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August 7, 2009

the four agreements and other thoughts today

by Andrea O'Connell

Flamingo Gardens 016“The Four Agreements:  A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,  A Toltec Wisdom Book,” by Don Miquel Ruiz.

I read this little but dear book quite a while ago and it has found its way into my thoughts once again, and I am enjoying it anew. 

If you happen to stumble upon it, you may enjoy it also.  It’s simple and yet filled with pearls.  I hope you find meaning and joy its four guideposts. 

The photo here is one I took on a lovely winter day in Florida when the sky was so blue, the air was so crisp, the day was lovely and filled with the gift of nature.  For me, so much strength is embodied in that solitary Peacock, captured in that lovely but brief moment in time.  I think of these four guideposts as if they were four branches that reach out from the strength of  one foundational tree.  During times of adversity, just as the female Peacock has done, I try to remember to go back to that place, to gather the crisp and healing light and holdfast to my core.  I go there often. 

The guiding princples of the Four Agreements are these:

I. Be impeccable with your word.

Strive to be honest.  Temper everything (and everyone) with kindness.  Know when to be silent.  Reflect and create inner joy and peace versus falling in with gossip-mongers.  Embody appreciation for all people, be grateful for all people.  For those who would do you harm, do not engage in word wars; stay perched well above their wrath; climb to the top of a hill and let the poor of heart spill their anger in the valley below.

II. Do not take anything personally.

Words are only words, though they may feel like arrows.  Be content with the love and the fullness of who you are; realize that most people endeavor to be understood and appreciated.   Give with a full heart, give of yourself but learn how to accept, too.  When you are at peace with yourself, the anger or negativity from others will not affect or reflect upon you.  Be the love you envision – put yourself in love with what you think and believe.   Adversity will deliver character in the end, though usually not in the midst of.  Look for loving people who will shower down kindness because they are grateful for you.  Let someone new fill your cup today.  I always try to remember that life is too short to take everything personally.  

III. Do not make assumptions.

Clarify always; use your senses to check understanding.  Study how you communicate with others and how you are communicated to.  Judging yourself or others too harshly creates inner unrest, turmoil.  Look honestly for the best in others. Tell those you care for that simply by being who they are, they are a gift to you. 

IV. Always do your best.

At the end of the day, know that everything you had you gave.  Even if, as a result of some external constraint, illness or another aspect of your humanness, your result is less than you expected, you will not have failed if you gave it all you got.  Your best is your best, and that is all there is.   However, be at peace with change – allow yourself to grow, move, and begin anew, and you will always learn.  Life is nothing but many, many lessons, and, thankfully, none of us are perfect. 

These are my take-aways from The Four Agreements.



Product Details

Amazon carries multiple copies of the book.  Click here to access

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