These five ideas form the core of how I try to live my life. They are born out of my own lessons and mistakes.  Now god knows, I don't always get these ideas perfect, but when I do apply them as best as I can, life works pretty well. I hope you find them helpful!

1. The Truth About Reality
The primary reason we suffer and feel powerless is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe. We perceive that the universe is happening to us when in truth the universe is happening from us. When we realize we are not fending off a random outer universe, we realize that we are living in an outwardly projected hologram of our own minds. Our thoughts, words, and actions are the creative force that forms reality around us. When we understand this truth, we can relax because we realize that we do have control over our internal landscape and when that landscape changes, our outer world morphs to match the inner world.

2. Karma Holds Us Accountable to Our Intent and Actions
Karma is not retribution or reward; karma is simply a way of describing the external reflection of our internal world and intent. And the reflection of karma holds us accountable to our intent. Accountability is a major stop on the road out of suffering, particularly in the spiritual sub-culture. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people quote some nice-sounding spiritual idea to justify doing something really stupid. When the consequences, the karmic reflection of intent, arise from their choice, they look mystified, as if their spiritual recitation pre-stupid-action was supposed to just wipe away these consequences. Not how it works my friends, no matter what words or ideas we use to justify our actions, we cannot escape the karma of our intent. When we are accountable for our intent and actions, we begin to clear the karma by telling the truth to ourselves. We let the truth burn away the delusions that keep us in the karmic cycle of suffering. We see that it is not words that cause karmic reflection, but intent and action. It doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, or do dumb things sometimes, but it does mean we stand up without the crutch of fluffy-sounding excuses and take responsibility for our own choices. Then we don't lie so much to others and ourselves and suffer the karmic reflection of those lies. We cause much less suffering in our lives. We are accountable to our intent, to the truth, and that causes a profound shift in the karmic reflections in which we live.

3. We Are Responsible for Our Lives
I remember watching Oprah Winfrey's final talk show a few years ago and the quote that always stuck with me was, "Remember you are responsible for your own life." Now, of course I realize other teachers have said that long before The Oprah, but it was the first time that idea really sank into my brain. It was around this time that I realized I was playing victim too much in my life. I was giving everyone else the responsibility for my happiness and for how my life was turning out. I began to see that it was my choices, not anyone else's, that were shaping how I was living. This was a time when I began to double down and take care of myself, to clear my life of toxic relationships, and go to therapy and homeopathy to clear the patterns that were creating the stress. My friends, I cannot tell you how much has changed in barely 2 years of doing that work. When I finally accepted responsibility for my life, and myself, and took actions based on that understanding, everything shifted faster than I could have imagined. Accepting responsibility for our lives helps us to relax because we have control over what we do and what we think. We may need some help to remember we have that control, but we always have it. And conversely, we do not have control over anyone else as much as we might like to think that we do. We are in stress when we try to control the uncontrollable, we are in peace when we take control of what we can control.

4. Some Things We Are Not Meant to Understand
If we allow humility to be our guide, we realize that we are limited in perspective. As powerful as we are to shape our lives, there will always and forever be aspects of life that are far beyond our control. We can learn, with mindfulness, to simply sit with the feeling of wanting to understand. We can allow ourselves to sit with the feeling that we may never understand. We can just accept that. We are reflections of a universe that is vastly greater than any of us can conceive. This universe has been around for a good 13 to 14 billion years, and the consciousness that creates it has been around for just a little over eternity. How could we ever even fathom understanding all of that? We simply cannot. And my friends, that's ok. We can learn to relax with that feeling of wanting to know and just let it be ok. We can relax when we realize we will never know some of the big mysteries of life and that's ok, that's perfect, that's what makes life so profoundly sacred and beautiful. Mystery, wonder, vastness, they all contribute to this remarkable system in which we live. They make life worth living.

5. Listen to The Little Voice
There's a little voice inside all of us that guides us through every moment of every day. It's guidance that is specific to us; no one else has access to or can understand it. When we listen to this little voice, life works well. When we don't, it doesn't so much. Each of us has this guidance, it is always accessible, it is always present. If we can listen to this inner voice more than the conflicting opinions of the external world, we will be guided to a life of profound meaning, fulfillment, and service. We will save ourselves a lot of time, suffering, and energy. Trust the little voice my friends, it's always right, you always know, it's always on your side.