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Life's Ground Rules

Where Do the Rules Come From?

There are rules for every situation, so what is life's guiding principle?

Consider this: Every game, every job, every organization, every relationship, every mechanical device, every business, every science (astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, etc.), in fact, just about everything in life has rules for success or failure. Two particular types of rules emerge from this concept:

Ground Rules: Violate these and you're expelled from the game. These ground rules, or "universal laws," govern every game, relationship (business or personal), or science-in short, every area of human endeavor. Like gravity, they apply everywhere throughout the universe on a 24-7 basis! Thus the old saying: obey the rules or "you're out"-out of a relationship, out of money, out of a reputation, out of energy, out of friends, out of a job, or just plain out of luck!

Rules for Success: The second type of rules shows us the best way to actually succeed at the game. Every endeavor in life, whether personal, professional or spiritual, has its rules, spoken or unspoken, on how to "play to win."

Following the rules brings success, pleasure, and satisfaction. Failure to follow the rules (or denying that they exist) brings, pain and dissatisfaction, even catastrophe. Most of us readily acknowledge this much is so. Yet, when it comes to our own lives, we each seem to think we're the exception to the rule! We think that somehow the rules don't apply to us. But reality clearly demonstrates that they do.

Does breaking the rules really have consequences?

The soaring rates of divorce, bankruptcies, broken relationships, loneliness and alienation testify to the fact that breaking the rules does have consequences. The increase in drug and alcohol addictions and the exponential jump in the popularity of various anti-depressants underscore the terrible toll breaking life's rules is taking.

Many people choose to deny that these rules exist, but like gravity, the rules really don't care! If you were to jump out of a ten-story building, gravity would undoubtedly work whether you chose to acknowledge it or not. Those who, for one reason or another, are in denial about life's rules are usually surrounded by the carnage of their own making: broken relationships, financial disaster, poor health, depression, anxiety, neurosis; you name it, they suffer from it. And then they take on the role of "victim" on top of everything else!

Conversely, those few who choose to follow both God's ground rules and then move on to master the rules for success seem to have a "golden touch." They enjoy loving families, meaningful careers, financial prosperity, good health, many friendships, and they're full of energy, and optimism. For them, "life is good."

This is not to say that their lives are problem-free. In fact, they're likely to have more problems than the average person (because they're doing so much more, and added activity always brings increased levels of challenges). But they're able to confront challenges by applying the rules of success to each new one that comes along.

Where do the rules come from, anyway?

Virtually every wisdom tradition around the world believes that God, the holy, omniscient, omni-powerful, omnipresent, all-loving Being who created humanity, also provided us with the equivalent of a "life instruction manual" in the form of universal laws or "first principles"-which we refer to as ground rules.

These rules, along with general guidelines for successful living, have been handed down to us through what we call the wisdom of the ages, drawn from the world's great religions. We have sourced much of this insight from the Eastern traditions such as the Byzantine and the Middle Eastern traditions such as the Jewish ancient wisdom books, which are now incorporated in The Old Testament of the Bible.

Who Wrote the Rules?

Much of this wisdom literature was first recorded in hand-written script (thus the term scripture) by Jewish wise men, as well as by some of the most knowledgeable kings of Israel. One such wise man was King David, who authored many of the Psalms, and his son Solomon, a diligent student of Egyptian and Eastern wisdom literature and widely acknowledged to be the wisest and wealthiest of ancient kings.

Jesus taught that to obey these laws was to "remain in God's love" Conversely, ignoring or breaking these laws (or ground rules) brings physical, financial, emotional, or spiritual ruin.

In Christian and Jewish tradition, these principles were known as "God's law," and they're summarized in the Ten Commandments that God gave to the Jewish people. They later were cited by the world's greatest teacher, Jesus of Nazareth.

A little over 2,000 years ago, Jesus became known as the world's greatest rabbi or teacher. Jesus' parables (or teachings) were based on the laws found in the Hebrew Scriptures written 1,000 years earlier. Contrary to popular myth, Jesus did not seek to weaken or do away with the law, but to do just the opposite He said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." (Mathew 5:17-20)