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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (1997)

by Miguel Ruiz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,2811241,192 (3.75)56
Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML:

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

  • A New York Times bestseller for over a decade
    • Over 10 million copies sold in the U.S.
    • Translated into 46 languages worldwide

      "This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter." ?? Oprah Winfrey

    … (more)
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    » See also 56 mentions

    English (122)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (124)
    Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
    This book had some good points, but it stated every opinion on facts that aren't proven. It comes across as arrogant and rude. ( )
      CaitlinDaugherty | Aug 28, 2023 |
    While I can personally relate to many of the messages this book, they were too familiar to have significant impact on me as a reader. It was less a sensation of encountering something that "resonates" with me, and more an experience of reading what's been read before. I do think this could be a great book for someone beginning to look outside the realm of traditional philosophy and spiritual thinking, it just wasn't particularly rewarding for me at this time. ( )
      Kim.Sasso | Aug 27, 2023 |
    Fue una buena lectura. Igualmente, pensé que me aportaría mucho mas, pero aun así fueron buenos los conceptos que brindaba ( )
      mahebelen | Aug 25, 2023 |
    Fantastic and uplifting little book. Reading this just at the right time, since I'm going through something and needed a pep talk. I've got the 4 agreements posted up in my locker at work, to read whenever I need it. ( )
      kwskultety | Jul 4, 2023 |
    Since LT is not a 12-Step meeting, cross-talk is implicitly allowed, LOL:

    I mean, you can think whatever you want. But there were societies before there were billion-dollar science labs or gossip magazines you can buy for seven or eight dollars—before anyone was “normal”. It was a simpler time, and some might find that boring but people often enjoyed good mental health. Certainly the indigenous Mexicans didn’t need gringo to show up with his science and his gossip magazines before they could have a culture. They lived by simple guidelines, and they challenged people to own their own power. If you don’t like that—if encountering someone who’s not a 18th century German snob or whatever passes for a normal 49th percentile (or 29th—you can be so Normal in this would, it becomes positively AB-normal) Anglo internet user, if anything like that is just gonna make you blow up, then, well, take care of yourself, right. Use your little white fragility guidelines and don’t inflict an indigenous Mexican guy on yourself. Take care of yourself. As the Beatles said, Think for yourself—because I won’t be there with you.

    …. It’s moderately unusual in format, being both simple/“practical” and a guide to ultimate questions/“personal freedom”. I think it’s a philosophic applied spiritual psychology, a bit like both practical teachings and spiritual philosophy, like the Barbara De Angelis book I read, Soul Shifts.

    …. (domestication and the dream) I know I’ve already implicitly done Indian vs. white, but this is cool from that perspective, the costs of “civilization” and the difference between having a good society and beating everyone until they obey, until they hate themselves so much they secretly beat themselves in their mind. I know I’m not supposed to troll people on the interwebs, but it’s kinda hilarious that some civilization-expert could read this and say, This is primitive but amusing shit. Have the children read it and we’ll even beat them a bit less if they can parrot the things we don’t really believe anyway, since children are inferior and Indians are inferior too.

    Sometimes civilization is more heat than light: lots of lies and wasted energies.

    …. N.B.: Also, I don’t have kids, which obviously invalidates my opinion, lol—one of the disadvantages of being poor/not available to be a qualified parent, ha—but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people parent from fear; they parent from shame. And then God forbid anything happen that isn’t fit for Queen Victoria Junior and Princess Alice, the slaves-in-training, you know. Eventually you just have to move away from areas where people act like that, ideally. People think they’re doing it for the best, but shame isn’t for the best, and it’s our tradition, you know; it’s our way. Our old ways. People are so attached to their kids, like, beyond what’s healthy: it’s like I’m a citizen and you’re a citizen so we’re equal: but I have kids and they Belong to me, you know…. So I’m better than you. And I love my kids and they belong to me and nothing will ever keep us apart, but probably in a few years they’ll murder me when I sleep. But it won’t be my fault. It will be my neighbor’s fault. If I had shamed him sufficiently, my kids would still be under my feet.

    And, you know, kids do wrong too: you really SHOULDN’T murder your parents in their bed, you know; you and your parents come from the same line, the same family and society, and also as a culture we don’t honor age and experience like we should. But the other side is, kids go astray because parents don’t teach them the right way to go, because how could they, with their shame-based education, and if you try to even broach the topic, normies are like: You have to understand—In The World There Is SHAME. The End. It Can Never Change. (insert body/sex-based curse words here, you know).

    —If I don’t SHAME you; then you ARE a prostitute.
    —But if prostitutes, they probably feel a lot of shame, so maybe that’s not a—
    — SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
    —Can we talk about this important issue.
    —No. Normal life = dictatorship, because talking about things opens up the portal to the weird.
    —And in conflict, normie ideas would fail because they’re fragile/impotent/insecure. Is that what you think about yourself.
    —SHAME! SH—
    —Okay. Good.

    …. (the same subject continued) And anyway, where was the whole “children can never be hurt, or even embarrassed, upon pain of death”, when I was a kid? I’m not even that old! It’s totally a case of telling Peter you paid Paul and telling Paul you paid Peter, and then running off to Vegas with the money, which I guess we should expect, since to hurt one, is to hurt all. Children have no rights because they’re small and you can bully them. Adults are not permitted to do something embarrassing if there’s a kid living within 259 miles, because if they do their parents will pick them up and wield them like a sword and bully you with their kid-fears, possibly to make up for the fact that they bully them themselves, you know. —Sure, I bully you. But remember the time I bullied the neighbor? Gosh, that boy was /poor/!— And the tragedy is, they probably don’t even realize they’re doing it; how’s that for an “evil act while a vulnerable person (ie any person?) is present”, right.

    And because of all of that, they won’t have a shred of credibility when it comes time to have the “we’re here to support you if you want to kick crack cocaine” conversation, you know. Because they’ve been busy shaming all substances, body parts, adults, and children, until the little fucker just snaps and ruins his life!

    …. And the real fucking kicker is that this panic that someone has embarrassed themselves usually has to do with a failure of physical intelligence, or some other form of practical intelligence, which people refuse to talk about or learn about, you know—until it’s too late. If someone wanted to tell the kids in school about physical intelligence instead of the number of atoms in a cell or soldiers in an army, that would be totally equally as bad as somebody doing something embarrassing because they lack physical intelligence. I mean, it’s equally bad, right! Don’t have the problem, and don’t fix the problem—just be Norman Normie stormin’ Normandy, right: don’t have a physical intelligence lapse, and don’t try to find GQ here; we don’t stock it regularly. But don’t think you’ll be saved from the Second Coming of the Crucifier, when you embarrass us—and our children! The children mean I get another couple votes; it’s in the Constitution!

    (Incidentally, this book isn’t a substitute for an entire Native education, obviously, and doesn’t cover physical intelligence. But it’s definitely applied psychology, something we look down on because it seems Too Easy/not civilized enough, not disembodied enough. Maybe in a country where Native people weren’t treated like excrement you could still have brain-science psychology, you know, but probably education for most children Would Indeed have at least as much time spent on “dressing and appearing in public”, even if they wouldn’t call down the Crucifier on you if you weren’t like Lord Losesbets, and less time, you know, counting the atoms in a hydrogen molecule, and stuff like that.)

    …. (total honesty) I don’t know if I’ll write up each agreement, but I’ll do something for this one. In the past, fear and I guess lack of self-respect has led me to literally lie or mislead people because I lacked strength. Now I can answer questions truthfully when challenged. But recently I’ve realized there’s another layer to real honesty. There are things that are not objectively truth or lies, but interpretations, but nevertheless, really, there is a true interpretation and a false one. For as long as I can remember really, even when I was still in school and, as far as anyone could tell, “on the right path”, I believed two inter-related lies: (a) that I can’t take care of myself, and (b) that I can’t get other people to respect me. (Of course, these errors are Exaggerated when you believe you need things you don’t, or approval from others constantly, but nevertheless I think that a capable person, in addition to being able to do without other people’s help or approval, can eventually usually get a modicum of material safety and community respect.) Now, the problem is, that my environment reinforces these lies, by offering me support materially in exchange for staying poor, and also by mocking me at times for any real or imagined fault, often totally blown out of proportion by rage and fear. (Note that poverty is more than lack of income. A person could live a simple, wholesome life on very little money, and this is not “poverty” really in any but a technical economist’s sense. But if you are habitually seen as “less than” or mocked, it’s not so much the simple life as the life of poverty.) But my alarm bell never went off, because I never willfully lied because I was never challenged to tell the truth. However, I’ve been passively living a lie by not actively telling the truth.

    …. (nothing is personal) Well, maybe just one more, considering. I mean, of course from the natural some things are bad, and it can be difficult when that bad thing is happening to someone else, (taken under our wing, lol, into our little robin’s nest), and so of course from one point of view you guys wanting to bomb Mexico and recolonize the whole place with doctors from the posh part of Boston or wherever people matter, or at least make it so that you can actively look for people who don’t matter and not find them—obviously in the natural, that’s the impossible-bad-thing, right.

    But then, your dream is your dream just as much yours as my dream is mine, and I can’t unilaterally decide what any collective dream that we have is, and anyway many people (not percentage-wise, but many individuals) have been in collective bad dreams, like all the wars and labor camps and so on, and not been ruined morally by them to turned or hatred and foolishness and acting-against, or whatever it is, so, I don’t know. If you’re the sole authority in your dream, or you and the gossipers with good grades, or whatever it is, I mean—I naturally have no power to force you to change, and that’s just the way things are, which is good, you know.

    …. Also, without trying to speculate endlessly about “why bad things happen”, since obviously there’s more than one answer, and sometimes opposing views both have a grain of truth, and I don’t want to hold you up for the rest of your day—when bad things happen, it’s because I’ve made an agreement with reality that people can treat me a way I dislike. I’m not being clear; I’m being ambiguous, confusing. Really people could make their own agreement that I’m goosepoop, you know; but if I haven’t made the agreement that I receive the goosepoop thoughts then it doesn’t matter, and then pretty soon people decide that you’re actually the goose-king, and then you receive that, you make that agreement. But other people can always make their own agreements, is a point he stresses. If I can’t think in your mind, what am I doing taking responsibility for your thoughts? (Assuming we’re separate, but if we’re united in love there’s no need to theorize. Even then, we might disagree sometimes, about practical things, though.) And really, when I’m separate from you and I’m taking responsibility for you and I’m “convincing” you—I don’t really like you to begin with, so I don’t really want you to stop and say, you know, Oh, so that’s how it is; now it makes sense! And so of course, you never will say it like that when I vibrate like that, because I’ve made this agreement that in my consciousness, my dream, you are a “problem” for me, and so now the impulse to defend the thesis I’ve put forward, that you’re ruining my life, and for that to be true, my life, well, it can’t be good, and you certainly can’t offer to help fix it!…. Choices like that tend not to get reversed all in one day, but you’re constantly either digging deeper or calling things into question and calling for a do-over, you know.

    And, people are like: I had a train to catch I’m sad. 🥺

    But wait, you made an agreement to….

    …. And it’s a process. I’ve gone from being very insecure to rather equanimous and I’m planning on becoming more independent too, but you can’t assume defeat is here if sometimes you just feel like the universe used to be a friendly place five minutes ago, but now the devil’s orchestra is tuning up for some grand symphony, you know. Usually I don’t actually convince myself to sit and listen, though! 😹

    …. The other two agreements are good too, and overall too I think it might be cool in a fun way to compare Miguel to other simple-philosophy types, (to put it broadly), like Epictetus (the Greek) who said that there were three topics in philosophy, two of which were practical…. But I think I’ve inflicted enough on you guys for now. (Coach cap) Good game! Good job, team!

    …. (the last paragraph and the paragraph after that) So apparently the shamans of the Americas all call themselves ‘warriors’, even though it is also important to fight fear (and fear I think can make people contentious). This seems healthy to me. For example, my father—when he speaks about things in life, he is usually fighting and opposing things and being afraid, and almost never talks about God or spiritual things unless he is having a formal religious book club at his house where he tries to force everyone into peace and the love of God; however, books about peace and the love of God fill his house and maybe only 1% or whatever are about wars and history and fighting because he’s ashamed of that part of himself. This is unhealthy. Actually part of that dysfunction in him is having this mechanical belief in group power—power for religion or his political groups—but at the same time not owning his personal power, which he’s ashamed of. Not being ashamed of books about war and fighting, and even having some silly adventure books with rockin’ handsome heroes or whatever, would be more healthy, than always putting the cover on the boiling pot, you know. I used to read too much about history and wars at one point and part of me is still concerned about that, but in a way sometimes the great fighters and their stories can be more effective than reading about the formally correct truths of religion. Even in the Bible there’s more of a balance there, between (albeit somewhat more abstract than the Iliad) war-poetry and the formal truths about God, you know. Warriors can be healthy, and being a warrior is not something to be ashamed of.

    …. “The world is very beautiful and very wonderful.”
      goosecap | May 19, 2023 |
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    » Add other authors (10 possible)

    Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
    Miguel Ruizprimary authorall editionscalculated
    Coyote, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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    Epigraph
    Dedication
    To the Circle of Fire;
    those who have gone before,
    those who are present,
    and those who have yet to come.
    First words
    What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream.
    Quotations
    Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
    Quiero que olvides todo lo que has aprendido en la vida. Este es el principio de un nuevo entendimiento, de un nuevo sueño.

    Tienes el poder de crear el infierno y de crear el cielo. .

    Imagínate que te amas a ti mismo tal y como eres.
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    Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML:

    In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

    A New York Times bestseller for over a decade Over 10 million copies sold in the U.S. Translated into 46 languages worldwide

    "This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter." ?? Oprah Winfrey

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    Beyond Words Publishing

    3 editions of this book were published by Beyond Words Publishing.

    Editions: 1878424319, 187842436X, 1878424777

     

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