by Laura Jones-Miller
Part 1 – Speaking with Integrity
“If you contemplate the Golden Rule, it turns out to be an injunction to live by grace rather than by what you think other people deserve.”
― Deepak Chopra, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore
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.
Miguel Ángel Ruiz
I think almost everyone would like to live in a better world…would like to be able to contribute to making this a better world. This narrative will look at the universal view of “Doing Unto Others as You Would Have Others Do Unto you” This a an unwritten tenet which runs though nearly every culture’s doctrine and belief system. Some example’s of these are…
*Buddhism – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1
*Judaism – What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id
*Christianity – All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1
*Confucianism – Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2
*Hinduism – This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. Mahabharata 5,1517
*Islam – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
*Taoism – Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
*Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
*Zoroastrianism – That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5
The Ancient Toltecs, now an extinct tribe of indigenous people who occupied Southern Mexico, were considered by all who knew them to be men and women of wisdom. They are often spoken of as a nation or a race but they were not. The Toltecs were scientists and artists who came together over a thousand years ago to cultivate a society who explored and conserved the spiritual knowledge and practices of those who had “come before them”. They wished to preserve information to better the world they lived in. The basic tenets they honored were as follows –
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally 3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
Each of the tenets may not seem to be as weighty as one might assume “world changing” advise to be. The wisdom is amazing….not only is it invaluable in building better personal relationships…but also in finding a better way for societies and cultures to better understand one another.
Agreement number one discusses how to speak with integrity. Number two looks at how another person’s negative speech and references are not about you but are a personal projection of how another person perceives the world… and how they see themselves. Agreement number three contains invaluable advise on how to ask questions and ask for want you really want in this life. And lastly, the fourth agreement will discuss how not to place negative judgment on yourself thus inviting others to see you from a positive perspective. One must always do everything to their best effort in order to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
I would like to thank and acknowledge Don Miguel Ruiz for his important research and study of the Ancient Toltec people’s (non-religious) spiritual doctrine know as The Four Agreements”.
Speaking with Integrity
The first agreement is by far the most important of the four agreements. It is also the most difficult to accomplish. The first agreement states that one must always speak immaculately and with integrity. It seems, in consideration, very simple to do. It is however quite difficult to accomplish with consistency. Most of us are raised to exist in “a polite society” where the white lie is used for convenience, or what we assume to be for the best. Never underestimate the value of truth though. It is very important and very, very powerful. Through your words you express your power. You manifest your intent through your word. Your word displays for others who and what kind of person you really are.
The word is a force and is the most powerful tool we have as humans. The words you use and how you use them create a picture of who and what you really are. Words should always be chosen with caution as these hold the power to destroy, and once released they can never be retrieved. Words are forceful and so powerful that one word can change a life or destroy the lives of millions. Consider Hitler. By the use of words, he was able to manipulate the better part of Germany and move them to commit crimes of horror against millions of innocent people. Hitler’s use of words will remain a very real part of history for a very long time. His words spurred action that destroyed the lives and the hearts of humanity. A sad example of the power of words being used for destruction. Keeping this in mind we should always attempt to remain cognizant of the words we use to sway others…words that plant ideas are very powerful. Teachers and professor’s are an excellent example of people who should always speak responsibly as their words are like seeds planted into the minds of trusting students. The ideas we share with others should assist them in moving forward into life with the intention of making a positive contribution in this world. When we use ugly words against someone, especially someone who is impressionable, these words can remain with that person forever. We can actually alter someones perception of themselves. When we call someone stupid they come to believe themselves to be stupid. And what did the name caller gain other than a very negative power over another. The child who is taught with negative words comes to believe that they are stupid or ugly and will go on to inflict this negative behavior onto someone else causing a branching out effect of hurt, anger, and destruction. A self-fulfilling prophesy occurs with their belief that the ugly words attached to them are true. This then alters the person. They can actually become the things they believe to be true. That is word power in it’s most destructive state. The damage can be reversed if, through positive language, they come to believe they are smart thus altering “the word agreement” that they have with themselves. This is an example of the use of impeccable words. The misuse of words is how we control others. It works by presenting them with a negative self-image. This is a horrible method of control. If you learn to recognize the use of negative words you have a better chance of avoiding manipulation and destruction by those with negative intent. It will also assist you in being more fully aware of your own words and how they affect others.
Think what we as humans could accomplish if we learn to speak with integrity. Will you show yourself to be a person who tears others down solely to boost your poor self-image? Or, will you discover how beautiful your life can be when you use your words to assist others in reaching their highest potential with a positive self esteem?
The other three agreements are directly related to the first agreement.
Don’t take Anything Personally
In order to understand the second agreement we need to realize that nothing other people do is because of you.
It is self-centered to believe everything is about you. When someone calls you stupid (from the earlier example we used) without knowing you, it’s not about you, it’s about the negative feelings they carry around inside themselves. If you take it personally and internally agree with them, their internal negativity seeps into you. It is important to remember that what other people do is not because of you, it is about how they feel about themselves. Everyone has different perspectives and perceptions…the reality they live in is different from yours. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that the other person is aware of our private realities…We are allowing them to impose their perceptions into our own. When you listen to negativity and take it personally you are allowing their realities to become your own…a very dangerous and consuming action. This concept applies to positive comments as well. If another person tell you you’re smart and you accept it without question or without any evidence to support it, you are again allowing the other persons realities to consume you.
As you begin to become more self-aware you will begin to trust yourself and your perceptions. You will began to fully realize that you are not responsible for the words or actions of another…this will help you close the door to other having power over how you see yourself. You will learn to separate yourself from view that can have a negative effect on how you feel about yourself.
Don’t Make Assumptions
When you find the courage to ask questions and to express to others what you really want by communicating clearly you will learn to avoid most conflict. We, as humans, have the tendency to make assumptions about most everything. These assumptions can harm us because we come to believe they are true. We often make assumptions about what others are saying or doing, take it personally, and then blame them. Subjective misunderstandings can cause great hurt and sadness within. Once you learn that these conflicts and words are not your doing you will be able to live a more peaceful life.
Always Do Your Best
Everyday, your best is different…you may not feel well sometimes, you may have much joy and energy another. Do not judge yourself on days where your best is impeded with illness or upset. Under any circumstance, just do the best you can. Doing your best will allow you to live your life to the fullest. When living your life using your best efforts you will be able to be productive which, in turn will allow you to feel a positive sense of accomplishment. You will be able to give more to your family, your community, and the world around you which will award you with happiness. When you do your best you are taking positive action…positive action as a contribution, not because you are looking for recognition or compensation. Doing your best is a way to pay respect to your creator and the beautiful world that you as privileged to live in. You will live out your life with a positive self-respect… and this will assist you in avoiding self-judgment, self- abuse, and regret.
* The past is gone, penalties are paid. All is new…
*I am awake. I see the sun. I am going to give my gratitude to God by loving and respecting myself, everything and everyone. This is because I am alive and new and have been given one more day to be myself.
* I honor God when I am compassionate with myself. I choose to forgive, even the unforgivable, because I feel compassion for myself. In doing so I respect God and the unfailing compassion we receive from God.
I challenge you to look carefully at your life and learn to be kind and compassionate with yourself and others. Have integrity with your words and learn how to positively treat yourself and others. If you look at your life you will find many reasons to be happy…but you will not find any good reason to suffer or to cause the suffering of others. There really is no reason to suffer…you can choose not to. Happiness is a choice. What choice will you make?