The Toltec Ancestral Philosophy
The Four Agreements is a modern book about an ancestral philosophy and ancient wisdom. It is based on the teachings of a tribe from the Pre-Columbian era of central Mexico. There is some debate as to whether there actually was a genuine ethnicity named ‘Toltec’ or merely a myth of the Aztec civilization.
Despite this argument amongst historians, this book has a powerful and simple message. After Don Miguel Ruiz had a near death experience, he devoted himself to an intense apprenticeship with a Mexican Shaman or Nagual and now carries on the message of the Eagle Knight lineage.
In his book, "The Four Agreements", he has translated the ancient message from this Toltec tribe. Using these four agreements as a guide throughout the day provides us a process of self discovery that reveals...
In order to live a life as a healthy human being, we must put away our belief in guilt. Guilt is a poor teacher, a lousy companion, and a fast track to all dis-ease. It is time to remember that we are not guilty!
At first glance these guidelines appear so simple as to almost think of them as new age fluff. However, to actually apply them at any given moment is much more challenging than you think.
Agreement #1. Be impeccable with your word. To mean what you say and say what you mean requires a level of self inquiry that, if practiced faithfully, will literally stop the perpetual damage of mis-communication. Mis-communication is the energy that feeds and supports almost all the emotional and spiritual pain we experience.
Agreement #2. Don’t take anything personally. In this principle, Don Miguel outlines how each of us is living in our own bubble. And as we go about our day, we bump and interact with other people's bubbles. The key to practicing this wisdom is remembering that each of us is only paying attention to our own bubble. All of our feelings and emotional body are affected solely by ourselves. No matter what someone may say 'to us', in truth, they are only interacting with their own bubble, and so are we.
This is much harder than it sounds. Just try it, go about your day and don't take anything anyone says personally. Anything!
Agreement #3. Don’t make assumptions. We all know the old school saying...To assume makes an ass out of you and me. What's interesting to discover here is that we make assumptions so frequently throughout the day, we have masked our assumptions in all kinds of ways. It is easy to miss the fact that you are fueling a confrontational situation with the little assumptions that are made.
This is especially true when you find yourself constantly in an argument or situation that has a pattern, whether it is with the same person or different people...slow down and look for your assumption that has literally set up the scenario.
Agreement #4. Always do your best. This is not a model for perfection. To the contrary, it is a great way to recognize yourself in all your ranges of being an emotionally healthy human being.
When we feel great, it stimulates a fantastic day that makes us feel good about our self. Maybe the greatest thing to discover is that even on an 'off' day, we can still be present and do our best. This valuable reminder helps build and support self confidence and self awareness.
As we implement these principles, we come into an emotionally healthy relationship we our 'self'. Nurturing this awareness, we can recognize our own emotional baggage.
Our emotional baggage is literally learned and loaded up as we react to our environment unless we take charge and stop picking it up. To be able to say "no thank you" to ourselves or others, is simple, honest, and incredibly liberating.
Don Miguel gives a great analogy of our life being the canvas that we paint upon. Even if we find ourselves in a scenario we do not like, we still get to choose the colors to put on our canvas.
If we speak with integrity, we do not pick up gossip and perpetuate ill feelings.
This practice can inevitable release us from fear and blame, for these are the weapons of a defensive and insecure life.
To discover that disagreements do not mean someone has to be wrong, is truly life changing. Most of us did not grow up with that truth being practiced in our home environments, but isn't it time to create this awareness now?