Renowned spiritual teacher and author, Don Miguel Ruiz explains a straightforward way of thinking, being and living to help you find freedom, happiness and love in every experience in his book, The Four Agreements.
The Toltecs ruled Central Mexico a thousand years ago and were unified by esoteric spirituality. Their wisdom was passed from generation to generation and then to the civilizations which followed them.
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz ‘offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.’ I highly recommend this book.
In summary, the Four Agreements of Toltec Wisdom are:
#1: Be impeccable with your word
Speak with integrity and only say what you really mean. Do what you say you will do (especially if you say it to yourself!). Don’t speak ill of others – avoid gossip and judgment.
“Your life is the manifestation of your dream: it is an art. And you can change your life anytime you are not enjoying the dream."
#2. Don’t take anything personally
When a person or a group do something, they do it because it is ‘right’ in their mind, in their internal world. When we take something personally, we make an assumption that that person or group knows what is going in our internal world.
Even if someone insults you, it has nothing to do with you. Their words and actions are formed from their own agreements they have in their own minds, and from the programming they received during their life. It is not what they are saying that is hurting you, it is that you have wounds that are touched by what they said.
This is similar to the NLP Belief of Excellence ‘the map is not the territory’. I’ll use some examples to explain this:
If you and I watch a movie together, I will watch it through my eyes, through my map. My map – how I see things – is based on my own personal experiences, my thought patterns, my upbringing, my culture, my beliefs and my values. You will watch the movie through your eyes, your map; your personal experiences, thought patterns, beliefs etc.
The movie – the territory – remains the same yet each of us experiences it differently because we each layer our own personal map onto it.
It is the same when people debate a subject. The subject – the territory - remains the same, for example the subject/territory is that climate change is accelerating rapidly. But each person in the debate will use their own map to opinionate.
Everyone operates in their own world, everyone has their own map. Knowing and respecting this allows you to not take things personally and not be a victim of unnecessary suffering.
#3. Don’t make assumptions
Ask questions to get clarity on what someone is expressing through their words or actions. Express what you really want rather than assuming someone knows what you want. Practice clear communication to avoid misunderstandings.
#4. Always do your best
In all activities, do the best you can. Whether it be raising children, applying for a job, writing a proposal, listening to a friend, making a cake. It enables the best outcome and minimises guilt later on.