OK, we're off and running here! Last week I committed to blogging over the next four weeks about an amazing book I'm slowly savoring and reflecting upon.
It's called The Four Agreements, written by Don Miguel Ruiz. And if you have sharp eyes you'll notice the picture of the book is from the nice people at Amazon.com (thanks, everyone!) This book was written about 15 years ago, but the wisdom it contains goes back thousands of years. The knowledge comes from the Toltec people, stemming back to southern Mexico. It's not a religion, but it does honor all spiritual masters who have taught on Earth.
Ruiz explains that dreaming is the main function of our minds, and our minds dream 24/7. The difference is when we are awake "...there is a material frame that makes us perceive things in a linear way. When we go to sleep we do not have the frame, and the dream has the tendency to change constantly."
Wow, that's profound! I never thought we're actually dreaming while awake too (except for day dreaming). No wonder our dreams when asleep can be so wacky and random, only making sense in their moment. Once we're awake - poof - they're mostly gone.
Simple and profound - this is the exquisite content within this book. I find it both very challenging and relaxing to read and contemplate, and much of it I will need to read several times through - joyously - to truly attempt to understand. Don't get me wrong - the language is easy to read and the tone is like firm love.
He calls what society teaches us "human domestication." We didn't choose to speak our native tongue when we were growing up, we didn't choose our religion - we didn't even choose our own name! What happens during this process is we "...form an image of what perfection is in order to try to be good enough. We create an image of how we should be in order to be accepted by everybody...like Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters, the priests and the teacher. Trying to be good enough for them, we create an image of perfection, but we don't fit this image. We create this image, but this image is not real. We are never going to be perfect from this point of view. Never! Not being perfect, we reject ourselves. And the level of self-rejection depends upon how effective the adults were in breaking our integrity."
He talks about abuse...how much we judge and abuse ourselves for our mistakes. In relationships, if we are with someone who abuses us more than we abuse ourselves we will likely walk away from that person. But if we are with someone who abuses us just a bit less than we abuse ourselves, we will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.
So here is the first agreement and my (gloriously imperfect) ramblings about it:
Be Impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Through our word we express our creative power...through it we manifest everything. Our word is a double-edged sword...we can create beauty with it or destroy everything around us.
What does impeccable mean here? It means we take responsibility for our actions but we do not judge or blame ourselves.
Wow. That's huge. *Raises hand*...I am likely the queen of self-blame and self-criticism. Only in the past, most recent decade of my life, thanks to an amazing therapist, was this pointed out to me...reflected back in my face like a giant mirror, on how badly I beat myself up over everything I do that falls short of perfection. Rather, we are human and gloriously flawed. Breathe, breathe....strive for EXCELLENCE, not perfection. This is the relatively new internal message I've worked so hard to incorporate into my core being, swimming upstream against decades more of habit and DNA. Oy. It's a journey, not a quick fix.
Ruiz goes on to discuss gossip and how mainstream it is for us as a communication vehicle - and how poisonous it is, like a computer virus within our minds. How many times have we gossiped about the person we love the most to gain support from others for our point of view? Reality check: your opinion is your point of view. Doesn't mean it's true...rather it comes from your own belief, your own ego, your own dream.
How fertile are our minds for negative ideas and "spells" people put upon us? If we are impeccable with our word our minds become only fertile for words that come from love. And how we feel about ourselves - how much we love ourselves - is directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of our word.
So this is the first of four new 'seeds' planted in my (fertile) mind. How impeccable am I with my word right now? How often do I tell myself how wonderful and great I am? Do I speak (and write) the truth in everything I do? I've been called "honest to a fault" by some, and I actually take that as a huge compliment. How many white lies do we tell every day? To others? To ourselves? Yeah, I love gossip as much as the next person, but I wouldn't label myself as gossip-y. My goal this past week and going forward is to always say what I mean and mean what I say, both speaking and in writing. And to not beat myself up if I am not perfect.
I feel happy and alive on this journey...waves of goodness wash all around me and inside me too. Is this some sort of cleansing? I'm not questioning it one bit; just loving every second of this new "work."
Next week's Second Agreement post: Don't take things personally. This one's gonna be a doozy in so many ways.