Top Ten Rules for Being Human

ThinkLessDoMoreI found this year ago and return often to it when I feel off-kilter. Enjoy!

Top Ten Rules for Being Human

Rule One: You will receive a body.

Whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.

Rule Two: You will be presented with lessons.

Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons are specific to you, and learning them is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life.

Rule Three: There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you’d want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgment ― of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also ‘the act of erasing an emotional debt’. Behaving ethically, with integrity and with humor ― especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps ― are central to the perspective that “mistakes” are simply lessons we must learn.

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Books By the Dozen

I’m a sucker for a self-help or spiritual book. My bookshelf is groaning under their weight: Emmet Fox and Eckhart Tolle, Elizabeth Lesser and Thich Nhat HanhByron Katie and Wayne Dyer…The pile grows more unwieldy with every trip to Half Price Books.

In the past, I’ve operated with the belief that the book you don’t read won’t help, so better read them all, just in case that life-changing sentence is buried in the third paragraph on page 219 of Pema Chödrön‘s fourth book. Oh my god, I’ve got to find that paragraph! And put it on Facebook!

Sometime in late 2011, I hit total book burnout. I was sick to death of shoveling self help advice down my throat and I just couldn’t give a crap which author Oprah recommended for life improvement that month. I had a radical thought one night, after inwardly groaning at the thought of my mandatory bedtime self help indoctrination hour: “What if the truth is mine already?

It felt like heresy. I mean, who am I? I’m screwed up! I’m confused! I need someone else to tell me the way it is!

But you can’t un-know what you know (and trust me, I have tried). And in that moment, I figured some stuff out and made a decision: I was going to put down the books and start living my own truth.

I’ve learned so much over the years from these teachers and I’m greatly influenced by them. But I had to start living my spiritual practice as I understood it, and that meant putting down the books and venturing out into the wild world, trusting that I know what to do, I know how to live, and I can act in the way that is most true to me without CliffNotes always on my side table.

So far, 2012 has been an amazing journey of living that truth day by day, person to person, moment to moment. It’s not always comfortable–I often feel like a child learning to walk. But as I honor my inner wisdom, my anxiety lowers and I start to get the hang of it. It’s fresh and raw, yes, but it’s also something beautiful and exciting.