A few years ago, a friend of my daughter’s told me about an early Mexican tribe that were known for their wisdom. They had developed four agreements for living successfully in community. I recall how struck I was by the clarity of these four simple rules for human behavior.
The Four Agreements
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Toltec Teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz: Thousands of years ago, the Toltec were known throughout southern Mexico as women and men of knowledge. Anthropologists have spoken of the Toltec as a nation or a race. But the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. It may seem peculiar that they combined the secular with the sacred, but the Toltec considered science and spirit to be the same since all energy, whether material or ethereal, is derived from the same source and governed by the same universal laws.
The Toltec came together as masters (Naguals) and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside Mexico City known as the place where “Man becomes God”. Teotihuacan remained the Toltec center of spiritual knowledge and transformation for many thousands of years and still endures as a living repository of silent knowledge.
Over the millennia, European conquest, coupled with a brief period of rampant misuse of personal power by a few of the apprentices, forced the Naguals to conceal the ancestral wisdom and maintain its existence in obscurity. They thought it was important to shield the knowledge from those who were not prepared to use it wisely or who might again intentionally misuse it for personal gain.
Fortunately, the esoteric Toltec knowledge was embodied and passed on through generations by different lineages of Naguals. Though it remained veiled in secrecy for hundreds of years, ancient prophecies foretold the coming of an age when it would be necessary to return the wisdom to the people. Now, don Miguel has been guided to share with us the powerful teachings of the Toltec.
Toltec knowledge arises from the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric traditions around the world. Though it is not a religion, it honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth. Though it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life. Unlike our familiar experience, this way of life is distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.
From the Online Encyclopedia Britannica description of the Toltec People: Nahuatl-speaking tribe who held sway over what is now central Mexico from the 10th to the 12th century ad. The name has many meanings: an “urbanite,” a “cultured” person, and, literally, the “reed person,” derived from their urban centre, Tollan (“Place of the Reeds”), near the modern town of Tula, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Mexico City.
The Toltecs sacked and burned the great city of Teotihuac·n in about ad 900; tradition tells that this occurred under the leadership of MixcÛatl (“Cloud Serpent”). Under his son, Ce Acatl Topiltzin QuetzalcÛatl, they formed a number of small states of various ethnic origins into an empire later in the 10th century. The ruler Topiltzin introduced the cult of QuetzalcÛatl (“Feathered Serpent”), which name he adopted. This cult and others, as well as the Toltec military orders of the Coyote, the Jaguar, and the Eagle, were introduced into important Mayan cities to the south in Yucat·n, such as ChichÈn Itz· and Mayap·n, indicating the broad influence of the Toltecs.
The advent of the Toltecs marked the rise of militarism in Mesoamerica. They also were noted as builders and craftsmen and have been credited with the creation of fine metalwork, monumental porticoes, serpent columns, gigantic statues, carved human and animal standard-bearers, and peculiar reclining Chac Mool figures. Beginning in the 12th century, the invasion of the nomadic Chichimec destroyed the Toltec hegemony in central Mexico. Among the invaders were the Aztecs, or Mexica, who destroyed Tollan about the mid-12th century.