A key element of Dan Millman’s The Life You Were Born to Live — Revised 25th Anniversary Edition, as in the earlier edition, is a major section on the universal spiritual laws that can guide us to live wisely and well. Presented in Part Four of the book, the laws are especially useful in helping us overcome the hurdles on each of the forty-five individual life paths described in the book.
We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt, in which Dan shares some background on these laws of Spirit.
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Human laws form a basis of social agreement and social order, but human laws are only pale reflections of a higher order of laws sewn into the fabric of existence. These laws govern the movement of the Earth, the cycle of seasons, the forces of nature, and the structure of the atom itself. Nature didn’t make these laws; nature only reveals and demonstrates them. The great laws existed before humanity, before nature. Even the cyclone, the tidal wave, the hurricane, and the raging fire — forces that can lay waste to the highest human enterprise — work under the dominion of these great laws. Whether we call them spiritual laws, universal laws, natural laws, or simply higher laws, we can’t alter or deny them. They humble and inspire those who search for order within chaos, as they point to a greater power and mystery at the source of existence. Even the galaxies dance to their music.
Scientists and mystics both strive to understand these universal laws, but use different methods of exploration. The laws in this book aren’t distilled to mathematical formulas (such as E = mc2), but rather are presented as axiomatic statements that express a higher order of reality. Their validity doesn’t require or depend on any kind of belief. Like the law of gravity, they apply whether or not we believe in them.
The natural world reveals these universal laws to us. The cycles of the seasons, clouds riding the wind, the currents of the river, and the powers of wind and sea — all teach us how to live by revealing the natural way of life. In this book, I refer to these overriding laws as spiritual laws or laws of Spirit. When adapted and applied to the human realm, these laws of Spirit become guiding principles that we can use to steer us through the shallows and reefs of life the way the stars and compass guided ancient mariners on their course. Constant as the movement of the planets, they apply not only to the mechanics of nature, but to the human psyche as well. For example, by observing a tree bending in a high wind and observing that only the rigid branches break, we learn from the tree and wind the secret of yielding and the power of flexibility, or nonresistance.
Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha, Lao-tzu, and other illumined teachers have taught spiritual laws and principles through the use of parables and metaphors about the natural world that also apply to the human social world. For example, the laws of harvest teach that seeds only reproduce their own kind; that what we sow, we reap; and that a seed dies when it stops growing. Any process of growth follows the way of the seed. In order to grow, the seed needs good soil; it takes time to grow into maturity; and it bears fruit of the same kind and quality as itself. When we gather the harvest, we’re wise to save at least 10 percent for the next planting. We have to end one cycle to begin another; all seeds grow and change, and eventually die, to be plowed under for a fresh planting.
Of course, the law of harvest relates to more than farming; it illuminates our life and the laws that govern us. As with seeds and cycles, so with human beings and all the beings of creation.
Ultimately, all spiritual laws reveal themselves as needed — not necessarily in words, but rather through our deepest feelings, through the intuitive wisdom of our heart. Our body, when free of external programming and interference, abides naturally within these laws, which are communicated through our instincts and subtle intuitive feelings. All we have to do is to pay attention to and trust our inner knower. The mind or ego, our isolated sense of separate self, resists the flow of the current of life.
When we align our lives — our habits of diet, exercise, work, and sexuality — with spiritual laws, challenges remain, but we can approach them without struggle, with arms open wide, like peaceful warriors embracing the moment, ready to dance.
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Dan Millman is a former world-champion gymnast, coach, martial arts teacher, and college professor. He is author of seventeen books published in twenty-nine languages and shared across generations to millions of readers, including The Life You Were Born to Live. His internationally bestselling book Way of the Peaceful Warrior was adapted to film in 2006. Dan speaks worldwide to people from all walks of life. He lives in New York City. www.PeacefulWarrior.com.
From the book The Life You Were Born to Live — Revised 25th Anniversary Edition. Copyright © 1993, 2018 by Dan Millman.