Alberto Villoldo Create Empowering Personal Contracts

Dedicate Yourself to Your Destiny through Personal Contracts

A few years ago, I received a challenging medical diagnosis. In my travels through the Amazon
I had picked up a dozen varieties of parasites. Until then, I was convinced that other people got old or sick but that surely would never happen to me. Now I was sick and in danger of dying, and feeling like an old man. In my prayers I said to God, “When I get well, then I will dedicate my life to being in service and helping others.”

But God does not like these bargains. I began to wake up from the daydream when I turned the
“When . . . then” agreement around.

I discovered that:
“When I am grateful, then I am happy.”
“When I dedicate my life to service, then I become well.”
“When I speak truthfully, then I become a true leader.”

I had to rededicate my life to a mission greater than myself before I could recover my health. I had to transform the nightmare of ill health to discover my sacred dream that would allow me to experience a new sense of purpose and meaning, even though I had no guarantee I would survive my illness or how long I would live.

Live your Sacred Dream through Personal Contracts

A sacred dream launches you to a destiny beyond simply not dying, or of being reasonably happy as you strive to avoid discomfort. It encourages you to explore the mysteries of life and of love, to glimpse a reality beyond death and discover a timeless truth for yourself. It demands that you act boldly and courageously, and not collude with the consensual—that which everyone agrees on and no one questions—even though it is a popular story that traps us in daydreams that become nightmares.

Discovering the sacred dream requires courage. You can no longer be a passive (and anxious) bystander watching others have a meaningful life. The sacred dream will not come knocking at your door: It requires that you leave the familiar and embark on a quest. It requires that you not compromise your integrity. It demands that you not allow yourself to be seduced by the “easy path.” It calls you to fight the lie that your daydream is adequate and will continue to keep you comfortable.

This is why it is called the way of the luminous warrior.

Breaking out of the Daydream

The following exercise will help you break out of the “When . . . then” equation and stop wrestling with a daydream that is slowly turning into a nightmare. You do this by flipping the contract you have made with yourself that stipulates when you will be happy or healthy or at peace.

What you wish for should not be conditional on anything.

Discover Your Core Agreements

Fill in the blanks for yourself so you can discover three core agreements that you have made with yourself and that need to be broken today.

When I _____________, then I will __________.
When I _____________, then I will __________.
When I _____________, then I will __________.

Look again at the agreements you have made. Were you conscious of them?

Now, cross off the beginning of each sentence so that it starts with “I will”:

I will ______________________________.
I will ______________________________.
I will ______________________________.

You have new goals now—ones that you can achieve in this moment. I discovered my goals were:

I will be grateful.
I will dedicate my life to service.
I will speak truthfully.

Unlike other goals, these do not require you to plan how you will bring them about. Instead, you commit to them and take advantage of every opportunity to make them true today. You practice gratitude. You dedicate your life to service. You speak truthfully—and so on. Your excuses for delaying the life you wish to lead are to be left behind now.

Free Yourself and Find Your Sacred Dream

Freeing yourself from the old contract launches you on a journey to find your sacred dream.
Well, you say, this sounds like a winning proposition. I discover my sacred dream and have the keys to the unlimited power of creation. I become a luminous warrior, with no enemies. Sounds pretty good . . . And then you realize that it comes with a mandate to create beauty, to heal suffering, to dream worlds into being—beginning with your world.

The Heart of the Shaman Book cover

The Heart of the Shaman

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Heart of the Shaman: Stories & Practices of the Luminous Warrior by Alberto Villoldo, published by Hay House (July 31, 2018). It can be found online at or For more information and to order a copy of book, visit:

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