As a yoga instructor, father, and someone who views reading as a spiritual journey, The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz is hands down one of the best books I’ve encountered.
The Four Agreements is packed with many “nuggets” or spiritual takeaways to help you navigate life. This book will have you yearning to integrate these four agreements into your own life, while also providing the introspective tools to uncover and overcome your limiting beliefs.
Being so inspired myself by the teachings from this book, I’ve created a Four Agreements Guide that you can reference as you read (or re-read) it.
In this article, I will share a brief summary of each agreement, along with a quote and a personal reflection prompt to help you further understand and apply each agreement in your life. May these propel you on your own journey to deeper self-awareness.
But First, Who Is Don Miguel Ruiz and Why Should I Care?
Excellent question! I’m so glad you asked, because that was my question at first.
Besides the fact that Tom Brady sings this book’s praises and contributes it for helping him through the deflate gate scandal, Don Miguel Ruiz is a fascinating writer who hails from the ancient Toltec people who flourished in Mexico before the Aztecs.
He was born into a family of healers and has spent his life carrying on traditions and wisdom that help people like you and me cut through the crud (“smokey mirrors” as the author says) of limiting self-beliefs that hold us back and oftentimes create endless suffering.
What Are the Four Agreements?
The book’s four “agreements” (which the author refers to as powerful codes of conduct) are:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
Let’s dive into each of these powerful codes of conduct! Read on for your Four Agreements guide.
Here Is Your Four Agreements Guide
Now we will review each agreement, it’s meaning and overall takeaway.
Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word
It dawns on you in this initial agreement, the author isn’t just talking about your word with others, but the word with YOURSELF.
“Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
We all have those moments where our ego disrupts over various things that occur in life. But the Four Agreements guide us to take time and listen to how you feel, express yourself in a calm and assertive manner, and take time to spark your soul with empowering affirmations.
“Your word” can also mean staying true to your word – keeping your promises, saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. Bottom line, use the word for growth, NOT limitations.
Reflection: What are the stories you continually tell yourself and how might you want to alter these?
How The Four Agreements Can Strengthen Your Yoga Practice
Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
As humans, we tend to believe everything is about us, which leads us to take things personally. However, you have to remember: the world doesn’t revolve around you. Tough pill to swallow – at first. Then we realize how liberating this is!
Part of this spiritual journey is truly knowing that most people are going through their own whirlwind of traumas and situations; it’s best to address everyone with compassion, even when you feel targeted.
My favorite quote of this agreement is:
“Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up.
You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.”
Reflection: When was the last time you took something personal and how did you react? Was it your problem or the other person’s projection?
The Four Agreements: How to Not Take Anything Personally in Your Yoga Practice
Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions
Why do we make assumptions anyway? Is it because our minds are so creative and clever that it convinces us we MUST know what really happened or was said? Or is it because we’re hesitant of confrontation, and so better to assume rather than proactively address?
It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.
How many times have you been in a situation where your mind took you to chaotic places, assuming one thing when the truth comes out and it’s not how you creatively imagined in your mind? It’s like our mind/ego is looking for drama and our higher selves must be aware of this.
Reflection: Is there a situation in your life where you have been avoiding having the conversation? Do you tend to make assumptions and jump to conclusions? Is this beneficial or detrimental?
The Four Agreements: How to Stop Making Assumptions in Your Yoga Practice
Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best
When we’re committed to doing our best at all times, there’s a special zone where things flow without judgment. The reality is: our “best” is dynamic; it changes depending on our health or other life circumstances.
For example, you commit to doing yoga every day for a week. You might be able to do a sixty minute flow on most days, but one day you feel sick, so you can only muster a few mindful stretches and breathwork. The key is being mindful of your ideal best vs. what you’re capable of on a given day.
“Your best will depend on whether you are feeling physically tired or refreshed. Your best will depend on how you are feeling emotionally. Your best is going to change over time, and as you form the habit of practicing the Four Agreements, your best is going to get better.”
Reflection: What situation in your life are you truly giving your best? Is there an area of your life where you are not giving your best that you would like to shift?
The Four Agreements: How to Achieve Your Personal Best On and Off the Mat
The Four Agreements Guide: Conclusion and Takeaway
Since I first read The Four Agreements, I’ve had them written out and taped to the wall where I’ll always see them. And that index card has been there for me in those times when I really needed it.
During my most challenging times, the four agreements are hanging on my wall, pulling me in to remind me that structured thought processes aid us in our most trying times. Before we end with your final reflection exercise, allow me to share a recent challenge that I had.
Recently, I was working on my RV in my driveway when a neighbor approaches to hand me a paper citing the local county ordinance that RVs can’t be parked out front. Five days later, I receive a notice from the county. Someone filed a complaint about my RV! At this point I’m furious. How dare my neighbor introduce all this pointless drama in my life?!
I give it a few days to allow my emotions to subside, and I move the RV so it’s a bit more tucked away. Soon after, the neighbor stops by to thank me for moving the RV. He insisted he did not contact the county when I asked him about it. He may be lying, but I believe him. And the entire time, I’m thinking to myself, Wow. The Four Agreements.
If only I’d not made assumptions aaaaaaand wasted all that internal energy by taking this whole situation personally…
And now for your final reflection! How can you apply The Four Agreements to a situation in your life right now?
Using this Four Agreements guide, meditate on a few things going on in your life. Pick an area to really focus on and come to peace with using the Four Agreements. I’d love to hear your journey and progress in the comments.
Be well my friends and remember to keep breathing deeply!
The post The Four Agreements Guide: Summary, Quotes and Reflection Prompts appeared first on YogiApproved™.