Over the past couple of months I’ve written a few times about the rules that govern and guide different religions. I feel that these rules, as much as the deity, make the religion. They provide the framework for all the practices and beliefs of a faith, and if you can’t follow the fundamental rules then I don’t think you can consider yourself a member of that faith.
Since I’m still on my spiritual journey with only a generic version of the Golden Rule to guide me, I thought that perhaps I’d better take a look at the rules that govern my life. Maybe laying out my personal commandments will point me in the right direction.
In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about her own personal commandments and how they help her to frame her choices and also help her to be happier. She is more aware of who she is at a deep level, recognizing things like she finds it easier to abstain from something than to partake in it moderately. So, taking her as my role model, I came up with the following commandments for myself:
- Be me
- Do it now
- Lighten up
- Be polite and be fair
- Be mindful and intentional
- Thrift over acquisition
- Observe; don’t judge
- Recognize abundance
- Seek always to learn
- Let go of what isn’t
- Sleep on it
- Practice compassion
In the weeks since I’ve written down these personal commandments I’ve discovered that I struggle to live up to many of them. For example, sometimes it is so hard not to judge a person, especially based on their appearance. But, when I find myself falling into that trap, I remind myself of my commandment. And thrift? Well, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t lusting over the new iPhone. I can’t wait to make it mine!
I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with a search for a spiritual path. Well, how can we know if we are walking the right spiritual path if we don’t know ourselves? I started on this journey when I was finally able to be honest with myself that Wicca wasn’t the path for me. I knew myself well enough to know that it wasn’t providing me with what I needed to sooth and nurture my soul. And, as I learn about many different religions, being aware of my deep personal beliefs and commandments can only aid me in making the right choice.
If I am honest with myself with regards to these commandments, I can definitely see Pagan influences throughout. Lack of judgment, patience, and an emphasis on learning and intellectual exploration, compassion, and patience were all aspects of the path I used to follow. And, clearly, they need to be part of the path I follow going forwards.
What about you? Do you have a set of personal commandments or rules? Do they mesh with the spiritual path you walk, or are they at odds? If they are, how to you reconcile the differences. I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or email me at [email protected].