If you listen closely to the words imbedded in things you say everyday – to yourself and others – you will discover distinct stories. Your stories. The human mind makes up stories in an attempt to explain and understand what is going on in each particular moment. These stories are neither good, bad, right nor wrong. However, here is good question to ask yourself now and again: Is what I’m saying true? Is it REALLY TRUE?
You see, your reality is often not about what is actually happening but instead what you have decided it means. Closely examine the stories you tell about yourself and everyone else and you just may discover a few things that are simply not true.
My mentor, don Miguel, had a saying he repeated over and over.
“Don’t believe me, don’t believe yourself, and don’t believe anyone else.”
Examined closely this very powerful advice - a corollary to his famous “Four Agreements.” A Fifth Agreement if you will.
His first bit of advice, don’t believe me, was his way of saying that the person we are listening to has modified their own reality through their filter of beliefs and agreements. Miguel would admit to having his own story about what he perceived. “It’s my story, and I have a right to my story,” he’d say. He was joking and serious at the same time because he knew every story – even his own - is inaccurate, filled with distortion, bias and assumptions. His advice, don’t believe me, was his way of saying “Never accept what you hear as completely true.”
Don’t believe yourself….”
Don Miguel’s term for the unconscious seemingly unstoppable chatter of the mind is “Mitote”. It’s a common term in Spanish with its roots in the word – myth. Your Mitote, the chatter of the mind, is YOUR personal myth - a myth comprised of all your experiences, opinions, beliefs and agreements about everything that has ever happened to you or around you.
I commonly suggest to people that they take the time to notice: What does my myth say and how does that make me feel? Do you notice a theme to the myth? Worry? Anxiety? Suspicion? Anger? Frustration? Judgment? If getting swept up in your own personal myth is keeping you stuck or like pushing a button labeled “pain”, perhaps it is wise not to completely believe yourself.
….. and don’t believe anyone else.”
Finally, other people’s opinions are like seeds. Heard often enough you begin to believe it. But everyone sees through a filter, a lens of all their beliefs and agreements about everything. Every word they say is in someway modified by what they believe – their personal myth. Like all myths, much of it is simply not true. Remember, we don’t see the world as it is – we see the world as we are.
So, apply this to the last argument you had. They said something to you about what you said distorting it based on all their beliefs and agreements. You heard what they said about what you said and filtered it through your personal reality distorting their distortion of you. Whew! All within a couple of seconds. Are you getting the picture?
Don Miguel’s Fifth Agreement is excellent advice for seeing the world with new eyes and exposing the beliefs that don’t serve you: “Don’t believe me, don’t believe yourself, and don’t believe anyone else.”
In 1996, after a chance meeting at the pyramids ruins in Teotihuacan, Mexico, Ray embarked on a 6-year apprenticeship with don Miguel Ruiz M.D. (author of the best-selling book, The Four Agreements). Author of the books, BeliefWorks and The Power of Belief, Ray guides both individuals and organizations through his revolutionary process, BeliefWorks™, helping people forge new beliefs and agreements to affect lasting and positive change.