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The Surrender Experiment
I found the underlying promise behind these ideas deeply liberating that my mind had the power to attract things, people, opportunities, and circumstances. That life was not random, not accidental. That we are more than bones and blood and flesh. That at the center of our being is a conscious and an awakened soul with the power to give birth to our deepest desires and aspirations. As I grew older, I remember trying to manifest things like money, cars, houses, good grades, and travel, career opportunities, by focusing on what I wanted and visualizing the outcome as a present fact.
For weeks and months, I would close my eyes and visualize just what I wanted with the excitement and anticipation that such mental focus would result in its inevitable fulfillment. And with time and practice, I became better at attracting the things I wanted into my life. Yet, many times, things didn’t really manifest the way I ever planned or intended. I mean, sure, things came along that were positive and beneficial for my life, but I often found it difficult to discern whether it was the direct result of my thinking or if it was mere coincidence, or a logical consequence of simply taking action.
It seemed, in other words, that life and myself had a difference of opinion of what I should be experiencing. I also noticed as I advanced in my spiritual practice that by focusing on what I wanted, my mind would attach itself to the outcome. And I would often find my inner state at war with its environment. Always looking to rearrange the reality of my life so it fit my expectations and assumptions about myself. This conflict between the will of my mind and the will of the mind of life, so to speak, remained an unresolved conflict for me for many years as I sought to better understand the unseen forces that shaped the universe and my life.
It wasn’t until one day as I was watching a video on YouTube that I discovered a book by Michael Singer titled “The Surrender Experiment” that I obtained some of the answers I was searching for. Michael, who went from a penniless yogi practitioner in the woods, to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company wrote a book that, for me, helped to connect the dots on my own journey, and answer one of the most important questions on the topic of mind power and reality creation.
Michael explained that if life can manifest the DNA molecule, create the brain and the cosmos, then why do we try to create everything on our own? He asked his readers to go through a mental exercise, that if they were to respect the flow of life by embracing what is, and use their free will to participate with life as it is, instead of fight it, to ask, “What would be the quality of that life?” Would life still appear random? Would we believe that life was entirely material, that we are alone? Or with the same perfection that creates order in the cosmos somehow manifest into our daily experience. For Michael, the central question is whether we should strive to create our own alternative reality and fight with our current life to force it to be our way, or to let go of what we want in order to align ourselves with the natural flow over life is taking us?
In other words, to give ourselves permission to be free from our own attachments, to cherish desires and fears. I found “The Surrender Experiment” a fascinating book and decided to download it on auto and listen to it completely while writing this segment for Innovators. I also made sure to call my mom and send her a copy as well. What follows are three of the most powerful insights I received from the book and ideas that I hope will have a positive impact on the quality of your life experience and happiness.
Number one, living as the observer. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, I knew from first-hand experience what happens when we let materialism and ego drive our identities and self-worth. The desire to have a certain amount of money, physically look a certain way, possess social status, and achieve recognition by others are profound drivers of identity and self-value in Western civilization.
Our mind is designed to help us cope with life and experience reality. And if we observe the nature of our mind, we notice that it tends to engage in a lot of random and endless mental conversations regarding our desires, our moods, our fears, and everything in between. For most of us, this noise tends to generate unhappiness, anxiety, and other negative emotional states. The solution to the mind is about living as the observer.
Living as the observer is not something that can be taught, but only directly experienced and known through first-hand experience. If we take a moment to silently watch our mind, its desires, its fears, its endless suffering, we can begin to feel a separation between our minds and ourselves. Something deep within us which has the ability to observe the mind’s activity, and that something is what I mean when I speak of an observer.
Living as the observer is about grounding yourself in the silent space that watches the mind. It has no identity, no titles, but is both highly intelligent and immersed in peace. Living as the observer is the foundation to The Surrender Experiment because the inner peace, calm, and presence that springs forth from living as the observer is what allows the intelligence of the whole universe to shine through into our individual, daily lives.
Number two, champion peace over attachment. The mind is driven by its desires and fears. Desires are our birthright. Desires create expansion, growth, and self-discovery. Fear’s also innate to the human experience. Fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear from uncertainty are all things we can identify with, yet our mind’s attachment to its desires and to its fears, if we’re not careful, can create endless suffering when life brings us situations that contradict what we want. Peace is not the result to manifesting all our desires or conquering all our fears. Peace is about separating ourselves from the futility of both. Desire is our nature, and once we accomplish one desire, it naturally gives rise to yet another.
And fear is about self-expansion. When we experience fear and conquer an obstacle that is the source of our fear, we grow in power and rise, yet again, to overcoming new fears. So, peace is a state of being that is free from the mind’s attachments to both its desires and its fears.
Number three, yield to life’s flow. The Surrender Experiment is not about being passive or a victim to life’s circumstances, rather, it’s about yielding to the flow of life instead of constantly reacting to events and circumstances. In fact, as I practice The Surrender Experiment myself, I found the surrendered state to be one where you were both proactive with action, yet responsive when things don’t go your way. A recognition that you’re not entirely in control of the forces that are guiding your life’s events. And we set plans for our careers, our relationships, our families, and our communities, and then we quickly learn that life has its own playbook. And if we simply to yield to it, to accept whatever is happening in our lives, and to willingly participate, that behind the events of life is order, harmony, and intelligence.
For some, practicing The Surrender Experiment is about learning to let go and trust life, that everything is happening and is designed for your benefit, and is here to serve you when you finally decide to embrace what life’s circumstances are asking you to do. For others, practicing The Surrender Experiment is about a humbling of the ego. Accepting that we’re not completely in control is a tough pill for some to swallow.
When we learn to let go, and allow life to do as it wishes, we find that we don’t have to carry the burden alone, that we are truly guided and supported in every moment. So I challenge you to try The Surrender Experiment for 30 days, and witness what results manifest in your life. I still believe it’s true, that we create our own reality. But our reality is also one that is being shared with our friends, family, neighbors, communities, and the world. So, perhaps surrendering, so to speak, is about the recognition that our lives are inter-connected with everyone and everything. And that the growth of our character, the expansion of our inner evolution might be the motive behind the mysteries of life itself.
Thanks for listening to this segment of Innovators, where your future is now. You can read the full, unedited transcript of this podcast episode on our site at c9digital.com. Thanks for joining me again, your host, as always, Phillip Lew, as we take you, the listener, on a journey from panic to power.