How much do I want to read more? 10/10
Fascinating read. What's weird for me is I experienced having this constant awareness of the "inner voice" when I was a child, and it's been gone ever since.
I'm not able to observe my thought like I naturally did back then. Maybe I used to do this intuitively because my parents were Yoga teachers and they passed upon me some wisdom without even noticing it.
Meditation techniques to strengthen this awareness "muscle" as explained, is a great promise for me to broaden my daily consciousness, and step out from this "narrow mindset" I swim into.
Section I - Waking Up
Life rarely unfolds exactly as we want it to. And if we stop and think about it, that makes perfect sense. The scope of life is universal, and the fact that we are not actually in control of life’s events should be self-evident. The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years, and the processes that determine the flow of life around us did not begin when we were born, nor will they end when we die. What manifests in front of us at any given moment is actually something truly extraordinary—it is the end result of all the forces that have been interacting together for billions of years. We are not responsible for even the tiniest fraction of what is manifesting around us. Nonetheless, we walk around constantly trying to control and determine what will happen in our lives. No wonder there’s so much tension, anxiety, and fear. Each of us actually believes that things should be the way we want them, instead of being the natural result of all the forces of creation.
We regularly say things like, “It better not rain today because I’m going camping” or “I better get that raise because I really need the money.” Notice that these bold claims about what should and shouldn’t be happening are not based on scientific evidence; they’re based solely on personal preferences made up in our minds. Without realizing it, we do this with everything in our lives—it’s as though we actually believe that the world around us is supposed to manifest in accordance to our own likes and dislikes. If it doesn’t, surely something is very wrong. This is an extremely difficult way to live, and it is the reason we feel that we are always struggling with life.
We have been gifted with the power of will. From deep inside, we can determine how we want something to be and apply the power of our minds, hearts, and bodies in an attempt to make the outside world conform. But this puts us in a constant battle of our way versus the way it would be without our intervention. This battle between individual will and the reality of life unfolding around us ends up consuming our lives.
Since most of us only feel good when things are going our way, we are constantly attempting to control everything in our lives.
The question is, does it have to be this way? There is so much evidence that life does quite well on its own. The planets stay in orbit, tiny seeds grow into giant trees, weather patterns have kept forests across the globe watered for millions of years, and a single fertilized cell grows into a beautiful baby. We are not doing any of these things as conscious acts of will; they are all being done by the incomprehensible perfection of life itself. All these amazing events, and countless more, are being carried out by forces of life that have been around for billions of years—the very same forces of life that we are consciously pitting our will against on a daily basis. If the natural unfolding of the process of life can create and take care of the entire universe, is it really reasonable for us to assume that nothing good will happen unless we force it to? It is to the exploration of this intriguing question that this book is devoted.
How can there possibly be a more important question? If life can manifest the DNA molecule on its own, not to mention create the human brain, how is it that we feel that we have to control everything on our own? There must be another, more sane way to approach life. For example, what would happen if we respected the flow of life and used our free will to participate in what’s unfolding, instead of fighting it? What would be the quality of the life that unfolds? Would it just be random events with no order or meaning, or would the same perfection of order and meaning that manifests in the rest of the universe manifest in the everyday life around us?
Am I better off making up an alternate reality in my mind and then fighting with reality to make it be my way, or am I better off letting go of what I want and serving the same forces of reality that managed to create the entire perfection of the universe around me?
it would be about leaping into life to live in a place where we are no longer controlled by our personal fears and desires.
Not only did things not fall apart, quite the opposite happened. As one thing naturally followed the other, the flow of life’s events led me on a journey that would have been beyond my comprehension. This book shares that journey with you so that you can experience what happened when someone dared to let go and trust the flow of life.
surrender does not mean living life without the assertion of will. My story of these forty years is simply the story of what happened when the assertion of will was guided by what life was doing instead of what I wanted it to be doing. My personal experience is that aligning one’s will with the natural forces unfolding around us leads to some surprisingly powerful results.
The unexpected events that unfolded before me not only changed my life, they changed my entire view of life and left me with a sense of deep inner peace. Hopefully, sharing my surrender experiment with you will encourage you to find a more peaceful and harmonious way to live your life and to better appreciate the amazing perfection that unfolds around us.
1 - Not with a Shout—But with a Whisper
Life-changing events can be very dramatic and, by their very nature, disruptive. Your whole being is headed in one direction physically, emotionally, and mentally; and that direction has all the momentum of your past and all the dreams of your future. Then suddenly, there’s a major earthquake, a terrible sickness, or a chance encounter that totally sweeps you off your feet. If the event is powerful enough to change the focus of your heart and mind, the rest of your life will change in due course. You are literally not the same person on both sides of a truly life-changing event. Your interests change, your goals change, in fact, the underlying purpose of your life changes. It usually takes a very powerful event to turn your head around so far that you never look back.
But not always.
It was not with a shout but with a whisper that my life was thrown into utter turmoil and transformation. It has been more than forty years now since that life-changing moment, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.
Instead of simply being uncomfortable and trying to find something to say, I noticed that I was uncomfortable and trying to find something to say. For the first time in my life, my mind and emotions were something I was watching instead of being.
I know that it is difficult to put into words, but there was a complete sense of separation between my anxious mind, which was spewing out possible topics to talk about, and me, the one who was simply aware that my mind was doing this. It was like I was suddenly able to remain above my mind and quietly watch the thoughts being created. Believe it or not, that subtle shift in my seat of awareness became a tornado that rearranged my entire life.
For a few moments, I just sat there inwardly watching myself try to “fix” the awkward silence. But I was not the one trying to fix it; I was the one quietly watching the activity of my mind trying to fix it. At first there were only a few degrees of separation between me and what I was watching. But every second the separation seemed to become greater and greater. I was not doing anything to cause this shift. I was just there noticing that my sense of me no longer included the neurotic thought patterns that were passing in front of me.
At first it appears to be just a circle with line patterns. Then, suddenly, you see an entire 3-D image emerge from what originally looked like chaos. Once you see it, you can’t imagine how you hadn’t seen it before. It was right there! Such was the shift that happened inside of me. It was so obvious—I was in there watching my thoughts and emotions. I had always been in there watching, but I had been too unaware to notice. It was as though I had been so involved in their details that I never saw them as just thoughts and emotions.
Within seconds, what previously seemed like important solutions for how to break the uncomfortable silence was now sounding like a neurotic voice talking inside my head. I watched as that voice tried out things to say:
The weather’s been awesome, hasn’t it?
Did you hear what Nixon did the other day?
Do you want to get something to eat?
When I finally did open my mouth to say something, what I said was:
“Have you ever noticed that there’s this voice talking inside your head?”
Ronnie looked at me a little weird, and then a spark lit in his eyes. He said, “Yes, I see what you’re talking about—mine never shuts up!” I distinctly remember making a joke out of it by asking him what it would be like if he heard someone else’s voice talking in there. We laughed, and life went on.
But not my life. My life didn’t just “go on.” In my life, nothing would ever be the same again. I didn’t have to try to maintain this awareness. It was who I was now. I was the being who was watching the incessant flow of thoughts pass through the mind. From the same seat of awareness, I watched the ever-shifting current of emotions pass through the heart. When I showered, I saw what that voice had to say while I was supposed to be washing my body. If I was talking to someone, I watched as that voice figured out what to say next—instead of listening to what the other person was saying. If I went to class, I watched my mind play the game of trying to think ahead of the professor to see if it could figure out where he was going with the lecture. Needless to say, it did not take long before this newly found voice inside my head really started to annoy me. It was like sitting next to someone in a movie theater who never, ever stops talking.
I found that I could change the topic it talked about, but I could not get it to just stop talking for any length of time. My yearning for inner silence became a passion. I knew what it was like to watch the voice. What I didn’t know is what it would be like if the voice totally stopped. And what I never could have imagined was the life-changing journey on which I was about to embark.