A principle is not a directive. A principle won’t tell you what to do or how to do it. It is just a statement of perceived truth. It is a statement which guides and delivers each individual to their destiny. Discerning the principles by which you live your life might be the most important task of this lifetime!
I created a lot of suffering in my life because I followed the principles that I was trained to believe were true. My religion, my heritage, my gender, my environment – each infused within me certain truths that I believed I needed to abide by. At that time I didn’t have a choice of which principles I was going to learn. None of us have that choice as we are born immersed into a paradigm already highly domesticated to do the right thing based on the laws and principles of that time and culture.
Throughout the past decades I’ve been immersed in a process of self-discovery – both spiritually and personally. I’ve had to take a hard look at the principles by which I’d been living my life. The ones that weren’t working; The ones I wanted to work; The ones I spoke but didn’t practice; And the one’s I ignored completely.
I’ve had to get clear which principles of life were causing me suffering, which principles had me settle for less than extraordinary, which principles allowed me to survive, which principles actually brought peace, equanimity, wholeness, and which principles empowered me to be honest, truthful – in essence transparent, authentic, loving and compassionate … ME.
There are dictums and directives that in essence tell you what to do – let go and let God; Just for today; Train Yourself to let go of what you are afraid to lose. These aren’t principles, rather these point to principles. For me, this is an important distinction because there is an underlying truth that is being lived. This is a statement of fact, if you will. And by acting upon the directives, the slogans, the maxims, and the commandments, we are actualizing the principle that is the foundation and the truth to be realized by living into each saying or phrase.
For most people it’s enough to just live in the slogan. For example, "enough is enough!"
For others like me, I’ve got to dig deeper to the source of that slogan, mining the essence of truth for that slogan. It may lead me to another slogan. "Enough is enough" leads me to "surrender," which leads me to "let go and let God," which leads me to, "came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." This by the way is Step 2 in the 12 Step Program – AA, NA, SA, ACA, DA…. You name the addiction and there is a twelve step program that provides support through foundational spiritual principles.
But what is the principle underlying these phrases?
Here’s how I come to answer that question: If I declare enough is enough; if I surrender and I let go and let God; if I come to believe in a power greater than myself that will restore me to my sanity – what is the truth to which I’m directed?
You will have your own unique answer. For me, that answer is a principle. That principle is this: I am empowered to choose. I am empowered to choose when enough is enough, when to surrender and when to let go. I am empowered to choose who to believe in – who I believe will support, guide and assist me in returning to me my sanity. I am empowered to choose what I choose! This one principle for me is foundational, as in essential and Indispensable to my practice as a transformational life coach and as a human being.
Foundational to my coaching model is the relationship my clients have with their own principles by which they live their lives. I’ve asked these questions to every one of my clients: What principles do you live by? How are they working for you? Which principles would allow you to bring forth your greatest potential and your deepest desires? Would you be willing to live into these principles?
For me, spiritual principles are principles that continually show up as I ongoingly meet the challenges of being a human being. I come to know these principles when I notice when and if I experience resistance to what life presents to me; I notice the thoughts, beliefs and truths that arise come from fear or from the experience of no-fear that is occurring in the present moment; and I’m curious which principle is at play in that moment.
In any moment where I am aware of any restless irritability within me, I have an opportunity to retreat into my own wisdom and discern for myself which principle is currently at play. I can question the relevance, value, and effectiveness this principle is providing for me in my life. I then can choose within this moment a principle that empowers me to be my fullest self. In fact, I am the only one that is allowed to choose how I will live into the fulfillment of my human-spirit. For me, as I stated earlier, this is one of the foundational spiritual principles by which I live.
In future writings, I’ll be sharing more about spiritual principles: principles based on fear, principles based on love; principles based on expansion, principles based on contraction or retreating; principles based on revenge and principles based on forgiveness and compassion; principles based on withholding and principles based on generosity of spirit.
But while you’re staying tuned for what’s to come, you can find more spiritual teachings on my YouTube channel.