How to Break Free From Old Habits

The phenomenal success of the book “The Four Agreements ” has
inspired many to apply Don Miguel Ruiz’s insights in all areas of life.

you’ve attempted to understand how the four agreements relate to your
life, you’ve undoubtedly run up against some resistance. It’s one thing
to understand the four agreements intellectually and even to agree with
them and decide to put them into practice. It’s another thing to apply
them in real-life situations. What do you do when it’s a challenge to
practice the four agreements? What do you do when you run into
resistance? What do you do when old bad habits get in your way?

begin to answer that question, let’s take a look at the Core Values in
the Toltec system. The better we understand these values the better
we’ll be able to put the agreements that flow from these values to work
in our lives. The same applies to our own personal philosophy and value
system. Unless you are conscious about “who you are ” and “what you are
about, ” it will be difficult to realize your highest potential. You’ll
find yourself living the life the world tells you to live instead of the
life you are meant to live. You’ll live your life by default instead of
by intent.

The Toltec philosophy is based on an energetic view of
life. According to the Toltec view we are beings of light. We are each
mirrors that reflect the light that is the Life of all beings. It is our
task to be the clearest and truest mirror that we can be. In order to
do that, we must clear out that which fogs our view. We must become free
from the Dream that fogs our mind. We must release ourselves from the
lies that we have inherited, been taught, and agreed with. In other
words, we must break away from our limiting agreements about what is
real and possible.

Only then can we orient ourselves by the values
of awareness, truth, freedom, and love. In order to live from these
values, we must learn to master three skills. The Toltecs call these The Three Masteries. We’ll go through each of these skills, one by one. They are:

1. Mastery of Awareness: knowing who you are

2. Mastery of Transformation: havingability to change

3. Mastery of Intent: living from freedom, choice, and love

Mastery of Awareness

Ruiz says, “The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We
need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. ” (p.98 TFA)

the Toltec language, we must become aware that our perception of
reality is like a dream. We do not see Reality as it is, we interpret
reality according our beliefs, intentions, thoughts, and feelings each
moment. We must first become aware that we are dreaming and understand
the consequences of the agreements that define our dream, so that we can
become conscious participants in the creation of our lives.

says, “become aware of the fog that is in your own mind. You must become
aware that you are dreaming all the time. . .If you have the awareness
that the whole drama of your life is the result of what you believe, and
what you believe is not real, then you can begin to change it. ” (p.106

Awareness is step one. Without awareness we blindly follow
the mishmash of conditioned beliefs and viewpoints that are trained into
us. You become aware by taking an inventory of all the beliefs that lie
behind your perceptions. Once you become aware of the hidden meaning
context from which you are viewing the world, then you can choose to
step in and transform it in a conscious way. Awareness is the first step
out of suffering.

Mastery of Transformation

tells us that, “If you go into the dream and start challenging your
beliefs, you will find that most of the beliefs that guided you into the
wounded mind are not even true. . .the belief system that was put
inside your mind is based on lies. ” (p.99 TFA)

You begin to
transform your previously hidden beliefs and assumptions by testing them
out. You challenge them to see what they are made of. You begin to
understand where they came from and realize that they are simply made-up
points of view that lead to certain consequences. If you don’t like the
consequences of looking at the world in a certain way, you can shift
the way you are perceiving.

As Ruiz says, “You achieve the Mastery
of Transformation by changing the fear-based agreements that make you
suffer, and reprogramming your own mind, in your own way. ” (p.107 TFA)

you begin to get free from the subconscious agreements that have
colored your perception, you are ready for the third mastery.

Mastery of Intent

tells us that, “Dream masters create a masterpiece of life; they
control the dream by making choices. Everything has consequences and a
dream master is aware of the consequences. (p.100 TFA)

mastering intent you become a conscious co-creator of your life. You
understand who you are and tune into the unique purpose of your life.
You make the expression and realization of who you are and what you are
here to do your guiding light. You live from strong intent. When you do
that you replace the messages of the Dream with guidance from the Core,
from Life itself. When you do that, you replace suffering with happiness
and fear with love.

As Ruiz says, “for every agreement you break
that makes you suffer, you will need to replace it with a new agreement
that makes you happy. This will keep the old agreement from coming back.
If you occupy the same space with a new agreement, then the old
agreement is gone forever and in its place is the new agreement. ” (p.110

We must not think that this is an instant and everlasting
event when we do it the first time. Breaking old agreements and
establishing new ones takes time.

“All of the old agreements which
rule our dream of life are the result of repeating them over and over
again. Therefore, to adopt the Four Agreements, you need to put
repetition in action. Practicing the new agreements in your life is how
your best becomes better. Repetition makes the master. ” (p.110 TFA)

Did I hear someone say “The Power of Practice? “

is it, then, that fuels your practice? How do you generate the energy
to break free from old habits and create something new in your life? The
key is to tap into your Core Energy, the life-force within you. You do
that by becoming aware of your inner feeling and by applying the three
masteries to them.

Step One: Awareness

Become aware of how you are feeling as you move through life. Feel
your body as a whole from the inside, right here and now. What is the
quality of your inner feeling? If you’re feeling great, go with flow,
follow the inspirations that give you this good feeling.

If you’re
feeling uncomfortable, tense, stressed or afraid, observe these
feelings. Identify the source of your tension and fear. Ask your body
what your feeling is about. Once you have a sense for what the feeling
is, where it is located in your body, and who or what it refers to, move
to Step Two.

Step Two: Transformation

Let go of your uncomfortable feeling, the belief associated with it,
and the event and other people associated with it with one simple act:
forgiveness. Forgive yourself first. You did the best you could given
what you knew and who you were at the time. Forgive anyone else
involved. They also did their best, given what they knew and who they
were at the time.

We forgive, not because what we did or what
someone else did was right, or excusable, or even forgivable, but
because we want to move on, we want to be free and we want others to be
able to do the same. When you are able to forgive, you can move on to
Step Three.

Step Three: Intent

Your highest intent is to come from a place of love. Love for
yourself and love for others-in that order. If you see yourself through
the eyes of love, this will naturally extend to the way that you see
others. If you take loving actions toward yourself, this will naturally
extend to the way that you treat others.

One way to do this is to
cultivate the feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and trust in your
heart. You can do this by actually generating these feelings in your
heart. Think of something that makes you feel happy and grateful. This
will make your heart smile. Focus your attention on your heart and feed
this feeling. Then send your smiling energy throughout your body and to
those that you encounter. Live your life from a heart filled with
appreciation, gratitude, and trust.

My suggestion is to find at
least one instance each day in which you practice the three masteries
with your inner feeling. See the next uncomfortable feeling or tension
in your body as an opportunity to go through the above, three-step
process. As you master these three steps, you’ll be able to transform
negative emotion into creative power in a matter of moments.

Kevin Schoeninger graduated from Villanova University in 1986
with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. He is certified as a Reiki Master
Teacher, Qigong Meditation Instructor, and Personal Fitness Trainer.

has worked with clients in the field of holistic fitness, meditation
instruction, and spiritual growth for the past 27 years.

He is
Editor of and the author of the “Learn Qigong
Meditation Home Study Program, ” “The Power of Practice Program, ” and
the visionary novel, “Trackings: A Message for the Third Millenium. “
Kevin is also the developer of Core Energy Meditation.

Kevin can be reached through his website:

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