Okay, so I'm trying to get lots done today, but amidst all of it I cannot forget to post!
We're talking about the last of The Four Agreements; "Always Do Your Best". The author, don Miguel Ruiz( I don't know why his "d" isn't capitalized, but that's how I'm writing it since it's that way on his book!*S*) writes, "There is just one more agreement, but it's the one that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.
I remember when I read this book the first time, I was working as a retail merchandiser for Hallmark at the Bi-mart store as well as the Safeway in Milton-Freewater, and as I was working I would think, "do your best", and it actually made my work (as tedious as it was sometimes) more enjoyable! When we do our best just to get a paycheck or because we want the "reward" of doing our best then we aren't "rewarded" with what will make us happy. We're rewarded with money or recognition (maybe), but in the end is the money the thing that will remain in your memory or will doing your best with pure intentions help to have formed your life?
We also have to remember that sometimes and someday our "best" won't be at the same level. The author tells us in the book that when we wake up refreshed in the morning then it only follows that our best will be when we are refreshed. (I think that applies to "morning" people!*S* Sometimes my best is in the afternoon or evening depending on my mood). When we are sick we won't be at the same level of "doing our best" as when we are feeling good. The point of this is to not judge ourselves if our best isn't what we think it "should" be.
There's a story in the book about a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a master to help him. He asked the master, "If I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?" The master replied, "If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years." The man wanted it to happen faster so he asked the master, "what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?" The master replied, "If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years." The man asked why it would take him longer if he meditated more? The master replied, "You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won't enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love and be happy."
Doing our "best" is an action; of course, we grow in knowledge when we read and study (which we need to do), but the "learning", I believe, comes in following what we have learned in reading, prayer, and meditation; in short the learning comes in the "action". We do all we do everyday to improve, to do our best. We can have the best ideas, but what good do they do us if we don't "act" upon them?
"If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. Practice makes the master. By doing your best you become a master. Everything you have ever learned, you learned through repetition. You learned to write, to drive, and even to walk by repetition. You are a master of speaking your language because you practiced. Action is what makes the difference."----The Four Agreements
My challenge to all of us is to make the choice every morning to "do our best", without judgement of yourself or of others( because my best may look different than your best).