Giving Meaning to the Time Between Your Birth and Death

TAMI SIMON: Welcome to the Michael Singer Podcast. Michael Singer is the author of two widely influential New York Times bestsellers, The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment, both considered modern classics on the spiritual journey. Michael Singer lives and teaches at the Temple of the Universe, the yoga and meditation center he founded in 1975, near Gainesville, Florida. Produced in partnership with Shanti Publications, the Michael Singer Podcast brings you select recordings from Michael Singer’s teachings at the Temple of the Universe. This episode is on Giving Meaning to the Time Between Your Birth and Death. Sounds True would also like you to know about an extraordinary eight-part video course we’ve created with Michael Singer. It’s called Living from a Place of Surrender: The Untethered Soul in Action, an online course many people report to be utterly life-changing. You can find out more at That’s, and you can save 15% off any Michael Singer program available through Sounds True when you use the code Singer15 at checkout. Again, that’s Singer, one, five. And now, Giving Meaning to the Time Between Your Birth and Death, with Michael Singer.


MICHAEL SINGER: Jai Guru Dev. Jai masters.  It is very, very helpful to, every day, a few times a day, come back to solid ground, otherwise you get lost. It’s very easy to get lost. What is solid ground? You were born and you’re going to die. That’s pretty solid. No one ever avoided that. Nothing that ever lived didn’t die. What was the purpose of thinking about you were born you’re going to die? Because it’s the truth. There’s this thing about truth, it helps a lot, it frames things. A wise person frames their life in terms of their life, not in terms of whether they’re married or how tall they are, whether they’re getting older, it’s meaningless. How much money they have or whether they have children or not. People respect them or not. It’s nothing.

Literally, people devote their lives to which in the realm of you’re born and you’re going to die means nothing. You’re going to die. It’s going to be gone. So, you spend your life collecting nothing. Do you understand that? Sorry. Right? If in the end it all goes away and you have nothing and you came down with nothing and you leave with none of that, then what is the purpose of accumulating and building and doing this stuff? If it’s gone, it’s just gone. OK. Everybody, I don’t care how rich you are, no matter what it is, you were born, you’re going to die. So, you frame the meaning of life, that’s a deep topic, meaning of life, I wouldn’t touch it. But it’s pretty obvious what it’s not, the meaning of life can’t be how beautiful your face and your skin is when you’re 20, right? That can’t be the meaning of your life because it doesn’t last. It proves it’s not true, because it doesn’t last your life.

It’s the same thing with accumulating of things, and so on. So, you catch on and you start framing it by saying, and you do it multiple times a day. “It’s all true. I was born and I’m going to die. What am I doing in between this thing, this time?” What a gift was given to you, the time between your birth and your death. That is a precious thing, that is more precious than everything. Do you understand that? Everything else fits inside of that. And you’re sitting there giving meaning to meaningless things when that is what has meaning, period. And that time does not belong to your husband, that time does not belong to your wife, that time does not belong to your parents. That time does not belong to your children. It was given to you. That was a gift that was given to you, period.

You have this time between your birth and your death. The question is, what do you want to do with that time? Not what do you think people want you to do, what do you feel you’re forced to do? No. Everybody was given that time. What do you want to do with it? What most people do with it is as follows. They don’t have a choice. Most people never think like this. They don’t understand why you would even think like this, because they’re not OK inside. “It’s not comfortable in here. There are things I’m scared of, there are things I don’t like. There are things that I want that I’m uncomfortable because I don’t have them.” Anybody know anything about that?

It’s not fun inside during that time between your birth and your death. You start off crying and you pretty much keep it going the whole time. [LAUGHTER] It just sounds different, OK. It does. “Oh my God, he left me, I can’t believe how he talked to…” the same thing, exact same thing. All right. Basically, if you’re not OK inside, if you’re not comfortable inside, if you’re not centered and clear inside, then you are disturbed inside. And if you are disturbed inside, it’s not comfortable, it’s like drowning. It’s like I can’t talk to you about whether you want to do the backstroke or the breaststroke or the crawl if you’re drowning, right? You won’t listen to a single thing. You just grab and pull and everything.

If you are drowning in there, if you’re not OK in there, if it’s not comfortable in there, if you’re scared in there, if you’re needy in there, if that’s what it feels like in there, that is going to determine what you do between your birth and death, period. You have no choice. You’re going to do that which tries to make you feel better. If you’re drowning, you’re not going to do rational stuff. Somebody swims out to you, you will grab them and pull them down. If you’re drowning, I’m not going to blame you for grabbing everything, you’re drowning. It’s not a blame game. It’s an understanding. You have compassion, understanding, “He’s drowning, what do you expect from him?” It’s a survival instinct. He’s trying to live.

OK, it’s the same thing inside. If you’re not doing well inside, if you’re uncomfortable, you’re scared, needy, whatever the heck it is, right? Then you’re not doing well. And I’m telling you, you’re going to grab, you’re going to act just like a drowning person. You’re going to grab the things, the drowning person things float by, wood or this or a person, they try to grab. You, the world floats by, that’s your water. You’re drowning in the water of life, all right? And the world floats by, and you want to deny you’re grabbing? You want to deny you’re trying to get stuff, you want to deny you’re trying to find someone to love, and trying to find someone to love you, and trying to look the way you want to look and trying to get a car that you want, and trying to get the house that you want, and trying to get the job that you want and try… You’re grabbing. Buddhist use the word clinging.

You’re doing one of two things all the time. You’re either clinging to what you think will make you feel better or you’re resisting what you think will make you feel worse. If you think you’d need something to make you feel better, you’re trying to get it. That’s a form of cling, a form of grabbing. All right? As the world rides by, passes by, people, places, things, finances, cars, jobs, careers, I don’t care, I don’t care what it is. You need something from that. And you try to decide inside yourself, “What will make me feel better? What will make me feel worse?” And then you try to grab what will make you feel better. And then you try to keep it. It’s not good enough to get it, I have to keep it.

“Well, finally she said she loves me or he said he loves me. Oh, it’s wonderful, I always wanted that, I feel so much better. How do I keep them loving me?” It’s a burden, isn’t it? Right? You got to watch what you wear, what you say, watch what you do. Watch what they think. “Well, how do I know what the other person’s thinking? Oh my God, I don’t want them to think badly about me because I need them to love me.” I want you to see what you have chosen to do, you really don’t have a choice, but what by default you are doing with the time between your birth and your death. And I’m telling you, you will do it every second of your life for the rest of your life. And then you won’t want to die. You’ll fight every single step of the way. Why? Because you’re not OK. Why do you not want to die? “Because my ship hasn’t come in yet.” You know what that means? “I haven’t found that which made me feel good. I haven’t experienced and kept experiencing that which took the burden off. That which made my wings open up.” You make it sound so spiritual, right? “And I can fly and I can be free.” What are you looking for? You’re looking to just feel wonderful inside and not have any problems or any worries, and just be totally comfortable. Who wants to deny that? 

Because you’re not OK and you’re drowning at one degree or another, I don’t want to make it too dramatic, but you’re drowning. Then your mind tries to figure out, “What do I need in order to feel better? What needs to not happen so I don’t feel worse? And how do I make that happen?” That’s your life. Why? The foundation of why we do this is because we are not OK. And this essence of any spiritual discussion, but I won’t go there yet, is, “Why am I not OK?” That’s the crux of it. 

It’s not true that you’re not OK because something might happen to your children. It’s not true that you’re not OK because you didn’t get the job you wanted. It’s not true, that’s the most basic thing, you get most lost that way. If you’re not OK, you try to figure out how to be OK. And then you say, “That would make me OK.” You don’t have the right to say, “Therefore that’s what made me not be OK.” That’s terrible logic. All right. So, don’t do that. And that’s what you’re doing. That’s why you get lost. I’m now out there trying to get what I think would make me feel better, without ever questioning why I didn’t feel good to start with. Do you understand that? Here, let’s get it down once and for all. And this is the most important thing you will ever learn spiritually.

“My stomach hurts a lot. It hurts really bad. I think Pepto-Bismol will help.” Why did your stomach hurt? “Because I don’t have any Pepto-Bismol.” No, there was a reason your stomach hurt, you thought Pepto-Bismol will make it feel better, but that’s not the reason it hurts. It’s the same thing with loneliness. It’s the same thing with not feeling respect or feeling worthy and so on. These are deep-seated things, they exist. Not denying them, they exist. You try to solve them by running around like a chicken with your head cut off, getting married and inviting people and doing things and getting jobs that make you feel passionate, and trying to make people like you and dressing a certain way and getting… Come on. All right. And so on. Why? Because you think that will make you feel better.

Then you sit there and say, “I thought I’d finally get the car, I couldn’t get it. I couldn’t get the raise.” That’s not why you’re not OK. Not a single thing that you’re trying to do or not do has anything to do with what’s going on. Anything, not one single thing. All right. “I don’t feel spiritual. I need to go to Kathmandu.” I mean, you’re welcome to go. It’s a nice place, right? But it has nothing to do with… How can that be why you don’t feel spiritual? You haven’t been to Kathmandu. Give me a break. You’re trying to say, if this happens, I will feel more spiritual. “If I take the Pepto-Bismol, my stomach will feel better.” You’ll do that your whole life, running after compensations to try and distract you from the problem that you have.

If you want to know a reasonable meaning between your birth and your death, it’s not that. Sometimes the best you can do is say what something’s not, there’s no way that the meaning of your life is to either get these things or avoid these things that you think will make you feel better. It’s meaningless. All right. And by the way, we’ll take a second, it never works. You think you’ve done it wrong? You haven’t done it wrong. You didn’t pick the wrong person. You didn’t do that. You didn’t take a wrong turn in your life. It never works. Taking that Pepto-Bismol is a temporary thing that might make you feel a little bit better for a very short period of time. Since you did not deal with the cause of your stomachache, you’re going to still have a stomachache. Since you did not deal with the cause of your loneliness, you can be married with other people that live in big families, everything, and they feel lonely. They feel, “I’m just alone.” They’re not alone, there’s all these people, yes, well. People live in New York and feel lonely. How do you feel lonely? There’s millions of people all over the place all the time. It can’t work.

This is very important. I know I got through to you with the Pepto-Bismol thing. Well, it’s funny and it’s not, because you know that can’t work. You take all the Pepto-Bismol you want, and you’re not going to get rid of the stomachache. You understand that? It would just make it feel better, right? Take an aspirin. It’s not going to get rid of why you’re getting headaches. It’s just going to make it more tolerable. I’m telling you that extrapolates to every single thing you’re trying to get and avoid. They are temporary fixes that don’t fix a single thing. They just make it better temporarily. OK?

Spirituality is never, never about getting what you want. And spirituality is never about avoiding what you don’t want, OK? That’s not what it’s about. It’s about finding out why you have a problem inside and working with the root, working with the root cause. So, we live in a society that very, very few people, not only do not know anything about this, they don’t want to know anything about this. To most people it is a waste, “You people have just wasted your time.” Why? “How can sitting in here listening to this talk, get you what you know you need to get to be OK?” It’s like, you’re wasting your time because you live in a world, not just a society, you live in a world and a culture that doesn’t know what we just told you. You live in a world and a culture that worships Pepto-Bismol.

Basically, I really focus on this, do you get it? The difference between working with the problem that made you try to find a solution, versus trying to get the solution. And you must admit no one will talk to you that way. Your whole culture, everything is about, “Get it, get it and avoid it. Be strong, make people scared of you, make them respect or be scared of you, so they won’t do what bothers you. Be beautiful, be handsome, be rich, be successful, so that they are attracted to you, so you can manipulate them and get what you want.”

Eventually you catch on what is going on. You were given this time between your birth and your death. And boy, are we blowing it, because if you live like that, anything you even managed to get that makes you feel better about yourself: the husband, the wife, the children, the money, the job, the respect, it’s going at death. It’ll go before that, don’t worry. None of that is going with you, right? If you devote your life to getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want, you have wasted your life. Nothing happens. Well, what’s the alternative? And now it should be pretty obvious. There’s something wrong inside. That’s why you need to do all of these things. If that wasn’t wrong inside, you have a good time here. Where is here? Here, where you are.

That’s the next foundational truth I always teach you. One is you’re born, you’re going to die. OK. That’s important. Second, you were born onto this little tiny piece of dirt. I mean, just unbelievable. A tiny little speck of dirt, spinning around vast empty space, right? Black empty space for as far as it can go. And you’re on this little piece of dirt. You are born and you are going to die there, right? That’s the second one. It’s like, wow, what a far-out place? Go get born on Mars. It’s really a speck of dirt, that’s what it is, dirt. There’s nothing on Mars but dirt, understand that? Just how high is it piled or down did it go. It is red dirt. Want to go there? How long will you last there? Pretty boring. Boring. Not much fun at all. Right?

Were you born on Mars? No. Saturn is all gases. Venus, oh my God, it’s gas. When it rains on Venus, it rains hydrochloric acid. I don’t want to go there. All right? It’s like you were born into Disney World. You were born on this phenomenal piece of dirt spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Please make your mind realize how big the black abyss is surrounding the planet Earth. Your closest star is 93 million miles away. How far away is Miami? 360? 93 million miles away. Your next closest star is 4.2 light years. What’s a light year? I’m catching a beam of light, a photon, I got it, I got it here. I’m above the planet Earth. Got it. Like the astronauts. I let it go for one second, it circumnavigated the globe six and a half times in one second. That’s the speed of light, right? You want to go to your next star, beyond the sun. OK. Go with that speed for 4.2 years every single second. What’s in between? Nothing. Black empty abyss.

And you’re sitting on a piece of dirt that’s spinning around one star, 93 million miles away. And then the next one’s 4.2 light years away. All right, wake up, wake up! How in the world can it be about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want? Everything’s telling you that, OK? And by the way, just because you’re there and you dare to be here and listen, that’s your second star. There are 300 billion of those stars in your galaxy. And there are two trillion galaxies. And what are you worried about? Whether you pick the right glasses or how tall you are or whether you have a zit on your cheek. You’re hearing me, right? It’s ridiculous, that can’t possibly be the meaning of your life, what you’re doing, all right. It’s just ridiculous. You’re sitting on a little planet for a few years. Right. If you don’t have these problems inside, which are causing you to be the way you are, do you understand, I’m not blaming you, right. A drowning person. I don’t blame them, right.

If you’re not OK and you’re not comfortable and you’re scared and you need things and so on, you’re going to struggle. What if you didn’t, just for kicks, imagine all the people, right? What if inside was beautiful? What if when you woke up in the morning, this is what it was like, “I’m back!” You giggle and you say, “I wonder what will happen today.” It’s like, I get to go to Disney World every single day. Every single minute of every single day is God’s idea of Disney World. There’s animals and giraffes and there’s roaches and there’s ants and there’s mosquitoes. And there’s all kinds of dogs and cats and fish. “Oh my God, it’s an aquarium.” It’s a total zoo, the planet, your planet is. Mars isn’t, Mars isn’t, Saturn isn’t. Did you win the lottery? Do you understand that? If you won the lottery 16 times in a row, you didn’t do better than landing on the planet Earth. Am I right or wrong?

It’s the most unbelievable place. There’s people. There’s places. There’s plants. There’s things. When you are not having a problem inside, you enjoy your life. You learn from life, you experience life, you grow. How is this: What is the meaning of life? Life. The meaning of life is the experience of life. If you are whole and complete and OK within yourself. And we can talk about that a little later. But if you’re whole and complete, you don’t have these problems inside. Then you’re having experiences, not good ones or bad ones, you’re having experiences, right? Every experience you have makes you a greater person. Before you came down to Earth, you didn’t have those experiences. Your soul, your being, your consciousness, your essence, you didn’t have the experience of getting married. You didn’t have the experience of getting divorced. You didn’t have the experience of having a child.

Whatever the heck it is, I’m sorry, these are experiences that happen on the planet Earth. “Which ones happen to me?” It’s none of your business, you came down here to have experiences. Why? Because you become greater by the experiences you have. Experience is the best teacher, is it not? If I never picked up a tennis racket and I never went to a tennis court, I know nothing about tennis, OK? If I at least go once and I try to swing with a racket and try to hit the ball, my God, I’m way beyond someone who’s never been there. If I never touched a piano, I know nothing about music. But if I sit down and I try to play the scales, even for five minutes, I am a greater being. Please listen to me, I’m a greater being. Not you listened to me and said I was good or bad, it has nothing to do with that. 

I’m greater because I now know music. I’m greater because I now know tennis or golf, whatever it is that’s happening. If I didn’t experience it before, and then I experience it, I’m a greater being as I experienced it. If I never saw a snake, fine, I never saw a snake. But if I saw a snake, I’m a greater being than somebody who never saw a snake. I’m a knower of snakes. OK. Now, but I can’t know everything. That’s right, you can’t know everything. It’s a very, very big planet. And there’s lots of things going on every single second. But you can at least experience the one that’s happening to you. That’s called be here now, right?

  There’s only one experience that happened to you right now. Nobody else is having the experience you’re having, and you’ll never have it again. And no one will ever have it. And man, it’s just made for you right here. But you’re not having the experience. You’re busy wanting to have the ones you think will make you OK. You’re busy fighting with life. Why? I’m not blaming you. Why? Because I’m not OK. “Because I’m not OK, I can just struggle to try to get what I think will make me be OK. If I were OK I could learn and experience and grow and honor and appreciate and respect every single second of every moment of my life.” If the only time you went in the water was when you’re drowning, it’s hard for you to believe that people go or the beach for fun. All right. Because you never experienced what it was like to be in the water not drowning.

Most people have never, ever experienced what it is like to be on this planet not scared to death and needy. However, there are exceptions, just want to make sure you know that. There are moments that you have experienced what I’m talking about. When everything went just right at the wedding and you’re up there at the altar and then all fades away and you’re going to do your “I do” thing, right. And this person you love, and there’s just this moment. They talk about a moment, right? There’s a moment in which everything’s OK. Not that it’s all OK outside, it’s all OK inside, it stops. There is another thing, you don’t need all that.

You’re driving down the street. You got all this junk going on inside your head. What you’re scared of, what you’re worried about, what you need, what you want, “How do I get it? Why did she do it? Why did I say that?” It’s so cute. You think it’d be OK with all the stuff going on in there and not a chance in the world, all right. And you turn the corner and the sun is setting and it is the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen, giant orange ball of a thing. And all of a sudden it stops. What does? That garbage inside. This event was so stunning, was so distracting, it distracted you from yourself, right?

And you come back and you said, “I can’t even explain it. It was like seeing the face of God.” You use words like that. “It was a spiritual experience. I went deeper than even any meditation ever took me,” right? You’re right. It was a beautiful experience. Why? Because you had the experience, it pulled you out of your garbage enough to where you had the experience, do you understand that? I’m telling you what is meant is that every single second of your life is the same as that sunset. Make sure you look me in the eyes. What God intended, the creator of the universe, when he gave you this planet and gave you consciousness, and you got to have this unbelievable experience of between your birth and your death, on this little piece of dirt spinning around with his plants and animals and things and people and chess and computers, whatever it is, right? You get to have these experiences.

“Which experience do I get to have?” The one you’re having! You don’t get to choose them. You understand that? How many experiences are going on right now? Potential experiences, 700 billion zillion quillion all over the universe. I know I’m very important, it’s not just happening here, happening outside, in Gainesville, everywhere is the whole thing. It’s happening everywhere, isn’t it? But you’re only having one experience. That’s all you’ll ever have is the one experience that’s unfolding in front of you. What’s wrong with that? Because you’re not OK, you think there’s something wrong with it. You got a little bumper sticker on your car that says, “I’d rather be sailing.” I feel sorry for you, because you’re not, you’re driving your car.

How in the world are you going to be OK, if you’re not OK, and then you made up all these things that you think will make you be OK. And you think getting those are the meaning of life. They are nothing. It’s garbage. It’s Pepto-Bismol. It’s like you just stock up on Pepto-Bismol, right, because if you ever get a stomachache, that’s the meaning of life. No, it’s not, not even close. So, you realize that if you’re not OK, it all comes down to it, if you’re not OK, you’re going to behave like these people do. Which people? People. OK. I don’t care what culture you’re from. All you did was decide something different. You decide this religion, that religion, atheist, doesn’t matter. You’re just deciding different about what has to happen for you to be OK, but it’s the same game. That’s what the Buddha says that undercut the whole thing.

It’s the same game, which is, “I’m not OK and I’ve made up my mind based on my culture, based on my past experiences, my parents, the preacher, et cetera, et cetera. I made up this garbage of what I think will make me be OK, and what has to not happen so I won’t be OK. And I’m devoting my entire life to make that happen. They’re doing it in China, they’re doing it in Russia, they’re doing it everywhere, so the whole place.” OK. It’s the same thing, you just made up different stuff, but you’re not OK.

Now the only thing that’s different is when you are OK. If you’re OK, you live a totally different life from everybody else. You live in the moment. You don’t live in the moment because you made yourself live in the moment. I think that’s the funniest thing in the world. What are you doing? “I’m practicing being here now. All right. I’m touching the fork.” OK, that’s fine, that’s better than what else you’d be doing, but that’s not being here now. You’re already not here now, and you’re trying to lay be here now on top of that, it’s a struggle. OK. How could it be a struggle to experience what’s in front of you? Here, look at what’s in front of you. “I can’t. Why? Because I don’t like it. Because I’m attracted to something else.”

You got something going on in your head, therefore you can’t be here now. If you don’t have that going on in your head, the Buddhists call it empty mind, clarity. Do you understand that? If you don’t have that whole mishegoss going on in your head of what you made up needs to happen for you to be OK, you’re always OK. Let’s get this straight. You’re always OK, and you’re always honoring and respecting and learning from the experiences unfolding in front of you. And it is so complete that there’s no thoughts ever again about wanting or needing or fearing anything else. All right.

If a lion jumps at you, that’s a very natural fear. If a lion jumps at you, feel fear. But if you’re just driving home, what are you feeling fear for? That’s all made up in your head. There ain’t no lion jumping at you. Do you have the foundation? Do you see the difference? What yoga, spirituality– I use yoga in terms of deep spirituality– is dealing with, is never about getting what you want and never above what and what you don’t want. It is always about, “Why would I bother wanting something? Why would I bother not wanting something? And it’s because I’m not OK. Why am I not OK? Is there anything I can do to actually be OK?” That’s it. It’s very simple. No more all these thoughts. No more what should I do or shouldn’t I do, I have to make… no decisions. There’s no anything.

The reason you have trouble with decisions is because you’re not OK. And you’re trying to decide the one that will make you be OK. And trying to make sure you don’t decide the one that will make you not be OK. And it’s very hard, because you don’t know. How do you like that? That’s why you have trouble with decisions. Yogis have no trouble with decision. Spiritual person doesn’t even know what the word decision means. I don’t understand, the world unfolds, you experience it. It’s raining out. But I don’t know, what do you mean, it’s raining. You’re going to experience the rain. It’s cold, experience the cold, learn, grow, imbibe it, embrace it, seize the day. It’s like, live the moment that is given to you. Why? Because it’s the only one you will ever experience.

You will only experience the moment that’s in front of you. You can think, you wish you had a different one. You can talk about why it shouldn’t be this way. It doesn’t matter. You’re experiencing the moment that’s in front of you. That is the gift that life is giving you, period. If you stop fighting with it, because you think it’s supposed to be something else and you know you do, you’re going to find out that life is very, very different than you thought it was. Sometimes you think life is for you. Sometimes you think it’s against you, it’s neither for you nor against you. Life is doing its thing. Life is unfolding. Life is God expressing itself. That is a quantum … Here, either God is expressing itself, good. And like the Christians say, “This is the day the Lord has made.”

Scientists, they go down to the quantum field. There’s this field of energy, Einsteinian energy, E equals MC squared. It’s just all energy. It’s just a field of energy. And sometimes it acts as a wave and sometimes it acts as a particle and those particles come up as quarks and leptons and bosons and they make electron, neutrons, and protons and they make atoms, and they do all this. And then they create what’s in front of you. What’s wrong with that? It’s pretty unbelievable that all of this is coming out of nothing, and that we understand the laws, then what in the world are you saying is wrong? Which part of the quantum field is wrong? Which part of physics is wrong?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re the most devotional God-oriented person that says, “This is the day the Lord has made.” Good. Enjoy it. Say thank you constantly, because it’s better than nothing. Or whether you’re scientific-minded and couldn’t believe in God and “I don’t understand why people talk about such a stupid thing.” Fine, exact same result. What are you going to do? Fight with the quantum field? Why is the quantum field causing rain right now? Because that’s what causes it. Every single thing that happens comes out of nothing. Oh my God. All right. And here it is manifest.

And I always teach you. It took 13, 20 billion years to get right the way it is right now in front of you. You want to fight with it, do you? You want to talk about why it’s wrong? No, what you’ve done is because you’re not OK, you build this concept inside your mind of how the moments in front of you need to be for you to be OK, and how they need to not be so you don’t be worse. Which moments? The ones that God made, or the ones that came out of the quantum field for 13.8 billion years? So, it doesn’t matter. I’ve told you, isn’t it beautiful? This thing about belief and this … Don’t worry. You let go of that garbage that you’re building inside of you that’s saying things need to be a certain way for me to be OK. When really what you’re saying is, “I’m not OK. I think this will make me be OK,” right? And you’re going to find out the truth yourself.

But if you’re going to sit there and fight with every moment of your life to try and get it the way you want, you’re not going to have a very nice life. And when you die, nothing changed, you just became more neurotic and you didn’t take any of this stuff with you versus, what I started talking about, you come to realize, “You know, I’m not OK. And that’s why I’m doing all of this. I wonder why I’m not OK. Did God make me this way? No, not a chance in the world.” I told you Earth is God’s idea of Disney World.


TAMI SIMON: You’re listening to the Michael Singer Podcast produced by Sounds True in partnership with Shanti Publications. Sounds True has also produced with Michael Singer an extraordinary eight-part video course, Living from a Place of Surrender: The Untethered Soul in Action. You can find out more at and save 15% when you use the code Singer15 at checkout. Now, back to Michael Singer on Giving Meaning to the Time Between Your Birth and Death.


MICHAEL SINGER: You were sent here because it’s an unbelievable gift. There’s so many things going on. There’s constant experiences. Did you know that in the Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads, they say the devas, the gods and goddesses in heaven, in heaven, want to come down to Earth. That Earth is the most growthful plain that there is in all of it. They long to come down here. Why? Well, you know why. Kind of hits your stuff, doesn’t it? In other words, you’re not going to get what you want. You’re going to have to deal with your stuff. “Heaven, oh, it’s terrible. You get everything you want and you just never grow. Who wants to go to heaven?” Ram Dass once said, “What’s heaven? Another desire place, you can go there and get what you want.” All right?

A wise person wakes up and says, “There’s something wrong with me. I want to fix it. I don’t want to compensate for it. I don’t want to be distracted from it. I want to fix it.” And so, you start doing what’s called working on yourself instead of working on everybody else. Christ said that, “don’t worry about the splinter in somebody else’s eye, worry about the log in yours.” And so, you wake up and you realize, “I got some work to do.” And the work isn’t on manipulating, controlling everybody else, so they behave the way I need them to because I’m a sick person, right? “Don’t talk about that. You know I don’t like to talk about that. I told you not to talk about that. Go sleep on the couch.” OK. Here we go. You hear me? All right.

Instead, you sit there and say, “Well, how do I get OK?” Well, it’s very easy. You have to deal with what’s wrong. You can’t keep avoiding it. You can’t keep trying to compensate for it. You have to literally deal with what’s wrong. “Well, how do I know what’s wrong?” You’ll know, don’t worry about it. It’s right constantly in your face. “What do I do?” In the simplest sense, here’s spiritual growth. I woke up today and I’m not done yet. I still got some stuff, I can tell why it’s a mess in here. All right. Situations and circumstances are going to unfold in front of me. When? Every moment, OK. I’m going to go take a shower. “There’s some mildew in the shower curtain. It’s a little too hot. The thing is loose.” All we got is do all kinds of stuff.

Oh, it’s very difficult to live this life. Why? Because it hits your stuff. When it comes in, it’s not neutral. Somehow it bothers you. Have you noticed life bothers you? The driver in front of you, the temperature, the rain, the fact that the shirt doesn’t fit anymore, or there’s a run in your stocking, oh I guess you don’t get runs in your stockings anymore. I’m old, all right. Whatever it is. Your hair started turning gray. Come on, that’s a good one, right? In other words, how many things bother you? Oh, it’s so funny. I dare you to watch during the day, understand that. Walk out of here and take a quick look where you thought you left your shoes and they’re not there. Check out what’s going on inside. Who took my shoes? Oh, there they are.

Everything bothers you. If it’s humid out and you had your hair done and it starts getting a little frizzy, then it’s all you would notice. It bothers you. Will you admit it? It bothers you. Things bother you. I told you, the one I really picked on is the driver in front of you. He’s not driving exactly the way you would like that person to drive. They’re driving 15 miles an hour below the speed limit. You know what I’m saying? Or they didn’t use their blinker. How are you doing? No, you’re bothered. Don’t minimize this. This is more important than meditation. This is the most important thing. If you’re going to bother yourself about everything, we need to take 15 minutes and try to offset your whole day of bothering yourself? How about we learn to not bother ourselves?

You are on a planet spinning in middle of nowheres. You’re only going to be here for a few more years. Will you please get with the program? Will you please enjoy your life instead of bothering yourself about life? Why are you bothering yourself about everything? I told you why? Because I’m not OK. And I decided what will make me be OK, and that person driving 15 miles below the speed limit in front of me is not helping with that. And the person not using their blinker did that. “That’s ridiculous, you’re supposed to use the blinker.” Really? You bother yourself about everything, are you? “And she’s sitting too close to him. You know that. You know I don’t like that. Six inches at least. They’re dancing too close.”

How many things bother you? “Hey, she’s wearing the same blouse as I am. I thought mine was special. I bought it up in Italy, and oh my God, that’s embarrassing.” OK. That sounds normal. That talk inside your head says normal to you. It’s sick, right? You’re sitting on a planet spinning in middle of nowheres, making yourself miserable. “No, she made me miserable. She wore the same blouse.” No, you are making yourself, life is not bothering you. Life is not bothering you. You are bothering yourself about life. Go bother yourself about the fact that Saturn has rings. “I don’t want Saturn to have rings.” OK, then you’re bothered by Saturn’s rings. But Saturn didn’t do that. You did that. That’s true of everything.

“Well, I married him, but I didn’t know that he had this kind of a habit. I didn’t know he does this. I didn’t know that, blah, blah, blah.” All right. Well, I don’t understand, so he sleepwalks, so he leaves the toilet seat up. All right. So, he doesn’t do this or that, or she doesn’t do this or that, right. It’s just an event in the universe. “But it bothers me.” No, you’re bothering yourself about that. And if you keep bothering yourself, you’re not going to like the person. And it seems perfectly rational to you. It’s not rational. And so eventually, and I hope it’s now, you wake up and realize I am sitting on a planet with a minimal amount of time between my birth and my death. And I’m being given the gift of experiences and each of the experiences, they either come in like the sunset, and touch me to the core of my being, and I honor it and respect it and grow, I’m a better person because I saw that sunset, it changed me. And I’m that way about every single moment of my life. See your jaw drop.

Every moment is just like the sunset, whatever it is. I grew from that situation, it fed me. I learned, I became more open. All right. You can’t do that. Why? Because it hits your stuff. Not because of the situation. All right. It’s because it hits your stuff. So, it comes in, you start to try to play tennis, hit into the net every time and people are watching, OK. They just happened to be there, believe me, they’re not watching. All right, but they’re there and you have a terrible experience. “The worst experience you ever had. I’m never going to a tennis court again. It was embarrassing. It’s ridiculous. I couldn’t get the ball over the net even once. I’m so sorry I ever went.” Wow, congratulations. You just ruined your life. All right.

Versus, “Wow, I had no idea what tennis was. I really respect now the players I saw on my TV once; how good they really are. It’s not even easy to get the ball over the net!” And you just had a good time and you learned. “And I hope sometime I can go back and see if I can get better.” And, which way you want to be? About all of life. “Yes, we were in love and it was amazing experience. It felt like we’d live our whole life together, it lasted three days. And then I went through this divorce. And it was amazing how you could love somebody so much and now there’s not so much love during the divorce. It’s just amazing. What an experience. Oh my God, I can’t wait. If I get another relationship, I’m going to do better.”

Just like I’m going to be better at tennis when I go back the second time, not “I’ll never marry again.” You can honor and respect every single experience that you have. There are not good and bad experiences. There are just experiences. And if you’re open to them, you grow from them. You learn from them. And that’s the meaning of your life. Now you understand the meaning of life. That when you leave, you are a higher being than who came down, period. There’s a saying, “Earth is a place where souls are sent to evolve.” I love it. I read it in 70s, and the Theosophical Society or something, Earth is a place where souls are sent to evolve. That’s the meaning of life. How are you doing?

Because what you have defined is Earth is a place where you can try to get what you need in order to be OK, and avoid what you don’t want, so you don’t get worse. Right? Well, that doesn’t sound like you’re evolving. That sounds that you’re trying to purposely not evolve. “Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t do that. I don’t like that. I’ll do that more. I like that.” Right? In other words, “I don’t want to evolve. I want to stay how I am. OK. I want to stay how I am, and I want you all to match me every moment.” All right. That’s the difference between a worldly life, where you’re out there trying to build your life in the world, and a spiritual life where your work is inside. You don’t deny the world. You don’t renounce the world. It’s your friend. Why? It’s hitting your stuff. It’s what you’re learning, it’s your teacher. It is your teacher. Why? Because every event in front of you has to come into you.

And when it comes in, it ain’t so clean, is it? Because it hits stuff inside. So, your spiritual path, people used to say that, “You don’t teach–“when they read The Untethered Soul, “There’s no spiritual practices in here.” That’s all it is, is a spiritual practice, right? It’s like, yes, I’m not telling you to meditate and do this and chant mantras and breathe inside out one nostril or another. Wonderful things by the way, they’re very useful things, right? What I’m sitting here saying is, come out here, you woke up in the morning. Are you willing to grow? That’s what it says, untethered soul. Are you willing to untether yourself? Has nothing to do with life. Every one of you has just the right life that you need in order to go to God, period.

That’s exactly the right life. And every moment that’s unfolding in front of you is exactly what you need in that moment to rise you spiritually. That’s how perfect everything is, but it doesn’t look like that, does it? It doesn’t look like that because I’m not getting what I want. Because you define the darn thing wrong. You define the meaning of life is getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want. “Can I make it by without too much pain and can I get some joy once in a while, right?” That’s not the meaning of life. The meaning of life is to get rid of the reason you’re not OK. Now, why am I not OK? Why do I have to do all this? Why can’t I just be happy?

That’s in the garden. When you’re in the garden, before you fell out of the garden, the fall from the garden, you hear me, what it’s trying to portray is you’re always OK. You’re always OK. You’re always in ecstasy. You don’t have to do a single thing to get it. There’s no work. There’s no nothing. It’s just whoa, unbelievable. Every moment. All right. That’s what it means to return to the garden. You can return to the garden, period. Well, why am I not? Because you did the following thing, it’s very important to hear this. You were experiencing God, you were experiencing life. It was coming in. It was touching you. But then something happened. Then when it came and it wasn’t comfortable, nobody says it’ll be comfortable. It comes in, yin and yang you feel everything.

Some vibrations are nicer than others. Some sounds are nicer than others, but they’re still just sounds. They’re just vibrations in the universe. OK. Fine. So, when it comes in, it feels a little awkward, but then it goes. Yes or no? Didn’t everything come and go in your entire life? Nothing has ever stayed. It doesn’t stay for a moment. No electron is ever in the same place. It all comes and goes. The problem is when it wasn’t comfortable, it’s called the evolution of the soul. When it came in and the vibration wasn’t comfortable, whatever it was, a rattlesnake, a divorce, let’s say simple, a rattlesnake, a sound, a color that just came in and vibrated wrong. It didn’t feel comfortable when it came in, so what? It’s like hitting the tennis ball into the net. Yes, yes, we go through lots of experiences. That doesn’t mean you never play tennis again. So, it comes in and you let it go. There, that’s the spiritual technique. Let it come and go.

But if you can’t handle it, and that’s the question, the evolution of the soul, Earth is a place where souls are sent to evolve. I mean, souls evolve? I thought souls were perfect. They are perfect. But they fell from the garden. Why? Because they got too involved in the vibrations they like, and the vibrations they don’t like. Instead of just letting it come and go, they sat there and said, “I don’t like this. I don’t like this when it comes into me, therefore I don’t want it coming into me. I don’t like what it feels like, so I don’t want it to happen.” That very statement, right. “I don’t like what that color looks like, it shouldn’t be there.” Who are you? You didn’t make the color. You didn’t create the universe. Why don’t you just let it come and go? Don’t worry, it’s coming and going.  No. “No, I don’t like it. Therefore, it shouldn’t have happened.”

Wow. So, what do you do? You resist the experience. You can’t resist the actual event because it took place. It actually happened. The person said what they said, the color was what it was. Don’t worry. If you didn’t experience it, you won’t resist it. Everybody got that, right? You had to experience it first. Now you’re going to resist the experience. I hope you’re listening to me. That is why you’re not OK. That is every single thing. You’re there, you’re experiencing creation as it was made. It’s unbelievable. It’s constantly changing. You’re growing. It’s the most perfect experience. It’s God, that’s all. All right? It’s just God, it’s so high. And it just comes in and you’re growing and you’re growing and you’re growing and you’re growing. But then an experience happens that you’re not comfortable with. And instead of, “OK, this is neat, this is an experience I’m uncomfortable with.” Let it go, right.

You said, “I don’t want it to have happened. It should not have happened. And I’m not going to experience this.” And you suppressed it. You pushed it away inside and it got stuck inside of you. Listen to me, I swear to you, this is what happened. OK. And you pushed it away. Where did it go? It got stuck inside of you. What got stuck? The energy of the experience, the whole pattern, the colors that’s out, the taste, the feelings, everything, you pushed it. It’s called a samskara, that’s what they call it in ancient scriptures, thousands of years ago in yoga. All right. And you pushed it away and you held it there. “Well, so what? At least I didn’t have to experience it.” 

You did experience it. You just didn’t let it go. Now it stays inside of you. Now, when something outside reminds you of it, even though it isn’t happening, you feel bad. You feel scared. “I had a bad relationship. I don’t want to deal with anybody ever more.” No, you had a better relationship. You learn from it. And whatever happens next. You’re an open being. You’re clear. It’s what the Buddhist mean by empty mind. But you didn’t have an empty mind. Why? Because you stored this stuff that bothered you inside your mind. So now you have a bothered mind. And I swear to you, how many times have you done that? How about 700 billion? Do you understand?

The psychology tells you, that if your sister got the red bicycle when you wanted the red bicycle when you were six, that you don’t like your sister so much, and you don’t go on bike rides even though you’re 30. And if she had the nerve to invite you, “Do you want to go on a bike ride, Sally?” “Hoo, what is with you?” I’m telling you, you laugh all you want. You will feel yick. Why? Because it is still in there. The fact that you didn’t let that go and that you couldn’t handle the experience, you pushed in there.

If you get divorced from somebody named Ben. It’s 10 years later, you’re in Switzerland. All of a sudden at the party, “Ben, Ben,” your heart goes like this. Yes or no? Why? Because you stored that inside of you. You never really got divorced. You got divorced outside, not inside. If you store these problems inside of you, your inside is not going to be a nice place to live. And you have stored lots of that stuff in there. So, one, it’s in there bubbling up, trying to … It’s always trying to release. So, it keeps coming up in your dreams. It comes up in your thoughts. So now you’re afraid of everything, or now you’re … Whatever it is. OK. If they were good experiences, you didn’t let them go because you wanted to keep them. If they were bad experiences, you didn’t let them go, you didn’t want to experience them. “Well, what’s wrong with good experiences?” Nothing. Enjoy the experience, but don’t try to keep it. Otherwise you won’t enjoy the other experience because you wished it was that one.

Go to a restaurant and you had the finest time out. You’ve dated somebody and it was perfect. And this and the food is perfect. And the waiter and waitress was, oh my God, they had specials– vegan. There was a vegan night. Oh my God. Everything was so unbelievable. Don’t go back. And you know what I mean. Because when you bring her back there and you’re sitting there and it’s not the same waiter and they’re not the same specials and they’re not playing the same music, and it’s more crowded than it was, and there’s somebody outside smoking, every time the door opens up, it comes in. Your mind, because you held onto the good experience, you want that exact experience to happen again. And anything that deviates from it makes it be a bad experience. And you do that with people too, “Used to open the door for me.”

This is the essence of why it’s not OK inside because you made it not be OK inside. You made it where you collected what I like and what I don’t like. And then the world comes in and next thing you know you don’t like stuff and oh my God, you carry it around. Basically, now you know, I let the cat out of the bag, why it’s not OK in there, because you made it not OK in there. You did it. God didn’t do it. You can return to OK. How? By getting rid of that stuff. Got to get rid of the stuff. How? A little more, are you ready, here’s your techniques. One, don’t put any more in. What’s the purpose of doing all this work, going to therapy, doing this stuff, working it through, if you’re going to put more in every day? And you do put more in every single day.

If Sally doesn’t say hello when you walk by, “Hey, Sally,” she doesn’t turn around, next time you see Sally, you’re uncomfortable. And you might not even say hello again because it was uncomfortable. “And I don’t want to have to feel that again.” Tiny little things, you hear me? Start working with these tiny little things. Let them go, I am begging you. That’s what your work is. This is more important than your meditations. This is your foundational work, which is stop putting stuff in there. Let the situations unfold as much as possible. Just relax through them. Just be committed to not storing it. Yes, it didn’t feel good, you poor little girl, you can talk to her, you got the baby in there. Just when it’s said and done, I want it gone. Let it go. Offer it up. Do whatever you want. There’s lots of techniques, but don’t let anything ever again get stored in there. You can use affirmation. You can use mantra. You can use positive thinking. That’s where all your techniques are. 

Now, once you don’t put more in there, what you’re going to find out is what’s in there comes up by itself. It doesn’t even need a stimulus. Just when you’re driving the car and you start crying. All of a sudden, all of this thing about what happened with your sister, with the bicycle from 20 years ago, let it go. “What do I do? I need to call my sister.” No, you can, but no, believe me, it doesn’t usually work out when you call your sister. You call your sister saying, “God, I had this epiphany and I saw it, and I was crying, sis.” “What bike? What are you talking about?” You don’t remember? This was such a…” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Oh, that hurts.” 

Don’t you dare think that anybody out there is as sick as you are in the same way you are. all right? Do you hear me? You’ve surely, you’ve had that experience. OK. Let go. Just keep letting go. Relax and release. Just relax through it. “But it’s not comfortable when it comes up.” Of course, it’s not, it wasn’t comfortable when you stored it. It’s not going to be comfortable when it comes up, but you can handle it. Practice, practice, practice, practice letting go, practice handling things.

And as you do, the bigger stuff will come up, you let it go. And then bigger stuff will come up, you let it go. And all of a sudden, you’re going to find out that you’re much happier than you used to be. You’re not carrying all the garbage inside of you and being afraid that it’ll get hit. All of a sudden, I love real growth when somebody comes to me and says, “I was at work and I was working, the boss came in, he said this. And I wouldn’t have worked with them and so on. And I was driving home I thought, if that had happened a year ago, I would have freaked out. I didn’t even notice, there was nothing happened inside of me because he criticized me or because he told me to do something I didn’t want to do. And it was just, oh, OK, we’ll do that.” That’s spiritual growth, when you’re cleaner inside.

And what’s going to happen at some point, I guarantee you, you do this every moment of every second, you make this the meaning of your life. As I started with, what’s the meaning of your life? What’s the meaning of your life? Get clean. Clean it up in there. Except one point, all of a sudden, you’re going to come and sit there and say, “I don’t understand it. It’s not just that I’m doing better and don’t get bothered by things. I feel this joy. I just feel this spontaneous joy going on inside of me.” It’s like these waves of joy. It just comes up and rises up. And it’s just, whoa, it’s called Shakti. It’s called spirit. It’s called wherever you want. All right. It’s a beautiful energy flow that was always inside of you but you were blocking it with all this stuff.

As you cleanse that stuff out, it goes more and more until it’s always there. You’re being fed from inside. “Man does not live by bread alone,” meaning the outside, “but by every word that leaveth the mouth of the father,” that’s Christ, all right, that’s what you’ll start feeling. And just start living off of that. And that becomes your entire spiritual path. Once that starts flowing, you just relax into it, it’s more beautiful and more beautiful than your intimate moments and more beautiful than everybody being proud of you. It’s actually the beauty you feel in those intimate moments because you opened up.

Everything you ever felt that was beautiful in this world, the sunset, the lover, whatever it is, was because you opened and let some of your stuff out of the way, so you could feel yourself. When you’re really in love, your eyes are not open. You’re not looking at somebody. You fall back into yourself. You hear me? That’s what you’re experiencing. You should feel that all the time and don’t sound so sure, all the time that should be flowing inside of you, feeding you, sustaining you, period. Then you rest back more and more. And now you go into the great yoga states, where at some point, somebody wrote me, somebody actually wrote me, but I read it this morning and said she was experiencing all this. And then it was like something inside said, “Turn around.” And when she turned around, it’s like the whole universe opened up. Why? Because behind you, you were created in the image of God.

Now we can talk about God, right? Your consciousness is a ray of light of the sun. It’s the same. There’s no difference. When Christ said, “My father and I are one,” it’s the same for you. But when you come back into Shakti enough, then you turn around instead of looking down, instead of feeling it from behind you turn around, that’s where the masters went. That’s where the great states are, of the merger. Meher Baba said, “My consciousness was a drop of water. It fell into the ocean. Find it.” You will never find it, he merged. What does yoga mean? Merger.

In Sanskrit, the word yoga means merger. Now you see the path, that’s all I could do. Do you see the path, right? Now, never say you don’t see it. Don’t ever say, “It was not fair. And it’s somebody else’s fault. And I don’t have time to meditate.” No, every second of your life you have an opportunity to go to God, by letting go of this garbage that you built inside yourself. That says, “I can only be OK if you all are the way I want you to be,” because there’s 7.5 billion of you out there. That’s a lot of work. All right.

You work on these things, right? Remember we started, you’re born, you’re going to die. There’s a little more meaningful, isn’t it? Does it sound a little more meaningful to do in between. And it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it, right. The minute you start, so I don’t know what age you are. Don’t think you wasted your life. No. If you ever get to the point that this is what you’re doing, you did not waste your life. You had a perfect life. Jai Guru Dev. 


TAMI SIMON: You’ve been listening to the Michael Singer Podcast produced by Sounds True in partnership with Shanti Publications. Sounds True has also produced with Michael Singer an extraordinary eight-part video course called Living from a Place of Surrender: The Untethered Soul in Action. You can find out more at and save 15% when you use the code Singer15, that’s Singer, numeral one, numeral five at checkout. The music you heard is the song, Giving It All by Be Still the Earth. Thank you so much for listening. Sounds True, waking up the world.


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