As we grow spiritually, we can sometimes get ahead of ourselves. We may think of ourselves as spiritual, reading the latest spirituality best-sellers, taking yoga classes, engaging in a meditation practice. But we can sometimes forget the basics—the simple daily acts that can enrich our lives and most importantly, the lives of those around us.
I was reminded of this when I picked up a book by a person I consider my spiritual mentor, Sir John Templeton. While best known as a financial mastermind, Templeton was also a life-long spiritual seeker and teacher. He took the lessons he learned throughout his life and turned them into several classic books, including The Worldwide Laws of Life and Wisdom from World Religions.
In the book Discovering the Laws of Life, Templeton laid out “200 basic laws” that might be considered rules to live by. They’re comprised of “universal principles present in every society and every religion” and each has the ring of truth. In rereading the book, I quickly realized that 5 of the first 6 laws Templeton mentions should be etched on our daily “to do” lists—and be an integral part of our personal spiritual journey. Those laws follow with the author’s exact words in quotes.
5 Simple Laws for a Happy, Contented Life
- Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
It’s known as the Golden Rule and may be the most important law of life. We can’t expect others to treat us with kindness and respect unless we offer the same to them. And while they may not always reciprocate, by leading with a smile and a friendly demeanor you greatly enhance the odds they will.
- Really listen to those who talk to you.
Instead of waiting to talk, be an active listener, staying focused on the person speaking to you. “When you truly show an interest in another person and really listen, without constantly referring to yourself, you have begun a relationship that will only grow stronger over time.” It truly is the greatest gift you can give to another.
- To be loved, love others.
Like the sun, love is a source of limitless energy that “lies deep at the center of our being.” When we allow this energy to flow from us to others “our lives become brighter” and so do the lives of others. To get love, give love. And this includes to your pet(s), be they a dog or cat.
- Give thanks and you’ll have more to be thankful for.
Each morning or night, say a prayer of gratitude for all the good that is in your life. The late Huston Smith had a simple but effective daily prayer that covers all the bases: “God you are so good to me.” When you have “an attitude of gratitude,” you draw even more goodness into your life. “Praise the good and watch it multiply.”
- Give to life and you’ll find life gives back to you.
Just like a mirror, what you reflect out to the world is reflected back to you. So, Templeton advises us to “reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness.” It lets others know they can trust you and can make each encounter you have with another person a positive experience.
I mentioned that I listed 5 of the first 6 laws Templeton wrote about in Discovering the Laws of Life. The one I left out is a pretty good one as well: You cannot be lonely if you help the lonely. If you find yourself spending more time alone then you want to, reach out to the friends and acquaintances in your life who may be in the same situation. The benefits work both ways.