This third blog in a three-part series of provocative techniques help us examine our firmly-held beliefs and assumptions. The Four Agreements based on the work of Don Miguel Ruiz is a deep and penetrating way to do this. This approach can be used with Enneagram types from all three Centers of Intelligence; this blog uses the Body Center types 8, 9 and 1 as examples.
Of The Four Agreements, the third agreement clearly relates to challenging our assumptions. Specifically, it challenges us to make no assumptions whatsoever, and this is aspirational. Type based assumptions most often hold us back the most.
Don Miguel Ruiz, is a Toltec spiritualist and author of neo-shamanic texts. Toltec is a long tradition of indigenous beliefs in Mexico, such as the idea that a shaman guides an individual to personal freedom. If interested, you can purchase his book, The Four Agreements, from most major online book stores.
The Four Agreements
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Here are some questions to help you or your clients challenge their assumptions:
1. Underneath this assumption, what is it you really want?
2. How does this assumption cause misunderstandings between you and others?
3. How does this assumptions cause emotional drama – within you and within others – and is this what you really want?
4. Underneath this assumption, what is a more true and useful statement?
Eight assumptions to challenge
“I can’t afford to ever be weak.”
“There’s no way I dare show anyone that I am afraid.”
“It’s not okay to admit I can’t do something.”
“I can only trust and count on myself.”
“No one is big enough to be there for me.”
“The world is hostile, tough and harsh.”
“I’m always in danger so I must be ready.”
“Life is a struggle; I must fight to survive.”
“The world is divided into the strong and the weak; only the strong will live.”
Nine assumptions to challenge
“I don’t matter; I’m not important.”
“I’m not cared for, even by myself.”
“It’s not acceptable for me to be upset.”
“I shouldn’t stand out under any circumstances.”
“It’s more important to be nice than to be true to myself.”
“It’s not okay to show my anger; conflict destroys.”
“It’s never OK to be pushy, ambitious or aggressive.”
“I must avoid going into my feelings or I’ll fall apart.”
“Life in a ‘fog’ is far safer than life in the spotlight.”
One assumptions to challenge
“I’m never perfect enough.”
“There’s always a right way to be.”
“I have to be right or I’m wrong.”
“Mistakes are unacceptable.”
“Things can always be better.”
“You have to constantly improve yourself.”
“Expressing anger is unacceptable; good people don’t get angry.”
“I must constantly work hard.”
“If things are easy, they’re not worthwhile.”
“Fun and relaxation are what you do on vacation, not at work.”
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org