NOTE: All unbolded text is taken directly from either “The Four Agreements” or “The Four Agreements Companion Book” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and all credit extends to the author. Bolded text is my personal commentary.
There is just one more agreement, but it’s the one that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.
When I first began to study the fourth agreement, I noticed that I kept getting hung up on the word “best”. I had a hard time getting past an old belief that doing my best meant measuring up to some standard of perfection. Somewhere along the line, I had adopted the belief that “doing my best” meant “being the best”…which, of course meant that my best was rarely good enough.
Always do your best has nothing to do with being the best. As don Miguel Ruiz explains, it is about fully honouring your life in every moment.
The following quote beautifully summarizes the spirit and intention of this agreement:
The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. Don’t expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best. Don’t expect that you will never take anything personally; just do your best. Don’t expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best.
Doing your best really doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy whatever you are doing. You know you’re doing your best when you are enjoying the action of doing it in a away that will not have negative repercussions for you. You do your best because you want to do it, not because you have to do it, not because you are trying to please the Judge, and not because you are trying to please other people.
Doing your best is a great habit to have. I do my best in everything I do and feel. Doing my best has become a ritual in my life because I made the choice to make it a ritual. It’s a belief like any other belief that I choose. I make everything a ritual, and I always do my best. Taking a shower is a ritual for me, and with that action I tell my body how much I love it. I do my best to give to my body and to receive what my body gives to me. - don Miguel Ruiz
Just do your best to honour these agreements. You can make this agreement today: I choose to honour the Four Agreements. If you break an agreement, begin again tomorrow, and again the next day. Do not be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. Always do your best to keep these agreements, and soon it will be easy for you.
In India they perform a ritual called puja. In this ritual, they take idols that represent God in many different forms and bathe them, feed them, and give their love to them. They even chant mantras to these idols. The idol itself is not important. What is important is the way they perform the ritual, the way they say, “I love you, God.”
God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now.
You were born with the right to be happy. You were born with the right to love, to enjoy and to share your love. You are alive, so take your life and enjoy it. Don’t resist life passing through you, because that is God passing through you. Just your existence proves the existence of God. Your existence proves the existence of life and energy.
Your own body is a manifestation of God, and if you honour your body everything will change for you. When you practice giving love to every part of your body, you plant seeds of love in your mind, and when they grow, you will love, honour, and respect your body immensely. Every action, every though, every emotion then becomes a communion with God.
When you don’t do your best you are denying yourself the right to be you. That’s a seed that you should really nurture in your mind. You don’t need knowledge or great philosophical concepts. You don’t need the acceptance of others. You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others.
Today, Creator of the Universe, we ask that you come to us and share with us a strong communion of love. We know that your real name is Love, that to have a communion with you means to share the same vibration, the same frequency that you are, because you are the only thing that exists in the universe.
Today, help us to be like you are, to love life, to be life, to be love. Help us to love the way you love, with no conditions, no expectations, no obligation, without any judgement. Help us to love and accept ourselves without any judgement.
Help us to love everything you create unconditionally, especially other human beings, especially those who live around us.
Today, clean our hearts and free our minds so that we can live in complete peace and complete love.