In my previous blog, I introduced the work of Toltec nagual, Don Miguel Ruiz and his book, The Four Agreements. These agreements: Be Impeccable with your word, Don't take anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, and Always do your Best are the four pillars of his wisdom and of a mindful life. They appear to be simple yet can be challenging to live by in daily life.
The second Agreement, Don't take anything personally acts as a measure of presence in the here and now. Simply, when we are reactive we are not in the moment and when we are checked out, are susceptible to taking others actions as personal affronts. The bigger truth is nothing others do is because of us. It is their story of pain being projected based on distorted beliefs and limiting opinions. Miguel-Ruiz describes this as “poison” and if it is taken personally, you take that poison in and it becomes yours. When we assume this poison is true, it becomes our poison or baggage. However, when we are grounded and centered, can see the projection for what it is, we are far less vulnerable to others projections. Miguel-Ruiz describes this as immunity in the center of hell; it is the 'gift' of this agreement.
As counselors, we tend to be sensitive to the energies or 'vibes' of others. Depending on what is going on in our lives, the intensity of our caseload, the quality of our sleep and stress levels determine our vulnerability to these energies. Using this agreement as a mantra helps me to remain as a witness in therapy and helps me to maintain a clear energy field of my own. I believe this is crucial in my health and wellness.
This agreement reminds us not to take all things personally including praise. Hmm, this is when it gets interesting. It feels good to be told we are good people, great therapists and healers. Remember, it is not being said because of us, but because of them. It is their story. The gift of this agreement is the freedom it provides from the needs of the ego and of the mind. When we are truly able to see people as they are without taking their behaviors, words or actions personally, we can no longer be hurt. Further, as this agreement becomes a habit, we take responsibility only for and place full trust in ourselves.
Living this agreement creates openness to say yes or no without guilt or criticism. Thus, you can be surrounded by the chaos of life and remain peaceful.
Deb Del Vecchio-Scully is a counselor and writer who focuses on healing the mind, body and spirit. She specializes in PTSD, Chronic pain and mood disorders. For more information: www.anschealthandwellness.com