Recently, I came across a list of the original rules to the game of “Basket Ball”, as made up (i.e. “created”) by James Naismith on the morning of the very first game:
There are a few things that are particularly interesting to me about these rules:
- They haven’t changed that much in 109 years
- Some of them have changed completely (dribbling, anyone?)
- More than half of them are about enforcing the others
- The “house rules” aren’t listed – that is, gravity, force, momentum, and other laws of physics without which the game itself could not be played.
When it comes to the game of life, one of the most confusing things is figuring out which rules are created (i.e.”made up”) and which are a part of the “house rules” – that is, they will be enforced whether anyone catches you breaking them or not.
As we come to the end of another year, I thought now would be a fun time to explore the difference between these two kinds of rules. Let’s begin today by concentrating on getting a better understanding of a few of the “house rules”; next week (next year!) we’ll pick up with a look at how we create many of our difficulties in life and how we can un-create them going forward. We’ll also consider how instead of resolutely resolving to play better by the current rules of the game, we might want to make up some new rules instead…
House Rule number one:
What is, is; what isn’t, isn’t
I sometimes call this the “no suffering” rule, because breaking it almost always engenders suffering. The moment I try to make the case that things shouldn’t be how they are (or should be how they aren’t), I begin to suffer. As an interesting side note, the sooner I accept that things are the way they are, the easier it is for me to change them.
Here’s a corollary to the “no suffering” rule:
You control what you control; you don’t control what you don’t control
This week, I received an email from someone who’s understanding of this house rule is making a very concrete difference in her life…
|Your philosophy has helped me greatly these last few months — my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, has undergone 4 surgeries, and is now in the midst of chemo, to be followed by radiation. And yes, of course I have my moments of hysteria, but the prognosis is very good, and I’m usually able to be calm and cheerful. I concentrate on the things I can control, not those that I can’t. So very Michael Neill of me, huh?|
While most of us don’t have to deal with quite so much “real life” at any given time, you can probably find areas in your life where you are frustrating yourself by trying to control some aspect of life that isn’t up or down to you. And if you can let go of wanting to change that, at least for now, you will find that frustration recedes into the background freeing you up to make the best of the task at hand.
House rule number two:
The world is what you think it is.
Here’s how I wrote about this “house rule” in Supercoach:
|If source energy is the paint, thought is the paintbrush. Our life is the canvas, and our consciousness is what allows us to appreciate the painting. Because different thoughts come in and out of our heads throughout the day, our experience is continually changing. But because we tend to focus on the same limited range of thoughts throughout the day, there is a sense of cohesive reality to our experience.Of course, just because a thought pops into your head doesn’t mean it will immediately manifest in your life. (If it did, there would be more deaths by roller coasters going off their tracks, people falling from very high places, and heads exploding due to stress than any other cause.) That’s because in and of themselves, thoughts have no power.
It’s only when you invest your own energy and consciousness into them that they begin to become real. A thought without your personal investment is no more powerful than a tea bag without boiling water. It’s only after you add the water that the tea begins to infuse and create the flavor, and it’s only after you add your agreement and energy to a thought that it begins to impact your life.
I am convinced that a deeper understanding of thought not only leads to greater inner peace and tranquility, which I can vouch for from experience, but will ultimately lead to a more peaceful world, which is an experimental hypothesis I am actively engaged in testing on a weekly basis. But because things are the way they are and I only control what I control, let me finish this tip (and this year) on a simpler note:
and may the year ahead be filled with love, happiness, and prosperity –
for you, for me, and for all of life.