I stumbled upon a book today, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.
My dad told me about the Four Agreements when I was in third grade. Being an 8-year-old, I thought nothing of them.
But now, they are of value to me.
The Four Agreements are devices used to end needless suffering. By following the Agreements, one can (in theory) achieve serenity.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: 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.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
I find the first three to be the most helpful to me personally. Number 2, Number 1 and Number 3 (in that order) are what will reducing my suffering the most and the most quickly.
The book has each of the Agreements as the subject of a chapter. Ruiz goes on to explore each Agreement in depth, providing examples for the reader and from his own experience.
The concept of the Four Agreements is based off of ancient Toltec teachings. The book, and the Agreements themselves are really, truly worth a look.
Ruiz emphasizes that much of suffering comes from selfishness and the unwillingness to let others see our imperfections. It is a bit of a blow to the ego, reading about how we are the sole cause of our suffering and anxiety. But nonetheless, a much-needed blow.
So seriously, check it out. Maybe start your attempt at serenity today. I think I have.