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Book NotesThe Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

AuthorDon Miguel Ruiz
First published1997-11-07
Date read2019-01-19

We born and spend toddler years as pure but later we grow many habits that shape our behaviors and responses. Some of them imposed on us, intentionally or unintentionally, and some are acquired automatically. These habits form who we are and kind of put us in prison. The author offers us four new habits (agreements) to achieve personal freedom, and to replace previous bad habits.

This is my second try with this book. My first try was one and a half years ago, and at that time I couldn't pass the spiritual content at the beginning of the book, also the prayer section at the end. But this time, I just ignored those parts, and the rest is just excellent — only one thing about the agreements is that I'd prefer calling them as habits.

Notes and Highlights

In our lifetime we make some agreements with ourselves, and those agreements are shaping everything inside and outside. The downside is that those agreements mostly are not intentional but a reaction to the events around us and also acquired from outside, automatically. The author gives us four agreements that we can make with ourselves to have personal freedom, love, and peace.

These four agreements are, in order:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

Be Impeccable with Your Word

When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.

You have the power to create through your words, but be careful. With words, you can create the most beautiful dream or destroy everything around you.

Self-rejection is the most dangerous poison. A man that does not love himself also does not have any love for others and injects his own poison to others.

Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system. For this, be careful wording your thoughts and opinions to others. Be truthful and loving when you are using your words.

Gossip is like a virus that you inject to others’ brains. Don’t be the person that injects the virus. Also always be ready to fight the virus that’s injected to you by others. The best part, is, when you become impeccable with your word, you start to reject negative words and opinions, your immune system grows and gets stronger.

How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your words. Use the word in the correct way, to share the love. Be impeccable with your word, to yourself and to others.

All other three agreements born from this agreement.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. If you take it personally, it means you agree with what said, and the poison goes through you.

Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about us. Nothing other people do is because of you, it’s because of themselves.

Taking things personally makes you easy prey for black magicians. You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. You know what you are, don’t take anything personally, either positive or negative.

If you get mad at someone, it’s because you are afraid. Live without fear and with love, and there’s no place for these emotions (fear, anger, jealousy, envy, ...) If you love yourself, you’ll love everything that is around you.

Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily always true. Therefore don’t take whatever you hear in your own mind personally all the time. The mind talks and listens to itself, and it becomes a big problem when a thousand parts of your mind are all speaking at the same time (mitote). The programming in the mind (all the agreements you have with yourself) are not necessarily compatible with each other. There are conflicting agreements. The mitote is the reason humans hardly know what they want, how they want it and when they want it. Only by making an inventory of our agreements will we uncover all of the conflicts in the mind and eventually make order out of the chaos of the mitote.

Not taking things personally will make anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and it will break many habits that trap you in the dream of hell.

Don’t Make Assumptions

We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem is that we believe they are the truth and we behave/react based on those false truths. All the sadness and drama in our lives is rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. We also make assumptions about ourselves, which lead to under or overestimation, which leads to disappointment.

What happens when you stop making assumptions? Your way of communication will change, and relationships will no longer suffer from conflicts.

Always Do Your Best

Always do your best but know that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next.

You’ll make mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong about it. By doing your best, mistakes will become less frequent with time. If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. By doing your best, you become a master.

Key Takeaways

  • Be kind to yourself, love yourself, and accept yourself
  • Don’t use the words to curse, to blame, to find guilt and to destroy
  • Don’t gossip and pass your negative thoughts to others
  • Grow only the good seeds
  • Don’t spread your personal poison
  • Don’t take it personally; make this into a habit and remind your self all the time
  • Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves
  • See other people as they are
  • Instead of making assumptions, ask questions
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions
  • If you don’t understand, ask a question
  • Have the courage to ask questions
  • Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less
  • Love what you’re doing
  • Live one day at a time
  • If you fall, don’t judge yourself and don’t play the victim. Get up and do your best.

Things to Look Up

  • The Ancient Toltec Civilization — Although it states that they had nothing to do with the modern Toltec movement, it's still an interesting read.
  • I couldn't find any detailed information about modern Toltec movement and what differs between the ancient and the modern version. Please let me know if you know or find anything.

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