Written by Cab Van Elk
Cab Van Elk takes us on a tour de force around the world and across centuries, touching on sacred geometry, music, higher dimensions, numerology, sport, cultural universality, and the spiritual guidance of the ancients; all as seen through the framework of the Toltec spiritual tradition as presented in Don Miguel Ruiz’s powerful 1997 work, “The Four Agreements.”
Look around you. Does your prison have three or four walls?
Is that even the right question to ask in order to find freedom? Don Miguel Ruiz tells us that it is most likely not.
When it comes to your own personal freedom, you will come to realize that you are actually not in any kind of prison but rather a maze. It all depends on your own perspective on where you stand.
Reading The Four Agreements opens up this journey into your inner “prison maze” by giving you a bird’s-eye view of the truth from above so that you can navigate your way to a better version of yourself and live a better life. It is one of those books that has been touted by many successful people since its publication in 1997 and does not, in any way, detract from its unique significance as keystone spiritual reading.
Despite this, it is still considered somewhat of a “well-known secret” today.
Don Miguel Ruiz shows us in his book that we are all akin to the symbol of “The Man In The Maze” as we partake in this spiritual journey called life.
In the context of labyrinthine symbolism, the Man in the Maze connects to the concept of a spiritual quest (one that is deeply aligned with Ruiz’s Toltec lineage). Labyrinths have been used for centuries as meditative tools by the Toltecs and many subsequent civilizations. These intricate mazes have always served the purpose of allowing individuals to embark on introspective journeys, seeking clarity and inner peace. The winding pathways of the labyrinth mirror life’s challenges and choices, inviting seekers to navigate their own unique path towards enlightenment.
But the labyrinth was not the only useful geometry in ancient Toltec culture.
We can draw many conclusions, but as Ruiz teaches us in his book, we should not simply assume anything. The truth is, we are still unable to fathom how it is that two completely separate civilizations, separated by centuries and by oceans, could come to the same conclusion about this extremely important shape – the Pyramid.
For the ancient Egyptians as well as for the Toltecs, the Pyramid represents spiritual ascension, personal growth, and the journey towards self-realization. Both civilizations created what would be considered by modern generations as a “meme” out of the Pyramid’s importance by incorporating it into the shapes of their worn jewelry. These were said to be blessed with spiritual powers due to the significance of the Pyramid.
But when you, as a mortal, stand on the face of this earth and face the Pyramid, you do not see the Pyramid shape, do you?
Instead, you see a triangle. The “three-cornered prism.”
This is the shape that can be found in the jewelry and carvings of both Egyptian and Toltec cultures – one having been generated in what is known as The Old Kingdom (c. 2686 BCE) in Northern Africa, and the other around 1550 BCE in Mesoamerica, at a whopping distance of approximately 12,000 kilometers apart.
It proves a deeper kind of connected language that is shared by the human race, and it is part of the foundational reason symbolism is still so important for modern human culture today. It is also the reason that there are many generations who have their own share of prophetic spirits who step into the fray and radiate enlightenment as far as they go. Because these individuals access this ancient wisdom and language, which we have created for ourselves, to connect us deeper with a higher realm of existence. They all also happen to follow the first pillar of Ruiz’s book and are impeccably true to their word.
It is at once this vital element but something so much more as well, however…
Perhaps it is their personality, perhaps it is their ability, perhaps it is something else completely… who really knows.
What we can conclude for certain is that all of these “spiritually-connected” individuals who are able to enlighten others in various ways and help them release themselves from their own prisons – they are all able to see the Pyramid not only from the ground in its three-cornered shape but also from above in its square shape. And when we view the Pyramid from above, we then see that it possesses four corners instead of three.
When viewed through the numerological lens, the number four is seen as incredibly powerful, almost as powerful as the number three. Four is seen as a practical and hard-working vibration. It signifies discipline, organization, and a strong work ethic. It is associated with qualities such as responsibility, reliability, and the ability to manifest one’s goals through consistent effort.
It is perhaps the reason why the earliest spiritual leaders of the modern Rastafarian movement chose the seal of Solomon hand gesture as their favorite when posing for photographs. One can see countless images of Emperor Haile Selassie sporting the downward-facing triangle hand gesture, signifying the divine having come back down to earth. For, surely, once you have seen the Pyramid change shape, you will always be able to see it in all of its possible forms, both up and down, inside and out, and it is within this dimension in which we usually find the great spiritual leaders.
The powerful fourth dimension, also known as the “all-seeing eye.”
Specifically because he was seen by many as a “Nagual” (Toltec term for a spiritual leader), author Don Miguel Ruiz chose to base his seminal work on the Four Agreements (even though a fifth agreement was added in a sequel volume years later). The seminal vibrational power of this spiritual number resonates throughout the messages in this book. Some might even stick to your soul like the words left imprinted by a wonderful song…
“… Because every little thing is gonna be alright…” – Bob Marley
“Redemption Song” was still half a lifetime away from conception when Nesta Robert Marley was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, in February of 1945 – 208 days before “every little thing” would cease ever to be the same again as World War 2 drew to its dramatic and devastating conclusion.
In its aftermath, there was a great need for spiritual guidance from someone impeccable with their words, by those who had been alive to witness the War’s impact on the world – and on Jamaican society as a whole. Many lives had been altered forever due to British conscription and presence on the Caribbean island during the War. Mankind had delved into its most disconnected state, unaligned in every way with every single one of the Four Agreements, as Ruiz would deliver them. We had come to a state of destruction instead of construction, in the pursuit of survival.
In Jamaica, a young Bob Marley would be guided by his mother in giving spiritual solace to some of the townsfolk and even some widows from the war. By reading palms, a sage yet adolescent Marley assisted these souls so desperately seeking an answer to it all. It would only be years later that the true power of his words would be felt by the world through the power of reggae, and the first pillar of the Four Agreements would be achieved.
Speaking of our featured author… upon connecting the birth year of one spiritual leader with another, it seems that August 27, 1952 – the day Ruiz came into this world – is about seven years apart (give or take a few months) from that of Marley’s. Much more common today is the knowledge about the number seven’s connection to spiritual strength and redemption. So I shall spare you, dear reader, from a discourse on the power that this number portrays.
Allow me to point out to you that as we move from the three-sided, side view of the pyramid to the four-sided, top view, we see both the numbers 3 + 4, which equals 7. Which certainly explains a few things in terms of vibrational power.
We also see it again in the publishing year of today’s discussed book – 1997.
As a matter of interest, this was almost exactly 16 years (4 times 4) after the ancient Toltec game of “kickball” known as “tlachtli” in the Nahuatl Toltec language had traveled through the cursed spirits of the ages and had become the ironic demise for the spiritual leader and musician who had survived two assassination attempts and many other dangers in his life – only to be bested by an unfortunate interaction between his foot and a ball one fateful day.
Both Marley and Ruiz started out in life as spiritual teachers, and both shared cultures and backgrounds with rich cultural histories, standing out as anachronisms within their own lifetimes in terms of the subsequent generational influences both would go on to inspire.
But, as one of Ruiz’s Four Pillars tells us, nothing in life should be taken personally. Not even the misfortune caused by a soccer ball to the toe. What can be a curse to one man can be a blessing to another, and it is all connected.
“One love. One heart…” – Bob Marley
As far as footballers go, as a matter of interest, for those of you readers out there who might not recognize the name, Tom Brady is an iconic 21st Century American footballer who has spoken about his passion for The Four Agreements in many interviews.
And as the modern cultural influences of the West continue to merge into the East, sport culture comes along with it. Tom Brady would have traveled to China often to promote the NFL, but he would rightly not make any assumptions that the art of “kickball” is anything new to the Chinese nation.
After all, Brady knows that the Fourth pillar warns against ever making assumptions. And no one would ever have assumed almost 2300 years ago that in the Tang Dynasty in China, their version of kickball called “Cuju” – where a ball would be kicked through a hole in a silk screen between two goal posts- would be discussed in a world where many other branching variations of the sport would be so much more ubiquitous.
It becomes the perfect testament to Ruiz’s final pillar. Perhaps the one we should carry with us most often – to always do our best, no matter what tomorrow brings.
Because unless you are looking at the pyramid from both angles, you are still only going through the maze of your own experiences and choices, so it helps to have a guide such as Ruiz and his Four Pillars to elevate you and help you see things from another angle. With the help of the Don Miguel Ruiz “Four,” he assists in getting your current perspective of “Three” to an enlightened “Seven.”
You have the freedom, dear reader, to find a copy at your local outlet and find the way around your own maze in life. Make the choice to seek this freedom and go and pick out your copy of The Four Pillars to read as soon as you get the chance.