I write these basic life rules with my children in mind. These are the philosophical breadcrumbs I’ve used as a trail mix throughout my life.
They are not unique but they are deeply cogitated, not imported without critical reflection.
One or two I was raised to believe. A few go against what I was raised to think. So you will need to make up your own mind.
For what it’s worth, this is what I think.
Reading and Learning
Everything is interesting when you try to understand it. How planes fly; how organs in your body work; the literary masterpieces that have been made for you to enjoy. How computer languages display information on your screen. You can learn anything.
Reading is the great time machine connecting your portal of reality to every other human in history. Fiction develops greater empathy. Read fiction, too.
It’s going to happen that you won’t always tell the truth. Sometimes it is to be kind or protect someone. Use your good judgment about whether it is okay or not.
But always be honest with yourself. Essentially, there is only you. People will come and go. You might finish this chapter being rich, poor, old, young, sick, or well, it doesn’t matter. You don’t owe yourself anything except honesty.
Save 10% of your income
Money skills are easy to get. They make life a little bit more like a game you can control. Not entirely control, but you have more control if you have some money skills.
Start with saving. Always save 10% of what you earn. If you get $1, save 10 cents. Ten percent is not much to miss, but it will grow into a big pile of money. The trick is to pay yourself first. As soon as you get paid, put that 10% into a separate account.
Don’t pay yourself at the end of the week. If you pay all of your bills and do some spending, and try to save it then, it won’t be there. Pay yourself first and you won’t notice it. Learn to budget for all your expenses.
Keep a budget. Everyone will have bills to pay. Write down all your expenses and needs and have accounts for them so you never worry about paying for a bill. You may find when you have added up all the expenses and things you need, you don’t have enough money coming in.
Work how much you need to cover everything, and then try to increase income for that. When you get a bill, pay the bill and get rid of it. Don’t leave it hanging around. If you owe it, pay it as soon as possible.
A savings habit and budgeting skill will save you many times in your life. You will be able to get yourself out of a pickle, even if you have little money, you will be able to get back on your feet and work it out yourself. You may need to ask for help and to borrow money but have a plan first. Try and get yourself out of that pickle. I did this lots of times from scratch and also borrowed money and received helping gifts of money. Money is energy.
Pay loans back as soon as possible. They are bills. Always know if something is a gift or a loan. Be clear and always pay back loans or don’t accept them.
Keep your promises
Your word is your reputation and integrity. Integrity is worth more than money and costs nothing.
Pay your tax
There will be some times when you think the government is doing a good job and spending tax money well. Most of the time, in fact. you will think that they aren’t.
You may rightly believe they don’t deserve your tax money. There are lots of people who delight in not paying tax. Don’t be one of them. You can highlight something unfair, or corrupt, but we all need to contribute for the greater good.
Pay your taxes whether they deserve it or not. If you grumble for a minute when you pay them, grumble only for a minute. Pay and then forget about it Don’t let money issues simmer. Spend your time creating love and kindness, not on petty furies.
Leave Little Legacies
A lot of people think leaving a legacy means acquiring a large amount of money and then bequeathing it to something or other. Don’t wait for that. Legacies don’t have to be big or financial, and they can be left all the time. You don’t need to be old. Leave lots of little legacies for your children or your friends. It really is all about the small things. Sprinkle them liberally.
Get Good Karma. Avoid Bad Karma.
It sounds so dated and out of fashion but it is useful way to make small daily decisions because it is so simple. Bad karma is treating people badly, eating badly, lying, swearing, failing to deliver. Good karma does good things and it feels good in your heart, mind and body.
Don’t eat meat
This is two philosophies in one. Think about what you’re doing even if everybody else is doing it. Try to think from outside your own perspective and from outside the broader group you are in. Take a big overview, way up high and away from time, recognising the patterns and routines. Think through the origin of food. Think about what it does inside your body, and whether it feels right. Think about the animal. Is it here on earth for us to eat? Does it have thoughts and feelings? Don’t eat meat or drink their milk. It isn’t for us.
I don’t believe Jesus was the son of God
I don’t believe Jesus was the son of God because God is/was not a human. God is a force of energy. But Jesus was right when he said that God lives within all of us.
Maybe he has been misinterpreted. Maybe he was a vulnerable human with a sweeping sense of the divine order, great charisma, profound kindness, and a mental illness like schizophrenia.
I believe he was part of God (the force of energy) in the same way we all are.
I see Jesus as more of a political or transformational leader. Insightful and necessary of his time.
I believe all religious texts should be critically examined as cultural artefacts rather than immutable truths because if we do that, people will always have excuses to be at war. Hand in hand with this, is my next thought.
No one is wrong about God
God is inexpressible. The force is ineffable. Anyone who attempts to describe that force will never be able to and therefore cannot be called wrong.
Don’t live somewhere ‘kelod’
There will be places you know that have a good feeling when you go there, and other places that don’t. . A lot has to do with aspect and light. It is also views, natural landmarks, people, and some places just have problems that make them feel a bit uncomfortable in some way. Live somewhere you feel relaxed, safe and has good welcoming energy. Pay notice of the feeling.
Learn another language
It might not happen fast but another language will help you understand another world. Embedded in every language is so much culture and history that you will discover a lot more than you think.
Even if you never achieve mastery, learning another language is humbling. You are learning from scratch and it is challenging. You go slowly, step by step, like earning to walk. Slowly, you get better. It’s satisfying and good for your brain to be like a child again. It feels very nice to speak in another language and to understand another voice.
Listen to ancient wisdom
We live Australia. The oldest humans on earth were here. Aboriginal people have collectively so much wisdom. You may not act in accordance with everything, but at least listen to it.
Walk each day
Going for a walk clears the driftwood of your mind. It gets your brain working and releases endorphins which make you feel good. It shows you what is happening — gardens, raindrops, new houses — and is good for making decisions and taking breaks.
If you are in the city, it is wonderful to walk up stairs instead of always taking the lift, walk whenever you can. For me, feeling the oxygen in my lungs feels very good. We have beautiful human bodies and walking is part of looking after them. They need love and maintenance. Enjoy your exercise. It is very pleasurable and good for you.
This is One Chapter
Your life is like a chapter in a neverending book. Some people think you have many lives of earth, I don’t know about that. This might be the first chapter, there may have been others. All I know is you are a spiritual being having a human experience. You are part of the universe.
When you die, it is not the end. Try not to worry about it too much. It’s natural. It is very sad when someone dies because we miss them so much. But they need to go on to the next chapter. You will have more chapters too. We can’t even imagine what they will be like. All that matters is love and kindness.
Now, go on, my children, and create your own philosophies in life.