Over time, I have learned that spiritual principles are found in many places under many different disguises. You can find them in a small book on abundance (Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra). You can find them in a popular self-help book for life management (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey). You can find them in your religion’s sacred texts - The Spiritualist’s credo or the Peace Prayer, by St. Francis of Assisi.
Most, however, have certain key characteristics. Spiritual principles:
- Begin with the certainty of Divine Presence. A spiritual principle varies from a religious tenet in a reluctance to get into the definition of that presence. Spiritual principles tend to focus on the experience of Divinity and how to build a relationship with the divine. Any time you define you limit and most spiritual principles are about expanding into a full awareness of Divinity – not placing a box around It.
- Affirm the sanctity of life. They celebrate and rejoice in the process of life, love, and the beauty of it All. Any principle that promotes alienation, segregation, superiority or brutality is not a spiritual principle. It’s a principle based on fear and lack. The universe, instead, is a friendly place where the drama and dance of life unfolds exactly the way it should.
- Provide meaning for the changes in life. Change is, in fact, the only constant – and it is part of life to work with this principle of flow. Life consists of birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. Each of these is a stage in the cycle of life. Drawn from this affirmation is the notion spirit itself is unchanging. Anything is permitted on this plane because nothing is permanent.
- Encourage love and compassion for self and others. Since you are a Divine Child of the Most High, sacred even in your “bits still in process,” created from the Great Divine, forgiveness and compassion start with yourself.
- Cultivate inner peace. They often propose gratitude, acceptance, compassion and grace as a preferred response to the conditions, people and events of our lives.
- Ask you to be honest with yourself and others. Truth is the cornerstone of integrity and integrity as the foundation of personal responsibility. These principles tend to shift the responsibility for your actions and reactions on yourself. Concepts such as karma, ‘the world is the mirror of inner reality,’ and ‘you sow as you reap’ are axioms grown out of this principle.
- Advocate disciplines that cultivate personal presence. Meditation, prayer, contemplation, gratitude, blessing – these are core practices all over the world that cultivate personal divinity. They clear your mind, connect you to Divinity, contribute to others, etc.
- Encourage us to serve others. If the Divine moves to me, through me and as me into the world, I must be the Divine I am seeking.
This list isn’t in any way an exhaustive list but it’s a start to understanding spiritual principles that cross culture and definition.