The Four Agreements - July 2012 - Volume 4 Issue 4


This month, I’m providing you with a book review of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by don Miguel Ruiz. The book is based on Toltec philosophy, which Ruiz explains at the beginning of the book. The book is short, but really thought-provoking, and it provides a great deal of helpful guidance to live by.

   The Toltec

Thousands of years ago, the Toltec were known throughout southern Mexico as “men and women of knowledge.” The Toltec knowledge is not a religion, but it honours all spiritual masters in history. It embraces spirit, and is best described as a way of life, "distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love."


The book begins with the story of a human who lived 3000 years ago, who was studying to become a medicine man to learn the knowledge of his ancestors. However, he felt there must be something more than he was learning. He had a dream in which he saw and understood exactly how everything in existence is . . . I don’t want to give away the whole story!

Ruiz tells us we need a very strong will to adopt the Four Agreements – but if we can begin to live our lives by these agreements, the transformation in our lives will be amazing. We will each create our own personal dream of heaven (and stop living in a dream of hell),

   The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

Through your word you create, and you manifest everything. It is the power you have to think, express yourself and communicate. Thereby you create the events in your life. How you use the word is of utmost importance: you can create a beautiful dream, or you can destroy everything around you. Ruiz recalls the example of Hitler as one whose word was based on fear-generated beliefs, causing horrific destruction.

Ruiz defines impeccability as “without sin” (from the Latin pecatus, which means “sin;” the im means “without”). He defines sin as anything that goes against yourself, for example when you judge or blame yourself for anything (but you do take responsibility for your actions). Being impeccable is not going against yourself.

Ruiz describes gossip as the worst form of “black magic” (defined as having no racial connotation; the term is used merely to describe the use of magic for adverse or harmful purposes) because it is pure poison. He likens gossip to a computer virus – it’s written in the same language as all the other code, but with harmful intent. Negative self-talk is just as harmful as the negative words of others.

If we become impeccable with our word, any emotional poison will eventually be cleaned from our mind, and from our communication with others. Impeccability of the word will also make it impossible for anyone to put a negative spell on us, i.e. to affect us with their negative words, since our minds are no longer receptive to them.

Ruiz tells us that being impeccable with our word is the first agreement to make if we want to be free and happy. It has worked for him.

   The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Ruiz defines taking things personally as personal importance, which is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.” We learn this during our education or domestication, and we think we are responsible for everything. In fact, he says, nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves. Even personal insults are according to the agreements the other person has in his or her own mind as a result of the programming they received when they were young.

If you accept another person’s emotional garbage, it becomes your garbage, but if you do not take it personally you are immune to it. If you live without fear and with love, there is no room for negative emotions.

We need to make an inventory of our agreements which will uncover all our conflicts which are alive and each have a voice. Only by doing this can we eventually make order out of the chaos of the fog in our minds, called a mitote (MIH-TOE’-TAY).

When you take nothing personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others, only for you. Practicing the first 2 agreements will break 75% of the little agreements that keep you trapped in hell. With these 2 agreements, you can be in the middle of hell and still experience inner peace and happiness. Hell will not affect you at all.

   The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. Assumptions in relationships cause many problems, e.g. assuming our partner/spouse knows what we think about any number of topics. We make assumptions because we do not feel safe asking questions. We assume others see things the same way we do, that they think and feel the same way too.

The way to keep from making assumptions is to ask questions. Without making assumptions, your word becomes impeccable, and your communication clear. This is simple, but easier said than done. However, practice will strengthen your new behaviours and agreements.

   The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

If you always do your best, the first 3 agreements will become deeply ingrained habits. The first 3 agreements will only work if you do your best. Your best will be different from one minute to the next, one hour to the next, one day to the next and over time. That is to be accepted – if you try too hard, you will spend more energy than necessary, and the results won’t be as good as if you just did your best. Of course, doing less than your best results in frustrations, guilt and regrets.

As long as you do your best, you cannot judge yourself, and you cannot suffer from guilt or blame. Working harder or longer will not necessarily produce better results. If you enjoy what you do, you will do your best because you want to. Living in the present moment (and letting go of the past) allows you to be fully alive in the moment.

Ruiz admits that initially, he did not find it easy to keep the four agreements consistently, but he started over each time he fell. He emphasizes the importance of not judging yourself when you fail; just acknowledge the broken agreement and start over again.

   The Toltec Path to Freedom – Breaking Old Agreements

True freedom is the freedom to be who we really are. Children of about 2 or 3 may be free because they do what they want to do. Very young children are not afraid to express what they feel. The real you is still a little child who never grew up. But responsibilities change all that. However, with awareness, you can heal and transform your personal dream.

To be Toltec is a way of life where there are no leaders and no followers, where you have your own truth and live your own truth. Ruiz describes 3 masteries that lead people to become Toltecs:

  1. The Mastery of Awareness (who we are with all our possibilities),
  2. The Mastery of Transformation (how to change, how to be free of domestication), and
  3. The Mastery of Intent (intent makes transformation possible; it is the Mastery of Love).

The old agreements must be replaced with new agreements that make you happy. Repetition of the new agreements is key.

   The New Dream: Heaven on Earth

Ruiz has us use our imagination to see a new life – a life

  • Where you are free to be who you really are
  • Where you have permission to be happy and to really enjoy your life
  • Without fear of being judged by others.
  • Without judging others
  • Without the fear of loving and not being loved
  • Without being afraid to take a risk and explore life
  • Where you love yourself just the way you are.

He assures us that love has the ability to put us in a state of bliss, which is heaven on earth. We can choose to live in hell or in heaven. Ruiz chooses to live in heaven and asks us which we choose.

If you have limiting beliefs that you find difficult to change, please contact me to make an appointment. I can help you.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. 1. Ruiz, M. The Four Agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., 1997.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic