Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about
anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.

- William James, Sr., philosopher and theologian,
born on this day, 1811

One day, travelling through the Albuquerque airport, I bought a copy of the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I’ve been reading it over and over again, bits at a time, for months. I read, I ponder. Ruiz’s mother was a curandera (healer) and his grandfather a nagual (shaman) in the Toltec tradition. After becoming a doctor, Ruiz was drawn to follow in his Toltec tradition.

The Four Agreements are: (1) Be impeccable with your Word (2) Don’t take anything personally (3) Don’t make assumptions (4) Always do your best. I thought of the third as I read James’s quote.

Yes, others may accurately now and then “see” another’s “truth”. But 99% of the time, we project our own stuff onto others. Making assumptions from what we hear from others is dangerous in many ways. It is critically important to trust one’s own experience and make one’s own judgments. And why it’s important to “know oneself”. This is hard work!

Not taking anything personally is the other side of the coin. Someone can say you’re great, or horrible; they like you, or hate you. 99% of what they say has to do with them, not you. Instead, know and be the person you want to be. James also said:

Live all you can; it's a mistake not to.
It doesn't so much matter what you do
in particular, so long as you have your life.
If you haven't had that what have you had?

Good advice, I think!


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