The Soul Connector

The Soul Connector

Reflections and tips on connecting with your soul, understanding the messages from your inner guidance, and enjoying a soul-fully rich and fabulous life...

25 August, 2007

Reflections on "The Four Agreements", pt. 5

The Fourth Agreement integrates and firmly embeds the previous three:
"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-judgement, self-abuse, and regret." (p81)
This is such good advice, isn't it? It's about maintaining your focus on the present moment, exactly where your greatest power always is, and doing your very best in that moment.

I wholeheartedly agree with Ruiz that it's very useful to remind yourself that your best is going to change over time - sometimes you will have more energy and greater capacity than at other times. When you appreciate and respect that, you are able to lighten up on yourself a lot! You don't settle for a half-hearted effort, but nor do you have impossible expectations of yourself.

It's about finding your own rhythm - going with the flow of your life. I love the story that Ruiz uses as an example for this:
"There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so we went to a Buddhist temple to find a Master to help him. He went to the Master and asked, "Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?" The Master looked at him and said: "If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years." Thinking he could do better, the man then said: "Oh, Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?" The Master looked at him and said: "If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years." "But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?" the man asked. The Master replied: "You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won't enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy." (p85-86)
I think this is one of the wisest passages in the book. In all that you do, never lose sight of why you are doing it. When you follow your heart and allow yourself to experience joy in whatever action you are taking, moment by moment, then you will know that you are living a meaningful life.

Putting The Four Agreements into practice is an empowering way to help you to live fully and live well. Remember to:
"Be impeccable with your word."
"Don't take anything personally."
"Don't make assumptions."
"Always do your best."
Be gentle with yourself as you implement these ideas. Do your best - but no more - in each moment and you will unleash tremendous energy and freedom in your life. And you will allow yourself to truly be all that you are, and all that you can be. Blessings to you on your transformational journey...

13 August, 2007

Reflections on "The Four Agreements", pt. 4

How are you going with The Four Agreements so far? It's a real paradigm shift to not take everything personally, isn't it? But it's such an empowering approach to life!

In the Third Agreement, Ruiz takes this one step further:
"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." (p67)
This can be a really challenging proposition for a lot of people. If you think about it, you will realise that you make assumptions about what other people are thinking and feeling - why they're acting the way they are - all the time. Everyone does it! And because you assume this inside knowledge, it takes on the flavour of truth. You think it, therefore you believe it.

Ruiz is adamant that this is source of all human suffering:
"All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally... The whole world of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that." (p70)
But what causes this? Ruiz goes on to explain:
"The big mitote in the human mind creates a lot of chaos which causes us to misinterpret everything and misunderstand everything. We only see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. We don't perceive things the way they are... We literally dream up things in our imaginations..." (p71)
Makes sense, doesn't it? It's as if each of us has our own uniquely shaded pair of glasses on, through which we view the world. And your glasses aren't the same as my glasses, so the colours and shapes don't look exactly the same. I focus on different things from you, and some things I don't see at all!

I'm reminded of the classic Indian tale about the blind men and the elephant. There are many variations on this, but the basic premise of the story is that a group of blind men go to "see" an elephant. The first one touches the elephant's leg and says that it's like a pillar. The second one touches the side of the elephant and says it's like a wall. Another man touches the trunk and says it's like a snake. And another touches the tail and says it's like a rope. You get the idea...

The interesting thing is that they're all right, and they're all wrong. Each "sees" and makes assumptions based on inadequate information. This is something that we all do, every day. Blind or not, none of us is in a position to "see" the whole picture.

This is particularly a challenge in relationships, where you make assumptions that you and your partner think exactly the same way about something - whether that be about working hours, raising a family, saving or spending money, dividing up household chores... you know how it goes. Everyone gets to discover this the hard way!

So what can you do to change this? The solution is simple: when in doubt, ask. If you don't understand something, ask for more information. Keep your communications open and truthful. Have the courage to say what you want and give those around you the opportunity to do the same. Then you will have the full picture and you can respond from a place of truth, compassion and love. By doing this, you will transform your life and your world...

04 August, 2007

Reflections on "The Four Agreements", pt. 3

If you've been practicing the First Agreement, "Be impeccable with your word," you'll have begun to pay more attention to the way you're using words - both in what you think and what you say.

In the Second Agreement, Ruiz says:
"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." (p51)
For me, this agreement is perhaps the most powerful of them all, and has the potential to bring about the most profound change in the way you live your life. This is where you choose to draw the line and take responsibility for yourself and the way you respond to experiences.

You'll recall that the Toltec refer to the miasma of multiple thoughts and programs in the mind as the mitote. Ruiz suggests that you imagine this as a giant marketplace, in which thousands of people are talking and bartering at the same time. Every single person in this marketplace of the mind has their own agenda, their own thoughts and feelings. Naturally, with all these different personalities and points of view, there are bound to be some conflicts!

Yet, as I'm sure you know, it is possible to find a stillpoint of peace in the midst of noise and confusion. You do this every time you sit in a crowded cafe to have a coffee or chat with a friend, oblivious to whatever else is going on outside your sphere of focus. You're lost in your own world, then, aren't you?

And so is everyone else around you. We may all be living on this planet together, and thus be connected and part of the whole, yet we each create and experience our OWN world. No one person's experience of this world is the same as another's. And each person's actions are driven by their own particular take on reality.

When you understand this, you can detach from allowing what other people do to colour the way you feel about yourself. And you can choose to act in a way that honours your own personal truth. Know that:
"...You can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices." (p64)
The more you do this, the more you quieten the clamour and conflict of the mitote. It's as if you are the conductor of your own personal orchestra. When you're out of alignment with your inner truth, the sounds the orchestra creates are jarring and discordant. When you're in tune with yourself, the orchestra creates beautiful music, that rises and falls with the joy of living.

As Ruiz says:
"If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, "I love you," without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes, or you can say no - whatever you choose - without guilt or self-judgement. You can choose to follow your heart always." (p66)