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.
The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile, but only for those kind of seeds it is prepared for.
The Smoky Mirror is an abstract yet very powerful metaphor for awareness - the awareness that is necessary to embody and live by the four agreements. I invite you to not analyze it with thinking mind but rather gently take it in and feel it with a curious mind - whatever you experience (including nothing) is perfect. Our Qigong practice will further help us see and feel the smoky mirror.
The Four Agreements are like a map that tells you all the different ways to reach your destination. Their simplicity is what makes them so easy to use in so many directions. But the map is just one half. You are the other half. In any relationship, there are two halves. The book, the messenger, is one half of the relationship, but you are the other half, and that is the beauty of this relationship: your half.
In our exploration together, the invitation is to fully own and embrace “your half”. Simply learning the Four Agreements and pledging to follow them is not enough (I know, as I have tried numerous times over the past 20 years). To truly adopt these four agreements and experience the transformation that is possible requires will and courage. And, as with everything, we must start with awareness.
The Toltec created THREE MASTERIES and FOUR AGREEMENTS to guide us out of suffering and return us to our true nature: happiness, freedom, and love.
THE THREE MASTERIES:
THE MASTERY OF AWARENESS
This mastery is the first step towards personal freedom, because we cannot be free if we don’t know what we are, where we are, or what kind of freedom we are looking for. In this mastery, we become aware of the fog that is in our mind. The Mastery of Awareness can also be called the Mastery of Truth.
THE MASTERY OF TRANSFORMATION
The goal of the second mastery is to put order into the chaos of all the voices in our mind, to face our fears, to transform our fears, and to find the freedom to live our own life instead of the life of the belief system. The Four Agreements are a summary of the Mastery of Transformation.
THE MASTERY OF LOVE
The result of the first two masteries is the third mastery, The Mastery of Love, or The Mastery of Intent. From the Toltec perspective, love or intent is that part of life that makes the transformation of energy possible. It is Life itself; it is unconditional love. Everything is made with love because everything comes from God or Life. When we master love, we master the dream of our live, and when all three masteries are accomplished, we reclaim our divinity and become one with God.
The first two masteries are the essential to the application of The Four Agreements and we will spend time focusing on the what they really mean and how to bring them into our lives. The third mastery, is the result of the first two masteries and the application of the four agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz has written a book devoted to this mastery, called The Mastery of Love.
THE MASTERY OF AWARENESS
To be aware of what happened with our mind and with the whole of humanity is what the Toltec call the Mastery of Awareness. Awareness means to open your eyes to see the truth, and to no longer be blind. We are born with awareness, but we accumulate knowledge and we practice not being aware, we learn to deny what we perceive. We are born without knowledge, of course, but we accumulate knowledge when we are domesticated. That knowledge is like a wall of focus that doesn’t allow us to perceive what really is; it keeps us from having awareness.
The challenge is to maintain our awareness in the midst of the fog. More than that, to shift the knowledge, lift the fog, and recover our awareness. If we can practice being aware all the time, just the awareness will change our whole reality. When we master awareness we almost master the dream.
Understanding how the structure of our dream is made, gives us an opportunity to challenge our beliefs and change our dream. But awareness is always the first step toward our freedom. Without awareness there is no way out of the structure.
Awareness is central to the practice of Qigong and it is my hope that Qigong enables you to experience awareness a deep level and to transfer this awareness into every moment of your daily life. When this happens we are able to observe our limiting beliefs, our inner judge and our inner victim - and we begin to observe our Book of Law (beliefs and knowledge), our Judge and our Victim from the viewpoint of an unattached witness… then, and only then, can we embody and live by THE FOUR AGREEMENTS.
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.
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.
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.
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 circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
The repeated action of using the Four Agreements will break many of the agreements that make life difficult and unpleasant. It takes a lot of time and courage because it’s easier just to take things personally, make assumptions, and react the way you react all the time. Once you start, you will see results, and it gets easier and easier. Once it becomes a habit, the transformation of your life starts happening fast. You see the changes and your self-respect increases, your enthusiasm rises, and self-acceptance returns to your life.
This weeks closing prayer (at the end of our Qigong practice):
“Once he knew what he really was, he looked around at the other humans and the rest of nature, and he was amazed at what he saw.”
Your integrity is who you really are, what you really are, the totality of your authentic self. Spend a few moments every day to get in touch with the memory of what you are. Allow yourself to imagine the possibility that you are made by a certain frequency of Light. Light is the messenger of God; it contains all the information, all possibilities, and all power. Imagine that you are made of Light, of Spirit. There is nothing you need to do. There is nothing you need to be except what you really are. Remember what you are, and the dream of your Life will have no limits.
With endless love and compassion we embark on this journey together!