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The Four Agreements (by Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz)
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
a. Speak with integrity.
b. Say only what you mean.
c. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
d. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
a. Nothing others do is because of you.
b. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
c. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
a. Find the courage to ask question and to express what you really want.
b. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings sadness and drama.
c. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
a. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
b. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
About The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz is a renowned Mexican author, spiritual teacher, and former surgeon, best known for his influential works in the realm of spirituality and personal growth. His teachings focus on ancient Toltec wisdom, which he has adapted and presented in a way that is accessible and relevant to modern life.
He wrote the famous book “The Four Agreements”, which was published in 1997 and has sold 5.2 million copies in the U.S. alone. In this widely translated and famous book, he condenses Toltec wisdom into four practical principles that one can apply to their life for personal freedom and true happiness.
His spiritual insights are of Toltec origins combined with neoshamanism. His teachings focus on the ancient Toltec teachings, but are presented in a perhaps simplified way that modern society can relate to. Because of the wide acceptance of the book, he was listed as one of The Watkins 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2014.
Early Life and Medical Career
Born into a humble family in rural Mexico, Don Miguel Ruiz was raised in a traditional Mexican culture. He was expected to follow in his family’s footsteps, embracing their rich heritage of healing and teaching. His mother was a curandera (healer), and his grandfather was a nagual (shaman), which exposed him to a deep spiritual understanding from a young age.
Despite this, Ruiz initially chose a more conventional path. He attended medical school and became a surgeon. His time in medicine was marked by a scientific approach to healing, but he soon realized that true healing goes beyond the physical. This realization was partly influenced by a near-death experience, which profoundly changed his perspective on life and led him to explore the deeper aspects of healing and consciousness.
Spiritual Journey and The Toltec Teachings
After his epiphany, Ruiz began an intensive exploration of his ancestral traditions, delving into the ancient Toltec wisdom that had been part of his family’s heritage. The Toltecs were known not as a race or nation but as a group of scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. Ruiz apprenticed himself to a shaman, and this marked the beginning of his spiritual journey.
The Toltecs, an ancient Mesoamerican culture, have a rich and complex history that has significantly influenced the cultural and spiritual landscape of modern Mexico and beyond. Their civilization, known for its sophisticated art, architecture, and profound spiritual and philosophical contributions, flourished in what is now central Mexico between the 10th and 12th centuries CE.
The origins of the Toltec civilization are shrouded in a mix of historical facts and mythological narratives. They are believed to have emerged as a distinct culture in the early 10th century, following the collapse of the great city of Teotihuacan, which had been a significant cultural and religious center in Mesoamerica. The Toltecs established their capital at Tula, known also as Tollan, which is often identified with the archaeological site of Tula in the present-day state of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Toltec Cultural and Architectural Achievements
Toltec society was highly advanced in various domains, including architecture, art, and craftsmanship. They are renowned for their colossal stone sculptures, particularly the Atlantean figures—massive stone warriors adorning the Temple of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. Their architectural style and urban planning were influential, characterized by pyramid structures, ball courts, and palatial complexes, indicating a society with a strong emphasis on ceremonial and political activities.
Artistically, the Toltecs were known for their intricate metalwork, pottery, and featherwork, showcasing a high degree of craftsmanship and aesthetic refinement. Their artistic influence was widespread, extending to other Mesoamerican cultures, including the Maya and the Aztecs, who revered the Toltecs as master builders and artists.
Spiritual and Philosophical Legacy
The Toltecs are perhaps most famously known for their spiritual and philosophical contributions. They developed a complex religious system that blended elements of their predecessors with their innovative ideas. Their spiritual beliefs were polytheistic, worshipping a pantheon of gods, with a particular emphasis on Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent deity, who was a central figure in their cosmology and later adopted by other Mesoamerican cultures.
The Toltec philosophy, as passed down through oral traditions and later interpretations, emphasized personal development and the pursuit of knowledge. They believed in living a life guided by principles such as balance, respect, and personal integrity. These teachings have been popularized in modern times through works like those of Don Miguel Ruiz, who draws upon the Toltec wisdom to offer guidance for personal growth and self-awareness.
The Decline and Legacy Of The Toltecs
The decline of the Toltec civilization began in the 12th century, likely due to a combination of internal strife, environmental changes, and external pressures. By the end of the 12th century, their political and cultural influence had waned, and their cities were abandoned. However, their legacy lived on, particularly in the way later civilizations like the Aztecs revered them as cultural and spiritual forebears.
The Toltecs’ influence on Mesoamerican culture is undeniable. Their artistic and architectural styles, religious beliefs, and philosophical ideas were adopted and adapted by subsequent civilizations, leaving an enduring mark on the cultural tapestry of the region. Today, the Toltecs continue to be celebrated for their contributions to art, architecture, and spiritual thought, and their legacy is a subject of both scholarly study and popular interest, particularly in the context of indigenous wisdom and heritage.
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz’s most famous work, “The Four Agreements,” was published in 1997 and has since become a global bestseller. The book condenses Toltec wisdom into four practical principles that one can apply to their life for personal freedom and true happiness. These agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity and say only what you mean.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want.
4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment.
These principles have resonated with millions worldwide, offering a simple yet profound framework for living a life of authenticity, love, and peace.
Later Works and Legacy
Following the success of “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz authored several other books, including “The Mastery of Love,” “The Voice of Knowledge,” and “The Fifth Agreement,” which he co-authored with his son, Don José Ruiz. Each of these works expands on his initial teachings, offering deeper insights into the path of spiritual and personal growth.
Ruiz’s work has had a significant impact on the fields of personal development and spiritual growth. His approach combines the wisdom of ancient Toltec teachings with modern insights, making it accessible and relevant to a wide audience. He has been instrumental in bringing the spiritual wisdom of the ancient Toltecs to the modern world, bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and contemporary life challenges.
Personal Philosophy and Influence
Don Miguel Ruiz’s philosophy centers around the idea that personal suffering and limitations are self-imposed and that we can choose to live a life of freedom and happiness by adopting a new perspective. His teachings emphasize self-awareness, the power of belief, and the ability to change one’s personal reality through conscious choice.
Ruiz’s influence extends beyond his written works. He is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader, guiding individuals in their journey towards personal freedom, love, and happiness. His message of love, forgiveness, and truth has inspired countless individuals to transform their lives.
In summary, Don Miguel Ruiz’s life and work represent a bridge between ancient wisdom and modern understanding. His teachings, rooted in Toltec wisdom, offer a universal message of love, freedom, and personal empowerment, making him one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time.