By Maggie Raye
The Four Agreements is an internationally bestseller, widely regarded as one of the most powerful and important spiritual texts of our time. Author Don Miguel Ruiz is a renowned spiritual teacher and his work is read and used in college classrooms, textbooks, therapy offices and religious centers around the world. His guide is simple but profound: four ways to be the best version of you. They are:
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.
It doesn’t seem so hard, right? Ruiz is essentially asking us to be honest and to try our hardest. He even gives us an out by saying that when trying our best, our “best” will change from moment to moment. This seems like the easiest self-help guide in the world. It doesn’t even require exercise!
And yet, it is so hard to follow The Four Agreements on a day-to-day basis.
Because as human beings, we are wired to see everything through our own lenses. Everything we do is because of ourselves. We are the one constant in each varying situation we experience. There goes Agreement 2 – “Don’t take anything personally.”
Furthermore, The Four Agreements are rooted in communication. Agreements 1 and 3 demand that we think before we speak and when we do speak, we do so purposefully, and positively at that. Anyone who has waited for pedestrians to cross a street so that they can drive forward can tell you that not every situation inspires communication that points toward truth and love.
Finally, we live we live in a “Treat Yo-Self” world where lazing around at home with Netflix, sans pants, is romantic and general mediocrity is adorable, even encouraged. It’s easy to give ourselves breaks and respond to every challenge of life with exasperation. See ya, Agreement 4. Life is hard, and the more I talk about how much I don’t like myself, the more followers I get on Tumblr.
It’s easy to read The Four Agreements and deem them a nice thought, but too hard to follow in real life. In fact, this is how we respond to most things in life, isn’t it? Easy to think about; hard to do. And we stop there.
But what if we didn’t? What if the Four Agreements seem hard because change is, in fact, a hard process, but every much worth it?
Challenges are valuable. They inspire us to grow and become who truly want to be. The Four Agreements are difficult because they require awareness, a taxing thing at first, especially when we live in an autopilot type of way.
Don Michael Ruiz didn’t write these Agreements to be easy, though. He wrote them to help us; or rather, so that we could help ourselves. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.
So, just for today, see what happens when you make The Four Agreements to yourself, or even just one of them. What I’m finding lately is the best things come from hard work. This may be hard, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Image: Anthony Delanoix