The Only Wisdom You Need to Transform Your Life
When I first started writing, I began with one simple intention. That if I could alter and clarify what it means to be happy to just one person, then I have done a single good deed. And that is enough. Recently, I discovered a very powerful book called The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. It contains the distilled wisdom of the Toltecs from ancient Mesoamerica. In it lies the only four mantras you need to transform your life:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
What is your word? Your word is your language, your speech and your thoughts. With your word, you have the power to promote or demote the self as well as others. It is like magic, both white and black. The effect of white magic is spreading love and truth while the inverse, black magic, can corrupt the mind taking years to reverse. What is impeccability? The Latin roots translate to, “without sin,” and sinning is simply going against your values. So then how do we become impeccable with our word? We learn to love ourselves unconditionally; to love our bodies the way they are, to love our labors and their fruits, to live with our thoughts and to tame our emotions.
· When you stop rejecting yourself, you open yourself up to the benefits of white magic (positivity) and become resilient to the effects of black magic (negativity).
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
By never taking things personally, you become immune to the actions of others and their views of you. People’s words and actions are merely projections of themselves reflected in their own ‘dream’. If someone were to put a gun to your head, it would be the result of their own twisted dream and the subsequent life events they experienced.
· If you want to move with an unshakable poise knowing full well that nothing can hurt you — never take anything personally. Didn’t get the dream job you wanted? So be it, your worth is not defined by your job description anyways.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
“We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — we take it personally — then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word…all the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.”
Have you ever smiled or said hello to an attractive person, then quickly begun stringing up a fantasy about them. What would your children look like and who would you invite to the wedding? This is a baseless dream; you have no idea who this person is or what they are about. Or perhaps the person who piqued your interest hasn’t texted you for a while. You have no idea what’s going on in their world and forcing a response will do you no good. You’re in for a world of hurt if you continue planting seeds on infertile ground.
· When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.
· If you are unsure of what the parking attendant is murmuring or whether your loved one is having an affair with their sexy yoga instructor, why not just take the time to ask a clarifying question? It will pay dividends in the long-run.
4. Always Do Your Best
The final agreement is the sealant which glues the prior three and absolves you of self-judgement. By always striving to do your best, no more and no less, you avoid guilting and shaming yourself for being imperfect. We can aim to show ourselves self-love, try not to take things personally and avoid making assumptions but there are moments when we slip up. Know that it is in the endeavor that you will benefit and not in the expectation of a result.
Your best will differ when you are tired and when you are awake, when you are happy and when you are sad. But to exempt yourself from the stiff derision of criticism, just do your best. The best part about doing your best is that misusing the word, taking things personally and making assumptions will become weaker and less frequent with time.
· “Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything.”
Breaking Your Agreements
To kill the parasitic agreements in your mind, you must die. But how do we die? You accept that your life is a gift that can be taken away at any moment. Many people have had close encounters with death and from the ashes arose stronger and happier than ever before.
The angel of death comes to us and says, “You see everything that exists here is mine; it is not yours. Your house, your spouse, your children, your car, your career, your money — everything is mine and I can take it away when I want to, but for now you can use it.”
There is a great deal of solace in accepting that life is fleeting and death is certain. When we accept our inevitable ends, we begin to love every living moment we have. With all the clergy and all the conjecture, none of us have the power to see past this life. In this view, heaven and hell are not destinations for the afterlife; they are here and they are now. Choose which one you’d like to live in.
· “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”— John Milton
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Love Always, Maher
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