30 Minutes - The Four Agreements Toltec Wisdom Collection

Hi. It's Joe.

I first read "The Four Agreements" in late 2008, when I was very unhappy with my job because of a very negative boss that I had at the time. Because of my stress, I sought some stress counseling and found a very excellent psychologist who helped me to see a lot of good things about myself. She brought out my true strengths and ambitions that had for about five (5) years been stifled and crushed by others. I would say her help probably saved me from soul-death and made me "fire" my boss and pursue my true dreams and ambitions (as I am doing right now...).

During the course of our sessions, she encouraged me to get and read "The Four Agreements." So I went to the library and got it and read it. It was a fast read, and I thought it was fairly kickass.

I'm not going to get into the meat and potatoes of the actual Four Agreements contained in the book and what they are all about. I just want to focus on the first and, according to the author, Don Miguel Ruiz, most important of the Agreements: "Be impeccable with your speech."

It basically says always speak accurately, faultlessly, truthfully and honestly to the best of your ability, and if necessary, don't speak at all in order to remain impeccable with your speech (basically, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all).

That is to say, when you speak, speak flawlessly. That is not to say speak perfectly, but rather to allow no poisonous, negative things to corrupt your speech, such as insults, false accusations, bearing false witness, rumors, lies, and the like.

These kinds of things spread poison in the world and create a "hell on earth." One person says a poisonous thing, then another person reacts to it with poison, or spreads the poison to others. The human dream becomes a poisoned nightmare over time. But if you are impeccable with your speech, you do not spread poison and you are immune to poison. Then you can create your own "heaven on earth." You can begin to achieve your full human potential, with your soul intact, rather than weakened or killed by the poison of un-impeccable speech.

I write about this today because recently I've observed first hand some of the poisonous consequences of people NOT being impeccable with their speech, and just like the Toltec wisdom book says, it rapidly poisons human beings who engage in it. I am also observing, as we speak, the beneficial effects on my life of trying to abide by the Four Agreements. I am well on my way to building my own personal "heaven on earth."

I won't go into the gory details, but when people say things based on false information and half-truths, just to bring other people down and make their own life better, it has the opposite effect - especially when the person being targeted with the poison (in this case me) IS impeccable with their speech and is therefore immune to the poison.

Then, the poison turns on the person spreading it and poisons them instead. I watched this happen, literally "by the book," with amazing speed. It made quite an impact on me. As soon as I saw it happening, I turned on the Four Agreements in my mind and let them form a shield around me. It worked.

The person spreading the poisonous speech is now much worse off than they were before. Explain it however you want to, but this person has now lost friends (including a potential girlfriend), credibility, and in a few months they will even, by their own free will, lose their current place of residence and willfully put themselves through the upheaval of finding a new place to live, all because of a non-adherence to one of the Four Agreements (impeccable speech).

And none of this was in any way CAUSED by me. So you be the judge. Did the Four Agreements come through? All I did was be impeccable with my speech. Everything else unfolded just as the Four Agreements described that it would. It's quite cool, actually.

I encouraged my GF to read this book because I care about her and I want her to remain un-poisoned by what we refer to as "drama." The Four Agreements make a person "drama-proof." And the great thing about them is that they are a personal frame of wisdom. You implement them on yourself and the universe kind of re-arranges itself around you, irrespective of other people. You don't try to impose the Four Agreements on others (I only recommended it to Tracy). Everyone has to choose whether they want heaven or hell on earth for themselves. You can have heaven even while those around you have hell. Just look at all the unhappy miserable people in the world.

If you examine them closely, you will see they are spreading poison in their own way, by violating one or more of the Four Agreements. "Be impeccable with your speech" is the main one people violate, because of fear and hate.

Because I read this book of wisdom, I don't succumb to the poison by being un-impeccable with my speech. The temptation is always there to react with more poison, to fight fire with fire. But impeccability of speech is untarnishable. That's not really a word, untarnishable, but you get my point.

Another of the Four Agreements is "never take anything personally," also frequently violated by people because of insecurity with themselves. This Agreement is kind of like a FORCEFIELD of protection against un-impeccable speech by others (insults and accusations and rumors and innuendo, for example). It works hand in hand with being impeccable with your speech. If you take things personally, it poisons you and makes you more likely to lose your cool and resort to un-impeccable speech.

Of course, this also ties into another of the Agreements, "Always do your best." If you always do your best, then it is much harder for poisoned people to say things that you take personally. If you are secure in yourself and you are always doing your best, you lose the insecurity that makes you vulnerable to the poison. No one is perfect, but if you know you did your best, your actions are unimpeachable (that is the word I was looking for earlier when I said "untarnishable," but I am not going to go back and fix it).

Just for completeness, the last Agreement is "Don't make assumptions." We actually have a close approximation in American society - It makes an "ass of u and me." In other words, know the facts before you say something that makes an ass of you (see, we come right back to impeccable speech...they are all linked together).

So anyway, I thought the Four Agreements book was good stuff.

It really infuriates the poisoned when they can't poison your mind and get you to violate the Four Agreements. It's like being immune to Zombies. The Four Agreements has given me this immunity, in large measure. They kind of follow me around all the time (not zombies, the Agreements...).

The sad thing is that the poisoned are living in their own personal hell and will probably die unhappy someday. The hopeful thing is that anyone, even the poisoned, can choose to undo the damage of the poison and achieve personal heaven just by adopting and following the Four Agreements.

It's not really mutually exclusive with any other belief system or religious teaching. It's all common sense stuff. Who doesn't want to speak impeccably, do their best, make no assumptions, and take nothing personally? Such people are viewed as leaders and teachers.

I totally don't expect anyone to believe a word I say, or to buy the book and read it. All I can say is that it was recommended to me by a counselor that I trust and it impacted me strongly, and for whatever reason it seems to be applicable to my life.

My life is better (indeed awesome) than it has ever been. Can I attribute that to this book? Of course not. There is no scientific evidence that the Four Agreements had anything to do with my happiness and relative success in life.

But I feel free and un-poisoned by the artificial dream of lost humanity, and I wish more people would read this short excellent book if it will make humanity better and make more people as un-poisoned as I am.


Sherry said...

Wow, excellent entry today! I own this book and read it for the first time several years ago. After reading your blog, I feel the need to pull it back out and revisit it!

Thanks for complimenting Todd and me for being "impeccable with our speech". Now, I know exactly what you mean and I'm honored!

Joe L. said...

Yes. People who are impeccable with their speech can achieve great things, as you and Todd will. It is the poison of flawed speech that keeps people trapped in personal hells.

Amy Cate said...

Well written Joe. I read this book years ago and what I loved about it, was the simplicity of the ideas it presented. The Four Agreements are very easy to understand and easy to follow. I am glad that things have turned out well for you. Amy Cate

Joe L. said...

Thanks Amy Cate. I like that the 4 Agreements are not mutually exclusive with other beliefs.

Dieter Pauwels said...

I would recommend this book to everyone. Thank you for sharing the true wisdom of this book with all your readers. The Four Agreements advocates personal freedom from erroneous beliefs that we have made with ourselves that are creating limitation and unhappiness in our lives. Ultimately, this book is about finding one's own integrity, inner peace and a deeper sense of personal fulfillment. Get your copy today!