Ruiz presents a set of practical and powerful tools to improve one’s life. The core of the philosophy he presents is that we fill our lives with agreements about everything we encounter and do. Some are true agreements, such as recognizing natural laws, and are worth keeping. Others can be harmful to us, limiting the ways in which we live. He proposes some stages that will allow us to break down harmful agreements and build new, positive ones.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
The four agreements referenced in the title of the book are four simple yet powerful agreements we can make with ourelves in order to live well. They seem to be universal advice, but so often each of us do not follow what they insist is best. Ruiz suggests that if we accept these as true and sincere agreements we can use them to dismantle harmful agreements.
Ruiz’s philosophy is based on Toltec wisdom. The Toltec were a people of ancient Mexico, a people filled with scientists and artists, he tells. They followed a path quite similar to Taoists and members of other global traditions of philosophy.
My only major complaint about this book is the language Ruiz employs. I found it too steeped in words and metaphors that called attention to its “new age” nature instead of the underlying, beneficial philosophy. I believe the book would be much more effective if it had been written in more accessable language. If Ruiz wishes to help a wide audience, he fails in this respect by talking of “dream reality” and “black magic” as if they were common place ideas, essentially alienating anyone with a negative impression of “new age” movements and other works that utilize similar language.
Despite that one failing, I found the book to be rewarding, thought provoking and insightful. I’d have no hesitation recommending it to anyone with a tollerance for the language issue I mentioned. It’s really a valuable tool.