Excerpt from The Four Agreements
by Don Miguel Ruiz, as passed along by my yoga teacher this week:
"...Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison - to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate. The word is pure magic - the most powerful gift we have as humans - and we use it against ourselves. We plan revenge. We create chaos with the word. We use the word to create hate between different races, between different people, between families, between nations. We misuse the word so often, and this misuse is how we create and perpetuate the dream of hell. Misuse of the word is how we pull each other down and keep each other in a state of fear and doubt. [...]
There was a woman, for example, who was intelligent and had a very good heart. She had a daughter whom she [...] loved very much. One night she came home from a very bad day at work, tired, full of emotional tension, and with a terrible headache. She wanted peace and quiet, but her daughter was singing and jumping happily. The daughter was unaware of how her mother was feeling; [...] She felt so wonderful, and she was jumping and singing louder and louder, expressing her joy and her love. She was singing so loud that it made her mother's headache even worse, and at a certain moment, the mother lost control. Angrily she looked at her beautiful little girl and said, "Shut up! You have an ugly voice. Can you just shut up!"
The truth is that the mother's tolerance for any noise was nonexistent; it was not that the little girl's voice was ugly. But the daughter believed what her mother said, and in that moment she made an agreement with herself. After that, she no longer sang, because she believed her voice was ugly and would bother anyone who heard it. [...] Even speaking to others became difficult for her. Everything changed in the little girl because of this new agreement: She believed she must repress her emotions in order to be accepted and loved.
Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system. [...] Her mother didn't notice what she did with her word. She didn't know that she used black magic and put a spell on her daughter. People who love us do black magic on us, but they don't know what they do. That is why we must forgive them; they don't know what they do. [...]
These types of spells are difficult to break. The only thing that can break a spell is to make a new agreement based on the truth."