The Four Agreements - Book Review
It is well known that the gut and the brain are in continual contact with one another. What the brain thinks affects how the stomach and colon operate. If we think terrible thoughts and become overwrought our entire system can respond. We often get “butterflies” in our stomach, or the colon begins to cramp up when we respond to thoughts that cause us to feel nervous or afraid. Frayed nerves can also affect bladder function. So why are Americans in so much turmoil? Why do we have more stomach issues than any other country? Why are we so stressed out? The answers are beautifully laid out in this book of tranquility: The Four Agreements.
When I first opened this small, unassuming hardcover with the colorful satin finish dust cover, I was greeted with a summary of the actual four agreements on the inside flap. They are: Be Impeccable With Your Word; Don’t Take Anything Personally; Don’t Make Assumptions; and Always Do Your Best. My initial response was, “Oh, great more stress! These agreements are giving me even more rules to follow and ways to fail. How is this going to help?”
But as I began reading the ways of Toltec Wisdom, my worries instantly gave way to surrender. These weren’t new rules to follow at all, they were giving me permission to dump the old rules and allow myself to just be me. I learned that I didn’t have to live my life trying to please other people, because my bliss lies in being true to myself.
The first agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word teaches you to be aware of how you use your words. Ruiz writes, “…your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.” (p. 30) This one hits home on the impulse to share too much information. It helps define the difference between being clear with your communication and trying to sway someone else with your own dark thoughts.
The second agreement is, Don’t Take Anything Personally. This one is huge, because it teaches that other peoples’ words and actions have nothing to do with you because they are coming from someplace in the other persons’ own head, in their own “dream.” The author expounds, “Someone can intentionally send you emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it.” (p. 66) In this way, you get to see other peoples words as some kind of bad food, or energy that you can choose not to consume.
The third agreement, Don’t Make Assumptions really brings you to realize how often you do make assumptions. Ruiz states, “The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are truth.” (p. 69) How many times have you assumed something awful was true and got all twisted up over it only to find out it was all in your head? Chances are, too many!
The fourth and final agreement, Always Do Your Best at first appeared to be the most difficult. But as I read, “…keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next,” (p.83-4) I felt instantly lighter. Your best one day may or may not carry over to the next, and that’s okay. Your overall best does not need to be your own personal set standard.
This book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is like a soothing vacation for the mind and soul – one to be lived each and every day. I recommend it to everyone, especially those with nervous GI Tract conditions. If you forget and fall back into old negative patterns, just pick it up and you will be refreshed with a lovely reminder.
You can purchase The Four Agreements by clicking on the link below:
Buy The Four Agreements
*Please know that I am not a medical doctor or a health practitioner. I cannot diagnose your stomach problems nor can I guarantee a cure. I am here to share my knowledge, which applications have worked for me and to offer suggestions of where you may go physically, emotionally and spiritually for healing and self-empowerment. If you choose to explore alternative medicine, do not independently stop taking your prescribed medications. Always consult with your current doctor as well as your new practitioner when changing your medical program.
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