Put simply, a “spiritual principle” is a law, guide, or rule, by which we live. It’s not a “law” in the sense that someone is enforcing them on you, but rather it’s more you enforcing them on yourself.
While physical laws govern our general behavior within society – for example, theft, murder, assault, etc, are all against the law, spiritual principles describe our personal approach to life.
Your spiritual principles encompass your way of doing, being, thinking, believing, and engaging with the world around you.
They help you live life to your fullest and reach your maximum potential. They aren’t necessarily religious.
It’s more a matter of being mindful. A lot of people live their lives on autopilot and don’t think deeply about a lot of things.
When you’re mindful you become closer to the spiritual truths and higher power of the world.
This will lead to less suffering, more peace, better growth, and better overall satisfaction with your life.
Spiritual principles aren’t just nice, abstract ideas to think about sometimes. They need to become a part of your life and truly make a difference in the way you live your life.
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Purpose of Spiritual Principles
Spiritual principles are often referenced in 12-step recovery programs as a way to help get past addictions and other hang-ups.
But, you don’t have to be recovering from anything specific to benefit from implementing spiritual principles into your life.
Or, you could be recovering from something other than addiction. Perhaps your life has become unmanageable and overwhelming and you want to get a handle on it.
Or, maybe you just want to be a better person. Ultimately, this is what spiritual principles do. They improve your life and help you become better.
Spiritual principles are not to be confused with values. The two are very different. Spiritual principles don’t include things such as finances or family. They are more universal concepts that apply to your personal life.
Developing spiritual principles isn’t a thing that happens overnight but rather is a process.
When you start acting like a better person, though, your life will generally become smoother and easier. You’ll begin to heal and learn how to apply your spiritual principles to more and more of life’s situations.
See Also: The Ultimate Guide to Spiritual Wisdom
Seven Spiritual Principles we Need to Succeed
Spiritual principles can look a little different for everyone. They can, at times, depend on the circumstances of life and what you’re going through.
With that said, there are seven basic spiritual principles that can serve as a good baseline for anyone to work with.
These are good principles to live by every day. They can be used as daily affirmations and meditation focus points, as well.
The Principle of Gratitude
There is actually science behind the practice of gratitude. Making a conscious effort to be grateful for whatever you have forces your mind to think positively.
It can eliminate feelings of annoyance, resentment, impatience, anger, indignation, etc.
Gratitude fills you with better things like happiness, peace, calm, and joy. Regardless of your situation, there is always something you can be grateful for. Recognize this, meditate on it, and use gratitude to lift yourself up.
The Principle of Humility
While perhaps one of the most important parts of the human experience, humility is often overlooked and understated.
Many people confuse the concept of humility with putting yourself below others and allowing them to walk all over you.
This is far from the truth of humility.
Humility has more to do with being humble. Maintaining a neutral position. You’re not putting yourself below anyone but you’re not putting yourself above anyone either.
Many people spend far too much energy on trying to prove themselves to one another.
Everyone wants to appear better, richer, smarter, wiser, and more worthy. It doesn’t have to be that way.
When you let go of this desire to be better and further along than others, you’ll find much more peace and happiness in your own growth and potential.
The Principle of Optimism
Optimism is more than the classic “glass is half full” type of mentality.
It’s more than just a belief” that things will be good.
It’s more of a proactive state of mind.
It’s where you commit yourself to behave in a way that will make good things happen to you.
It’s also a matter of maintaining a positive attitude in general.
Much of the time, you can’t control or change what happens to you or around you.
What you can control is how you deal with it, react to it, and what you do about it.
Regardless of what’s happened, it’s important to remain optimistic if you don’t want to fall into a state of misery or depression.
The Principle of Generosity
The basic concept here is very simple. Even the best of people can forget about others sometimes.It’s important to remember that the world does not simply revolve around you.
Generosity towards others is a good antidote for the bitterness, resentment, and self-pity that can overcome people who get too caught up in themselves and their own personal bubble.
If you see yourself as the martyr and the victim, that’s what you’ll become, it’s how you’ll always feel.
Living as though to earn the gratitude of others, however, is the perfect way to feel happier and more fulfilled.
Giving to others is to benefit them, first and foremost. However, it comes with benefits for you as well. It makes you feel bigger, better, stronger, and overall better about yourself.
Even if the act of kindness doesn’t come back around to you, you grow in yourself when you give to others.
The Principle of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is another thing that many people don’t truly understand, and yet it’s such a crucial part of living well.
A lack of forgiveness often comes from a place of pride and contempt.
The famous saying is “well how can I forgive them after what they did to me?”
This is a fair statement. Often, what some human beings do to others is cruel, selfish, hateful, and horrible.
Even in these circumstances though, forgiveness is more about you than it is about them.
TO forgive someone doesn’t mean you are accepting or even condoning what they did.
It means you are letting go of what happened and what it does to you. In doing this, you let go of the emotions, and thoughts you’ve been harboring about it. In this way, you set yourself free.
It doesn’t mean you must let the person do it to you again. You can still remove the wrong-doer from your life and forgive the at the same time.
This gives you a sense of calm and peace. You can move on from the situation and possibly, the person, with no anger, malice, or ill-intention of your own.
The Principle of Intention
This is a concept that is either confusing or scary to most people. They get caught in passivity – or the inability/unwillingness to make decisions in their life.
To understand the principle of intention means to accept that you’ll be choosing one thing and not choosing many others.
This is what keeps some people in a place of fear.
They are scared to make the wrong decision, and/or scared to give up the other options should they choose one of them.
But, this is going to be detrimental in the long run.
If this is something that scares you, start with small decisions. Make them, commit to them and go from there.
This will train your mind to make them faster and easier and you’ll be able to “just do it” more easily.
The Principle of Expectations
This is the idea that success and failure are up to you and the way you think about them – or “program” yourself to get.
When you don’t get something you wanted, you can choose how you react to this.
Many will emotionalize the experience and say to themselves and others that they “failed.”
Instead, why not say something like “I didn’t get this, so I need to find a better way to achieve it.”
By doing this, you keep the optimistic, forward momentum. You don’t let your mind land in a place of negativity and failure, but rather make a decision to keep going and do better.
Spiritual Principles Applications
Most people begin their journey of developing spiritual principles for a reason.
It can be something deep and intense like an addiction, or something smaller and less drastic.
All reasons are valid and legitimate.
Some may be recovering from something different, like a rough patch in their life that has started to feel unmanageable.
In this case, they just want to gain some control.
If something traumatic or devastating has happened to you, you may just want to start the healing process.
This can often be more easily said than done.
It can also just be an attempt to gain better focus and start learning some new things such as tolerance, gratitude, or humility.
Learning these things and committing to living by spiritual principles is a good way to gain a better understanding of life and see things from other people’s perspectives.
Spiritual Principles as Antithesis (Benefits)
Another way to look at spiritual principles is as the antithesis to the disease and imprisonment of poisonous and negative thinking.
Bringing them into your life will effectively eliminate other thinking patterns. Being serious about your commitment to spiritual principles will get rid of many things:
- Negative thinking.
- Obsessive thinking.
- Negative habits and patterns.
- Unhealthy emotional attachment and/or avoidance.
- Compulsive behaviors that can leave people feeling trapped.
Negative thinking patterns, habits, and selfish ambition will do nothing but drive your spirit into the ground.
The longer you dwell in these things, the harder it is to get out. Consider bringing some spiritual principles into your life before it becomes too difficult.
Spiritual principles will leave you feeling calm, peaceful, and will open your heart to softness and humility.
It will help you connect with others on a deeper, more personal and intimate level. This itself can serve to heal your mind and emotions.
You will learn about yourself and improve how you relate to others.
You will be more in tune with the world around you and you’ll find a clearer path to your most authentic self.