Insights and Intelligence: A Collection of Essays and A Creation Story

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By Vincent Boccarossa © 2020


Applying the Four Agreements

Based on the book The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

I first read this book over twenty years ago shortly after it was published. At that point, I had already read a plethora of books in this area of Native American spirituality both traditional and non-traditional. The simplicity and heart of Don Miguel’s book spoke to me immediately and the “four agreements” remained in my “toolbox” for self-growth and for understanding the nature of being human.

The four agreements are rather easy to remember; yet they are more challenging to adopt and integrate into one’s life. Here they are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Do not take any thing personally.
  3. Do not make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

Since many aspects of our lives involves various forms of communication, then to be impeccable with one’s word is a worthy goal to accomplish. It involves an ability to hear the words we are speaking, to be able to listen to ourselves and to be conscious of one’s thoughts. It is easy to say what’s on our mind without properly listening to someone else or to incessantly interrupt another person without hearing much of anything. One of the keys to the first agreement is to learn the art of listening; this is a discipline that can take years to master with any degree of success. Practice makes perfect and our relationships is the field.

Some people may pick up habits of vulgarity or “street talk” and sling various derogatory words around without conscience and with little if any conscious thought. These habits can be difficult to break, but it can be done through education and a genuine desire to break the habit. The patterns created reflect our imprinting years (1-7) and the molding, sculpting, and armoring of one’s family, environment, culture, etc. The pressure to fit in, belong and conform is fueled by the fear of survival and the false personality; the false personality is reflected in one’s chief feature that is also based in fear. From the book Messages from Michael, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, here are the seven chief features:

  • Greed – fear of loss or not having enough
  • Self-Destruction – fear of loss of control
  • Arrogance – fear of vulnerability
  • Self-Deprecation – fear of inadequacy
  • Impatience – fear of missing something or missing out
  • Martyrdom – fear of worthlessness
  • Stubbornness – fear of change and dealing with new situations

The chief feature brings out the worst in a person and is the “nemesis” for the soul. It often taints our speech and our words revealing the false pretense or the “front” a person works hard to keep propped up with clothes, makeup and other vanities. The eyes are the windows of the soul, yet our words reflect one’s character and state of mind. A balanced human being exhibits grace under pressure and maintains composure in the face of conflict. Granted, we all “lose it” now and again needing to let off some steam or find a suitable emotional release; often times it is those who are closest to us that feel the heat. We all know the saying, “If you can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen.”

Another key to the first agreement is to develop trust and true intimacy with oneself and others. The words we choose and the tone of one’s voice can make or break a date, a business dealing, a team’s morale and so on. If we cannot trust ourselves to be impeccable with our thoughts and words, then how can we effectively listen and trust what someone else is saying. It becomes an empty and isolated existence when true intimacy is replaced by false pretense and trusting another is immediately made suspect or under suspicion. In our present cultural climate with extremely high fear levels, mask wearing, social distancing, and other forms of psychological conditioning, we are challenged to rise above the fear, to take off the mask, to embrace or shake hands, and to remember the need for true intimacy, for brotherhood and sisterhood, for our family, friends, co-workers and associates. We are losing more than our cherished liberties; we are losing a vital piece of our shared humanity, that piece connecting us heart to heart and soul to soul.

The second agreement strikes at the jugular of most people unless they are devoid of emotions or have a healthy emotional detachment from outside criticism. It is something that I have been challenged with throughout my life and continue to bump up against it. Humor has been a key to unlocking the door behind this agreement and laughter appears to melt away the icy feeling of a negative projection or a harsh critique. There are lower levels of humor that can be cruel and cynical with a tone of mockery in one’s snicker of a laugh. Higher levels of humor challenge the status quo and animate our human foibles, frustrations and fixations. Comedy can entertain and enlighten society; it can also placate the culture while exposing its not-so-hidden underbelly. The best comics can pinpoint an issue or subject with the precision of a chiropractor adjusting the spine “popping” an audience into laughter despite themselves. Sometimes we simply take ourselves too seriously and then inadvertently take things very personally.

Another key to the second agreement is the ability to respond versus reacting to a person or situation. When we react emotionally it can often add fuel to the fire (anger) or dowse on something (fear) or freak out on someone (anxiety) or completely lose it (grief); it is part of being human and there is nothing “wrong” with expressing one’s emotion. However, in our ability to respond we can empathize with someone’s grief without losing energy by sympathizing over it; we can calm the anxiety-ridden person with a soothing tone of voice and authentic soul contact; we can dance around a fearful person with lightheartedness and with positive energy; we can diffuse the angry individual with a patient ear or a punching bag or a two-by-four (just kidding, not). We can also use music and creative visualizations with colors and angelic helpers; by responding and not reacting, we have more tools at our disposal to balance and neutralize a person or situation if the need arises.

A third key to the second agreement is the act of forgiveness. If we are taking things personally, then it is fair to say we might be holding a grudge or carrying a chip on one’s shoulder or hiding an old wound. The key here is to let it go, and let it wash over you like rain. The ability to truly forgive oneself and others is one of the most liberating things we can do in our lives. It lightens the burden, releases the load, and brings the person to resolution; as a result, there is an ecstatic joy, a celebration of soul within the self in the highest floor of the mansion within. These higher floors are often not experienced because of the emotional baggage, dogmatic beliefs, rigid thinking, self-destructive patterns and other negative imprints that are clouded in the mirror of self-reflection by the false personality. In order to forgive a person we must be willing to look within, to be introspective and to reflect on oneself with honesty and clarity; better to do it for oneself than to have someone else call it out.

Then again, at certain points in our life, we all may need a coach, or a teacher, or a motivational speaker, or a guru or pastor, or a friend, or a workshop, or a significant mate to help us see something in ourselves that for whatever reason we are failing to see or maybe do not want to see. In my opinion, there is a fine line between honoring a person’s free will and respecting their path of learning versus telling someone how you might perceive something about them. If you don’t have something positive to say, then better to say nothing at all; but if a person asks for it, then find a graceful way to show them or a tactful way to tell them.

The third agreement can be a stumbling block because we often make assumptions without realizing until after the fact that we made an assumption. It is something that often creates confusion and a lack of communication; it can act as a “deflector” by passing on the responsibility to someone else or to something outside oneself. If one thinks about this agreement, then the lack of clarity reveals itself in striking clarity. It is when we are not seeing someone or something for who they are or what something is that we fall into the trap of making assumptions. When assumptions are based on hearsay or lies then it is like quicksand and it can be difficult to get out without some assistance. We can sink deeper attempting to cover up unfounded assumptions rather than coming clean with the truth or by admitting one’s error in assuming this or that is true.

One of the adverse effects of making assumptions is the drama or even trauma that can occur. If one assumption follows another after another, then the lies keep piling up and unnecessary drama is created. If people in power positions do this, then it may result in a cesspool of corruption and problems affecting society as a whole. If individuals on a team make assumptions, then it can create dissension and disagreements that may lead to discord within the group. In a one-on-one relationship making assumptions may reveal expectations that one person has of another person without them being aware of it. Honest and transparent heart-to-heart communication can clear the air; it can take a disagreement or unfulfilled expectation that often leads to disappointment and bring the “issue” into the light of understanding for both individuals involved recreating harmony and the experience of true intimacy.

The fourth and final agreement is to always do your best. It reminds me of the “Seven Lectures” as shared by my friend and mentor VCJ. The seven lectures are fishing, fitness, flocking, hygiene, humility, impeccability and implications. The last two come to mind for if we are acting, thinking and speaking impeccably, then there will be no adverse implications; however, if we are not being impeccable, then there will always be implications to varying degrees. Another note is on humility that VCJ defines as finding one’s niche and knowing one’s place; a valuable reminder as we discover purpose, meaning and a game worth playing in our lifetime.

The mansion within as taught in the “Instantaneous Intelligence and the Mojo Philter” workshop has ten floors or centers with ten rooms or considerations on each floor. The number nine is devoted to self-mastery and the entire ninth floor of the mansion is the self-mastery center. There is also a room nine on each floor designed for achieving self-mastery at that center of consciousness. The mansion is complete with one hundred rooms and except for the physical body all centers are “carried over” from lifetime to lifetime. Each life experience is unique and special in the larger library of lifetimes for every individual soul. The reason I bring this up in relation to the fourth agreement is to highlight the value of working toward self-mastery. It is through commitment, self-discipline and follow through that we exemplify doing our best in any given situation. Our words, thoughts and actions will reveal true self-mastery or it will not revealing something entirely different. Each person learns and works at their own pace; we are all students here on campus Earth without exception.

To apply these four agreements or principles to let’s say a sports team or a team charter in a work environment provides a basis for more harmony and understanding of the team members. On any sports team the ability of each player is quite obvious as the best players visibly outshine the weaker ones. In a work environment the same holds true as not all persons have the same knowledge base or mental capacity or physical endurance, yet each role or job has value and is important for the overall success of the team. If these four agreement are consciously practiced, then the results will be obvious creating an experience among team members that is cooperative, engaging, fun, inspiring, satisfying, stimulating, and successful for the individual players and as a team.

As I was writing this VCJ’s ten codes kept coming to mind and I am glad to share those below as helpful guidelines for our lives. I will also share the ten boundaries that I compiled along my journey. And remember that a soul tide is on the rise… go within and ride the wave!

“Ten Codes to Live By” VCJ

  1.   Always see the danger first.
  2. Always protect your feet.
  3. Always be ready for cold.
  4. Always be ready for heat.
  5. Always know a good water source.
  6. Always master the skills needed to survive.
  7. Always get the job done.
  8. Always know one’s place.
  9. Always disallow foolishness.
  10. Always rest whenever you can.

“The Ten Boundaries” VMB

  1. Intimacy/Sexual (the Children’s Fire)
  2. Physical/Space (any physical confrontations)
  3. Parental/Child (within family matrix/outside too)
  4. Conversation (interruptions, overtalking, etc.)
  5. Verbal/Tone (intimidations, projections, seductions, etc.)
  6. Work/Indentured Slave (both 12:60 & 13:20 paradigms)
  7. Psychic/Dream (including negative thoughts/projections)
  8. Earth/Environmental boundaries
  9. Alone/Be by Yourself boundaries
  10. Inter-Galactic boundaries
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