How to Live the Good Life

Advice from Wise Persons


Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo
Valley Spirit Grove, Red Bluff, California

October 3, 2011

Cloud Hands Blog





Characteristics of the More Fully-Functioning Individual

"Nonconformity and Individuality
Acceptance of Ambiguity and Uncertainty 
Acceptance of Human Animality  
Commitment and Intrinsic Enjoyment 
Creativity and Originality 
Social Interest and Ethical Trust  
Enlightened Self-Interest  
Flexibility and Scientific Outlook 
Unconditional Self-Acceptance 
Risk-Taking and Experimenting 
Long-Range Hedonism  
Work and Practice" 

-  Albert Ellis, The Albert Ellis Reader, p181-194. 




Seven Perennial Spiritual Practices:

"1.  Transform your motivation: reduce craving and find your soul's desire.
2.  Cultivate emotional wisdom: heal your heart and learn to love. 
3.  Live ethically: feel good by doing good. 
4.  Concentrate and calm your mind. 
5.  Awaken your spiritual vision: see clearly and recognize the sacred in all things. 
6.  Cultivate spiritual intelligence: develop wisdom and understand life. 
7.  Express spirit in action: embrace generosity and the joy of service." 

-   Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind,




Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth

"1.  Preparation: Stairway to the Soul 
2.  Discover Your Worth: Opening to Life 
3.  Reclaim Your Will: The Power to Change 
4.  Energize Your Body: A Foundation for Life 
5.  Manage Your Money: Sufficiency and Spiritual Practice 
6.  Tame Your Mind: Inner Peace and Simple Reality 
7.  Trust Your Intuition: Accessing Inner Guidance 
8.  Accept Your Emotions: The Center of the Cyclone 
9.  Face Your Fears: Living as Peaceful Warriors 
10.  Illuminate Your Shadow: Cultivating Compassion and Authenticity 
11.  Embrace Your Sexuality: Celebrating Life 
12.  Awaken Your Heart: The Healing Power of Love 
13.  Serve Your World: Completing the Circle of Life"

-  Dan Millman
   Everyday Enlightenment: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth,




The Six Principles of Enlightened Living
The Six Perfections (Paramitas) in Mahayana Buddhism:

"1.  Generosity: charity, kind-hearted giving, altruism, unattached generosity, boundless
     openness, unconditional love (Dana) .
2.  Virtue: ethics, morality, self-discipline, not harming, proper conduct, impeccability (Sila). 
3.  Patience: tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance (Kshanti). 
4.  Energy: diligence, courage, enthusiasm, vigor, effort (Virya). 
5.  Meditation: absorption, concentration, presence of mind, contemplation (Dhyana). 
6.  Wisdom: transcendental wisdom, mystical insight, enlightenment (Prajna)."  

-   Dzogchen Buddhism, Dharma Talk: Six Principles of Enlightened Living and Six Perfections (c 50 CE)




The Ten Emotions of Power

"1.   Love and Warmth
2.   Appreciation and Gratitude
3.   Curiosity
4.   Excitement and Passion
5.   Determination
6.   Flexibility  
7.   Confidence 
8.   Cheerfulness  
9.   Vitality 
10.  Contribution"

-   Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within, 1991, p. 264 




Reverse Your Biological Age By:

"1.  Changing your perceptions.  
2.  Deep rest, restful awareness, and restful sleep. 
3.  Lovingly nurturing you body through healthy food.  
4.  Using nutritional complements wisely.  
5.  Enhancing mind/body integration: breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, qigong, aikido, etc.. 
6.  Exercise: strength and aerobic conditioning.  
7.  Eliminating toxins from you life.   
8.  Cultivating flexibility and creativity in consciousness.  
9.  Love and loving relationships.   
10.  Maintaining a youthful mind."

-   Deepak Chopra, M.D., and David Simon, M.D. 
    Grow Younger, Live Longer: Ten Steps to Reverse Aging
.  (2001) 




Nine Pagan Virtues

"1.  Wisdom - Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response. 
2.  Piety - Correct observance of ritual and social traditions; the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal),
we humans have with the Gods and Spirits.  Keep the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty. 
3.  Vision - The ability to broaden one's perspective to have a greater understanding of our place and role in the cosmos,
relating to the past, present and future. 
4.  Courage - The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger. 
5.  Integrity - Honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence.
6.  Perseverance - Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.
7.  Hospitality - Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the
honoring of "a gift for a gift."
8.  Moderation - Cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical),
through excess or deficiency. 
9.  Fertility - Bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an
appreciation of the physical, sensual and nurturing." 
The Ar nDraíocht Feín Dedicant Program, 2005, p. 15  




Confucian Virtues

"Li: Propriety, reverence, courtesy, ritual or the ideal standard of conduct.
Jen: Goodness, benevolence; recognition of value and concern for others, no matter their rank or class. 
Chun-Tzu: The idea of the true gentleman who lives according to the highest ethical standards.
The gentleman displays five virtues: self-respect, generosity, sincerity, persistence, and benevolence."

-   Confucius (550-479 BCE)
    The Analects




The Twelve Principles of Natural Liberation

"1.  All forms are interconnected, constantly change, and continuously arise from and return to primordial Source.
2.  Commit yourself completely to liberation in this lifetime. 
3.  Relax and surrender to life. 
4.  Remain in now. 
5.  Cultivate union with universal energy.  
6.  Go with the universal flow.  
7.  Rest in the radiance of your open heart. 
8.  Active compassion arises naturally out of unconditioned love.  
9.  Cutting through to clarity, luminosity, and spaciousness.  
10.  Return to Source.  
11.  Pure Source awareness is - remain in recognition.  
12.  Serve as a warrior of the open heart and liberated spirit." 

-   John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below, 2006  




The Four Classic Western Cardinal Virtues

"1.  Temperance: moderation, self-control, mindful, purity, disciplined. 
2.  Prudence: wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, insightful, forward thinking, sagacious, sound judgment. 
3.  Courage: fortitude, endurance, composure, determination, will, overcoming adversity. 
4.  Justice: fairness, principled, harmony, equality, utility, rule of law." 

-   Plato (c 340 BCE), Republic




Six Virtues of Positive Psychology

"The introduction of  the Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV) Handbook suggests that these six virtues are considered good by the vast majority of cultures and throughout history and that these traits lead to increased happiness when practiced.  Notwithstanding numerous cautions and caveats, this suggestion of universality hints that in addition to trying to broaden the scope of psychological research to include mental wellness, the leaders of the positive psychology movement are challenging moral relativism and suggesting that we are "evolutionarily predisposed" toward certain virtues, that virtue has a biological basis."   -  Positive Psychology

The organization of these virtues and strengths is as follows:

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
  2. Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
  3. Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
  4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
  5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self control
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality"  




The Ten Grave Precepts

"1.  Affirm life; Do not kill.
2.  Be giving; Do not steal.
3.  Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality.
4.  Manifest truth; Do not lie.
5.  Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind.
6.  See the perfection; Do not speak of others errors and faults.
7.  Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others.
8.  Give generously; do not be withholding.
9.  Actualize harmony; Do not be angry.
10.  Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the Eight Treasures."

-   John Daido Loori, The Eight Gates of Zen, 2002, P. 240.  
     The Five Precepts of Mahayana Buddhism




Ten Positive Energy Prescriptions

"1.  Awaken intuition and rejuvenate yourself.
2.  Find a nurturing spiritual path.
3.  Design an energy-aware approach to diet, fitness and health.
4.  Generate positive emotional energy to counter negativity.
5.  Develop a heart-centered sexuality.
6.  Open yourself to the flow of inspiration and creativity. 
7.  Celebrate the sacredness of laughter, pampering, and the replenishment of retreat.
8.  Attract positive people and situations.
9.  Protect yourself from energy vampires.
10.  Create abundance."

-  Judith Orloff, M.D.. 
   Positive Energy,




Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry

“Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing;
nor upon tradition;
nor upon rumor;
nor upon what is in a scripture:
nor upon surmise;
nor upon an axiom;
nor upon specious reasoning;
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over:
nor upon another’s seeming ability;
nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.”
When you yourselves know:
“These things are good; these things are not blamable;
these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed,
these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.”"
-   Gautama Buddha
     Kalama Sutta, The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry
     Translated by Soma Thera (The Wheel Publication, No. 8),
     Buddhist Publication Society, 1987  




Dalai Lama's Rules for Living

  1. "Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs:  Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good and honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it."

-  Dalai Lama 




A Twelve-Point Program for Healthy Aging

"1.  Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
2.  Use dietary supplements wisely to support the body's defenses and natural healing power.
3.  Use preventive medicine intelligently: know your risks of age-related disease, get appropriate diagnostic and screening
tests and immunizations, and treat problems (like elevated blood pressure and cholesterol) in their early stages.
4.  Get regular physical activity throughout life. 
5.  Get adequate rest and sleep.
6.  Learn and practice methods of stress protection. 
7.  Exercise your mind as well as your body. 
8.  Maintain social and intellectual connections as you go through life. 
9.  Be flexible in mind and body: learn to adapt to losses and let go of behaviors no longer appropriate for your age.
10.  Think about and try to discover for yourself the benefits of aging. 
11.  Do not deny the reality of aging or put energy into trying to stop it.  Use the experience of aging as a stimulus
for spiritual awakening and growth. 
12.  Keep an ongoing record of the lessons you learn, the wisdom you gain, and the values you hold.  At critical points in
your life, read this over, add to it, revise it, and share it with people you care about." 

-  Andrew Weil, M.D., Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being, 2005, p. 239.   




Eight Elements West

"1.  Consistent Exercise:  Energize through safe, results-oriented exercise.
2.  Body Alignment:  Promote proper posture, spinal strength with flexibility, and body awareness.
3.  Natural Nutrition: Implement sound eating practices for life.
4.  Sound Mind: Embrace life obstacles with self-awareness, reflection, imagination and creativity.
5.  Relaxation and Centering: Cultivate and calm the body-mind connection everyday.
6.  Community and Environment: Surround yourself with trusted friends and family. Be kind to the Earth.
7.  Individual Action: Time is precious. Let change begin now, with you.
8.  Heart of the Human Spirit: Transform life through your heart, where true strength resides."

-   Eight Elements West, 2005 




Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality

"1.  Moving with Attention, Mindful Movements
2.  Lifelong learning, Retraining, Turning on the Learning Switch 
3.  Subtlety
4.  Variation
5.  Taking Your Time, Slowing Down, Not Rushing 
6.  Enthusiasm
7.  Flexible Goals 
8.  Imagination and Dreams, Using the Imagination
9.  Awareness, Cultivating Mindfulness"

-   Anat Baniel, Move Into Life: Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality, 2009 




Cultivating a Positive Mindset

"Think in a calm, pacified, and reflective manner instead of being disturbed, agitated, and impulsive in one's reactions.
Put ideas together rationally and arrive at the right judgment even in the absence of obvious evidence or proof. 
Decide, plan, and execute a course of action in a patient, persistent, and disciplined manner. 
Recognize the changes and be flexible in adapting to them.
Observe and perceive things with a sense of humor instead of outrage, indignation, and anger.
Let go of useless and counterproductive thoughts, desires, and ambitions instead of being preoccupied with them.
Relax and meditate or rest.
Resist temptation and coercion."

- Michael Fekete
  Strength Training for Seniors, Hunter House, 2006, p. 36 




Some Guiding Principles for Integral Practices and Institutions That Support Them:

"1.  They promote a simultaneous development of our various faculties.
2.  They generally require mentors, rather than a single guru.
3.  They require a strong and developing autonomy.
4.  They are facilitated by personal traits that promote creativity in general.
5.  Though they encourage individual autonomy, they require surrender at times to transformative agencies beyond ordinary functioning.
6.  They require patience and the love of practice for its own sake.
7.  They utilize inherited all-at-once responses, or psychosomatic compliance for high-level change.
8.  They utilize the manifold changes catalyzed by images and altered states.
9.  They enlist more that one mediation to achieve particular outcomes.
10.  They surpass limits by negotiation rather than force.
11.  They depend upon improvisation.
12.  They utilized images of unity.
13.  They require and facilitate conscious transitions between different states of consciousness.
14.  They depend on a developing awareness that transcends psychological and somatic functioning.
15.  They orient all our capacities and somatic processes toward the extraordinary life arising in us."

-   Michael Murphy, "The Future of the Body: Explorations Into the Further Evolution of Human Nature," 1992, pp. 579-586.




The Song of Ch'an Tao Chia
The Twenty Seven Precepts of Taoism

"Have compassion for all sentient beings causing them no unnecessary hurt nor needless harm.
Refrain from needless competitiveness, from contriving for self-advantage and from subjugating others.
When accepting authority over others know also that you accept responsibility for their wellbeing.
Value true friendship and fulfill your obligations rather than striving with egotistical motive.
Seek liberation from the negative passions of hatred, envy, greed and rage, and especially from delusion, deceit and sensory desire.
Learn to let go of that which cannot be owned or which is destroyed by grasping.
Seek the courage to be; defend yourself and your convictions.
Accept transience, the inevitable and the irrevocable.
Know that change exists in everything.
Negate the barriers to your awakening. Discover the positive in the negative and seek a meaningful purpose in what you do.
Be just and honorable. Take pride in what you do rather than being proud of what you have accomplished.
Having humility and respect, give thanks to those from whom you learn or who have otherwise helped you.
Act in harmony with your fellow beings, with nature and with inanimate objects. 
Know that a thing or an action which may seem of little value to oneself may be a priceless treasure to another. 
Help those who are suffering or disadvantaged and as you yourself become awakened help those who seek to make real their own potential.
Know that there is no shame in questioning.
Be diligent in your practice and on hearing the music of the absolute do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song.
Remember to renew the source in order to retain good health.
Seek neither brilliance nor the void; just think deeply and work hard.
When still, be as the mountain. When in movement be as the dragon riding the wind. Be aware at all times like the tiger, which only seems to sleep and at all times let the mind be like running water.
When you are required to act remember that right motive is essential to right action, just as right thought is essential to right words.
Beware of creating burdens for yourself or others to carry.
Act with necessary distinction being both creative and receptive and transcending subject/object dichotomy.
Know that you are not the center of the universe but learn to put the universe at your center by accepting the instant of your being.
Seek security within yourself rather than in others.
Know that even great worldly wealth and the accumulation of material things are of little worth compared with the priceless treasures: love, peace and the freedom to grow.
Allow yourself to be so that your life may become a time of blossoming."

-   Stan Rosenthal, (Shi-tien Roshi) of the British School of Zen Taoism, 
The Song of Ch'an Tao Chia: The Twenty Seven Precepts of Taoism
Translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stan Rosenthal   




Seven Precepts of Merlin:

"First:  Labor Diligently to acquire knowledge, for it is power. 
Second:  When in authority, decide reasonably, for thine authority may cease. 
Third:  Bear with fortitude the ills of life, remembering that no mortal sorrow is perpetual. 
Fourth:  Love virtue - for it bringeth peace. 
Fifth:  Abhor vice - for it bringeth evil upon all. 
Sixth:  Obey those in authority in all just things, that virtue may be exalted. 
Seventh:  Cultivate the social virtues, so shalt thou be beloved by all men. 
The motto of the Druids the world over is “United to Assist.”
The aim of the Druids is Unity, Peace and Concord.”"

-  Isaac Bonewits, Bonewit's Essential Guide to Druidism, 2006, p.162.




By Max Ehrmann

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. ”

-  Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, 1927.  Max Ehrmann (1872–1945), a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana. 



Dhammapada Sutra by The Buddha

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu




Creating Optimism

"1. Connect to Others, socialize, maintain friendships.
2. Maintain Autonomy: a feeling of independence and a sense of being in control.
3. Self-Esteem: a function of how you perceive others view you. 
4. Competence: relates to how effective you feel you are. 
5. Purpose: fulfillment and meaning throughout your life. 
6. Connection to Your Body: vital to our complete sense of self…
    Exercise, mind/body arts, pampering, wholesome food, rest, relaxation. 
7. Connection to Nature: its permanence, its beauty and power. 
8. Spirituality: a powerful weapon against depression." 

-  Bob Murry, PhD and Alicia Fortinberry, MS, 2004
   Creating Optimism, 8 Tips for Happiness  




Ten Principles for Living

"1.   Never obey anyone's command unless it is coming from within you also. 
2.   There is no God other than life itself. 
3.   Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere. 
4.   Love is prayer. 
5.   To become a nothingness is the door to truth.  Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment. 
6.   Life is now and here. 
7.   Live wakefully.  
8.   Do not swim – float.  
9.   Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.  
10.  Do not search.  That which is, is.  Stop and see." 

-   Osho (Acharya Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)




Principles for Living in Balance

"1.  Attitude
2.  Accountability
3.  Commitment 
4.  Supportive Relationships  
5.  Service  
6.  Personal Mastery  
7.  Faith"   

-  Joel Levey and Michele Levey,  Living in Balance 




The Ten American Indian Commandments

"Remain close to the Great Spirit.
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
Be truthful and honest at all times.
Do what you know to be right.
Look after the well-being of mind and body.
Treat the Earth and all the dwell thereon with respect.
Take full responsibility for your actions.
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
Work together for the benefit of all mankind."   

Poster of the Ten American Indian Commandments, 2000




Seven Keys to Health and Happiness

"Practice Silence - Wisdom is a state of emptiness, listening, and attentiveness. 
Learn from Nature - Every tree, every animal, every stone has a lesson to teach. 
Find and Honor Your Life Purpose -  Your purpose is a gift from the Great Spirit. 
Respect Your Ancestors and Ancestry - All people have indigenous roots, and no culture has a monopoly on wisdom.
Maintain Emotional Balance - Keep your emotions calm and cultivate humor 
Eat According to Your Genes  - Follow the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. 
Get Plenty of Exercise - Stand and move with dignity, and breathe slowly." 

-  Ken Cohen, Native Wisdom: Seven Keys to Health and Happiness, 2003.




Ground Rules for Living

"1.  Be Positive.
2.  Accept Yourself. 
3.  Let Go. 
4.  Express Your Love. 
5.  Accept Full Responsibility for Your Life. 
6.  Forgive Yourself. 
7.  Handle What Does Not Work. 
8.  Let Go of Resentment. 
9.  Don't Overspend.  
10.  Find a Dream to Go For.  
11.  Serve.  Have Your Life Be More Than You.  
12.  Experience Your Spirituality." 

-   Bill Ferguson, Mastery of Life 




Discourse on Happiness

"Not to be associated with the foolish ones,
to live in the company of wise people,
honoring those who are worth honoring –
this is the greatest happiness.

"To live in a good environment,
to have planted good seeds,
and to realize that you are on the right path –
this is the greatest happiness. 

To have a chance to learn and grow,
to be skillful in your profession or craft,
practicing the percepts and loving speech –
this is the greatest happiness. 

To be able to serve and support your parents,
to cherish your own family,
to have a vocation that brings you joy –
this is the greatest happiness.

To live honestly, generous in giving,
to offer support to relatives and friends,
living a life of blameless conduct –
this is the greatest happiness. 

To avoid unwholesome actions,
not caught by alcoholism or drugs,
and to be diligent in doing good things – 
this is the greatest happiness.

To be humble and polite in manner,
to be grateful and content with a simple life,
not missing the occasion to learn the Dharma –
this is the greatest happiness. 

To persevere and be open to change,
to have regular contact with monks and nuns,
and to fully participate in Dharma discussions –
this is the greatest happiness.

To live in the world
with your heart undisturbed by the world,
with all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace –
this is the greatest happiness.

For he or she who accomplishes this,
unvanquished wherever she goes,
always he is safe and happy –
happiness lives within oneself."

-  The Buddha, Mahamangala Sutta, Sutta Nipata, 2.4
    Found in "Chanting from the Heart," by Thich Nhat Hahn, p. 270




Seven Core Values

"1.   The inherent worth and dignity of every person. 
2.   Justice, equity and compassion in human relations. 
3.   Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. 
4.   A free and responsible search for truth and meaning. 
5.   The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.  
6.   The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. 
7.   Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles 




Five Ways to Be Real
Through the Practice of Dzogchen

"1.  Naturalness and Simplicity
Rely on the natural state.  Be yourself, your true unaltered self.  Everything we need is within
the natural mind - innately whole and complete.  So relax. 

2.  Authenticity, Non-contrivance, Non-fabrication
There is nirvanic peace in things left just as they are.  Striving and struggle is extra.  Leave
it as it is and rest the weary heart and mind.  See through everything, be through everything;
and remain free, luminous and complete. 

3.  Openness and Oneness
Stay open-minded and inclusive.  Pure presence is a state of nonjudgmental, non-interfering
choiceless awareness or panoramic attention to the "is-ness" and "now-ness" of all things.
Be open to your experience.  Let go and let things fall into place as they will.  Perhaps
wherever they fall
is the right place. 

4.  Awareness and Wisdom
Present awareness knows and sees what is, as it is.  Innate wakefulness is wise and effective
in its own brand of insight and discernment combined with uncommon common sense. 

5.  Spontaneous Energy Flow
With freedom and decontraction, inexhaustible uninhibited energy is released, surging forth,
bubbling up from within.  When we let go and loosen our tight-fisted grasping, or repetitive
holding patterns, we are buoyed up and become one with the flow.  This is the natural flow,
the sacred zone masters describe.  You can access it at will.

-  Lama Surya Das, "Awakening to the Sacred," 1999, p. 325 
Dzogchen is the "Natural Buddha Meditation."




Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha

"I will attempt to live my life moving toward:
1.  A balanced wholeness of perspective that centers around the idea of achieving a complete experience of life.   [Right Views]
2.  A balanced wholeness of resolve in which I deliberately move away from what is toxic and move toward that which is nourishing.   [Right Intentions]
3.  A balanced wholeness of the manner, content, and intent of my speech.   [Right Speech] 
4.  A balanced wholeness of life-affirming moral conduct.   [Right Action]    
5.  A balanced wholeness of a profession that affirms life and does not obstruct or negate it.   [Right Livelihood]  
6.  A balanced wholeness of life-affirming spiritual activity.   [Right Efforts] 
7.  A balanced wholeness of mindful awareness and alertness as tools for profound living.   [Right Mindfulness] 
8.  A balanced wholeness of concentrated bodymind skills as tools for fully awakening my Buddha Nature.   [Right Concentration]" 

-  The "balanced wholeness" version is from the Venerable Reverend John Bright-Fey, The Whole Heart of Zen: The Complete Teachings from the Oral Tradition of Ta-Mo, p. 254.  The [short version] is a rather standard formulation of Siddhartha Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path




Four Principles for a Successful Life

"1. The practice of giving love without expectations.
2. To seeking true knowledge of ourselves and of the meaning of existence.
3. Practicing reflection to understand the mistakes we made in life and to release ourselves from attachment that causes suffering.
4. To develop ourselves so that we can help guide others and to become useful in the world - to, ultimately, evolve spiritually."

-   Ryuho Okawa, The Laws of Happiness, 2004




Ten Rules for the Good Life

"1.  Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
2.  Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.  
3.  Never spend your money before you have it. 
4.  Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will never be dear to you. 
5.  Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
6.  Never repent of having eaten too little.  
7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 
8.  Don't let the evils which have never happened cost you pain. 
9.  Always take things by their smooth handle.
10.  When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, count to one hundred."

-   Thomas Jefferson, Ten Rules for the Good Life, 1790




Nine Rules for Living the Good Life

"Be Grateful.
Be Smart.
Be Involved.
Be Clean.
Be True.
Be Positive.
Be Humble.
Be Still.
Be Prayerful."

-  Gordon B. Hinkley, Way to Be!, 2002 




Principles for Purposeful Living

"1.  Unity  
2.  Self-Determination  
3.  Collective Work and Responsibility  
4.  Cooperative Economics  
5.  Purpose  
6.  Creativity  
7.  Faith"

-  Barbara Dixon, Seven Principles for Purposeful Living 




Advice for Young People

"Young people need compassion and guidance, not obscure mysticism.
Here are some guidelines for young people:

Remember that you are always your own person. Do not surrender your
mind, heart, or body to any person. Never compromise your dignity for
any reason.

Maintain your health with sound diet, hygiene, exercise, and clean
living. Don't engage in drugs or drinking.

Money is never more important that your body and mind, but you must
work and support yourself. Never depend on others for your livelihood.

Choose your friends and living situation carefully, for they will
influence you. Find a mentor you can trust, one who can answer your
every question, but never give up responsibility for your own life. No
one lives your life for you.

A good education is always an asset.

Emotions are transitory and are not a good way to make decisions.

Every day, you must make decisions. Everything you do will have
irrevocable effects upon your life. Before you go down any path,
consider carefully. Rivers very rarely reverse course.

Know evil, but do not do evil yourself. Remember, there is a way
out of the delusions of life. When you weary of the world, find someone
who will show you Tao."

-  Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations  




Five Keys to Mindful Loving

"Fear can be a warning to be more cautious.
Desire allows you to open and reach out to others.
Judgment fosters viewing a situation with intelligence.
is needed to maintain some stability in your everyday life.
Fantasy stimulates the imagination and fosters creativity."  

-   David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving




Ways to Lift Your Spirits, Boost Your Mood
Revitalize Yourself, Banish the Blues 

Be grateful for the good in your life.   
Give yourself permission to be human.
Brighten someone’s day. 
Learn something new. 
Listen to upbeat music.
Do some exercise on a regular basis.
Simplify your life, remove clutter, and clean. 
Go for a walk. 
Enjoy sex and discover romance. 
Get organized.
Do a good deed or volunteer.  
Smile and put on a happy face. 
Indulge your senses. 
Seek and cultivate beauty. 
Take time to breathe deeply. 
Look at some old photos. 
Focus on the positive. 
Forgive yourself. 
Get some fresh air. 
Eat often and eat light. 
Begin a program of meditation or contemplation.
Talk with your physician or counselor.   
Cook and prepare a lovely and tasty meal. 
Eat something nutritious like nuts or fruit. 
Pamper yourself.
Alter your routines in some way. 
Have confidence. 
Talk with your spouse. 
Fake it till you make it. 
Sign a song out loud. 
Tap into your creative side. 
Take up a mind-body practice like Taijiquan, Qigong or Yoga. 
Inhale a calming scent. 
Sit quietly, rest, or sleep. 
Brainstorm a problem for solutions. 
Avoid bad or negative companions, and find good friends. 
Watch a good non-violent movie. 
Work in the garden. 
Cool down strong emotions. 
Take some vacation time for relaxation and retreat. 
Look on the Bright Side.
Small steps of progress are better than no steps. 
Avoid watching the news for a week. 
Don’t take yourself too seriously. 
Focus on past successes, not failures. 
Create a wish list and make one wish come true.
Explore ways to boost your self-esteem. 
Focus on what you can control and what you can change.
Get some more sunlight on your body. 
Choose your attitude and how you will react to life's events. 
Spend less, avoid shopping. 
Punch a bag or bang on a drum. 
Keep a journal or express yourself in writing. 
Go easy on yourself and yield.  
Count your blessings. 
Take a long shower or refreshing soaking bath. 
Get relevant and accurate information. 
Chat with a friendly person or neighbor.
Things change and time heals. 
Adapt, adapt, adapt. 
Agree to disagree; you don’t need to win every argument.   
Think fast.  
Consider vitamin or herbal supplements that lift mood. 
Seek professional help for serious mental health problems. 
Read something inspiring. 
Avoid comparing yourself to others, and envy is a waste of time.  
Seek spiritual support or pray. 
Evaluate and revise your goals. 
Pet your dog or cat and care for them. 
Get a massage. 
Enjoy a non-competitive sport. 
Try fasting or staying up all night. 
Donate your stuff, your skills, or your time.   
Forgive and forget. 
Don't sweat the small stuff. 
Dance till you are tired. 
Stop using any recreational drugs. 
Spend some time with children. 
Abandon false ideas and unrealistic aims. 
Enjoy a refreshing drink. 
Make someone laugh. 
Allow yourself to be eccentric, and enjoy some silly thoughts.
Have a bowl of soup or a cup of tea. 
Less talking and more doing. 
Get up, dress up, and show up. 
Observe nature carefully and respectfully. 
Visit your public library and borrow some beautiful books. 
Be less self-centered and selfish. 
A spiritual advisor, rituals, or religious beliefs can sometimes help. 
Love expands your horizons of caring and happiness. 
Accept the fact that some things are broken and can’t be fixed.
Memorize an inspirational saying, prayer, poem, or quote.
Call or visit a sick person. 

-  Michael P. Garofalo, Ways to Lift Your Spirits, 9/15/2011, 3 pages PDF Format




Metta Sutra

"This is what should be done
By one who is killed in goodness,
And who knows the paths of peace:
Let them be able and upright, 
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied. 
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be,
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be born,
May all beings be at ease.

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill will
Wish harm on another. 
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Free from hatred and ill will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection. 
This is said to be the sublime abiding,
By not holding to fixed views,
The purehearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world."

-  Traditional Buddhist Scripture, found in "Awakening to the Sacred" by Lama Surya Das, 1999, p. 301 


Dhammapada Sutra by The Buddha

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu




Principles of Enlightened Living - The Six Paramitas

"1.   Dana Paramita: the perfection of generosity.  Unattached generosity, boundless openness, unconditional love. Open heart, open mind, open hand.
2.   Sila Paramita: virtue, morality.  
3.   Shanti Paramita: patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance.  
4.   Virya Paramita: energy, diligence, courage, enthusiasm, effort.
5.   Dhyana Paramita:  meditation, absorption, concentration, contemplation.  
6.   Prajna Paramita:  transcendental wisdom." 

The Six Principles for Enlightened Living Dharma Talk




The Seven Holy Virtues

"1.  Humility: modesty, selflessness, respectful, not prideful or vain.  
2.  Kindness: compassion, friendliness, gentleness, harming none, sympathy without prejudice. 
3.  Patience: forbearance, endurance, composure, forgiveness, not angry. 
4.  Diligence: energetic, decisive, careful, attentive, enthusiasm, working, zeal, not lazy. 
5.  Liberality: generosity, giving, charity, Sermon on the Mount, vigilance, not covetous or envious.       
6.  Abstinence: restraint, moderation, temperance, self-control, mindful, abstinence, not lacking sensual self-control. 
7.  Chastity: sexual self-control, purity, cleanliness, not lustful." 

-  Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c. 410 CE),  Psychomachia and Dante Aligihieri's (c 1315 CE), Divine Comedy




Disputing Irrational Beliefs:
Questions to Ask Yourself  

"1.  What self-defeating irrational belief do I want to dispute and surrender?
2.  Can I rationally support this belief?
3.  What evidence exists of the falseness of this belief?
4.  Does any evidence exist for the truth of this belief?
5.  What are the worst things that could actually happen to me if I don't get
     what I think I must (or do get what I think I must
not get)? 
6.  What good things could I make happen if I don't get what I think I must
     (or do get what I think I must
not get)?" 

-  Albert Ellis, Albert Ellis Reader, p. 140 




The Philosopher-Scientist's Approach

"The philosopher should be a man willing to listen to every suggestion, but determined to judge for himself.  He should not be biased by appearances, have no favorite hypothesis, be of no school, and in doctrine have no master.  He should not be a respecter of persons, but of things.  Truth should be his primary object.  If to these qualities be added industry, he may indeed hope to walk within the veil of the temple of Nature."
-   Michael Faraday (1791-1867)   




Related Reading



Character Strengths and Virtues 


Cloud Hands Blog by Mike Garofalo

Codes of Ethics Online, Center of Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology 

Lifestyle Advice for Wise Persons compiled by Mike Garofalo, 2011. 

The Spirit of Gardening Website   

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, 500 BCE. 

Virtue - Wikipedia  Extensive List of Virtues with Links

The Virtues Project



Return to The Spirit of Gardening








© Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2011

This webpage was first published on the Internet in 2004.


Cloud Hands Blog

The Spirit of Gardening


Dhammapada Sutra of the Buddha

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

One Old Druid's Final Journey: Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove


Qigong (Chinese Yoga, Dao Yin)

Cloud Hands - T'ai Chi Ch'uan



The Poetry of Mike Garofalo

Pulling Onions: Reflections of a Gardener

Send Email to Mike Garofalo


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