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The Four Agreements

The Spiritual Explorer speaks of the genesis of The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements

When Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements in 1997, it was met with much popularity. He seemed to synthesize within alternative psychology the four agreements necessary to insure freedom and a good life. The Four Agreements were based on a knowledge previously guarded and held by the Toltecs, known throughout Southern Mexico as “men and women of knowledge” thousands of years ago. At the time of this publication, Don Miguel Ruiz was guided to share the knowledge of the Toltecs, and thus The Four Agreements as a guidebook was born.

Like many philosophers on the subject, The Four Agreements is essentially about waking up to the “dream.” The dream is a set of conditioned realities and principles that we have bought into and agreed with to form a dreaming reality. What Don Miguel Ruiz is interested in is awakening people to the fact that they are living within this dream. However, through attempting to live with The Four Agreements in mind, men and women are given a chance to live a remarkable, sane and awakened life.

While many discourses have been held regarding the four agreements contained within this book, I am compelled to once again review them for the benefits of my readers:

The Four Agreements Always Relevant

  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

If you decide to make a commitment towards following these four agreements, it is necessary to understand that you have surrendered to a lifelong reality and it is not that easy to suddenly do your life differently. For that reason, you are cautioned to attempt to follow these rules with a lot of compassion and awareness of yourself. Good luck to you!

If you have a question about “the four agreements,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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Sanskrit Words Meet Marketplace

Sanskrit Words in the American Culture

Dear Spiritual Explorer: It’s interesting to me that so many Sanskrit words have become so commonplace in our daily language here in America. What do you attribute that to? Lulu P., New York City, NY

Sanskrit Words

Dictionary of Sanskrit Name

Dear Lulu: As a lover of words, I am always interested in the assimilation of languages. You’re so right; you almost can’t read anything, especially New Age books and commentaries, without Sanskrit words somewhere in the text. I rejoice at the Sanskrit words appearing in our everyday American vocabulary. I think it is a true improvement from English words that can be stiff, formalized and bulky with complicated, multiple meanings. Sanskrit words, if nothing else, can be described as smooth, straightforward unambiguous, mellow, fragrant and vibrational. I refer you to the Dictionary of Sanskrit Names compiled by the Integral Yoga Institute which is replete with many fabulous Sanskrit words that have found their way into our American lexicon.

How are Sanskrit words considered vibrational? You hear it said again and again, “Sanskrit is a language of vibration.” The speaker says it with awe, conviction and mystery, but what does it actually mean? And why is Sanskrit being called the language of vibration important?

Scientists tell us that everything in the manifest universe is nothing but the vibration of atoms and molecules. So to come in contact with a language of vibration is to come in contact with what we are essentially. It gets deeper than that. When you connect with what you are essentially on the manifest level, you can more easily feel what you are beyond manifestation.

Sanskrit words produce vibration

Chanting energy is a vibrational melee of Sanskrit words that produce a vibration. You can actually hear the silence that is present under the sounds. The ability to hear the silence is at the heart of a mantra. Not only do you hear silence more clearly after you chant, but you feel the deeper meaning of the silence as well.

Take for example, when you go to a concert. After the music and festivities have stopped, you are suddenly aware of sound and silence in a new way. You actually hear the silence that was present under the sounds. This ability to hear the silence is not anything. It’s at the heart of a mantra. Not only do you hear silence more clearly after you chant but you feel the deeper meaning of the silence as well.

Best of all, the more you remain with this inner stillness that the chanting gave you access to, the more you feel less separateness, or put another way, the more you feel unity. When you chant in Sanskrit you gain access to the silent mind and since it is only on the level of the mind that there is separateness, in the state of inner silence you feel united with all.

Sanskrit mantras are powerful vibrational fields of sounds. The next times you chant a mantra, pause afterwards and feel pure energy. Notice how quiet your mind has become by singing these vibrational sounds and perceive how, from the place of yogic stillness, you feel a joyful unity with all.

Here are a few more Sanskrit words, and their meanings, that you see everywhere:

  • Maya: illusion
  • Yoga: practice of self-perfection
  • Mantra: a repetitive word of the Gods to bring about silence
  • Guru: He/she who brings the light into the darkness of his chelas
  • Nirvana: bliss and liberation
  • Dharma: one’s righteous path in life
  • Devi: God in a feminine manifestation as Goddess or Davie mother.
  • Lila: the divine play

These are but a few Sanskrit words that have come into our world and enriched it with their presence and meaning. The East has much to teach us not only with words but also with true ideals of silence, meditation, kindness and compassion.

If you have a question about “Sanskrit words,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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4 Altruistic Love Meditations

What exactly is Altruistic Love?

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Sometimes I get weary of my endless prayers for things I don’t really need and think that I am just thinking of myself. Can you give me some ideas of altruistic love meditations? Lance D., Orlando, FL

altruistic love

Why Meditate?

Dear Lance: While not all prayers are self-serving, I truly know how easy it is to get to a place where you feel so burdened by your problems that you seem to be focused on prayers for yourself and you forget others in similarly difficult situations. They say that is the difference between prayers and meditations. Prayer asks for relief and meditation asks to hear wisdom. However, in the book Why Meditate, I actually happened upon a chapter devoted to Altruistic Love Meditations.

Defining Altruistic Love

I think it would be good if we defined altruism. I know that since we inhabit a body, that it is very difficult to think of others outside of what Eckhart Tolle would call our “pain body.” That pain body seems to encompass and contain so much pain inside of us that it sometimes seems impossible to reach out to anybody else in their pain. As we proceed along in our spiritual path, and concentrate on the chakras above the heart, suddenly we are brought into universal love and regard for others. It is as if our prayers become intertwined with the good wishes for others. When that occurs, it becomes difficult to think only of oneself when so many are suffering.

We no longer think of ourselves as separate beings, but understand how our joy and happiness rely upon others being equally if not in joy, but at peace. It’s the old story of how we are all pieces of each on the path and what hurts me will also hurt you and vice versa. John Donne, the great poet, wrote in his famous poem, “Man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

And now for four altruistic meditations:

Meditation 1: Altruistic love

Choose someone for whom you feel great love. With your entire heart wish that person will find happiness and the causes of happiness. Then extend this wish to all those you are close to, then to those you know less well, then progressively to all beings. Finally, extend this wish to your personal enemies and to the enemies of humanity. In this way, embrace the totality of beings with a feeling of limitless love

Meditation 2: Compassion

Imagine that someone dear to you has been the victim of a terrible accident. Let yourself enter into an immense feeling of love for this person. Imagine taking her gently into your arms and that waves of love are streaming forth from you and pouring towards her. Wish from the bottom of your heart for her to survive, be healed and cease to suffer.

Now extend this compassion to other people close to you, then, to all beings, saying, “May all beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.”

Meditation 3: Joy in the Happiness of Others

Rejoice from the bottom of your heart in the accomplishments of people who are very successful and realize their aspirations. Wish for these good qualities not to wane, but to continue to flourish. This is a remedy for envy and jealousy, which are reflections of the inability to rejoice in the happiness of others.

Meditation 4: Equanimity

Impartiality is an essential element in the three preceding meditations, because the wish or all beings to be delivered from suffering has to be universal and not dependent on a personal bias. Realize that all beings, whether they are your dearest intimates, strangers or enemies want to avoid suffering. While you do not intend to passively tolerate their attitudes and harmful actions, you look on them as very disturbed and deluded people. Now with the same goodwill you feel towards those who are close to you, you wish for all ignorance and destructive feelings to be eradicated from their consciousness.

When one thinks of altruism, one sometimes forgets the many ways, utilizing prayer or meditation, that one might bring about change in the lives of others, thus enabling us to feel the fruits of our labors.

If you have a question about “altruistic love,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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