I remember being awed by the details and complexity of the art work that was in the museums and the skill level of so many artists and craftsmen and musicians.
Where did people find the inspiration and discipline and patience to undertake such massive projects I wondered? I never asked myself if the homeless beggar or the stumbling alcoholic was being as creative as those artisans. I took it for granted that they in fact were not creative at all and not worthy of my attention.
I no longer believe there is a difference in the levels of creativity between the great artists and the most addled alcoholic or homeless person.
I believe that the human condition itself is by nature creative in the extreme. We people are going to create whether we like it or not, either consciously or unconsciously, and we do so from a deep number of beliefs and agreements that we have accepted. Our creations can in fact be glorious and fulfilling or we can create something miserable but the one thing we are incapable of is creating nothing.
So, if this is true, where do our beliefs come from? And how can we manage such a creative nature in an empowering way?
One primary source of beliefs is certainly our parents and family. If our family is republican, the odds are that we are republican. If our family is prejudice about something then it follows the odds as well that we might be as well. If our parents are smokers or alcoholics or drug abusers or Church goers then we will also likely lean in these directions.
We learn from our parents and not just what to eat or drink or use, but how to energetically respond to the world.
If your parents were or are angry and resentful types it will follow that these are issues you will likely confront in your own life. Each child in a family is a unique person, but each family has its own issues that will dominate the family culture.
The other principle source of your beliefs and agreements comes from your own perceptions and interpretations.
I wish to be very clear and empathic about this.
A great majority of the time, with the great majority of humanity, many of your perceptions and interpretations are dead wrong.
We begin our life with the beliefs handed down from others (our parents principally and family and community secondarily) and then proceed from that almost certainly flawed foundation into this inherently and greatly creative process of agreement and belief gathering with a dizzying array of interpretations and perceptions. If they are allowed too the huge number of beliefs, or programs if you will, already installed by adolescence will simply unconsciously run throughout the rest of ones life.
If this hypothetical youngster is prone, as most are, to taking things personally then many destructive beliefs may be added along his or her way.
I no longer wonder why the level of dysfunction is so high in the world. I have heard someone remark more than once that they came from a “dysfunctional family”.
I believe the so called “dysfunctional family” to be quite the norm. Please someone show to me a family that is functional in a healthy and loving and demonstrative way, and I will show you a very rare example indeed.
That we are spiraling out of control as a species, and destroying our glorious Mother Earth along the way, is simply an accurate reflection of the human condition and how inwardly selfish it is, and historically has always been. Remember, we have no more choice in the matter of being creative than a bird has to fly or a fish has to swim!
So what to do? How do we learn to use our creativity in an effective and productive way? How do we overcome the poor programming so many of us received from our parents? Remember please, they were almost certainly the recipients of such.
What are the tools we can rely upon to stop misinterpreting what happens in our lives and begin to use our creativity to affect a more powerful and productive life?
We can begin by realizing first and foremost that no one has done anything to us. Begin by no longer taking things personally. This is what I call the first great misinterpretation. It begins an unending cycle of judging and guilt and blame and is entirely harmful.
If someone steals something from you, they did not do it to you. They stole simply because their belief system helped them rationalize their behavior. A thief does not care who they steal from or pick out personal targets. Their target is stuff and imagined pain and not individuals. Likewise, if your spouse or sexual partner cheated on you, they did not do it to you! Even though it will almost certainly feel that way, it is in fact not personal. If their belief system allows them to behave this way, then they may in fact do so if the opportunity presents itself.
It is that simple.
People do things for themselves and according to their programming and belief system. It has nothing to do with you. Until you make the most common misinterpretation of them all.
You take it personally.
Then and only then it belongs to you!
I wonder how many beliefs we could create by taking other human beings actions personally.
Let’s try a few:
OK, I think you get the point here.
Your friend has a pattern where lying or stealing or cheating is rationalized and they utilize that pattern and you take it personally and you use the experience to create a new belief, or support an old one, about life and you call it your reality.
You even talk with your friends, who have similar experiences and beliefs, about what is real.
"Misery Loves Company" is an old saying and contains a lot of truth. Be careful in your indulgence and the company in which you keep.
Let me say this clearly.
Your beliefs will become your reality.
If you believe life sucks, this will in fact become your experience. The stronger and more deeply held the belief, the stronger this experience will become. Many surround themselves with people who support their beliefs and reside socially in clubs and gangs and the like. So, we must be very careful about what we allow ourselves to believe and whom we spend our time with. This is important to understand.
I know it sounds simple, but it is a powerful truth that we believe our beliefs! So it is imperative to our growth and creative process to question our beliefs!
Learn to listen and people will tell you exactly what they believe. Try listening to yourself first as these beliefs are the most important ones to you.
Make a list of your beliefs and pay close attention to them. Do you believe life is unfair?
This is a very common belief and it is common because most human beings take things personally.
We like to think we are capable of judging others and so we do so.
If you are judging your spouse or parent or child in some fashion then I would say be very careful.
The problem with judging is made more profound by degree the closer and more meaningful the person you are judging is in your life. Judging others is in part a false method of trying to lift your self up. Making less of others does not make more of you.
It will never work and is a waste of your energy.
Be very careful with judging please, none of us are qualified to do so, and it is a very tricky ego trap.
Please stop confessing other peoples sins as this only serves to stroke your ego and is a complete waste.
Of course many people do their creating unconsciously from a deep well of unquestioned beliefs and so these traps are plentiful and easy to fall into. The trick is to find and use the tools that will help us to consciously create what we truly wish to create most of the time. It is no small task or casual undertaking I can assure you.
Love and joy and enlightenment and reason and hope and inspiration are examples of the more powerful states that we have access to and the ability to attract. So why is so much pain and misery created instead?
Why do we tend to lean on the more selfish and painful choices?
Judging is one of the principal reasons and it will keep you in pride and some of the weaker energetic creations. It is not a matter of right or wrong. It is a simpler choice of what tools will help you create something more powerful. What tool or what belief will help me to be more complete and loving and harmonious? What choice will expand my Universe and what choice will shrink it?
Taking things personally and judging is not simply unnecessary. It is childish and counter productive.
Imagine a one year old child who would be inconsolable for weeks or even months or years at a time. This is a rare state for a one year old, but sadly not so uncommon a condition in some adults. It is a symptom of a very unhealthy belief system and is called many things such as depression and chronic addictive behavior.
So where to begin?
What are the tools one can use to consciously create a more powerful and loving life?
I will begin by first acknowledging one of my favorite Mentors and I will recommend all of his material highly.
Dr. Steven Covey is a man I have never had the pleasure of meeting other than through his books and audio tapes but with a respectful nod of appreciation and thanks to him and his contributions to my life I will begin.
THE TWELVE PRINCIPLES
I was first introduced to the concept of principles by Dr. Covey and once I began to use them my life changed. The change did not come easily or quickly and it comes only when attention is paid and the principles are applied, but it comes nonetheless. The more I use them, the better they impact my life. If I neglect them then my knowledge is wasted and it is almost as if I know nothing about the concept. I like to think of the principles as seeds that you plant in the ground. They will not miraculously spring out of the ground and blossom overnight. They need your time and your care and your attention to produce the promise within. Life is not an auto pilot experience. Daily attention must be paid and you actually have to use them on a daily basis if you want to harvest the benefits!
I also like the analogy of a tool belt.
Like a carpenter who wears a tool belt, I like to think of having on my spiritual tool belt and within this belt I keep my 12 principles.
You could no sooner build a house with just a hammer than you can build an effective spiritual tool belt with just one principle, although I suppose you could try. I simply prefer a healthy tool chest so I accepted the suggestion of 12. I like this number myself but you can choose any number you wish of course. I have also tried to order my principles in such a way as you might build a house. First you need to lay the foundation, the roof comes later.
And the principles must pass the purity test.
They must be truth or as Dr. Covey suggested, Natural Laws.
Natural Laws are not like Ivory soap.
They are not 99% pure. They are 100% pure and they work all the time. They work 24 hours and 7 days a week and do not take a lunch break or need a holiday. They always and will forever provide the right answer. These tools will help you in any and every situation in which you need help. Any dispute and any personal situation that arises in your life can be sorted out without danger of emotional misinterpretation and faulty belief system or ego system interference!
But the tools must be used!
I can not stress this enough.
It will not matter what you think you know, how many books you have read, or how smart you are. Even the brilliant minds who author and sell millions of spiritual self help books are still human beings with layers upon layers of flawed and multi generational programming running in their sub conscious minds. Even such men and woman are not capable of always accessing the higher choice without the correct tools! Those that have spent years in a state of Grace would have better odds at finding the right answer of course, but even they must use the tools to be certain.
The path is narrow.
If you want the right answer, if you wish to create positive and powerful energy in your life, you must humble your ego and allow the principles to guide you through the rough waters.
You would not try to hammer a nail with your hand if you were a carpenter, you would use your hammer.
If you are a human being who has been beset by a lifetime of irrational and harmful unconscious conditioning by a host of unsuspecting loved ones and a culture gone awry then you must use your spiritual tool belt when difficulty presents itself.
Remember please...you believe your own beliefs and many of them are probably not real!
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: HUMILITY
We all have different definitions for words and you will have many that are different from mine. If you asked 10 people to define the word humility for you I would imagine you might receive 10 different definitions. I encourage you to be creative with the selection of your own principles but please understand clearly what they mean to you and then test them to insure they are truth. For me, humility means to be respectful to all life. It means recognizing the Divine spark of God resides equally in all people. From the most exalted and healthy example of mankind to the lowest beggar on the street the Divine spark is the same within them and of exact measure. No matter how well hidden their gifts or Divinity, rest assured all are loved equally by God.
It is the imperative of this principle to make more of everyone you see and come into contact with. In its radical scope, every tree, plant and pebble contains the same Divine spark.
All is life, everything and everyone in the Universe is Divine, and all is to be afforded a complete and sacred level of respect.
In the realm of human interaction think upon what this could mean please.
How would you feel about a person who helped you to feel better about yourself each and every time you saw them? What if you knew someone who always sincerely endeavored to make you feel more beautiful, more worthy, or looked for your specific talents and gifts and sincerely wished them to blossom? What if that person looked upon you as if you were a new born babe, gorgeous and adorable? I am not talking about engaging in baby talk and tickling the next person you meet. I am talking about smiling at them from your toes and with genuine spirit the way most do at a newborn child.
How would that impact your life?
How might that impact their life?
What manner of influence would a person have that sought out sincerely to make more of each person they met in their walk through life?
Would you want to hire this person?
Would you want to work with this person?
Would you want to work for such a person?
Would you enjoy having this person as a parent or a friend or neighbor or a spouse?
I would suppose that their circle of influence would be constantly expanding as is, not coincidently, our Universe itself. I would suppose they would find many welcome mats wherever they traveled.
So practicing humility to me is being respectful to all but it is more as well. It is the complete absence of judging. It is not being neglectful or indifferent but taking care and making more of others.
It is calming the ego and instead of placing ourselves as the center of the Universe imagining ourselves as one and experiencing our creations with togetherness.
Another aspect of this principle that I would like to speak of is *gratitude*.
Here is a great question to ask oneself.
How often do I count my blessings as opposed to wondering about what I wish I had?
Many folks spend a great deal of time wishing.
I know that I have.
What would I do if I hit the lottery or recorded a million dollar CD or sold a best selling book?
But how often do we count our blessings?
I have a great friend who has MS.
Mark is one of the kindest, most intelligent and decent men I have ever met in my life.
He earned 2 Masters Degrees while in his twenties and was hard working and charitable and loving and as fine a friend or neighbor as any could ever hope for.
At the age of 50 he was already wheelchair bound.
In his mid fifties they amputated both his legs and he hands were nigh upon useless.
I never once heard him complain and yet I hear able bodied men and woman complain about their lot in life often. What a profound gift it is to be able to walk so far that my feet hurt!
I read somewhere once about a study regarding people that had won the lottery.
There was a straight line across the board apparently.
People that had been happy before winning the lottery were happy afterwards.
People that were not happy before winning the lottery found no happiness with the new found material wealth.
No surprise to me.
Happiness is created by empowering and healthy beliefs and a strong set of principles. If you believe that your health and well being is an incredible gift and a blessing then that belief is an empowering one and will create positive energy in your life. The more sincere your level of gratitude, the more powerful the benefit will be.
If you many such beliefs and a deep well of gratitude in your life for many things then you will begin to treat others and yourself differently.
Remember, you must choose to create the level of gratitude in your life. This must be a conscious decision and will likely be absent from many family patterns.
My suggestion is to meditate upon this daily. A strong intention to infuse each day with humility and gratitude is a very powerful practice and I could not more highly recommend anything.
THE SECOND PRINCIPLE: PURITY
OK so here is another great question as we move to level 2. What are your intentions towards other people? What are you going to receive by being so humble and gracious?
Maybe you can recall someone you have met who treats people differently according to their desires or expectations?
An example would be a man who was rude and indifferent to an average looking or homely woman and then turned on the so called manners and charm when a beautiful woman happens by. Another example is the individual who is unpleasant to most everyone but attempts to transform their behavior around the powerful and influential types.
What is your motivation for practicing humility?
Are you secretly expecting that the people around you are going to undergo a miraculous transformation? Are you trying to curry their favor because they have something that you desire?
Before you answer these questions please understand that you will never have the ability to change anyone other than yourself. Not you’re parents, not your spouse and not your children or your best friend.
You may in fact influence others along the way, but change is a personal decision that always credits and belongs to the individual.
So what is your responsibility to others?
Simply put, it is that your intentions are pure.
Wish the best and the highest spiritual outcome for all and sincerely and you may call that purity.
If you want something from someone and will be personally disappointed if you do not get it, this is no longer pure.
We must be clear now; the absence of expectation is not the absence of boundaries. Any healthy model of human interaction must include some boundaries.
Let go of your control issues however.
Allow others to make their own choices and to be themselves and stop harboring expectations and the disappointment will cease by degree.
People will show you who they are and very clearly if you learn to listen and observe without judgment.
Some people you may have to simply decide to distance yourself from. It is not rational to be principled yourself and then expect everyone to treat you in like fashion. The Law of Attraction will eventually take care of things if you are truly creating in a humble and gracious and pure manner.
You do attract all things in your life and if something unpleasant occurs then use this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
If you harbor no expectations or create no false hopes of controlling another human being then you can use your spiritual tool belt and easily discover all you need to know about where to place the boundaries and with which individuals.
It is that simple.
The other aspect of purity I will discuss is *forgiveness*.
What ever do we do about our past hurt and disappointments and personal history?
Are we carrying around heavy baggage from our past? If we are diligently working on creating all this new and powerful energy in our lives does the old stuff we carry around affect us?
The answer is yes; if you have old wounds that have not fully healed then you must pay them the attention necessary to heal them.
The first thing to understand about forgiveness is that it is a gift to you. It has nothing whatsoever to do with another person. It will have no effect upon any one but you and you need to understand it will not make you right, or worthy, or cause your protagonist to forgive you in kind.
This is important to understand because you would not be carrying around these old wounds unless the person meant something to you. These were at some point in time important people in your life whom you had high hopes for. The higher your hopes and expectations about them, then the deeper the hurt is that you experienced. Hurt is simply not getting what you want. So what is gained or lost by internally or externally confessing these perceived sins and holding onto the disappointment?
I can conceive of nothing productive that is gained.
One of the things we surely lose however is purity.
So my suggestion is to do something about it.
You may in fact extend an Olive Branch to that person if you have not already done so. Be careful that if you attempt to do so there are no strings attached. Other than this, or if they reject your offer of peace, I would suggest you imagine a funeral and allow this person to pass completely from your life.
You must cut the cords and let them go.
A funny thing happens when you hear that someone has passed away. Any judgments or grievances or expectations you may have regarding them also pass.
Even human beings with this most astonishing ability to rationalize their behaviors do not imagine that it is worthwhile to confess the sins of someone who has died. So they stop doing so.
It will not matter the reason for the source of the pain. You must allow yourself to grieve for your loss and let this person and issue rest in peace.
If you happen to see this person out and about, or if they are a family member or such, then simply be civil and polite and pretend they are invisible.
Make the past a place to visit only for warmth and fond memories. Anything that is impure should be put to rest. Forgiveness is a very powerful blessing and an extraordinary personal gift that will help lead you to a higher state of purity.
THE THIRD PRINCIPLE: CHARITY
Our first two principles were rightly centered on how we feel inside. This is a great start, but unless we are going to spend our lives in seclusion, it is just the beginning. Remember, we are not the center of the Universe; we are one and experiencing life together.
With our foundation firmly set we can now begin to shift our focus outwardly.
When you say the word charity to most people they instantly think of tithing to their Church or giving money or time to the community’s needier citizens.
That definition is certainly a part of this principle and I recommend the practice of charitable giving highly.
That personal choice aside, another important aspect of being charitable is trying to see things from another person’s viewpoint.
The next time someone is speaking to you check your behavior. Are you really listening to what they have to say, or are you listening to respond? Many of us listen to respond and much potential understanding is lost along the way. We want to have our say and be heard. This leads to lots of tuning out and fruitless interaction. The suggestion here is to understand the other person first and to seek out their understanding as the second step.
Maybe we are even judging this person before the conversation even begins? If we do not believe they are intelligent or worthwhile or influential then why would we listen to them?
By being charitable however we learn to extend them the benefit of the doubt. We can better understand now why humility is the first principle and begin to spark the habit of looking for another’s gifts and/or Divine spark and remember the harm that has been done by our incessant judging.
One of my favorite parables is the story of a wealthy and industrious Merchant in Old Jerusalem. This man had one of the finest homes in the
May I please bother you for a glass of water said the man? The Merchant was appalled and told him no. He began to lecture the man on the merits of hard work and industrious behavior. He pointed out his beautiful home and how clean it was kept. I did not create all this beauty and comfort by lying around all day and allowing the filth to gather said the Merchant.
The Merchant closed the door without giving the man any water and told himself that if the man was wise and took his advice his lot in life would surely improve. He credited himself for a sound decision. And so Jesus Christ walked away from the Merchants home and sought a drink of water elsewhere.
We can never know why someone has come to a distressed state and so the principle of being charitable will help guide us to the much healthier and productive state of neutrality that the Merchant lacked.
Being charitable is the beginning of understanding.
It is impossible to get inside of another’s head or to truly understand the challenges of their lifetime, but the attempt to look at things from their point of view opens a veritable well spring of possibilities.
We begin to synergize and work with others at higher levels when the listening and respect is placed before our desire to be understood. Learning to truly listen to and share with others is a rare skill and the more charitable you are, the more likely that this skill can be acquired.
THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY
This Fourth Principle is all about ownership.
Many people can issue forth a lengthy list of grievances about what others have supposedly “done to” them in life. Not as many will accept full responsibility for their lives and the way it is playing itself out.
Because we come into life so innocent and malleable it is easy to blame our parents and family and community for the harmful programming.
The far healthier choice however is to own our beliefs and behaviors. If we accept that our patterns and beliefs belong to and were created by us, then we have accepted that we have the power to create new and empowering patterns and beliefs.
In essence we accept the ability to change.
We can now look at ourselves as Architects as opposed to victims.
You are not your behaviors you are a spiritual being.
You are however personally responsible for the way you behave and the way you feel.
Your parents or your spouse or any mentor or therapist you may find has no magic wand to wave and change the way you act and feel. The only person who can change you is you.
Blaming others is another way of believing that there is nothing you can do about something.
Taking personal responsibility is another way of saying that I created this life and the way it is playing itself out, I can and will create something better!
THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE: PRODUCTIVITY
Have you ever asked the question what is the meaning of life? I think we have all heard this one before. One could not count all the answers to such a question so I would suggest that for each of us the answer is different somewhat.
But it is an important question to answer before we decide what we are looking to produce in our lives.
For me, the meaning or purpose of life is to grow and move towards God. If God is the highest expression of love imaginable, then the purpose of life seems to me to move as close to that ideal as is possible. If creativity is our inheritance then the ability to change is our birthright.
You have an opportunity to be more loving, more serene, more giving, more understanding, more reasonable, and more loved.
When you write your life’s mission statement you are encouraged to be as creative as you wish to be. But understand first your version of the meaning of life.
Examine please what really matters to you.
On their death beds it is no co incidence that people do not speak of their careers or of their wealth or possessions but speak only of their contributions and loved ones.
The Universe will give back to you whatever you freely give away. Natural Laws will have their way regardless so learn to use them and the meaning of your life will reveal itself and the meaning will deepen as you sharpen your awareness. It is not enough to simply meditate or think upon the principles. To cause an effect you must take action. You must put the principles into play in your life and you must make a conscious effort to do so. In everything you do and everywhere you go the suggestion is to wear your spiritual tool belt and utilize it every step of the way.
Your intention and your action are both absolutely required if you wish to harvest the benefits.
What use is having these wonderful tools if you do not use them? In short, productivity requires you to show up.
It may help to think of gardening here.
You can think about fertilizing and watering and weeding your garden all you wish, but it is the getting your hands dirty and doing the actual work that produces the harvest. Make certain that the principles play an active part in all your endeavors.
THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE: INTEGRITY
I always think of don Miguel Ruiz and his fantastic book “The Four Agreements” when I think upon this principle and I recommend you find his book and read it. His first agreement suggests being impeccable with your word and this principle mirrors that suggestion.
On its face value of course integrity means truth telling. Do not lie or mislead or defraud another or go back on any agreements or deals you have made.
The Golden Rule of treating others as you would wish to be treated perfectly resides in this principle.
To go deeper with this concept we must understand the true measure and power of the spoken word.
Imagine please a young child who was told that they were ugly or stupid or could not sing or would never amount to anything in life. Imagine that child believing this poison and imagine that child living with that belief for an entire lifetime.
The harm we can inflict when we use our words carelessly or maliciously with children is fairly obvious. But do you suppose that adults are immune to harm from the way they are spoken too?
It would be nice I suppose to experience a World where all we encountered was spiritual Avatars who were immune from being harmed by our words or actions. This is not the place where we live however. Integrity at its deeper levels includes a rational understanding of the World around us and the way it is working.
Be careful with the words you use and the intention behind them. Pay closer attention to the power of your words and you may be surprised. I am not talking about using patronizing or insincere flattery.
Integrity implies truth and false praise will be felt as it is and will not be helpful. Be genuine and truthful and sincere and uplift others with your words whenever possible.
Impeccable means without flaw. None of us are capable of functioning on that level so the goal is to simply do the very best you can.
THE SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: COURAGE
So what is to be done when you reach the testing point on your journey? What happens when you use the principles to the best of your ability and still encounter the unpleasantness of life?
I like to think of the seventh principle as the ultimate examination. How can one continually be respectful and understanding and charitable in a World that at times surrounds them with the opposites of such?
How can we make empowering and confident decisions if it seems like we are being beaten down or made less of at every turn?
The more challenging your life happens to be, the more valuable the principal of courage will be for you to have in your tool belt. If you are trying your best to practice humility and you encounter pride in turn, it takes courage to continue on with your choice.
It takes a great deal of courage to try something new or to continue following your dreams when people are nay saying or making less of your potential.
A lot of folks have a belief that playing the Devil's advocate is a way of protecting someone. This is not protection however even if it is well intentioned. It is making less of and can be quite harmful if it is taken to heart as it often is. Imagine for a moment what God's advocate might say to you about your hopes and dreams. Imagine what would happen to your creative abilities if you believed God's advocate at a deep level! Why do so many people play at being the Devils advocate but so few plays at being Gods advocate? Do you see the cultural pattern here?
The biggest problem with other people believing we might or will fail is that we usually believe them!
We accept their beliefs and lack of faith and create uncertainty and wind up losing our confidence.
If 10 people tell you that you have a wonderful singing voice but 2 people tell you that you can not sing very well at all it can seem like the 10 are whispering and the 2 are shouting. Most of us seem to be conditioned to accept the negative and discount the positive.
Exercising the principle of courage will assist us to continue using our spiritual tools and talents regardless of the resistance. When we make more of others we are also making more of ourselves. There will always come a point where you wonder if your work is working.
Do you continue following your dreams and using your principles or do you stop?
If you forget and begin to take things others do and say personally or find yourself secretly hoping to change or control other people then you will find yourself frustrated. Whenever your principles and resolve are tested, then this is the time to exercise courage.
THE EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: SIMPLICITY
Life can be so complex it is astonishing.
Think about the functions of the human body or the amazing interdependency of Nature and the Universe and it is truly miraculous.
Human behavior is no less complex.
It can be easy to become confused or over whelmed and even become exhausted with the details.
So I like to think of simplicity as the deep breath of the principles.
How do you create respect in your life?
I would suggest you begin by being respectful.
How do you create honor in your life?
I would suggest you begin by honoring others.
How do you create truthfulness or kindness or a loving home?
It is a truth as simple as being what ever you wish for.
You are the Author of your life if you in fact wish and choose to be. Some would have you believe there is a secret or a magic key or that you need a spiritual guide or mentor or therapist to access your answers and begin to experience the higher realms of consciousness.
The eighth principle will help you quiet all the chatter. Mentoring or therapy can be helpful but make sure you choose your teachers with care.
If you want more peace and love and reason in your life then begin by being more peaceful and loving and reasonable yourself.
Keep things simple as often as possible.
The path to greater happiness is really quite simple it is human conditioning and behavior that makes it seem so difficult.
THE NINTH PRINCIPLE: TEMPERANCE
As we observe the World around us it is easy to notice the reflections of the human condition.
Extreme examples of opulence and poverty abound.
Pride and shame are really the flip sides of the same coin and it is in truth currency that is lacking in real value.
We can observe suffering worldwide and the list of problems such as obesity and anorexia and steroid abuse and greed and starvation and depression is near endless. When is enough food or enough strength or enough money enough?
Almost anything that we eat or drink, no matter how natural and healthy, can be harmful to us in excess.
Too much exercise can harm us just as a complete lack of exercise is also harmful.
So the principle of temperance is about balance.
Meditation and exercise and proper eating and drinking habits are all highly beneficial.
Taking care of oneself is another way of expressing your gratitude. Deeply held and sincere gratitude will eventually reflect itself as more balance in your life.
THE TENTH PRINCIPAL: JUSTICE
How often do you think about fairness?
When you ponder a decision about something that will affect a co worker or a spouse or one of your children do you include these others and their feelings in your determination?
Justice is the principle that follows temperance because if you first find balance in your own life then you can more productively seek it out in your relationships.
We should be careful with this concept however.
Many people misinterpret what would be pleasing or fair to another person. You can not keep your own counsel and go about guessing about what you feel will be fair to another person, you must ask them and embrace their participation.
I have heard many parents lament that their children do not listen to them. I wonder if these parents truly sought out balance and participation in the family decision making process.
I wonder if the habit of listening was truly instilled in the family culture or if the parents simply made all the decisions themselves and the child had to live with it. I wonder how often these parents really listened to what the child had to say.
I am not talking about forsaking the parental responsibility of healthy boundary creation, but of a concept of fairness that allows for respect and acknowledgement and of everyone having a voice. Being heard and the feeling that our side is understood are things we all would cherish in our lives. It is no different in the work place than it is at home. All of us value and accept decisions more highly when consensus is achieved.
Learn to listen and share before you agree with what would feel just to another person. There are times when we should utilize the authority of a parent or a supervisor or a mentor. And there are times when these roles should be put aside and a democratic model is not only fair but much more powerful.
THE ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: CHEERFULNESS
Have you ever met someone with an agenda?
You might imagine the crusaders who knock on your door with a Bible or a pamphlet or some such who say they wish to speak with you.
Or maybe you have a friend or acquaintance that always steers the conversation around so they can jump up on their soap box for one reason or another.
I remember a few occasions after I first learned of the concept of these principles. I wanted to talk about them with someone! I wanted to share my new found insight as I thought them of real value!
And after exactly two attempts to do so I made myself a promise. I would never speak of them again to anyone without the express request to do so or if they came up in the natural flow of conversion.
You are not here to fix anything or anyone. You are in fact incapable of changing anyone other than yourself. The principle of cheerfulness reminds you of these truths and also to be light hearted and opens you up to sharing and fun with a very large cross section of folks.
There are many things I enjoy speaking about.
I can talk at great length with my sports loving friends about sports and sit and have a wonderful time watching a big game. I enjoy a thoughtful political debate. I enjoy discussing books I have read and films I have seen and places I have traveled.
But did you ever try to talk about sports with someone who has no interest in the subject?
Why would you try to do so?
Do not be rigid and heavy handed in your life.
Preaching or participating in a crusade of any sort is another form of judgment and will shrink your Universe as opposed to expand it.
I remember as a young man when I was a basketball player. I was one of the more skilled players in my social circle and I decided to take my skill set from the play ground to an organized league and so I joined a team. The first year or two was quite frustrating to me as I knew I was one of the better players but I was having difficulty applying those skills to the team concept. I found organized and officiated play very much different than the play ground variety.
I realized late in my second year with the team that I was trying to force my talents onto the game.
Only once I learned to relax and allow the flow of game to come to me did I begin to produce according to my ability. Learning to relax and participate in the flow of life is advised. Drop any agendas you may be carrying around and open your life to new and enriching experiences and possibilities.
THE TWELVTH PRINCIPLE: WISDOM
So now we arrive to the twelfth and final principle.
It may be helpful here to use the dictionary technique.
Wisdom is not knowledge.
Wisdom is knowledge applied.
It is not what you know that creates anything, it is what you do.
If you wish to realize the power of wisdom in your life, then go back and deepen your understanding and application of the other 11 principles.
It may be helpful to consider that an apprentice might receive a tool belt with 11 principles and the 12th principle would be bestowed to the adept upon the achievement of mastery.
Wisdom is the harvest of a garden well tended.
Wisdom is the by product of applying all the other principles. Each principle has many levels and none of us will ever be finished plumbing those depths in our lifetimes. We are not Gods we are reaching for God. Use the principals and begin to discover and enjoy the new insights and extraordinary feelings as different levels of awareness reveal themselves.