August 28th, 2004

Books

Book #82 - The Four Agreements

#82 - The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

I got this book via BookRelay; I'd been interested in reading it for some time, but never picked up a copy before. I enjoyed it, although it took me a little while to get used to the author's "voice," and to make the paradigm shift into his terminology - life (and all consciousness) as a dream that we're all dreaming together. He also uses terms like "black and white magic" in a different way than I'm used to hearing them. He doesn't mean people actively casting spells, but he calls the way we treat one another a form of magic. Part of this dreaming is the fact that we make "agreements" with ourselves and the rest of the universe from the time we are born - things that we accept as true, whether or not they really are true. Some of these agreements cause us to judge or victimise ourselves, but we can replace harmful beliefs with nurturing ones, and change our experience of life from one of "hell" to "heaven on earth." There wasn't much content here that was really new for me - he talks about the two dynamics being love and fear, similar to what Gary Zukav says, and there is some similarity to work I did with the Life Training Programme (most notably that we need to take out negative "agreements" and replace them with positive ones). He also speaks of the need to actively go to battle with our negative beliefs, and become a spiritual warrior. He says it is possible to do this by committing oneself to the Four Agreements that will allow one to fight off the negative beliefs that cause us to suffer. They are: 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don't take anything personally; 3) Don't make assumptions; and 4) Always do your best.

Like I said, not much was new here for me, but I did find it beneficial to hear things put in a slightly different way - sometimes a concept really clicks that way. I like the way he presented the four agreements, and over the past few days I have found myself remembering them. It's nice to have just a single phrase to bring to mind - for example, someone does something that makes me feel angry, wondering why they did it, and I can just remember, "Don't make assumptions (about the person's motive), and don't take it personally." So far, I have found it genuinely helpful. I'm passing this book along to someone else, via BookRelay, so I've put some of the agreements into my own words below, and also copied out a few passages that I found particularly resonant, for future reference. Collapse )

I found a lot of valuable information in this book. I would recommend it, although I also think it's a book to which some people (perhaps a lot of people) won't connect, mostly because of the style in which it is written.