The Four Agreements

 

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I just finished reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. My wife had been telling me for several months about this amazing book. The prison library didn’t have it, so she bought it for me. What an awesome book! It has had an immediate impact on my life.

For years I would try to apply new principles and philosophies to my life. And time after time I would fail to honor them. My polluted thought atmosphere and compulsive thinking was too much for me to simply overcome.

First I had to clean up my thought atmosphere by nurturing my mind with positive influential material. Such as “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Toll, “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen, “The Science of Mind” by Earnest Holmes, and of course, The Holy Bible.

Just those books alone was enough to turn my mind into fertile soil, ready to bear the fruits of any seed I choose to plant. Today, those seeds are many. But the ones I want to share with you are as follows:

 

1. BE IMPECABLE WITH YOUR WORD

I absolutely love this agreement. Every morning before I even get out of bed, I meditate on this. I act as if I only have 100 words that I can speak in a single day. Yeah! So I better make ‘em count…right?

That means no more unnecessary frivolous chitter chatter. No arguing. No wasted words. Every word must be spoken with integrity, love, and understanding. Every word must be used to build people up, make them feel good, and to spread the powerful spirit of love. Easier said than done…I know. Especially here in prison. But I’m proof that it’s possible.

 

2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

I’m starting to realize that I can’t make anyone act in a way that isn’t within their personal nature. If someone lashed out with hate, it isn’t because of me, or what I’ve done. It’s because that’s who THEY are. What others say and do is a projection of their own inner being.

The more I understand this, the more I become immune to the negative opinions and actions of others. I ignore anything that doesn’t serve me well. Again, easier said than done. So to ensure success on my part, there are entire groups of men that I avoid. You won’t find me out in the prison yard with a group of skinheads, shooting the breeze.

But you might see me one on one with a like fella, who I feel is searching for that deeper meaning, like I am. I am always looking for opportunities to mentor and to spread the message of love.

 

3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

Think about this third agreement for a minute. I’ve been making assumptions my entire life. And they never serve me well. When I assume, all I’m doing is taking a wild guess as to WHY? Doesn’t it seem more logical to ask questions and to express concerns? Why not just communicate in a clear concise manner? Wouldn’t that clear up misunderstandings? With this agreement, I can avoid sooo much confusion, sadness, and drama.

For example: My dear wife recently asked me a list of important questions. By her clearly addressing these specific things, it helped me to understand and to see the whole picture. Her courage to do this helped strengthen our bond. If her questions had been left unspoken, there would be room for a lot of misunderstandings between us today.

 

4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

If you really put forth the effort to do your best, then you WILL see results. Believe it or not, your best is good enough.

Condition your mind properly and you’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish. I’ve been committing to these four agreements, and I already see aspects of my life getting better.

 

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Steven Jennings

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