Reflecting on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz opened my eyes to new concepts and some concepts I already knew but from a different perspective. Don Miguel Ruiz outlines the concepts surrounding his theory of the Four Agreements. He talks about the things who make us who we are versus who we could be. This book outlines the idea that we can define who we are and the world around us. Ruiz had a simple approach to combat the things that have been instilled in us which bring us pain. I saw a lot of connections to other books and even religions I have read or learned about in my life.

Ruiz starts the book by talking about who we are and where we come from in our lives. From the time we are born we are conditioned to be who we are and follow the rules that our environment has provided for us. We are taught the rules of life from our parents, families, teachers, religions, and community.

We are taught the things we should do, how we should be, and even what happens when we break those rules, but we do not get to choose the rules of life we follow. I attended a catholic high school, although my family is protestant, and one time in religion class I questioned why kids are baptized. I thought that baptism was someone choosing Jesus as their Lord and savior, so how could a child know that is what they wanted to do in their life. Ruiz called this conditioning we experience growing as domestication.

Ruiz presents a few concepts to follow to awaken us from the world that has been shaped for us. The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. The second agreement is don’t take anything personally. The third is don’t make assumptions. Lastly, the fourth and final agreement always do your best.

The path to freedom also includes three concepts: awareness, discipline, and death. Ruiz uses all of these concepts simply to show us the path to enlightenment. We have been domesticated from a young age, that the things that people or the world do to us are not a direct attack on us, and that we can be free of these things.

Ruiz tells us to be impeccable with our word. Our words are powerful and are more than words. This is a concept I learned while reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, that thoughts become things and that there is power in our words which directly connect with the universe. Words shape so much of our lives, not just that they are powerful messages transcending through the universe, but they also are on paper which is used to teach us and guide our laws.

We should be mindful of what we say and choosey about what we say and when. If we are not careful as to what we say we can create bad situations. Ideally, and similarly to Dr. Seuss, we should say what we mean and mean what we say but if we are unsure of what to say, we should say nothing at all.

The next is told to us by Ruiz as don’t take anything personally. In another class we read “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander, this book talked about some of the same ideas Ruiz speaks to in this book. The Zander’s explained that everything is invited for us by our environment, like Ruiz’s description of our domestication. In addition to having the same views on domestication or, for the Zander’s everything is invented, the Zander’s also talk about being the board. Where you are not just one piece on the chessboard, you are the entire board and all of the pieces.

Regardless of anyone else’s actions, the idea is that you are only in control of only your own actions and that you cannot control anything or anyone’s actions as they are not on your board. Ruiz speaks to this with a similar idea that nothing anyone does to you is a direct attack on you. That when we take things personally, we are seemingly agreeing with the words and we are less self-aware. When we are self-aware, we know who we are and will not take words or actions personally and the words or actions speak more to the other person.

Ruiz tells us don’t make assumptions. We often give assumptions more weight than they should carry, and it fuels insecurity in ourselves and creates opportunities for us to take things personally. He explains that we should beware of the assumptions we make about ourselves, others, and the world around us as they often can lead to disappointment. Instead, we should question things and seek clarity when we do not understand instead of creating false realities.

Also, in this, we must be better communicators so that we can avoid confusion and conflict in the future. In the end when we assume and things do not go our way, we are responsible as we assumed, they would do what we want, therefore, we simply cannot blame the other person

Lastly, the fourth agreement according to Ruiz is always doing your best. This agreement was one of the simplest to digest. This agreement means exactly what is says to always do your best, and you’re very best at that. In doing our best we must be mindful of how we measure our best.

We cannot compare our best to what it was previously or what it could be in the future but that under the conditions of now, we are doing the best. There could be conditions that skew your best at the moment, but it does not change that you are doing your best as you cannot change the conditions. By remembering this we can and must avoid beating ourselves up about our best at the moment.

In conclusion, Ruiz’s four agreements are themes I have seen in various places but important, nonetheless. I enjoyed reading this book. I will use the four agreements in my own personal journey throughout life and finding enlightenment. Remember, as Ruiz showed us that if we can be aware of the things learned in our domestication and have the discipline to change them, we can.

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