When you get tangled in endless dilemmas -- at home, at work, or with friends -- you need to simplify. Don Miguel Ruiz offers the means. In this small book of wisdom, Ruiz, a shaman and healer, instructs us in the four agreements that ensure right conduct. Be impeccable with your word, Ruiz urges. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. Through this small but potent tract, Ruiz explains how Toltec laws can help us simplify and how they can lead us out of everyday snares and into personal freedom.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ruiz's explanations of Toltec-based cosmography got a major boost recently when publishing pooh-bah Oprah Winfrey mentioned his work on her TV show. Ruiz, whose workshop teachings are distilled here, was born into a Mexican family of traditional healers, became a surgeon in adulthood, then underwent a near-death experience that made him reexamine his life, his beliefs. Like the popular works of the late Carlos Castaneda, Ruiz's teachings focus on dreams and visions. "Dreaming," Ruiz argues, "is the main function of the mind." A series of four "agreements" are detailed, which make up a larger picture of unconditional human faith. Despite the New Age- sounding language, Ruiz is refreshingly clear in the presentation of his ideas. Reading aloud, actor Coyote sounds every bit the enthusiastic old hippie, genuinely excited by the concepts he is spinning. Based on the 1997 Amber-Allen edition. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Domestication and the Dream of the PlanetWhat you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake.
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. When we go to sleep we do not have the frame, and the dream has the tendency to change constantly.
Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream that we will call society's dream or the dream of the planet. 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. The dream of the planet includes all of society's rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its governments, schools, social events, and holidays.
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 has so many rules that when a new human is born, we hook the child's attention and introduce these rules into his or her mind. 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. We can perceive millions ofthings simultaneously, but using our attention, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind. The adults around us hooked our attention and put information into our minds through repetition. That is the way we learned everything we know.
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. It was all there already - all that knowledge, all those rules and concepts about how to behave in the world.
When you were in school, you sat in a little chair and put your attention on what the teacher was...