Don Miguel Ruiz is a renowned spiritual teacher and international bestselling author that uses the wisdom of the Toltec culture to promote healing and transformation. Ruiz was born into a Mexican family of traditional healers, became a surgeon in adulthood, then underwent a near-death experience that made him reexamine his life. He has spent the past three decades guiding people to personal freedom through his profound insights regarding the nature of human reality. 

In his book, “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz outlines 4 simple, yet profound ways to achieve personal freedom. He explains how a wall of fog distorts our perception of who we are: “It is as if we live in the middle of a fog that doesn’t let us see any further than our nose.” This fog, he continues, is shaped by unexamined agreements we’ve established with ourselves and the people around us. These are beliefs about who we are and who we should be, as well as masks we put on to hide all of our imperfections. Those of us who are grieving understand this sentiment too well- grief is a heavy fog, which clouds our minds, numbs our senses, and obscures our identity. We feel the weight of others’ expectations, and we have grown accustomed to donning our “I’m okay” masks even when we are broken. These agreements are:

1.Be Impeccable with Your Word: speak with integrity and only say what you mean

2.Don’t Take Anything Personally: what people say and do is a projection of their reality

3.Don’t Make Assumptions: find the courage to express what you desire

4.Always Do Your Best: always try your best and you will avoid self-judgment and regret

Regardless of where we land on the spiritual spectrum, from skeptic to believer and across religious creeds, the application of these agreements offers opportunities for transformation within our journey through grief or sadness. These agreements are not commandments, they are simple acknowledgments that, together, can lead to greater personal freedom, self-expression, and happiness. We need to learn to reprogram our minds and souls with these cohesive sets of agreements which will lead us to the bountiful richness and beauty that underlies all of existence.