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Reflecting on The Four Agreements | with a guided meditation

January 11, 2022 9 min read

The Four Agreements, written by Don Miguel Ruiz, is a guideline to Toltec wisdom originating in Mexico. Toltec wisdom is not a religion, but rather a way of life that instills peace and happiness.It honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth and is really the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric traditions found around the world. While it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.

By practicing these four agreements, we change how we relate to the world - and with ourselves.

The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your Word

"Each word we speak has a life of its own, a vibratory signature that creates waves into the expanse of the universe."

The Four Agreements | Mukha Yoga

"Each word we speak has a life of its own, a vibratory signature that creates waves into the expanse of the universe."

The first agreement is to Be Impeccable With Your Word. This agreement is powerful and one of the most difficult to honor. Through your word, you manifest everything. It’s a force by which we communicate what we think, how we feel and what our dreams are.

There is a Buddhist quote that goes like this, “Before you speak, ask yourself, Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true?”

That is what being impeccable with your word is all about. Words have weight and contrary to the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, words can hurt deeply, or they can have the power to heal.  

Gossip is described by Ruiz as a spell of black magic that we have over each other, causing us to doubt our worth and actions - beginning usually from the time we are a young child. He also describes it as a computer virus that degrades and confuses our thoughts and puts us on a trajectory of low self-esteem well into our adult lives. When tempted to talk about others, we can ask ourselves “How would it feel if we knew others were talking about us behind our backs?”

“Before you spit out your words, taste them first.”

Most of us speak without thinking at least some of the time, blurting out our feelings and thoughts without much regard for the words we are choosing. It takes a lot of practice and self-control to pause before reacting, but I’ve also heard it said that the quality of our relationships is directly related to how long we pause before responding.

When we remind ourselves that our words have an impact, we may find within ourselves the desire to be impeccable with our words. I think we can all agree that we feel much better if we’ve exercised control, said something nice instead of snarky and used our power to make someone’s day sweet instead of sour!

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Things Personally

“Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me’.”  

That’s what I grew up thinking. It’s all about me, and I wanted everyone to like me, so anything less than approval became an assault on my self-esteem.

Here is what is interesting to me; When I take something personally, I am assuming that the other person knows how I feel and understands what is going on in my own world - yet everyone has their own world that they too live their life from and it’s not the same as mine. Their opinions are formed from their own experiences - or ‘domestication’, as Don Miguel Ruiz calls it - which really has nothing to do with me. So, if I stop making it all about me, I am choosing to end my suffering.

If it’s another person’s intention to hurt you or “poison you”, as Ruiz calls it, and you take it personally, the poison becomes yours. Aha! So, to thrive in this life, we don’t take on others’ negative energy nor do we need to react by defending our beliefs, or by making excuses for ourselves. There is this inherent desire within us to be right because we see things from our own world, but it is really an act of giving away our power.

Our own point of view is something very personal and we can get angry, hurt or jealous because we are dealing with our fear. Where does the fear come from? It’s our conditioning, our domestication (childhood), and our life experiences. We all have the tapes on repeat. “I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, fun enough…” and on and on.

So how do we break the pattern? Like training a puppy to sit, we can do the same training and repatterning in our brains, by recognizing the thought and choosing something else, over and over again! Even if it’s simply the word stop! (Read more onShifting Your Inner Narrative.)

When you truly understand this agreement and refuse to take things personally, you can avoid being hurt by the careless comments or actions of others. This is how we create bliss in our lives. We can choose to follow our hearts and still experience inner peace and happiness regardless of the adversity around us!

Reflecting on the Four Agreements | Mukha Yoga

That’s what I grew up thinking. It’s all about me, and I wanted everyone to like me, so anything less than approval became an assault on my self-esteem.

Here is what is interesting to me; When I take something personally, I am assuming that the other person knows how I feel and understands what is going on in my own world - yet everyone has their own world that they too live their life from and it’s not the same as mine. Their opinions are formed from their own experiences - or ‘domestication’, as Don Miguel Ruiz calls it - which really has nothing to do with me. So, if I stop making it all about me, I am choosing to end my suffering.

If it’s another person’s intention to hurt you or “poison you”, as Ruiz calls it, and you take it personally, the poison becomes yours. Aha! So, to thrive in this life, we don’t take on others’ negative energy nor do we need to react by defending our beliefs, or by making excuses for ourselves. There is this inherent desire within us to be right because we see things from our own world, but it is really an act of giving away our power.

Our own point of view is something very personal and we can get angry, hurt or jealous because we are dealing with our fear. Where does the fear come from? It’s our conditioning, our domestication (childhood), and our life experiences. We all have the tapes on repeat. “I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, fun enough…” and on and on.

So how do we break the pattern? Like training a puppy to sit, we can do the same training and repatterning in our brains, by recognizing the thought and choosing something else, over and over again! Even if it’s simply the word stop! (Read more on Shifting Your Inner Narrative.)

When you truly understand this agreement and refuse to take things personally, you can avoid being hurt by the careless comments or actions of others. This is how we create bliss in our lives. We can choose to follow our hearts and still experience inner peace and happiness regardless of the adversity around us!

Reflecting on the Four Agreements | Mukha Yoga

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

“We make assumptions about everything and when we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems, we misunderstand and take things personally, creating a whole big drama for nothing.”

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve created in my head and the amount of unnecessary pain I’ve caused myself by assuming I knew what someone else was thinking.

We give presumptions power when we discuss with others what we mistakenly believe to be true. That assumption then becomes damaging gossip when passed from person to person.

Unfortunately, it is shaping how we communicate in our world today. Fake news, misinformation and conspiracies that are assumed to be true are causing separation, ruining relationships, and causing all-out wars. We read or see something that appears convincing and unconsciously form opinions and judgments.  

Not only do we experience discord in our society, but we can feel inadequate by imagining that other people’s lives are better than ours by the appearance of pictures and events that we view on social media.

A few assumptions I’ve made; “Their house is so much nicer”, “They have much more fun than I do!”, “Their relationship is so romantic”, and “Their kids are superstars.”  

When I consider that making assumptions causes my own suffering, I realize that I have the choice to think differently and take back my power by asking myself, “Is that story in my head true or am I making something up based on past experiences and influence?  

Our well-being and our relationships can be in serious jeopardy when we jump to conclusions, misinterpret, and buy into an illusion that we manifest in our minds.  

We assume what our partner, friend, relative, or co-worker is thinking and expect that they see things the way we do. Or they can say something without mal-intent, yet we take it personally and therefore conflict ensues.

Here’s what’s true: We all have our own lens of reality and we all see things in a different way.

Sometimes, assuming seems like the easier thing to do, but which is more destructive; suffering in silence or having a discussion about what’s really happening? We often assume we are being judged by others because of our own insecurities. Why not ask the questions? Have the talk?

Always Do Your Best | Mukha Yoga

A few assumptions I’ve made; “Their house is so much nicer”, “They have much more fun than I do!”, “Their relationship is so romantic”, and “Their kids are superstars.”  

When I consider that making assumptions causes my own suffering, I realize that I have the choice to think differently and take back my power by asking myself, “Is that story in my head true or am I making something up based on past experiences and influence?  

Our well-being and our relationships can be in serious jeopardy when we jump to conclusions, misinterpret, and buy into an illusion that we manifest in our minds.  

We assume what our partner, friend, relative, or co-worker is thinking and expect that they see things the way we do. Or they can say something without mal-intent, yet we take it personally and therefore conflict ensues.

Here’s what’s true: We all have our own lens of reality and we all see things in a different way.

Sometimes, assuming seems like the easier thing to do, but which is more destructive; suffering in silence or having a discussion about what’s really happening? We often assume we are being judged by others because of our own insecurities. Why not ask the questions? Have the talk?

Ruiz suggests that if we were to stop making assumptions with everyone in our lives, our way of communicating would change completely and our relationships would no longer suffer under conflicts created by misunderstanding.  

Always Do Your Best | Mukha Yoga

Ruiz suggests that if we were to stop making assumptions with everyone in our lives, our way of communicating would change completely and our relationships would no longer suffer under conflicts created by misunderstanding.  

It makes sense that this Third agreement would follow the agreements “be impeccable with your word” and “don’t take things personally”. Applying the wisdom of all three to our daily lives could quite possibly align us with our highest calling - bringing much-desired peace and joy on this journey we’re on!

It makes sense that this Third agreement would follow the agreements “be impeccable with your word” and “don’t take things personally”. Applying the wisdom of all three to our daily lives could quite possibly align us with our highest calling - bringing much-desired peace and joy on this journey we’re on!

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

Every single moment we are given the power to lift ourselves into the highest version of ourselves. We must ask ourselves, “Is this the life I want?” Choose that one little thing that’s going to point you in that direction and give it your best action.

Don Miguel Ruiz states that the last of the four agreements “Always Do Your Best”, is the one that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits; Be impeccable with your word, don’t take things personally, and don’t assume. If we are living from our most evolved self, these simple guidelines will fall into place.  

It’s not about perfectionism though.

That’s too much pressure and in our high-stress, goal-driven society, it’s impossible to achieve. We can remember that doing our best is our own imperfect perfection. It’s personal, and some days it’s better than others. More doesn’t mean better and doing your best doesn’t mean overdoing it or trying too hard to accomplish everything we are told we should.

If you're sick or tired, you do your best at that moment without judgment and importantly, not attached to the outcome. We get depressed and anxious when we put forth the effort and our expectations aren’t met. The point is to enjoy the action, the work, and the creativity.  

In Ruiz’s book, he tells a story about a meditation student who wanted to transcend quicker by meditating more and the master said “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy your life.”

We can see that happening in our culture with overachievement and focus on material things. It doesn’t bring us true happiness and it wastes the precious moments of our lives.

"My life is not in the way, my life is the way" - Britt B. Steele

The lesson here is, simply, do your best, let go of the rest and enjoy your life!

Julie Bertinga l Mukha Yoga Writer
By Julie Bertagna; All Rights Reserved @2022

Julie Bertinga l Mukha Yoga Writer By Julie Bertagna; All Rights Reserved @2022