"Knowledge is power. Depending on how it's used,
it can create either heaven or hell".
- Anonymous

In order to better understand life and our unique place in the universe, it's necessary to see the big picture, just as an artist steps back from his canvas to gain perspective and see how everything is connected. A closer look at nature reveals order and love. Albert Einstein once observed that, "Nothing in the universe happens by chance. God does not play dice." So, it's important to recognize that life is not by accident. Things happen for a reason. Therefore, your level of awareness, as to what those reasons are, will make the difference in your life between conscious and unconscious living.

It is the lack of such awareness that is the root of all evil, and the source of needless unhappiness and pain. It derives from clinging to the cosmic illusion and the false and limiting beliefs about the universe and about ourselves.

Awareness, on the other hand, makes it possible to overcome evil with good, sorrow with joy, cruelty with kindness and ignorance with wisdom. In the final analysis, as awareness increases one comes to realize that what is important is not how much one achieves but rather how much one feels blessed, no matter how little one has. When people on their death bed are asked about their one big regret in life, the response is amazingly always the same - they wish that they had had more time to love and be loved. They never say: "Oh, I wish I could have spent more time shuffling paperwork at the office and have made more money or had gotten that promotion." This is the ultimate proof of our spiritual essence, which then needs to be recognized and developed. In the absence of spirituality, self-transformation and actualization are not possible.

Since spiritual development occurs only in a state of high awareness, it's essential to pay attention to it at all times and cultivate it on a regular basis. Each phase of spiritual development allows one the opportunity for growth, to see things in a new way while experiencing a direct communion with God. The Scriptures referred to this form of direct communication with God in the saying "Ask and you shall be given."

It's been said that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. That is, we can't go forward looking constantly through the rear view mirror. Therefore, no matter how far one has gone on the wrong path, one can always turn back and choose another path. When you come to this awareness, you will never feel stuck or beyond hope. Once you decide to embrace the challenge to rise above all sense of identification with the physical self, you will immediately start to notice a positive change in your life. Initially it may take some conscious effort to make that shift in thinking. However, with time and a little practice it will become second nature. You will find yourself operating on automatic.

I found that there are certain universal principles for achieving success and fulfillment in life. Once you embrace those principles, you will unleash a tremendous amount of power and literally be all that you can be. You will go from making a living to making a difference, accompanied by a sense of prosperity and fulfillment like never imagined possible.

The Fundamental Principles For Successful Living are universal. They are not intended to replace your chosen creed, only to enhance it by increasing your awareness and stimulating your spiritual awakening so that you may experience the closeness, love and unity of God. Rumi once said that, "We rarely hear the inward music, but we're all dancing to it nevertheless." The trick then is to somehow dance to the music within. To do this we must develop new skills and rely on our innate wisdom. But turning on your inner power is very much like knowing how to turn on a switch - one must have directions. So here are my Fundamental Principles For Successful Living:

Keep an open mind, with a fresh approach to life

Accept the possibility of other realities. Since life is both real and an illusion at the same time, anything is possible. What makes life animated and meaningful is love and charity (characterized by being of service to others). Trust that a higher intelligence and power exists and that it can and wants to be known. When two inventors or musicians come up with identical inspirations and/or ideas without even knowing about the other, this is a definite sign of the existence of a higher intelligence. Just as one can tell a lot about the essence of the painter by looking at the picture, similarly one can tell a lot about the essence of God just by observing the miracle and the wonder of life.

Align yourself with the right forces in the universe

Recognize that there are powerful forces in the universe, positive as well as negative, invisible yet very real. By aligning yourself with the positive forces, which are for your highest potential and good, you will attract to yourself the kind of events and people that harmonize with your dominant thoughts. Though you may not be able to control outer circumstances, you can still control your own thoughts. Ultimately, this will determine your actions and level of success and you will no longer be a victim of circumstances, conditions, beliefs or habits anymore.

Familiarize yourself with and live according to the laws of the universe

A closer look at the universe reveals order as well as love. Our goal needs to be to live in harmony with the laws of the universe in order to achieve a greater quality of life. Therefore, it's essential that you become aware of the basic laws of the universe, and practice them regularly. Awareness, like observation, takes conscious effort, but over time it becomes instinctive.

The laws of the universe are basically characterized by love, honor and respect for the sanctity of life. Remember that life in any form contains the divine spark (the essence of God). Be particularly aware that in the universe there is no such thing as something for nothing. Life is a give and take proposition. In fact that which you want to receive, you must first give away freely. The act of giving need not be monetary at all. It could be as simple as a kind deed with no strings attached, or a kind word and a smile to another.

Strive for increased and heightened awareness

The more aware you become, the more you can influence the universe through subtle spiritual vibrations. That's when your desires and intentions become miracles waiting to happen. This process includes an awareness of your soul, which contains the divine spark. As the stuff that holds reality together, your soul is your most reliable link to God. The soul is on a never-ending journey, always evolving and growing. It works only for what is most evolutionary in your life. As a form of pure energy, it can never be destroyed, only transformed. In other words, the soul is beyond birth and death. Lack of awareness of the soul creates a sense of loneliness and pain despite any material success. This is a result of a profound separation, consciously or unconsciously, from the source, God.

Identify yourself with Spirit rather than the material world

When you identify yourself with God, you identify yourself with the source of all things. In essence you make the ultimate power available to you. Your true identity is beyond boundaries, beyond limitations and beyond the illusion of the material world. When you recognize your unity with God, all obstacles and self-defeating belief systems such as fear, worry, doubt, lack and limitations dissolve instantly. It's essential that you faithfully remind yourself that you are not your possessions, desires, fears, pains and temptations. After all, when you have it all, temptation becomes virtually impossible. Remember, you are not a human being having a spiritual experience, but rather you are a spiritual being having a human experience. This is your true essence.

Act as a co-creator

When you come to realize that you contain the divine spark and that God is another aspect of your Self, you will know that you have the power to co-create. Recognize that as a co-creator you have more power than you know. As such, you are expected to be an active participant in the process of life and the fulfillment of your earthly destiny. As it's been said, "God helps those who help themselves." As a co-creator, you have the power through your own humble contributions to others to create heaven on earth. You can become a living example and a role model for others by practicing the following philosophy:

* Cooperation, not confrontation (one cannot fight evil with evil).
* Construction, not destruction (it's been said that the triumph of violence ends in a
festival of pain and misery).
* Choose and honor the miracle of life, not the false glory of death. Live and let live.

View yourself as a hero in the making

Think of yourself as a winner and a hero in the making. In the attempt to "fit in" you might miss the opportunity that perhaps you were born to stand out. In God's eyes we are all saints and miracle workers in the making. Match your words with your actions and vice versa. Change your vocabulary from "can't", which is a word of failure and defeat, to "can", which is a word of power and victory.

Rather than being intimidated by adversity, embrace it for it reveals genius and has the potential of propelling you to greater accomplishments. Don't waste precious time on waiting for your ship to come in. Simply find the courage to swim to it.

Recognize true power vs. false power

False power, which is ego driven and devoid of charity and compassion, will lead you to the misuse of it. Because it can be very intoxicating, it will eventually lead you into making poor choices. Therefore, it's essential that you choose your desires and dreams wisely. Refrain from intentions, desires and thoughts that center around the ego needs such as winning for the sake of having power for the wrong reasons. This will only slow down your own progress and block the free flow of energy that would otherwise allow for the manifestation of your own desires. Remember, knowledge becomes real power only when it is used appropriately.

Life is about making daily choices

Recognize that life is about making daily choices. There is a reason that you were given free will. It's so that you may have control over your own earthly destiny. However, you must first decide exactly what it is that you want for yourself. Each choice you make will lead you down a different path. If you know where you are going, chances are you will get there. If you don't, you will probably end up on the road to nowhere. However, no matter which path you choose to take, two things are essential in order to find fulfillment:

(1) A vision of your goal.

Destination-imagination is the key to stimulate and manifest your desires. The brain, which is both a receiver and a broadcaster, cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. You may be an ordinary person who may not have even two nickels to rub together, but it is only your vision and extraordinary way of thinking that will ultimately take you to where you want to go. You will know you are on the right path when you view stumbling-stones as stepping-stones and adversities as opportunities for personal growth. It's been said that ideals and visions are like stars. You choose them as your guides, and by following them you will reach your destiny. However, even then your vision will only become clearer when you look into your heart.

(2) Faith and trust

Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at any given time. Your greatest challenge during trying times is to resist the temptation of falling victim to your own self-defeating thoughts, and the illusion of the material world. Good deeds and positive thinking will not do much good as long as you are kept hostage to your own fears and doubts. Faith and trust will help you take the elements of worry and fear out of the process. They will inspire you to take risks and think boldly while helping you to get through the tough times. What you see is not necessarily what you get. Don't worry about how you are going to get there. Just let go. The universe will take care of the details.

Live by the motto: "He with the most joy lives"

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, triumph over adversity and the thrill of creative effort. Joy and happiness is not about how much we have, but rather about how much we enjoy what we do have. Make enjoying the process of getting there one of your prime objectives. Don't wait for the "big event" to happen first before you celebrate life. This will make you miss out on the here and now and defeat the whole purpose of your life's journey. After all, are you working to live, or living to work? Live by the words of James Dean who once said, "Dream as if you'll live forever and live as if you'll die today."

Cultivate the power of faith, courage, persistence and perseverance

In the absence of valuable resources and in the face of adversity, turn to your most reliable allies: faith, courage, persistence and perseverance. Sadly, every day countless good ideas and aspirations die just as quickly as they are born, not because of lack of opportunity and resources but because of lack of faith, courage, persistence and perseverance. There is a lot of truth and wisdom in the advice that was given in Star Trek "Boldly go where no man has gone before."

Since there has been no faith, courage, persistence, perseverance genes discovered yet, they must be cultivated and developed much in the same way as developing your muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they will get. Your goals will be better served when you cultivate those qualities and make them your masters.

Be clear on your desires and intentions

Dr. Joseph Murphy said that, "Your desire is your prayers. Picture the fulfillment of your desire now and feel its reality and you will experience the joy of the answered prayer." The key is that your desires and intentions must incorporate elements of compassion and charity and be in harmony with the laws of the universe, since creation depends on those elements. It is important to keep in mind that one of the reasons desires are not manifested is because they may not be in your best interest after all. Generally, the universe does not support anything that will not help your soul evolve. One cannot expect God to assist him in taking a life of another human being. Your soul, which has its own plan to help you evolve, may clash with your ego's needs. This is because the ego is not aligned with the direction and purpose of your higher self. "Men ask for what they want, but only the Gods know what they need," as the old Greek saying goes. Trust your soul since it is the best and most reliable compass. The more intense your desire, and the more focused your attention on your desired goals, the faster it will manifest in the material world. Patience is still a virtue; consciously cultivate it, for it will yield great benefits. Trust that no efforts are ever in vain. The universe will bring you the desired results in due time. Ultimately, it is all up to you. You will either become as small as your controlling desire or as great as your dominant aspiration.

Thoughts can create

Recognize that your thoughts have the power to create, as they are subtle vibrations constantly moving in the universe. Essentially, you become what you think about. Therefore, you need to choose your thoughts with care, because we tend to attract the kind of people and events into our lives that harmonize with our dominant thoughts.

Believe in miracles - they can happen to anyone

A miracle is an exhibition of power beyond our five senses. It is an expression of love and light. Its origin is beyond space and time and therefore defies all logic. Miracles will happen more often if you see no separation in life, only unity in everything and everyone. Once you appreciate the unity in life, you will see the miracle and wonder in all things. It is then that you will be able to create miracles in your own life and make your dreams come true.

Focus on your internal affairs

Carl Jung once said that, "When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate." So be willing to go inward and face your demons, which are nothing more than a product of your own perception. Any state of mind can be redirected. This will eventually lead to increased awareness and true fulfillment. When you get your inner life in order, you gain a clarity that enables you to see the oneness and wonder in everything. As part of focusing on your internal affairs, you need to believe that you are indeed worthy of the good things life has to offer. Like a loving parent, God, your creator, wants you to do well and prosper in every way, as long as you live in harmony with the laws of the universe.

Practice the attitude of gratitude

There is power in gratitude. Only when we genuinely appreciate what we have, even the air that we breathe, can we gain a better sense of true joy of life. Developing the attitude of gratitude allows you to receive more of God's gifts while experiencing more love of life. Habitually identify and label out loud all the blessings in your life in order to develop a grateful frame of mind and an attitude of gratitude. By acknowledging and recognizing the good in your life, you will create and attract more prosperity in your life.

Practice forgiveness for yourself and others

It's essential to recognize that part of being human is to make mistakes. It's not who is right, but rather what is the right thing to do. To make it easier to develop tolerance, it's helpful to recognize that everyone is operating from their own level of consciousness. Every one is simply doing the best they can based on their own knowledge, ability and most of all their level of awareness. Just as one would be patient and tolerant with a baby or a small child, one needs to adopt the same approach with adults as well. Since no one is born with a user's manual, true learning and enlightenment comes through trial and error over a period of a lifetime.

Money should not be worshipped nor wasted

There is an unfortunate misconception about money, which has earned the reputation of being the root of all evil. This leads to the thinking that being poor is being spiritual, as if being poor is a virtue. However, when the desire to achieve material things incorporates the elements of charity and compassion, then money can actually be very beneficial. It is really greed, which is devoid of charity and compassion, that drives some to evil acts in order to acquire money.

Practice freedom of detachment

Realize that you don't really own anything or anyone, and likewise nothing and no one owns you either. View all that you have as a gift on loan from God. This will help you develop fewer expectations, and experience fewer disappointments if and when things are taken away from you. Faithfully remind yourself that all that you really have is your soul. We all come to this world alone and penniless, and eventually that is exactly how we all leave it too. Simply enjoy what you do have.

Conduct yourself with the highest integrity

Since the mind is an extension and a reflection of the physical world, physical actions still count. Nothing goes unnoticed by God. Your actions, be they positive or negative, will ultimately either help you or not. Conduct yourself with fairness and charity. Practice random acts of kindness, with no strings attached, as part of your pact with God. As the saying goes, "A good deed a day, keeps the blessings coming your way." Also, always let yourself be guided by your heart, your most reliable compass to do the right thing.

Don't dwell on past successes and/or failures

Miles Davis once said, "Do not fear mistakes. There are none". In other words, don't dwell on your past failures, or even successes, since they don't count. Mistakes are a natural and necessary part of the learning and growing process. Many greats such as Thomas Edison "failed" many times before achieving success. Each intention and desire gets a fresh start every time. Trust that everything will work out in its own due time.

Strive for progress, not perfection

Recognize that life is not a race to be won, or a destination. Life is a process and as such mistakes are only a natural part of it. Progress will bring you a sense of satisfaction and inner peace, whereas perfection will lead you to a lot of unnecessary frustration and other negative emotions. Make achieving a high level of awareness a worthy goal to attain. The more aware you become, the more liberated you will feel and the more you will achieve. Keep in mind that the beginning of a mastery over anything is a high vision that may otherwise be out of sight because of life's many challenges. However, it should never be out of mind. Constantly keep your eye on the ball.

Embrace the known and the unknown

Claude Bernard said that, "Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown". Embrace the unknown and welcome change and uncertainty, for it carries with it the seed for equal or greater benefit. For true life is lived when tiny changes occur. Crises and adversities are nothing more than opportunities for growth, as well as potential miracles waiting to happen. View change as necessary in the process of evolution. Be willing to let go of old and self-limiting beliefs about yourself and the universe. Take risks and live your life like an adventure, in the same spirit of what Helen Keller once said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Accept change as a vital element in order to keep you as a valuable player in the game of life as well as a contributing member of society. Remember, the end of something is usually the beginning of something else, and often better.

Author's Bio: 

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