By Ross Bishop
Occasionally I get asked what principles guide my life. I have a number of them, but I had never collected them in one place until now. I suspect that deeply holding any one of these concepts would probably change your life. These are not in any particular order, except the first three.
1. LOVE EVERYTHING.
. . . from Gay Hendricks. Or to put a biblical slant on it, “Do everything with love,” from 1 Corinthians 14:16. And remember Walker’s Rule:
ANYTHING YOU DO NOT LOVE WILL BECOME A LESSON.
2. YOU CAN’T CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU, BUT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHOOSE HOW YOU FEEL ABOU IT, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.
Things change. People and circumstances come and go. Life doesn’t stop for anyone. But it’s what you do about these situations that makes the difference. That’s when you grow; that’s when you find out who you truly are.
You can measure your commitment to the path with this thought from Trungpa Rinpoche, “What do you do when you feel attacked, betrayed, confused or when the situation is unbearable or unacceptable?”
3. YOUR LIFE IS PERFECT.
Even though you may not like your situation, you are exactly where you are meant to be for your learning. Otherwise, you’d be someplace else. Always try as hard as you can, but also accept your failures. It’s how you learn.
Pain is a part of life, it is what motivates you to change. The Buddhist teacher Sono has an approach that I love. She simply says, “Thank you for everything, I have no complaints whatsoever.” I do not know who said the following, but the thought is also brilliant: “Do not wish for your problems to disappear, pray for the grace to transform them.”
4. TRUST. Especially in God.
Know that everything that happens is for your/our growth and development, whether you understand it at the time or not. That’s what allowed Krishnamurti to adopt his core philosophy. He said, “This is my secret, I don’t mind what happens.”
Can you accept the feeling of not knowing exactly where you are going? Or do you hide in your mind? Do you have a need to have it all figured out, to have all the answers? St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to someday see what you believe in.”
5. WHAT DEFINES YOU?
Do your relationships, your kids or your work accomplishments define your worth? Does what you do determine your value, or is it set by who you are?
6. LIVE IN THE NOW.
Are you willing to release your resentments? Your regrets?
Can you release your expectations for the future?
Are you willing to accept that you are worthy and lovable?
7. FULFILLMENT IS IN THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION.
It’s not about achieving a goal. Goals, of themselves, are really of little value. What is important is what you learn along the way. Fulfillment comes from focusing your life around authentically held intentions – things that genuinely speak to your purpose – and then working through the resistances you encounter as you move toward the fulfillment of that intention. Mother Teresa said, “God doesn’t look at how much we do, but with how much love we do it.”
8. HAPPINESS ISN’T MEASURED BY MATERIAL WEALTH.
You don’t have to be miserable or live in a cave but none of the world’s great spiritual leaders lived in a mansion, either. They realized the incredibly seductive power of money.
“Take a little time each day to wonder at the possibilities of this experience called life. Laugh often and love genuinely. Respect others and judge less. Win the affection and sincere smiles of children. Earn the regard of honest peers. Appreciate the beauty surrounding you wherever, whenever you are. Find the good in people and situations. Give what you can and leave the world a little better than you found it.” Marc Chernoff
9. STEP IN.
Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from the things we don’t do. These are the things you leave unfinished because of your fear. And they are the things you make excuses about for the rest of your life. Erica Jong said in Fear of Flying, “If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” If Columbus had turned back, no one would have blamed him. Of course, no one would have remembered him, either.
10. YOU CAN’T GO THROUGH A DOOR THAT ISN’T OPEN.
You can’t change other people if they haven’t already made a commitment to change themselves. Don’t consume yourself with trying to change others or win their approval.
11. YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS HURT BY YOUR HATE.
copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2015