My Ten Commandments

As I mentioned in my last post, this trip to Ireland has turned out to be a great chance to reflect on my life. I’ve been thinking about the things that are important to me. I came up with these 10 commandments for living:

1. I need to develop enthusiasm for both the ups and the downs of life. A full life includes both of these and most suffering occurs when I resist this reality.
2. I’m committed to thinking more about other people – self absorption is the cause of so much of my suffering.
3. I refuse to allow worry to take over my thinking. There is no benefit to worry, and it just makes me less effective when something bad does happen. Some of the worst things that happen occur without any real warning, and most worry is all about fighting windmills (getting mentally messed up over things that aren’t real).
4. I’m committed to holding onto all beliefs and opinions lightly because life is a mystery. I’ve concluded that nobody really knows what’s going on and even if they do I’ve no way of judging their claims. It is the underlying mystery of life that makes the universe so wonderful. Doubt is a great gift because it keeps me humble and in awe.
5. I fully acknowledge that I do not know what is best for other people. I appreciate that we are all on our own path, and I don’t need other people to be wrong for me to be right. I do not need to change other people in order for me to be content and at peace.
6. The core of my belief system is that anything is possible. This means that I believe in magic and by doing so live in a magical world.
7. The ups and downs of living are to be expected, but when suffering persists it is usually sign that I’ve gone off the rails. This means that steps will need to be taken for me to get back on track, or I can look forward to an indefinite bumpy ride. Long periods of inner peace is the sign that I’m on the right track in life.
8. Positive thinking is a powerful tool, but it can be used in a destructive manner. If I refuse to acknowledge my worries and concerns it means that positive thinking becomes a form of denial. The key then is to be committed to positive thinking while acknowledging worries and concerns.
9. I am not broken, and I do not need to be fixed. The belief that there is something wrong with me that needs to be fixed is the cause of much of my uneasiness in life. There is always room for improvement, but I’m already acceptable as a human.
10. Everything that I need to develop my potential will appear as part of the ups and downs of life. This means that getting up each day and dealing with life on life’s terms is my real spiritual practice. I practice techniques like meditation because I enjoy them, but when it comes to developing as a human they may be surplus to requirements.

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9 thoughts on “My Ten Commandments

  1. Good one Paul. I enjoyed that.

    You’ve inspired me to do something like it at

    Also, with the new year coming up, I’ll spend some time thinking about goals for 2013. I need to make some tough decisions. Better start thinking now.

    Thanks! Enjoy your vacation, you earned it.

    1. Thanks Vern, I think it is helpful to write down a mission statement for life. My goal is to create my own handbook for life that I will treat as my bible. I want to write a book for me, that I’ll be willing to read over and over again. My own personal guidebook to life, the universe, and everything 🙂 It will be the most important book I ever write, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever share it with anyone else. I think we all have to write our own handbook for life.

  2. That’s about the coolest thing anybody could do. I have thought about it myself, calling mine more of a manifesto – for others, as well as clarifying my own beliefs about living life. In fact, I think I started it already. Would take some digging through old hard drives to find it, but I’d better start getting all my stuff together soon anyway.

    Wouldn’t the handbook change so much over time that writing it wouldn’t really make sense? I think that’s why I never went forward with mine…

    Cheers, good to see you thinking while on your vacation. Most people just vegetate.

    1. Definitely – I won’t be writing my bible in stone. My views on things change all the time, so I expect to be constantly updating my bible to reflect this. The most important thing is that this handbook will be something that is going to be part of my life – I intend to use it all the time. One thing I’ve noticed is that when things get hard in life my ability to think productively deteriorates rapidly. It is then that I need this type of handbook the most. The problem is that if I’m not already in the habit of using this handbook I won’t remember to use it when I need its help. On a good day most of us will have all the answers for life that we need – the problem is that when the shit hits the fan this wisdom seems to vanish. So my handbook is like a safe deposit for wisdom so that I can draw on this on a rainy day.

  3. I’m digging it. I think we all need that. Well, some people use the bible or something else that was written by others, and that’s good enough for them. That isn’t good enough for me. Though my core beliefs are pretty similar to what the Bible says, I’d say it differently, I’d make it more like a guideline for living, not full of absolutes.

    I’ve been lucky to not have the shit hit the fan too hard recently. That could change in 2013. If it does, I’ll be sure to let you know whether my thinking was cohesive or not. I think initially it’s like a bomb went off in my head. Then I’m able to get over the shock pretty quick and start working proactively to work around, to fix, whatever happened.

    Lets both of us avoid anything major in 2013 – deal?

    1. I can sign up for that 🙂

      Although 2012 was my hardest year, it was also my most productive – I’ve learned so much, and I think I’m a better person because of it.
      I just tend to coast along when things are going well.
      They say that pain is the touchstone for personal development, and I guess that is true.
      I can be stubborn and arrogant, but suffering makes me humble.
      It would be nice to coast again for a year or two, so I will be doing my best to avoid anything major.

  4. I had a similar 2012 – too much coasting. Life was too good. Need to light a fire up under my arse and see what more I can do in 2013. Working on my post now – “What I Need in 2013”. Cheers Paul…

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