Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to sit in circle with Angeles Arrien and listen to her teach The Four-Fold Way. Her brilliance lay in being able to condense and explicate the perennial wisdom of the world’s indigenous cultures. She said it very simply:
Speak the Truth without Judgment
Be Detached From Outcome
Over the years my husband and I have added two words: Speak and Hear the Truth without Judgment. With that small personal addition, we have found that these four tenets cover just about everything. They inevitably lead to doing-as-you-would-be-done by, to self-knowledge, deep compassion, and gratitude.
In my own case, I struggle with each of these at different times – sometimes one is more difficult to live by, sometimes another. On really good days they all come easily. This on-going relationship has deepened my understanding of each principle. As the work ripples out through the pool of my life it expands in scope, becoming more subtle in its ramifications.
Look how simple these teachings are – easy to understand, but profound enough to change a life and move it in new directions. This is the hallmark of a great teacher. I am so grateful to Angeles Arrien for these teachings – she was truly the angel her name implies – a messenger of spiritual truths which willingly undertaken can set one free. All her life she spoke of honoring the ancestors- those who have come before. Now, she becomes an ancestor, a part of my lineage. I honor her, I honor her, blessed be her name.