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10 Timeless Principles for Spiritual Enlightenment (& Creating an Awesome Life!)

“Most importantly, the meaning of spirituality lays the seeds for our destiny and the path we must follow.” ~Dennis Banks

When I say spirituality, what comes to your mind?

Something esoteric, for the mystics and gurus, or something for anyone who wants to live life to the fullest?

Today I want to help you better understand what spirituality actually is, and how it can help you create an awesome life.

To start things off, let me tell you the story of the 3 movies that started off my spiritual journey, all the way back in 1999.

***

7 Years in Tibet

I still remember getting my first taste of spirituality. I was 13 years old.

I watched the movie 7 Years in Tibet with my mom, and as I saw Brad Pitt’s character become friends with the young Dalai Lama, I started discovering the world of Buddhism.

I remember thinking, “Wow, what a different way to live!

It was the first time I was exposed to the possibility of living a simple, yet fulfilled life.

Contrary to what mainstream society was telling me, these monks didn’t need success, fame, or a big house to be happy.

I started thinking maybe life has to do with what’s inside of us, not just than what’s around us

Shortly thereafter, I bought my first book about Buddhism and started learning…

***

Braveheart

A couple years later, I watched another movie that absolutely fascinated me: Braveheart.

Now, you might think, what does Braveheart have to do with spirituality?

Well… William Wallace is a pretty intense dude and an extraordinary leader… because he believes in something so, so firmly.

His unshakable belief allows him to unleash his full human potential, and inspires people to rally behind him even in the face of potential death.

Watching him work his magic got me thinking about the power of believing and having faith in something.

After watching that movie, I not only felt very proud of being 1/8 Scottish, but I also felt incredibly inspired to believe in something

***

Life is Beautiful

Shortly after that episode, I watched a 3rd movie that really affected my spiritual life: Life is Beautiful with the incomparable Roberto Benigni.

If you’ve seen it, you know it’s not only a truly wonderful and touching story, but it’s also one that truly highlights the power of the human spirit.

Even under the direst circumstances, Benigni’s character remains positive and enthusiastic, and does his best to make sure his son remains happy, even though they’re living in a Nazi concentration camp.

I realized that I, too, want to be someone who lifts others’ spirit and brings joy to their heart, even when times are tough.

I wondered, “how can I embody the traits I admire so much in the Buddhist Monks, William Wallace and Robert Benigni”?

Over the ensuing years, I kept deepening my spiritual practice. I gained new insights as I travelled the world, met interesting people, and experienced different ways of life.

I was starting to get it, slowly but surely…

***

Tough Times = Enlightening Times

Even though I was understanding these principles on an intellectual level,  it took a time of crisis to help me truly get it.

Because real growth only happens through experience.

Over the first few months of 2012, I went through a dark phase where I felt overwhelmed, and experienced confusion and discouragement.These challenging times forced me to re-evaluate the way I was looking at things.

They  also inspired me to study the works of spiritual luminaries such as Wayne Dyer, Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Lao Tzu and Thich Nhat Hanh. Learning from the experience of these great masters really expanded my mind, my consciousness, and I feel like a much more grounded person ever since.

Today, I want to share with you the best of what I’ve learned over the last few months and since the beginning of my spiritual journey 13 years ago.

Whether you’re new to the idea of living a spiritual life, or you’ve been on this path for a while, I believe these 10 timeless principles will really help you live a more fulfilled and meaningful life.

***

1- Change Yourself, Change the World

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

There are a lot of things that just don’t make sense in the world we live in. Injustice, greed, poverty, disease, hunger…

Many people complain about the system, the government, capitalism and whatnot, but at some point we have to realize that all change starts from within.

If you want the world to be a better place, start by being a better person.

2- Embrace Stillness

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” ~Eckhart Tolle

We live in a world that’s more fast-paced than ever before in history. We’re constantly bombarded with stimuli and new information.

To really get in touch with our inner greatness, we need to be able stop, pause, and reset. A calm mind gives us clarity, confidence and courage.

Meditation, walks/runs in nature and yoga are great ways to still your mind and prepare it for great deeds.

3- Have Faith

“As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” ~Emmanuel Teney

A few months ago, if you’d asked me if I had Faith, I would have said no.

But I’ve come to realize that in life, with so much uncertainty we have to face, so many ups & downs to go through, it’s super beneficial to believe in something greater than us.

Whether you call it the Universe, God, the Tao, the Force… I truly believe that there’s something more than us at play.

Having Faith helps us believe that everything is unfolding as it should that it’s all going to work out. :)

4- Be Here & Now

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future.If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~Lao Tzu

A lot of us spend a lot of our time dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. But the only thing that is REAL is this instant. It’s all we control, it’s all that actually exists.

Being mindful of the present moment helps us be less stressed, connect with others more deeply and create better work.

5- Be in Service to Others

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” ~Ghandi

This is something I’ve discovered fairly recently, but it’s oh-so-important. The easiest way to get happy is to focus on making those around us happy.

When we get out of our own head, of our own challenges, and focus on others… everything starts flowing a lot more easily.

Try it out today: in every interaction you have, see how you can make the other person feel better, either by taking interest in their stuff, giving them a smile, a compliment, a pat on the back…

They will really appreciate it, and I can almost guarantee you’ll feel really good too.

6- We Are All Extraordinary

You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason. ~Wayne Dyer

Every person on this planet is born with their own gifts, talents, and abilities. We are all unique, beautiful creatures.

We are all deserving of love, friendship and connection. Each and every one of us. Without exception.

Seek validation from within, not from without. Only you can choose if you are worthy.

7- Fear is an Illusion

Your fear is always about what’s going to happen next, it means that your fear is about what does not exist. If you’re suffering the non-existential, we call that insanity.” ~Sadguru

For so many of us, fear is what stops us from tapping into our true potential. We have an idea, an ambition… but then our ego starts running all kinds of crazy stories about what could go wrong.

We get scared. We give up before we even start.

Fear is normal. Everyone feels it. When you feel fear, that’s a sign that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, into unchartered territories of growth and possibility.

Take a few deep breaths, step forward, and unleash your full potential.

8- Let Go of Attachment

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr

Much of the suffering in this world comes from our attachment to a certain outcome or to a certain scenario. We have a fixed idea of how things should be. We resist what is.

While it’s great to set an intent, a lot of the things that happen in our life we simply have no control over. Whenever something shitty happens, just accept it. It’s already done. You can’t change it.

Move on, and learn whatever you can from this experience.

9- Know Thyself

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu

A big part of living a spiritual life is to really get in-tune with our self, with our feelings and emotions. To be able to recognize certain patterns in our thinking/behaviour and to adjust our course accordingly.

A great way to do this is to start journaling. As you write down your thoughts, your interrogations and insights, you will start to get a lot more clarity into who you really are.

From there, not only can you manage yourself better, but you’ll find it much easier to align yourself with your path.

10- Follow Your Bliss

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. ~Joseph Campbell

This is perhaps the single most important lesson contained in this post. Follow your bliss, follow what your heart is telling you.

It’s the only way to truly live your life to the fullest.

We’ve been so conditioned to follow what our parents tell us, what society expects of us… that we forget to listen to the part of us that really knows what’s best. Our heart.

Whatever sets your heart on fire, gets you excited, is what you should be spending most of your time doing.

By doing so, you’ll be offering your greatest gifts to the world, you’ll be living with inner peace, bliss, fulfillment and happiness.

 ***

Final Thoughts

My friend, as you can see, these principles are not particularly complex – the challenge comes in their application.  Now that you are mindful of them, seek to live these truths every day.

If you can make these 10 truths a part of your everyday life, you will be amazed at how wonderful life can be.

You may not have the peacefulness of a Buddhist Monk, the passion of William Wallace, or the joy and positivity of Roberto Begnini right way, but I promise you’ll get much closer than you’ve ever been.

Namaste :)

Phil

 

Please share this post because that’s how more people get on their spiritual path.

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27 Comments

  • Love it Phil :)

    Fear most certainly is an illusion. The biggest thing I’ve learnt since I started on my journey is that our emotions are under our control. I’m not saying that fear ever goes away, or that we should try and resist it. Instead, it’s up to us to acknowledge it and then perceive it in the way we want. Do we let it paralyse us, or do we look it dead in the eye and do whatever we were going to do anyway?

    “We’ve been so conditioned to follow what our parents tell us, what society expects of us… that we forget to listen to the part of us that really knows what’s best. Our heart.”

    Thank you for the reminder! Following my bliss can seem tough at times. It’s always good to remember exactly why I’m doing these ‘crazy’ things.

    • Hey Rebecca!

      Yes I like what you said about our emotions being in our control. In any moment, we can put ourselves between and our response to it, and try to choose optimally. Of course, this isn’t always easy and takes a lot of practice.

      There’s also the idea that we can associate different meaning to different emotions. Sadness/frustration can be labelled as a negative.. or it can be seen as our body/mind giving us a sign that something needs to change.

      I know in the middle of this transition you’re in there’ll be many times when you wonder what the hell you’re doing..but trust me, from my perspective you’re doing the right thing and things are only going to get better as you go!

  • Nice post buddy.
    These 10 things are so simple, yet so easy to loose track of. I’m loving how some of these same messages repeat over and over in the Philosopher’s Notes. I’m also amazed at how few people really seek mental and spiritual improvement/enlightenment these days. It’s like the only improvement people go crazy for is in the areas of career, finances and health. The spirit is too neglected, but our minds really can be the key to feeling fulfilled in all those other areas. Or something like that.

    • Dude so stoked that you’re onto the Philosopher’s Notes! Great stuff isn’t?

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, it all starts in the mind and even the way our mind operates is based on our spiritual/philosophical beliefs, aka the “software” we install over time.

      That’s why last year around this time I decided to forego my idea to start a superfoods business and get serious with blogging.. Good food is important, but what goes on in our mind is way more powerful.

      Keep rocking out and I have no doubt all this wisdom you’re acquiring will really help you in the next chapter of your life (well.. and until then!)

  • Great post and great movies! (I didn’t see 7 y in Tibet yet, I’ll make sure to watch it). La vita e bella is the most legendary movie of all times for me, Benigni is a true artist in directing and acting.

    These principles truly are timeless and most important ones, thank you for an excellent reminder :))
    Btw, did you read maybe The four agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz? I started just today listening to an audiobook and I was amazed from the start :D I listened to it a while ago in PN, but never got to listen/read it directly. Every sentence is a true mind-opener!
    I mention it because it has a lot to do with the subject of this post, who we really are, what “rules” we should follow to “live (y)our life to the fullest” -as you said. And it also talks about how everything affected our thinking process – what you also mentioned and Rebecca quoted – “We’ve been so conditioned to follow what our parents tell us, what society expects of us…”

    Love this moments, when everything fits so perfect in time and place (our head) :)

    • Love it Ivor!

      Yes I have read The 4 Agreements a few months ago, I enjoyed it although I gotta admit for me it wasn’t ground-breaking. I stoked that it’s come at the perfect time in your life though!

      I’ve definitely had a few experiences lately with Wayne Dyer and Eckart Tolle, and now I’m reading The Education of Millionaires and it’s really helping with my newest pursuit, which is to truly understand + master the entrepreneurial game.

      Cheers brother!
      Phil

  • I liked that post. :)

    • Thanks Drew! I enjoyed writing it.. :P

  • I think I have been practicing some of these principles, and they really do feel great! Thanks for reminding me their awesomeness!

    • My pleasure Xavier! That’s awesome you’re already walking down that path, I hope you can keep integrating more & more as you go!

  • Great post man, something I think we should all read daily to remind ourselves.

    “People who say namaste” – ‘God Bless America’ (2011)
    -haha just kidding, have a great day

    • Thanks Ryan- yeah we definitely need those daily reminders!

      That’s why every morning I make sure to spend ~10 minutes listening to Wayne Dyer’s “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” (his modern interpretation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching) while preparing breakfast to help put me in this “wise” state of mind.

      Namaste brother :P
      Phil

  • So wise and yet so young!

    As the saying goes “The person who makes his passion his job, never has to work again”.

    This is great wisdom clearly explained – You’ve clearly found your calling.

    • Thanks George, I really appreciate it.

      I’m lucky to be able to learn from great teachers who’ve taken the time to figure out this wisdom, and who explain in terms I understand, so I can then turn around and do the same for others. :)

      Have a great day!

  • Thanks for sharing this Phil! It’s a gift to myself and to all those who have the pleasure of reading this.

    There are quite a few of these points that I’ve become much more mindful of lately. Like, we talked online, these 10 truths are the foundation of so much more to come. You can’t build something, be it a business or a love or an overall experience, thatis great, big, authentic, true , life-changing for yourself and for others, without this foundation.

    – Lauren :)

  • This goes so deep and I think you hit the nail right on the head! You have to always keep persevering, learning, discussing, and growing. Becoming better. I try to learn as much as I can by going to spiritual forums like http://www.openenlightenment.com . I love it.

    • Thanks for stopping by Stacie. I don’t know if you’ve built the Open Enlightenment community (your email address makes me think so) but if that’s the case, great job! It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to attract so many spiritually conscious individuals in one place and I have no doubt that it’s contributing to raising the vibrations of our planet. :)

  • Awesome post Phil, really enjoyed reading this one! I’ve been reading ( quite slowly – but there’s no other way with this one ) The Power of Now through out my travels and more importantly putting it into practice. I honestly have never felt more at peace!

    Situations that would of made my ego boil back in the day I now brush away. More people need to get in touch with themselves these days!

    • Nice Driz!! Yeah The Power of Now is quite the piece of literature.. But it really does shift our life when we start to realize these principles.

      After you’re done with it, I highly recommend you dive into some Wayne Dyer material- it’s totally mind-blowing and life-change too.

      Much love brotha!

  • You’re simply amazing Phil.I discovered your site today and I kept reading it the whole afternoon.Thanx for the wonderful piece of advice and for the inspiration you have given me.Keep up with the good work.God bless you!:)

  • hey man this post is amazing. youve helped me remember some things i have recently forgotten. i really needed this thank you for taking the time to do it

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  • Dear friends,There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…through silence… also there is study of spiritual values. Every human being in this world aspires for peace and happiness. Happiness and peace have less to do with gross objects; they refer to states. Moreover, there is another kind of experience, which is the highest and is independent of worldly objects and senses. It is called Bliss.

So, what do you think?