Search

Your Personal Book of Law


The problem is this: we, as individuals, live in the collective dream of a family, of a community, of a nation. We, as individuals, live in the collective dream of humanity itself.

And every time a new soul enters this experience of earthly life, its people rush in to hook its attention and to indoctrinate him or her in the ways of this outer dream. Every time a new soul enters this experience of earthly life, mothers and fathers and siblings and friends and teachers and ministers and, dear God, the media and social media, rush in to indoctrinate him or her in the ways of this outer dream.


The ways of this outer dream, for better or worse, inform gender roles and religious beliefs and life purpose and relational rules and even personal values. The ways of this outer dream inform which clothes to wear and which language to speak and which religion to practice.


And because that child quite simply doesn’t know any better, the child agrees with the ways of this outer dream, for better or worse. And in so doing, the outer dream becomes the inner dream or what Don Miguel Ruis calls, a personal Book of Law.

This process by which the outer dream becomes a personal Book of Law is called the domestication of humans.


The author asserts that this domestication of humans is parallel to the domestication of animals. It’s a rather crude process rooted in a system of reward and punishment. We are rewarded when we act in accord with the expectations of the outer dream. And we are punished when we act out of accord with the expectations of the outer dream.


Ultimately, we are rewarded as we abandon our deepest selves. We are rewarded for pretending to be something we’re not. And we are punished if we refuse to abandon our deepest selves. We are punished for refusing to be something we’re not.


And this domestication of humans is so effective that, in time, we no longer need mothers and fathers, siblings and friends, teachers and ministers, and even the media and social media. This domestication of humans is so effective that, in time, we begin to reward ourselves for pretending to be something we’re not. And we begin to punish ourselves for refusing to be something we’re not.


In time, we become self-domesticating. In time, we become self-perpetuating mimics of mothers and fathers, siblings and friends, teachers and ministers, and even the media and social media.


And it’s in such a fashion that this outer dream, for better or worse, gets passed from generation to generation to generation.


Now, I say for better or worse because the outer dream is brimming with lies. So, as each new soul innocently agrees to the tenets of that outer dream and adopts them as an inner dream – as a personal Book of Law – he or she begins to reward himself and to punish herself for some pretty ridiculous ideas about gender roles and religious beliefs and life purpose and relational rules and even personal values.


I say for better or worse, because if the author is correct, entire lives have been constructed on Books of Law which are 95% false. Entire lives have been constructed on the fearful fiction of generations of frightened humans.


And so it is that when a human stumbles upon a lie – when the religious rhetoric found on the pages of a man’s Book of Law bumps against his love for his gay child or, say, his friendship with his Muslim neighbor; when the life purpose found on the pages of a woman’s Book of Law bumps against the gender-nonconforming career that makes her soul dance; when the personal values found on the pages of a human’s Book of Law bumps against a teaching such as ours which says that every form of life is an individualized expression of the one Life (by whatever name we choose to call It) and as such, is intrinsically valuable, innately important, inherently worthy of its right to be; when a human stumbles upon any lie upon which an entire life has been constructed, the human finds itself at a most-important point of choice: will he abandon the lie? Or will she retreat to the safety of the known, no matter how flawed, no matter how mediocre, no matter how limiting it might be?


And make no mistake. The outcome isn’t as predictable as you might think.

So, according to the author’s tradition, that’s the problem.


But, according to the author’s tradition, this is the solution, and I quote, “If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements.”

If you want to live a life of soul satisfaction, you have to find the courage to wave away the fog of society’s many impositions that you might step into clear air of a soul-driven existence.


And while this isn’t easy, I’m willing to believe it’s worth it. And by virtue of your reading this, I imagine you’re willing to believe it’s worth it as well.


The author sets forth four new agreements which are designed to do just that – to wave away the mitote (referring to that cacophony of voices) that we might reveal a new dream called heaven.


It was Maya Angelou who wrote, and I quote, “Someday we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally into you.”


And her sentiments have been reflected in the scriptures of virtually every great tradition.

It was a Sikh writer who explained that, “Breath is God’s gift of life and when we use it to utter sounds, those sounds carry the creative power of the universe.”


The Buddha, “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”


And, of course, in the opening chapters of Torah, "God said, 'Let there be light’ and there was light." God created the universe through words.


And it was Unity’s co-founder, Mr. Fillmore who wrote, and I quote, “Words are seeds, and when dropped into the invisible spiritual substance, they grow and bring forth after their kind.”


So clearly, words are powerful and creative.


And the author wouldn’t disagree as is evident in what he calls the most difficult and most important of his four agreements. It charges, and I quote, “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.”


Mr. Ruiz goes on to assert that the word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; he calls it a tool of magic. And like all tools, this word can be leveraged to call forth something of a heaven, and this word can be leveraged to call forth something of a hell. It can be used to elevate all who surround you and it can be used to diminish all who surround you. It can be used to harmonize you with the brightest of dreams and it can be used to harmonize you with darkest of nightmares.


I think you've known some of these people (I imagine you've been one of these people.)


“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.”


The word impeccable is rooted in the Latin pecatus, which means "sin." The “im” in impeccable means "without," so impeccable means "without sin." And so it is that Mr. Ruiz’ charge could have read, “Be without sin in your speech.”


So yes, words are considered to be important, to be powerful, to be creative. And yet I think there’s more here; for even as I speak these words, there’s something within me that rises in tension with their charge.


“Be impeccable with your word,” he says. There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that would have me believe certain aspects of my story are best hidden. There’s something within me that would have me believe certain histories, certain mistakes, certain guilts, certain so-called failures are best kept from public view.


If you’ve carried a toxic secret for decades, you can relate to what I’m talking about. If you’ve carried a deep shame for decades, you can relate to what I’m talking about.

“Be impeccable with your word,” he says. There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that fears the vulnerability of my own voice. There’s something within me that fears the vulnerability of my dreams, my ideas, my perspectives, my opinions, my beliefs, my visions. There’s something within me that imagines it safer to tip-toe through life cloaked in some beige half-truths rather than dance through life stripped to my technicolor nakedness.


This same something would have me live a life defined - not by how many wins I pursued, but by how many losses I avoided.


“Be impeccable with your word,” he says. There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that doesn’t think someone’s feelings can take it, doesn’t think someone’s psyche can endure it, doesn’t think someone’s capacity can accommodate it. There’s something within me that would project itself into that great scene from A Few Good Men when Tom Cruise’s character shouts at Jack Nicholson’s character, “You can’t handle the truth.”


How we shortchange each other with this one. How we deny each other opportunities to grow with this one.


“Be impeccable with your word,” he says. There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that would have me argue for my comfortable position below some glass ceiling imposed by religious rhetoric, imposed by sadistic humility, imposed by societal norms, imposed by statistical probabilities, imposed by tired excuses.


There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that’s afraid to be seen.


There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that’s afraid to be disliked.


There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that’s afraid to be wrong (that’s a big one for me).


There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that’s afraid to be alone.


There’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that’s afraid, period.


“Be impeccable with your word,” he says. And there’s something within me that rises in tension because there’s something within me that recognizes where I’ve fallen short of this agreement - where I would continue to fall short of this agreement - even as there’s something within me that recognizes its immense power.


It was Emerson who said, “The fact that I am here certainly shows me that the soul had need of an organ here. Shall I not assume the post? [Or] shall I skulk and dodge … with my unseasonable apologies and vain modesty and imagine my being here impertinent?”


It seems to me that the highest that’s within you presses itself forth in accord with the availability of its channel. And the highest that’s within you struggles to press itself forth through secrets and shame. The highest that’s within you struggles to press itself forth through self-preservation and people pleasing. The highest that’s within you struggles to press itself forth through safe choices and small fears. The highest that’s within you struggles to press itself forth through any channel congested with that which falls short of truth.


The highest that’s within you presses itself forth in accord with the availability of its channel. And that channel is flushed free every time you are boldly, bravely and brazenly; unabashedly, unapologetically and unashamedly impeccable with your word.


That channel is flushed free every time you finally and at long last, let your truth fly.

And so it is that this is the charge of tenet one.


And in closing this first tenet, Mr. Ruiz promises that as even in our earliest of attempts, emotional poisons will begin to dissolve from our minds, outer spells will begin to fall from our shoulders and the hells of the outer dream will begin to give rise to new heavens.

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All