Book notes: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz book summary review and key ideas.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Synopsis:

“In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

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.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

This book came recommended from another friend who is also into personal development books. I had never heard of this book and when I looked it up, I was surprised by how many reviews it had, and the high average rating! I’ve been putting it off since it is a short listen, but this month is a perfect month to finally listen.

Key notes:

  • Everything is made of light, and everything that exists is one being
    • Light is the messenger of life because it is alive and contains all information
  • The man discovered that everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God
    • Everything is God
    • He came to the conclusion that human perception is merely light perceiving light
    • Matter is a mirror that reflects light and creates images of that light
  • Language is the code for understanding communication between humans
  • Every letter, every word in each language is an agreement
    • Once we understand the code, our attention is hooked and energy is transferred from one person to another 
  • To have faith is believe unconditionally
  • Growing up, we are conditioned to please others so we start acting
    • We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected
    • This comes from the fear of not being good enough
  • Eventually, we become something we are not
  • We become a copy of the beliefs of those around us, our family, society, and religion
  • There’s a part of us that judges everything around us based on our belief system
    • There’s another part of us that’s the victim and believes were not good enough, and the judge in us agrees
    • This is based on a belief system we never chose to believe
  • Even if our internal “book of law” is wrong, it makes us feel safe
    • Anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe
    • That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs
    • Even if we know we didn’t choose these beliefs, we know we agreed to them

Reader’s note: This idea of courage being necessary to challenge our beliefs goes into the idea of why it takes courage to truly LISTEN to someone who has different beliefs

  • The way religions depict hell is the same as this world
  • It is a place of punishment, fear, pain, and suffering
  • All of humanity is on an eternal search for truth, justice, and beauty because these don’t exist in our belief system
    • We keep searching when everything is already within us
  • We can’t see the truth because we are blind from all those false beliefs we have in our mind
  • Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express who we really are
  • Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans
  • Nobody abuses us more than we abuse ourselves
    • The limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit you will tolerate from someone else
  • Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves
    • It is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are and why we don’t accept others the way they are
  • The most important agreements are the ones you make with yourself
  • The agreements that come from fear require us to expend a lot of energy
  • The agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain extra energy
The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word
  • This is the most important and most difficult to honor
  • Our words cast powerful spells on each other
  • The word can enter our mind and change a whole belief for better or worse
  • A sin is anything you do that goes against yourself
  • Sin comes from rejection of yourself
    • Rejection of yourself is the biggest sin you can commit
  • Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison
  • You can measure the impeccability your word by your level of self-love
  • How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word
The Second Agreement: Don’t take anything personally
  • Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me
  • Nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves
    • All people live in their own dream, their own mind. They’re in a completely different world than the one we live in
    • When we take something personally, we make the assumption they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world
  • You are never responsible for the actions of others. You are only responsible for you
  • When you truly understand this and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others
The Third Agreement: Don’t make assumptions
  • All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally
  • When we believe something, we assume we are right about it to the point that we will destroy relationships in order to defend our position
    • We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do
    • We assume others think the way we think, feel the way we feel
  • Real love is accepting people the way they are without trying to change them
    • Find someone whom you don’t have to change at all
  • It’s much easier to find someone who is already the way you want him or her to be instead of trying to change that person
The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best
  • Keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next
    • Sometimes your best will be high-quality, and other times it won’t be as good
  • If you take action just for the sake of doing it without expecting a reward, you’ll find that you enjoy every action you do
    • Rewards will come but you’re not attached to the reward
  • You always do your best because you’ll have no regrets if someone tries to judge you
  • Do your best because you want to do it, not because you have to do it or to please other people
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life
  • When you don’t do your best, you deny your right to be you 
  • The first three agreements will only work if you do your best
  • Children are usually the only humans truly free because they’re smiling, having fun, exploring the world, not afraid to play
    • They don’t worry about the past and don’t care about the future, and only live in the present moment
    • Very young children are not afraid to express what they feel
    • They’re so loving that if they perceive love, they melt into love
      • They are not afraid to love at all
    • The is the description of a normal human being
  • There is no need to blame your parents for teaching you to be like them
    • What else could they teach you but what they know. They did the best they could
    • If they abused you it was due to their own domestication, their own fears, and beliefs
      • They had no control over the programming they received so they couldn’t have behaved any differently
  • The real you is still a little child who never grew up
    • Sometimes that little child comes out when you’re having fun or playing
    • When you feel happy, doing something you enjoy, or expressing yourself in some way
    • The happiest moments of your life are when the real you comes out and you don’t care about the past and you don’t worry about the future
  • Awareness is always the first step because if you’re not aware, there’s nothing you can change
  • We cannot change an agreement with less power than we used to make the agreement
  • Almost all of our personal power is invested in keeping the agreements we have with ourselves
    • That’s because our agreements are actually like a strong addiction
      • We are addicted to being the way we are
  • To adopt the four agreements, you need to put repetition in action
    • Practicing the new agreements in your life is how your best becomes better
    • Repetition makes the master
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal
    • Forgiveness is the key to self-acceptance and self-love
  • The Warrior has control over one’s own emotions and one’s self
  • The angel of death can teach us to live every day as if it’s our last, as if there may be no tomorrow
  • Imagine you have the ability to see the world with different eyes whenever you choose
  • Suffering makes you feel safe because you know it so well
    • But there is really no reason to suffer
  • The only reason you suffer is because you choose to suffer
  • Happiness is a choice, and so is suffering

Themes / Main ideas:

  • We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected
  • Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans
  • The Four Agreements
    1. Be impeccable with your word
    2. Don’t take anything personally
    3. Don’t make assumptions
    4. Always do your best
  • You can measure the impeccability your word by your level of self-love
  • Nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves
  • All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally
  • Real love is accepting people the way they are without trying to change them
  • You always do your best because you’ll have no regrets if someone tries to judge you
  • Children are usually the only humans truly free because they’re smilinghaving funexploring the world, not afraid to play
  • Don’t blame your parents for teaching you to be like them because their actions were the result of their programming
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal and the key to self-acceptance and self-love
  • Happiness is a choice, and so is suffering

Closing thoughts:

Another fantastic book. I think this is a great book for anyone because I think most if not all people struggle with self-love and self-acceptance and living your true self

This book has a lot of similar themes and concepts as three other works I highly recommend:

Again, a very good book and a solid framework for anyone who wants to live a happier and healthier life. The four agreements address the best way to live in relation to others and yourself.

Nutshell:

Four principles of how to live to be happier and have more love in your life.

Rating:

4/5

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