The Ten Commitments: Translating Good Intentions into Great Choices [NOOK Book]


In the spirit of both Eastern and Western traditions, Dr. David Simon shows how changing our mindset from commandment to personal commitment can help us make the life transformations we want and need.

We were raised on the Ten CommandmentsÑand unfortunately most of us use the philosophy of "thou shalt not" (eat too much, drink too much, work too hard, etc.) to command ourselves to change. Dr. Simon encourages us to embrace the power of ...

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The Ten Commitments: Translating Good Intentions into Great Choices

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In the spirit of both Eastern and Western traditions, Dr. David Simon shows how changing our mindset from commandment to personal commitment can help us make the life transformations we want and need.

We were raised on the Ten CommandmentsÑand unfortunately most of us use the philosophy of "thou shalt not" (eat too much, drink too much, work too hard, etc.) to command ourselves to change. Dr. Simon encourages us to embrace the power of commitment to create a life of greater peace, vitality, love and purpose. Through commitment to be authentic, love more openly, embrace abundance and relax, we can translate our desires into actions that bring about transformation and healing.

"In this fascinating and uniquely insightful book, David explores the core tenets of Western spiritual values and demonstrates how, with a subtle yet powerful shift in perception, the essential truths of East and West merge to create a compelling vision for a better world."

-Deepak Chopra

"Written by one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times, The Ten Commitments will take you on an irresistible journey of awakening, providing tangible steps for translating ideas into action and desires into results."

-Debbie Ford, bestselling author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and The Best Year of Your Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757399237
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 892,567
  • File size: 619 KB

Meet the Author

David Simon, M.D. Medical Director/Co-Founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being has authored seven books on mind, body and spirit. He leads seminars, workshops and a worldwide educational outreach program. David lives in San Diego, California with his wife Pam, his son, Max, and his two daughters, Sara and Isabel.
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Read an Excerpt

You are reading these words because there is something in
your life you would like to change. It may be something you
want to relinquish but are afraid to let go. It may be something
you are longing for but have been unable to manifest.
WeÆre here together to help translate your intentions into
choices. This requires the power of commitment.
Commitment is a contract between your body, mind and
soul. Your body has needs. Your mind has desires. Beyond
the immediacy of your physical cravings and your emotional
longings is your soul, encouraging you to make the choices
that are most likely to bring enduring peace of mind. It is
whispering these words to you: ôI want you to be happy,ö ôI
want you to be healthy,ö ôI want you to have love,ö ôI want
you to live a life of meaning and purpose.ö It may be difficult
to hear these life-celebrating messages from the depths
of your being if your mind is turbulent and your body is in

Although it is usually taken for granted that people know
what the words ôbody, mind and soulö mean, IÆd like to offer
my definitions, which IÆll be using throughout the book. Your
body is the collection of molecules that enables you to experience
the world. It includes the sensory equipment that connects
you to your environment (hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting
and smelling) and the motor systems that enable you to act
upon the world (your vocal apparatus, hands and feet). Each
day you metabolize sensory experiences through the everchanging
chemistry and electricity of your nervous system,
which in turn influences every cell and organ in your body.
Through this process, your experiences become your biology.
Your mind is a field of thoughts, engaging in a continuous
conversation about what has happened, what is happening
and what might happen to you. In response to your perpetual
experiences, you make discriminations, evaluations and judgments,
colored by emotional reactions. Your thoughts, memories,
desires and feelings are various expressions of your mind.
Your soul is the silent witness to your mind and body. Your
body is changingùyou only need look at a photograph from
a decade ago to see that your body today is different from
what it was in the past. Your mind is changingùyour beliefs
about yourself and the world are different now compared to
earlier times in your life. Underlying this dimension of
change is your quietly observing soul, providing continuity
to your identity. When your observing soul, thought-generating
mind and physical body are aligned, you are most likely to
translate your intentions into choices that result in the
desired outcome.

Commitment implies action. When you make a commitment,
you dedicate yourself to a course of action that you
believe will result in the expansion of happiness and wellbeing.
The fulfillment of a commitment is realized when
your intentions become your automatic style of functioning
in the world. If you make a commitment to enhance your
physical fitness, your commitment yields its fruits when you
find yourself looking forward to your exercise time or your
healthy meal. The fulfillment of your commitment to stop
smoking manifests when you lose the desire to light a cigarette.
Commitment means moving through a door of change
through which you do not intend to return.

The Challenge of Commitment

Responsible parents devote much of their child-rearing
energy to setting boundaries. As soon as children are capable of
making choices, parents begin the eighteen-plus-year process
of instilling commandments intended to keep them safe and
functional in society. ôDo this . . . donÆt do that . . .ö are the
developmental tools applied to shape our outer boundaries,
defining what is and is not appropriate and acceptable.
In response to the imposition of external limits, children
struggle to set internal boundaries, which appears as resistance
to being told what to do. By about two years of age
children learn to assert their independence through use of
the powerful word ôNo!ö Practiced relentlessly, the talent for
resisting authority is honed during teenage years. The
process of maturing into adulthood requires, in large part,
the development of skills to camouflage resistance to parents,
teachers, bosses, doctors, clergy, policemen and other
authority figures whose approval or support we need.
Authority figures may change, proscriptions may change, but
the deep desire to control our own lives remains.
Since tribal times, societal elders have attempted to reinforce
rules by enlisting the power of the gods. If the human
complications of lying, cheating or stealing are not enough
to discourage you, the fear of divine wrath may be persuasive.
If the likelihood of causing pain among family members
is inadequate to avoid adultery, then the possibility of
basting in hell may convince you. Moral codes are designed
to protect individuals and communities from unnecessary
suffering; nevertheless, reinforcing demands with fear is as
likely to provoke resistance as it does to invoke acquiescence.
The Ten Commandments are the moral guideposts of our
Judeo-Christian society. As the underlying precepts of order
in our Western world, they have guided our ethical choices
for millennia. They offer a powerful prescription for moral
health, and if being told how to behave resulted in people
doing what was ultimately good for them, the world would
be a much better place. Unfortunately, it is one thing to be
commanded; it is another to make conscious choices that
serve the greatest good.

We are commanded not to kill, but over sixteen thousand
people are murdered each year in the United States, and in
the name of God or country, tens of thousands are killed in
armed conflicts. We are commanded not to steal, but over
ten million thefts occur annually. We have a prohibition
against adultery, yet studies suggest that at least half of
married people engage in extramarital affairs. Treated as
children, people respond as children. It is time to replace
commandment with commitment.

What You Think, You Become

Your parents were writing the opening lines to the screenplay
of your life by the time you arrived onstage, and for
much of your existence you have been reading from the
script you were handed. If your story is unfolding as you
hoped it would as a child, you have probably intuitively
implemented the principles of this book. You are among the
fortunate ones who have learned to commit consciously to
your dreams until they manifest. If, however, deep in your
soul, you suspect that you have not yet realized your full
potential and are worthy of more, then this book is for you.
The Ten Commitments is for people willing to become the
change they want to see. It is for those who can embrace the
idea that free will is the greatest gift to humanity, and that
despite what has happened up until now, we are capable of
writing a better next chapter. Albert Einstein defined insanity
as ôdoing the same thing over and over again and expecting
different results.ö The Ten Commitments is offered as a guide
to sanity.

As a doctor, I have been privileged to hear the challenges
and intimate problems of my patients for more than three
decades. Distress takes many different forms. For one person,
it may be attacks of anxiety or bouts of depression. For
another, it may be unrelenting pain or fatigue. Acute or
chronic life overload may manifest as a host of physical concerns,
including insomnia, digestive problems or immunological
vulnerability. Weight problems, eating disorders,
migraines and high blood pressure are often expressions of
underlying inner turbulence. Regardless of the stated reason
a person comes to a doctor, there is inevitably a core experience
of discomfortùeither physical or emotional. People are
in pain and want to get out of it. I often find myself asking
the same question of my patients: ôAre you willing to do things
differently in order to have a different outcome?ö

Release Your Past

There is value in understanding how you arrived at your
present situation. Chronic emotional and physical health
concerns can reflect early discord. Seeing the connection
may be beneficial, as long as you do not add insult to injury
by taking on too much responsibility for a condition that
has other important factors outside your control. Knowing
your father was ill-tempered may help gain insight into your
irritable bowel syndrome. Acknowledging that your mother
was emotionally remote may help you understand your eating
disorder or anxiety attacks. Honestly looking at your past
can be helpful in appreciating the current condition in which
you find yourself. At times, it can even be liberating.
However, life is short, and spending years trying to ôget to
the bottom of the problemö may not be the most successful
strategy. It is possible to understand clearly why you are
unhappy, but still not be any happier. It is possible to know
why you have made bad choices in the past, but this knowledge
may not enable you to make better ones now. The most
important principle of healing and transformation is: For our
lives to change, we have to change.

There is a skill in charting the course of your life that
requires finesse and timing. Seeing the bigger picture and
making more conscious choices is a path of power and subtlety.
It requires clarity of purpose and purity of intention. It
requires commitment.


Although human beings have the capacity to make
choices, most people live their lives as conditioned as
Pavlovian dogs, reacting in predictable ways to the situations,
circumstances and people they encounter. Because
there is security in doing things the same way over and over,
people stay in relationships that do not nourish them, hold
on to jobs that provide limited outlet for their creativity and
maintain daily routines that numb them to the miracles
unfolding around them in every moment of life.

Admit it. You are a creature of habit. You awaken at about
the same time every day, use the same toothpaste and eat the
same breakfast. You drive to work along the same route, listen
to the same radio stations and arrive at the office at about the
same time. When you get home you watch the same television
shows, go through the same evening ablutions and get to
bed at about the same time. A private investigator keeping
track of your patterns for a week could predict where you
would be at a given time on a given day with a high degree of
accuracy. This is the conditioned human experience.
There is no reason to change your patterns if you are getting
what you need out of life. But if you recognize the need
to release inhibiting habits in pursuit of greater happiness,
love, well-being and meaning in your life, commitment is
the proven path.

The premise of a commandment is that without threat,
direct or implied, a desired behavior will not occur, as in, ôIf
you donÆt clean up your room, youÆre not going to the party!ö
ChildrenÆs behavior may be temporarily controlled through
commandments. Genuine and enduring healing and transformation
in adults can only occur through commitment.

I recently spoke on the Ten Commitments to a group that
included members of the clergy. A few protested when I
suggested that the Ten Commandments were insufficient.

They asserted that the ômassesö need to be treated like children
and that the Ten Commandments have successfully
kept people in line for millennia. I could not confidently
disagree with their interpretation of past collective needs,
but I am convinced that for humanity to survive and thrive,
we must assume personal responsibility for our choices. It is
my hope that this new language for our old precepts will create
a new reality.

Commitment Versus Affirmation

Repeatedly affirming something seldom leads to lasting
change. Successful people do not continuously tell themselves,
ôI am a powerful person.ö Physically fit people do not
perpetually remind themselves, ôI can control my eating.ö
Emotionally secure people do not constantly affirm, ôI am a
confident person.ö Lasting benefits rarely result from affirmations
alone. Benefits derive from behaviors; behaviors
derive from commitment. What do you want? Are you prepared
to take the steps to get it?

In The Ten Commitments we will explore how to make good
choices, not out of fear of being caught or punished, but
because they reflect the person you really want to beùthe
sacred being you sense you are. As a result, the quiet voice of
your soul that wants you to be happy, know love, feel vital,
and have meaning and purpose in life will find its expression.

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