Rules for Living


Mantra from the Dalai Lama

  • Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk
  • When you lose, don’t lose the lesson
  • Follow the three Rs: Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Responsibility for all your actions
  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck
  • Learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly
  • Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship
  • When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it
  • Spend some time alone every day
  • Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time
  • A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life
  • In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past
  • Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality
  • Be gentle with the earth
  • Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before
  • Remember the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other
  • Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it
  • Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon
Okay, so maybe living a good life isn’t always so cut and dried.  Just this morning I was making a snarky comment to a long time friend of mine about how it’s a really good thing that my 9 year old son’s head still smells like it did when he was a newborn because it keeps me from killing him when he’s acting like a jackass.  Not exactly the kind of loving energy I want to be putting out into the world.  Sort of like that old saying, “The Doctor’s kids are always sick,” apparently The Yogini’s kids are always homicidal…
In all seriousness, it’s pretty simple.  Do the right thing.  Love people, trust God (Buddha, The Universe, Elvis, yourself, fate, whatever.)  Go easy on yourself and others.  Judge not.  When something good happens, say Thank You.  When something bad happens, say Thank You  twice.  Eat your veggies.  Care for one another.  And yet, even though it’s all simple and it’s all common sense, it’s not easy.  Not at all.  We, as humans, seem determined to walk the hardest path possible.  We drink too much, we eat too much (or the wrong stuff.) We don’t forgive others and certainly not ourselves.  We hold resentments and grudges and expectations much longer than is useful (hint: it’s NEVER useful.)  We hurt others before they can hurt us (which starts out with assuming the worst of folks.)
WHY do we do this?
Maybe it’s because we are meant to learn these lessons, not just accept them.  It takes heat to turn coal into diamonds, extreme irritation to turn sand into a pearl.  Apparently, it takes mistakes to make pure.  I think about this a lot lately as I reflect on my younger years of being less than kind to many folks.  I was judgmental and almost hateful to some folks in high school and even college.  I regret those behaviors now intensely.  I am so sorry that I caused anyone to feel pain, even for a moment.  It can be really easy for me to let myself get bogged down in those feelings of guilt and shame and sorrow.  In those moments, I remember that There Are No Wrong Steps On My Journey.  Everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson in all things.  What I was then brought me to who I am now.  There is a lesson to be learned and I am learning it every day.  Being gentle with myself allows me to absorb the knowledge that is coming with age, practice, and study.  I must love the damaged parts – that is where the light comes in.  And when the light comes in, it’s much easier to follow The Rules.

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