I am a fan of Don Miguel Ruiz. We have followed the philosophy in his “Four Agreements” for many years. Today as a new year begins, it seems fitting to recommend his next book, The Fifth Agreement. The concept, according to Ruiz and his son Jose, is that everything we do is based on agreements we have made — agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, and with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. With these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. His idea of agreements corresponds to my notion of beliefs. Now he is adding an agreement that is dear to my heart. As an advocate of deep listening, this fifth agreement is right down my alley of beliefs. I am copying words written in the advertising promotion, which is a quick and easy way to review all five:
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 tired as opposed to well rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
BE SKEPTICAL, BUT LEARN TO LISTEN
Don’t believe yourself or anybody else. Use the power of doubt to question everything you hear: Is it really the truth? Listen to the intent behind the words, and you will understand the real message.
The Four Agreements slowly helps you to recover your authentic Self, and the real you starts to awaken. With The Fifth Agreement comes the complete acceptance of yourself just the way you are, and the complete acceptance of everybody else just the way they are. The reward is your eternal happiness. The Fifth Agreement is made with words, of course, but its meaning and intent is beyond the words. The Fifth Agreement is ultimately about seeing your whole reality with the eyes of truth, without words.
Make the Five Agreements your way of life — love yourself, enjoy life, and make your personal world a dream of heaven. And, by changing your world, you are changing the world.
As don Miguel says, “By practicing the Five Agreements, what you are really doing is respecting everything in creation. You are respecting your dream; you are respecting everybody else’s dream. If you use these tools, your effort is really for everyone, because your joy, your happiness, your peace, and your heaven are contagious. When you are happy, the people around you are happy too, and it inspires them to change their own world.”
This way of life is entirely possible, and it’s in your hands. The change begins with you. Why not start now?
My hope is that your 2010 will be the best ever and that you will make good use of anything that promotes your spiral of growth, including this new book, The Five Agreements.