The Four Agreements are:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes I think about committing information suicide. Everyone’s got an escapist fantasy: mine is disappearing to Montana, or perhaps the Palm Springs desert, and living a quiet life working in a little shop, or as a florist (I like thinking in textures). A late friend and gifted programmer once told me his most creative days were spent working in a bookstore. The work wasn’t challenging, but it was meditative, and it gave him space to let his mind wander.
In my meandering path toward a better adulthood, I kept reading books but stopped thinking the theories found therein were going to answer the question of how to live in the world. I’ve come instead to the inelegant belief that pretty much the most important thing you can do with your day is make dinner, for your family or friends if you have them or for yourself if you don’t. Do that, and the other stuff mostly falls into place.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
A student makes hundreds of pages of photocopies and takes them home, and the manual labor he exercises in doing so gives him the impression that he possesses the work. Owning the photocopies exempts the student from actually reading them. This sort of vertigo of accumulation, a neocapitalism of information, happens to many. Defend yourself from this trap: as soon as you have the photocopy, read it and annotate it immediately. If you are not in a great hurry, do not photocopy something new before you own (that is, before you have read and annotated) the previous set of photocopies. There are many things I do not know because I photocopied a text and then relaxed as if I had read it.