Books about Spirituality,

Reincarnation, Mind & Soul,

Spiritual Teachings, Love, and Truth

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16. Choose Four Principles, Own Them, and Follow Them

You may wish to practice truth in the world, and a great support in doing so is being anchored to principles that you know to be true. In today’s world, where anything goes, where just about anything passes for spirituality, and where the most curious experts purvey soul in tantalizing ways, a powerful boon is to have guidelines by which you can always find your spiritual center. Being grounded in your spiritual center will help you attract all those who can support you on your true path. This will also help you withstand onslaughts from all the well-meaning teachers and helpful leeches who beat a path to your door to urge you to try the latest fixes of soul.

Spiritual principles can also save you during your own wanderings. Just when you think that you know where you stand, sorting through the babble (that’s the only thing you finally realize you recognize from some expert’s Tour de Soul you signed up for), you can easily find yourself sinking in quicksand with nary a tree’s branch within grasp. If you have principles that you own, you may not stray into such a predicament. Try this activity if you’re interested in forming a base that will serve you as an initial foundation.


Use any method for choosing four principles. If you’re stumped, this may work for you. On a clean sheet of paper, make a list titled “What I Know to Be True.” Write as quickly as you can, without censoring anything. Write another list, titled “What Will Move Me into the Light.” Write like lightning. Scan your lists. Are there any items you could form into principles? Ideally, these principles will support your growing spirituality and also challenge your unfolding as a human.

Here’s an example of a set of four principles for someone with particular issues with gossip, honesty, drugs, and money.

 1.  Do not intentionally hurt another person by word or deed.

 2.  Live honestly.

 3.  Take drugs only as prescribed by a doctor to promote health.

 4.  Use money responsibly and consciously.

Here’s another set of four principles for someone with particular issues with negative thoughts, anger, workaholism, and self-centeredness.

 1.  Employ positive thinking.

 2.  Work out anger constructively.

 3.  Spend time wisely.

 4.  Give of myself to family and friends.

You’ll notice that some of the principles are expressed as warnings to refrain from certain behavior. They are to be your daily disciplines that foster the growth of your spiritual crop. Think of these principles as weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and staking your crop. Thus, choosing principles that are true for you will allow the tender seedlings of your spirituality to grow and flourish as you channel your energy.

If you wish to review a complete range of principles, one source you may turn to is Spiritual Revolution: A Seeker’s Guide: 52 Powerful Principles for Your Mind and Soul by Michael Goddart. This book illuminates all of the foundations needed for a spiritual life.

In choosing your four principles, you’ll want to explore what they really mean to you. Wonder about all their ramifications. How will adopting them affect you on a practical, day-to-day basis? How will adopting them change the way you feel about yourself? How will they awaken your Self, your higher mind and soul? Feel what resonates with you. Which principles feel just right for you now and will continue to from now on?

Choose your four principles and write them down. It’s one thing to choose principles to live by. It’s another thing to own your principles and make them part of your everyday life. To do this, start by making the principles into specific agreements or promises. The actual agreement should be something that you need to work on for your growth, something that may be challenging, and yet something that you can attain and maintain with resolve. The specifics can evolve and deepen with your growth.

If you’re not clear about how you want to express your principles as agreements, you may find it helpful to take a walk. While taking a walk, you may find yourself naturally inspired and come to know what it is you must do. Thus, for the first set of examples, the person could resolve the following.

  • 1.  I agree not to intentionally hurt another person by word or deed. Specifically, I will not engage in gossip that is hurtful or negative in any degree. Nor will I spread rumors or make up stories about people. I will concentrate on my own business.
  • 2.  I agree to live honestly and not take any money or supplies from work. Nor will I take anything from stores, no matter how much I want to or feel I deserve to or how inconsequential the stealing seems.
  • 3.  I agree to take only those drugs prescribed by a doctor that promote my health. Thus, I will not take any kind of diet pill nor any recreational drugs, no matter how harmless they seem or how much I feel I need them at the time.
  • 4.  I agree to use money responsibly and consciously and buy only those things that I truly need and want for myself. I will put aside 15 percent of my take-home pay to pay off credit cards; and I will keep track of my credit card purchases, limiting them to $500 a month. I will not buy expensive gifts with an agenda of wanting to impress someone or “buy” love.

The second set of examples could lead the person to resolve the following.

  • 1.  I agree to do my best to not focus on what’s wrong or lacking. Rather than always seeing the glass as half-empty, I will see it as half-full, and remembering all my bountiful gifts from God, it may become full. When my mind gets on a negative treadmill about what’s not right with my life, I will pull back, break that cycle, and affirm everything I am doing to improve my life.
  • 2.  I agree to work out my anger constructively and not verbally attack any family members. Even when my anger truly seems warranted, I will accept the person’s humanity, be objective, and practice spiritual maturity. Also, when drivers drive me crazy, I will rise above the urge to vent road rage and accept their human limitations and practice forgiveness.
  • 3.  I agree to catch myself when my workaholism takes over. I will hug myself and acknowledge my misguided attempts to fill what’s lacking in my life with work. Appreciating the fact that I have only a certain amount of time in this life, I will simplify and prioritize that very day so that I take time out for my Self, doing one of the simple, spiritual things that reconnects me.
  • 4.  I will cultivate an awareness of when my ego—my small self –totally takes over. When I realize that just about every thought, sentence, and deed is wrapped up in me, myself, and I, I will reach out to a friend or family member with whom I’ve been out of touch. I will truly listen to what’s going on with them and, if needed, do something that week to help.

These are promises you make to your Self, to anchor your Self at your spiritual center and to encourage the growth you are seeking. To really own these agreements, write them out and keep them in a place where you can refer to them regularly. Referring to these agreements or promises regularly will support you in following these principles.

Following your principles, expressed as specific agreements designed for your benefit, is the third part of making them your foundation. Following and keeping your agreements in heart, mind, and deed will give you Obedience. Obedience is a gift you give your Self to keep your Self centered and doing those things that are truly good for you. Thus, it’s a prime example of love in action. True obedience is sourced in your conscience, in what you know to be true and good for you. If it is merely imposed from without by an external authority, it will be deleterious to you, creating internal conflicts.

If you wish to be obedient to an external authority, you must first accept that the authority possesses a greater wisdom for your welfare; otherwise, how can you begin to own and obey the rules that you have accepted? It is always best to practice obedience to rules, guidelines, principles, or agreements to which you are wholly aligned. They also need to be for your spiritual betterment. If this is the case, you are following the formula for the best progress.

If following your principles starts to feel like drudgery, like a straitjacket, like you’re being barred from good times, you need to examine the spirit in which you made the agreements and what it is you truly need and want from life. Also examine your relationship to them. If you are not realigning yourself with your principles and agreements, you may need to assess the appropriateness of the agreements and where you are now. You are bound to encounter resistance as you go through life getting pulled in different directions. Remember, the aim of this activity is to practice obedience. Your mind has a broad range, from lazy and low-pleasure-loving to noble, sacrificing, and refined. The battle is within your Self. Conduct it with determination and forgiveness. You may be expecting immediate perfection and then judging yourself harshly when you don’t meet the mark. If you fall, refrain from all judgments. And if you fall, fall towards the light, with your eyes on the prize. Thus, you will keep your objective always in view.

These agreements, which are expressions of the spiritual principles you have adopted, are practicing spirituality in your world. They are nurturing your crop. They aren’t the crop itself. Tending the crop is attending to your spiritual practice and doing things to inculcate the virtues and strengths. Harvesting the crop is realizing love in your life and unfolding to your Self. The crops improve gradually from year to year; know that you will need to cultivate your field for many a season. Know also that bad weather will come to test your resources. At times, it can even destroy your crop, but being obedient helps you return to your good practices and can save that crop.

Being obedient to your principles is strengthening your foundation for a spiritual life. But life is always changing; you’re always changing. You may find it best to not be so rigid that you can’t adjust to what’s appropriate and right in the moment. While you want your foundation to be ever so solid and strong, don’t think of it as a single, flat, rigid structure, like a thick concrete floor. Think of it as a living, breathing, forgiving, multi-layered, fluid structure that supports you always. Think of your foundation in the plural, as foundations that are viable, developing and deepening in profundity as your spirituality intensifies.

The purification process is a slow process, and the wayward tendencies of the mind are powerful, indeed. The mind is changeable and fickle. Trust your principles. Your obedience expresses that trust. When your mind goes off a deep end, when waves of the world crash in on you, your obedience will anchor you to your foundations.