The House Rules of Life

The House Rules that are contained in the post are the universal laws or guiding principles that will help us live a life of purpose and meaning. Let us explore them:

1. Earth is a school and daily life is a classroom

We are here to learn by expanding our awareness about the world and about ourselves. Learning about the world helps us succeed. learning about ourselves helps us to evolve. Our challenges in the arena of relationship, health and finances are all part of the curriculum. Daily life teaches us all we need to know for the next step on our journey. Each and every day, we find new lessons to learn.

2. Our teachers appear in many forms.

Master teachers are found not only on lonely mountaintops or in ashrams of the East. Our teachers may take the form of friends and adversaries—of clouds, animals, wind, and water. Moment to moment, our teachers reveal all we need to know. The question is, are we paying attention? When the student is ready, the teacher appears everywhere.

3. We learn best through direct experience.

We acquire deeper wisdom through world lessons than we do through word lessons. Word lessons teach through concepts; World lessons teach through experience. Concepts may provide a map; Experience involves the journey. No experience is ever wasted because every experience contains a lesson. The lessons of experience are always positive, even if the experience is not.

4. Failures are the stepping stones to success.

The road to success is paved with little failures. If you doubt this, learn to juggle. Infants are masters of learning; their method is trial and error. In this technique they lead us all; no one fails as much or learns as quickly. Why fear failure? Every mistake imparts gifts and lessons,
each lesson leads to wisdom, and every failure to new achievement. Failures and mistakes are the rungs on the ladder to your potential.
If you never fail, you haven t picked grand enough goals.

5. Lessons reappear until we learn them.

Some of us do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Intelligence allows for making new mistakes and learning from them, instead of repeating the old ones. The more we learn, the more adaptable we become and the fewer mistakes we repeat. Learning requires change; change involves losing face; losing face means dying to the old; dying to the old gives birth to the new. Nothing really changes until we do.

6. If we don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder.

If we miss life’s whispered teachings, they return as wake-up calls, and when God calls, we had better pick up the phone. Adversity is one way the universe gets our attention. Physical pain calls us to balance our body. Emotional suffering reveals to us our illusions and resistance. Mental suffering reveals the healing power of the present. Some pain is inevitable, But as we learn to listen to life’s gentle lessons, suffering dissolves.

7. Consequences teach better than concepts.

Moral concepts are personal; consequences are universal. What one culture, religion, or nation prohibits, another accepts as moral behavior. What may be wrong in one situation maybe be right in another. Unchanging, unquestioned rules of right and wrong relieve us of thinking. But life is not so simple. Prisons are full of people who understood the moral concepts, but didn’t grasp the consequences.

8. Only action brings ideas to life.

Thoughts are only seeds of possibility. To reap a harvest we have to sow seeds in the fertile field of action. Doing is understanding; wisdom grows from practice. To arrive we have to begin— why wait for our ship to come in if we haven’t sent one out? Do not act without thinking,
or think without acting. By applying bold action at the right time, we apply the simple secret of success.

9. We can control efforts, not outcomes.

Serenity, patience, and wisdom are bom of this understanding: We cannot directly control people, events, or results. We cannot control whether we sink a putt, win a game, find love, succeed in business, or create world peace. But by making the effort we vastly improve the odds of achieving what we desire. No matter what we think or feel, doubt or fear; despite our past or parents; our efforts still shape our lives. Doing your best is a job well done. So make the effort, then accept the outcomes. Let go of what you can’t control.

10. Timing is everything.

Right action at the wrong time serves no useful purpose. Stillness can be the most powerful action of all. Just as action can reflect courage,
waiting can reflect wisdom. But if we wait until we have permission, until we feel more motivated, until it gets easier, until fear vanishes,
or hell freezes over, we may miss the chance to act at all. If we wait for the perfect moment to come alive, we may discover that we never lived at all.

11. What goes around comes around.

What we sow in kindness returns as a harvest of surprises; what gifts we send out return in different wrappings. Shadows of negativity, scattered into the world, return to the sender. Good works and virtues are like seeds that multiply; we plant a sprout and reap a forest of gratitude. The simplest generous act blesses the giver, but if we give in order to receive, our hopes are dashed on the shores of attachment. So give your best for the sake of giving and the best will return.

12. Little things can make a big difference.

Some big accomplishments in the eyes of the world signify little in the eyes of Spirit. Yet some small acts in the eyes of the world are great in the eyes of Spirit. Life is not made only of grand gestures, heroic feats, and historic deeds; life is made of little things. The smallest actions
can make the biggest difference. There’s no need to wait for a big break or breakthrough. Just do the little things. To make huge strides, take small steps. In sports, relationships, art, or business, success may be waiting for one more day, one last try. A single word can make or break us; a last straw broke the camel’s back; a simple smile or loving touch can heal our world.

13. Play to your strengths.

Everyone who has ever lived has had weaknesses. Even great historical figures had flaws that killed them in the end. But while they lived they inspired hope, created great works, moved nations, and even changed the course of history. So work on your weaknesses, shore up your foundations, and strengthen your weak links. But if you would truly make a difference in the world, meditate not on your foibles but on your strengths; find your talent, your passion, your destiny; follow that path where it leads. A jet plane cannot mow lawns, but it can fly to distant destinations. Don’t worry so much about what you can’t do; just do what you can as only you can do it.

14. To transform your life, change your expectations.

Life arises out of Mystery: Moments unfold, things happen. Our mind then creates meanings, about what happens. We see things not as they are, but as we are. Viewing the world through windows of interpretation and expectation, our mind creates a drama, a comedy,
a tragedy, a romance, or a soap opera out of what simply arises. Thus, our mind creates our dreams and dramas; and stress appears as the mind resists what is. To attain freedom, make peace with Mystery; to reinvent your world, shift your expectations. Reality is not what we think.

15. Judge with compassion.

The universe was created to teach us, not to judge us. Yet we judge ourselves and our world. Those quick to judge are slow to compassion. Those slow to compassion have forgotten that hurtful people don’t go to hell; they are already in. hell; that is why they behave as they do. Ultimately, no one gets away with anything. Resenting people only allows others to live in our head rent-free. And despite our judgments, reality happens anyway. So if we judge, let us judge with compassion, until we finally discover that our primary business is not forgiving others but asking forgiveness.

16. Simplicity has power

A little bit of something beats a lot of nothing. Break the largest task into small steps and it can be done. The Chinese tell of an old man
who moved a mountain with patience and a spoon. ]ust so, we can build a palace brick by brick— and step by step, we can cover any distance. So divide and conquer! Without simple patience, heroic efforts quickly fade. With small, steady, simple actions over time, we achieve big dreams.

17. Life develops what it demands.

On the path between us and our goals stand hurdles and challenges. Every road has its hurdles; each one we clear makes us stronger. Any positive change entails a period of discomfort as we rise from one level to the next. Obstacles and discomfort separate the committed from the hopeful and turn dreamers into doers. Life’s gifts come carefully wrapped in difficulties and demands. We have only to open the package to reap the wisdom and rewards hidden within. Most worthwhile goals are difficult until they become easy.

18. Every choice leads to wisdom.

Life is a series of choices. Whether we choose for the short run or for the long haul, every choice has benefits and costs. Our past choices
made us who we are today. Our present choices will shape our future. Sometimes, when asked to choose between one thing and another,
the wisest choice may be “both”—but not necessarily at the same time. From a conventional viewpoint, we make “bad choices.”But from a transcendental perspective, there are no wrong decisions, only  different lessons.

19. God helps those who help themselves.

God can’t make a Stradivarius violin without Stradivarius. God gives us the gift of life; we determine what we do with it. Life is a cooperative venture with God, We share in the responsibility for both our difficulties and delights. God provides the arena; we pick the games. God gives us a face; we form our expressions. God opens the doors; it is for us to walk through. God answers our prayers not according to what we want, but according to what we may need for our highest good and learning.

20. We each have inner guidance.

Others may be experts in their specialty; you are the expert on your body and your life. Teachers can at best offer keys to your own treasure house. You know far more than you’ve been taught, have heard, or have read, because you are connected to it all. To contact your inner knower, be still, look within, ask, listen, and trust. Instinct and intuition lend their guidance long before your head comprehends.
To attain knowledge, add to what you know; to access inner wisdom, let go of what you think you know and you will finally understand.

21. Balancing the body is the first spiritual practice.

Spiritual life begins and ends with the body. It is our only possession guaranteed to last a lifetime. We may meditate, visualize, and dream,
but we cannot travel out of the body until we first get into it. In a balanced body, flesh and spirit join to create energy and abundance in our lives. We achieve balance through the Holy Trinity of Health: daily exercise, nutritious food, sufficient rest. Balance the body. Trust its wisdom. From this foundation all else follows.

22. Life moves “in cycles; all things change.

Cycles are the natural order of life, like the four seasons that follow one another in endless rounds. Hardship and pleasure alike will pass in time, for whatever rises will fall, and whatever falls will rise again in one or another form. This is the nature of the world. We cannot control the cycles of life, but we can ride them like bucking horses or flowing waves. By accepting our own changing seasons we move in harmony with the cycles of our world.

23. Life is a series of moments.

When we think about it—which is most of the problem—life appears complex and busy. This is an illusion.Life is utterly simple and serene,
because we can only live one moment at a time. There are no neurotic or intelligent people; only neurotic or intelligent moments. And we are responsible only for this moment. The rest is memory and imagination. We are each enlightened, ignorant, hind, or cruel in moments. By paying attention to the present moment, and the next, and the next, we determine the quality of our lives.

24. Be gentle with yourself; trust the process of your life.

We are all peaceful warriors’in’training. Perfection is not a prerequisite for life on earth. While we live, we continue to make mistakes and learn from them. We were born not to be ideal, but to be real—not to become someone else, but to become ourselves. We have all made a mess of things, but nothing is less important than the score at halftime. By accepting our humanity we awaken our spirituality. Acknowledging our failures may be the greatest triumph of all.

25. Kindness completes our lives. We are in this together.

For most of us, sharing a meal or a movie magnifies the pleasure. So does sharing our lives. Humans are designed to interact, to serve and be served, to work and play together. We all need privacy at times, but the habitual lone wolf, the separate self staring in the mirror, needs to break out of solitary confinement. No one is smarter than all of us, and no one truly accomplishes anything on their own. All we have done rests on the shoulders of those who came before. Offer and accept a helping hand; we are in this together.

culled from the book, Living On Purpose by Dan Millman