Principle 1 Adaptation 1 – 2020

Last time: A Short  Guide to Changing Your Destiny
This time: A New Cycle Begins

First time here? Then you should know:

12 Principles of Valid Action. 12 months in a year. Coincidence? No matter, this happy circumstance allows us to dedicate one month to each principle. And every week that month we look at some aspect of the corresponding principle. These principles can be found in Chapter 13 of the Inner Look by Silo.
It has been our practice to look each month at one of the twelve Principles of Valid Action. The Principles are drawn from chapter 13 of The Inner Look.

Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. First Week.

“To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”

This Week:
This week we will focus on the  general structure and implications of the principle. Also a story to illustrate some aspect of the principle

Simple Exercise:
One of the basic suggestions we will return to often involves a ridiculously simple but effective technique for very simple kind of meditation, reflection or contemplation.  Twice a day, before getting out of bed, and before going to sleep I carry out a brief meditation on the aspect of the principle proposed for that week and how I might apply it during the day. In the night before sleeping I review the day looking for how I applied the principle (or didn’t), noting the moments of greater unity and those of contradiction. It’s not a 20 minute practice or even a 5 minute one. That’s important. Just a couple of focused, moments. Keeping these reflections brief and focusing on concrete examples from my daily life has helped me a lot in this work. The results have been out of all proportion to the simplicity of the exercise.
No big investment of time. No cost. No guru, life-coach or master. No fireworks as Silo used to say. Nonetheless, I suspect I’m not alone in finding that those few (very few) minutes can be life changing. Try it! Talk about big pay offs, and nothing to lose.

Personal Reflections:

Here’s some raw material that I hope you will find useful in your own reflections.
One of the first difficulties I find with this principle might be a familiar, it’s one I think many encounter in this work. That is, the principles sound simple. And they are… but deceptively so. In trying to apply them I discover they are not very straight forward at all. I am convinced however that it’s not by accepting them, but rather by wrestling with them that the principles are elevated from simply being a bunch of  platitudes, and revealed as a key for transforming your life.
Remember they are only guidelines. The point isn’t to try and conform to some external code, or set of rules. Rather, the focus should be on the register (the lived experience) that is produced in me when I act. Does my action, and the register it produces, move me towards greater unity, or toward contradiction? Do I feel more in agreement with myself, or am I more at war with myself?

So, the first problem I confront when I think about this principle has provided me with an important lesson. It’s one that I’ve learned to apply to all the principles, and my work of weaving them into a style of life that promotes internal unity, and serves those around me. That is, I have to think about them — a lot. For example, how do I know when a tendency is “the evolution of things” and when its just a possibility, an accident, or a fashion? How can I tell when my acceptance of this tendency is just weakness, laziness or simply a mistake on my part, and when it is really the appropriate course of action. 

Misapplying the principle  by going along with something that does not really represent the “evolution of things” can be (at best) counterproductive. For example, if people had accepted pain and illness as inevitable, medical science would not have evolved. It may not be an exaggeration to say that every major human advance has arisen as a rebellion against inevitability. And there’s where the wisdom comes into play. 

It’s always seemed to me that Rafael Edwards’ simple illustrations (attached) have  proved inspiring for my mediations, they might for yours as well.

Illustration by Rafael Edwards
Illustration by Rafael Edwards

Consider the illustrations (above) of a canoe being paddled up a waterfall, or that of a chick cracking out of its egg. For the bird to try and return to its previous stage is to go against the inevitable evolution of things, and very clearly to go against itself. A different aspect of the principle is revealed if we consider the case of parents who refuse to accept their children’s growth and changing needs, and find it difficult to let go. They end up doing their children no service, hurting themselves, and sometimes seriously imperilling the relations between them. 

For the first week of reflection on each principle we supplement our considerations with a story that might help in our understanding of some of its aspects.

Take a look at the following tale, versions of which appear in the folk-stories of various peoples. The one related here is loosely based on the version in the Indian Panchatantra. It tells of a poor turtle (aptly named, Turtleneck) who tries to avoid the changes occuring around him, and instead goes to extreme lengths to escape from that situation into another. As the old saying has it he ends up going from the frying pan into to the fire (more or less literally).

Turtleneck, the turtle, lived in a beautiful and lush pond where he spent his days burrowed into the muddy bottom or floating about chatting with his good friends the geese who always summered there. Unfortunately for the visiting water birds a great drought had come, as it did every few years, and the pond was drying up. One day they said to their amphibious friend: “the water is disappearing so we must depart. We will return next year if the drought is over to pass the summer with you. If not we will certainly land to have a little chat before we fly on.”

Turtleneck responded: “I understand why you must go. I can easily live here, even if I have to burrow down into the muck of the small pond that will remain, but our needs our very different and it will not be enough water for all of you. However, life here will be very boring without you. I’m coming with.”

The geese answered: “But little wingless friend how can that be? We will be flying far and fast.” “I have a plan,” said the turtle, “two of you should pick up that stick over there and hold it tightly in your beaks. I in turn will bite it and hold it in mine.” They replied: “There are two problems with your plan, hard shelled one. First, leaving here is for us a matter of life and death, while for you it is more a matter of whimsy. Secondly, while we, your friends, find your habit of always needing to comment on everything endearing, in this case, if you forget yourself and start to talk it could precipitate a catastrophe and end your life. Perhaps it is better that you remain until we return since you can easily adapt to the coming changes.”

But Turtleneck insisted and his plan was put into effect and, with great effort, the two geese carried their friend aloft. As they flew low over the nearby village the people ran out to gaze at this miraculous sight. In their astonishment they turned to each other and asked: “what could this be”? “Can you make it out”? “Is that a chariot pulled by birds”? The turtle, remembering the stones that the village children had thrown at her as she lay in her pond wanted to impress the people with her ability to fly. Suddenly, she cried out loudly: “It is I, Turtleneck!”. Of course only the geese heard her words as she plummeted to her death. Some of the villagers who were very fond of turtle soup carried her home for dinner.

 Coming Up:
This week we begin a new cycle of reflection starting by focusing on this principle in general. Over the next three weeks we will focus on its relation to past, present and what we imagine future events hold in store. 

A  Question.
Can you sit with eyes closed and go deep inside to discover the source of inner peace, vital force and and real joy? 
Can you open your eyes and discover how to transform your daily life into your spiritual path?

Worth Repeating:
The point isn’t to conform to some external code, or set of rules. Rather our focus is on the register that is produced in me when I act. Am I moved towards greater unity, or toward contradiction? Has my action left me feeling more in agreement with myself, or more conflicted, more at war with myself?

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We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts, considerations, artwork, etc about any of this.

Want More:
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at or

There are currently two Parks of Study and Reflection in North America. These are Red Bluff ( in California and Hudson Valley ( in New York. The Parks of Study and Reflection are projects built and paid for by individuals inspired by Silo’s teachings. More information is available on their respective websites.