Analysis of The Four Agreements Philosophy in Action A Spiritual Path Test

Analysis of The Four Agreements ― A Spiritual Path Test

Here is a way to assess the trajectory of your life.  We have a spiritual path test and analysis of the four agreement  It  will give you the keys to a positive and powerful philosophy in action.

We will begin with a short quiz.  Take the quiz first.  Don’t cheat.   Then we’ll cover the four affirmation statements of Mr. Ruiz to give you some background.  You don’t need training in any religion or philosophy to have a moral compass of guiding principles.  It’s easy.  You’ll see.

Your Spiritual Path Test

Okay, now we are ready to ask a few questions to see how you put positive philosophy in action, then after you read about four agreements check your answers against his standards.

We use the Likert scale to score this quiz, which is a  psychometric response scale which asks people to specify a level of agreement to a question or statement. This scale has five levels:

1 Strongly disagree
2 Disagree
3 Neither agree nor disagree
4 Agree and
5 Strongly agree

Push yourself away from the middle answer of 3.  See if you can make a more definitive choice at 2 or 4.

Record your answers to the spiritual path test before you read what scores mean. Also, don’t take too long to ponder the right answer. Your first impression is the most honest. Don’t cheat.

1) Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are good for the world.
2) The doctrines of Christianity, Islam and Judaism provide a morally consistent message.
3) Belief in a higher power is better than unbelief even if you don’t follow a religion.
4) Atheists and Agnostics haven’t considered all the evidence for the existence of God.
5) I consider myself law-abiding and never break any laws.
6) The laws and doctrine of religion are more important than following the law of man.
7) If someone harms me, I forgive and never seek retribution.
8) I believe people should be punished in the way the offend, like an eye for an eye.
9) Showing kindness and compassion to those who don’t deserve it is a weakness.
10) I have never told a falsehood or lie which caused substantial harm to another.
11) Religious followers are less likely to do the right thing than those who do not believe.
12) People of color and immigrants get more governmental benefits than they should.
13) Individualism is a danger, so we need religious institutions to provide moral guidance.
14) Homeless is a choice people make when they don’t manage their finances.
15) Pagan beliefs like Wicca and Witchcraft are harmless.
16) All religions are based on some level of divine truth, faith and honesty go together.
17) Admitting your mistakes is a mistake because people will use them against you.
18) Religious beliefs provide absolution and forgiveness for any transgression.
19) I have the right to defend my religious beliefs with force if necessary.
20) All rights start with personal autonomy and the ability to make family planning decisions.

Philosophy In Action

You notice that these elements of these agreements are not just philosophical position, he (1) wrote them in a way that requires action.

It is a practical approach with a focus on positive actions with personal accountability. It tells you what you should do. This approach has much in common with Buddhism but differs significantly from the practice of Western organized religion.

The Abrahamic religions have a list of ten things, the ten commandments, which focus on what we should not do. However, unlike Buddhism, the Abrahamic beliefs have exceptions and contradictions to their “thou shalt not” rules.

For example, the tenth commandment says you should not covet your neighbor’s wife, his animals, or his slaves. So, that’s a way of saying it’s okay to have slaves; just don’t be jealous of your neighbors. We’ll talk more about this in the spiritual path test to follow.

Analysis of the Four Agreements

The idea behind these four assertions is show four simple ways to change your thinking.  It is philosophy in action that makes a real difference.

1) Impeccability

“The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words against yourself or to gossip. Use the power of your words to direct your life toward truth and love.”

To be impeccable with your word means striving to be honest with yourself and others. Gossip and hearsay create negativity in relationships. So, you’ll need to stop feeding your mind with fiction, which is the basis for much TV news, religious programming, and reality shows.

Your mind is a computer. If you put inaccurate and harmful code into a computer, then you cannot expect to give your the correct answers.  So you must learn how to find the bad code in your thinking.  You must learn to monitor what you put into your mind and how you thinking.  Observing your thinking takes some practice because we normally focus our attention outward and not inward.  When we learn to observe our thinking, we understand our values and why we are drawn to certain things and people.  Learning to base relationships on healthy spiritual energy rather than superficial and temporary conditions will bring long-lasting enjoyment.

2) Don’t take Umbrage or Personal Offense

“The second agreement is don’t take things personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Learn to be immune to the opinions and actions of others. It will keep you from being the victim of needless suffering.”

Don’t take things personally. Don’t fixate on the motives of others. Our analysis of the four agreements showed that this is a common issue. We surveyed members and found that 80% of people find this hard to do. It is their personal daily spiritual path test.  Taking things personally makes you a victim of circumstance. Besides, you can never know what someone else is thinking. Don’t assume that what happens has ill intent.

Trying to anticipate or guess will take you away from the present. When you do this, you are not listening anymore. Your mind takes you down a rabbit trail, and you lose your grounding. It takes your mind out of the present. Keep your focus on being present and mindful. Follow the first agreement, strive to be honest. When you don’t do this, you take on the victim mindset.

Remind yourself that you limit yourself when you take on the victim mentality. If someone has a different opinion, don’t take it as a personal affront. Instead, ask them if you want to know. Ask with genuine intent to determine why they believe what they do. It’s essential to resist the urge to present a different argument unless they ask for yours. Again, our analysis of the four agreements showed that this was the hardest thing to do.

The reason that this one is so hard is that our culture promotes the role of the victim. Don’t be the victim. Learn that we all suffer unjust wrongs. Learn to be a  the survivor. Not taking things as a personal attack is a mental tactic worth mastering. Taking any criticism without reacting requires some practical role-playing in handling these kinds of conversations and some serious inner work to understand your own thinking.

3) Don’t Assume

“The third agreement is don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can, and this will help you avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.”

Don’t assume. Instead, be mindful and present. Accept people where they are. Ask questions, but resist the urge to judge. Avoid projecting your values and beliefs. Give others your full attention and listen.

Don’t formulate a rebuttal while you listen. Listen, before you develop your reply. When you pause and listen, it will often change your response. We encourage you to do your own analysis of the four agreements. If you do, you’ll see how they fit together as a whole.

4) Integrity in Word and Deed

“The final agreement is always to do your best. Your best is a continual decision. Things can change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy, as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

When you do your best, it means you follow through with promises and commitments. Be wise and don’t over-promise. Remember to be impeccable with your word. Remind yourself that perfection is an elusive goal. It may be only temporary. So, doing your best has more to do with intent and effort, not results. Give your best effort. Be diligent with your time. Avoid what ifs and self-judgment.

Answer Key to Spiritual Path Test

Now that you have read about what these assertions mean, let’s look at how the 20 questions line up with them, and how to score.

The 20 questions of the quiz are linked to one of the four assertions.  The lowest possible score for any group is 5, the highest is 25.

Questions about Assumptions

The questions for the assertion, Don’t Assume, include:

2) The doctrines of Christianity, Islam and Judaism provide a morally consistent message.
4) Atheists and Agnostics haven’t considered all the evidence for the existence of God.
12) People of color and immigrants get more governmental benefits than they should.
14) Homeless is a choice people make when they don’t manage their finances.
18) Religious beliefs provide absolution and forgiveness for any transgression.

A score between 5 and 9 indicates you do not make false assumptions.  A score from 9 to 14 means you are not as likely to make false assumptions.  A score between 16 and 20 means you likely make a lot of false assumptions.  And a score between 21 and 25 indicates a propensity to draw false and inaccurate conclusions.

Questions about Taking Things Personal

The next group is about the assertion, Don’t take Umbrage or Personal Offense.  This group includes:

7) If someone harms me, I forgive and never seek retribution.
8) I believe people should be punished in the way the offend, like an eye for an eye.
11) Religious followers are less likely to do the right thing than those who do not believe.
15) Pagan beliefs like Wicca and Witchcraft are harmless.
20) All rights start with personal autonomy and the ability to make family planning decisions.

Here, the scoring is reversed. A score between 21 and 25 indicates a high respect for the rights of the individual.  A score between 16 and 20 shows you respect the rights of personal autonomy.  Scoring between 9 and 14 indicates a lack of respect for the rights of others.  A score between 5 and 9 shows a complete lack of regard for those in other socioeconomic and racial groups or gender preferences.

Questions About High Moral Standards

The next grouping are the questions for Impeccability. Here are the statements for this assertion.

1) Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are good for the world.
3) Belief in a higher power is better than unbelief even if you don’t follow a religion.
6) The laws and doctrine of religion are more important than following the law of man.
13) Individualism is a danger, so we need religious institutions to provide moral guidance.
19) I have the right to defend my religious beliefs with force if necessary.

A score between 5 and 9 indicates you are a freethinker and someone knows how sort the facts from the fiction.  A score from 9 to 14 means you have an open mind and see through most of propaganda in the culture.   A score between 16 and 20 means you are susceptible to and believe a lot of propaganda.  A score between 21 and 25 indicates an immersion in propaganda and groupthink manipulation that leads you to make biased prejudiced decisions.

Questions on Doing What You Say

The last group of assertions is on Integrity in Word and Deed.

5) I consider myself law-abiding and never break any laws.
9) Showing kindness and compassion to those who don’t deserve it is a weakness.
10) I have never told a falsehood or lie which caused substantial harm to another.
16) All religions are based on some level of divine truth, faith and honesty go together.
17) Admitting your mistakes is a mistake because people will use them against you.

A score between 5 and 9 indicates you are honest and know you have broken some law at some time.  A score from 9 to 14 indicates you are like most people, less than honest.   A score between 16 and 20 means you are somewhat delusional and can explain away inconsistencies in behavior.  A score between 21 and 25 indicates someone who is on the slippery slope of narcissistic behavior.

Summation of the Spiritual Path Test

This is a shorter version of much more accurate apprisal  The questionnaire was designed using some straightforward and obscure premises.  Use the answers to point you in the direction you should go to deal with the personal issues that are holding you back.

In Conclusion

We hope this analysis of the four agreements will help you in your personal development. These agreements can change your attitude about life. They give you perspective in this ever-changing world. These agreements can make you be a better person without the baggage of adopting any dogma or doctrine—four simple things to keep in mind. It’s a practical way to put philosophy in action.

If you want a more comprehensive list of guiding principles, The Dalai Lama gives us one example of 18 rules for living.

References

(1) Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) Paperback — July 10, 2018, miguelruiz.com

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