The Toltec and the Four Agreements
southern Mexico as “women and men of knowledge.” Anthropologists have
spoken of the Toltec as a nation or a race, but, in fact, the Toltec were scientists
and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual
knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together as masters
(naguals) and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside
Mexico City known as the place where “Man Becomes God.”
and maintain its existence in obscurity. European conquest, coupled with
rampant misuse of personal power by a few of the apprentices, made it
necessary to shield the knowledge from those who were not prepared to use it
wisely or who might intentionally misuse it for personal gain.
through generations by different lineages of naguals. Though it remained veiled
in secrecy for hundreds of years, ancient prophecies foretold the coming of an
age when it would be necessary to return the wisdom to the people. Now, don
Miguel Ruiz, a nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage, has been guided to share
with us the powerful teachings of the Toltec.
sacred esoteric traditions found around the world. Though it is not a religion, it
honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth. While it does
embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished
by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.
The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word. In a sense, social constructivists are correct about words creating reality. We act on what we tell ourselves is real. Albert Ellis encouraged us to screen our self-talk for negative, irrational chatter. So, what kinds of words to you use when you describe reality? Do you lie and say hurtful and poisonous things about yourself and others? Not healthy! To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful and to say things that have a positive influence on yourself and others.
2. Don’t take anything personally. The first agreement suggests that we avoid treating others hurtfully. The second agreement provides us with a way of dealing with potentially hurtful treatment from others. Because each person sees the world in a unique way, the way that others treat us says as much about them as it does about us. To not take anything personally is to acknowledge the unique identities of other people. We respect their subjective realities, realizing that their views do not necessarily describe us accurately.
3. Don’t make assumptions. Assuming that you know what other people are thinking or feeling about you is a limiting thought that Aaron Beck called Mind Reading. Obviously, none of us can read minds. When we try to engage in mind reading we will often be wrong, leading to undesirable consequences. The antidote to mind reading is to ask for evidence before concluding what people are thinking.
4. Always do your best. One obvious reason for doing your best is that we cannot achieve our goals by being lazy. If you do your best, not only are you are more likely to achieve goals, but you will also avoid criticism from what Ruiz calls your internal Judge. There are also more subtle issues about doing “your best.” One is that you should not try to do better than your best. Pushing yourself too hard can cause pain, injury, and mistakes. More subtle still is the recognition that our “best” will vary from moment to moment, that, in a sense, you are always doing your best. Realize this, and your inner Judge can take a permanent vacation.