Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the widow's book corner: The Four Agreements

I know, I know, it has been forever since I posted a book review. That does NOT mean I haven't read anything. In fact, I am typically reading three books at a time! I read a lot of books both fiction and self-helpesque while I was traveling but just didn't have enough energy or retention to write a full review. With a very long reading list after yoga teacher training, I am back to the book  reviews, even expanding from the somewhat depressing widow genre. The book I am reviewing in this post was also on my Yoga Teacher's reading list. I had never heard of it before but now that I am in the know, I have seen the author's quotes everywhere. I am guessing you might too, they are brilliant! Check it out... 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Amazon's Description:

Rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom beliefs, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through maintaining these agreements, shamanic teacher and healer don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will "become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love."

My Description:

I am not going to pretend to know anything about Toltec wisdom beliefs here. The book as you can imagine provides four rules as to how to conduct your life so you can live your heaven here on earth. It explains that as humans we all live by a set of rules that were given to us by everyone; family, society, and friends. We have agreed to live by these rules whether we like or not or whether we agree with them or not. It's not encouraging people to live in a nudist colony bartering and forgoing all normal society, the book does however encourage you to live and do what makes you happy without worrying what anyone thinks. 

The Four Agreements are;

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally
  3. Don't Make Assumptions
  4. Always do your Best
My Review:

I hope there aren't too many people reading this that wouldn't agree that the above list is a good one. Living it on a day to day basis is however a more difficult task. Being a Type A, I like my lists more defined and sometimes found the general agreements too broad. Ruiz did provide examples examples but I could have done with a few more. 

I especially love the idea of agreeing to not take anything personal. If you do, it does in fact make life a lot easier. Why shouldn't we take anything personally? Basically any time a person does something, it has more to do with them than it has to do with you. For example (see I told you I love examples), when someone calls you a butthead, it is because the person is having a bad day and they are mad or they are simply projecting the fact that they are a butthead on to you. Now, when someone does something to annoy me or make me mad, I end up feeling compassion for them because it makes me sad that they are angry enough to come after me or that they are in a bad place. It's a great way change your perspective. 

Which is really what the book did for me, changed my perspective. I didn't get a list to change myself overnight but I have a whole new set of questions to ask myself before I do or say something. 

Using my Kindle, I always highlight my favorite quotes. I skimmed through my notes and I had pages and pages of them, here are the Top 3...

"How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don't need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again."

"God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now."

"If you watch children when they are playing adults, you will see their little faces change. "Let's pretend I'm a lawyer," and right away their faces change; the adult face takes over. We go to court and that is the face we see -- and that is what we are. We are still children, but we have lost our freedom."



1 comment:

  1. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!!