It is amazing how many folks mention after reading “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz, that the first agreement (be impeccable with your word) doesn’t seem to be as difficult as the second or third agreements (don’t take anything personally and never make assumptions). They say, “Sure, I can stop gossiping or be careful to speak more kindly when I am communicating, but not taking anything personally or making assumptions…. well that’s really difficult!” Personally, I think the first agreement is the most difficult because what originates in our head is even more important than what does or does not come out of our mouth. Even if we stopped sending people our opinions and gossip, even if we stopped judging out loud or arguing, have we really changed what we are thinking in our head?
The only way to have impeccability of the word is to have impeccability of the voice that speaks to us in our head! Most humans have no idea why they say the things they do. They speak on auto pilot, assume they are right, and speak without consideration. The need to be right, and the belief that we are right, is what causes arguments and disagreements in our communications. Even if we’ve worked hard at keeping our judgments and opinions to ourselves, we’re probably still saying things in our head that aren’t impeccable. Things like, “My boss is stupid, ” “My beloved is stubborn” and “I was an idiot for saying what I said at work today. ” This certainly doesn’t demonstrate impeccability of the word!
If we want to stop judging and become impeccable with our word, we have to look at the beliefs behind the judgments because it’s the beliefs that create the judgments. After all, we cannot pass judgment without having a rule to pass judgment from. Don Miguel calls the belief system of our mind our book of law, but I like to call it our computer program. I’ve imagined myself as a child with my brand new hard drive, Pentium 4. Then my domestication begins and the program of life software gets downloaded by my parents, teachers, friends, TV, magazines, etc. By the time we are adults the hard drive is filled with all kinds of useless and somewhat useful information, but very little wisdom. Each “byte” of information has a voice and speaks to us regardless of what situation we’re in or what we’re doing. The voice in our head is present non stop, 24/7, and most of this “knowledge” is conflicting and not necessarily the truth!
As we’re living our life, the program constantly assesses each situation and compares it to what currently exists in our data base. The program also analyzes the results of similar previous life situations. Once the program has completed its analysis, it tells us what to do. Rarely is there any conscious thought involved in this process, just action-reaction. In other words, the computer program is living our life for us instead of our Spirit.
For example, when your husband tries to talk to you may start arguing, using the same pattern of communication you’ve always had with him. The way to break this cycle is to take inventory of everything you believe about yourself and the world. In other words, do a brain drain of the program in your journal. Many people find the process of creating their own journal of beliefs to be a difficult and onerous task. Why? Because the information contained in the program isn’t very pleasant! The denial system wants to cut in right away and say, “Oh no, I just thought that but I don’t really believe it. ” Of course, the program doesn’t want to be overthrown by the real you as Spirit!
For example, we may have learned as a child that people society considers to be overweight are ugly and should be made fun of, that they should diet, that they are weak, or that they shouldn’t dress fashionably. . . just wear loose clothing. Even if we never express those sentiments out loud, every time a person we feel is overweight is near us, the voices in our head say nasty things. Sure we’re glad you that no one can hear our thoughts, but let’s be honest, we’re still saying them in our heads. Our minds are so interesting and clever that they know exactly what to say to capture our attention and get us to listen!
The challenge is realizing that we do not have to believe our thoughts or the computer program. Of course this is harder than it sounds. That’s because we believe that we are what we think. We believe these are our thoughts instead of believing that these thoughts are a product of our computer program. The truth is our Spirit speaks not with words or thoughts, but with the feelings from our heart. If we listen to our heart, the voice of our integrity, it will never steer us wrong. Once we understand the program is not the real us, we can stop listening to the nonsense and, instead, use the information as we need it when we need it.
We can never delete the program in our mind but we can place our attention on the feelings of our heart over the yapping of our mind. The mind is talking all day long, pronouncing judgment after judgment. Being aware of our mind and the thoughts the program is generating is the first step, but until we have clarity regarding our beliefs and choose not to believe our program any more, those voices will keep on coming. Detaching from our beliefs will help them to lose their power and not hook our attention any more. If we say to the voices, “No thanks, I don’t choose to listen to that garbage anymore” or “Thanks for sharing but I don’t buy that anymore, ” it will help to quiet the voices. It is also beneficial to see if the voice is expressing a sentiment from love as opposed to one based in fear. So, take the challenge and start your own journal. You just might be surprised what you believe!
Dr. Sheri Rosenthal is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Toltec Wisdom. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys, works with personal apprentices and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.sherirosenthal.com .