This week we continue our study of the 4 Agreements by exploring the agreement "don't make assumptions." Seems rather straight forward and simple but like all the agreements there is more to it then first look. I don't know who first coined the phrase "life is meaningless and humans are meaning making machines" but it seems appropriate for this weeks lesson.
Life does not have intrinsic meaning life has the meaning we ascribe to it. This is usually based in our past, our beliefs, and our cultural context among other factors and because we are ascribing the meaning to events it means that frequently we make assumptions. Making assumptions is one of the ways we navigate life and yet making assumptions is also the source of much of our pain and misunderstanding.
For example, Robin looks at me funny or does respond quickly to one of my humorous remarks. I make an assumption that she is upset about something. On my good days I assume work on my less good days it would be about me. I then speak and take action based on my assumption instead of simply asking her if she is ok. I am reminded in this agreement of St Francis "seek first to understand." When we make assumptions and then act on our assumptions as if they are right we create many opportunities for conflict, pain, misunderstanding.
Not sure if anyone else has done this but I have in the past made an assumption about what someone meant or said and when corrected I wanted to argue with the person that my interpretation is right. This is another one of the human conditions is our need and desire to be right. When we learn to stop making assumptions we begin to let go of the need to be right and begin to seek clarity.