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About the book

Get into the habit of seeing the whole of your daily life, with all the things that you are obliged to do, the events that occur, and the beings with whom you have to live or whom you meet in your work, as a raw material, a matter that you have to transform. Don’t be passive. Don’t be content to accept whatever comes and submit to events; always add an element to that raw material that will animate, vivify and spiritualize it. This is what the spiritual life really is: the ability to introduce into every activity a yeast capable of catapulting it onto a higher plane. You will ask, ‘What about meditation and prayer? Where do they come in?’ That is just the point: it is by meditation and prayer that you pick up that subtler, purer element that enables you to give a new dimension to all your acts. 

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Year published: 1988


Quotes from the book

Golden Rules for Everyday Life (Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov)

  • By beginning at the beginning, with little things, you will be able to go much further.
  • It is time you understand that true spirituality means that you yourself become the living expression of the divine teaching you follow.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking that tiredness is always the result of overwork; it is very often caused by a wasteful use of energy.
  • It is a rule of the spiritual life that, when you receive a truth, you must put it into practice in your life before trying to pass it on to others.
  • So never forget: the greatest secret, the most important key, to your happiness and progress is gratitude. As long as you appreciate all that heaven gives you, it will never abandon you.
  • Look at the newly opened rose: everyone is attracted by its delicious scent, even bees and butterflies. Yes, because it has opened its petals. So, why keep your petals closed? Why refuse to give off any perfume?
  • It is important to understand the power and efficacy of love. Whatever you do, do it with love… or don’t do it at all. For anything you do without love only fatigues and poisons you, and you need not be surprised to find yourself drained and ill. People are always asking how they can become tireless: the secret is to love what you do, for it is love that awakens your latent energies.
  • Never let your inner feelings of malaise reach such proportions that you can no longer put them right. Suppose you absentmindedly stepped in some wet concrete and are so lost in thought that you neglect to step out of it again; what will the result be? The concrete will harden; in fact, it will become so hard that someone will have to go and get some tools to break it before you can get your feet free, and you may well be hurt in the process. Well, this is what happens in the inner life: if you fail to put your mistakes or faults right very quickly, it will be too late. The remedy will be very costly and may well cause further damage.
  • It is love that provides the greatest possibilities for success; it is love that makes us more capable, more lucid and more perceptive; it is love that prepares the right conditions for the most harmonious and constructive manifestations. But who ever thinks about love? Sexual love… yes, of course: everybody is interested in that, but impersonal, spiritual love is the last thing they think about. … The greatest secret, the most effective method, is to love. When you leave your house in the morning, think of greeting all the creatures of the universe. Tell them, ‘I love you. I love you….,’ and then go off to work. For the rest of the day, you will feel happy and great-hearted, and your relations with others will be all the easier, because you have started the day by sending your love to every creature in the universe, and from every direction that love comes back to you. There are so many different things you can do to make life worth living.
  • Nobody is asking you to imitate those mystics and ascetics who fled from the temptations and difficulties of the world and to neglect your material life by dedicating yourself exclusively to prayer and meditation. On the other hand, more and more people today are totally absorbed by material concerns, and that is not the right solution either. Everyone should be in a position to work, earn a living and have their own family and, at the same time, possess the inner light and the methods they need to work at their own evolution. You have to develop both the spiritual and the material aspects of your lives, to be in the world while, at the same time, living a heavenly life. This is the goal you should aim for. It is difficult, of course, because you are still at the stage where, when you engage in spiritual activities, you let material affairs go to pieces and, when you take care of material affairs, you neglect your spiritual life. But you must have both. Both are necessary and both are possible. How? Well, before undertaking anything, always say to yourself, ‘My goal is to obtain true light, love and power: will I get them by doing this or that?’ Examine the situation carefully, and if you see that such or such an activity or interest deflects you from your ideal, abandon it.
  • So many people ruin their lives in their eagerness to acquire all kinds of possessions worth far less than life itself. Have you ever thought about this? If you learned to give priority to life, if you took care to treasure and protect it and keep it in a state of perfect integrity and purity, you would have far more opportunity to fulfill all your wishes, for when life is enlightened, illuminated and intense it gives us all the rest. You take life for granted and think you are free to do whatever you like with it, but one day, after years spent in the pursuit of your own ambitions, you will be so exhausted and disillusioned that if you weigh up all you have gained against everything you have lost you will find you have lost almost everything and gained practically nothing. People say, ‘Since I possess life, I can use it to get all the other things I want—money, pleasure, knowledge, glory, etc.,’ and they keep drawing on their reserves, until one day there is nothing left and they are forced to give up all their activities. It is senseless to behave like that, because in losing your life you lose everything. The essential thing is life itself, and you must protect, purify and strengthen it and reject whatever hampers or inhibits it, because it is thanks to life that you will obtain health, beauty, power, intelligence, love and true wealth. So, from now on, work at beautifying, intensifying and sanctifying your life.
  • How does the pearl oyster set about making a pearl? It all starts with a grain of sand that gets into its shell and begins to irritate it. ‘Oh, dear!’ says the oyster. ‘This is terrible; what a problem. What can I do to get rid of it?’ So the oyster begins to reflect: it concentrates and meditates and asks for guidance until, one day, it realizes that it will never be able to get rid of the grain of sand. But what it can do is wrap the grain up in such a way that it will be smooth, and shiny and velvety. And then, when it has succeeded in doing this, it is very happy and says to itself, ‘Ah, I’ve overcome a problem.’ For thousands of years the pearl oyster has been there, as a lesson to human beings, but they have never understood it. And what does it teach us? Simply that, if we wrap our difficulties and all the things that annoy us in a soft, luminous, opalescent matter, we will be very rich indeed. This is what you have to understand. So, from now on, instead of complaining and doing nothing to stop yourself from getting worn down by your difficulties, set to work to secrete this special matter and wrap them up in it. Every time you have to put up with a painful situation or somebody you really can’t bear, be glad, and say, ‘Lord God, what luck: another grain of sand, and a potential new pearl.’ If you really understand the example of the pearl oyster, you will have enough work to keep you busy for the rest of your life.
  • Before trying to educate others, look after your own education, otherwise it is like trying to remove a speck of dirt from a friend’s face when your own hands are black with coal dust: you will simply make him or her dirtier than before. Those who start trying to enlighten and reform others without having reformed themselves first can only lead them astray. So, leave everybody else alone, and concentrate on improving yourself. What is the point of moaning about the imperfections of humankind? Pay no attention to that; give all your attention to getting rid of your own imperfections. In that way, you will have less to worry about, you will stop wearing yourself out, and your evolution will progress much more rapidly, because you will be concentrating on improving yourself. Believe me, you must leave others to do as they please and work at yourself. You yourself must advance and become an example for others. You will never reform others by preaching at them, however eloquently, but if you are an example they will follow you in spite of themselves. This is why, instead of expecting harmony to reign in your family, neighborhood and place of work— and complaining when it doesn’t—you must begin by achieving it within yourself. When others see how much you have changed, they will feel they ought to change, too, for it is contagious; it is magic. Human beings who make a sincere effort to change release forces that make those around them do the same.
  • You are often anxious about the future and worry about possible accidents, illness or poverty, but why poison your life by thinking of all the bad things that might happen? We never know what the future holds, that’s true, but the best way to avoid disasters you fear is to try to live sensibly in the present. The future will be what you have made it in the present. It is today that is important. Just as the present is a consequence, a result of the past, the future will be a projection of the present. Everything hangs together; past, present and future cannot be separated. The future will be built on the foundations you lay today, and, of course, if those foundations are faulty, it is no good hoping for a very bright future. If they are solidly built, on the other hand, there will be no need to worry: with healthy roots you will get a strong trunk and healthy branches and fruit. The past is past but it has given birth to the present, and the present contains the roots of the future. This means that you must build your future in advance by improving the present. To do this, you must say to yourself, every day, ‘Let me see, what have I said and done today? What kind of thoughts and feelings have I had?’ And if you have done something wrong, if you have entertained bad thoughts and feelings, you must realize that this puts you on the side of the forces of darkness and that those forces will destroy your future. If you have lived badly during the day, you must at least try, before going to sleep, to lessen the bad effects by having better thoughts and deciding to do better the next day. Your good thoughts will be like a swarm of bees that clean and mend everything overnight so that you can start off next morning in better conditions.