The Four Agreements Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Don Miguel Ruiz has dedicated his life to sharing the wisdom of the ancient Toltec. For more than two decades, he has guided others toward their personal freedom. Today, he continues to combine his unique blend of ancient wisdom and modern-day awareness through journeys to sacred sites around the world.
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|Listening Length||2 hours and 31 minutes|
|Author||don Miguel Ruiz|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 27, 2005|
|Publisher||Amber Allen Publishing Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #50 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Spiritual Self-Help (Books)
#1 in Other Religions, Practices & Sacred Texts (Audible Books & Originals)
#4 in Happiness Self-Help
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2019
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1. I can’t blame my parents for how they raised me. That’s what they were taught by their parents and the environment around them.
2. I am responsible for my own thoughts, emotions and actions. No one can force me to do anything unless I choose to .
3. People’s perspectives are based on their own experiences. I don’t have to react to them since they are not mine.
4. It’s possible to be authentic with yourself and others.
Once I began the chapter on the First Agreement, I found myself resting my eyes on phrases, sentences, and truths that just stood out from the page with child-like simplicity and tremendous depth. As I started to unpack what I was learning, I cried some good tears. This happened over and over, like the wounds in my soul were beginning to heal. They were healing through my active attention and I learned how to speak to myself without being judgmental. I thought I already knew how to do this through meditation and therapy, but this book uncovers something for me that I just can't explain.
I don't want to give away too much of this book, because the way everything is explained is so brilliant and builds in layers. The way it is told is important. You can feel the kind and loving intent within every word. This book is very easy to read and understand; you really don't need advanced philosophy to move mountains of the mind.
I feel like Don Miguel Ruiz is right next to me, gently and lovingly help me to see the real beauty in me, the real beauty in the universe and how we are all connected. It has the same force of an elder looking you in the eyes and telling you truths that come from years and years of contemplation, experience and wisdom. The best part is that I'm learning how to be me, really me. I'm learning how to love me, not things *about* me, but the real me way down inside that doesn't have to puff up or put up guards. I'm learning to be vulnerable and relate to others with far less fear and self-doubt. What a gift. What a treasure.
There is a huge tradition of skepticism in linguistics, especially about how language is used in various cultures to create belief systems. A belief system is basically a set of instructions inside your brain based on language. These instructions help you navigate the stressful world around you so you can survive. We are psychologically wired to think our belief systems are accurate and experience deep stress if we find them to be inaccurate.
The trouble is, our belief systems are ALWAYS inaccurate. Yes, I used the word "always" for a reason.
Without going deeply into the study of philosophy and linguistics, I will give you an overview here:
Philosophy - When you study philosophy, you study belief systems about how the world works and explore important questions like "is there a God?" or "What is consciousness." You may not be surprised to find out that philosophy majors have not come up with answers to these questions because there is always a case where we are going to be wrong or have a counter argument. Much of the study of philosophy is the collection of vocabulary words to describe beliefs. They even have a mathematical component called propositional logic, where one takes sentences and reduces them to symbols and creates "proofs" but even prop-logic is under fire from academics for its complete inability to predict anything. In other words, it isn't the answer either.
Linguistics - When you study words and language, you realize that all our beliefs are based on language and this language can never "touch reality" in that language is just an arbitrary description of reality, posing as real. I believe Miguel Ruiz must have taken a linguistics course as well--as his first agreement attests to the power of language. The four agreements pulls heavily from Saussure and Derrida. Both Saussure and Derrida (and many, many others) did work on how we form ideas in our heads based on language. The gist is this: we have something called a "symbol" in our brain which is composed of two parts: the word and the visual representation of the object (look up semiotics for further detail). These symbols are in our mind and work together to form meaning, then belief. The unfortunate thing is that they are entirely made up. It isn't real. Our ideas of it aren't real.
If you really want a deeper understanding on how linguistics has saturated our belief systems I recommend reading some of their academic essays or get Rivkin and Ryan's literary theory books. They are excellent and will take you further down the rabbit hole. Most of the essays are dense but worth the effort!
To simplify: scientists and academics in the millions have tried and tried and tried to find "the true belief" for thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years and we have not yet arrived at any truth. Because of domestication, we think other people have it, but they don't! "Truth" is defined as that which has the most predictive power. So far, mathematics, geometry, and physics has the most predictive power. Our belief systems simply do not.
So any beliefs about yourself can be true and they can also be false. We can't know. So why not pick something positive? If no one knows anything, then how can you even know anything?
But you don't need to study this yourself. All you have to do is think back to your past self, let's say ten years ago. Did that person have a belief system that you now consider to be faulty? How is that possible? What about your future self? Will that person believe you have a faulty belief system? Probably! How is this possible? How can you be SO WRONG? Is it because you "haven't learned?" I highly doubt it!
But we have to be right! We ARE RIGHT! At least we think we might be . . . maybe?
The need to be right is so ingrained within us that we create a huge drama when someone contradicts our beliefs. We end relationships over it! We storm out! We write angry twitter updates.
HOW THIS BOOK HAS PERSONALLY HELPED ME:
- No one person's opinion will ever again have the power to limit what I can do, even if this person is an authority figure
- No one group's opinion will ever again have the power to limit what I can do
- No one has a clear idea of who or what I am, not even me!
- When people talk, they are telling stories. I don't have to argue. I don't have to fight. I simply have to listen. WOW!
- I cannot comprehend another person's dream. I can't mind read. I can't assume. I know nothing of their inner workings.
- Even scary, aggressive people are just telling stories.
- I no longer have to feel ashamed about who I am or what I've done or where I'm going. It's not my job to assign a story to my life, or a judgment.
- I no longer have to pretend to be something or hustle to gain love. I just need to love who is willing to love back. It's so simple.
- I take all gurus, religions, indictments and gossip with quite a high level of benevolent skepticism, which allows me to be free from the fear that goes along with these stories.
- I don't take myself as seriously as I used to.
Probably the most valuable of all . . .
- I have a deep compassion for all people. We are all just stuck here together, trying our hardest and doing our best. I don't have to hate someone because their best wasn't up to some story I tell myself. I don't' have to insist they believe in my story. I can just smile and listen and do what I can.
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2019
Top reviews from other countries
Luh, I sums it up fer ya and saves ya a buck. Watch yer gob, don't be crooked when the b'ys are going on bout ya and you'll be best kind.
Toltec wisdom... Oh me nerves, he got me drove.
Not fit fer reading. I gives er 1 out of 5 cod fish.
Page 20, stated by Miguel Guiz: “In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you abused yourself”
I am speechless and shedding silent tears. For this is absolutely true!
For a very long term ever since my journey in the field of medicine began I have been trying to acquire a way to liberate myself from the hell the whole industry casts upon its service providers should they not measure up to what’s needed at any point——I wanted to liberate myself from that hell for probably a decade or more. I wanted a hard-boiled answer for the reason behind why, as doctors, we should be denied compassion and consideration in the process of becoming an expert. Why? This book gave me the answer and I can honestly say, I have found it!
I wanted to know why, if this is what I will doing for a while now, I would need to brave for the rest of life through a career that is forever hinged against people who are ever ready to curse these very doctors at the slightest unintended mishap. This includes teachers and professors who don’t ever mind using terse, objective language to teach the students. Whatever happened to compassion?????
I wanted to know how, just how I could, by any means match the whole process of being a doctor to my personality of being a silent, calm-minded, compassionate, creative individual who above all, really cares about peace. I was seeking liberation from this maze forever and ever, and Miguel answered it very handsomely! The agreements that bully my mind are right here (pointing to my head). So to repeat his revelatory words:
Page 20, stated by Miguel Guiz: “In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you abused yourself”
A personal story to explain how this book helped me. To be honest, it beautifully liberated me from a personal life issue and so many others!!! Putting this story up in public is a way of overriding the 'shame-whisper' that's right me urging me back from typing. If you want to dearly understand how this book helped me you have to read this story I am writing:
My Story--> I am an Ophthalmologist. In Ophthalmology, while doing Cataract Surgery, we are required to carefully extract the cataract out and then assess if the posterior capsule of the cataracts lens is intact and thereafter proceed towards placing a human-made Lens over it. If the capsule is damaged, you are in trouble, you can't place the lens over it. This is a skill which takes every surgeon lot and lot of time to learn---months, years...I recall making a rent in the posterior capsule in a patient recently. Accidentally. In the process of making it, I had not noticed that I had made it but when I did, my teacher yelled at me like crazy inside the operation theatre right there in front of the patient and others. This, I disagree with. Why? Not because I shouldn't be told where I am wrong but because a rent, which is often inevitable no matter how much experience you gain, is supposed to be learnt to handle as much as otherwise (which of course doesn't mention that you rent away at will!!). Second reason, the patient's ears are wide open and he can sense disturbances in the words spoken by the surgeons swarming around him----by no means should the patient be allowed to understand that a problem has happened else he will agitate and grow apprehensive for the life of his delicate organ. Third reason--> The problem can be handled in various ways and there are actual tutorials on that and it is very possible to recover from it by following one or the other of those ways. And, fourth reason--> This reason I saved for the last and yet I think it is pertinent for a teacher to not reject a beginner in the skill for an error she had only noticed a little late---> rejecting someone solves nothing, :) that's why. It's just an emotional outburst that is serving no one---> not the patient, not me (because I could freeze the urge to learn further simply because I am being berated so harshly when on the whole I REALLY was trying my best), not even the yeller------> yelling, raises bad hormones (cortisol, Adrenaline), tenses the muscles, robs one off peace. It is doing no good to the deliverer. Ignorance, hell!
But, needless to say, I kept ruminating about it for days—this happens to be the very bad-habit that allows me to write well. But look at the amount of suffering it causes in the process!
As Miguel Ruiz imparts wisdom of the Toltec, he states that there was once a man who lived in a cave who suddenly woke up from a dream, one day, to take a serious look at his hands and feet, to come to a strange realisation——that we are all made up of stars and light——the exact same thing—only on the surface we are different. This usher of clairvoyance enabled him to operate forever thereafter from a very different standpoint, all the time——that is he saw himself in everything and everyone, everywhere! In that he attained personal liberation. Miguel explains that if this is possible for one man, what currently rests in the world is a dream-world. And honestly, dear friends, in the midst of AUM chanting which I do everyday, I discovered that we really are locked in a waking dream. The focus around "what I like" and "what I dislike" creates a separation-oriented dream world---when reality is we are all one and the same. Even the concept of ourselves as who we have defined ourselves is a concept——it is as much a reverberating bleep as is every other thought. Essentially, as Miguel says, we are operating from the way we were domesticated (that’s the word he uses) as a child——when we were branded with “what is good” and “what is bad”, so that by and by we learnt to push aside our natural tendencies and become one of the crowd. By adulthood, we are absolutely unrecognisable from what we original came here as!
These inner domestication code of ethics that we operate form serve to demonise our experience of life all the life——anytime we stray from it, we punish ourselves——it may not even be visible to outsiders.
Now how this book came to help me nullify the memory of my issue at work, is through two of his statements:
According to Miguel Ruiz,
“Not being perfect, we reject ourselves, And the level of self-rejection depends upon how effective the adults were in breaking our integrity. After domestication it is no longer about being good enough for anybody else. We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our own image of perfection. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being what we wish to be, or rather what we believe we should be. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being perfect.”
So, I was clinging onto a code of ethics of how I-MUST-BE to be a good-person at work. In doing so, a mistake, even if unintended and accidental is like a baton being dug into the tissues of my brains!
“We judge others according to our image of perfection as well, an naturally fall short of our expectations.”
I was judging my ma’am. You may have felt it when you read my description of my personal issue. But then am I not living the exact same dreamscape as herself?!
The solution, as described in the book, is seeing things for what they are. Fullstop.
Another line from his book which completely transformed me ever since I read it and began applying it is:
“ Taking everything personally is an expression of the maximum form of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me””
I am often cursed for preferring silence and solitude as opposed to social circles (I prefer being an introvert). I began applying this line and I actually felt liberated despite the recent scorns of introversion from close circles. Wow!
There is so much more this book taught me, but I refuse to state more because that would take away the delight of reading it.
Oh and one more! One of his teachings revolve around doing work such for the sake of doing. When you do it that way, you experience liberation. So if I am promoting my book, if I am doing it for the mere pleasure of promoting, there you go, I experience liberation! Because the process itself is becoming more joyous now---reaching out to people who genuinely care about books, coming to think of it I actually love it! The more I think this way, the more I enjoy the process and I actually forget the outcome when I am enjoying the process!
If I am doing it for a reward, it is crushing to watch anybody refuse at my request!
I had to share this because these personal examples of transformation as a result of Miguel’s book will show you just how much it is opening doorways into liberation for me!
Trust me, ultimately, all of us want one thing—liberation!
We really don’t need the other things!
these books should be taught in childhood!
I recommend this book for everybody---I promise you these four agreements if applied will liberate you!
If you want a clearer view of how and why are what we are, I’d sooner recommend Robert Sapolsky’s ‘Behaviour’, or ‘Flow’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, or even ‘The Red Queen’ by Matt Ridley. And if you want a truly transformative practical philosophy of life, then I’d recommend ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’ by Stephen Batchelor, or ‘Minset’ by Carol Dweck. Real, practical books with depth, coherent philosophies, and a realistic appraisal of what it means to be human and what we can do about it.
I will say, however, that The Four Agreements within the book themselves, while simple, are worth adhering to. But save yourself the money and here they are:
1) Be Impeccable With Your Word
2) Don't Take Anything Personally
3) Don't Make Assumptions
4) Always Do Your Best
Now you can invest your time and money in a better book.