come from their own programming and conditioned set of beliefs received throughout their own life.
If someone gives you an insulting opinion, the truth is that he or she is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators. You consume all their emotional rubbish, and it becomes your rubbish. When you understand that it is not about you, and it is their own fear-based beliefs and their own assumptions, you are immune.
The reason you would take something personally is because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped… this happens because of personal importance. Personal importance (or taking things personally,) is the maximum expression of selfishness. We make the assumption that everything is about “me” … me, me, always me!
When you take things personally, you feel offended, and your immediate reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflict, because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong. You also try hard to impose your idea of “right” by giving them your own opinions. What you don’t realize is whatever you feel and do, your opinions and beliefs are just a projection of your own personal world, a reflection of your own agreements which you have made with the world as you see it… and these opinions have nothing to do with others!
What other people think of you should never be taken personally. Instead, recognize that when one is happy, they will love you deliriously and when they are mad, you will be their enemy. Either way should not affect you, you don’t need other people to project their own reality, their own fears, feeling, opinions, beliefs onto you. It is the way they see the world. It is nothing personal.
You may even say: “but hang on a minute, when I love someone so much and we fight, the words used in the fight hurt me…. other people’s words hurt!” As hard as it is to comprehend and accept, It is not what others are saying that is hurting you; it is that you have inner wounds that have been touched by what others have said. You are hurting yourself. You see the world with different eyes, your eyes. You create an entire picture or movie in your mind, and in that picture you are the director, you are the producer, you are the main actor or actress. Everyone else is secondary . It is your movie.
The way you see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with life. Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one’s truth but yours. So if you are hurt or angry at someone, they are merely the excuse for you to get hurt or angry. This anger or pain result from fear, based on your beliefs, conditionings, society… whatever it is that has caused you to reach such an agreement. At the end of the day, if there is no fear, hate and anger cannot exis
The opposite of fear is love. Living without fear, with only love, means there can be no place for any negative emotions. When there are no negative thoughts and emotions, logically you feel good. When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You love everything around you, because you love yourself. You like who you are, you are content with you, you are happy with your life… happy with the movie you are producing, happy with your agreements with life. You are at peace. You live in that state of bliss where everything is wonderful and beautiful. In that state of bliss you are making love, all the time, with everything that you perceive.
Unfortunately, humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and to make matters worse, we support each other in maintaining these addictions! Humans agree to help each other suffer. If you have the need to be abused, you will find it easy to be abused by others. Likewise, if you are with people who need to suffer, something inside of you makes you abuse them. It is as if they have a note on their back saying, “Please kick me.” They are asking for justification for their suffering. Their addiction to suffering is nothing but an agreement stemming from their conditioning and belief system that is reinforced every day.
Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, regardless of whether they tell you how wonderful you are, or how terrible you are, they are not saying it because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe and take glory in other people’s words. As your awareness grows, you will notice not to count on other people’s opinions.
You have to trust yourself and choose to believe in yourself and your own truth. When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid. They are afraid you will discover that they are not perfect. It is painful to take that social mask off.
As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only trust yourself to make responsible choices. We are not responsible for the actions of others; we are only responsible for our own actions. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you cannot be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others and you can never hurt.
There is a huge amount of freedom that comes from honoring this agreement. The whole world can gossip about you and you are completely immune. Your anger, jealousy, resentment, pain will simply disappear. You can be one with the world, your heart completely open without fear of being hurt, ridiculed or rejected. Live your life, choose to follow your heart always, without guilt or self-judgment. It is then you will experience inner peace and happiness, an eternal state of bliss.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find 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.
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, then we blame them for our misery. This is why whenever we make assumptions, we are asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole world of drama for absolutely nothing. It is always better to ask questions rather than assume, because assumptions set us up for suffering.
“All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.” Take a moment to consider the truth of this statement.
Take relationships. More regularly than often, we make the assumption that our partner knows what we are thinking. Therefore, we don’t have to say or voice out what we actually want because they “know us so well.” What happens next is what always happens… they don’t end up doing or saying what we assumed they should, and we end up hurt, sad, angry and alone, thinking to ourselves: “You should have known better.”
It is very interesting how the human mind works. We have the need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. Whether the answer is correct or not is not important; the answer in itself makes us feel safe… and if we don’t get our answers clearly from the other person, we come up with answers in our mind… called assumptions. We no longer perceive things from absolute truth. This is because we live through our own emotions, fears and conditioning. We build the illusion in our mind… believe it , live it, until the day we come to know the truth, and the illusion collapses.
The way to keep yourself from this illusion is to ask questions! Make sure communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask! Have the courage to ask until you are as 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. With clear communication, all relationships will change; with your partner, family, friends, colleagues and the whole world. There would be no need to assume because ultimate clarity exists. If all humans communicate in this way, with impeccability of the word, there would be no wars, no violence, no misunderstandings. All human problems would be resolved if we have good, clear communication.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to when you are sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times not so much. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired at night. Your best will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or upset and angry. Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best.
If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed, deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. If you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets. So just do the best that you can do!
Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. God is life. God is life in action. The best way to love God is to live your life doing your best. The best way thank 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 world that is happening right now.
You were born with the right to be happy. You were born with the right to love, to share your love. You are alive, so take your life and enjoy it. You don’t need the acceptance of others. You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others. Don’t resist life passing through you, because that is God passing through you. Your existence in itself proves the existence of life and energy.
The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. Don’t expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best. Don’t expect that you will never take anything personally; just do your best. Don’t expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best. If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation.
When you master these agreements and transform your whole world, magic just happens in your life. What you need comes to you easily and effortlessly because spirit moves freely through you. This is the mastery of intent, the mastery of the spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life. This is the goal of the Toltec. This is the path to personal freedom.