… for Being Human
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
Rule One – You will receive a body. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.
Rule Two – You will be presented with lessons. Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons specific to you, and learning them ‘is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life’.
Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons. Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you’d want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgement – of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also ‘the act of erasing an emotional debt’. Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humour – especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – are central to the perspective that ‘mistakes’ are simply lessons we must learn.
Rule Four – Lessons repeat until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are more lessons – they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them. Your own awareness and your ability to change are requisites of executing this rule. Also fundamental is the acceptance that you are not a victim of fate or circumstance – ‘causality’ must be acknowledged; that is to say: things happen to you because of how you are and what you do. To blame anyone or anything else for your misfortunes is an escape and a denial; you yourself are responsible for you, and what happens to you. Patience is required – change doesn’t happen overnight, so give change time to happen.
Rule Five – Learning does not end. While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the ‘rhythm of life’, don’t struggle against it. Commit to the process of constant learning and change – be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt from what you may be accustomed to, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.
Rule Six – “There” is no better than “here”. The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness. Living in the present helps you attain peace.
Rule Seven – Others are only mirrors of you. You love or hate something about another person according to what love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are, and strive for clarity of self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own self, your thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences are opportunities to heal the wounds that you carry. Support others, and by doing so you support yourself. Where you are unable to support others it is a sign that you are not adequately attending to your own needs.
Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Don’t get angry about things – bitter memories clutter your mind. Courage resides in all of us – use it when you need to do what’s right for you. We all possess a strong natural power and adventurous spirit, which you should draw on to embrace what lies ahead.
Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you. Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration.
Rule Ten – You will forget all this at birth. We are all born with all of these capabilities – our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking belief and confidence. The ten Rules are not commandments, they are universal truths that apply to us all. When you lose your way, call upon them. Have faith in the strength of your spirit. Aspire to be wise – wisdom the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself.
(I know nothing of the context of this list other than what is written about its author on Wikipedia. Personally, I really like it and think that if you ever wanted a simple and memorable framework by which to live your life then this could very well be it …)
… for ‘Social’ Media
Come 2013, there are some interesting observations about the impact of communications technologies on personal and family life and I particularly like this list from Janice Turner writing in a Times supplement about latest technologies. The full article can be found here http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/technology/article3760246.ece – I have put an edited version below for those not wishing to pay to access …
1. The family that tweets together, isn’t together
… there is no more soulless a sight than a whole family in which each member is glued to a private screen. You need device downtime, however hateful it is to enforce. On overseas holidays we ban laptops and iPads. I delete Twitter from my iPhone (I try not to cheat). We play cards, get through a pile of books and it feels like we’ve joined the Amish.
2.No one wants to see 25 pictures of your baby
Not even his granny. Never download, unedited, every photo taken of your darling on the same day on the beach in the same outfit. One is good. Two is fine. But don’t make your entire Facebook group groan.
3. Don’t be more vile online than you are in real life
This is the first commandment of the internet and yet the easiest to forget. Alone and anonymous at your screen, what a righteous tingle you get from that snarky remark on Mumsnet or your sarcastic response to a dorky teenage celebrity’s tweet. But why make your chosen forum a dumber, uglier and crueller place?
4. You can’t be friends with your own children
For every parent, a seminal rite of passage is the day that your child “unfriends” you on Facebook. When they first set up an account, aged 11 or so, they instantly befriend every adult they know. You are charmed to see they “like” rainbows or Hello Kitty. But a year later you wonder aloud if your daughter really needs to post so many shots of herself pouting into the mirror – and that’s it: you’re dead to them.
5. Stop filming, start living
This is your one and only life. You are present at this performance, which will never be repeated. Feel it, hear it, remember it. Don’t ignore the now to stare at your gadget just so when you get home you will have a tiny, tinny recording of a thing you could have seen in 3-D HD with your own human eyes. Life is something to be relished, not posted on YouTube to watch later.
6. No one ever answers a landline
Call any office, any time of day and you will go straight to voicemail. Because a generation that believes only mums and cold callers ring on landlines no longer picks up. They don’t want to waste a few seconds of their self-absorbed lives dealing with a person they don’t know. What an imposition.
7. Smartphones should not be given to dumb people
Every school or pub quiz night in the land has been wrecked by the toilet trickster, the person who sneaks off just before the answer sheet has to be handed in and returns suddenly able to remember the name of the longest river in Wales.
8. Social networking isn’t for sissies
Twitter is a feudal state. Up in their mansions with their multitude of faithful followers are the lordly celebrities. Down here is you, followed only by Keith from IT and three porn-bots; in other words, you are muttering to yourself in an echoing void.
9. No captain of industry ever used a smiley face
… the main rule is: the less important you are the more formal you must remain. Lord Sugar can get away with a curt “No deal”; until you’re the boss you have to append at least “thanks” or “all the best”.
10. It’s not always good to share
The major dilemma of our age is how to delineate between our public and private lives. Eventually someone will invent a breathalyser app that will shut down your access to all social media after two cocktails. It can’t come too soon.
11. Don’t try our patience
Don’t send links to memes or YouTube clips that everyone has seen. Don’t clog up inboxes with those generic lists of online jokes about things wives/Yorkshiremen/lawyers, etc always say. Don’t ask by e-mail a question that you could easily answer via Google, which these days is almost everything.
12. Remember the real world
My attention span has become Ritalin-able. The internet has made me regress, to become like a shuffling teenager holed up in my bedroom. At the end of the day I sometimes have that swirling, hollowed-out, over-stimulated feeling, like I’m living on sugar alone. If this is the way that you feel there is only one solution, however traumatic. Turn. Off. Your. Screen.