Universal principles can guide you in those moments where you have no clue where you should be headed. They are the lighthouses that guide your boat on the ocean of human experiences. Strive to find these universal principles and make them a part of you. I’ve decided to share 6 of the principles I’ve found to be universal.
Total read time (bolded highlights): 2 minutes
Total read time (comprehensive): 15 minutes
1 – Action
You, in the sense of being everything, have constructed the human experience. You experience yourself through an individualised experience of taking directed action. Humans are built to move forwards. We’re put together in such a way that we are pushed forwards. Going forward makes us feel good. If we feel we’re moving backwards we’re filled with bad emotions. These are built-in chemical reactions.
Taking action can lead you into a flow state. When you’re doing a task and you get into deep concentration your body releases nitric oxide, which flushes out stress hormones – The stuff that makes you anxious, depressed or afraid. Nitric oxide also triggers release of a whole range of feel-good chemicals that increases your brain capacity and creativity.
Conscious thinking starts shutting down and you feel one with the task – You’re in flow.
You’ve experienced this state many times in your life. Can you recall doing some task during your life, where all you wanted was to keep doing that task? Do you have some passion in your life? Something you can do without ever feeling stressed out or wanting to do something else? If you answered yes to any of these questions you’ve experienced the flow state.
Flow creates passions, because it feels so incredibly good. This IS the way to attract passion into your life – Taking action and entering flow. No action, no flow, no passion.
You might think, “Why do we meditate?” Meditation is just sitting – The opposite of action. On the contrary, meditation is taking action. It is the continual observing, accepting and letting go of thought-objects. It can even be hard work. Meditation can create flow and become a passion. There are many studies that show how meditation triggers the release of nitric oxide.
Take action towards those things that fill you with excitement and enjoy. Joy attracts joy. Flow attracts flow. Taking action leads you to action in new and related areas of life.
Action opens up new doors and possibilities. The path is not always clear when you start walking. The path is formed when you step on it. When you believe in the process and trust life to unfold in beautiful ways, that path will take you places you could never imagine. This is the path of action. The path of inaction leads nowhere.
Taking action means taking directed action. Taking action with purpose. Mindlessly following your whims does not qualify for taking purposeful action. Formulate clear goals to make it easier to take real action. There are two types of goals that have been shown to be the most long lasting and fulfilling.
These are goals of mastery and service to others. Becoming masterful in something means that there is no end goal that you believe will make life amazing. It is a continuous process of becoming better in the moment. Each moment of taking action towards mastery is a success.
The other long-lasting type of goal is a goal of service to others. It might be to provide education for 10 children. You’ll know what resonates with you.
Something these types of goals have in common is that they are at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of need.
Goals from the lower levels are often needed to fulfil the needs from the lower levels, but they fall by the side of the road once you reach them. You need to go forward in all these areas however. Going backwards is not what we are built for.
Spiritual pursuits are a part of the highest need – Self-actualisation. This is the need for experiencing oneness and pure present awareness. Some will tell you that spiritual pursuits are everything – That all the other needs are materialistic and egotistical. This is failing to understand some of the other universal principles, namely integration and acceptance, which are explained later in this article. It is also failing to understand our nature.
Severe lacks in the lower level needs distract your spiritual pursuits. A life of inaction and regression is a life of stress hormones. Stress hormones like cortisol are the feelings of anxiety, depression and fear. Stress hormones inhibit the parts of your brain that make you human – The parts of you that give and receive love. They put you in a state of alertness, suspicion and fear. The reptilian parts of your brain take over a lot of the control – Addictions and egoistic behaviour surface.
A life of purposeful action on the other hand is a life filled with love when you also follow the other universal principles. When you fulfil your needs in the first four levels of Maslow’s Pyramid, your brain is filled with feel-good neurochemicals and love-chemicals. They make you feel togetherness, trust, love, pride, respect, fulfilment and a whole range of other good feelings. When you feel fulfilled you’re ready to take care of others. It is also much, much easier to sit down and meditate and accept whatever arises. You feel oneness more easily. One of our upcoming courses is about these chemicals just mentioned.
This is not a call to action for filling your life with stuff. There is much wisdom in living a life of simplicity. What is needed to fill the needs in the different levels of Maslow’s pyramid depends on your views on life, what people you surround yourself with and what ideas you expose yourself to. If you watch Hollywood movies and TV-series all day, you can expect to need more things to feel fulfilled.
This is a call to action for living a life true to yourself; to follow your joy and excitement; to live a life that motivates and inspires others; to experience your higher self from as many points as possible.
Many are attracted to spirituality and eastern philosophy because of lack in the lower needs. They hope that spirituality or meditation will solve their problems. To some degree it can, but you’re missing some of the other universal principles, namely integration and action in the lower level.
Take the twofold path. Take both spiritual action and action for the progression of the lower level needs. You’re then entering a positive feedback loop, where fulfilment of needs make it easier to experience deeper spiritual levels and the experience of deeper spiritual levels make it easier to fulfil the lower level needs. Balance is the key. Take balanced purposeful action.
More on balance in this article.
2 – You Attract More of What You Focus on
The next principle is that you attract more of what you focus on. This is related to the law of attraction and the law of cause and effect. Your brain is working to give you success in whatever you focus your attention on. This principle can be summarised as follows:
- You focus on how bad life is
- Life becomes worse
- You focus on how good life is
- Life improves
- You focus on opportunities
- You get more opportunities
- You focus on how busy you are
- You get more busy
- You focus on how free and happy you are
- You become even more free and happy
- You watch the news and see how gruesome the world is
- The world gives you more cruelty
- You focus on what you like about people
- You like more people
- You focus on how people conspire and try to cheat you of your right to a wonderful life
- You cheat yourself of a wonderful life
- You focus on the good in people
- People are good
- You focus on how people give you chances to love them, and how awesome it is
- You see more love.
- You receive more love.
3 – Taking responsibility
When I discovered this principle of taking responsibility and started implementing it in my life, everything changed. Fast. When I was younger I avoided responsibility as if it was The Black Death. I always had some good explanation for why it wasn’t my fault.
This is a victim mentality. Life pushes me around and I’m just a poor little snowflake that can’t do anything. A victim mentality attracts more bad things that just happen to me.
I changed it to a driver seat mentality. I took responsibility for what happened in my life. Instead of looking for reasons why it was not my fault, I took the default stance that it was my fault. I started saying this phrase often:
“I take full responsibility for [that] happening.”
A paradoxical effect of taking responsibility for what happens is that other people also start taking more responsibility and you receive less blame. Say that you and two others do a project together at work and your boss is not satisfied with the results. He is not happy. You’re now at a point where you have two choices. You say you take full responsibility for what has happened by saying the above sentence, or you try to put responsibility on the others. You can do this by for example naming all the incredible things you thought or did during the project, or you can just outright say why it is the other’s fault.
Blaming others puts them in a fight or flight state. Either way they’re not taking responsibility. You lose respect in the eyes of your peers. You lose respect in the eyes of your boss. You lose respect for yourself. You will be left with more blame than what the results merit.
When you take responsibility the others will first of all be surprised. They will also get a small pang of guilt if they don’t chip in. They will relax as the pressure is suddenly taken off them. They know that you’re not judging them and trying to blame them. They start looking at themselves and realize that they also have responsibility. They all know that you don’t have full responsibility – Even your boss.
Sometimes you’re fully to blame. Boss it up and say you’re sorry.
This principle of taking responsibility bears fruit in any situation. It stops bad situations from creating animosity and disrespect. It turns a bad situation into a situation of respect and growth. It becomes a situation that fulfills the 4th need of Maslow’s pyramid – Esteem.
Take responsibility of your life and stay in the driver’s seat.
This life is the role you’re playing, so play it to your potential.
4 – Acceptance
The next principle is acceptance. This principle is about acceptance of the moment. The moment is what will always be there. Resisting it or rejecting it does not change it. It is what it is. What you resist persist.
Accept what arises in this moment and surrender to it. Enjoy it and see that this is you. Everything that arises is your awareness – It is you – but you can sculpt what goes on. You can sculpt the human experience when you accept what is. Become aware of what is now and take a step back. See the moment for what it is and direct your present step. Hack away at the moment with your present action. Take another action. Move forward with your present step and make the present a beautiful sculpture.
Accepting does not mean condoning or giving up. It means to see the world as it is – To take in the facts and being open to reality. Rejecting what is, is rejecting yourself. Work with nature by following the universal principles. Nature – The higher You – Will keep on doing its thing. Love it and you love yourself.
Accept your present feelings. Love those little trolls to death, like P explains here.
5 – Integration
Integration is another of the universal principles that has revolutionised my life.
Integration is about seeing how it all connects and fit together. If you can’t see how it all fits together at this moment, it only means that some of the puzzle pieces are hidden under your bed. Integration is about not judging everything as good or bad, but rather seeing that it is part of everything.
Integration is about being open to the world and learning all the sides. We’re conditioned to taking sides and adamantly insisting on one side being absolutely correct. This world of absolutes is a mirage. The soldiers on both sides of the war are happy that at least they are fighting on the right side.
Spirituality or religion is not the one true path. Humanism is not the one true path. They’re both just part of what is. Enjoy spirituality and pure present awareness. Enjoy the human experience. Balance it. All this awesomeness is you. Start seeing everything as part of you. Learn about life and integrate it all.
Look at the people around you. They are that same awareness as you. I am now experiencing myself through my eyes, your eyes and their eyes. The mind is creating an experience of the underlying reality. This is a representation of you. The awareness – you – experiences the things that your mind synthesizes. That experience is all you. Integrate it all.
6 – Coming Back to Baseline
We started the universal principles with action. The last universal principle is about striking the balance. We need to repeatedly come back to baseline.
Living a life of purposeful action leads to both frustrations and amazing feelings. It is a life of passion and haste.
So much to do
So much to see
So much to taste
So much to feel
So much to hear
So much to think
We humans have a strong tendency for going overboard and taking things too far. Taking action is like increasing the speed of your boat. It’s exhilarating and you have tons of fun. You jump on the waves of life and go through troughs and peaks – bad and good periods of life.
Sometimes you need to slow down and see where the boat is headed. This is what going back to baseline means. Take regular periods where you dramatically slow down the pace of life. Spend time meditating and just being. Set aside time for just thinking. Spend unhurried time with friends and family. Evaluate your course.
This cycle of action and baseline can be implemented on both the micro level and the macro level. Take some time out of every day for peace and quiet. Also take longer periods of contemplation to balance out the longer periods of action. Personally, I spent a few months traveling and did a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Thailand. Do what resonates with you.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi