4 Rules of the Righteous Path
The righteous path appears to be a religiously affiliated concept, but for me, it means a way of life that ancient people believed would take humans to their utmost destination in the most optimal manner. And that utmost destination, for me, is to become one with the System that created us while maintaining the ability to deviate from it. In other words, becoming one with the System while we are still alive is the utmost destination. Here, I outlined what I have learned so far in a collection of four easy-to-understand principles.
The righteous path is a multidimensional one, as life is multidimensional. In its essence, it is the path that leads to becoming one with the Universe (the System). It is not the easiest path, the shortest path, or the fastest path of attaining the life purpose, and yet it is all of that. As easiness, distance and time are all dimensions of a path. The righteous path is simply the optimized one, the one that takes all dimensions and constraints into account and makes it as easy, fast, and short as possible. Hence, balance!
Rule 1 — Seeking Balance
Balancing among constraints and aspects of life and being in harmony with life is the essence of the righteous path. To move in extremes and to stay in extremes requires more energy and effort than staying on and moving in balance. The less deviation one has from the optimized point, the balance point, the less energy and effort are required for him to progress forward. Thus, overall it will be easier (requires less effort) to stay around the balance point. For us to stay on the righteous path, we do not need to see the whole path ahead, we only need to find the balance at any moment that we are living. We only need to find our balance at the moment, and if we do this consciously and frequently, we will be walking closer to the righteous path, the balanced path. We should consider that each individual balance is unique to them; thus, each path is unique. There are many similarities among individual paths, but each path is different from another, yet all are righteous if they are balanced and in harmony with the Universe.
The way of the System is the balance.
But living in balance is not effortless, even though it promises the least overall effort. Finding the balance is not as easy as it sounds, either. There are principles that can help us in finding and maintaining the balance, though. The System (Universe) itself as a whole always strives for balance and moves towards it. Observed extremes of opposing sides are means of creating balance, as they cancel each other’s effects out. The way of the System is the balance.
Rule 2 — Being Truthful
Thus, being true to what the System creates within (internal) and outside (external) us is the most effective way to become one with the System and achieving a balance. But what does it even mean to be true to the System and live truthfully? One can imagine two aspects of being truthful: internal and external (in fact, there is only one, the internal).
We are all very familiar with the external aspect of it due to social structures and moral codes that exist in most societies. We are also very familiar with the costs and consequences of not being truthful as well as its “possible” rewards in a social setting. The external aspect focuses on being an impartial witness and reporter of what’s happening in the Universe. If we see something happen to us or to others (things, people, animals, etc.), or if we do something to us or to others (positive or negative), we should be an honest, impartial witness and report it as it happened if we are going to report, or required to do so of course. Basically, we must not lie.
And how do we lie? We decide not to be impartial and distort the observed facts; this decision is made internally, within us! This brings us to internal truthfulness. Internal truthfulness, or being internally truthful, means being true to what is going on in our minds and hearts. Being true to our thoughts, emotions, and intentions. In simple words, not having multiple faces and masks, but showing our true selves. For example, if I don’t like someone or something, I shall not pretend that I like that person or thing and vice versa. I can stay quiet and free of any expression, or If I decide to express, I shall express (not necessarily act on) my emotions and intentions as they are.
Imagine if we could not “positively” mask (pretend)our “negative” thoughts and feelings towards others. We either had to live alone or figure out why those thoughts and feelings exist and find a way to get rid of them! Or better yet, we had to acknowledge and accept each other’s flaws (as well as ours) and live in peace. If we keep masking our thoughts, emotions, and intentions, in reality, we will have lonely life because nobody can relate to us on a deeper level, nobody will know the real us, and everyone around us is staying around because of our masks, not because who we really are. The real us will be alone.
By being truthful to what happens inside and outside, we will be in line with the progress of the Universe toward balance.
By not masking our “negative” thoughts and emotions, we will either find a way to change/accept them, or we will find people who think and feel like us, or we might figure living alone is our best and most pleasant option, either way, it is a more effective and less costly way of living than constantly putting up masks and maintaining them. We are an inseparable part of the System; whatever happens inside or outside us is created by the System; everything is the product of the System, every thought, emotion, and happening. By being truthful to what happens inside and outside, we will be in line with the progress of the Universe toward balance.
Rule 3 — Integrity: Being True to Our Words
Being truthful also implies another principle that can help our efforts in becoming one with the Universe. The other one is to have integrity by being true to our words and striving to keep our words, our promises.
When we think of a promise, it is easy to think of a promise to others, but before we make a promise to others, we are making a promise to ourselves to either keep our word or not! When we do not intend to keep our words, we shall not give them so as to stay true to our intentions. This includes all kinds of promises, the ones we give to others and, more importantly, the promises we make to ourselves. New year resolutions are good examples of such promises that we make to ourselves. The rules that we set up for ourselves are also examples of giving ourselves our word. We shall try our best to keep our promises to ourselves. Alternatively, we shall learn not to give our words if we absolutely do not intend to keep them or have learned by experience that we easily break our promises.
This is also in accord with the Universe, the Universe is always true to its words, its rules, and promises. Gravity is a rule of the Universe, it has told us how it works, and it “always” works that way. The System never breaks its promises and rules. If we want to become one with it, we shall strive to become more like it. One way of becoming more like the System is to value ourselves and our words and sincerely try our best to keep them first to ourselves and then to others.
The System never breaks its promises and rules. If we want to become one with it, we shall strive to become more like it.
But what if we are forced to break our word by the universe itself through events that are out of our control or will? then we shall restore the integrity of our word by first acknowledging what happened and then trying to make up for any costs, losses, or damages that occurred as a result of our broken words. For example, imagine a situation where we promised to meet with a friend or foe, and our car breaks down on our way to the meeting while no other viable option is available for us to honor our word. We first need to acknowledge that our friend or foe might experience some costs (physical or psychological) as a result of us not being able to keep our promise, and maybe apologize for not being able to keep our word despite our best effort. Then we should offer ways to make up for inconveniences (costs, etc.) that our circumstances might have caused our party, maybe through making new promises that we intend to keep.
Many religions and living philosophies (e.g., Confucianism) have mechanisms in place to help people deal with broken words. From a religious perspective, sin appears to be an instance of a broken promise, one that has been given to God (essentially an internal promise). Interested readers can look further into their reference philosophy or religion to find other possible ways to restore their broken integrity and honor their words. The mechanisms they find might be more helpful to them in keeping up with their personal balance than the ones prescribed here.
Rule 4 — Being a Curious Observant
Last but not least, we can find other ways of becoming more like the Universe by carefully and curiously observing it. This principle, in fact, is the one that helped me learn about other rules in the first place. It is important to maintain the attitude of a curious and impartial observer throughout life.
To further illustrate, the Universe gives life, creates life, sustains life, transforms life, and nurtures life. Accordingly, any action that is in line with this function of the System helps us become more like it. Hence, any action that helps other beings to maintain life or transforms the lives of other beings can be in line with the function of the Universe. Basically, any act of kindness (feeding, giving, helping, teaching, etc.) that facilitates life on earth (anywhere in the universe, for that matter) is in line with the universe and helps us to become more like it and live a more balanced life. Hopefully, you can find more ways to be in sync with the Universe and become more like it than the one example I gave.
In short, the righteous path leads us to become one with the System. It is in striving to find the balance in all aspects and dimensions of life that unfolds in front of us through being completely truthful: true to our thoughts, intentions, and words, and true to life itself.
It is important to note that the newfound acts and ways should be considered in the context of seeking a balance (Rule 1) and be regulated by it. For instance, being an overly giving and charitable person can distort one's balance to start negatively impacting the maintenance and progress of the life she is living. In the same vein, one may say the destruction and disturbance of life are also ways of the Universe and the System. I would say that is true, but we shall not worry much about that aspect as the Universe will have us destroy and disturb life quite enough (e.g., killing an ant inadvertently when walking, killing mosquitos willingly, or eating many kinds of food!) to create a balance.