Tami Simon: Welcome to The Michael Singer Podcast. Michael Singer is the author of the widely influential New York Times bestsellers The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment, and a new book destined to become a spiritual classic, Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament. Michael Singer lives and teaches at 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 Temple of the Universe. This episode is on “From Fighting to Harmony: Changing Your Relationship with Life.” 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. It’s an online course that many people report to be utterly life changing. You can find out more at michaelsingerpodcast.com.
And you can save 15 percent off any Michael Singer program available through Sounds True when you use the code SINGER15 at checkout. Again, that’s SINGER15. And now, “From Fighting to Harmony: Changing Your Relationship with Life,” with Michael Singer.
Michael Singer: Life is a very, very simple matter, which we make very, very complicated. And the whole purpose of a beautiful life, a beautiful existence, is to get it back to its simplicity. And that doesn’t mean that you live out somewhere and own nothing and have no relationships and create a simplicity like that. This simplicity we’re talking about is not that. It is your relationship with life that it’s all about. It’s not about what life is doing.
Life is always doing something, no matter where you are. Whenever you look, there will be something going on. If I put you in Paris, look in front of you, there’s something going on. Look to the right, there’s something else going on. Look to the left, there’s something else going on. Pick you up, put you in Yugoslavia. Look to the right, there’s something going on. No matter where it puts you, put you on Mars, put you on Saturn, no matter where you are, there’s something going on.
So it’s not a matter of what’s going on, because there’s always something going on. It’s just, it’s not about what life is doing. That’s the folly. It’s about what you’re doing and your relationship to what life is doing. And that’s so I could make you write something, make you write that down. Put it on your refrigerator. It is not about what life is doing. It is about what you are doing with what life is doing. Because life is doing something everywhere. You’re not going to stop it from doing what it’s doing. You don’t know what it’s going to be doing. All right, it’s just what is life doing. Let’s get that out of the way. What is life doing?
All these different places, life is doing something. What determines what life is doing at any given moment in a given place? I said I had this beautiful time-space continuum. It goes on forever everywhere. And then, there’s a point. Well, you’re at that point. What’s going on there? The right answer is—are you ready? —none of your business. What’s going on there would be going on there even if you weren’t there. It just happens to be the spot you’re looking at.
A wise being, without even using their mind, every single moment, what they are seeing is the result of 13.8 billion years of forces interacting together to create the moment that’s in front of them, period. That’s where it came from. You want to know where it came from? You want to know how it could do what it’s doing? You want to know why things are the way they are? Because of 13.8 billion years of everything being the way it was interacting together to create what’s in front of you. It wasn’t like, purposeful. It’s not like, let’s do it this way, so it ends up in front of him or her 13.8 billion years later.
It’s just forces, natural forces. The fundamental forces interacting together to create the moments that happen. Then those moments create the next moment. And all of it interacts together. It’s science. It’s cause and effect. How’s that? Every single thing is interacting together in accordance to the natural laws, the natural way of things to create the next moment, then that creates the next moment. And it has been going on everywhere for 13.8 billion years. And that’s how what’s in front of you got in front of you. It’s actually very simple. It’s there because it’s there. How’s that?
I told you, it’s so important to just become simple. You don’t want to know how it got there. You don’t have enough time to listen. How long would it be for me to explain to you. All the genetic mutations and all the interactions, everything needed to happen for everything to be the way it is. You’d be bored. You just start at some point, sit there and say, “Oh, look, what’s there. Look what took 13.8 billion years to present itself in front of me.” No matter where you are, there’s something going on. It has nothing to do with you. Nothing. It is completely impersonal. It would be going on even if you were not there watching it.
You’re going to go to a restaurant. But you’re not at the restaurant right now. Why? You’re at home. I know it’s hard to believe, that restaurant is actually there while you’re at home. And there are people in it. And there’s music playing. And there’s chefs showing up or not showing up. And there’s food. I don’t know. They’re just showing you their special. And has nothing to do with you, nothing. It couldn’t. You’re not even there.
And then you show up. And somehow, it has something to do with you. I mean, a lot. It has a lot to do with you. I don’t like the music they’re playing. How could they be playing that? They weren’t playing this last time. And where’s the chef who cooked the thing last time? Oh, my god, why weren’t they showing up. And there’s people smoking next to you. Nothing’s the way it’s supposed to be. It was all fine before you showed up.
Something is fishy. Something’s wrong. And what you catch on at some point is that it is all going on where you’re not. Everywhere and the whole universe. Everywhere, it’s going on. You’re fine with it. You never complain about what’s going on where you’re not. But the same thing is going on where you are as what’s going on where you’re not. It’s just you happen to be there, seeing that part. You could be anywhere seeing any part. It is so important to reach that level of understanding. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. What? Anything.
Do you see that? It’s just what is. It’s what it is. What’s going on? It’s the result of 13.8 billion years of forces interacting together to create the current moment. There. What’s it got to do with you? You weren’t even here. And you certainly aren’t everywhere where it’s happening.
So, you just happen to be at one spot of the whole universe, seeing what’s there. Congratulations. I’m glad you get to see something; you’re not seeing much. This is so little and so funny. But you get to see it. It’s your gift. You get to see part of it. Here it is. Enjoy it. But you don’t. Why? Not because of what it’s doing. It’s never because of what it’s doing. It is in harmony with all of creation. Every force that is unfolding is in balance with all the other forces that ever were and are. That’s just how it works. It’s called dynamic equilibrium. One changes, they all change. And it’s in balance and harmony. But it’s impersonal, has nothing to do with you.
The problem is, that’s not OK with you. So, I told you, it is not about what life is doing. It is never about what life is doing. It is about your relationship with what life is doing. Now, we’re going to discuss that. We’re going to discuss that. We’re done with life. That’s a big thing to be done with. Been there, done that. All right? What’s it going to do tomorrow? You’ll see. You can do the same thing you did for 13.8 billion years. Be the result of all the forces that ever were. And depending on where you are, that’s what you’ll see. All right, so we’re done with that. That’s science. It’s beautiful. It’s done.
Now, what about this thing called your relationship with that force called creation, called reality, called what is? Well, that’s a little more interesting. What could be your relationship with it? Well, you’re in here, it’s out there. That’s the real reality. Once you establish what’s out there, reality, then you realize, I’m not out there. I’m in here. I live somewhere that’s inside. And I look out through my eyes, feel through my senses. And I’m in here and it’s out there. So, I have a relationship with it.
Whenever there’s duality, there has to be some relationship. How do I interact with it? What is your relationship with this force of creation that is unfolding outside of you? What it could be, what it could be is one of harmony. What it could be of one of saying, I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know how I got here. You don’t either, by the way. You think you do. Then you say, I do so. I’m Saul Jones and I live in 1506 Southwest 33rd Street, really. So, if you move, you’re not you anymore. You legally change your name, you’re not you anymore.
It’s not who you are. It’s just a label. It’s just something you’re calling yourself. You are the being who lives inside and knows yourself as yourself. That’s who you are. You know you’re in there. Hi. Are you there? OK, that’s you. The one who I say, “Hi,” and you say, “Hi.” I told you, it’s simple. So now, there’s you who’s in there. And there’s this world that has nothing to do with you. That was your way before you got here. And it’s going on everywhere you’re not.
All right. What is your relationship to that? That is the magical question. That is the entire question of your life. So, what could be your relationship? Let’s do that first. What could be your relationship is, I’m in here. It’s out there. Wow. It’s like a movie I get to see. I get to experience part of creation that has never existed yet unfolding in front of my eyes, and then through my ears, and through my senses. Wow, what an amazing experience.
Every single day I wake up, I am going to be given the gift of seeing what happens next. No one’s ever seen it before. No one’s ever seen it before. And no one will ever see what you’re about to see. You’re the only one standing in that spot seeing what’s unfolding. It is the most amazing thing in the world. It’s just this gift of getting to experience the next moment of creation at that spot. You could be in awe. You could just walk around blown away. You can say, “Look what it did now. Who would have thought it would do that?” That could be your attitude.
That’s called a relationship. That is your relationship with reality. You’re in a state of awe. You’re in a state of appreciation. You’re in a state of acceptance. It’s just, wow, you love it. You’re honored to see it. You’re in a state of respect, of honor to get to see the result of 13.8 billion years unfold in front of your eyes. There are no such thing as problems. There can’t be a problem. In that world, where’s the problem? You’re in here and you’re watching what’s unfolding. There’s no problem. OK.
Unfortunately, in your life, it’s not like that. Why? Why? Because you won’t let it be. It’s because of your relationship with life. It doesn’t matter what life is doing. You won’t let it be like that. Why? Because what you have decided to do with your life, you have decided to make up in your mind. You’re in there, you got a mind in there to, to make up in your mind what reality should be doing in front of you. Now, tomorrow, the day after, yesterday has made up in your mind a conceptual model of what should be going on in front of you.
If I pick you up and drop you down in Paris, you know what’s supposed to be going on. What’s the matter with these people? Don’t they speak English? It’s like, you will do that. You understand that? You just will develop a model inside your mind about what is supposed to be going on. Where did you get that model? Did you study 13.8 billion years of forces and see how they interact together to decide what really should be happening next.
That’s funny. Not even close. You got it much easier. You just made it up. You just made it up. This shouldn’t be like this. This should have been like that. She shouldn’t be doing this. He should be doing that. That should never have happened. What, that which happened should never have happened. Who said so? The forces that caused it to happen? No, of course not. Me. I said so.
And in what basis did you decide that it should not have happened? I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. So, it shouldn’t have happened. Really? It’s cute as a button. So, now you trump 13.8 billion years of forces interacting together. I don’t want to talk about it. It just shouldn’t happen. That’s your relationship with what’s going on out there. That’s ego. You make up in your mind how you want it to be.
What should happen, what should have happened, what should happen in the future, what should be happening right now, etcetera, etcetera. Just the whole shoulds and shouldn’ts and likes and dislikes that you just make up in your mind. Anytime you just pop up, “Oh, I want a new car.” Just billions of things, you just make them up in your mind, like popcorn over and over again.
And then you look out into the world. I’m always embarrassed to say this for you. And you say, “I’m right. It’s wrong. It should be the way I said it.” And you get mad when it’s not. In fact, a moment ago, I told you there are no problems. I’ll bet you had a problem with that. OK, now let’s talk about that. Now, let’s introduce problems. What is the problem? Pretty easy now, a problem is that the damn reality won’t behave. This darn thing, get with the program. It won’t be the way I decided it was supposed to be. And that’s a problem.
For reality? No, for me. Reality doesn’t seem to have a problem. I just have a problem with it. What I wanted to happen didn’t happen. That’s a problem. What I didn’t want to happen did happen. That’s a problem. What I don’t want to happen might happen later. That’s a problem. It’s like I’m making up in my mind an alternate reality. And I’m defining it as a problem when reality doesn’t behave that way. There. That’s the complexity you created. And that’s very complex. It’s unbelievable how complex that gets. That is the complexity you created that makes life impossible.
At that point, I’m telling you, life is impossible. It feels like a struggle. It feels like overwhelming, overbearing. When they ask Christ, “How are you doing,” you know what he said? “My burden is light.” My burden is light. What does that mean? Now, you understand. He wasn’t doing that. He wasn’t doing what? Making up an alternate reality and getting mad when it wasn’t that way.
He was honoring and respecting the terrible things that happened to him, honoring and respecting the unfolding of reality in front of his eyes. Amazing. What a model, what an amazing being. And he was at peace. He was completely at peace, not a single problem.
Buddha taught the same thing. You should understand Buddha’s Noble Truths. They’re so simple and they’re so true. All of life is suffering. Well, we just said that. Everybody’s suffering. Why? Because everybody made up how they want it to be and it never is the way they make it up. So, they suffer. All right. So, what is that—all of life is suffering? First noble truth. Second noble truth, the cause of suffering is desire. The cause of suffering is preference. The cause of suffering is having a way you want it to be that you made up in your head and then it’s not that way. That’s what desire means.
If you say the cause of suffering is desire, what is the desire? Desire is that you made up in your mind how you want it to be. If you don’t make up in your mind how you want it to be, you don’t have a desire. The desire is I desire it to be this way. Well, how did you decide that? I just made it up. I just did. I’m so cute. I made it up. So, if you make it up, you’re in trouble. Why? Because that’s just how it works.
When you’re in kindergarten, they teach you to play make-believe. They don’t tell you it should actually be that way. They say you just build your imagination. It’s fun. Don’t get mad because the mountain you drew isn’t really there when you go out. That’s not how you play make-believe. Make-believe is make-believe.
So, if you make up something in your mind, you make it up. I want her to love me. I don’t want this to happen. I want this to happen. I want to be a billionaire by the time I’m 23, not 24, 23. Just go on, make stuff up. You just make up things all the time. And then, they become desires. I want them to happen. Too bad. That’s ridiculous. There are 13.8 billion years of forces that interacted together that get to decide what’s going to happen. Not that you want it to happen and you just made it up. And that’s why it should happen. You just pitted yourself against reality. It’s like you’re playing God, literally.
The more you look at it, you realize, I guess I think I’m God. Why? Because I get to make up my mind how I want things to be. And then, I honestly believe they should be that way. That must mean I’m all powerful, at least for the moment in front of me. If I had my way, I’m just speaking for you. We’re all the same. If I had my way, the moment in front of me would be independent of every other moment of the universe. But I don’t care about the rest of moments. I don’t care about the moment in front of me. And it should be the way I want. That’s really a wonderful sense of equilibrium and oneness.
And you’d better go study some systems dynamics and how things interact together. There are no moments that are independent of the rest. Frankly, it’s all tied together. You don’t get to decide that the moment in front of me is what matters because I want it to be that way. And it should be independent of everything else. I don’t care about the rest. It doesn’t work that way.
So, if you picked yourself up against what’s happening, you are going to suffer. You’re going to feel stress. You’re going to feel tension. It’s going to feel overwhelming. You’re going to have a very, very hard time every moment of your life. Buddha said, all life is suffering. The cause of suffering is doing this, desire to end suffering and desire. It’s very simple, very clear. We mess even that up.
You know how people get into this stuff, what they think. All right, I’ve made up all these things about how I want them to be and don’t want them to be. Those are my desires. But I’m suffering, I’m suffering. I’m burning up. I’m suffering. Well, it got so hard, it’s so heavy. So, I’ve turned to Buddha. And Buddha said that to end the suffering you’re having, you’re to end desires. So, what I do is I create the desire and then I decided I shouldn’t have it. So, I tried to get rid of the one I created. So they do it.
I’m telling you right now, it becomes another desire. I’m not supposed to have desires. But I do have desires. But I suppress them. I renounce them. I deny them. What do I know? As opposed to, what it means to end desire, is to stop making up the way you want things to be, not make up the way you want them to be and then suppress the fact that you want them to be that way. It’s too late.
It’s very, very simple. You come back to simplicity. You look at the world. And every morning—you have to do this every morning when you wake up—you look at it, take a good look at it. And say the following, “I didn’t make you. In fact, you were still going on while I was sleeping. You have nothing to do with me. You are the expression of the quantum particles that came up from the bottom fields. You’re just reality. You have nothing to do with me. And I’m honored to see you.”
There. That’s very different than, this is what I want to happen. This is what I don’t want to happen. Oh, this happens today. Oh, I was upset that that happened yesterday. That’s a very different relationship with life. I’m coming back to my theme. Reality is there, you’re in here, what is your relationship to it?
You have made a complete mess of that relationship. Don’t feel bad, so has everybody else. You have fallen into this trap of believing that what life is about is to make up how you want it to be. And you think if it would be that way, you’ll be OK. You make up how you want it to be, make up how you don’t want it to be, and then not only expect it to be that way—that’d be bad enough if you kind of kept it to yourself and just got real upset that it wasn’t that way. You don’t do that. You say, “Well, if it’s not going to be the way I want, we have ways. We’re going to make it be the way we want. We’re going to throw tantrums. We’re going to do things. We’re going to, oh my god, just get out of my way. Because it’s going to be the way I want.” And you use your will that you have inside to come out here and square up. You literally try to make the moment in front you—the person in front of you better be the way you want. I don’t care what they do when they’re not in front of me, but they better be wearing what I want and acting the way I want. Isn’t that hilarious?
And you just become this manipulative being that believes that the universe in front of you should be the way you want. And lately I’ve been very honest about this. Newsflash, the universe in front of you should not be the way you want. It should be the way it is. There’s no reason it should be the way you want. You just made it up. All right. And if you go out there and try to make it be the way you want, you are going to make a mess of yourself.
Don’t worry, you won’t make a mess of the universe. It’s too big. It’s made it for 13.8 billion years, handled the dinosaurs and handled the volcanoes and handled collisions. Oh my God, what it handled was unbelievable. Don’t worry about it. And the suns just blow up and explode. And supernovas. Everything’s fine. It’ll handle you. Don’t worry. So, you can handle it. What you’re going to make a mess of is you. You’re going to become an erratic mess. That’s what will happen. You will have so much trouble with life.
TS: Living with the uncertainty and the pressures of our time, many of us are feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed. But does it have to be this way? With his new book, Living Untethered, Michael Singer has written a follow-up to the classic The Untethered Soul, taking us within to our still and liberated center. You can learn more about Michael’s new book at living-untethered.com. That’s living-untethered.com.
MS: You will have so much trouble with life. You will be afraid that things are going to happen that you don’t want. You will be afraid that things that you want won’t happen. They’ll always be this enormous sense of fear that things will not be the way you want. And that’s a very valid fear, because they won’t be. So, it’s like you built this cage for yourself in which you’re going to suffer and you’re going to feel tension.
So a wise person, what a wise person does, they sit there and say not “I need to not satisfy my desires,” not “I need to renounce” or do anything like that. I need to check out why I insist on making up an alternate reality, instead of honoring and respecting the one that exists. Why am I doing that? That is what a great being does. They check it out. And they don’t struggle with life and they don’t struggle with themselves. There is no struggle. It’s just checking it out. And what you’re going to see is that the reason you make up all these things is because you’re not OK. Your heart is not OK. You’re not secure. You’re not safe. You don’t feel well in there.
And so, you go to your mind and say, “Mind, well, how do things need to be for me to be OK?” And the mind is very intelligent. And it’s your servant. And it says, “OK, ma’am or sir, I will start to think about it day and night. Don’t expect to sleep much while I’m thinking about it. And I will try to figure out how everyone and everything needs to be in order for you to be OK.” And then it tells you. And that’s what that talking head is in there.
So, the people say to me, “Why does that voice talk all the time?” Because you told it to. You said, “Figure out how everything needs to be for me to be OK. And then figure out what I need to do to make it be that way and keep telling it to me.” You shouldn’t have said that. You should have said this. That’s it telling you how it needs to be for you to be OK, for stuff to be OK. At first, you shouldn’t have done that. Oh, my god, don’t let her do that. That’s not going to work out well for you. And that’s how it talks all the time, telling you everything the way it needs to be for you to be OK and then what you’re supposed to do about it.
How does one overcome this? How does one come to a state of harmony and state of peace, the state of well-being no matter what is going on outside? It’s none of your business what’s going on outside. You’re a witness, a guest, an observer. You just dropped in for a moment to experience this moment. Don’t worry, the moment will come and go. And so will you. It ain’t all staying. A hundred years is nothing to 13.8 billion. You were not here a hundred years ago, not one of you. And you will not be here a hundred years from now. But yet, it’s all going to be here. Come on. This is so silly, it’s hard to talk about. How dare you drop out here and take the attitude you’re taking, that you know how it’s supposed to be. And if it’s not that way, you are getting PO’d. There’s going to be some trouble. You don’t know anything. It just is.
Now, how can you interact with it? So, now we’re going to talk about a healthy relationship. It happens to be very, very spiritual to move to this state. A healthy relationship with the unfolding of reality that is going on around you.
You start by realizing that you have a problem. Reality isn’t a problem. You have a problem. That you made up all this stuff. You have a God complex. You made up all this stuff, and then you honestly believe it’s supposed to be that way. I’m telling you, that’s a problem. You don’t get to do that. It’s not reality. So, you need to work with your problem. That’s your first thing is you own it. I did this. How does one work with their problem? When it starts happening. Well, it starts happening when you start making up how it needs to be for you to be OK.
When you find yourself making up how everything and everyone around you need to be for you to be OK, catch yourself and do not participate in that process. You have to stop the process. It’s a habit. It will go on for a while. You don’t participate in the process. It’s just like you want to stop smoking. You will catch yourself. You may want to stop smoking really badly. But you will still catch yourself habitually trying to pick up a cigarette, trying to do different things.
It’s very natural. So, if you’ve decided to stop smoking, what you need to do is catch yourself during those moments when the urge is to pick up the cigarette. And I highly advise you to not pick it up. If you want to stop smoking, don’t pick up the cigarette, put it in your mouth and light it. It’s very simple.
If you find yourself in the process of starting to figure out how everything needs to be for you to be OK, I highly advise not going there. I highly advise doing the same thing as the cigarette, taking one look at that and saying, “Been there, done that.” That’s a very good been there, done that, because you’ve been doing it your whole life to solve your problem by making things outside be different.
And your problems are just as big, if not bigger than they’ve ever been. So, you look at it and you say that process of me making up in my mind an alternate reality and then trying to fight with reality to make it be that way is not going to cut it and I’m not going to live like that anymore.
So, when you start seeing it do that, I suggest that you relax. You just relax. What do I do to feel the urge to pick up the cigarette? Don’t fight with yourself. Don’t hit yourself. Just relax, relax, and the arm can’t move while you’re relaxing. You will not participate in the process of mind while you’re relaxing. You just relax the hold that has on you. For a while, it will be a bit of a struggle. You have to go through some changes.
But over time, you will see that you’re capable of doing this. Everyone is capable of doing this. If you’re capable of using your mind to make up however it needs to be and then fighting with it, you’re capable of not. You’re the one who’s doing it.
I always tell you guys, you’re the only one in there. It’s the neatest sport you’ll ever play. You win. If you want to win, just win. This is silly, see the whole world. Let’s play one-on-one basketball, but you’re both sides. I think you can probably do pretty good with that. All right, well, this is one-on-one. There’s nobody else in there. There’s nobody deciding what you’re capable of doing and not doing except for you. So, if you decide not to participate in the process, the habitual process of making up how everything is supposed to be for you to be OK, and just be OK with the way it is is your starting position, I honor and respect its right to be.
I honor and respect that this took 13.8 billion years to show up. And I should put on to it. I should pay attention to it. I should at least respect it enough to honor its existence. And that’s what you do, instead of making up an alternate reality. You pay attention to what’s in front of you. You’re missing every other moment of the universe. Please don’t miss the one that’s in front of you. It’s the only one you can experience. But the way you miss it is by getting involved in your mind and all your judgments and all your preferences and all that stuff.
So, you let go of that and your starting position is you pay attention to what’s happening. But what if I don’t like what’s happening? Let go of that. Oh, I’m telling you. It’s happening. It’s happening. My favorite would shut you up once and for all. But what if I don’t like what already happened? If it already happened, it already happened. I can’t make it not have happened. Or can you? You’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your energy. You’re not going to change it. It already happened.
To sit there and not like what already happened is to make—you’re so sick over something that cannot be changed. So, you get to this point. That’s all spirituality is about, is this simplicity of being reasonable. It’s just coming to a reasonable level. It’s not hard. It’s simple. You have to be willing to do it. So, you start working with yourself. That’s what this is called. You start working with your relationship with life. You start off by saying, “I’m going to honor and respect that you have the right to be there.”
Christians say, “This is the day the Lord has made.” You just decided to say, “Well, OK, I’ll accept it.” That’s really big. That’s great of you. All right. And science says, these are the quarks and leptons and bosons coming out of the cosmic soup of the quantum field popping up, creating everything you see. You just said, “I guess that’s OK with me.” That’s really nice of you. That’s really big of you. So, either you’re looking at science or you want to look at God. It’s the same. You’re not the boss.
And so, you start by honoring, respecting, and accepting the blessing and the reality and the right of what is unfolding in front of you. If you don’t like it, you look at that as disharmonious. You let go of yourself. And as Christ said, you must die to be reborn. It’s what we’re talking about. You literally do the process.
Don’t get mad at yourself for being a certain way. Just don’t participate in that part of your being. You have to get mad at your hand because it wants to pick up a cigarette. Just don’t pick up a cigarette. In fact, if you get mad at your hand, you’re probably so stressed, you will pick up the cigarette. Then you definitely need a cigarette.
And same thing with drinking. Just don’t do it. Don’t get mad. Don’t do anything. Just don’t participate in the process that will not take you where you want to go. So, if you find yourself making up an alternate reality, I’m begging you to just let it go. If you find yourself not liking the reality that’s unfolding in front of you, I am begging you, relax and let go.
All right. That’s not the end of your relationship with life. That’s the beginning of your relationship with life. You now at least have a relationship with life, you’re actually interacting with the reality that’s unfolding. Otherwise, you only have a relationship with yourself. Life unfolds, you don’t like it, you are interacting with the “don’t like.” You’re interacting with life. You’re interacting with the part of you that doesn’t like it. Life unfolds, you start making up an alternate reality that you wish was that way or wasn’t that way. You’re not interacting with life. You’re interacting with your mind’s concepts.
So, all of a sudden, you decide I’m going to have a relationship with life itself. So, it starts to unfold. You let go of the part of you that wished it was doing something else. You let go of the part of you that doesn’t like it. And the next thing you know, you find yourself in direct interaction. What self? Me, the one who’s in here in direct, unfiltered interaction with the reality of what’s unfolding in front of me. Wow, you understand I could just stop the entire discussion. You have just reached a state that is unbelievable.
You know, sometimes you turn a corner when you’re driving and the sun is setting. And it’s like this giant ball. And it’s just so beautiful that it takes your breath away. It’s like a spiritual experience. That is what it feels like for you in there to directly interact with reality without a filter in-between. It blew your mind. That’s literally what it did. It blew your mind away. So now, there isn’t one of those things in the way, all right? There is just you interacting with reality.
Maslow called it a peak experience. That’s what a peak experience is, where you got beyond you. And now you, your true self, your conscious being, your aware being, interacting with reality. Nothing in-between. The Buddhist called it “just tree.” There. That’s the expression of wisdom. We saw just tree. I didn’t see my concept of tree, didn’t see the tree like it was when I was young, didn’t see the tree that a person should be climbing on. I just saw tree. There was no me in-between.
The more you’re able to do that, the more you will feel fulfillment that is beyond your comprehension. When you’re in love with somebody and you sit in the presence and that magic energy is moving back and forth, you’re not doing anything about it. You’re just in it. It’s so beautiful that you melt into it. That’s just tree. That’s just you experiencing the reality that’s unfolding in front of you. You should experience that all the time. Listen to me, all the time.
But you can’t. Why? Because reality is always unfolding. You’re always there. Why can’t I do that all the time? Because you have something to say about it and you’re rather loud. Reality starts unfolding and something inside of you starts to say whether it likes it or doesn’t like it, the way it should have been, the way it shouldn’t have been. What do you want to do about it? It’s like it’s just making all this noise.
And so, now it’s not you interacting with reality. It’s you interacting with your own noise and all the likes and dislikes. So, you learn to cleanse yourself of that. You learn to relax and not participate in that process.
And more and more, when the world unfolds in front of you, you are there with it. And it’s like at first, it’s like, wow, where have I been my whole life? I didn’t even know it was there. I was like walking around in a daydream. I just woke up lost inside myself with a fishbowl over my head. Now, look at that. There’s a world out there.
You still are only just starting your relationship with life. You use that relationship with you, not with life. Now, you have been introduced to reality. There it is. It’s raw, too. Sometimes it rains or storms, wind and tornadoes. Sometimes it’s Bali and soft and beautiful. It’s reality. It’s real stuff. OK. And you’re open to it.
Now what happens? Once you get comfortable being with reality, this is very deep. This is what Lao Tzu tried to talk about in the Dao. Now that you are willing to let go of yourself, your personal self, and interact with reality, or awareness is now experiencing reality, you will find that there’s not one single moment that unfolds in front of you that is not calling to you to interact with it. It is there, you are there. Because you are meant to be with each other. That’s how perfect it is. It’s like the most perfect relationship, people looking for their soulmates, it’s right in front of you. It’s called life. It is the most perfect fit for your being.
That’s why you’re there and it’s there. And you will feel it. And you will know what to do. I’m telling you, you will never, ever have trouble making a decision again for the rest of your life. You will never wonder. You will never have any angst or anything. It’ll just be the universe… It’s sort of like, listen to me. You’re on the ocean on a surfboard. How do you know when to go up and when to go down? The wave does it for you. You just ride the wave. The wave comes up, you go up. The wave goes down, you go down.
But what if I want to go down when it goes up? You fall. What if I want to go off when it goes down, you fall. It’s like you just interjected yourself into a system that you’re supposed to be in harmony with. And if you are in harmony with it, you will know exactly what to do. Because it’s telling you what to do. It’s not telling you with words, but it is telling you what to do, isn’t it? It’s telling you what to do. It said, go to the right, go to the left. Feel it, be in harmony with it. That’s how you ride a wave. That is the Dao. That is what Lao Tzu was talking about, how you ride life.
If you’re not busy in there wanting it to be other than it is, then you are in harmony with what it is. The moments know where they’re going. They’re part of a harmony that’s moving through time and space. You are here to experience that and participate in that. We don’t have to do anything. It is happening to you. You’re happening with it. And then you’re going to see that what happens, you start just being with it. And everyone looks at you and says, “Oh, you’re so good at everything you do.” You’re not doing anything. You’re not doing a single thing. But you’re neither doing or not doing. That’s the deepest of all the teachings.
You are there with it. It’s doing something. The ocean is doing something. So, obviously, if you’re on the ocean and the ocean is doing something, it looks like you’re doing something. What I just told you is the entire Bhagavad Gita. It’s the deepest teaching you will ever even come close to. Everyone will think you’re doing things. You’re not doing a single thing, but you’re also not, not doing either. You are just being on the ocean and being with it. And the ocean knows where it’s going. Therefore, you will be the one who’s in harmony with everything. It’s so simple that we miss it.
If you want to play baseball and you want to pick up a grounder, I do not think that what you should be doing is guessing where it’s going to go next. You should be watching it. Why? Because it knows where it’s going next. You see, that seems so weird. You’re the smart one. You should be the one who can figure it out. I guarantee you right now that ball knows more about where it’s going than you do.
The ground and the ball and the interacting with them knows way more about what’s going to happen next than anything you’re going to figure out. That’s where they say keep your eye on the ball. They don’t say keep your eye in your mind. They don’t say that.
They say keep your eye on the ball in every sport. Why? Because the ball knows where it’s going. It’s the forces of nature, therefore it knows where it’s going. It is perfectly in harmony with all the forces that it’s interacting with, isn’t it? So, if you keep your eye on the ball, you have a better chance of being where it’s going because you’re paying attention to where it’s going. You’re not guessing. You’re not figuring. You’re not using logic. You’re not worrying. You’re not angsting. You’re not hoping. You’re not praying.
Even a good religious coach, if you say, “Coach, when the ball is hit, should I close my eyes and pray that I get it? Or should I watch the ball?” They’re going to tell you, “Forget the pray stuff at that time, I pray that you can keep your eye on the ball.” All right, you’re supposed to keep your eye on the ball. And it’s the same thing with life. I’m telling you, it’s exactly the same.
You come into harmony with the moments that are unfolding in front of you. Well, why would I do that? I’m not even going to answer you if you sat here this long because they are the moments of sitting in front of you, What if you don’t like them? It has nothing to do with like and dislike, does it? It has to do with dancing with it. What if I don’t like what the waves are doing? Then don’t surf because you’re going to fall. And it’s the same way with life.
So, you sit there and you do this amazing thing, which you’re going to freak out the first time you do it, and you close your eyes and you say, “Life, do your thing.” Instead of life, do my thing. Life do your thing. And then you little by little take your arms down. Then you little by little open your eyes. And you little by little realize, you know what, that’s all it’s ever been doing is it’s this thing. I’m just making it believe that I could do something about it. It’s the result of everything there ever was.
I can’t understand how you think that the whole universe can go on by itself, but the part in front of you, you have to do. It defies logic. That’s the funniest thing I ever heard of. It’s all going on by itself and it’s all been going on by itself forever. But no, this can’t go all by itself. OK, well, it can’t and it does.
And the day you let go that part of you that thinks you’re in charge when you’re not, and you use your consciousness to pay attention to where the ball is going, you keep your eye on the ball and you be here now. You come right down here and you keep your eye on it. And you be willing to let go of your likes and dislikes and your preferences and your hopes and your dreams. And you let where it’s going be who you are. Not my will, but thy will. You come in harmony with reality. That’s what all of spirituality is about. And the next thing you know, you’re going to be shocked at what happens.
It knows where it’s going and where it’s going is beautiful, it’s holy, it’s great. It will take you to places that you would have never dreamt of going. It will caress you to your… Gibran says it will caress you to the highest branches and it will shake you at your roots. That’s beautiful. Why? Because you need to be shook at your roots and you need to be caressed at your highest branches. Not when you want to, not the way you want to, just life.
It needs to rain when it rains. It needs to blow your hair up in the wind when it needs to blow your hair up in the wind. And you need to enjoy the entire experience because it’s higher than the experience you would make for yourself and, more and more, as you let go you realize this. You come in harmony with this until, eventually, you let go so deeply that you’re not there. You realize there is no need for this separateness to be there thinking about it. You can just be in harmony with it, and you emerge. You will emerge. It’s like a drop falling into the water. You fall into life.
We always talk about meditating back behind. This is the path. You stop separating yourself from God, separating yourself from reality. It’s a very deep path, the willingness to surrender to life. So, that becomes the simple path. I told you, actually life is very simple. The Buddhists say, the grass is green, the flower is red, and the sky is blue. What does that mean? That’s very Zen. It means things are what they are. Are you willing to come in harmony with that instead of trying to make them come in harmony with you? To the extent that you do, this life becomes very simple.
Well, what if I’m going to school? You go to school. What do you mean? What do I do when I go to school? You get your homework, you do your homework. You go to class when it’s time to go to class. Why? Because there’s nothing else to do. It’s like, there’s no part of you, “I’d rather be fishing.” No, I’d rather be doing what I’m doing. I’d rather not be rathering. It’s much more fun to like what you’re doing than to rather be doing something else.
And so, if you’re in school, you go to class, you learn. Why? Because somebody is teaching you. It’s very nice of them, right? And then you do your homework, you go to class, and what will happen? You will enjoy the experience. Why? Because it’s the experience you’re having. You won’t be thinking about something else. And just pretty much more and more you live the life that is unfolding in front of you with your entire heart and soul. You put your whole being into the moment that’s unfolding in front of you, and you trust it. You trust it. It knows where it’s going. You give yourself to it.
Life is your teacher. Life is your friend. Life is God made visible. It’s a very, very great thing. This gives a good starter course on how every moment of your life can be used for your spiritual growth and how you can stop this neurosis and enjoy every second of your existence. Become something very holy, very beautiful. Work on these things. Chakra.
TS: You’ve been listening to the Michael Singer podcast, produced by Sounds True, in partnership with Shanti Publications. Sounds True is the copublisher of a new book with Michael Singer, Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament, and 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 michaelsingerpodcast.com and save 15 percent when you use the code SINGER15 at checkout. That’s SINGER15. The music you’ve heard is the song “Giving It All” by Be Still the Earth. Thank you so much for listening. Sounds True: waking up the world.