My good friend tells a story about how when he and his friendwere younger, they went to India expecting to leave the Western world and all its beliefs behind. They saved their money and journeyed on this huge pilgrimage to cash in on the exotic enlightenment that Indian mysticism seemed to offer. They believed there was something out there--over there--that would give them the in-sight and tools they needed to transform their lives, to fill in the missing piece of their existence. When my friend and his friend finally sat at the great guru's feet, they heard him simply giggle and offer, "Be like Jesus!"
This wasn't what they were expecting. But like so many westerners who came after them, they believed they needed to look elsewhere for the answers, when much of the ancient wisdom and timeless guidance we need is right here, within our own heritage and our own hearts.
You might expect that I would base the majority of my teachings on the ancient yogic texts and philosophy, but after spending a lifetime immersed in it, I can honestly say that much of the teachings of the East don't make sense for us here in the West. It has become very popular to dress things up with Hindu mysticism, but all the flowery language and talk about peace, chakras, samadhi, and grand promises of spiritual enlightenment can easily become distractions. I've seen so many enthusiastic people sincerely seeking a better way get sucked into the black hole of yogic promise. Blindly worship a guru, contort into strange poses, control your breathing ... it all fits perfectly into the dark side of what is wrong with American culture. It appeals to our Madison Avenue-fed belief that happiness is found on the outside.
ACCORDING TO GANDHI, HEALTH MUST BE SOUGHT PRIMARILY IN THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT, THROUGH A THOUGHTFUL OBSERVANCE OF THE LAWS OF NATURE.
He believed that as whole, interconnected beings, we can trace any lack of health we experience to mental and spiritual causes, and that vitality and health can be transformed only when a person's entire attitude toward life is changed. In his wisdom, he knew that what was necessary for true health was to live by the laws of nature in relationship to diet, purposeful exercise, fresh air, positive surroundings, forgiveness, and a pure heart. He was able to see this through perfect vision - as if he'd just had cataract surgery at an old age.
Although we are calling the laws here the Laws of Transformation, they could also be called the laws of nature or the laws of life, because these same timeless and universal principles hold true in all these realms. Like physical laws, there are spiritual laws that govern the universe. And like the law of gravity, spiritual laws of transformation exist whether we believe in them or not. Our votes mean nothing. This is why, as you will discover in Law 4, we must hold a space within ourselves for faith.
The laws here are principles by which we can live and grow. They can act as the guiding beacon of light on the high road toward truth and whole-life health. The more closely we cleave to these principles and natural laws, the more effortlessly we will be changed. To the degree that we choose to live by them, our life flows. To the degree that we reject them, we struggle.
When we violate the laws of nature, we are not living up to our potential. It doesn't necessarily mean we are bad, just that we are not entirely in the know. When you have an innate knowledge of these laws within your consciousness, however, it gives you the ability to create a flow of energy and light in your life, which allows you to tap new realms of physical transformation and spiritual evolution. You are no longer swimming upstream, and as a result, you feel more at home in your body and at peace with the pressures of your life.
When we look at anything through the perspective of principles, we immediately shift our perception to the bigger picture. There is a greater purpose and meaning behind what we are doing, and we are led by a higher force rather than just haphazardly taking action. Without principles, we are subject to anarchy and chaos. All the pieces of this program mean nothing if they are not undertaken in the spirit of these laws. There is a saying in the Bible that "a foolish man builds his house on sand." By understanding, internalizing, and living these timeless principles, we are building our house on rock, and from this foundation, we can flow and grow into true success in life.
All of the Laws of Transformation are interconnected. The laws depend on each other, and like the cells of one body, they work together toward a greater meaning. I encourage you to read these all the way through, to establish your philosophical foundation for your forty-day journey, and then to return to them as you proceed through the weeks. Something that may not have made sense to you in the beginning may take on a wholly different meaning as you go through the process. I believe that you intuitively already know these principles, and therefore they will resonate with you and will reinforce what you already knew in your heart. As Socrates said, "True learning is remembering."