I was introduced to Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, in 1999 at my very first Nia intensive training. In Nia, we are encouraged to use these agreements as “Energy Allies,” not only our practice–but in our daily lives.* They have worked so well for me over the years so I thought I would share them here for you! And, oh yes, I actually think there are FIVE agreements — you’ll find I’ve added one.
*The day I posted this (6/29/15) I received a lovely email response to this piece from Nia co-creator, Debbie Rosas. She reminded me that these agreements spring from the ancient wisdom of shamans. She wrote, “The origin of these came to Carlos and I before the book was written. They are ancient made modern.” Thank you, Debbie, for wrapping Nia in the sacred cloak of these principles! They have added so much peace to my life.
The Four Agreements (+1!)
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
Your word is powerful and sacred. Impeccable is defined as “in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.” I think of this concept as being honest, kind, and succinct way to speak. Choosing to be impeccable with your word is a mindful choice.
Think and speak loving words. I understand this agreement includes our self-talk and how we keep the agreements we make with ourselves. My self-talk no longer includes things like, “Oh, Susan, you are so stupid!” My body/mind would hear that and respond accordingly!
What part of your professional or personal life would be energized if you decided to shine more light on the power and impeccability of your words? See the resource section below for Tate’s 10 Tips for Being Impeccable With the Word.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Release any sense of self-pity or self-importance. Somewhere I heard that an unexpected “NO” to a request might result in NO = New Opportunity. Ruiz says, “Nothing other people do is because of YOU. It is because of themselves.” Oh, how I have found this to be true! Clearly, sometimes it’s quite a challenge to not take something personally. In the times I have found myself starting to feel hurt or offended by someone’s words or actions, I have been able to shift the painful energy immediately into peace if I am aware enough to remember this agreement. It’s such a choice, but we have to remember to make it!
3. Make No Assumptions
Making assumptions, especially if you assume the worst, can sometimes dim your light and deplete your energy. If you can note and then minimize your inner dialogue you will probably feel better.
Honoring this agreement helped me to stop making up unsettling stories about what people might be thinking about me or something I did. Years ago, after I shared a concern about “what will people think?” to one of my dear friends, her pragmatic and loving reply stopped me in my tracks. “Susan, people don’t really think about you that much!” I laughed so hard and felt such relief!
Can you recall the last time you made an assumption and spent all that time in your head and it wasn’t fun at all? Next time you can make up a better story!
4. Always Do Your Best
Do the best you can at the time with what you have to work with. A year from now, your best will look different than today, and that’s okay! Lovingly observe yourself to assess whether you are doing your best. In Nia we call this the “Loving Witness.” My friend calls it being an “Observette!”
Trust yourself and take action.
Changes that are forced into being
are always temporary.
But changes that are loved into being are permanent.
5. Be the Place Where Love Shows Up
This is the agreement I added to Ruiz’s list and I must admit, it’s my favorite. This energy ally is the connective tissue that holds a sacred container for all the others.
When your actions are motivated by love,
your energy multiplies and accumulates.
Amen to that, Deepak! Now doesn’t that make you want to be the place where love shows up?
In your work life, love what you do as you provide any kind of service. I have met people who cleaned the floors where I worked who offered a loving light and kindness while they pushed the mop. They might appear to be from the maintenance department, but to me, they were sparks of love making our work place look and feel more beautiful.
One of the best quotes I’ve ever read about love (I have shared this at the wedding ceremonies I have been honored to officiate) sums up this fifth agreement:
You are not meant to search for it,
You are not meant to wait for it,
You are meant to generate it.
~Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith
Whatever task is ours to do at the time, we can choose to do it with loving kindness and service. When in doubt, ask: What would love do now?
Thank you for creating time to read this post. I’d love to hear how these energy allies light up your life!