For several years, I’ve been reading about a group of ancient Mexican people called the Toltecs. A man named Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a “simple” book called “The Four Agreements “. I first heard about this from someone who was also studying Mindmapping. I was intrigued and read the book, nearly in one sitting. It is a deceptively simple book; easy to read and the concepts seem like common sense.
But, like so many things that seem simple, to put into practice the principles outlined in the book is not so simple. But, there was something that spoke to me at my core and I started to examine my daily speech and behaviors and found that maybe I could look at myself in a way that could embody these four principles.
“Be Impeccable With Your Word”. There are many layers to this; not only what I say to others, but what I say to myself. And interestingly enough, this principle plays directly into the second one: “Don’t Take Anything Personally”, and the third one: “Don’t Make Assumptions.”
I find that I’m very critical of myself and I’m constantly trying to compare myself to others to see if I measure up. (It’s possible that you might do something similar.)
In trying to make myself aware of how I interact with myself and others, I started to be aware of just how many times in a day I run afoul of these “simple” principles. But, one good thing, is that every time I realize that it’s happening, I have a chance to change my behavior.
It began with trying not to gossip or speak in a way that might cause someone else to feel badly just so that I could feel I was “right”. This is really hard for me, for some reason. Then I began to ask questions. The Science Channel on TV has a slogan “Question Everything.” I find this quite applicable to my journey.
If I start asking “why” to beliefs I have, be they simply: “why do I make my bed each morning” to the much more complex: “why do I need to express myself” I start to peel back the layers of where my belief system comes from.
Although there isn’t a religious connection to these four principles, inevitably spiritual beliefs do come into play. I believe that anyone who wants to examine their belief system closely can apply these principles within any religious context. The important part, in my mind, is that I ask as many “why” questions until I reach a point where I’ve gotten to a “Truth” not just a “Belief.”
This is a continuing journey, and I will write more about this in future posts, but I put this out to you and suggest you take a look at this book, and others written by the same man. Maybe you’ll discover a surprise or two or a hundred about yourself, as I do every day.