In this Four Agreements Summary, I will share with you a summary of the major points of each chapter. Helping you to understand and process the book faster!
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is my favorite non-fiction book. If you apply what he teaches using it as your guiding principles for your relationships. You will see positive changes in your life.
You may feel like the concepts are too simple to make a big difference. But, living the agreements is not always simple. But it is always worth it. It will change the way you look at the world and yourself if you live the agreements.
The Four Agreements Chapter 1
Domestication and the Dream of the Planet
This is the foundation chapter. It will help you understand why you feel the way you do and why you act the way you do. It is the hardest chapter to get through as it has the most new concepts in it. It is easy to quit at this chapter, but trust me the rest of the book is easier to process!
Key Takeaways From Chapter One
- Words and Knowledge are all agreed upon definitions. We don't always agree with each other on what these are.
- We all go through a process called Domestication. This is where we agree with those around us as kids to survive. These become the agreements and laws that we create for ourselves. Eventually leaving our true self for this artificial us we created.
- We eventually self enforce all rules. We create our own Book of Law, and have our own judge. Plus we play the victim in our own story!
- Our biggest fear is of being alive. Of being ourselves. This goes back to we need to accept what we are told when we are young in order to survive. We leave ourselves, to be accepted. Going back to ourselves, creates fears over being rejected.
- Perfection is crated in our own minds. It is different for everyone based on the agreements we make.
- Self Abuse. We only allow others to treat us as bad as we would. Instead of being stuck in why is this person doing this to me. Ask, why am I allowing it.
How to Implement Chapter One
- Start to retrain your beliefs about how you ended up where you are. Do this by focusing on understanding these takeaways better. Know that this process is normal. You are not broken.
- Consider purchasing the Four Agreements Companion Book to help you through the remainder of the book.
- Start your Book of Law. This is where you record what agreements you have made in different areas of life, so you can begin to work on them. I used small little journals that I could easily carry with me for this. I am amazed at how often I refer to this even 5+ years after creating it.
The Four Agreements Chapter 2
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word
What we say and think is powerful. Not just to ourselves, but to others.
Key Takeaways From Chapter Two
- Our word is one of the most powerful things we posses. It will change people's lives.
- Impeccable means without sin. "A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself." "Sin begins with the rejection of self." Something negative to someone else is against you.
- Gossip is the most common way we go against this agreement. This can be intentional or unintentional.
- What you say to yourself matters.
- When you love yourself, you are no longer susceptible to others negative words.
The Four Agreements Chapter 3
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
In my opinion this is one of the most impactful chapters for your life. If you begin to master it. It also seems to take the most work. When I am working one on one with a client, this is almost always a factor in what we are working on. In fact, in the book, Ruiz says if you do agreements one and two you will eliminate 75% of your agreements.
Key Takeaways from Chapter Three
The focus here is on our own personal importance. Which is that we assume everything is about us. We make ourselves the center of the situation.
This includes recovering people pleasers. People pleasing is all about us, not the other person. It's about what we get from it, or what we believe we are required to do.
This agreement is two sided.
First you are taking something I say personally.
Second, me trying to impose my opinions on you.
Just as what someone says about you is all about their agreements. What you say to others, is all about your agreements.
As an example (based off one he uses in the book): When I say to someone, I love your voice. It is about me. We all resonate differently with different sounds, so me liking your voice is about me. It is influenced by what octaves sound good to me. How I was raised: in a noisy home or a quiet one. Even influenced by my current spiritual and physical needs. Is your crown chakra out of line? Do I have a headache?
Likewise, if someone says to me, I like your voice - it's about them and not me.
If you love and accept yourself, what I say can't impact you.
If you believe you have a beautiful voice, and I say you don't, it won't hurt you if there is no wound to aggravate.
When you heal your wounds, others can't hurt you.
Your opinion of yourself is not necessarily true!
Our own minds can talk and listen to the self. You can also have conflicting agreements, with partial truths in each. Which will take time to sort through.
Our Agreements Create Our Reality.
We look for events and people to reinforce our beliefs. When our agreements are paired with taking things personal, we suffer.
The Four Agreements Chapter 4
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
Chapter four is all about not making assumptions. Too often we just assume what people need, or that others know what we need. By making assumptions, we create issues that would not otherwise happen. If we just had asked questions. Or told others what we need.
Key Takeaways From Chapter Four
- Most of the time we take something personally it is because we first made an assumption.
- We don’t understand something, so we make an assumption. Then begin to fill in the gaps based on this. Creating a false reality.
- Many relationship problems can be caused by someone making an assumption. You may assume what the other person wants, thinks, or feels. Or you assume that the other person understands what you need.
- Our minds tend to look for things that validate what we already believe it is easy to make assumptions. By default, we assume our beliefs are true. We assume others should think and react the same way.
- We make assumptions about ourselves. We don’t explore our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Or we “lie” to ourselves about what we really want in life.
- Real love is not changing others. Don’t enter into relationships where either you or the other person wants to change someone.
The Four Agreements Chapter 5
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
This chapter has many concepts. It may be wise to spend some extra time making sure you understand each.
Key Takeaways from Chapter Five
- Life is about joy. This is found by doing what is right for you. The Four Agreements help you find your path to joy.
- Doing your best is about the action required for living the other agreements. Thus, you could look at this chapter as the guidelines for how to take action.
- You need balance. You can’t do too much or too little and be doing your best.
- Action must be for the right reason. That reason is that you want to. Not that others want you to.
- Action honors our god/source.
- There are many smaller tips on how to live The Four Agreements in this chapter. Including:
- Your best changes every day and even as the day progresses.
- We learn through repetition.
- We learn from mistakes.
- Don’t live in the past. Remember to stay focused on the present moment.
- Don’t feel like you have to know everything.
He concludes the chapter with reminding you that you get to choose to follow the agreements. That they are simple, but hard to live. But when we do our best it allows us to manage this whole process with less judgement and eventually no judgement.
The Four Agreements Chapter 6
The Toltec Path to Freedom: Breaking Old Agreements
This chapter talks about understanding what it means to be free, and how to go about doing that.
Stated simply it is: freedom is the right to be authentically you. Living life because you intentionally want to.
Key Takeaways from Chapter Six
The Toltec Way: These are the different levels of evolving in the Toltec tradition.
- Mastery of Awareness – noticing when an agreement needs changed.
- Mastery of Transformation
- Mastery of Intent or Mastery of Love – which is life itself, what they call “God”
We choose to either continue on as is with the believes we were raised on. Or to actively work towards riding ourselves of the agreements we have created. And start to create our own.
There are three ways to do this:
- The second attention – you get to choose what you believe. Being aware of what you are thinking about is critical.
- Controlling our own behavior.
- Your emotions impact how you see and interact with everyone and everything. Control over your emotions is control over your behavior.
- Forgiveness is the first step in healing.
- Live each day as if it were your last. To be fully present in everything you do.
The Four Agreements Chapter 7
The New Dream: Heaven on Earth
In this chapter Ruiz walks us through grasping what a new vision of life would be.
Key Takeaways from Chapter Seven
I consider this chapter more inspirational and motivational than a lesson in what to do. This chapter is about what you get if you put in the work to live the four agreements. I highly recommend that you revisit this any time that you are struggling and need a boost.
It is about understanding:
- We are all love.
- Happiness is possible.
- Changing our view of the world is how we begin to see that what we desire is there.
The book ends with a few pages of a prayer. Again, like chapter 7, being aspirational, I feel this section is also. Good to read, but more of supporting information for chapters 1 through 6.
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