By Debbie Olujobi
Read A world of Agreements (1) here
A sober look at life at some point will often reveal hidden truths, flaws, weaknesses and even good and positive sides. We all grow, we live, we love, we learn. Life is a teacher, it uses people, situations, our emotions to teach us; we may not always embrace the lessons but we learn them again and again till we make better choices. As a rule, I try not to waste my time on regrets, I do the best I can in any situation given the knowledge at my disposal, if I knew better then I would have done better! I process things differently from most people, I am often referred to as a free minded liberal without boundaries! I would love to deny the description as its not very flattering but a denial wont really be a true position. I would instead describe myself as a broadminded soul who has learnt to let people define their own boundaries without any help from me. I let people judge themselves by their actions and treat them in like manner. My world view is that an open mind and an open heart make for a joyous life.
I am not shocked by anything or anyone so when I came across “The four agreements” I discovered a similar world view to mine. A world view that promotes joy, love, heaven and gives the choice to walk away from chains of judgement, condemnation and suffering.
The first half of life is spent conforming to the expectations of the world around us and the second breaking free from all of those expectations. They say life begins at 40 because people start doing things differently, they stop caring about expectations and don’t need approval for their choices. I can attest to this fact except that I never really conformed even before I turned 40 but there is something about that age that is so liberating. A few years later and I am in what I call the Disengagement phase of my life’s journey, I am breaking old agreements and making new ones that serve the greater purpose of love and light. Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of the “The four agreements” talks about the domestication of man. We all can relate, as children we were all without boundaries, we didn’t know malice or unforgiveness, we didn’t know whether we were ugly or beautiful but the people around us soon domesticate us into creatures that conform with their expectations; the adults need to control the children; its called submission and obedience. Religion does pretty much the same if we let it. They domesticate us through a process of approval and disapproval, they then repeat it till we learn our place.
Sometimes we are beaten into submission and we then go ahead and do same to our children. Being social creatures, humans crave the attention of their loved ones, the admiration of their peers; withholding affection and attention is a very effective way of control and till we awaken, we remain domesticated.
Being an active member of society requires participation and we do this by living according to the laws of the land both legal and moral. In that regard, domestication is not all bad, we all should agree to fairness, justice and the right of all to work and live life to the best of their ability. The agreements I am actively disengaging from are those generic ones that have become a one-size fits all cap that are giving us all a headache. Agreements that some races and tribes don’t mix, that wealth or riches are some sort of class/status divide, that there are some people that are above the law and beyond the criticisms of men, that unproven superstition be made a way of life and mostly that religious bigotry be an excuse for evil. These days I find myself unwilling to be carried along by the wave of conformity and I am conserving my energy for those things that bring me joy; it took middle age to finally get that heaven is the absence of suffering.
My most important agreement is to live in heaven from hereon in. Heaven is going for an early morning run at first light, enjoying nature before the world is fully awake while listening to an audio book or the most gorgeous music! Heaven is the company of good friends where no one has to worry about editing what they say because they are afraid someone will use it against them.
Heaven is breaking bread amongst strangers who bless you with a smile and leave you to your musings. Heaven is waking up next to your friend, who is happy to wake up next to you, Heaven is travelling, seeing new places, enjoying different cultures. heaven is meditation and prayer, being truly connected to the divine and to be true to my Ijebu roots, heaven is a credit alert that is big enough to make you feel richer than you actually are.
Its amazing that just that single agreement to live a heavenly life is unravelling a lot of other agreements. If most of us really dwelled on it most of the agreements that form the operating system of our lives are not what we would actually think of if we hadn’t been broken into submission.
There are some innate prejudices that we may not even be aware of that are based on information that have been passed down to us; we dislike people we don’t know because we heard something. I was following British politics and I was one of those who didn’t like Ed Miliband because of some stories that he snatched the leadership from his brother David, I gave it some further thought and came to the conclusion that he was only guilty of wanting what his brother wanted as well, he had a right to his ambition; no one should judge him for that and this position meant I was able to feel some sympathy for his bruising defeat thereafter. I want to end this in a similar manner to Don Ruiz. “Don’t believe him, don’t believe me either, disagree with every agreement and make your own, the bottom line is this; don’t delegate your thinking. That is the beginning of the great agreements to come”…