the four agreements

The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Hello everyone!

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with Don Miguel Ruiz but today, I wanted to share the principles of one of his books “The Four Agreements“. As I am doing so, I also want to discuss how they tie in with the native culture and beliefs. First, what do the agreements stand for? Well they are life guidelines I guess you could say. “Rules” to follow, principles to aspire to. The goal of those four agreements is to simplify your life, to lead to a personal transformation. 

Who is Don Miguel Ruiz?don miguel ruiz

Let me briefly discuss who Don Miguel Ruiz is and share a bit of his story. For more information about Don Miguel Ruiz click here. Miguel Ruiz is originally from Mexico and part of the Toltec culture (think of it as a native nation and culture of Mexico). Educated as a doctor, he spent years practicing medicine healing the physical body. However, Don Miguel Ruiz wished to heal the emotional body, the human mind. Following a near fatal accident that left him with a weakened heart, the author decided to use the incident as an occasion to share his journey and refuse the dreary prognosis he was given. However, Don Miguel Ruiz had accepted that he was going to die until he was lucky enough to receive a heart transplant 8 years later. It was his new beginning, his fresh start. It was an occasion to integrate his scientific background with the wisdom of his culture to lead individuals to personal transformation and freedom by sharing his message. What is his message you ask? What is the message of the Four Agreements? Let’s look at it together.

the four agreements book

Be impeccable with your words

Don Miguel Ruiz’s message is one of truth, honesty, integrity and respect. All good values if you ask me. As you can see on the image on top, be impeccable with your words, basically means think before you speak (as your mother used to tell you I am sure….). It means mean what you say, speak with integrity. Carry a message of hope, truth, speak from your heart. Listen to the words of others out of respect and know that your words are spoken to help others, to change for the good. On the native road we treat each other with respect, we listen to each other and we use our words to pass along traditions and wisdom of our culture and our Elders. We speak to all our relations with respect. 

Don’t take anything personally

Yes I agree this one can be a hard one. But remember that what others think about you, is theirs not yours. People’s opinion of you, might it be good or bad, belongs to them as only you know who you are and what you stand for. When one hurts another one, they are projecting their own pain. So listen so you can hear their pain. Being dependent on others’ opinions and actions will only lead to suffering. Believe in yourself, follow the Red Path and you will be fulfilled and rewarded. I have learned to always always keep in mind that everyone has their story, a story that influences who they are, what they and what they say. Remember that everyone comes from somewhere and everyone has suffered at some point. If they lash out at you, it’s not about you most of the time. Don’t take it personally. It does not mean to tolerate being abused for example, it just means to look at events and words from a different angle. And always remember that your well-being is important, thus walk away from others who are hurting you and are not willing to get their own help. But remember that it’s not always about you, it’s about the other’s story, it’s about all your relations. 

Don’t make assumptions

Well, let me begin this one by telling you how this one affects my work. As I previously said, I have worked within prisons and jails. And when I first started working in them, I thought I knew everything (yep we all do sometimes). I thought that everyone in those jails was bad, because well, look at where they were. But then I realized that it was their actions that brought them to jail, not who they are as a person. I saw that inside each individual I met, there was good, good that needed to be cherished and encouraged. I saw that we all have good and bad sides and at some point in time, we are all guilty of something. But if you listen to the story of the person in front of you, you can see them from a different perspective. You can see them as human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and deserve to heal. So I stopped making assumptions about the person in front of me based on the crime (their actions) they had committed or the situation they were in (e.g. addictions). Was it always easy? No it was not. But I asked questions, I listened and I tried to keep my words judgment-free. For many, it was the first time they had that experience. So listen to others, communicate your message clearly. And don’t judge, as we all are brothers and sisters, we are all related. 

Always do your best

Yes always do your best. But accept that your best might change over time or depending on situations. It will vary depending on whether you are healthy or sick, alone or with others, hurt or loved. We all have our limits but we all have the ability to be the best that we can be. To follow the path that the Creator puts in front of us, to trust that everything is as it should be at the moment. And yes I know that’s one heck of a hard one to accept. But I can honestly say that for every struggle I have gone through, I can now see why it happened. Have no regrets, no resentment. Do your best and speak your words from the heart. 

the four agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz

You can buy the book and associated products (cards for example) here

Before I leave you, I want to make something clear. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz discusses principles that we all need to aspire to, to make an effort to integrate in our life. Because guess what? They go hand in hand with the Red Road. The Red Road, the native way, is a way of life. Whether your skin is red, white, brown or green, you can follow the native way. It does not mean that I will ever pretend that I have gone through what the Native people have gone through in terms of trauma and abuse and genocide. But it means that I respect their culture, way of life and beliefs. it means that I have chosen to live in a way that respects those around me, a way in which I strive for balance in my life, where I connect with my higher power and trust that I am not alone in this world. That there is support around me, not above me, but around me. As the Creator is with us, around us. 

P.S. I also strongly recommend The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. See my review here

All my Relations

8 thoughts on “The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

  1. Linda

    I purchased and read this book ages ago. This was a great reminder of the wonderful value he provides in the perspective of 4 agreements.

    I appreciate your summary of the information in your post here. Right on target and encouraging just the same. I have always had great respect for the native peoples of our world, so sad the history of so many cultures where they are concerned. You have bubbled up to the surface some sobering concerns. I hope your site will touch others in positive ways.

    i enjoy the beautiful sunset in your background.

    Linda

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      thank you Linda! Yes there is such beauty within the culture but also trauma and lots of healing that still needs to take place. But the traditions are there and for having integrated them in my life, I can say that they do work.

      Reply
  2. Allyn

    Excellent summary of the four agreements. I’ve recently been exposed to a good dose of “don’t take anything personally.” I started tutoring math students several months ago at our local community college. This is done in an open room where there are always several tutors and numerous students.

    Early on, I tried to help one student but when I didn’t answer his question the way he wanted me to he simply said, “I think I’ll try it on my own.” The next time I tried to help I got, “I think I need someone with more experience” (he knew I was relatively new in the center). Many times it was obvious that he would not raise his hand for help when I was looking but as soon as someone he preferred was available, he would grab them. I really had to not take this student’s responses personally.

    Anyway, I discovered that students find one or two tutors that they are comfortable with and often will reject or avoid the others. Now that I’ve been tutoring for a while I have other students who tell me that they prefer my style.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Agreed Allyn! I worked in school districts for numerous years and often saw that certain students prefer certain styles of teaching and respond to them better. As you say its nothing personal even if it feels like it is!

      Reply
  3. Jess

    Another essential read by Don Miguel Ruiz. Nice job breaking the content down and explaining it. All four agreements are so important to living a life free from domestication but I especially find value in not making assumptions. Not having that type of “judgement” (as society refers to it) toward others is not easy for most of us.

    I have learned to try and put myself in someone else’s shoes before allowing my mind to get in the way automatically. It is really something I have to consciously apply and always think that the only version of a persons story really is their own. We all deserve that for ourselves.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Oh for sure! Not making assumptions is a hard one. Letting go of our stigma, stigma perpetuated by the society. But working in prisons was my wake up call. I truly make an effort (and sometimes it is a big one…) to let go of my assumptions and treat everyone with respect. because we are all related

      Reply
  4. Brenda

    Wonderful review, and nice information about dream catchers. I live around native American culture in the state of AZ, exposed to a lot of it, and I am very grateful for that. I have also read the Four Agreements, and it is true that the more you know the more you catch yourself in violation all the time. I have found it very difficult to get through an entire day without going against one or even all of these agreements, and I consider myself one of the more enlightened souls that live here! But even more noticeable when you start practicing these is how much other people violate these life rules. You learn by watching others I suppose. It definitely turns life around for the better the more you use these agreements, and in my case, I just have to be patient when it feels like others’ are not catching up fast enough. Love your site, keep up the excellent work.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Exactly Brenda. Can we all live up to the four agreements every day? Probably not…. But we have to try right? There is a lot of prejudice in this world. I just try to do my best not to perpetuate them.

      Reply

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