Like the Buddhist sutra, The Four Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book that has taught many about why and how to obtain happiness in this seemingly painful world. The book urges us to live as peaceful warriors in the modern life by intentionally creating a new self that is invincible. Like what Kafka said, a good book is “an ax for the frozen sea within us.” Get the book from Amazon
My favorite quotes from the book:
Challenge the process of domestication
Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born, the human before us created a big outside dream that we call society’s dream or the dream of the planet. The outside dream has so many rules that when a new human is born, we book the child’s attention and introduce these rules into his or her mind. The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the shocks, and religion to teach us how to dream.
The outside dream may hook our attention, but if we don’t agree, we don’t store the information. As soon as we agree, we believe it and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally. This is how we learn as children.
We need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. Because even if we know we didn’t choose these beliefs(they were taught to us by others when we were the most impressionable and vulnerable), it is also true that we agreed to all of them. The agreement is so strong that even if we understand the concept it not being true, we feel the blame, the guilt and the shame that occur if we go against the rule.
The power of word
Word is not just a sound or a written symbol. It is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life
The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile! The only problem is that too often it is fertile for the seeds of fear. What is important is to see which kind of seeds our mind if fertile for, and to prepare it to receive the seeds of love.
One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events. One word is like a spell, and human use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other.
Every human is a magician, and we can either put a spell on someone with our word or we can release someone from a spell. We cast spells all the time with our opinions.
Misuse of word is how we pull each other down and keep each other in a state of fear and doubt. Misuse of word is black magic. People who love us do black magic on us, but they don’t know what they do. That’s why we must forgive them.
How much we left be ourselves and how we feel about ourselves are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of our word.
See through the assumptions
All people live in their own dream, in their own mind. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they hive are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. their point of view comes from all the programming they received during domestication. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.
We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.
The mind lives in more than one dimension. We have a choice whether or not to believe the voices we hear within our minds, just as we have a choice of what to believe and agree with in what others tell us.
If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is.
What to do?
We are the same, you and I. We are the images of light.
Do not be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. Just live one day at a time.
There is no reason to suffer. With awareness, you can rebel and say: “This is enough!” You can look for a way to heal and transform your personal dream. If you go into your dream and start challenging the beliefs, you will find that most of the beliefs that guided you into the wounded mind are not even true.
The first step is to develop awareness of all the self-limiting, fear-based beliefs that make you unhappy. You make an inventory of all that you believe, all your agreements, and through this process, you began the transformation.
The next step is to find new agreements that make you happy to replace the old agreements. This is like reprogramming your mind. And by making the new agreements, you keep the old agreement from coming back. There are many strong beliefs in mind that can make this process look hopeless. This is why you need to go step by step and be patient with yourself because this is a slow process. The way you are living now is the result of many years of domestication. You can’t expect to break the domestication in one day.
Our old agreements are actually like strong addictions. All of these agreements which rule our dream of life are the result of repeating them over and over again. Therefore, to adopt the new agreements, you need to put repetition in action.
We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for the injustice. You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and no longer have an emotional reaction.
Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are.
The final way to attain personal freedom is to prepare ourselves for the initiation of the dead, to take death itself as our teacher. What the angel of death can teach us is how to be truly alive. The angel of death takes the past away in order to make it possible for life to continue. When we try to live in the past, how can we enjoy the present? When we dream of the future, why must we carry the burden of the past?