This little number, the Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz has been in my life since 2014. A deserving best seller, it draws from the beliefs of indigenous people of Mexico, the author’s birthland. It’s a guide that explores how to free the self from limiting beliefs. I remember that I initially read and re-read it, keeping it in my handbag for some time. It still gets an airing these days when I need to be reminded of its wisdom.
I referred back to my old blog to see what I’d written and was reminded that I’d borrowed my first copy via Devon Library Service from HMP Dartmoor. Funnily enough I commented at the time that, for obvious reasons, I wasn’t able to collect it. Had I waited a few years I could have popped in and picked it up myself! Of course I’ve got my own copy now that lives in the rainbow bookcase.
Here are those Four Agreements summarised. The explanations for them are lifted from the inside cover of the book. Hence they’re in italics because all that academic study has made me perfectly aware of how naughty plagiarism is . The agreements look terribly easy on paper but the work is ongoing. Even though the book has sequels there’s enough in this first volume for a lifetime of practice
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: 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.
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.
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.
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 sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
At different times of my life individual agreements take precedence. Number 4 is the one that keeps springing to mind at the moment. I’ve got a lot on my plate! Rather than being a call to exert extra effort its meaning seems loaded with a message of self compassion.