Many years ago I read a fascinating book by Michael Singer entitled The Untethered Soul. The book intrigued me from beginning to end. I remember reading the words and thinking they were written precisely for me.
I think Singer was the first person to help me truly grasp what he called “the voice inside your head,” which he referred to as “your inner roommate.” I was already aware of this voice inside of my overthinking mind and therefore was so eager to learn more about it.I highlighted and annotated almost every page in the book, but I remember finishing it feeling frustrated knowing that integrating the wisdom he imparted into my world would be difficult. The words sounded so beautiful and resonated on such a deep level, but I had no sense of how to take in the learning, apply it, and live it.
An important realization that I had many years ago is that change is a two-part process, part theoretical and part practical application. Transformation means a shift in being and doing states—it cannot be one without the other. But I could not grasp the “how to” that would bridge the seemingly wide gap between theory and practice.
I wanted so desperately to attain the true inner freedom that Singer said was possible when “you’re able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them” and when you open your heart no matter what, relax and release— and surrender to what is.
As much as I wanted to, at that time I did not have the mindset or the skillset to get me there. In the margins I wrote “So true” and “Wow,” but I also wrote “How?” So as good as my intentions were, I could not commit to a process that I did not fully understand, and so I continued to argue with my reality—battling my way through unresolved chronic pain.
No regrets, of course, as this book grew my mind in beautiful ways and helped me to lay the foundation for my “storyline curriculum.”
This past month, upon listening to a podcast, I learned that Michael Singer was offering an on-line course entitled Living from a Place of Surrender – The Untethered Soul in Action and signed up immediately. They say that the teacher arrives when the student is ready—and I was more than ready.
Although I am not yet halfway through the course, I already have a truer sense of what surrender really means and how to apply it.
I am sharing this with you because of its tremendous value and the potential it has to transform a life. Most of us don’t live life from a place of surrender, nor do we understand what it really means. Please allow me to lay the foundation.
We all have likes and dislikes—preferences and aversions. We all experience reality by either resisting and pushing things away or by clinging to them.
It’s natural to want more of what feels good and pleasurable and less of what feels bad and uncomfortable. We seek to recreate and cling to the magical moments and to push away and bury those that cause us to suffer.
The human condition is such that what if comes ahead of what is and if only ahead of is only. The human mind prefers to create an “alternate reality” where things unfold as they should.
For example, someone who has been in a car accident would contemplate, “What if I had not left the house at that time? If only I had stayed home due to the icy conditions! I should have been more careful.”
Given how we are naturally wired, we need to train our minds otherwise to move towards a more peaceful place of acceptance and surrender when necessary.
According to Singer, the definition of surrender is the act of letting go of what is not true to end up with what is true. It’s about the non-resisting—to discover the truth.
This is what surrender sounds like: “All I need from the moment that’s happening is what I’m getting from the moment that’s happening. The experience itself is everything.”
In speaking with people I get the sense that this is one of the hardest things to do—to keep your heart open to what is when what is feels too difficult to be with.
I am not sure that we can ever truly master the fine art of spiritual surrender, but learning how to live from a place of surrender can certainly alleviate some, even much of our suffering along the way.