Mindfulness: Many Maps to the Same Journey

Leave the first response May 30, 2010 / Posted in Mindfulness

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Next weekend I am going to a training with fellow Chairs of Vistage. One of the shared readings we will have all read or in most instances re-read is Don MIguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements.

Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz’s Code for Life

The simplicity and elegance of his thinking remains a source of great enlightenment and aspiration. The simple ideas of The Four Agreements provide an inspirational code for life; a personal development model, and a template for personal development, behavior, communications and relationships. Here is how Don Miguel Ruiz summarizes ‘The Four Agreements’

Agreement 1

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD– Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement 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.

Agreement 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.

Agreement 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.

To this he and his son have written The Fifth Agreement.

Agreement 5

BE SKEPTICAL BUT LEARN TO LISTEN

Don’t believe yourself or anybody else. Use the power of doubt to question everything you hear: Is it really the truth? Listen to the intent behind words, and you will understand the real message

So many maps to guide one on the same journey. Each begins where we are. When the traveller is ready the map appears. When the soul is ready the Spirit appears. When the pilgrim is ready, the road appears.

I am continually drawn back to the Buddha speaking to the villagers of Kalama. The Fifth Agreement echoes what was said so long ago. The story was shared in my blog: Seeking Personal Experience & Personal Authority

The Kalama Sutra

The Kalama Sutra is the Buddha’s reply to a group of townspeople of Kalama. They asked Buddha who were they to believe of all the ascetics, sages, holy ones and teachers They came through their town confusing them with their contradictory truths, teachings, beliefs, and one true way.

• Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it,
• Nor traditions because they are old and have been handed down from generation to generation and in many locations,
• Nor in rumor because it has been spoken by many,
• Nor in writings by sages because sages wrote them,
• Nor in one’s own fancies, thinking that it is such an extraordinary thought, it must have been inspired by a god or higher power,
• Nor in inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption made by us,
• Nor in what seems to be of necessity by analogy,
• Nor in anything merely because it is based on the authority of our teachers, masters, and elders,.

However, after thorough observation, investigation, analysis and reflection, when you find that anything agrees with reason and your experience, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, and of the world at large; accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it; and live up to it.

These words, the Buddha went on to say, must be applied to his own teachings.

Along the many paths remember as you set out:

After thorough observation, investigation, analysis and reflection, when you find that anything agrees with reason and your experience, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, and of the world at large; accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it; and live up to it.

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