The Four Agreements – By Don Miguel Ruiz

the four agreements

‘Life can be very easy when love is your way of life.’

don-miguel-ruizThat’s just one of the four agreements, teaches Ruiz: ‘Be impeccable with your word.’

Ruminating over life, one may wonder just as a French philosopher did, aren’t we all living in chains?

Don Miguel Ruiz opens his book The Four Agreements with illuminating passages on how and where humanity is chained and by whom. Ruiz tells us that every belief system, every word we speak, every form of conditioning—which he calls domestication of the human—is an agreement. These agreements cause us to appoint Judges in our own mind. Every one of us has a judge in our mind that judges our personality, our actions, and thoughts. Ruiz suggests in his beautifully direct language that the judgements pronounced by this inner Judge about our moral or social behaviour make us either winners or victims.

That part of our mind that is punished for a misdeed apprehends for itself the space of a victim. This Victim-Judge binary is the normal condition of the human mind: either we try to please the Judge by acting out according to the norms and regulations learned as part of our social conditioning or we suffer more than what has required of our mistakes and become the Victim.

The domesticated human being live in a dream, called the dream of the planet, which also includes the dream of the society, the dream of the nation as well as the dreams of the individuals. This dream is a fog that does not let us perceive what is truly outside, surrounding us. When we try to prove ourselves worthy in front of others by doing what they think is best we commit ourselves to the dream of the planet, where suffering is normal. What we suffer as part of this complex system makes it the hell on the earth.

Don Miguel Ruiz suggests four new agreements for neutralizing the impacts of all other limiting agreements that we learn during the period of our growth into adulthood.

Be Impeccable With Your Word.

Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Don’t Make Assumptions.

Always Do Your Best.

Each of these agreements forms chapters in The Four Agreements. These chapters express more than what seems obvious from the surface-level reading of these four agreements.

Don Miguel Ruiz is a Toltec spiritualist and a speaker. He has attained undeniable acceptance in the discipline of self-emancipation alongside some of my own masters, Carlos Castaneda and Wayne Dyer.

It appears to me a wonderful coincidence to see how the philosophical notions in the book reflected in some of the events that took me to the discovery of The Four Agreements. Three weeks back I didn’t even know there was a book titled The Four Agreements. I wasn’t aware of the writer named Don Miguel Ruiz either.

Some of you must have noticed that I have joined Instagram and has been sharing some of my pictures there. It’s an amazing community. One day, I discovered that someone has liked one of my pictures and I went through the link of that person’s personal profile to see if I could get an understanding of whom that is. This is the beauty of Instagram. One could learn many things about different cultures and people from a single picture. This person had shared a picture in his profile, which featured himself. There was something else too that hooked me. The person in the picture looked about 25, male and very happy. He was holding four books in his hands. Presently, I do not remember which the other two were. However, I certainly remember, one was The Four Agreements and the other, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I returned to Google with a name: The Four Agreements. I returned to my reading room with the book from Google.

The Four Agreements is published by Amber-Allen Publishing and is available in print as well as in ebook formats. I downloaded a Kindle version. This is the second book that I completed reading in my kindle app. The first one was The Full Circle by Irina Serban, another amazing book on the magic of love the love in the magic called life.

If there is a need to classify books into categories, let us say that The Four Agreements is a New Age book. So is Irina Serban’s The Full Circle. So is The Alchemist, too.

Chapter-6, “The Toltec Path to Freedom” elucidates “three masteries that lead people to become Toltecs.”

  1. The Mastery of Awareness
  2. The Mastery of Transformation
  3. The Mastery of Intent

This chapter also discusses:

The Art of Transformation: The Dream of the Second Attention (which you might have seen in Carlos Castaneda’s writings)

The Discipline of the Warrior, Controlling Your Own Behavior

Initiation of the Dead, Embracing the Angel of Death.

These are the solutions to attain personal freedom. Ruiz equates this personal freedom with that of the state of a child. Just as the child has its innocence that enables him or her to be wild and imaginative, the adult must have wisdom. The tool to liberation is wisdom. The destination is love.

Ruiz attests to the certainty of happiness and fulfilment in life. ‘There is really no reason to suffer. The only reason you suffer is because you choose to suffer.’ Instead of being a Victim, we could be Warriors. Ruiz also explains the significance of the term ‘warrior’ in ancient traditions across the world.

When someone becomes a victim to emotions, their perception is clouded by what we call in India as Maya. Ruiz suggests another Toltec name for this idea.

‘The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the victim represses, and the warrior refrains.’

If this book can awaken me from the slumber I have experiencing in my creative life, certainly, miracles can happen in your life too. Just do your best to follow the four agreements.

These four agreements are not anti-religion or “another” religion. The Four Agreements is not a religious book at all. However, the religiosity of The Four Agreements may appeal to anyone from any stream of faith.

You can finish The Four Agreements in just a single sitting, especially in Kindle. This book is written in a very elegant, fresh sounding, and simple language. You don’t need to be an English professor to read and understand it. However, there might be terms from the tradition of the Toltecs and other ancient people that you might find a bit confusing. Come back and post a comment about your confusion. I will try my best to help you out.

There are areas where, I found, this book goes against itself. For example, in a chapter on the agreements that we undergo in our life on this planet, it criticises all the systems that enchain us. However, the book immediately offers us another system: the system of the four agreements. Wouldn’t this be contradictory? What do you think? Do let me know in the Comment Box below.

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz
Publisher: Hay House
Release: December 1997
Genre: Non Fiction / Personal Development
Buy from Amazon


Anu Lal is an Indo-Anglian-Southern author. Many of his short fiction, poetry, and essays are published in national and international journals. He is also a research scholar, educator, book reviewer, and a blogger.

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