The Four Agreements
A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom
Author: Don Miguel Ruiz
Artist: Nicholas Wilton
To The Circle of Fire:
those who have gone before,
those who are present,
and those who have yet to come.
(preface to the book)
“The Four Agreements” has had a very long life. The book under review here is the fifteenth anniversary edition, which includes four-color illustrations by Nicholas Wilton.
We each limit ourselves in many ways. In releasing these self-imposed limitations, we free ourselves to be who we really are, and to live the lives that we were meant to live. Don Miguel Ruiz is a shaman in the tradition of the Toltec. His mother was a curandera (healer), his grandfather a nagual (shaman) in the Toltec tradition.
The Toltecs were a group of people that were known throughout southern Mexico as “men and women of wisdom”. They were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside of Mexico City. Over time, the nagual were forced to conceal the ancient wisdom, keeping it going in a secretive fashion. Part of the reason for this was that a few apprentices were misusing their personal power.
This ancient wisdom has been passed down, in secrecy, by several lineages of naguals. Ancient prophecies foretold of a time when it would be necessary to return the wisdom to the people. This is that time. Toltec wisdom is not a religion in and of itself, but it honors all religious masters. In the chapter on dreams we find the following: “Ninety-five percent of the beliefs that we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.”
To move away from believing our own lies, we read the following: “If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power.” We feel powerless because of the agreements we have created. Our agreements rule our life – to change our life, we need to change our agreements.
There are four agreements that will help us to break the agreements that are holding us back. Those four agreements are:
Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
The first agreement asks us to speak with integrity – to not speak against ourselves or others. The intention that we need to put into our words is that of focusing on truth and love.
The second agreement asks us to recognize that the things others say and do is not because of us. We cannot take it personally. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
The third agreement asks us to not make assumptions. We need to have the courage to ask questions, and to express our own opinions. We need to be able to communicate clearly.
The fourth agreement asks us to always do our best … and to recognize that our best will change from time to time.
To be free, we need to break our old agreements. In the chapter on the Toltec path to freedom, we read the following: “The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. We need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem.” This is followed by: “The freedom we seek is to use our own mind and body, to live our own life, instead of the life of the belief system.”
This is an incredible book – it is a blueprint for becoming whole and real. And the artistry included in this, the fifteenth anniversary edition, is awesome! It is beautifully done, and flows throughout the book. It adds to the text, rather than taking attention away from it.
This book is a gift … a treasure.
© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet