Rules of the Road
13 Principles of Spiritual Activism
[Editor's Note: These 13 suggestions for ethical behavior
and spiritual progression are based on principles which operate throughout the universe. Some people call them Universal laws When you reach the point in your
life when you begin to take notice of these inviolate rules and consciously
apply them, you begin to notice changes in your awareness, in your sense
of fulfullment, satisfaction, and peace. You will also notice material and
spiritual rewards coming to you in greater abundance. When you follow
these spiritual Rules of the Road for Life's Journey, you will find yourself in harmony with
the Voice of the Creator and life will flow through you like a river. Christ
was able to distill a fair share of the ideas embraced here when he laid out the principle of Golder Rule: "Do unto others as they would
do unto you" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Jesus didn't
do such a bad job expanding these concepts with the Beatitudes either.
Print this list out and tape it to your refrigerator or slip it into a page
protector and put it somewhere where you and other people will notice it
and read it. Daily reminders are the best way to adopt new patterns of behavior.
July 6, 2005
The following principles emerged from several years' work
with social change leaders in Satyana's Leading with Spirit program.
We offer these not as definitive truths, but rather as key learnings and
guidelines that, taken together, comprise a useful framework for "spiritual
1. Transformation of motivation from anger/fear/despair to
compassion/love/purpose. This is a vital challenge for today's social change
movement. This is not to deny the noble emotion of appropriate anger or
outrage in the face of social injustice. Rather, this entails a crucial
shift from fighting against evil to working for love, and the long-term
results are very different, even if the outer activities appear virtually
identical. Action follows Being, as the Sufi saying goes. Thus "a positive
future cannot emerge from the mind of anger and despair" (Dalai Lama).
2. Non-attachment to outcome. This is difficult to put into
practice, yet to the extent that we are attached to the results of our work,
we rise and fall with our successes and failures—a sure path to burnout.
Hold a clear intention, and let go of the outcome—recognizing that
a larger wisdom is always operating. As Gandhi said, "the victory is
in the doing," not the results. Also, remain flexible in the face of
changing circumstances: "Planning is invaluable, but plans are useless."(Churchill)
3. Integrity is your protection. If your work has integrity,
this will tend to protect you from negative energy and circumstances. You
can often sidestep negative energy from others by becoming "transparent"
to it, allowing it to pass through you with no adverse effect upon you.
This is a consciousness practice that might be called "psychic aikido."
4. Integrity in means and ends. Integrity in means cultivates
integrity in the fruit of one's work. A noble goal cannot be achieved utilizing
5. Don't demonize your adversaries. It makes them more defensive
and less receptive to your views. People respond to arrogance with their
own arrogance, creating rigid polarization. Be a perpetual learner, and
constantly challenge your own views.
6. You are unique. Find and fulfill your true calling. "It
is better to tread your own path, however humbly, than that of another,
however successfully." (Bhagavad Gita)
7. Love thy enemy. Or at least, have compassion for them.
This is a vital challenge for our times. This does not mean indulging falsehood
or corruption. It means moving from "us/them" thinking to "we"
consciousness, from separation to cooperation, recognizing that we human
beings are ultimately far more alike than we are different. This is challenging
in situations with people whose views are radically opposed to yours. Be
hard on the issues, soft on the people.
8. Your work is for the world, not for you. In doing service
work, you are working for others. The full harvest of your work may not
take place in your lifetime, yet your efforts now are making possible a
better life for future generations. Let your fulfillment come in gratitude
for being called to do this work, and from doing it with as much compassion,
authenticity, fortitude, and forgiveness as you can muster.
9. Selfless service is a myth. In serving others, we serve
our true selves. "It is in giving that we receive." We are sustained
by those we serve, just as we are blessed when we forgive others. As Gandhi
says, the practice of satyagraha ("clinging to truth") confers
a "matchless and universal power" upon those who practice it.
Service work is enlightened self-interest, because it cultivates an expanded
sense of self that includes all others.
10. Do not insulate yourself from the pain of the world.
Shielding yourself from heartbreak prevents transformation. Let your heart
break open, and learn to move in the world with a broken heart. As Gibran
says, "Your pain is the medicine by which the physician within heals
thyself." When we open ourselves to the pain of the world, we become
the medicine that heals the world. This is what Gandhi understood so deeply
in his principles of ahimsa and satyagraha. A broken heart becomes an open
heart, and genuine transformation begins.
11. What you attend to, you become. Your essence is pliable,
and ultimately you become that which you most deeply focus your attention
upon. You reap what you sow, so choose your actions carefully. If you constantly
engage in battles, you become embattled yourself. If you constantly give
love, you become love itself.
12. Rely on faith, and let go of having to figure it all
out. There are larger 'divine' forces at work that we can trust completely
without knowing their precise workings or agendas. Faith means trusting
the unknown, and offering yourself as a vehicle for the intrinsic benevolence
of the cosmos. "The first step to wisdom is silence. The second is
listening." If you genuinely ask inwardly and listen for guidance,
and then follow it carefully—you are working in accord with these
larger forces, and you become the instrument for their music.
13. Love creates the form. Not the other way around. The
heart crosses the abyss that the mind creates, and operates at depths unknown
to the mind. Don't get trapped by "pessimism concerning human nature
that is not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature, or you will
overlook the cure of grace." (Martin Luther King) Let your heart's
love infuse your work and you cannot fail, though your dreams may manifest
in ways different from what you imagine.
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the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.