A Look At The Four Agreements - 814 words.

Abstract:  The Four Agreements are a way to peace and freedom individually and as a planet.  It is the Ego that leads us into the trap of believing that the world begins where we start and ends where we lay our head at night. The Ego chains us to taking life personally, avoiding the possibility of the peace we seek.

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At our best we humans strive to serve others, be there for loved ones and make a lot of what we do about making our world a better place. We do so because it feels good and for the most part, we know that we should. However, we fall into the trap of believing that the world begins where we start and ends where we lay our head at night. It's entirely human and for the most part acceptable because we are conditioned to do just that. We are conditioned from birth to react to external stimuli in a way that shapes the dream we have of how we each fit into society. As society evolves, so does what stimulates a reaction, and so do our ideas of what our lives should look like.

In that, we become the center of our universe searching for evidence that others share our worldview. It's not hard to find a group of people that have the same perspective or point of view on what matters most. Is it equality, a political point of view, a shared mission or passion for something creative that nudges us closer to a closed knit group of people that we can identify with? Whatever it is, we move deeper into our beliefs as time passes and, it becomes a part of what defines who each of us is and what separates us from another. All the while empowering the beat of our drum that confirms we are right in our choices and actions.

Like the branches of a tree, the path is further lead by decisions made to affirm the effort, energy and emotion we have employed. Spreading farther away from our center and out to where we can witness a significant difference in opinion.

It becomes more likely that when a difference of opinion presents itself, we take it personally. There is a part of us that doesn't like the challenge it represents, and we take the behaviour, actions, comments and opinions of others personally like it is an attack on everything we stand for. "How can a person not see how wrong they are in their thinking?" Many different emotions will rise, adding to being "right," and we are off to a strong start in the toxic journey of defending ourselves. Whether in private, to a trusted friend or in a public arena we announce our defence and satisfy our need to keep the situation personal. One by one, each time it happens, it adds to the bumps in the road that could otherwise be a more peaceful journey.

The peaceful journey is only interrupted by the Ego, a part of us that seems to think that it knows best. However, as each opportunity for change passes, we reflect and acknowledge that we wish it had gone differently.

Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of "The Four Agreements," teaches that at the root of it all, self-limiting beliefs rob us of joy and create needless suffering. These are referred to as "Agreements" that we make with ourselves and society on a global level. Don Miguel's teachings are widely recognized and honoured as four simple rules to personal freedom. Still, we live in a time that is heightened with arguments, struggle, sadness, and lack of the very freedom that these four agreements are meant to share.

When something rises and causes emotional suffering, know that the story we tell ourselves is derived from Ego. Its mission is to protect us in our most human form. The form that insinuates we matter above all others. While Ego separates us from some and nudging us towards others, it is self-serving and works against the vision of serving others for peace and freedom.

Be impeccable with your word - Whether in silence or out loud, no words said can be taken back. Our words define who we are and the position we take in what we believe in. Choose your communication carefully.

Don't take anything personally - Everybody's beliefs, actions and life is a result of their conditioning. There is no possible way to understand another person's journey. Respecting that each of us has our own opinion will allow for a more significant amount of self-respect.

Don't make assumptions - We can't understand what drives a person to say or do anything. If there is a need to engage, don't be afraid to ask compassionate questions.

Always do your best - Remember that we are all human and we deserve respect to honour our journey as individuals and as a society. Forgiveness is vital in letting go of the self-deprecating voice that can drag us down.

Peace and freedom is the dream of the planet. One by one, person by person, the dream can be achieved by permitting ourselves to let go of old attachments and exist in approximation to the vision we all share.

BIO

Leigh Burton: Author, International Speaker, NLP Practitioner, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Emotional Health Coach, Acceptance Commitment Therapist, an expert in letting go, and a lover of life.  www.leighburton.com

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