The Surrender Experiment
My journey into life’s perfection.
BY MICHAEL SINGER
How does a self-proclaimed hippy that buys himself a small patch of land where he can retreat into solitude to meditate, end up becoming the CEO of a billion-dollar company without even trying? This is the amazing story of Michael Singer told thorough his own eyes in The Surrender Experiment.
Thrive Notes from The Surrender Experiment.
Take the gifts that life gives. Early on in his life, Michael Singer decided to allow life to unfold around him without fighting it. For me, this is a work in progress. I am a great planner and goal setter! I generally set a course, start the climb and don’t stop till I get to the top. However, since reading Michael’s book I have noticed that by being more open to what IS happening rather than what I am trying to MAKE happen means opportunities seem to just “come up”. I have learned that just because an opportunity may not fit into my blinkered view of what should be happening it is worthwhile considering that as Tony Robbins would say. “Life is happening for me, not to me”. I need to go with life’s gifts and see where they lead.
Be at peace with the outcome. Things will not always work out as you have planned. It’s good to have a Plan and a Plan B (sometimes even a Plan C) But not being attached to any of these potential outcomes often gives you the edge that you need to get the result that you want. There are many examples in the book where Michael negotiates from a place of detachment and gets his ideal result.
Great things can happen on the outside when you let go on the inside. The mind in us all likes to run the show. It is continuously having an internal dialogue about what it does or does not like. What this person meant by what they said or did not say. About what is going to happen in 30 seconds, 30 minutes and 30 years from now. In fact, the mind is constantly trying to judge, predict and evaluate the past, present and future through its thoughts. BUT, if you are hearing the thoughts of the mind then you cannot be the thoughts of the mind. If this is the case it must be possible to settle into a more peaceful state as separate from the mind and access a state of greater awareness. Michael says that “Just because the voice talks doesn’t mean I have to listen to it or let it affect the direction of my life. It has nothing to do with me-I can just relax regardless of what it is saying.”
Everything is an opportunity to learn & practice. Not everything was plain sailing. Yes, Michael became the CEO of a billion-dollar software company and run a hugely successful meditation and retreat centre but he also was indicted on federal fraud charges that ran on for years (and were eventually completely dropped) How did he deal with this? He says “There was really no reason to be thinking about why this was happening or how it would turn out. Since I had absolutely no idea what was going on thinking about it wasn’t going to help. Instead, I enjoyed spending my day letting go of whatever the voice in my head was trying to say and deeply relaxing whenever my heart began to feel anxious. In this situation, surrender was not an option; it was the only sane thing to do.” This runs nicely with the Stoic thinking of only taking responsibility for the things you can change.
You need less than you think. Even when Michael was running a multi-million dollar company he still lived in his cabin in the woods and his lifestyle hardly changed. It is amazing how much we have, compared with how little we need. If we can surrender and have contentment on the inside then the shiny baubles become less relevant. For me, this does not mean we have to live like a hermit but it does mean that we do not need things to validate ourselves. Seneca puts this nicely “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”
And Finally… My Favourite Excerpt from The Surrender Experiment.
“Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was.”