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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Four Agreements...

The Four Agreements

I recently finished reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Luis, and it has left an impressionable mark on me.  So many things that he said resonated with so many of our lives' problems or communication issues we may have with our close ones as well as work colleagues, and if we want to take it to another level to how our world view is shaped.   He states that there are four agreements to live by in this world that you need to make to yourself:
1.  Be Impeccable with your word.
2.  Don't take anything personally
3. Don't make assumptions
4. Always do your best.

These may perhaps be relatively simple techniques and can be found in great religious texts, but him putting it in such a practical way clicked with me.   I gave it to my husband, who is not an avid reader of novels - and it clicked with him too.
The first rule - Be impeccable with your word - what does that mean - use your words carefully and without sin - so if the words that come out of you are going to hurt the other person - stop yourself - watch yourself - before you speak.   Simple, but so difficult to practice.  How many times do we say something and immediately after it came out of our mouths we regret saying it.   How many times have those words hurt the other person? And how many times are we aware in how we use our words.   We underestimate how much others are impacted by our words - positive or negative - and the first rule - makes us become aware of that.  It is literally an exercise in practicing mindfulness.  As a mom, it is also a reminder to me to be watchful of the words I use with my child - knowing that if i say something negative - he can begin to internalize certain images of himself.

 The Second Rule of not taking anything personally stuck with me and i try to apply that to day to day situations.  He says " Don't take anything personally.  Nothing anyone does is because of you .  What other's 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. " I love that.  If we literally take that to heart, imagine how much more understanding there would be amongst individuals.  It doesn't negate our actions involved in that -when we take things personally - we react - either verbally, sometimes physically, sometimes passively- but there is a reaction.  That reaction causes a counter reaction - and it goes back and forth like a tennis ball until someone is out.  What if there was no reaction - what if when something that you know would normally hurt you - u look at it from the other person's perspective- and try to understand where they are coming from - so instead of taking it personally - we realize - "oh, it's not about me, it's about them." It creates something different in us - a more compassionate person - and the more compassionate we are, the more understanding we become.    We can even use this with children - think about it - lets say your child comes home saying he is feeling bad about what another kid may have said to them - teaching them or rather helping them understand that perhaps it is not so much about your child, but perhaps the other kid's issues helps so much in a child's self esteem, and developing compassion. 

calm woman.jpeg
The third rule of not making assumptions is equally as important - when we make assumptions, we create an emotion in us, a feeling in us - positive or negative and often times we act on that feeling.  If we act on that, it can have some severe conseuqences.  What if we just learn to ask questions instead of assuming. It is not as simple as it may seem -because as he says, it requires courage.   We are standing up to ask a question and be prepared for the answer whatever it may be rather than allow our mind to take us on a wild goose chase and make an assumption.  Assumptions can cause break ups, assumptions can cause fights, assumptions are a result of possibly how we view ourselves - and in doing that we make ourselves miserable.  Learning to express yourself can avoid alot of drama unnecessarily. 
And the last one about Always doing your best.   If we give something our best no matter what circumstance we also avoid the possiblity of self- judegment. If we are constantly judging ourselves, we fall prey to victim mode, we fall prey to the role of self-abuse.   But if we give something our best, we have the right intention, we have given it our all, and we are accepting of our actions.   If we always strive to do our best - our words will be filled with love, we can learn to understand others better, and we can learn to ask the right questions and express ourself fully - our thoughts, actions, and words are in sync with one another, or so my beloved master so eloquently put it "Unity in thought, word, & deed.".

 How does this relate to journaling? Use journaling as a toolkit in helping you put these agreements into practice.   You can make a log book for yourself for 30 days and pick one of the agreements and monitor your progress or log in at the end of each day your thoughts, feelings about it.  Another options is when you wake up in the morning, pick three words that describe how you feel in the morning - before you retire at night, pick three feeling words again - it is an exercise in self- reflection - how much of you is self-abusing, and how much of you has given its best.   

Pick one of the agreements you want to work on - Let's say it is assumptions - Begain a 5 minute writing piece with the following sentence " I make assumptions when..... Or I am assuming that.....  or Assumptions are.....   Try it different ways and read it out loud to yourself or if you want to to someone you trust.  

You can make a journal entitled The Four Agreements- and capture images, quotes, poems, and glue them in your journal to help you remind yourself of the agreeement you are making.   Create entries for yourself and do regular writings on each of the four agreements. 

I'm reading The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Luis and when I'm done with that, I will share my thoughts on that. 

Happy Journaling!

1 comment:

  1. Loved it, but there is a part i cant read, the pic is covering it.