Can’t remember exactly how long ago my sister-in-law gave me this little book, but it sat on my nightstand for months. I just kept moving it around not wanting to open the cover. There always seemed to be something more interesting to grab my attention. For a long time, I felt like I had to avoid it for some unknown reason. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was my ego that got in the way, or if the timing simply wasn’t right for reading it.
Well, on my last trip to Arizona, I set aside that ego and figured the time was right. I decided to read Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to see if I could agree with the content and message. Or simply find the flaws and discard the book. Well, here it is:
He called it “A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”, which actually fits with the content. It’s a little book that I would recommend you seek out and give it a go. Set aside your ego a bit faster than I did, for its got helpful advice and, as the title mentions, practical guidance for making self improvement progress. It’s timeless information that you might as well apply today rather than a couple years from now.
I have to admit that The Smokey Mirrors story (that opens the book) really did catch my attention. I liked the part:
… Then something happened inside of him that transformed his life forever. He looked at this hands, he felt his body, and he heard his own voice say, “I am made of light; I am made of stars.”
He looked at the stars again, and he realized that it’s not the stars that create light, but rather light that creates the stars. “Everything is made of light,” he said, “and the space in-between isn’t empty.” And he knew that everything that exists is one living being, and that light is the messenger of life, because it is alive and contains all information.
I know that this is part of a Toltec tale, but there could be more truth to that statement about light than one might first accept. If we look back at a previous article, Is Food Another Form of Light, we saw that when molecules break down, electromagnetic energy is released (stored light) which is the energy that the body uses to perform its functions. Could it be possible that this energy performs different functions within the body than what we currently measure at a cellular level? We’ll have to explore that and see (Maybe another article in the near future!).
For now though, we’ll focus on some of the statements that I came across in The Four Agreements. One that stands out is:
The only way to store information is by agreement.
To me, this is one of the author’s key points when it comes to identifying who we are and how we let others shape us. It’s also the root of what he terms ‘white magic’ and ‘black magic’. It all stems from the spoken word. Words are uniquely human and they are created as a manifestation of who we are; the speaker. When it comes to speaking, the way you form your words is a phrase of your creation. At the same time, when your words are heard, who’s to say they are not the truth? If you speak words, and believe them to be the truth, might others also believe them to be the truth?
Ultimately, I believe one of the points that the author is trying to make is that the words you use in innocent little ways (whether they are intentional or not) may be perceived as the truth by others in ways that shape their futures in both positive and negative ways. It all depends upon whether they are believed to be the truth (or not). If the words are believed, the result is ‘white magic’ or ‘black magic’ depending on the content of the message.
A simple example might illustrate this process. If you speak the words “You’re ugly” to someone and they believe these words to be the truth, they will have made an agreement that they are ugly. They will start to identify with being ugly and, in due time, they will live up to this truth. On the flip side, if you speak “you look beautiful today” to someone and, once again, they believe it to be the truth, you will have given someone a wonderful truth that they can expand upon and continue to develop as their own truth.
Even idle chatter can be perceived as the truth. “This is ugly”, “he is disgusting”, “She has a potty mouth” or “That is beautiful” can all be easily identified with by anyone with immediate results. That is, if they believe you. If they choose to believe you.
So, the point is that what you agree too, when someone else speaks, are the things that stick with you and help shape who you think you are.
The trick is, knowing what to believe and what to discard.
This is where the author’s ideas about ‘black magic’ and ‘white magic’ come to play. If you believe the words that someone else speaks as the truth, it can act as either a good influence or a bad influence on you over time. Words are spells based upon the receiver’s acceptance. If they believe you compliment, or your insult, it will change their character as they start identifying with the statement.
Knowing this, might it make sense to choose your words wisely?
Later he writes:
Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.
Might it be time to revisit the memories that you carry around to see what’s worth believing – at this moment in time? If someone told you that you couldn’t sing twenty years ago, is that still worth dragging around today? Is it worth the effort of relating to today? Or, has your understanding changed so that now, who you are right now, actually can see the comment from a different point of view that now shows that it’s no longer the truth? Is there something you can sing? Is there a sound that shows that the statement isn’t 100 percent true? If so, the spell loses power as long as it’s no longer believed to be the truth. As I’ve always seen it, the truth is in the eyes of the beholder!
Here is another interesting statement:
Each of us is born with a certain amount of personal power that we rebuild every day after we rest. Unfortunately, we spend all our personal power first to create all these agreements and then to keep these agreements. Our personal power is dissipated by all the agreements we have created, and the result is that we feel powerless. We have just enough power to survive each day, because most of it is used to keep the agreements that trap us in the dream of the planet. How can we change the entire dream of our life when we have no power to change even the smallest agreement?
I see a lot of truth in that statement, yet I would reword it slightly – Each of us has a specific amount of energy at any given moment. If we use that energy to maintain the agreements that we identify with, we will feel like we have less energy to use in other aspects of our lives. Or, in other words, what you focus on is where your energy goes. It’s really that simple. Focus on being ugly and you’ll perform that task eloquently!
These comments come from the chapters before the actual ‘agreement’ chapters in the book. I’ll leave it to the reader to explore The Four Agreements on their own. There are some great words of wisdom nestled away in that handy little book.
It’s your choice. It always is.