Lessons From The Four Agreements
Posted on May 12, 2011
Today is a brand new day. Today, begins a brand new dream. This post is a testament to the dream that I have. If there was ever one song that had to represent me, I think it would be the one up above. It has my name written all over it. I wake up to this song every morning because I think it has the most motivational message possible. It doesn’t tell me directly how to live my life, but it gives me advice on what really matters. It also helps me keep faith. Things change, the only thing we can expect out of this life is that fact…change. We fight change, but change is actually one of the best things for us. It is not our job to understand the plan, but it is our job to live our life to the fullest and trust. Change breaks our barriers and lets us roam free in a way we never have before. I go to church every Sunday for many reasons, not for other peoples reasons or motivations, but because I center myself, I pray for that hour and a half that I can make the right decisions during the week that are centered around love and compassion, not jealousy, fear, or pain.
William James once wrote, “To change One’s Life: 1. Start immediately 2. Do it flamboyantly 3. No exceptions.” Thats for damn sure. This week has been one hell of an amazing week. I had to do something I didn’t really want to do, but I got everything off my chest and it delivered me to a very peaceful place. I know I will have these flashbacks and relapses into pain, but I deal with them very differently now. The things seep out of me quickly and I pick myself up or let my roommate pick me up. Thanks Russ.
“Your friend is the man who knows all about you and still likes you.” – Elbert Hubbard.
The one thing that will always stick with me is what he said to me yesterday. “Look how far you have come in a month and a half, its scary to think the type of man you will be over the summer.” I think a lot of the time I don’t give myself enough credit for what I have done, how I have acted, and how I am feeling about things. Actually, I know thats true, I am pretty hard on myself. I have always been that way because I like doing things 100%. Well, I did do things 100%. Mistakes made at 100% are completely acceptable, and maintaining my integrity and compassion through it all to the end was a major battle won for me. Especially after completely discarding that integrity and compassion last year, this feels right, and while it was very hard, it still feels good.
I have been reading a lot lately. When I started to have heart problems, I didn’t have a TV in my room so I started to pick up books and read. I have read about 10+ books in a few weeks. But I was actually given this book by Don Ruiz called “The Four Agreements” and the wisdom that comes in the pages is amazing. Its funny how your friends know you so well when they see a book they get it for you. This book is about living at peace in a modern world that is pretty much a living hell. This is what I have learned.
Be impeccable with my word.
The world impeccability actually means “without sin.” Did you know that? I don’t think we realize how important our word is and the effects it can have on people. We live in a day and age where gossip flows through everyones veins. People want to hear what is going on with other people, they want to feel like they are better and drag others down, and they give brutal opinions of others to make themselves feel better. What we don’t realize is the power of our word on others. Take this for example. If you tell someone they are stupid, they will continue on their life feeling that they are stupid because someone else told them so. Then, if they do something that reinforces that fact, and are told ‘Wow you really are the stupidest person I have ever met’ it only reinforces that fact and they are covered in this tar that is hard to get rid of. We eliminate their freedom to become what they can be. Be careful of using your words to spread poison, to spread anger and hatred. I know how hard it is to speak kind words when you are in pain. But dont let your pain become someone else’s pain. In this life, you are only in control of you, this second. There are so many things that happen purely because of chance, so don’t expect anything to go exactly the way you thought it would. I always thought that I was very good with my word. I thought that my word was the unbreakable bond that would be created when I told someone I would do something and they could assume it would be done. No, well, thats not exactly what your word is about. I know my purpose being here, and why I wake up every morning. Part of doing that every day is keeping my word impeccable and only spreading what is truly in my heart; love. I am going to try my best to be impeccable with my word, and if I fail on moment, I will start over and try again. Eventually, it will become an ingrained part of me.
Don’t take anything personally.
This, is probably going to be the hardest thing for me. I had about a 15 minute talk with one of the girls I work with yesterday about this. She had been hurt so bad by someone she dated, who she lived with for years, and now she has built walls that are reinforced by steel and covered in concrete. I was actually impressed that she trusted me enough to really let some of this stuff out. Sometimes all you have to do is listen…and people can see something inside of you that knows they can trust you. That person she dated, tore her up and ruined good years of her life. He said things to her that were awful, treated her terribly, and the list goes on. We just started talking about it, and it eventually came to the point of me telling her, that “I know its hard, but you can’t take anything he did to you personally.” Here’s why. If someone says something to you thats negative and hurtful, its because the person is dealing with their own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. That person is trying to poison you and bring you down. Ruiz calls the people who give you poisonous opinions Black Magicians and Predators. If we allow these people to let their opinions be felt and heard, we give them more power and we are under their spell. We just have to remember that whatever other people think or feel, it is a reflection of the way they see the world. It’s nothing personal, because they are dealing with themselves.
When you get to this point, of not taking anything people say or do personally, you learn how to live without fear. When you live without fear, you love everything around you because you love yourself. You become peaceful and happy. You live at ease and in bliss. “In that state of bliss you are making love all the time with everything that you perceive.” People will always lie to you about things. But it is not because of you, it is because they are living in fear. I know this is going to be the hardest one for me to work on because I feel that peoples actions speak louder than their words etc etc. But now I realize that there is literally no control over what people do. They will do whatever they want no matter how much you don’t want them to. They will live their own dream, and perceive life they way they want to no matter what. All you can do is live in peace and let things come and go.
Don’t make assumptions.
The problem with making assumptions about things is that we end up believing that they are the truth. We assume what other people are thinking and doing, and then we end up taking things personally. I need to copy a passage from this book because I think this can help everyone. “Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems. Often we make the assumption that our partners know what we think and that we don’t have to say what we want. We assume they are going to do what we want, because they know us so well. If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel so hurt and say, ‘You should have known’” (Page 66). What a powerful message. This applies to friendships and definitely to romantic relationships. We make so many assumptions about things that it is deadly. Maybe this is why so many relationships fail, because people aren’t willing to sit down and really evaluate how things are going and where they are together as a unit. We don’t talk about what we want from other people, and if we do, often of times the other person takes it personally and fights it. I am guilty as charged of being unwilling do this, and I have also had this happen to me. If we don’t understand something, its better to ask a question then to just be quiet about it. I am going to try my best to stop making assumptions about things because I know that with clear communication, my word will become impeccable and the amount of misunderstandings will go down to almost nothing. I am trying to transform my whole dream. I am trying to make some magic happen. “This is the mastery of intent, the mastery of the spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life.” This is my path to personal freedom
Always do your best.
I have heard since I was about 4 always do your best. Whether it was in sports or in school. But always doing your best relates to everything in life. However, it is important for us to remember that our best in certain situations is always going to fluctuate. Sometimes we only have 60% of our tanks full, but we can give 100% of that 60% we have. Give no more and no less than your best. There is this great story of a man who wanted to transcend all suffering. He went to a Buddhist temple and found a Master to help him. “Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The Master said to him, “If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in 10 years.” The man then asked him again “Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The Master said “If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in 20 years.” The man was confused and questioned the Master on why it would take longer to transcend if he meditated more, and the Master said to him “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love.”I am here to be happy, to live, and to love.
I am always going to try to do my best at everything. It doesn’t matter what it is. “Action is about living life fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life.” If we always do our best, we can make the first 3 agreements happen. Without doing our best though, we deny ourselves the ability to make these agreements happen and live our life to the fullest. I am holding myself accountable to the things that I have written here today. I know that these things will help my transform my life. I am going to try my best to do these things. I am going to start now. I have a fire in my heart and its burning hot. No excuses.
The Better Man Project