by Anne Pryor:
I had the privilege of spending time with Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements and his son Jose at the Omega Institute at Blue Spirit in Nosara Costa Rica.
My intention on this eight day retreat was to get in touch with my soul; to find what makes me happy and to activate that place inside of me. Do you know what I mean? I’d lost touch with who I am, what I am doing ‘here’ and what makes me happy. My work is to help others to awaken to do their greatest good and I wanted to reawaken that in me.
For the first four days I was on my self-imposed silent retreat. The other 19 group members, none of whom I knew, I’m sure thought that I was a bit strange. I ate by myself, spent time on the peaceful ocean painting alone and spent time in contemplative meditation by the koi pond overlooking the ocean.
I also practiced a daily ritual of gratitude. I had read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne (author of The Secret) on the airplane, and I was practicing the daily gratitude rituals.
The agenda each day was consistent, starting at 6:00 am with yoga, 7:30 breakfast, 9-11:00 lecture and experiences with Don Miguel and Jose, 12 pm lunch, 1-4 quiet time, 4-6 lecture, 6 pm dinner, evening free.
After two days I slowed down almost to a stop. I began to notice. To really notice the beauty around me. I saw the big spiders spinning beautiful webs in 3D. I realized that the spiders were not concerned about getting enough food, or losing their homes. They built high and low. Their webs were masterpieces.
Each day the howler monkeys would wake me at 4:00 am. They would climb through the trees with their infants and family in tow. I would go to the ocean and watch the sun rise. What a magnificent masterpiece.
On the beach when the tide would go out the crabs would have to rebuild their homes. With the flick of their ‘feet’ they would create amazing masterpieces in the sand.
One day sitting by the koi pond I was saying thank you to the butterflies, hummingbirds and dragon flies for their beauty and freedom and a morpho / blue butterfly flew around and around me and asked me to play and to dance. What a beautiful masterpiece she was.
Then suddenly something in me changed. In my silence, my observations, my gratitude, my connection with nature, from the lessons of the teachers and by being nourished by the wonderful and healthy food, I JUST STOPPED.
I stopped worrying, stopped thinking, stopped ruminating and stopped defending. I begin to smile, laugh, play, dream, and feel an awe-filled oneness. I felt this amazing unconditional love from everything around me and for everything around me. I felt one with all of these masterpieces. I realized that I AM a masterpiece.
Once you have an experience like this there is no going back. Have you ever had an experience like I described?
Here are some of the profound questions that Miguel and Jose asked us to contemplate. I will ask them for you to get quiet with:
- What are you afraid of?
- What is uninspiring you?
- What lies are you telling yourself?
- What is the truth?
- What tantrums are you still throwing?
- Have you forgiven yourself?
- Who do you need to forgive?
- Where is pride getting in your way?
- When have you received unconditional love?
- When do you give unconditional love?
- What kind of messages do you give yourself?
- What kind of messages do you give others?
- What legacy do you want to keep alive?
- Are you ready to love yourself?
- Can you be comfortable in discomfort?
- What ripples do you want to share? Are they positive or negative?
- Are you talking from your heart?
- Are you disrespecting yourself?
- Are you letting others disrespect you?
- What is your intention?
- What is your intent?
- Have any of your dreams come to an end?
- Have you shed a skin that you are still carrying around? (a snake does not carry shed skin)
- What imagination are you ready to make real?
- Are you doing what makes you happy?
- Are you grateful and living it?
Below are the Four Agreements (and The Fifth Agreement)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be Skeptical, But Learn to Listen. Become aware of the kind of message that we are delivering in this world. Don Miguel Ruiz asks this question: What kind of messenger are you? This is not a judgment. It’s just a little doubt for your mind, but it’s a big step into awareness. If you understand the question, then just this little doubt can change your whole life.
As we begin 2014, may I invite you to embrace one of these Agreements and do your best to practice it. If you would like a Guide to coach you to see the Masterpiece that you are, perhaps Kathleen, Risё or I can help you to make that meaningful connection – with yourself, then with others, then the with Universe.