It’s fair to say that I don’t get nearly as much time to read as I once did. A combination of commercial writing and reading my tutoring students’ books to assist them with their school work means I end up selecting things off a reading pile not of my own choosing.
However, every so often a gap in my schedule opens and I find a chance to read something I’ve had my eye on. Recently I read a little book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – and I am very glad I did.
I don’t usually review books by other authors – it’s a bit like one plumber rating the work of another plumber – but the subject material in The Four Agreements made me pause and think about some of the philosophies it contains.
The book, based on the ancient wisdom of the Toltec people of central Mexico, puts forward the idea that we all operate off our own personal Book of Law that is formed from the agreements we make through what we are taught. Many of these agreements are instilled in us before we are old enough to make an informed choice and are reinforced by either reward or punishment. However, much of what we have in our minds – those ideas, believes, values and opinions we may hold so dear – may neither be true nor be helpful for living a balanced and happy life.
Ruiz extols the virtues of shedding our personal Book of Law and replacing it with just four agreements. These are:
Of course there is slightly more to say about each of these agreements and the philosophy in general, but what struck me is that in the simplicity of these agreements there is much to admire.
We all could do with speaking to ourselves in a kinder way than we do. We would all be a lot happier if we took offense less and stopped worrying so much about what others think. As a fan of knowing the perils of unrealistic expectations, the idea of not making assumptions is sound. And, the fact that your best changes depending on your situation is also quite freeing since we often beat ourselves up for not managing things as well as we used to or as well as we think we should.
All in all, I found The Four Agreements to be most thought-provoking – and definitely worth a read.
Coming soon. . .