Book Review: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
Author: don Miguel Ruiz
140, Amber-Allen Publishing, $12.95
[dropcap][/dropcap]Are you tired of second guessing your decisions, fearing other people’s judgment? It is not difficult to beat yourself up over mistakes you have made, particularly when both those around you as well as yourself are constant reminders. This type of thinking is very common and it plunges us down into a hole that is difficult to climb out of. What makes us have these negative thoughts? In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), don Miguel Ruiz provides an eye opening response – fear.
We live in a world that perpetuates fear and so we act in certain ways because we are in fear of judgment; judgment from our peers, family and friends, strangers, and even ourselves. This judgment causes us to constantly look at the past, judging our own actions to make sure we do not make those same mistakes again, and constantly punishing ourselves for those past actions. Due to this we are in fear of the future. The Four Agreements Ruiz discusses are meant to free us from this fear so that we may live a life of happiness in the present.
Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, this book forces you to look at yourself and, in turn, offers a transformational experience; it is about self-perception and internal change or, perhaps, internal acceptance. What comes to mind while reading The Four Agreements is the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” To Ruiz’s point, there are some things that we cannot change, for instance when someone has a bad day and they take it out on you – it is not your fault, but you are being punished for it. What you can change is the way you take it – instead of thinking “what am I doing wrong” you might instead think, “how can I make this person’s day better?”
The Four Agreements consist of: (1) Be Impeccable with your Word, (2) Don’t Take Anything Personally, (3) Don’t Make Assumptions, (4) Always do your Best. Now, these may at once seem obvious and foreign. What exactly is being impeccable? Ruiz goes in depth into each of the Agreements and what makes them so important and integral to a happier, healthier life.
The Four Agreements is a nice, easy read, providing references to history, religion, and popular culture as well as anecdotes to help you understand the reasons behind Ruiz’s and the Toltec’s teachings. Ruiz encourages you to make a habit of doing your best which is the fourth and perhaps most important Agreement. Without doing your best it is impossible to partake in the other three Agreements. He wants you to persevere in this negative world. Reading this book reflect upon yourself and know why you dote on the negativity from others which you impose upon yourself. Furthermore, you will even see the negativity you spread without realizing the damage that can be done.
Ruiz will transform your perspectives, help you live in the present, and allow you to forgive others and yourself. Are you ready to make a change? Do you want to be happier? Do you want to let go of those negative feelings that have been eating away at you? If you answered yes to any of these questions then start Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. From there, you are well on your way to a happier, healthier life.