Heart and Soul Healing

A women's health physician explores avenues to greater wellness.

The Four Agreements

Finding one's own integrity, self-love, and peace

In his best-selling book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz discusses some basic self-limiting beliefs that deprive us of joy and create unnecessary suffering. The book is based on ancient wisdom of the Toltecs – a group of people known throughout Southern Mexico as “women and men of knowledge”.

The Four Agreements proposes an insightful code of conduct that I believe can work to help us change our lives and experience freedom, happiness and love in many ways.  An especially important aspect of the book is that when faced with stress, problems, and difficult situations, the way that we react is based on our attitudes, and ourselves, not anyone else.  Ultimately, The Four Agreements is about finding one's own integrity, self-love, and peace by way of releasing oneself from responsibility for the woes of others.

Born into a family of healers, The Four Agreements author Don Miguel Ruiz was expected by his parents to embrace their legacy of healing and teaching.  Ruiz instead made the decision to go to medical school and become a surgeon.  After a brush with death changed his life, he experienced a newfound passion in exploring self-inquiry and dedicated his life to spreading the knowledge of the ancient Toltec.

In The Four Agreements, Ruiz encourages readers to abide by the following:

  • 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.
  • Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  • Don't Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  • Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

The book has been featured on the Oprah show, and sold over 4 million copies since its publication in 1997.  I’ve found that people who have read and followed the Agreements find that they gain the capacity to be more compassionate and forgiving, and are able to progress towards a healthier mental state.   To purchase a copy of the book or to learn more about Don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements, visit his official website at: http://www.miguelruiz.com/.

Marilyn Mitchell, M.D., works in integrative medicine.

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