By Alex P. Vidal
“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 have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality. We literally dream things up in our imaginations. Because we don’t understand something, we make an assumption about the meaning, and when the truth comes out, the bubble of our dream pops and we find out it was not what we thought it was at all.”—DON MIGUEL RUIZ
AN ancient Toltec wisdom offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love, as it reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and creates needless suffering.
Among the Four Agreements in the book, I chose the number three for the main gist of this story; I noticed this was where we normally succumb when communication bogs down, and when we make a mistake of magnifying unimportant happenings into major events that results in sadness and drama.
Author Don Miguel Ruiz warns that “we have the tendency to make assumptions about everything, and the problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real.”
We make assumptions about what others are doing and thinking–we take it personally–then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word.
Whenever we make assumptions, Ruiz says we are asking for problems.
We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.
We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking it personally, because usually we start gossiping about our assumptions, Ruiz observes.
He counsels: “Remember, gossiping is the way we communicate to each other in the dream of hell and transfer poison to one another. Because we are afraid to ask clarifications, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.
The author warns: “It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.”
All the sadness and drama we have lived in our lives was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
The teachings in the Four Agreements, written by Ruiz, were based on Toltec knowledge, which arises from the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric foundations found around the world.
The Four Agreements are:
- 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 circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
“Though it is not a religion, it honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on earth,” according to Ruiz. “While it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.”
Anthropologists have spoken of the Toltec as a nation or race, but, in fact, Silva explains, the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones.
They came together as masters (naguals) and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside Mexico City known as the place where “Man Becomes God.”
Over the millennia, stresses Ruiz, the naguals were forced to conceal the ancestral wisdom and maintain its existence in obscurity.
“European conquest, coupled with rampant misuse of personal power by a few of the apprentices, made it necessary to shield the knowledge from those who were not prepared to use it wisely or who might intentionally misuse it for personal gain,” Ruiz points out.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)