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Four Practices to Master by Rev. Christine Emmerling D.D. 10/8/2023

“Four Practices to Master” by Rev. Christine 10/8/2023

Today my talk is on “The Four Practices to Master” and is based on the book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements; a Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. This book became an overnight success back in 1999 when it was recommended on a TV talk show. We had book studies with it back then. I believe these agreements to be so very important in our spiritual development that I decided it was time for us to revisit their message.

First a little background: The Four Agreements are based on ancient esoteric wisdom of the Toltecs. The Toltecs were known throughout the southern Mexico region as women and men of knowledge. These were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together as masters and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of the pyramids outside of Mexico City known as the place where “Man becomes God.”

This knowledge has been passed down through generations of lineages of masters known as naguals. Don Miguel Ruiz, is a master from the Eagle Knights lineage, and has been guided to share with humanity the powerful esoteric teachings of the Toltec.

The following is a story of Adam and Eve as given by Ruiz. This story helps to explain what happened to humanity. It is about you and me - its about us, for we are all part of the consciousness of God.

This story begins when we were innocent, before we closed our spiritual eyes, which means thousands of years ago. We used to live in Paradise, in the Garden of Eden, which was heaven on earth. Heaven exists when our spiritual eyes are open. It is a place of peace and joy, freedom and eternal love.

For us everything was about love. We loved and respected one another, and we lived in perfect harmony with all of creation. Our relationship with God, our Creator, was a perfect communion of love, which means that we communed with God all of the time, and God communed with us. We had complete freedom, and we used our free will to love and enjoy all of creation. The original humans saw everything through the eyes of truth, the way it is, and we loved it.

The legend says that in the middle of Paradise stood two trees. One was the Tree of Life, which gave life to everything in existence, and the other was the Tree of death, better known as the Tree of Knowledge. We were told by God to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge, as we may die.

As the story goes the tree was the home to a big poisonous snake. The snake was another symbol for what the Toltec call the Parasite. The story says that this snake was a fallen angel who used to be the most beautiful one.

An angel is a messenger who delivers God’s message of truth and love. This fallen angel no longer delivered the truth, it delivered the wrong message. The fallen angel’s message was fear, instead of love; it was a lie, instead of truth.

The fruit of the tree, which was knowledge, was contaminated with lies. We were innocent. We trusted, and we agreed and took his word as the truth. We believed the lies; we put our faith in them. Now these lies were in our mind, and reproduced a whole Tree of Knowledge inside our head, which is everything we know. But what is it we know? Mostly lies.

In that moment, our spiritual eyes were closed, and we could no longer see the world with eyes of truth. We no longer lived in heaven because lies have no place in heaven. This is how humans lost Paradise: We dream lies. We create the whole dream of humanity, individually and collectively, based on lies.

Before the humans ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge we lived in Truth. We spoke only truth. We lived in love without any fear. After we ate the fruit, we felt guilt and shame. We judged ourselves as no longer good enough, and we judged others the same way. With judgement came polarity, separation, and the need to punish and be punished.

For the first time we were no longer kind to one another; we no longer respected and loved all of God’s creation. Now we suffered, and we began to blame ourselves, to blame other people, and even to blame God. We no longer believed that God was loving and just; we believed that God would punish and hurt us. It was a lie. It was not true, but we believed it, and we separated from God.

The legend says that whoever eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge will have knowledge of good and evil; they will know the difference between what is right and what is wrong, what is beautiful and what is ugly, and will begin to judge.

The symbol of fruit is that every concept, every lie, is just like a fruit with a seed. When we place a fruit in fertile ground, the seed of the fruit creates another tree. That tree produces more fruit, and by the fruit, we know the tree.

Now each of us has our own Tree of Knowledge, which is our personal belief system. Every concept, every opinion, forms a little branch of that tree, until we end up with the whole Tree of Knowledge. As soon as that Tree is alive in our mind we hear the fallen angel talking very loudly. The same fallen angel lives in our mind.

From the Toltec point of view, a Parasite was living in the fruit; we ate the fruit, and the Parasite went inside us. Now the Parasite is living our life, and it survives because we feed it with our faith. It is the storyteller within our mind.

Now the moment when we separated from God, we started to search for God. For the first time, we started to search for the love we believed we didn’t have. We started to search for justice, for beauty, for truth. The search began thousands of years ago, and humans are still searching for the paradise we lost. The truth is we are searching for our Self - our God Self.

We are all storytellers, but the stories we tell are not the truth. It is our perception of what we experience, as it is filtered through our beliefs - our Book of Law. The Toltecs have practices described as the Four Agreements which when lived bring heaven on earth. We then have new stories based on truth.

The Four Agreements, give insight into how we can change or rewrite our agreements to live a life of joy, peace and harmony. We transform our own world, and like a seed, it spreads so that eventually all of humanity’s individual worlds are transformed back to heaven on earth. Then once again we live in harmony with one another and all of life.

The First Agreement to master is - “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.” Before speaking when finding fault with someone, ask yourself “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it helpful?” and if “no” to any of these questions then best to leave it unsaid. We are reminded that every word has power to create in our dream of reality – use it wisely.

The Second Agreement to master is - “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.” We are reminded that judgements from others or even our inner self are based on how we perceive the world through our filter of beliefs - our perception is faulty. When we have negative thoughts streaming through our mind, that is the parasite speaking, and when others share their judgement, their poison, that too is not the truth. We are free when no person can push or trigger our fear driven buttons.

The Third Agreement to master is - “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 dramas. With just this one agreement, we can completely transform our life.” The best thing we can do for ourselves is to ask questions and get clarity before agreeing to anything. It saves us from hard feelings and broken relationships. We are reminded to question our dream of reality – so that we can bring light and see more clearly. Instead of assuming the worst, stop and ask “How can I see this differently?”

The Fourth Agreement to master is - “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-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.” When we have fallen short, just remember that we are doing our best according to our ability at that given moment. Then to forgive and release. Now we get to move on and do our best according to our ability today. As we realize this for ourselves, then we can release judgement on others for their shortcomings realizing that was the best they could do at that given time.

These four agreements aren’t easy to master all at once. It takes time to build new behavior. Look at these agreements as practices, something that we are consciously working on. In time they become part of who we are. The more aware we are of what we are doing, the better we do. Think of playing a new instrument, it takes daily practice and on the way we hit many sour notes until someday we are able to play the melody perfectly.

Until then, at the close of each day to review how we have done, and instead of judging ourselves harshly, to understand that was our best at that moment in time, and we forgive and agree that tomorrow we will strive to do better.

By Always doing our best in our practice of the Four agreements we become a master of transformation – we are turning our personal hell into heaven on earth. Our eyes are opened. Then one by one, two by two and then leaps and bounds until everyone has opened their eyes to the Truth, and have found the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden to once again experience paradise.

A quick overview: 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don’t take anything personally; 3) Don’t make assumptions; 4) Always do your best. These 4 Agreements are the keys to living a happier and peaceful life for you and everyone in your life.

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