02 Jun The 12 Laws of Life
12 Laws Of Life
No one can create an ideal life from a set of rules & guidelines, or by a precise plan perfectly executed. Each day is an amazing mystery, as it must be, and we don’t govern or know what’s going to happen.
From the ultimate perspective, this life is a “dream” Spirit or Awareness is having, a non-solid illusion. Even those who argue the Universe is “real” agree it’s an impermanent realness that emerged from The Void and will eventually return to The Void (see every ancient religion and Creation story.) And science has shown us there is no separation between us, and we are all made mostly of empty space. What we think of as real matter and real lives, in reality, has no more substance than a shadow.
So why bother compiling a list of the 4 or 10 or 12 basic guidelines for anyone to live their lives by and calling it the “laws of life?” A fool’s errand at best, and at worst, a pompous vanity.
From the ultimate perspective, we don’t even exist as individual lives. Rather, we have always been One with Spirit, everything is perfect, and there’s nothing to change or attain. In that state (which this site is about and in which we encourage dwelling as much as possible,) there is no need for any “laws of life.” You are Pure Spirit, Pure Awareness, and You are The Law.
And yet, in a “relative” perspective, here we seem to be, in this world, each in our own human body/mind, where we still think of ourselves as separate individuals struggling to survive and be well in a life and a world that seems very real. It is in that relative sense that perhaps certain basic tenets can help us frame a life well lived, a greater chance for deeper peace, happiness and spiritual understanding, and perhaps even lead us to its ultimate perfection & unending bliss.
So here’s 12 essential Laws of Life that many find immutable under all circumstances. They may not be all-inclusive; you may feel there needs to be a Law #13, #14 and beyond. Think of these 12 as a good basis upon which to build. Feel free to add, subtract or even change wording & laws to fit your own perception of what seem to be core Truths in Life.
1. Life is perfect and flawless
2. Our minds make judgments about everything in life, including that life is not perfect.
3. We are not our minds.
4. All manifested forms eventually “decay” & “die,” with nothing lost.
5. Time is an illusion.
6. There may or may not be an “afterlife” where we retain our individual awareness after death.
7. Separateness is an illusion
8. Control is an illusion.
9. There is no such thing as past & future. There is only now.
10. Happiness is not a result, it’s a choice.
11. Feeling continuous love for someone is not an effect, it’s a cause.
12. Setting the example is the only way you can effect lasting change in this world
Explanations of each Law:
1. Life is perfect. Life is amazing. Your life, and everyone else’s, is perfect and flawless. Every single occurrence or situation in every life is perfect. It could not be otherwise. It’s perfect, because it is what is. Even death, cancer, war, divorce, violence, depression and poverty – yes, even these things are perfect.
Perfect doesn’t mean good, righteous or ideal – those are judgment words. Perfect simply means it’s exactly as it should be because that’s exactly how it is. How do you know every occurrence in the Universe is happening exactly as it should? Because that’s how it’s occurring. Whether you believe there is an intelligence or plan behind these occurrences or not, that’s exactly how it’s happening, so it could only be the way it should happen. Not your should, the Universe’s should. It may not be the way you want it to happen. It may include painful parts that seem to go on for too long, but it is how it is happening, how it really is, so it’s perfect. From a vantage point far enough removed – far removed from your individual ego and it’s desires & judgments – everything appears perfect, and is unfolding just perfectly.
Another way to put it is: There’s nothing out-of-order in the Universe.
2. Our minds pass judgment that many things in life are not perfect. It is a natural tendency of human minds to judge that certain occurrences on Earth or in our individual lives are good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or painful, happy or sad, etc, because we are wired to covet pleasure and avoid pain. It’s natural, but it is not the ultimate Truth. A judgment is different from the Truth. It’s just a tactic of our mind to give it something to grasp onto, a sense of control. The good news is…
3. We are not our minds. We are not our thoughts, moods, desires, worries, fears, judgments, evaluations, and body issues. We have these things, so we cannot be these things. We are pure awareness, and when we experience life from that pure awareness instead of from our minds, we know everything is perfect. Inside our minds, life is judged as being quite imperfect, good & pleasant sometimes and incredibly painful & terrible others. Outside the mind, everything is always occurring exactly as it is and as it should. The way you know that’s true is because that is what’s actually occurring, not what your mind wished or planned or judged or preferred should happen.
It’s OK if your mind passes these judgments. You’re not your mind, so notice your mind is doing that, thank it for sharing, then move on anyway. Let go into Reality.
4. All manifested forms eventually decay & die – suns, stars, planets, trees, animals, human beings – but nothing is lost. Death is not an “end,” only a change, a transition, our next experience. Nor is it “bad” or “wrong,” even when someone you love dies or someone dies unexpectedly or at a young age (as measured in human time.) Death is not separate from life or an anomaly to it; it is an integral part of life’s cycle. That’s just the way it is in this relative Universe – things are not supposed to go on forever, they are supposed to take certain forms, embody and grow in those forms for awhile, then decay and let go of that form, with the energy moving on to another form and/or experience.
5. Time is actually an illusion, and in a very real way, everything is happening simultaneously. We can’t comprehend that with our minds, can’t imagine that events aren’t taking place in protracted “time,” because most of us live in our minds, and the mind cannot exist in the Now, without time. But it’s true. The “past” & “future” never exist; only Now exists.
Since everything is happening now, simultaneously, the length of one’s life or the amount one accomplishes in “time” is also an illusion, and judging any life as being “too short” or “didn’t accomplish enough” are just misconceptions of our minds.
6. An “afterlife” and/or retaining individual awareness after death are not certainties.
In this life you have your individual body, mind, identity & family members. Some religions and scriptures say, when you die, you will retain most or all of that in the “next life” – if not the physical body, then at least some body-shaped replacement, plus your individual name, personality & identity, even your family connections, as well as some kind of thinking mind that allows you to know all this and communicate the way you could when you were embodied. Other spiritual paths say most or all of that is simply reabsorbed into Pure Awareness, or the Universal Mind, or God, and after “death” you no longer experience a separate self, name, form, and personality.
There is no certainty that we retain an individual awareness of ourselves as a separate being, and go on living in an “afterlife” someplace. There may, or may not be an afterlife, but once your body-mind dies, no one and no religion on Earth can guarantee that the individual consciousness that made you you, will continue intact as a clearly-felt individual awareness on the “other side.”
You can believe you have a part of you – a soul or a consciousness – that continues to supply a feeling of individual existence & awareness after you die. And you can believe, as some religions teach, that you actually get to take your body with you, or re-connect and co-habitate again with other deceased members of your family just as you did on Earth, as well as with God, Jesus, Allah or other deities. These are comforting beliefs, and they may be true. Or not. There is some evidence – in the form of mediums channeling departed souls in séances, or persons who had near death experiences and then returned to the living – that individual awareness is retained, and that reconnecting with other deceased individuals is a reality. There is also evidence to the contrary. You can believe whatever you want.
But no one is 100% certain, and it may not even matter. It may be more useful to ask yourself these questions:
– Why should your individual personality & separate identity go on? Was there a time when it – you – didn’t exist? Then why shouldn’t it eventually return to nonexistence?
– What part of you is so insistent that “you” should go on, that you should keep feeling yourself as an individual consciousness? Is that wish emanating from Truth, or from something you were read or were told in your upbringing, or simply from fear of annihilation?
– Did you already have some separate identity before you were born? If so, where, and why, did it dwell? Was it just waiting somewhere to be born as a human?
– What was your consciousness before you were born?|
– Is it really necessary for “Heaven” to get more crowded? Relatively speaking, at an early point in the Earth’s history, under a million people had lived & died on Earth. Now it is estimated that currently, as many as 250 billion people have lived & died across human history. Why does there need to be more & more who die and then keep going on, somewhere else? What would be the point? Is there really a need for all those extra separate individuals in heaven, or the after-life? Is there a number where it “maxes out?”
When you try to answer these questions, don’t just parrot someone else’s answer from a book or Bible. Try feel your own intuitive answer. What does your own deep inner knowing tell you is the answers to these questions? If you don’t know the answer, it’s OK just to live in the question, instead of grasping (usually out of fear) for some reassuring explanation. If you prefer to latch back onto the answers someone else said in a book or Bible, that’s OK too.
All the religions, East & West, say “In the beginning” there was a time when there was only God, Pure Awareness, The Void. Our minds cannot comprehend why this One decided to manifest itself into many (if indeed, it did,) but there was definitely a “moment” when there was only God, no individual souls, and there’s no particular reason to count on an infinite creation of more & more souls who go on infinitely, no reason to doubt that God may “roll it all back up” into just One again. Science has already identified that the Universe is still expanding outward, but that it’s very nature is to one day totally contract back into itself.
Of course, if you are able to grasp the illusory nature of “time,” (#5 & #9) you know that its all happening simultaneously, and there isn’t really any past or future for God, The Creation, and any of our souls – there’s only Now. If it’s happening simultaneously, there can’t be an “after” life, only a Now life, with your energy being either in this form, or another form/non-form.
7. Separateness is an illusion. Because we all have individual bodies & egos, and each of us seems to be living out his or her own personal story, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the mind to comprehend that we are all one being, one energy, totally interdependent and interwoven with each other. Once again, when you go beyond the mind, you clearly experience that there is only One, and that, although asserting our beautiful uniqueness and differences is perfect, there is never any need for conflict, violence, hate or prejudice. There are no victims and no victimizers. When you assign hate, negative energy or harm to any other human being, you are only hating & harming your own body. This is the Law of life. You must go beyond your mind and step back away from the false perception of petty human differences to see this, and when you do, you will clearly see that all there is, is love; one energy experiencing overwhelming love for every part of itself.
8. We cannot control the occurrences or path or our lives. Control is an illusion. We have virtually no control over what will happen, at any time, and in what order in our lives. We may make plans, work hard and prepare well, which may enhance the illusion that we are in control of our lives. And we may become more confident, powerful & accomplished, and witness some of our plans turning out just as we dreamed, all creating the illusion that if we’re smart enough, fast enough, strong enough or perseverant enough, we can be in control and win in life.
In the New Age & spiritual communities, a lot of recent emphasis has been put on “intention.” People do visualizations, practice tactics they read in “The Secret,” put up photos of the house, car and lifestyle they want to attract, and practice constant awareness of these goals and elevated gratitude for life, and of course, more traditionally, they simply do steady, constant prayer to the Divine – all highly beneficial activities. If you take a poll of all these “intenders,” you will find that very few, perhaps 1 in 1000, actually get the things they intended. Even with constant prayer, effort & focus on their intentions, the unhealthy don’t get cured, the poor don’t get rich, and the lonely don’t suddenly get paired up with their life’s perfect soulmate. The few who do seem to provide hope that if we just do it right, some form of control over our life’s outcome is possible, but ultimately, all lives will be fraught with some successes and some failures, some good times and some bad stretches, some dreams come true and some shattered hopes and terrible tragedies. It’s fine to prepare & plan as best you can for whatever you hope to attain; it’s natural for humans to do that…what else would you do while you’re here? Things will go somewhat as you plan, and often very differently than you thought they would, and you have no control over that. This is a good thing, not a bad thing, because it is only your ego/mind that wants them to go a certain way, instead of the way they actually go. And as mentioned above, you are not your ego or mind. So ultimately it’s a good thing that many things do not go as you wish, because it teaches you that you are not your mind and teaches you to let go into what is, what you truly are and into The Source’s Reality.
As stated throughout the posts on this site, you also can’t control “reaching Enlightenment” or having a Full Awakening. It’s important to mention that, because the moment we realize, often in despair, that we have no control over our material lives, is the moment many of us turn to “spirituality” and covet the seeming “total peace” of attaining Enlightenment. But no matter how ardently you study & practice and effort to become enlightened…you can’t control that either. Paradoxically, when you let go, stop trying, recognize that it’s just the ego/mind that would like to control things and get enlightened (which is never going to happen because egos don’t get enlightened,) and allow everything to be as it is, you can instantly experience Full Enlightenment.
9. There is no such thing as the past or the future. Neither the past nor the future exist. There is only now. If you knew with certainty (not in the mind) that everything was perfect, you could live eternally in the now, and have no need for the past and future. But because we live from our minds & thoughts (indeed most of us think we are our thoughts,) and judge certain occurrences as good or bad, our minds use the “past” or “future” as a tactic to make us feel in control, to make us feel that even if things aren’t good now, they were once before and will be again in the future. But things are always as they actually are, and they are always that way now. When things change and get “better” or “worse” – as they always do – they are better or worse now, not in the future.
10. Happiness is not a result, it’s a choice. One of the greatest mistakes all humans make is in thinking that happiness & joy come as a result of things lining up perfectly in our lives. We get the right career, the right spouse and family, lots of money, a great house & car, blissful sexual and travel experiences, and bingo – we get happy! This is happiness as result. But happiness can never be a result, for at least 3 reasons:
– If happiness is a result of getting those outer things, and you somehow never achieve them, happiness is always elusive for you. And most humans do not get most or all of these things.
– If your happiness is a result of getting those things, you can be rendered instantly unhappy again, simply by losing them. And you will lose them, everybody does.
– The happiness you get from these outer things doesn’t last very long at all. Ask anyone, anyone, who has achieved the perfect material or familial setup in their lives, how long their happiness lasted after they got that million dollars, or that perfect trophy wife, or that mansion on the hill, or that incredible vacation with fantastic sex 3 times a day…and they’ll all tell you the same thing. Once they reached it and enjoyed it for a few moments, their minds said, “OK, what’s next!,” and they lost their sense of contentment and were right back to striving for happiness all over again.
So if true happiness can’t come as a result, how can we achieve it? The key is in the first line – humans make the mistake of thinking happiness is a result. That is, we are trying to generate happiness in the mind. The mind can never be happy, because it lives in time, and it constantly anticipating the “future.” But if we live in Now, everything is already perfect, just as it is, so we feel naturally fulfilled and “happy.” So we can never gain happiness as a result of getting something we don’t already have or changing something we don’t like, but we can choose to feel the perfection of Now, and then the next Now, and then the next…and experience instant and recurring happiness.
Here’s a key “secret: Happiness is another word for not wanting anything, for desirelessness. You desire something, you get it, and you feel happy for a moment – not because you got the thing you desired, but because for a moment, your mind is in a state of total desirelessness. What you’re really seeking is that state of desirelessness, not the object of your desire. And that’s good news, because you can never get desirelessness from any objects you desire, but by dis-identifying with your mind, you will experience desirelessness now and constantly, meaning you are always “happy.”
11. Feeling continuous love for someone is not an effect, it’s a cause. In the same way that humans make the mistake of thinking that happiness comes from outside instead simply choosing to be happy, they believe that staying in love with their lover comes from love happening to them, rather than them choosing to be in love. We think the reason we are so in love with this person is because they’re beautiful, sexy, caring about us, or compliment our wants and needs perfectly. But people change, both in their physical appearance and the way they think or act, so if that’s the reason you’re in love, you’ll be out of love soon. I found that I could never stay in love with my wife based on how she looks or acts, how she performs sexually, or how many likes & dislikes we share in common. But I could look at her every day and, from choice, I could choose to be in love with her just ‘cause I said it was so. I initiated the feeling of loving her absolutely, rather than “checking to see” if I’m still feeing in love whenever we connected, as a kind of cause & effect thing. If you check to see if the feeling of love is still there when you encounter your lover, sometimes it will be and sometimes it won’t – because it’s the mind’s nature to change and want new desires. But if you choose to feel love, to initiate the feeling of “I’m so in love with this person,” not from the mind but just because you say so, you will always be in love! The universe is in total love with itself, all the time. The Creation is constantly expressing love, indeed, it is made of love. When we feel love for another person, a tree, a piece of music, a sunny day, we are simply a microcosm of the macrocosm, a small part of Spirit expressing It’s love for Itself. Spirit cannot not feel total love for itself in al its forms, only the separation-bound, time-bound, judgment-bound mind can. I can no longer feel anything but total love for everything & everyone I see.
12. Being the example is the only way you may seem to effect lasting change in this world. If life and everything in this Universe is perfect, it doesn’t need you to change it for the better. It’s fine, and unfolding perfectly. However, it goes without saying that an Earth full of people who are truly personally responsible and living the above Laws – that we are not our minds and we are not separate, that we live in the Now because there is no future and no time, that happiness and love are a choice, not a result we get from getting the right things – would be a lot more peaceful, loving and ecstatic than one based on the false perceptions of our minds. It would be lovely to bring that about, and the only way to do it is to live these laws every day as your own day-by-day, hour-by-hour life. Nothing else will do it. Passing new laws and initiating more government aid programs won’t do it. Preaching peace and religion won’t do it. Trying to be a good, kind person yourself and becoming a member of some activist group may seem to help a little, but if your kindness and charitable activities are still based in your mind, your mind will soon change or clash with other minds who disagree about the best solutions & approaches, and soon we’ll be back to arguing with each other and no lasting change. There is an opportunity to realize you are not your mind. Barring that, there’s nothing you can do or say to anyone to bring them around to these truths and this peaceful world outlook. But you can be this truth, be awake to what’s real and what’s not, and people will see that and be drawn to it like bees to honey. They will say, “What have you got? I want that!” They will see by your example that it really is possible to live like this, and may be moved to awakening themselves.
Ending Notes: How to use these Laws
The whole purpose of setting down these 12 Laws is to provide humans with a clear guide to what is real and what isn’t, a reminder of the core essentials of life for whenever we lose our way…as humans often do. There’s nothing new here; these truths are as old as history and have been expounded many, many times by countless great sages. I collected these 12 Laws because I found that I often needed a simple list of truths to refer back to when the challenges of life felt overwhelming, or when I forgot my true perfect nature and became over-identified with my thoughts & my mind.
The point of referring back to these laws regularly, if you choose to do so, is to help you return to your awareness of your own true essential nature and the perfect nature of the Universe, thereby providing you with peace, purpose, stability and joy. To get out of your mind, where there can be no lasting peace, and back into your Self and into Now, where there is only peace.
So the litmus test for choosing whether to adopt & use these Laws or not is: if they work for you, use them; if they don’t, drop them. If you already have your own set of life guidelines you live by, which are working for you, you don’t need these. If you have a religion, and believe that your religion’s scriptures already presents you with all the guidelines you need, you don’t need these. If you disagree with any of the laws presented here, no need to waste your time or mine debating it, just live by your own laws – but watch what happens, watch what that produces, and be open to learning something new.
Many have found great value, truth and peace in this set of Laws, and if you find that is true for you, please feel free to print them out, carry them with you, refer back to them often, and share them as you like.
As the “collector” (certainly not the original “author”) of these 12 Laws, I am at your service, willing to answer any questions you might have. An adjunct to the 1st Law (that all life is perfect) is that it is perfect because it is a gift of love, constructed by love, offered in love and existing only in love. When you dis-identify with your mind, your separate self and control, you will experience the immense perfection of this Universe, literally bathe in it, and you will feel yourself flooded with so much love that you will see nothing but love no matter where you turn. I feel that love for all of you, and feel privileged to share this simple humble guide to help us all on our way.