Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Four Agreements -- Part 1

A co-worker of mine recently loaned me his copy of The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Supposedly, Don Miguel is providing us with Wisdom from the Toltecs. Sounds a bit over the top, eh? Metaphysics isn't usually on my reading list (good, old fashioned escapism and trash is my typical fare).

But I'm finding the book quite interesting. According to Don Miguel, the Four Agreements that we should make with ourselves are:

Be impeccable with your word.
Don't take anything personally.
Don't make assumptions.
Always do your best.

Let's talk about the first Agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word. Don Miguel says,

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.

My interpretation: Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. Be aware that what you say can affect someone else in a negative fashion. Speak truthfully; but also speak with kindness and consideration.

Obvious, eh? But actually hard to do. Because we do lie; to ourselves and to each other. We do it because we think we need to protect ourselves or someone else. I've thought about this a lot over the last week or so. I've identified some areas where I'm not being honest with myself about some of my own motivations for what I do, especially with regards to personal relationships. I definitely need to work on internal honesty! Maybe once I get that one covered, I can move onto being more honest externally. Not that I'm constantly trying to deceive anyone...but there are times...


S said...

These ideas from Buddhism may be useful and complementary to what you are learning with the 4 agreements. I think they can be read without imposing on other religious and non-religious views.

The five mental hindrances:

- Sensory Desire
- Ill Will
- Sloth and Torpor
- Restlessness and Remorse
- Doubt

The 8-fold path:

- Right Understanding
- Right Attitude
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Concentration
- Right Awareness

Mindfulness & Meditation

- Meditation: Why Should I Bother?
- What Meditation Isn't
- What Meditation Is

Understanding & knowledge are important steps, but meditation, like exercise, is one of the best ways to practice and empower yourself to implement whatever (hopefully good) attitude you choose.

Kind regards,

greendragon said...

Thanks, S! I'm finding that the more I explore these ideas, the more I'm developing a much clearer sense of self...which can only be a good thing!

Now...applying all these ideas is still a challenge. :-)