There are two ways to live, one is to get entangled with all the complexities of life and the second is to live consciously. We all have both options and we chose either of them at different stages of life. However, it is possible to live a conscious and simple life for most of the part. There are always going to be some kind of challenges that life throws at us but apart from that, we have a choice to not get stuck into traps. Our ancient masters and scriptures have shown us the way to live a simple yet fulfilling life and that is to live by spiritual principles.
There is a very old joke but it is still relevant today. A man riding on a horse reached a small village. There were old villagers sitting under a tree. The man asked them “Can you please tell me where this road is going?” One of the villagers asked, “Where do you want to go?” The man replied, “I don’t know”. Villagers said, “Then it does not matter where this road will take you”. Most of us are living like this. We actually don’t know where we are going and spiritual principles provide us with guidance.
Spiritual principles represent meaningful values and ethical practices. It also reflects the code of conduct. If we live by certain principles, then we get the decision power. Whatever question you face, you have to see which answer is aligned with your principles. Simply choose that. These principles kind of lay a road for you so that you don’t take any wrong turns. They are not bound to any religion or cast. They apply to entire humanity whether you want to walk the path of spirituality or not.
You may find many versions and many principles on the net and in books. I am listing down what I have come across and I live by for the most part of my life. None of these principles was invented by me. I am writing my version of them. From a scriptures perspective, most of the principles find their origin in Yoga sutras of Patanjali in sections of Yama and Niyama.
Not to hurt anyone intentionally – This takes the top spot in any religion or spiritual institution. Most of today’s practices of Jainism are based on this single principle. We should not hurt anyone for our own pleasure and joy. Let us include humans in this as well. We hurt many with our own words and actions. Now due to the world we live in and the way we have been conditioned this may not be possible all the time. However, we should remind ourselves about it and try to follow as much as possible.
Not to steal – For most of us, this may look irrelevant as we may be coming from well-to-do families. We have enough wealth to live a comfortable life. However, stealing is not always about snatching objects. We may be stealing someone’s right to live. By indulging in wrongful practices, we steal someone’s savings or someone’s opportunities. The basic is that we can only claim what is ours and what we have rightfully earned. We may fool the entire world but deep within we would always know that we have wronged someone and that feeling will never let us live happily.
Peace of mind is the top priority – I use this as a guide to take most of the decisions in my life. Any argument that I get in or any new responsibility that I take, I would ask myself, is this going to steal my peace of mind? If not then I would say yes considering other aspects as well. In spirituality, they say that wherever you are you should be at peace. This is the aim that we all should strive to achieve but till that time our decisions should allow less friction. We would be saved from so much trouble in life by only keeping this principle in mind.
Stay with truth as much as possible – In India, whenever someone talks about following the truth we get the pictures of King Harishchandra. He was an epitome of truth as per Indian scriptures. We also get the feelings of sacrifice and incurring losses. The world has changed over many centuries and what people did thousands of years back to follow the truth may not be applicable today. What is needed today is to stay with the truth as much as possible.
People may have different visions of truth but deep within we know what is right. I would suggest you follow that for most of the part. Sometimes lies or dishonesty look attractive as we may get some benefits in short term but in the long run only truth will give you peace of mind.
Daily routine or Dincharya – It is very critical that we have a fixed routine for our daily activities. This will help us avoid getting into something that does not help us. For, e.g. if we have a morning routine of exercise and meditation then we will not get into social media during that time. Morning is considered to be the most productive for recharge and rejuvenation and we should make the best use of it. In ancient times in India, people used to spend morning time in prayers and worship. They would not eat anything before they would have completed worshipping their deity.
If we can let go of instant gratification and stick to principles then we will have a more fulfilling life without much of drama. We need to use common sense while applying them and analyze our situation as we may not be able to adhere to them all the time. The essence is that start with it and do as much as possible. Slowly and steadily we all will reach our destination.