“What you are seeing and hearing right now
is nothing but a dream.”
– The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
Awhile ago, I read The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book by Allan Hardman, based on the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz.
The Toltecs were a culture in Mexico that existed before the Aztecs. Don Miguel claims to have a lineage of traditional knowledge passed down from the Toltec shamans in his family.
I'm usually open to hearing any insights that might add to the bit of wisdom I've accumulated in my lifetime. However, I also have a highly-refined bullshit detector- good for recognizing extraordinary claims & inapplicable fantasies by insincere characters.
The book about Toltec wisdom was very effective, though... leading me to re-evaluate my own mind & my relationships with others in a new way. It resonated very positively with me & I think the teachings can be very helpful, if you are receptive to them.
Here's an article that's a good summary of the ideas behind Don Miguel's "Four Agreements":
Toward the end, the article above talks about the idea of being a "Spiritual Warrior". This is not the same type of spiritual warrior as a Crusader or Jihadist, fighting non-believers. It is a reference to the constant battle going on within oneself- in which you are trying to master the conflicts going on inside your own mind, as you navigate the inevitable difficulties of life.
The book also talks about the "Mitote", the mental parasite that feeds off the negativity we feel. This imagery is meant to be metaphorical, but it is also a way to characterize the undesirable psychological habits we all possess. The only one who can defeat this parasitic presence in your mind is YOU. The battle of the spiritual warrior in the Toltec tradition starts through simple awareness & self-reflection.
Recently I came across another article, on Waking Times, that was also an excellent description of the 'Toltec Wisdom Path'. Here's a link to the article, which prompted this post. It's under a Creative Commons license to republish here with attribution:
by Anna Hunt for Waking Times
The First Agreement
“The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor. It is so important that with just this first agreement you will be able to transcend to the level of existence I call heaven on earth. The first agreement is be impeccable with your word.”“Word” is all expression, all communication, whether it is spoken, written, expressed, gestured, thought – inwardly or outwardly. It manifests itself into all that we see, do and experience. With each word you can manipulate a person into action – good or bad – that could influence entire populations. When you are impeccable with your word, you stop expressing anything that goes against yourself. When you are impeccable with your word, you act out of love and kindness. You use your energy to do good, impact others positively, and start being loving to yourself. You have a choice if you want to say negative things, gossip, cast ugly “spells”, or if you become impeccable with your word. Once your word is impeccable, it is more difficult for others to cast dark spells on you with their words because you are more aware. The negativity of others starts to no longer affect you.
“The word is pure magic – the most powerful gift we have as humans…”
The Second Agreement
“The next three agreements are really born from the first agreement. The second agreement is don’t take anything personally.”People say and do things because of what is happening with them – we all have our own inner world. If you take things personally, you start to believe that what others say to you is truth. This can make you easy prey for emotional predators who like to send poison to others. If you stop taking things personally, you are no longer easy prey…you can even become immune to this poison. This is the gift of this agreement.
We can also apply this agreement to the voices in our own mind. Most of us have suffered inner conflict, but with this agreement, we start evaluate all of the agreements we’ve made with ourselves. By not taking things personally, we stop reinforcing inner suffering.
“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
The Third Agreement
“The third agreement is don’t make assumptions.”Are you ready to get rid of the sadness and drama in your life? Then stop making assumptions! Stop creating truths in your mind that are just your interpretations of situations. Or perhaps a more appropriate word is misinterpretations. Assumptions are often our effort to fulfill certain expectations, fill our desire to know and understand, and take the place of actual communication. This applies to our own mind as well, with more inner conflict created by assumptions.
“The day you stop making assumptions you will communication cleanly and clearly, free of emotional poison.”
The Fourth Agreement
“The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.”By following this agreement, you can find a life balance where you will enjoy most things you do. If you do your best, then you are more likely to accept yourself for who you are. And here you have to realize: your best fluctuates. If you are ill, you may not be as patient as when you are feeling great. If you are tired, you may get your feelings hurt more easily versus when you are well rested. Action upon ideas is part of manifesting your ideas and seeing results in the process of transforming your life into a beautiful dream.
“…Forget everything you have learned in your whole life. This is the beginning of a new understanding, a new dream.”