James Allen and Don Miguel Ruiz
The Very Similar Higher Levels of Understanding as Shared by Allen and Ruiz.
by K. Scott Teeters
HAVE YOU READ THE FOUR AGREEMENTS???
A few years back, my New Age friends kept asking, “Have you read the Four Agreements???” Several of them were so jazzed about the book that their question seemed to have a sense of urgency. “HAVE YOU READ THE FOUR AGREEMENTS???” No, not yet… leave me alone about it.
Well I finally got around to reading the book. At first I said to myself, “Well, let me just read the introduction to get a sense about this.” It was like stepping into quicksand. ZOOP! I was right into it by the second page. Once in a while a book will REALLY speak to me. I mean that literally. Sometimes when I read a book, what I experience is the book being spoken to me inside my head, as if the words are being spoken to me by the author.
The first time I ever experienced this was in the late ‘80s when I was reading Sonaya Roman’s “Birth Into Light” series of channeled books with spirits DaBen and Oren. Usually when I read, my eyes move across the page and I’m recognizing the words and forming the author’s thoughts in my head. This was different. It was more of a conversation I was involved in. This doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it does, it’s unmistakable. James Allen’s “As A Man Thinketh” and the “Conversations With God” books by Neale Donald Walsch also spoke to me as I was reading them.
By the second page of the Four Agreements, I went for my yellow highlighter and started dog-earing pages. The book was a delicious read. It was like being reminded of something I’d forgotten long ago, yet it was somewhere close to the front of my awareness. As I kept reading, I found myself side-thinking, “Right, RIGHT, RIGHT!” When I got to the end of the book, I went back and started rereading the yellow highlighted parts. I felt compelled to “get” these understandings into my thinking.
The Throw Off
The big thing that threw me off before I actually read the book was the simplicity of the title, “The Four Agreements.” The front and back cover fold back and can be used to mark where you stop reading. The inside front has the Four Agreements listed in four, simple paragraphs. Here’s what it says…
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Always Do Your Best
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.
If you haven’t yet read the book, at first you might think, “Well I do all that. What’s the big deal?” That’s just your “Radio Voice” yacking at you. The Radio Voice is that little armchair quarterback that comments on everything going on like bad talk radio. At first glance, the Four Agreements are so simple, they’re deceiving. Ah, but read deeper and you’ll find real pearls of wisdom. Beautiful gems of wisdom expressed in very plane language. Don Miguel Ruiz speaks so plainly and directly, the profoundness of the words sort of sneaks up on you. I’m used to profound wisdom usually being dressed up in beautiful prose. Ruiz speaks truth in plain, easy to understand ways that create a series of “Ah-ha” moments.
Two Other Essential Elements
There are two other essential elements that bring all this together. They are, “Domestication” and “The Dream of Heaven and Hell.” He explains that when we all came into this world, the big people got a hold of our attention and told us their version of what the world is all about. Since we don’t know any better, we just take it all in without being aware of the fact that what we’re hearing is just that particular person’s idea of reality – right or wrong. This is how dysfunction programs dysfunction, on, and on, and on.
Don’t take offense, but we’ve all been domesticated, just like our dogs and cats. When we’re small, we just take it all in. If the big people speak French or English, or Chinese, that’s what we speak. If they use curse words, we curse. If Dad hits Mom or us, we hit others. If those around us don’t like the colors of certain kinds of skin, we don’t like certain colors of skin. This goes on so much that we aren’t even aware of the process.
A lot of what we learn is very functional and works for our benefit. It’s good to know things such as “Don’t run with the scissors!” or “Don’t put your tongue on a cold metal pole.” But when we find ourselves imitating bad or destructive behaviors, things have definitely gotten into our thinking that are just going to wreak havoc in our life experience. Ruiz’s ancestors , the Toltecs, called this Domestication and we all are domesticated.
The quality of your domestication will determine whether we create the Dream of Heaven or the Dream of Hell. The Toltecs teach us that the mind is always dreaming. It dreams when you are asleep and when you are awake. What you are seeing now, Light reflecting off of Light. They believe that Heaven and Hell are “states of mind” that exist here on earth at the same time. The experience of one or another depends on your choices. Ah yes, “Free Will,” our old friend and enemy. We get to choose how we respond or react to life’s events and depending on how we choose, we will experience a Heaven state or Hell state.
However, when we were little, we really didn’t have a choice. We just took it all in, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then as we get older, we wonder why there’s so much drama and pain in our lives. Well here’s some startling news. As awakening humans, it is time for us to take responsibility of our creation of Heaven or Hell. “YES BUT…” Ah, ah, ah… no one said it was “easy.” All we’re pointing out is that it’s “possible.” If one among us has done it, then it’s possible.
Now that might ruffle a few readers after they think of their favorite pet peeve or tragic story of the week from the news. Ruiz reminds us that our suffering or hellish experiences are the results of what was taught to us combined with our choices. He calls this our “agreements.” These are bundles of information that we have accepted, agree with, and live by. The bundle of agreements forms our personal “Book of Law.” Our agreements create our dream or reality. There’s a family dream, a community dream, a country dream, a world dream, and a human dream. The nature of our dream is a result of our agreements. For good or for bad, we’re choosing every moment.
Fortunately, agreements can come and go, although getting many of our most cherished agreements to leave can be a challenge. Don Miguel Ruiz has given us a profound gift. The Four Agreements listed above have the ability of disconnect any dysfunctional agreement you can think of. These four new agreements work together. One helps feed into the other, eventually coming full circle. When working with these new agreements there are two important things to remember. First, this is not going to be easy in the beginning. Like show dogs, we all have YEARS of training on how to be. And second, remember that if any one among us has done this, then it is possible for all of us to accomplish this.
How The Four Agreements Link Together
The First Agreement – Be impeccable with your word.
This boils down to STOP GOSSIPING. When we gossip we feed poison to other people. We tell others stories that are often based on assumptions. Something happens… we take it personally… we make a decision as to what we think are the facts (even though we usually only have partial data)… then we tell others in order to get sympathy and energy. By being impeccable with your word, you are agreeing not to say things that will be the cause of hurt or upset in others. We’ve all gotten caught up in the elaborate web of things said behind other’s backs. We’ve all been nailed for doing it and we’ve all been the subject of gossip. Reflect on this for a few minutes.
By accepting this new agreement, we are making a profound choice to use the power of our words, the literal vibrational power of words backed up with loving kindness behind them. When you choose this agreement day after day, you will soon become like a beacon of light that others will be drawn to because the energy source coming out of you is pure Love.
Here’s an old "momism" that you’ve probably heard. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Speak openly and honestly with those who are closest with you, but be kind with your words.
The Second Agreement – Don’t take anything personally.
If someone cuts you off while driving to work one day, remember, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. Sorry, but they’re in a world of their own creation and you’re just something in the way. It has nothing to do with you. If you work for a boss who is critical and has created a workplace where it’s almost impossible to get ahead, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. For his own personal reasons, he doesn’t want to risk someone else looking better than he does. It has nothing to do with you.
But if YOU CHOOSE to take it personally, they have successfully transferred the poison to you. And like a cold virus, you spread it to others when you gripe and complain about the boss while at lunch or at the water cooler. Depending on how you talk about it, you can look for solutions to your situation or help to create an epidemic in the office.
Even if we keep our mouths shut and don’t talk about what we’re taking personally, it doesn’t work. We just can’t keep it in and it starts to show in other ways. There’s an expression we use for someone who clearly is irritated big-time about something and is really smoldering and fuming about something. We say, “he’s got a bug up his ass!” Why waste all that time living in the dream of Hell when all you have to do is agree NOT to take things personally.
The Third Agreement – Don’t make assumptions.
Everyone wants to look good and not look stupid. Often times we resist asking questions thinking that it will show that we don’t know things, otherwise, why would you be asking? So if you’re resistant to asking questions for clarification, you’re going to be making some assumptions. Ah, what a wonderful receipt for a trip to a hellish misunderstanding.
Making assumptions can trip off a whole series of events. This is especially true if your assumptions cause you to take things personally, get your feeling hurt, and then you go gossiping to others, thus spreading a virus created out of an assumption made because you either have a set of stern rules or don’t have the courage to ask questions. When this process starts, it almost never takes us to a happy place. It’s often loaded with pain and anguish for yourself and others.
These assumption excursions have the full range of impact from just another thing to bitch about at the office coffee pot, to not talking to the neighbors, to ending marriages, and sometimes death. This is profound stuff here folks!
When we decide to adopt this new agreement, we are willing to hold off making decisions about things before we know enough about a situation. We’re willing to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to this later with a decision.” Ruiz explains that because of our domestication the human mind is very uncomfortable not knowing things and will often jump to a conclusion just so that it can have an answer. What’s important is “having” an answer – be it true or not.
Stop for a few minutes and reflect back on your life. If you step outside of the details, for better or worst, what you’ll see is a series of events all bouncing around against each other like billiard balls on a pool table. Can you look to see how your assumptions and the assumptions of others have impacted your life experience. Most of the time, we are simply reactive elements based on the dysfunctional agreements that were given to us that we accepted as reality. Integrating this new agreement will also help you to become more patient.
The Fourth Agreement – Always do your best.
What a wonderful conclusion to this new set of agreements. Ruiz reminds us that humans are the only animal that judges others over and over again. Animals generally judge once and that’s it. One judgment is enough. But we don’t do that. If something happens and we take it personally, we can then have the pleasure of judging the other person over and over. If we put enough energy into it, we can judge that person for the rest of their lives. Ex-spouses often to this. Nations and ethnic groups do this big-time! But the most insidious form of judgment we indulge in is self-judgement. We say things to ourselves in the solitude of our minds that we wouldn’t take for a minute from someone else. It’s called negative self-talk and it is the main cause of low self esteem.
If you have an operating principal of always “doing your best,” you then know after you are complete that in that experience, with all things considered, YOU did your best, you’re covered. Perhaps one day you were feeling very energetic and focused while doing your best. The net result of your efforts will be a reflection of the parameters of the day. Later in the week, you’re feeling a little tired and staying focused is a real challenge, but you were doing your best. The net result of your efforts will be a reflection of the parameters of that particular day. Then the Radio Voice mind pipes up and starts ragging on you, comparing your latest effort to a previous perceived better effort. But if you have the Fourth Agreement as an operating principal, you KNOW you did your best and you can tell that critical judge, “I did my best, now BUGGER OFF!”
If you compress the Four Agreements, it looks something like this…
You are impeccable with your word, so you don’t spread mental poison via gossip. Soon you will become immune to gossip and you will no longer be picking it up and spreading it. With your mind free of gossip, you can focus your attention on creative and pleasurable experiences.
By not taking things personally, you no longer get caught up in needless melodramas. Your mind will then have more clear air time to think on what you want to achieve and experience with your gift of life. We’re not here just to create experiences to get all worked up and angry about. We are here to remember that as a child of God, we are here to create and experience our most magnificent imaginings.
Not making assumptions pulls the plug on almost ALL misunderstandings. With this in mind, look back on your unhappy experiences and you will find an assumption at the roots.
When you commit to always doing your best you won’t beat up yourself after those times when you forget the agreements and indulge in gossiping, speaking badly of others, taking things personally, and making assumptions. These are simple ideas, but they are not always easy to live. When we agree to stop judging ourselves, it will be much easier to stop judging others.
When we use all four new agreements, we come full-circle. If we stay with the Four Agreements and keep coming full-circle, we will create a forward momentum. It’s like a large ocean-going ship that slowly moves our of port and into the sea, gradually building forward motion. But once underway, the captain is in command of a powerful ship that only needs gentle guidance.
The James Allen “As A Man Thinketh” Connection
James Allen’s “As A Man Thinketh” is, in my opinion, one of the most under rated metaphysical books of our time. His message is one of personal responsibility and power. It is a careful examination of the laws and operations of thought. His writing is beautiful and elegant as he explains “Thought and Character, “Thought and Circumstances, “Effect of Thought On health and the Body,” “Thought and Purpose,” “Thought and Achievement,” and lastly “Visions and Ideals.”
Allen learned the lessons of the power of thought in the workplace. As a personal assistant in industry, the equivalent to today’s executive secretary, he observed and worked with businessman and tradesmen of his time. Things haven’t really changed very much in the last 100 years. Technology allows us to do things with amazing speed, but many are still trapped in the corporate rat race. Remember what Lily Tomlin said, “The trouble with winning the rat race is that even if your WIN, you’re still a RAT.”
Every time I read “As A Man Thinketh” I am deeply struck by the depth of his wisdom and the loveliness of the words Allen chose to express his ideas. Here are a few examples from each chapter of “As A Man Thinketh.”
From “Thought and Character”
As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called "spontaneous" and "unpremeditated" as to those which are deliberately executed.
Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.
Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect are as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts.
From “Effect Of Thought On Circumstances”
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.
Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.
The outer world of circumstances shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both of suffering and bliss.
From “Effects Of Thoughts On Health And Body”
There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill-will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prison hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all–such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.
From “Thought And Purpose”
The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.
He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and overcome. His purposes are seasonably planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit that does not fall prematurely to the ground.
Thoughts allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force. He who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations. He who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers.
From “The Thought-Factor In Achievement”
Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and selfless, will, as surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise and noble in character and rise into a position of influence and blessedness.
All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law, and are of the same method. The only difference is in the object of attainment.
He who would accomplish little need sacrifice little; he would would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.
From “Visions And Ideals”
The dreamers are the saviors of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know.
Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage–these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived. Without them, laboring humanity would perish.
He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it. Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.
Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart–this you will build your life by; this you will become.
Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.
A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being. For such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as he develops a right understanding, and sees ever more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss, fume, worry, and grieve. He remains poised, steadfast, serene.
The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart? a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those who possess these blessings. For they are always serene and calm. That exquisite poise of character that we call serenity is the last lesson of culture. It is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom–more desirable than fine gold. How insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life. A life that dwells in the ocean of truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of the tempests, in the eternal calm!”
The Eloquence of James Allen
WOW! Now that guy was a writer! James Allen used words to paint a beautiful vision of what’s possible as a result of being very aware of our thinking. He offers simple, yet elegant explanations of how these principals work for the good or the bad. And always is the gentle reminder that we have the power to choose.
Allen was most definitely in the vanguard of souls who assisted in the earliest days of the ushering in of the Aquarian Age. I believe that Allen penned those words for us. His mission was to learn the basic nature of humans and then to explain it to us, along with the reminder that we are always at choice. Allen chose the most beautiful words he could find for his understandings and we get to enjoy the fruits of his creativity.
I believe that we need these understandings as we move through these very challenging times. You know, before we all came here, we were fully aware of how bumpy the ride was going to be. It’s amazing how powerful the veil of not remembering is. But as it is pointed out in “Conversations With God,” we are assured that God will never leave us without those who will show us the Way. They are all telling us, each in their own unique way that if your think and choose to be the ways we are telling you, you will create Heaven on Earth. That is what we are here to participate in.
Who Are These Guys and How Did They Do It?
Don Miguel Ruiz was studying be a medical surgeon when he was involved in a head-on car accident that gave him a near-death experience. That extraordinary experience blasted him into a period of deep soul-searching that lead him to become an apprentice to his mother who happened to be a powerful healer in the Toltec tradition. His mother taught Miguel while he was awake and his medicine-man grandfather who had passed over, taught him in his dreams.
James Allen’s philosophy became possible when liberal Protestantism turned away from the stern dogma that man is sinful by nature. In its place was an optimistic belief in man’s innate goodness. This reversal of doctrine was, as William James said, the greatest revolution of the 19th Century.
Allen’s work embodies the influence of Protestant liberalism on the one hand, and of Buddhist thought on the other. For example, the Buddha taught that, ”All that we are – is the result of what we have thought.” Allen’s Biblical text says, ”As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” This may have been the beginning of the observation of the similarities between the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus.
What James Allen learned from his experiences of the workplace combined with Buddhist meditation practices, took him to a higher level of understanding that if lived out and acted upon, has the capacity to transform the world.
Don Miguel Ruiz came to the same place of understanding, but through the route of the elegant Toltec tradition. Where as Allen paints a beautiful vision and explanation of what’s possible, Ruiz gives us a step-by-step instruction manual for literally stepping out of the Dream of Hell, into the Dream of Heaven.
James Allen says it this way…
“But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all. Such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven. And to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.”
The great American prophet Edgar Cayce used to talk a lot about the Akashic Records. As I understand this, the Akashic Record is an energy band that surrounds the planet. What this energy is, is the sum total of every unit of thought energy ever created by every human and sentient being that has ever lived on the planet. That includes not only people, but animals and Mother Earth herself.
Casey would go into an altered state, then reach out into this energy field, and ask for specific things. It’s important to remember that he ASKED. Remember the magic words, “Ask, and you shall receive.” It doesn’t matter if you ask out loud or inside your head as a thought. Whatever is projected out as a bundle of thoughts, the Universe or God says, “YES! That is so.” This process is relentless and in fact endless.
My sense is that Allen and Ruiz both tapped into the same source and were both asking the same basic question, “Why must it be this way and what can we do about it?”.
Take It and Run With It
I mentioned earlier that part of the reason we came here is to help bring in the vibration and energy of the Aquarian Age – the Age of Enlightenment. It’s critical that we stay spiritually awake and focused. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will help you deal with your stuff and your issues. But when I find a POWER TOOL like these two books, I’m going to turn on as many of my fellow LightWorkers as I can.
Obviously, I have thought about this a lot. I was sitting with this one day in my sun room and wondered, “What would my life be like a year from now if I adopted the Four Agreements and lived them? What would my experience be like after logging in days, weeks, and months of living this way? I can see that with moments stacked on top of moments freed up from my old agreements that didn’t always work all that well, I would be focusing more thought-energy on designing the life I love. I can see that I would have more mental time to focus my thought-energy on my creative endeavors. I can see longer and longer periods of time in the zone of love and happiness.
This is why working on yourself spiritually is the most generous things you can do for mankind and to assist with the birthing of the Aquarian Age. The more you become, the more you can offer to others. What you offer need not be flashy and grandiose. Just by being a Peace Emitting Presence you can make a trip to the store be a blessing to everyone you come close to because you are now vibrating at a much higher rate. Like a heater, you can raise the spiritual temperature everywhere you go.
I’ve committed myself to living the Four Agreements to the best of my ability. I have them written on a Post-It Note inside of my DayTimer and am working with the the Four Agreements Companion Book. “The Four Agreements” is the first of a series of three books that teach the Toltec Way. The second book is titled, “Mastery of Love,” and the third is titled, “Beyond Fear.” So I have a lot to read and integrate this year.
Sun Books – Sun Publishing has 22 reprinted James Allen books and one book by Allen’s wife, Lily Allen. He’d obviously been tapping the Akashic Records quite a lot.
James Allen and Don Miguel Ruiz both tell us in their own unique way that what they have done, so can we.
Allen wrote, “As the physically weak people can make themselves strong by careful and patient training, so can people with weak thoughts make themselves strong by exercising themselves in right thinking.”
He also wrote, “Dream lofty dreams and as you dream, so shall you become.”
And Ruiz said, “This way of life is possible, and it’s in your hands. Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, Jesus called it heaven, and the Toltecs call it the new Dream.”
This is doable my friends. I don’t think they could have said it any clearer or with as much beauty and elegance.
Scott Teeters is an avid fan of personal and spiritual growth material. He is an author, radio host, blogger, website designer and developer. Check out his radio interviews and other blog posts right here on FarOutRadio.com. You may republish this article in full. Just make sure you list this paragraph and provide a link.