I didn’t like this book, even though I tried really hard.
I might have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t had so much hype around it… but I think the biggest issue was that I just really didn’t like the writing style, so I struggled to connect with it. At. All.
Humorously, this scenario kind of plays into part of the premise of the book: the language we use will always fall short of actual truth.
Truth isn’t dependent on language. We are.
(Well, at least most of us have been. The really great artists and musicians are able to transcend the limitations of language and get you to feel truth.)
Suffice it to say, Don Miguel Ruiz does NOT speak my language.
I was glad when Austin came to the realization that different personality types receive and connect with truth in different packages, essentially.
(Obviously there’s more that plays into it than just personality, but it is a factor.)
It made me feel like less of a jerk for not loving this particular package. (All I can hear is all the “that’s what she said”s that Matt and Austin wouldn’t be able to resist if this conversation was live.)
Because of my lack of love for the book, I’m just going to touch on a few concepts I found interesting from the podcast we recorded, and the some of the tools I feel God’s given us to overcome the issues they represent.
1. Language can never fully convey truth because we all have our own filters that keep us from being on the same page.
Holy Spirit knows exactly how to communicate with each one of us in a way we can understand personally. We are able to tap into that wisdom in our communication with others.
2. By and large, we’re all stuck in our own heads.
We all experience life from our own perspective. Period.
HOWEVER, I completely believe having the “mind of Christ” can enable us to see and truly understand things from others’ perspectives. We are all connected.
3. Even good assumptions can let us down.
I think it’s fairly obvious expectations can be toxic, even though most of us don’t realize we even have them until they aren’t met (because they’re usually those subconscious things that seem obvious to us about how to do life).
However, assumptions are just as bad – we all know the saying “assuming makes an ass out of you and me”.
For as long as I can remember, though, I’ve been doing my best to “assume the best” about others… always standing up for them when they weren’t there to defend themselves, playing the devil’s advocate to the point it used to annoy the CRAP out of David, lol. I’ve always felt that you’re only making yourself more toxic by assuming negative things about others.
Until I ran up against a scenario that was so cut and dried in my mind I couldn’t dream up any possible way the other people didn’t suck at least a little bit in this case. (You can hear that story on the podcast.)
The discussion on the podcast made me realize telling myself good stories about people was still technically making assumptions.
My first choice would always be to just get to the heart of the matter and talk it out – I have no problem with confrontation. But sometimes that’s just more detrimental than beneficial.
Sometimes you just have to let things go without answers – for your own good.
4. Our minds want to do math.
I never really thought about this in so many words, but our brains want things to add up – to make sense!
Everything I’ve been talking about is related.
We’re always trying to make sense of the world around us, not always consciously, but definitely always subconsciously, which leads to all sorts of crap, lol.
I definitely don’t believe the answer is to just not care about anything, though, which is the math some minds resort to.
I do believe the key is to “keep in step with the Spirit” – God can give us revelation and wisdom for the best way to perceive and interact with the world around and in us at all times.
It may sound cliche’ and trite, but it sure beats getting stuck in a negative and confusing feedback loop relying solely on our conscious mind.
I realized that in doing the math of the scenario I talked about above, I was able to “solve for x” by canceling out their side of the equation, essentially. I decided “x” was that our relationship mattered to me and I didn’t need to understand in order to continue that because my side of the relationship didn’t depend on “x”.
When it comes down to it, this is really what Jesus did. He canceled out our side of the equation completely, on a much, much grander scale, obviously 🙂
I’d be interested to know what you think of the Four Agreements if you’ve read it. Like I mentioned earlier, basically, different strokes for different folks.
As with anything else in life, observe the fruit something bears in your life.