The Four Agreements are Toltec wisdom guides as popularized by shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz. The first “Be Impeccable with Your Word,” speaks to our capacity to have integrity with our words. To be impeccable with our word is no small thing. It requires a level of mindfulness in our day-to-day interactions and the capacity to withhold speech, even when we are charged, triggered, angry, misunderstood, etc. It is usually our emotional states that prevent us from being irreproachable with our words.
Old patterns dictating how we perceive others and ourselves also limit our ability to use our words with integrity. When we speak poorly of others, when we are ungracious towards ourselves, when we erroneously see ourselves as victims, we lose the integrity of our speech. When we are impeccable with our word, when we speak with integrity, we speak only for compassionate truth and love. When we do not speak with loving-kindness we hurt ourselves as well as others. It never feels good to our spirits when we are critiquing. This doesn’t mean that we can’t express anger or set firm boundaries, but to do so with integrity and loving-kindness means that we don’t verbally take others or parts of ourselves hostage.
Almost all spiritual traditions proscribe integrity in speech. The bible (Ecclesiastes 5:2) says, “let not your words be hasty,” and right Speech is part of Buddhism’s 8-fold enlightenment path. So, the first agreement (and the following agreements) are not new, but rather a new package on an old truth for as, Ecclesiastes 1:19 states, “there is nothing new under the sun,” which is to say that there is no magic path, no guru, no ultimate truth, that hasn’t already presented it to the world a thousand times over. Still, the fact that speaking with integrity is addressed in so many world religions tells us that this is an important teaching.
The Quakers have a simple teaching on the wisdom of silence called the three-fold sieve that can help us to put into practice impeccability with our word. We ask ourselves 1) Is it kind? 2) Is it true 3) Is it necessary?
May you pause before speaking so that your words become more precious. May your words be used wisely. May they spread truth with loving-kindness. May your words cause healing rather than harm.
Sabrina Santa Clara ~ Authentic Alchemy x3
Spiritual Counseling ~ Temecula, CA