33 Principles of Spiritual Psychology

These Principles are truly the foundation of Soul-Centered Education. For more than 40 years, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick have shared these Principles to illuminate the nature of the Spiritual Reality within which we live. They serve to help us understand who we truly are, and to move us into the revelation of our spiritual nature. 

If you’re a graduate of one of USM’s Programs, you’ve likely woven several of these Principles into your daily life. Let us know how they’ve served you, how theyre particularly useful during these times, and if you have one that you return to again and again or that surprises you in how its become a part of your Way of Being and Way of Life. 

Wed love to hear from you!  (The Principles are all listed below.)

33 Principles
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The 33 Principles of Spiritual Psychology:

  1. God is everything in existence both seen and unseen.
  2. The nature of God is Love.
  3. Since we are all a part of God, our essential nature also is Love—and we have the opportunity of knowing our Loving nature experientially, Here and Now.
  4. We are not human beings with Souls; we are Souls using a human experience for the purpose of Awakening.
  5. Earth functions as a school for Spiritual Awakening, meaning Conscious Awareness of Principles #2 and #3 (above). Everyone registers for their specific Curriculum.
  6. Physical-world reality exists for the purpose of Spiritual Awakening; thus, all of life is for learning and growing spiritually.
  1. Graduation is based upon mastering your lessons resulting in Wisdom and Compassion.
  2. Everyone has the potential, resources, and destiny to graduate. There is no failure—only repeated opportunity.
  3. Everyone will graduate. The only real variable is time and the only real time is Now.
  4. Your primary goal is not to change the school; your primary goal is to graduate.
  5. Awakening is a process, not an event.
  6. Awakening can be accelerated by learning and implementing the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology.
  1. Your Spiritual Curriculum consists of unresolved issues as well as opportunities for Service, sharing your gifts, and living into your Heartfelt dreams.
  2. An unresolved issue is anything that disturbs your Peace.
  3. Unresolved issues are not bad; they’re simply part of your Spiritual Curriculum.
  4. Unresolved issues are blessings, as they are opportunities for Healing and Awakening.
  5. Accepting personal responsibility for your Spiritual Curriculum is empowering and opens the door to Freedom.
  6. Nothing outside of you causes your disturbances.
  1. All “becauses,” i.e., anything that disturbs your peace, are, in Reality, triggers to unresolved issues that are part of your Spiritual Curriculum, providing an opportunity for true Healing.
  2. Outer experience is a reflection of inner reality.
  3. Personal internal reality is subjective. Therefore, what you believe determines your experience.
  4. Experiences you judge, you attract. They tend to proliferate, repeat, and multiply.
  5. You create your future by how you respond to experiences now.
  1. There are no mistakes—only opportunities for Learning, Healing, and Awakening unto Love.
  2. How you relate to an issue is the issue, or how you relate with yourself while you go through an issue is the issue.
  3. Healing is the application of Loving to the parts inside that hurt or suffer, or Healing is the “Flooding with Loving” all the parts inside that hurt or suffer—thereby dissolving them.
  4. In your Universe, your word is your law; thus, the power of intention.
  5. The mind is a tool to be used in service to the Heart.
  1. Maintaining supportive disciplines is a demonstration of Self-Loving.
  2. Intimacy is a natural and automatic by-product of honest, caring Self-expression.
  3. Judgment is self-condemnation; Self-Forgiveness is Healing; and Compassion, Acceptance, Peace, and Joy naturally follow.
  4. Loving, Healing, Awakening, and Evolving are all the same process whereby you experience deeper and deeper Awareness of your Essential Nature we refer to as your Authentic Self—already fully present and characterized by Unconditional Loving, Wisdom, Joy, Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Happiness, etc.
  5. A life lived in Acceptance is a life devoid of unnecessary emotional suffering. It’s a life filled with Love.

What USM Grads are sharing about their favorite Principles:

Maintaining supportive disciplines is a demonstration of Self-Loving.

During my time as a student at USM (2012 graduate), I developed a set of daily spiritual practices that have been essential to me living a life fulfilled.

When I first came to USM, I was experiencing unhealthy burnout from a high-stress sales job that I had been in for many years and was seeking a new career for myself because I didn’t think I could survive any longer in my current job. Through the process of the USM education and learning the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology, I experienced a whole new career with the job I already had—it was remarkable!

Applying the Principles daily and directly to the job I already had, my entire experience changed with how I related to my clients, colleagues, management team, and their high expectations. As a result, I was named the top salesperson in my division (at a large multinational company) and was awarded replenishing bonuses including international retreat vacations, and I continue to get nationally recognized and rewarded year after year.

Even more fun than that, however, is the peace and joy I experience within myself (the relief I was always looking for). Additionally, my numbers caught the attention of upper management and I was asked to share my keys for success with my sales colleagues at a national level! I continue to practice what I learned at USM and share it with everyone I possibly can, and many top level executives have expressed their sincere gratitude to me for what I’ve shared with my team over the years.

To this day, these daily practices help keep me centered, in my loving, and present to all 33 Principles and the tools to deal with every situation and experience. There is no greater act than to be Self-Loving, as it is from this place inside that we relate to and hold the world.

I am in deep appreciation for USM and the 33 Principles.

(Specifically, my daily practices are Yoga, Meditation, free-form writing, Compassionate Self-Forgiveness, Gratitude lists, mirror work with positive affirmations, inner child work, and reading spiritual, uplifting books.)

Kristy Villa
—Principle 29—

Sharon Ackerman
—Principle 14—

light purple heart

An unresolved issue is anything that disturbs your Peace.

Sharon Ackerman shared with us that she loves and appreciates all of the Principles and is deeply grateful for the wisdom she has gleaned from the teachings at USM. Currently, she’s lasering in on Principle #14, which is supporting her in deepening in the work and her consciousness.

“My clear intention to fully embrace the learning and evolution available and to deeply and fully experience the healing for the Highest good of all is a precious prayer that is serving my Self, my family, financial freedom, and opportunities for growing in Service and Leadership.

“Utilizing Principle 14 as a clear focus provides me with deep inner Presence, stability, and Grace as I work my process and trust God ever-more fully along the way. It also helps me discern what is for me to manage and what I can let go. And sincerely, the awareness of ‘letting go and letting God’ has been profoundly liberating.”

Accepting personal responsibility for your Spiritual Curriculum is empowering and opens the door to Freedom.

“Accepting personal responsibility for your Spiritual Curriculum is empowering and opens the door to Freedom,” is especially resonant for me now as I am journeying through a significant period of transformation in my life. I’m in the midst of a major move across the country to join my family and care for loved ones in their later stages of life.

At the same time, I’m also in the midst of a career shift: refocusing my work to coach and catalyze creative potential in teams and organizations. It’s exhilarating (a mix of excitement and fear!)… and there are moments when I think, “I didn’t sign up for all of this!”

When this happens, and I center back into my heart, Principle #17 reminds me that, “Yes! I have signed up to be present with, and responsible for, my Spiritual Curriculum! And I have the tools (including my creativity) for meeting my Curriculum with joy, proactive accountability, and a spirit of gratitude.”

For me, as I venture forth into new adventures and leave past “knowns” behind, this kind of personal responsibility is a cornerstone of living into my Purpose.

Steven Kowalski
—Principle 17—

Steven Kowalski, spiritual psychology graduate

James Cox
—Principle 24—

James Cox

There are no mistakes—only opportunities for
Learning, Healing, and Awakening unto Love

Another way to say this is: “Everything is perfect.” This was a principle I absolutely rejected—until I had a realization that my definition of “perfect” might be narrow and limited.

In the past, I defined “perfect” as: safe; enjoyable; comfortable; pleasant. Therefore, anything I was experiencing that wasn’t any of these things had to be “wrong” or “bad.” It could not be exactly what I needed, from any perspective.

But once I shifted my definition to include “all the things that suck” (as I put it at the time), suddenly all the people and experiences of my life began to fall into order. They made sense. 

From a spiritual perspective, if I came here to learn courage, I would be presented with opportunities that required it. If I came to learn unconditional loving, it might make sense to be surrounded by critical, conditional people with whom unconditional loving would feel challenging, or impossible even. It wasn’t about getting them to change, but for me to drop all my own judgments and criteria I was using that kept me from loving unconditionally.

A tremendous healing came about for me when I realized that my mother’s pattern of withholding love was an opportunity to learn that the source of my experience of love was within myself. Her Soul was helping me to realize that I already had everything I needed. And when this insight occurred in class during one of the relationship trios, I felt my mother’s Soul jump for joy with: “Oh, he gets it!” All my judgments and resentments disappeared, and I was in gratitude for her Soul’s offer to help me learn this.

Were those experiences fun or comfortable or pleasant growing up? No. But were they perfect? Absolutely!

Everyone has the potential, resources, and destiny to graduate. 
There is no failure—only repeated opportunity.

This principle reminds me that from the moment I was born, I had everything I needed to live a fulfilling life. Every experience is an opportunity to consciously awaken—to know myself as Loving. When I find myself in a negative situation that seems all too familiar, it can be a reminder to look for those areas where I may have a misperception or misinterpretation of the situation. That “I’ve been here before” feeling is a great reminder to pause, take a step back, and look at the situation as an opportunity to resolve an issue for the last time. I’ve noticed that if I try to “skip” this one, the next time around can be more intense. I’ve learned to use the opportunity, rather than attempting to avoid it.</p?

Michael Polek
—Principle 8—

Diane Chandler
—Principle 25—


How you relate to an issue is the issue,
or how you relate with yourself while you go through an issue is the issue.

Principle 25 has been a game-changer in my life, and it comes up all the time. I like to take it in its two parts—First “How you relate to the issue is the issue.”

This part directly relates to the lens through which we see the world based on our own paradigms, our personal history, and our interpretations of the events of our lives.

As I started to realize through this that every issue really is neutral, my ability to reside in my higher self and have altitude over the situation allowed me to do the deeper inquiry about where my perspective is coming from. That’s where the goldmine is. And then I ask myself if my interpretation is even true.

💜 The second part—How I relate to myself as I go through the issue—provides a beautiful opportunity for healing. In 2016 I thought I had healed certain issues and would become disappointed when upsets continued to arise. I realized I was falling into a trap and that’s when the biggest shift occurred—I became able to drop in and have so much compassion for every part of myself, even the parts I “should” have healed by now. ”All of me is welcome“ is a refrain for me when I feel something come up. In this, I can let go of any shame, misbeliefs, and parts that have been hiding. When I’m able to welcome those parts, too, something miraculous happens and true transformation occurs. And I can just keep loving on it all… What a gift!!!

  1. God is everything in existence both seen and unseen.
  2. The nature of God is Love.
  3. Since we are all part of God, our essential nature is also love—and we have the opportunity of knowing our Loving nature experientially, Here and Now.

As I am now in my 90th year, I participated in USM at its inception and continued in service to it for many years of its growth. As I have had the good fortune to experience and use all of the 33 Principles at one time or another in an “on-growing” awareness, it is the first three Principles (see above) at this time that are impacting the quality of my life.

My intention for the past few years is to become Living Love and live my life inwardly and outwardly in the essence of loving. It is not always easy, but I find myself growing in the ability to maintain as I have acquired a very large toolbox that I use when needed. I am eternally grateful for USM

Angela Bell
—Principles 1, 2, and 3—

Donna Bond
—Principle 11—

Donna Bond

Awakening is a process, not an event.

Having been a seeker since the age of 12, I am aware that as long as I am in this human body, my journey never really ends. I am always growing, changing, evolving, learning and expanding. #11 is a permission slip for me in a way that says, “I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to “get it all” right now. This journey of awareness is a gradual unfolding—like the blossoming of a flower into a fruit—that happens with a beautiful, natural, divinely orchestrated timing which is really perfect for my unique and individual journey. I become consciously aware of what I need to be aware of at the precise time that is perfect for my learning journey. There is no “destination” to arrive to. The journey itself is the destination.

What a welcomed opportunity it is to reflect on Spiritual Curriculum as described in the 13th Principle of Spiritual Psychology. I remember, years ago, the following words were spoken through me while talking with another USM student. At the time, I thought these words were meant for her, but it became abundantly clear that they were also meant for me. I needed to hear them just as much (if not more) than she did. Here they are… “Nothing falls outside of the Sacred.”

The 13th Principle of Spiritual Psychology states:
“Your Spiritual Curriculum consists of unresolved issues as well as opportunities for Service, sharing your gifts, and living into your Heartfelt dreams.”

It’s all Spiritual Curriculum. It all serves Spiritual Purpose. Every part and particle of our existence, spanning from our upsets to our heartfelt dreams, is customized for our highest growth and learning. All of our experiences fall within the realm of the Sacred.

But why? Why is this Earth School and our individual curriculum so Sacred?

Ron & Mary answer that question so beautifully and so precisely with these words, “The essence of Soul-Centered living is Awakening into the Awareness of who we truly are and living our lives from within that Awakened state.” That’s the point and purpose of all that happens here. That’s what this Sacred Earth School was designed to facilitate. It’s also the essence of Soul-Centered mastery, the embodiment of the highest of human competencies… to know ourselves as the Presence of Love and to live through and from that Sacred state.

Lori Richards
—Principle 13—

Lori Richards

Your Spiritual Curriculum consists of unresolved issues as well as opportunities for Service, sharing your gifts, and living into your Heartfelt dreams.

Eliza Swords
—Principle 20—

Outer experience is a reflection of inner reality.

“While obviously I love each and every one of USM’s 33 Principles, this one has been serving me miracle healings on the daily. When I get triggered (which lately is a LOT) or find myself in judgment, this Principle reminds me to ask myself—What’s going on inside me that might need attention? Where inside me needs a healthy dose of loving applied to it? Where is there an opportunity to practice Self-Forgiveness and come into greater Acceptance and Cooperation in my life? Also, when I’m inspired or energized beyond belief by what’s going on outside of myself, it’s a great moment to ask—Wow, what quality of that incredible thing lives inside of me?! And are there any next actions I feel called to take? Even if that action is to put it on a someday/maybe list, it is AS important, if not more, to acknowledge and grow from positive projections as it is negative ones. I guess that’s what this Principle is really about for me. It reminds me of this gem spoken by the one and only Dr. Mary R. Hulnick, ‘It’s all about projection anyway. It’s an inkblot world.’”

Tracy Poff
—Principle 1—

“I loved this invitation to review the Principles… I felt nourished simply in the re-reading of them! Thank you.
For me, hands-down, my go-to as a way of being is the remembrance and reverent acknowledgement that ‘God is everything in existence both seen and unseen.’

The following poem came forward when I attuned to that Principle and the current Covid-related state of affairs:

God is this virus.
God is the reaction.
God is the helping hand, God is the knowing nod.

God is the chaos, God is the topsy turvy
God is the peace, God is the solution.

God is your perspective, God is mine.
God is the strife of unreconciled differences
God is the balm, God is the path forward

God is the container for all
God is the action within
God is everything in existence, both seen and unseen.”

Brandon Ross
—Principles 14–18—

“I find myself working with principles 14–18 quite A LOT these days!
“The social and political events of the last four months have surfaced deep issues that, I must admit, I hadn’t been aware of the extent/depth of their presence. At the same time, my ability to work with myself had ‘matured’ without my realizing it. That’s a direct benefit of my USM education, for which I am truly grateful.”


@2018 University of Santa Monica