Don Miguel Ruiz is known as a nagual, or shaman, of the Toltec tradition. The Toltec tradition is not a religion, but rather a way of life that embraces wisdom, love, and peace. In his short work The Four Agreements, Ruiz tries to teach his readers how to achieve personal freedom by mastering four simple yet challenging principles:
- Be Impeccable With Your Words
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
Through his teachings, Ruiz emphasizes the importance of making the right agreements with oneself. As put by Ruiz: “Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.”
Everything we do in life is based on the agreements we have made–agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the agreements that can make or break us are the ones make with ourselves. They help us define who we are, who to associate with, and how to behave, among hundreds of other actions. The Four Agreements details in four simple lessons how we can strive to achieve personal freedom by making only the most productive and freeing pacts with ourselves.
My Favorite Part: Don Miguel Ruiz is incredibly quotable. In each of his four teachings, the reader can take away quotes that summarize the lesson and leave a lasting impact on the minds of those people truly trying to change their lives and achieve personal freedom. Some examples include:
“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
“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.”
My Least Favorite Part: I think that Don Miguel Ruiz’ four agreements are excellent, and believe that following them can help us to achieve inner peace and freedom. With that being said, I think that following the agreements to the extent that Ruiz suggests may be idealistic. Despite this, striving to live by these agreements may be enough to reach our potential.
Joey’s Rating: 4 stars