The Four Agreements:
1. Be impeccable with your wordDon Miguel Ruiz
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
I find comfort posting to WordPress. Facebook carries a lot of noise and distraction on steroids, and it often feels like I’m in a corner waving, trying to get someone to pay attention to me there, to hear what I have to say, and then give me a thumbs up, or a pithy reply. Here, it doesn’t matter so much. I can organize my thoughts into a long post, if I wish. While it’s nice to receive feedback, and find out when people read the post, it doesn’t matter so much–the writing matters most. I get fickle with “social networking” apps/sites. It reminds me of how I viewed popularity in high school: I wanted to be one of the cool kids so very badly, and then I became one, and I found I didn’t like it very much at all…and I found most of the cool kids to be quite annoying once I got beyond the deceptively pretty surface. Conversely, I was voted “Most Fickle” in high school. And so it goes, and so it goes…
My point! And I have one!
So, I’m enjoying The Unfoldment by Neil Kramer…and I’ve also read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz a few times. I use the latter in both group and individual counseling sessions, and I try my utmost to use TFA in my life. “Walk your talk”, so to speak. I read a passage in The Unfoldment last night that in Mr. Kramer’s words reminded me very much of what Don Miguel Ruiz refers to as “the dream and domestication” in The Four Agreements. I was struck by how close they stood together, and how quickly the connection between the two was made for me…it struck a chord, (or, struck accord) and though it’s a stretch for me right now, since this is all quite new, it just seemed right and true. Here’s a passage from Kramer, Chapter 3:
“Reality cannot be perceived in a true state if the individual is too heavily invested in the dream of his or her own life script, like the actress who becomes so utterly absorbed in the character she is playing that she temporarily forgets who she really is. What lies beyond the film set is forgotten. the role becomes everything. The whole world is exclusively filtered through the lens of a single, personal narrative. Though all the associated dramas and events are ultimately fictional, it doesn’t matter; it feels like the real thing.
It’s easy to spot someone who has become lost in his or her own narrative. He tells lots of stories about himself and doesn’t listen too well. Whatever is said to him is reflexively referenced to a previous similar event that he has experienced, without paying proper attention to what is actually being said. There is no real empathy, consideration, or contemplation–only anecdotal recoil. Not that he is instinctively selfish; he is merely blindsided by his own inner conflict. Communication is reduced to fitting certain shapes into certain holes. Imagination and real-time thinking are absent. There is too much at stake to risk changing the program. For this reason, indignation is another common trait.”
I thought about the times in the past when I have been this way, and how it’s easy to fall into that space of “All About Me”…being lost in my own narrative. I thought about all the people I come into contact with daily–not just my counseling clients, but co-workers, friends, family, my partner, even–for whom reality is so often filtered through the lens of their own experience, their own “dream”. I thought about how hard it is to stay awake once I’ve become aware that I’m actually dreaming, and that none of this is real…staying awake is hard…I literally get sleepy, get tired and weary and want to fall easily back into that more familiar state of “refolding” instead of “unfolding”. Actual sleep becomes a metaphor for what is causal and reciprocal on a spirit/awareness level.
Lastly, other than “This shit is really hard, but damn…I don’t think I can go back now”, I thought about how many people “just won’t get it” and how many people I will end up losing or who will disappear as I continue to unfold…awaken…or whatever the hell this is. Change is threatening…waking up means you’re often alone.
It reminds me of the time when I was a little kid, and once during nap time at day care I woke up early on my cot…I scanned the room from the still and quiet place, just using my eyes–the teacher was out of the room as far as I could see…so I sat up on the cot and I looked around the room. All the other little kids were asleep, and I was the only one awake. I felt alone. I was scared I would get caught and punished. I wanted to wake another child, but I was too scared, even though I was lonely. It was so quiet–and that’s the part I remember really liking…just how very quiet it was. I lay back down on the cot and closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, just like the rest of the children, but I stayed awake, eyes closed, the whole time.
I don’t want to go through life like that…pretending to be asleep, but really being awake the whole time. If you’re reading this, maybe you don’t want to, either. The question is, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?