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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.
As a young adult in my 20’s, 30’s, and even into my 40’s, I would see people with partners, children, houses, cars – success and fulfillment in a nutshell – and I would feel resentful. They had what I wanted.
To be honestly truthful, in my 60’s I still witnessed myself believing that I can’t get for myself what I so want in the world. I’ve been bitter, resentful, and I’ve have carried victimhood like a right and an entitlement for the tragedy that was my life. Why did they get what they wanted? Why not me?
Mind you, I grew up in an upper middle class environment. No physical or emotional violence. I had parents that did the best they could. I never went hungry, cold, or shelterless. In the whole scheme of things, I had a really great life. I just couldn’t see it that way! I was blind to my own riches!!!
Throughout that same period of time, I would hear from different sources that if you want fulfillment in your own life you have to be happy that other people have fulfillment; you have to practice not only seeing the happiness of others as a wonderful thing, but you have to enjoy and experience gratitude that others are experiencing fulfillment. Why? Because, to embrace the joy of others would allow me to embody that joy and perhaps resonate it in ways I don’t understand.
When your life isn’t working the way you want it to, when you perceive that life isn’t working for you at all, that is an opportunity to stop what you are doing and perhaps not only listen and hear wisdom, but then to act upon it. Only because the way it is, right now, is not fulfilling in any way, shape or form! Why keep perpetuating a nightmare when the moment of awakening is right there in front of you? Seeing the beauty of this moment transforms one’s reality. Do that over and over again and we have a brilliant and loving world.
I didn’t like the idea whatsoever of being happy for others when I had been so "deprived." I grew up in a family with nine children. We were always competing for attention – competing to feel special. There was always the feeling that "they got what I wanted." This was an engrained pattern of never seeing how good I had it. I’m sure my parents were exhausted by my constant resentments and sense of entitlement and indignation. The grudges I held towards others was incessant. I’m sure it influenced my marriages in ways I didn’t want to recognize or own.
Bottom line: I hated how I felt within myself. And, maybe I couldn’t change my circumstance but I could change how I felt – how I was being within my circumstances. I was willing to give it a shot!
Regardless of my reluctance, I began practicing the fine art of noticing my resentments. When I heard myself begin The Mantra "They have that, why don’t I," I’d say "STOP!" Over and over again I would notice the mantra and stop it. Through this practice I began to feel less of a victim and therefore, I had less resentment. That was the beginning of being the change I wanted to be in my own life, for myself!
Then, as if learning to juggle balls in the air, once I got comfortable with the practice of noticing and stopping The Mantra, I then began to cultivate a sense of happiness for those who had what I didn’t have. Even for only brief moments, I began to feel delight and appreciate that however the Divine Universe works, there is goodness and abundance in the world. And, that it was just a matter of time before I too would be gifted with such abundance. Slowly but surely this became my reality!
My circumstances are what they are. I live alone away from my family, and material wealth is not apparent, relatively speaking. However, through this practice of sitting in my dilemma, challenging my belief and the reality that I lack in any way, I’ve come to have a much more delightful existence. It’s no longer such a grueling hardship to my existence to truly be overjoyed by the love that floods the Earth always and everywhere. I am physically moved and touched by every act of kindness that I witness. What I experience through this practice of being happy for others cultivates a desire to be more generous and kind in the world. I find it contagious! That’s the virus I want to spread around the world!
Diet like a guru! Really?
There is another way to attend to our well-being – No deprivation required! This way is different than other weight loss, or diet processes, in that it empowers you to explore with curiosity your relationship with yourself. It is only with yourself that the conversations about food and what it will give you occurs. When you uncover your specific beliefs and interpretations in relation to food, drinks, and all substances, you instantly have access to free choice. And, if what you want is to thrive in well-being, it might make sense to look at the mechanisms that are interfering with you having what you want. That makes sense, right?
Gurus Don’t Diet
Yes, Guru’s don’t diet. They don’t use substances to mask or numb themselves from emotional pain and fears either. They empower themselves to look at their emotions, thoughts, and body sensations mindfully. With presence of mind, they uncover old patterns of thinking and believing that no longer make sense, except within the unexamined vault of wounds.
You and I are no different from any Guru I’m aware of.
You have the same capabilities to choose in service of your highest truths and values. And every Guru began where you are now – in doubt, fear, and resistance. They, like you, decided that something is more important than numbing, avoiding, and distracting their minds from their true selves, and the life they’ve been given. They, like you will, have taken one incremental step at a time, examining what has caused them to choose unsuccessful practices over and over again. They have found that every single moment revealed the truth of inner courage, conviction, strength, and love; they just had to see it and not turn away from it. I, like you, like every Guru I know of, can, and will inevitably choose love. It’s just a matter of when.
This series, Diet Like a Guru, provides perspectives, stories, and ideas that will empower you to think differently about what you may have not been thinking about at all. It encourages you to question those principles and values that you’ve relied on for a lifetime, in support of your choice-making regarding food, drinks, and any other substances that seem to give comfort and nurturance.
I Want My Freedom to Choose What I Want When I Want!
We believe that allowing ourselves to indulge our impulses comes about through free will. The fact of the matter is that free will allows us to choose to indulge, or not to indulge. This series assists you in witnessing the degree to which you are actually freely choosing to indulge. You will notice how often you are choosing from some hidden control mechanisms you don’t even know was there. With curiosity, you come to know yourself fully, and thus discover you can effortlessly choose freely, because you empower yourself to do so.
There is no pressure or time line. There is nothing to do that you don’t choose to do yourself.
There are no should’s and shouldn’t’s or do’s and don’ts. What this series does is provide you with a timeout, for just a few minutes every other day, to be present and mindful to the thinking that has you choose to indulge in those impulses that take you away from what you truly desire – thriving health and well-being.
You will find through the days and months ahead that you will connect with your wise inner-guru-self to support you in engaging in “dieting” as a spiritual practice. The guarantee is you do not have to deprive yourself of anything, and there is no sacrifice; only the cultivation of true free will to Diet Like a Guru.
(If you experience technical difficulty, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org , and I’ll make sure you are signed up!)