How To Read The Four Agreements
I heard at a workshop: « I recommend to anyone who has changed careers to read the book The Four Agreements. Well, everyone should read it, period. We can use the fourth chord, Do Your Best, to encourage us to aspire positively. But this agreement also recognizes that « our best » varies from time to time, depending on our circumstances and our state of mind. The awareness of this fact leads to the realization that everything we do is our best moment, and this awareness can prevent us from having flags of ourselves if we are not up to an inappropriate level of perfection. Who should decide and judge what is « the greatest integrity »? In the vacuum of knowing who has the highest authority to decide what is right and what is not, there are certainly self-appointed experts who are all happy to intervene and impose their (self-imposed) authority. I read an article by a Queeren woman who said that people who are right now should not use the term « partner » because it should be only the domain of Queers/Lesbians/Gays. But there are people who have a « partner » and use the term because they are too « ripe » to call their lover a « friend » or « friend. » You didn`t steal the tongue… They are not trying to be disrespectful. Some people, like me, are not married, have never married, and they have a partner. I think if you read « The Four Accords » and other books by Don Miguel Ruiz (or mine!), you would find a lot of the same philosophy in the modern version of the Toltec tradition.
Agreements help to recognize where we hold these self-judgments and fears, and tradition provides tools to « become artists of our lives and make our lives a masterpiece of art. » The work is deep and painstaking. So if we read the definition of a word we didn`t know, we can immediately refer to it and create an association between word and feeling, or an understanding that we`ve always had — we just didn`t know that term yet. A classic that is arguably the busiest advice of modern times. The children screamed from the sidelines of every sporting event. Encouraging in the whispered ears in the critical moments of life. Always doing your best in this context means something else but. This fourth agreement binds the other three together. While life is hard and it is impossible to do everything right every time, it is important to do your best at all times.
Your best won`t be as good as tomorrow or maybe yesterday. At your best, if your drunk is probably not as good as your best sober. Your best if your fatigue is not as good as your best after a long night`s rest. One of the most important teachings of wisdom in the Toltec tradition is that we all dream — to dream of a unique vision and experience of the universe. It`s at the beginning of « The Four Accords, » and my experience is that a lot of people slip into that part and go to the chords.