☘️

The Four Agreements

🔖How would I describe this book in 1 sentence?

The great truth about humanity's belief systems and the ways to navigate yourself through this life journey.

🗺️What was the role of this book in my journey?

Although not eye-opening, I find the concepts in this book exceptionally profound and well-stated.

The book served me as a good reminder that every day is a constant battle with the opinions and judgments, not only others but of ourselves, too. And if you fail to recognize this battle, then you already lost.

💡Key Insights

  1. Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…. — John Lennon
  2. To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans.
  3. In your whole life, nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.
  4. Each of us is born with a certain amount of personal power that we rebuild every day after we rest. Unfortunately, we spend all our personal power first to create all these agreements and then to keep these agreements.
  5. The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted. The seeds are opinions, ideas, and concepts. You plant a seed, a thought, and it grows.
  6. Religions talk about sin and sinners, but let’s understand what it really means to sin. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything.
  7. Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do. There is an old expression that says, “Misery likes company,” and people who are suffering in hell don’t want to be all alone. Fear and suffering are an important part of the dream of the planet; they are how the dream of the planet keeps us down.
  8. What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.”. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.
  9. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real.
  10. The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally.
  11. We have the need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions.
  12. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.
  13. Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.
  14. The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the victim represses, and the warrior refrains. Victims repress because they are afraid to show the emotions, afraid to say what they want to say. To refrain is not the same thing as repression. To refrain is to hold the emotions and to express them in the right moment, not before, not later. That is why warriors are impeccable. They have complete control over their own emotions and therefore over their own behavior.
Insights

🦅Key Principles

  1. Challenge your own beliefs
  2. Be impeccable with your word
  3. Do not judge or blame yourself
  4. Do not gossip
  5. Don't take anything personally
  6. Don't make assumptions
  7. Find someone who is already the way you want him or her to be, instead of trying to change that person
  8. Always do your best
  9. You are dreaming all the time. Become aware of the fog that is in your mind
  10. Be a warrior. Every day you are at war with your emotions and judgments. Refrain your emotions. Fight. Not give in to your mind.
  11. Embrace the angel of death — live every day as it is your last.
Principles

✍️Notes

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…. — John Lennon

Domestication and the Dream of the Planet

  • Dreaming is the main function of the mind, and the mind dreams twenty-four hours a day. It dreams when the brain is awake, and it also dreams when the brain is asleep. The difference is that when the brain is awake, there is a material frame that makes us perceive things in a linear way.
  • Humans are dreaming all the time. The dream of the planet is the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community, a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity.
  • We are born with the capacity to learn how to dream, and the humans who live before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams.
  • The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the schools, and religion to teach us how to dream.
  • Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive. The adults around us hooked our attention and put information into our minds through repetition.
  • By using our attention we learned a whole reality, a whole dream. We learned how to behave in society: what to believe and what not to believe; what is acceptable and what is not acceptable; what is good and what is bad; what is beautiful and what is ugly; what is right and what is wrong.
  • Children believe everything adults say. We agree with them, and our faith is so strong that the belief system controls our whole dream of life. We didn’t choose these beliefs, and we may have rebelled against them, but we were not strong enough to win the rebellion. The result is surrender to the beliefs with our agreement.
  • In human domestication, the information from the outside dream is conveyed to the inside dream, creating our whole belief system. First the child is taught the names of things: Mom, Dad, milk, bottle. Day by day, at home, at school, at church, and from television, we are told how to live, what kind of behavior is acceptable. The outside dream teaches us how to be a human. We have a whole concept of what a “woman” is and what a “man” is. And we also learn to judge: We judge ourselves, judge other people, judge the neighbors.
  • We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually we become someone that we are not. We become a copy of Mamma’s beliefs, Daddy’s beliefs, society’s beliefs, and religion’s beliefs.
  • The domestication is so strong that at a certain point in our lives we no longer need anyone to domesticate us. We don’t need Mom or Dad, the school or the church to domesticate us. We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator. We are an autodomesticated animal.
  • There is something in our minds that judges everybody and everything, including the weather, the dog, the cat — everything. The inner Judge uses what is in our Book of Law to judge everything we do and don’t do, everything we think and don’t think, and everything we feel and don’t feel.
  • There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame. It is the part of us that says, “Poor me, I’m not good enough, I’m not intelligent enough, I’m not attractive enough, I’m not worthy of love, poor me.” The big Judge agrees and says, “Yes, you are not good enough.” And this is all based on a belief system that we never chose to believe.
  • Because everything that is in the Book of Law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe. Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe.
  • That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. Because even if we know we didn’t choose all these beliefs, it is also true that we agreed to all of them.
  • How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again.
  • Whenever we feel the emotions of anger, jealousy, envy, or hate, we experience a fire burning within us. We are living in a dream of hell.
  • If you consider hell as a state of mind, then hell is all around us. Others may warn us that if we don’t do what they say we should do, we will go to hell. Bad news! We are already in hell, including the people who tell us that.
  • We don’t see the truth because we are blind. What blinds us are all those false beliefs we have in our mind.
  • We have the need to be right and to make others wrong. We trust what we believe, and our beliefs set us up for suffering. It is as if we live in the middle of a fog that doesn’t let us see any further than our own nose. We live in a fog that is not even real. This fog is a dream, your personal dream of life — what you believe, all the concepts you have about what you are, all the agreements you have made with others, with yourself, and even with God.
  • To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans.
  • We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.
  • Not being perfect, we reject ourselves. And the level of self-rejection depends upon how effective the adults were in breaking our integrity. After domestication it is no longer about being good enough for anybody else. We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our own image of perfection.
  • But nobody abuses us more than we abuse ourselves, and it is the Judge, the Victim, and the belief system that make us do this. True, we find people who say their husband or wife, or mother or father, abused them, but you know that we abuse ourselves much more than that.
  • The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed. If we make a mistake in front of people, we try to deny the mistake and cover it up. But as soon as we are alone, the Judge becomes so strong, the guilt is so strong, and we feel so stupid, or so bad, or so unworthy.
  • In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.
  • If you abuse yourself very badly, you can even tolerate someone who beats you up, humiliates you, and treats you like dirt. Why? Because in your belief system you say, “I deserve it. This person is doing me a favor by being with me. I’m not worthy of love and respect. I’m not good enough.”
  • There are thousands of agreements you have made with yourself, with other people, with your dream of life, with God, with society, with your parents, with your spouse, with your children. But the most important agreements are the ones you made with yourself. In these agreements you tell yourself who you are, what you feel, what you believe, and how to behave.
  • Each of us is born with a certain amount of personal power that we rebuild every day after we rest. Unfortunately, we spend all our personal power first to create all these agreements and then to keep these agreements.

Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with Your Word

  • Why your word? Your word is the power that you have to create.
  • Through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything. Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word. What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.
  • The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. You can speak. What other animal on the planet can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic.
  • The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted. The seeds are opinions, ideas, and concepts. You plant a seed, a thought, and it grows.
  • Someone gives an opinion and says, “Look, this girl is ugly!” The girl listens, believes she is ugly, and grows up with the idea that she is ugly. It doesn’t matter how beautiful she is; as long as she has that agreement, she will believe that she is ugly. That is the spell she is under.
  • Another example: You may believe you are stupid, and you may have believed this for as long as you can remember. This agreement can be very tricky, causing you to do a lot of things just to ensure that you are stupid. You may do something and think to yourself, “I wish I were smart, but I must be stupid or I wouldn’t have done that.” The mind goes in hundreds of different directions, and we could spend days getting hooked by just that one belief in our own stupidity.
  • Now let us see what the word impeccability means. Impeccability means “without sin.” Impeccable comes from the Latin pecatus, which means “sin.” The im in impeccable means “without,” so impeccable means “without sin.”
  • Religions talk about sin and sinners, but let’s understand what it really means to sin. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything.
  • Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself. If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I’m using the word against you. But really I’m using my word against myself, because you’re going to hate me for this, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself.
  • Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.
  • Another example: You awake in the morning feeling very happy. You feel so wonderful, you stay one or two hours in front of the mirror, making yourself beautiful. Well, one of your best friends says, “What has happened to you? You look so ugly. Look at the dress you are wearing; you look ridiculous.” That’s it; that is enough to put you all the way down in hell. Maybe this girlfriend just told you this to hurt you. And, she did. She gave you an opinion with all the power of her word behind it. If you accept the opinion, it becomes an agreement now, and you put all your power into that opinion. That opinion becomes black magic.
  • The only thing that can break a spell is to make a new agreement based on truth.
  • Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison.
  • Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do. There is an old expression that says, “Misery likes company,” and people who are suffering in hell don’t want to be all alone. Fear and suffering are an important part of the dream of the planet; they are how the dream of the planet keeps us down.
  • For example, you are beginning a new class with a new teacher and you have looked forward to it for a long time. On the first day of class, you run into someone who took the class before, who tells you, “Oh that instructor was such a pompous jerk! He didn’t know what he was talking about, and he was a pervert too, so watch out!”. You are immediately imprinted with the word and the emotional code the person had when saying this, but what you are not aware of is his or her motivation in telling you. This person could be angry for failing the class or simply making an assumption based on fears and prejudices, but because you have learned to ingest information like a child, some part of you believes the gossip, and you go on to the class. As the teacher speaks, you feel the poison come up inside you and you don’t realize you see the teacher through the eyes of the person who gave you that gossip. Then you start talking to other people in the class about this, and they start to see the teacher in the same way: as a jerk and a pervert. You really hate the class, and soon you decide to drop out. You blame the teacher, but it is gossip that is to blame.
  • When we see the world through a computer virus, it is easy to justify the cruelest behavior. What we don’t see is that misuse of our word is putting us deeper into hell.
  • We talk to ourselves constantly and most of the time we say things like, “Oh, I look fat, I look ugly. I’m getting old, I’m losing my hair. I’m stupid, I never understand anything. I will never be good enough, and I’m never going to be perfect.”
  • We must begin to understand what the word is and what the word does. 
  • Consider how many times you have gossiped about the person you love the most to gain the support of others for your point of view. How many times have you hooked other people’s attention, and spread poison about your loved one in order to make your opinion right? Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true. Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream. We create all this poison and spread it to others just so we can feel right about our own point of view.
  • Impeccability of the word will also give you immunity from anyone putting a negative spell on you. You will only receive a negative idea if your mind is fertile ground for that idea.
  • Be impeccable with your word. This is the first agreement that you should make if you want to be free, if you want to be happy, if you want to transcend the level of existence that is hell. It is very powerful. Use the word in the correct way. Use the word to share your love. Use white magic, beginning with yourself. Tell yourself how wonderful you are, how great you are. Tell yourself how much you love yourself. Use the word to break all those teeny, tiny agreements that make you suffer.

Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

  • You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell.
  • What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.”
  • Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.
  • You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.
  • When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something big out of something so little, because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong.
  • Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me.
  • You may even tell me, “Miguel, what you are saying is hurting me.” But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way that I can take this personally.
  • If you live without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of those emotions. If you don’t feel any of those emotions, it is logical that you will feel good. When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are.
  • Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful.
  • Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.
  • Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it. When you don’t take the emotional poison, it becomes even worse in the sender, but not in you.
  • You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.

Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

  • The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real.
  • The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally.
  • 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.
  • An example: You are walking in the mall, and you see a person you like. That person turns to you and smiles, and then walks away. You can make a lot of assumptions just because of this one experience. With these assumptions you can create a whole fantasy. And you really want to believe this fantasy and make it real. A whole dream begins to form just from your assumptions, and you can believe, “Oh, this person really likes me.” In your mind a whole relationship begins from that. Maybe you even get married in this fantasyland. But the fantasy is in your mind, in your personal dream.
  • Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems. Often we make the assumption that our partners know what we think and that we don’t have to say what we want. We assume they are going to do what we want, because they know us so well. If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel so hurt and say, “You should have known.”
  • We have the need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions.
  • We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make.
  • Often when you go into a relationship with someone you like, you have to justify why you like that person. You only see what you want to see and you deny there are things you don’t like about that person. You lie to yourself just to make yourself right. Then you make assumptions, and one of the assumptions is “My love will change this person.” But this is not true. Your love will not change anybody. If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them.
  • We don’t need to justify love; it is there or not there. Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If we try to change them, this means we don’t really like them.
  • Find someone whom you don’t have to change at all. It is much easier to find someone who is already the way you want him or her to be, instead of trying to change that person.
  • Find your voice to ask for what you want. Everybody has the right to tell you no or yes, but you always have the right to ask.
  • If you don’t understand something, it is better for you to ask and be clear, instead of making an assumption. The day you stop making assumptions you will communicate cleanly and clearly, free of emotional poison.
  • With clear communication, all of your relationships will change, not only with your partner, but with everyone else. You won’t need to make assumptions because everything becomes so clear. This is what I want; this is what you want.
  • A white magician uses the word for creation, giving, sharing, and loving.

Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best

  • The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three. Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less.
  • In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to another, from one hour to the next, from one day to another. Your best will also change over time. As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be.
  • Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best — no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough.
  • When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.
Tale about the man seeking to transcend

There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so he 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.”

  • Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.
  • When you do your best, you don’t give the Judge the opportunity to find you guilty or to blame you. If you have done your best and the Judge tries to judge you according to your Book of Laws, you’ve got the answer: “I did my best.” There are no regrets.
  • When you do your best you learn to accept yourself. But you have to be aware and learn from your mistakes. Learning from your mistakes means you practice, look honestly at the results, and keep practicing. This increases your awareness.
  • When you are doing your best just for the pleasure of doing it, you are taking action because you enjoy the action.
  • You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.
  • A good example of this comes from the story about Forrest Gump. He didn’t have great ideas, but he took action. He was happy because he always did his best at whatever he did. He was richly rewarded without expecting any reward at all.
  • Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
  • The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. Don’t expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best. Don’t expect that you will never take anything personally; just do your best. Don’t expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best.
  • Practice makes the master. By doing your best you become a master
  • Do not be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. Just live one day at a time. Always do your best to keep these agreements, and soon it will be easy for you. Today is the beginning of a new dream.

Breaking Old Agreements

  • In America we speak of living in a free country. But are we really free? Are we free to be who we really are? The answer is no, we are not free. True freedom has to do with the human spirit — it is the freedom to be who we really are.
  • If we see a child who is two or three, perhaps four years old, we find a free human. Why is this human free? Because this human does whatever he or she wants to do. The human is completely wild. Just like a flower, a tree, or an animal that has not been domesticated — wild! And if we observe humans who are two years old, we find that most of the time these humans have a big smile on their face and they’re having fun. They are exploring the world. They are not afraid to play. They are afraid when they are hurt, when they are hungry, when some of their needs are not met, but they don’t worry about the past, don’t care about the future, and only live in the present moment.
  • But, what has happened with the adult human? What has happened is that we have the Book of Law, the big Judge and the Victim who rule our lives. We are no longer free because the Judge, the Victim, and the belief system don’t allow us to be who we really are.
  • This chain of training from human to human, from generation to generation, is perfectly normal in human society. You don’t need to blame your parents for teaching you to be like them. What else could they teach you but what they know? They did the best they could, and if they abused you, it was due to their own domestication, their own fears, their own beliefs. They had no control over the programming they received, so they couldn’t have behaved any differently.
  • The Judge says, “Wait a second, you are responsible, you have things to do, you have to work, you have to go to school, you have to earn a living.” All these responsibilities come to mind. Our face changes and becomes serious again. If you watch children when they are playing adults, you will see their little faces change. “Let’s pretend I’m a lawyer,” and right away their faces change; the adult face takes over. We go to court and that is the face we see — and that is what we are. We are still children, but we have lost our freedom.
  • The worst part is that most of us are not even aware that we are not free. There is something inside that whispers to us that we are not free, but we do not understand what it is, and why we are not free.
  • The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. We need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem. Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change.
  • There are three masteries that lead people to become Toltecs. First is the Mastery of Awareness. This is to be aware of who we really are, with all the possibilities. The second is the Mastery of Transformation — how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third is the Mastery of Intent.
  • From the Toltec point of view, all humans who are domesticated are sick. They are sick because there is a parasite that controls the mind and controls the brain. The food for the parasite is the negative emotions that come from fear.
  • In all the shamanic traditions in America, from Canada to Argentina, people call themselves warriors, because they are in a war against the parasite in the mind. That is the real meaning of a warrior.
  • The warrior is one who rebels against the invasion of the parasite. The warrior rebels and declares a war. But to be a warrior doesn’t mean we always win the war; we may win or we may lose, but we always do our best and at least we have a chance to be free again.
  • The parasite can be compared to a monster with a thousand heads. Every head of the parasite is one of the fears that we have. If we want to be free, we have to destroy the parasite.
    • One solution is to attack the parasite head by head, which means we face each of our fears, one by one. This is a slow process, but it works. Every time we face one of the fears we are a little more free.
    • A second approach is to stop feeding the parasite. If we don’t give the parasite any food, we kill the parasite by starvation. To do this we have to gain control of our emotions, we have to refrain from fueling the emotions that come from fear. This is easy to say, but it is very difficult to do. It is difficult because the Judge and the Victim control our mind.
    • A third solution is called the initiation of the dead.The initiation of the dead is found in many traditions and esoteric schools around the world. We find it in Egypt, India, Greece, and America. This is a symbolic death which kills the parasite without harming our physical body. When we “die” symbolically the parasite has to die. This is faster than the first two solutions, but it is even more difficult to do. We need a great deal of courage to face the angel of death. We need to be very strong.

THE ART OF TRANSFORMATION: THE DREAM OF THE SECOND ATTENTION

  • The process of domestication can be called the dream of the first attention because it was how your attention was used for the first time to create the first dream of your life.
  • One way to change your beliefs is to focus your attention on all those agreements and beliefs, and change the agreements with yourself.
  • The first step is to become aware of the fog that is in your mind. You must become aware that you are dreaming all the time. Only with awareness do you have the possibility of transforming your dream.
  • The next step is to develop awareness of all the self-limiting, fear-based beliefs that make you unhappy. You take an inventory of all that you believe, all your agreements, and through this process you begin the transformation.
  • Going to the core of those agreements is what I call going into the desert. When you go into the desert you meet your demons face-to-face. After coming out of the desert, all those demons become angels.
  • Practicing the four new agreements is a big act of power. Breaking the spell of black magic in your mind requires great personal power. Every time you break an agreement, you gain extra power
  • For every agreement you break that makes you suffer, you will need to replace it with a new agreement that makes you happy. This will keep the old agreement from coming back.
  • We cannot change an agreement with less power than we used to make the agreement, and almost all our personal power is invested in keeping the agreements we have with ourselves. That’s because our agreements are actually like a strong addiction. We are addicted to being the way we are. We are addicted to anger, jealousy, and self-pity. We are addicted to the beliefs that tell us, “I’m not good enough, I’m not intelligent enough. Why even try? Other people will do it because they’re better than me.”
  • Therefore, to adopt the Four Agreements, you need to put repetition in action.

THE DISCIPLINE OF THE WARRIOR: CONTROLLING YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR

  • Every day we awake with a certain amount of mental, emotional, and physical energy that we spend throughout the day. If we allow our emotions to deplete our energy, we have no energy to change our lives or to give to others.
  • The way you see the world will depend upon the emotions you are feeling. When you are angry, everything around you is wrong, nothing is right. You blame everything including the weather; whether it’s raining or the sun is shining, nothing pleases you. When you are sad, everything around you is sad and makes you cry. You see the trees and you feel sad; you see the rain and everything looks so sad.
Infected skin analogy
  • Imagine that the human mind is the same as your skin. You can touch healthy skin and it feels wonderful. Your skin is made for perception and the sensation of touch is wonderful. Now imagine you have an injury and the skin gets cut and infected. If you touch the infected skin, it is going to hurt, so you try to cover and protect the skin. You will not enjoy being touched because it hurts.
  • Now imagine that all humans have this skin disease. Nobody can touch each other because it is going to hurt. Everyone has wounds on their skin, so the infection is seen as normal, the pain is also considered normal; we believe we are supposed to be that way.
  • Can you imagine how we would behave with each other if all the humans in the world had this skin disease? Of course we would hardly ever hug each other because it would be too painful. So we would need to create a lot of distance between us.
  • The human mind is exactly like this description of infected skin. Every human has an emotional body completely covered with infected wounds. Each wound is infected with emotional poison — the poison of all the emotions that makes us suffer, such as hate, anger, envy, and sadness.
  • We have a dysfunctional dream of the planet, and humans are mentally sick with a disease called fear. The symptoms of the disease are all the emotions that make humans suffer: anger, hate, sadness, envy, and betrayal. When the fear is too great, the reasoning mind begins to fail, and we call this mental illness.
  • If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure. We don’t have to suffer any longer.
  • First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for the injustice.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal. We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves.
  • You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and you no longer have an emotional reaction. You will hear the name of the person and you will have no emotional reaction. When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven.
  • The truth is like a scalpel. The truth is painful, because it opens all of the wounds which are covered by lies so that we can be healed. These lies are what we call the denial system.
  • It’s a good thing we have the denial system, because it allows us to cover our wounds and still function. But once we no longer have any wounds or any poison, we don’t need to lie anymore. We don’t need the denial system, because a healthy mind, like healthy skin, can be touched without hurting.
  • It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the emotions
  • How are we to become a warrior? There are certain characteristics of the warrior that are nearly the same around the world. The warrior has awareness. That’s very important. We are aware that we are at war, and the war in our minds requires discipline. Not the discipline of a soldier, but the discipline of a warrior. Not the discipline from the outside to tell us what to do and what not to do, but the discipline to be ourselves, no matter what.
  • The warrior has control. Not control over another human, but control over one’s own emotions, control over one’s own self. It is when we lose control that we repress the emotions, not when we are in control.
  • The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the victim represses, and the warrior refrains. Victims repress because they are afraid to show the emotions, afraid to say what they want to say. To refrain is not the same thing as repression. To refrain is to hold the emotions and to express them in the right moment, not before, not later. That is why warriors are impeccable. They have complete control over their own emotions and therefore over their own behavior.

THE INITIATION OF THE DEAD: EMBRACING THE ANGEL OF DEATH

  • What the angel of death can teach us is how to be truly alive.
  • The truth is that we don’t know if we are going to die tomorrow. Who knows? We have the idea that we have many years in the future. But do we?
  • If we go to the hospital and the doctor tells us that we have one week to live, what are we going to do? As we have said before, we have two choices. One is to suffer because we are going to die, and to tell everyone, “Poor me, I am going to die,” and really create a huge drama. The other choice is to use every moment to be happy, to do what we really enjoy doing. If we only have one week to live, let’s enjoy life. Let’s be alive. We can say, “I’m going to be myself. No longer am I going to run my life trying to please other people. No longer am I going to be afraid of what they think about me. What do I care what others think if I am going to die in one week? I’m going to be myself.”
  • The angel of death can teach us to live every day as if it is the last day of our lives, as if there may be no tomorrow.
  • What if I had a big fight with you and I told you all those emotional poisons that I have against you and you die tomorrow? Oops! Oh my God, the Judge will get me so bad, and I will feel so guilty for everything that I told you.
  • You can live your life this way. By doing so, you prepare yourself for the initiation of death.
  • The old dream that you have in your mind is going to die forever. Yes, you are going to have memories of the parasite — of the Judge, the Victim, and what you used to believe — but the parasite will be dead.
  • The angel of death comes to us and says, “You see everything that exists here is mine; it is not yours. Your house, your spouse, your children, your car, your career, your money — everything is mine and I can take it away when I want to, but for now you can use it.”
  • If we surrender to the angel of death we will be happy forever and ever. Why? Because the angel of death takes the past away in order to make it possible for life to continue.
  • For every moment that is past, the angel of death keeps taking the part that is dead and we keep living in the present. The parasite wants us to carry the past with us and that makes it so heavy to be alive. When we try to live in the past, how can we enjoy the present? When we dream of the future, why must we carry the burden of the past? When are we going to live in the present? That is what the angel of death teaches us to do.