Rules to Live By

1. "What goes around, comes around." The law of Karma in Eastern Philosophy. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," in Christianity.

2. Obviously what you do is important. Sakymuni made it one of his eight rules, the one called "right action." But how you do it is of equal importance. Michael would say you should endeavor to do everything "brightly, and with beauty."

3. "You are what you eat." This applies to anything you consume: food, books, television, everything. In Buddhism is is referred to as the inseparability of the individual from his environment. Japanese Buddhists may refer to this as Esho Funi.

4. No "trash talking." Slander diminishes us all. If you wouldn't say something about a person in their presence, don't say it at all. Even then you might want to guard your speech.

5. "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." This saying reminds me of a Chinese proverb, "A journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step." It has a corallary: "It has never been this late." Here in the U.S. we say, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

6. Action is not necessarily progress. Define your goals, literally write them down, and let actions serve to reach them. Focus with determination. Have only one, two, or a small handfull at a time. Too much clutter results in chaos and the won't help you do anything.

7. Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Again, stay focused. Obstacles appear to come from the environment. Equally pernicious are the devils you somehow create that hinder you from within. Some Japanese Buddhists call this Sansho Shima, the three obstacles and four devils, although it sometimes feels to me like there's a whole bunch more.

8. You are not your body but you are responsible for it and its possessions. You are not your mind, but you are responsible for it and its preconceptions. What you are is a never ending series of attitudes in the process of becoming perpetually connected to an "ever blissful, ever conscious, ever new" state.