S2 E2: The Stages of the Spiritual Path – A Continuum of Letting Go
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 Shanty Publications, the Michael Singer podcast brings you select recordings from Michael Singer’s teachings at Temple of the Universe.
This episode is on “The Stages of the Spiritual Path: A Continuum of Letting Go.” 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% off any Michael Singer program available through Sounds True when you use the code SINGER15 at checkout. Again, that’s SINGER15.
And now, “The Stages of the Spiritual Path: A Continuum of Letting Go,” with Michael Singer.
Michael Singer: Spirituality and the spiritual path is way more simple than people make it. In fact, it’s the most simple thing that you can do with your life. Everything else is just complicating the issue. What you’ll see eventually—and it’s true of everybody all the time—is if you will look clearly inside yourself, what you will see is that you want to be OK. That’s what you want. It’s so simple to say it that way. I want to be OK. What does that mean? I want to be OK. I want to feel right inside. I want to feel love. I want to feel joy, want to feel enthusiasm. I want to feel strength. I want to feel well-being. That is so innate. It’s just like your body wants to feel well. Nobody wants to have aches and pains and be sick and things with their body. I want to feel invigorated. They want to feel strong. They want to feel right.
It’s exactly the same, except actually stronger with your psychological being, with your spiritual being. You want to feel high. You want to feel well. You want to feel right, and it’s so obvious. And it is so simple, but nobody will see that. Nobody will own that. They own all these other things that they want. I want to get married. I want to have a car. I want people to respect me. I want to look better. I want etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And there’s just millions and billions of things that they say they want. And they also have all these things that they don’t want. Eventually you go very quickly and you see the wants and the not-wants are the same.
They’re just like light and dark are the same. They’re just variances in the spectrum of light. You stretch out the wavelength of light, colors change. If you want, you can get all hung up on the colors, or you can say, “This is the light spectrum.” So there is this spectrum of feelings of states of being that you can have inside. They can go from very dark to very light. You don’t like the dark and you like the light. As I said, it’s very easy. So liking and disliking are just different degrees of wanting to be OK. Eventually to see it all is the same. If I’m not doing well, because something’s bothering me, I want the thing to stop bothering me. Why? I’ll be doing better than when it’s bothering me. That’s all. I didn’t get positive yet. I’m less negative or I’m doing well. I want to get better. It’s amazing to watch it.
Somebody says to you, “I love you. I truly love you.” And you this rush of love. And what you immediately say is, “What did you say? I couldn’t hear you,” because you want to hear it again. You just want to keep building this sense of well-being. So eventually, you get to the point—and this is what it means to truly be a spiritual being. It’s not what they say it is. As you realize, that’s what I’m doing. That’s who I am. I’m the being who wants to be as high as I can. I’m the being who wants to feel the most love, the most joy, the least sorrow—I don’t care if it’s least or more—be as high on the spectrum of well-being that I can go, right?
The problem is that we have externalized that truth. That’s the entire problem with the way we live our lives and why we don’t live as spiritual beings and why it’s so difficult. Instead of saying, “That’s what I want. That’s all I want, is to be as high on the spectrum of inner being as I possibly can.” Instead we say we want all these other things and that we don’t want all these other things. Our minds become preoccupied with what it is that we said we wanted and what it is that we said we didn’t want, and the rest is history. And a wise being realizes, if I’m not careful, I will spend my entire life trying to get what I really don’t want and trying to avoid what really makes no difference, because what I want is a sense of well-being. But I’m not saying that. I’m saying that I want all these other things outside.
And so to make a long story short, because you lost this sense of what you really want and you externalized it and said, “I will get it by all these other things happening,” your mind now becomes hyperactive, trying to get what you want and avoid what you don’t want. Wise being has reached the point they see that’s all the mind is doing. It’s just constantly trying to figure out how to get what I want and how to avoid what I don’t want. And it stays very, very busy and very, very active. And what ends up happening is all of your energy, all of your qi, all of your Shakti, call it whatever you want, all your energy and will become involved in trying to manipulate the life outside of you to be the way your mind thinks it needs to be. And it doesn’t bring you happiness. It simply does not. I’m not cursing you. I’m really stating the truth.
In fact, what it brings is neurosis. It brings worry. I won’t get what I want. I’ll have to get what I don’t want. That’s what worry is. And because you defined what you want and what you don’t want. You worry that you won’t get what you want and that you’ll get what you don’t want. And worry can become all pervasive, can’t it? It just becomes overwhelming, but that’s why it’s happening. That’s what a spiritual being has done. They’ve cut through this. Instead of just it’s like, I always say, it’s like the hamster on the little wheel in the cage. You put that cute little hamster and he just runs on the wheel. He ain’t going anywhere. He’s really not. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries. He’s not going to reach anything, is he?
Well, I want to know what happens like a hamster catching onto that. He said, “What am I doing, man? I’m running as fast as I can. The wheel is spinning. I’m trying to get uphill and I can’t.” Well, if he was even a pea brain of a hamster, he’d get off that wheel because it’s not doing him any good to be on the wheel. He may not know what it’s like to be off the wheel, but you reach the point and realize I ain’t getting anywhere being on the wheel. That is what it means to get on a spiritual path. And that’s so true. It gives me shivers to say it.
That analogy is exactly—if you think you know where you’re going on a spiritual path, don’t even bother. What it means to get on a spiritual path is I need to find another way, because this way is not working. Good. It is not about having to come up with some concept in your head of what’s supposed to be or what you want to get, that’s just another spin on the wheel. If you’re just substituting what you want and what you don’t want with another what you want and another what you don’t want, like changing clothes, it doesn’t do anything. It has to be that. I see, I am running on this wheel of “I want and I don’t want,” and I’m not getting any worse. I always have wants and I always have don’t wants, how about you? OK. And as far back as I can remember, I have always had them and it looks like I will always have them.
All that changed was what I wanted and what I didn’t want. But the act of the mind telling me what I need in order to be happy and what better not happen, if I’m going to try and stay happy, the topic has changed. The actual process has not changed one iota. And I have just as many wants, if not more, as I’ve always had and just as many not-wants. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t. My parents do my grandparents do. Right. So at what point do you wake up and say, “I’m on this wheel running as fast as I can. And it is taking me nowhere.” There. And what it means to grow spiritually and to enter a true spiritual path is you say, I want off what I know doesn’t work. I don’t know it does work. That would just be your mind making something else. How could you know it works? You’ve been doing this all the time, right? The hamster has no idea what it’s going to be like if he gets off the wheel, he’s never done it.
So there’s this willingness to get off of that wheel of want and not want. Not because they’re wrong. Not because it’s renunciation. Not because anything like that, simply because you become wise enough to see this is endless and I’m not happy. It doesn’t bring about great joy and well-being all the time. I still worry all the time. I still, even if I get what I want, I’m afraid of losing it. And if I don’t get what I don’t want, I’m afraid it’ll happen tomorrow. It just doesn’t change. And I’m tired of it. That’s a candidate for spirituality.
So what happens when a being becomes spiritual? It’s very subtle first and it’s very difficult. It’ll take a while. You give up on your wants and not-wants. And that’s easy to say, but people have a lot of trouble with that. But I question, why would you have trouble with that? It doesn’t work. Why would it be hard for the hamster to get off that wheel? I mean, talk to him for a minute. Hamster, how long have you been running on the wheel? Forever. My whole life. That’s what I do all day. It’s my thing. I run on the wheel. But where are you going? Going uphill. I’m going to make it up there. I’m on the highway, man. I’m on the highway. I’m getting somewhere. Have you ever gone anywhere? Not yet.
So you ask him, why would it be hard to get off the wheel? You’ve been doing this 24/7 every single day for your entire life and you’ve never gone anywhere. So I don’t understand why it’s hard. I’m not going to call it renunciation. You’re not renouncing anything. You didn’t get any worse. So that’s how a deep, mature, spiritual being gets off the wheel of want and not want. Not because it’s wrong. Not because they’re guilty. Not because they don’t want to go to hell. They want to go to heaven. Not because somebody told them to. Not for any reason in the whole world, except it doesn’t work. Is that right? How long does it take for you to see it doesn’t work? It should take you about 30 seconds. Why? You have all the evidence in the world you will ever need: you. Right? This is how I teach it, right?
If I were to have done something every minute of my life, for my entire life, to try and achieve something or get something and I’m still doing it, then it must not work. Why? I’ve tried as hard as I can my entire life. And I’m still doing the exact same thing I’ve always been doing. So there has to be something wrong with this formula. So you look, I have been chasing what I want and running away from what I don’t want my entire life. Day and night, even when I sleep, you worry about it or dream about it. That’s what’s been going on. The fact that you are still doing it means something’s wrong. It doesn’t work. If you work at something, it should work. It should change. It should do something.
So net result is you reach the point where you say, “I’m going to be different. I’m going to find another way.” And your other way, whatever way it is—I don’t care. If it’s other than chasing want and not-want, it is a spiritual path. You are exploring the alternative to the ignorance of what everybody else is doing, which is driving themselves crazy, running after what doesn’t get them anything. So the net result is… What will happen if you do that? But first of all, how do you do that, it’s easy. It says what I want and you laugh. You smile. You treat it like a little child throwing a tantrum. You pat it on the head. I’ve been here before. I’ve seen it. Yes, you have the right to what you want, but I’m going with you.
And when it says what I don’t want, and I’m so afraid of, and I’m so scared, and I hope it doesn’t happen, and if it ever happened, I would rather die. Right? You give it a drama award. You know, the Emmys are coming up. Oh, you did so well at that. You almost had me involved and you just smile. You just laugh at it. Right? I have listened to you. As long as I’m listening to you, I’m not listening anymore. What will happen if you do that? So amazing. What will happen? You will end up—even just that act—you end up freer than you were before. Why? You, who’s not listening, are somebody you never knew before. You were busy, involved in running after whatever the mind was telling you about what it wants and what it doesn’t want in the name of getting a state of well-being, which it doesn’t bring you.
So instead you sit there quietly and relax. The real spiritual path is you relax in the face of what your mind is saying. You don’t try to stop your mind from saying it. You don’t get upset because it’s saying it—you just relax. And what you’ll find is that you are there. And that is what we call witness consciousness. That is a state of spiritual awakening. What is that? That I’m here. Well, where were you before? I was all involved in what the mind was saying. I was all involved in trying to make the world be what my mind said it needed to be, to make me OK. But it never did. So now instead, I’ve decided to just get off. I’m telling you, it’s not a matter of substituting one way of doing it to another way. You must go through the process of “I have no idea. I’m just not doing that because it doesn’t work.” See how easy that is?
There’s no decisions to make. There’s nothing. You just relax in the face of it. What will happen? The worst that will happen is it’ll keep saying what it says, and then it’ll stop because nobody’s listening. Then you just relax behind it. And little by little, two things happen. One, it will stop. It will get less and less. Why? Because nobody’s listening. It’s not going to just keep doing it. It’s doing it because it thinks it’s going to get what it wants. Like a child who’s throwing a tantrum all the time. What do they teach you?
Sometimes you just leave it alone. You don’t have to talk to him. You don’t have to yell at him. All right? Just ignore him. Can you handle it? You know, he’s making noise, walk away. He’ll stop. Why? Because he’s doing it for a reason. He’s doing it to get what he wants. If he sees it’s not going to get him what he wants, he will stop. It’s the exact same thing with your mind, as the highest way to work with your mind. You just relax behind it, become comfortable and realize, hey, I have this mind. It’s crazy. It has this abundance of wants and not-wants. And it’s thoroughly convinced that if it gets what it wants, ecstasy will happen. I’ll be totally OK. It’ll be like heaven on earth.
And if it gets what it doesn’t want, oh my God. It’s like going to hell. It’ll never be any better. The problem is it has said that every day of my life. Right? And it’s like, it’s just not true. It’s not true. When you get what you want, you’re not OK. How do I know? Because you want something else. There’s never been a single time that you got what you wanted and you never wanted anything ever again. Is there? It’s just endless. And the same thing with what you don’t want. You work hard to avoid what you don’t want. How do you feel? Scared that it’ll happen tomorrow or have to avoid the next thing or whatever it is. Once you get in the habit of playing that game, you lose. So instead you relax. When you relax, you will get some distance from the process of mind. You don’t have to fight it. You don’t have to do anything. Just relax.
Then little by little, it will stop because nobody’s listening to it. Don’t suppress it. Don’t touch it. Let it be what it is. There’s a piano. There’s a glass. There’s a box of Kleenex. There’s a bird singing. There are crickets cricketing. There’s a mind complaining. There’s a mind giving trouble. And it’s either giving trouble about what I wanted and didn’t get or giving trouble of what I don’t want and I’m afraid is going to happen.
Fine. It’s a thing in the universe. It’s not yours. Everybody has one. It just says what it says because it’s programmed to do that. A lot of you have studied psychology. Psychology is very simple and basically says, you have this mind. It’s capable of learning. Very good. What did it learn? What happened to you? Because it learned. It learned what passed before its eyes, didn’t it? And so now it talks about that. It remembers what it was like before. It remembers what made it happy. It remembers what made it sad. And it regurgitates that. I chose that word carefully. It regurgitates that over and over again, saying what it wants and what it doesn’t want. There. That’s all the Yogi or yoga he wants to know about the mind.
Just like, well, I want to know about the glasses. It sits there and it holds water. All I want to know about the mind is it sits there and talks about what happened before and talks about what it thinks will make it happy, what it thinks will make it sad, and what to do about it. So you just relax. Then you’re done with the mind. It’s that easy. If you’re willing to do it, it’s that easy. You don’t have to fight with it. You don’t have to do anything. You just relax behind it and let it be what it is.
What will happen? One, all of your energy, all of your will, all of your being will no longer get pulled into the process of what the mind is talking about. Why? Because you’re not listening. It’s that simple. Where will all that energy go? Where will all that will all that qi, all that Shakti go? It will remain seated within the seat of self. People don’t know what that means yet. You shouldn’t think about it because the mind can’t know. The self is what watches the mind. The mind can’t watch itself. It is the consciousness that is aware of the mind. By not getting involved in the mind, the consciousness remains seated and centered within its own self. And you start to experience the nature of your own being. And that’s why this is the spiritual path. Didn’t sound like the spiritual path when you were talking about wanting and not wanting and all that stuff, right?
It didn’t even sound like the spiritual path when we were talking about what I want is well-being. You do want well-being. What we’re talking about is how to get it. Because every single person is capable of a state of total well-being effortlessly. That’s what I want for you. Effortless, unconditional, unending, constant, eternal well-being. How does that sound? It is absolutely your natural state of being. You have the right to that and you’re capable of that. And you don’t even have to work to get it. You don’t have to lift a finger. It is the essence of your nature of self. So when you stop letting all of your energy, attention, and will get pulled into what the mind is saying, where will your energy, consciousness, and will end up? They will end up staying seated, where they came from, what the Buddhist’s call their source.
All things that seem so mystical before become obvious. That is the source of your consciousness. That is the source of your will. When your mind says something, you need to get involved in it and then apply your will to try and make it happen. That’s your will. The mind has no will of its own. It’s your will. That’s getting involved in the mind. Just like this glass has no will of its own. It was my will that picked it up. Wasn’t it? Way back in here, I decided glass, raise thee up. OK. And it went up, but I made it happen. And the same is true with your mind. So if you relax in the face of your mind, people have a lot of trouble with that, but isn’t there a part of the mind I should be listening to? Go ahead, do whatever you want and come back and talk to me when you find out that the answer to that is no. No.
Don’t try to pick between different parts of your mind—the parts you like, the parts you don’t like, the part that’s probably right. First learn who you are, relax in the face of whatever it has to say. That’s a very great state. When you’re capable of relaxing in the face of whatever it has to say, you’ll be a totally different being. Therefore, your whole way of living will change and you won’t ask questions like that. What will happen? You will start to be aware that you’re there. That’s what’s going to happen. You’ll start to be aware. You don’t think it. You’re just aware: I’m here. And you will feel this strength, this power, this solidity that you never felt before. Why? Because as you are solidly seated within the seat of self, you’re not all scattered at all the millions of places that the mind could go.
So your energy was scattered all over the place as the mind talked about all kinds of different things. Now your energy is centered in one place where it’s source, and that energy is tremendously powerful. Look at how much power got involved in the mind, how much power you assert to get what you want and avoid what you don’t want. All of that power starts to pulsate and drive within you. And it feeds you—tremendous strength. And then you start to feel love, like just a state of total love and well-being. You don’t even understand why, like there’s no reason for it. Nobody did anything. Nobody said anything, yet you’re just feeling high. You’re feeling up. You are now dealing with spirit.
That’s what they mean by spirit. They have different names for it in all the traditions, but they all talk about it. Why? Because it’s really there, right? It is the nature of your being, you’re consciousness your center of being is very, very high, but we don’t sit there. We get all involved in the wants and not-wants of the mind and then we get all involved in trying to manipulate the world to make it match the wants and not-wants of the mind.
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: So again, eventually you reach a point of getting off the wheel. Now you see what it means to get off the wheel. You willingly use your will to remain seated within the center of your being. You start to feel love. You start to feel joy. You start to be enthused when you wake up in the morning. You can’t wait to go to school. You can’t wait to go to work. You can’t wait to do whatever it is that you’re doing. Why? Why would you—those things? Because you feel all this love and you feel all this joy and you want to express it for the same reason that you do the thing that you like the most. Take whatever it is you like the most—vacation, whatever it is—and think about how excited and enthused you get to do that. That’s how it becomes about every single thing you to.
If you get in your car, it’s fun to start it. And so the Bible means, when it says let us be as little children, every single thing turns you on. You turn the key. It starts. You feel proud. “Hey, look what I did.” All right, just the slightest little thing makes your energy rush up inside. You see who you like, makes your energy rush. You see somebody who hates your guts, makes your energy rush. Oh, there’s the person who hates me. Wait, do you see what they say? They say such mean stuff. I wonder what they’ll say this time. And you think it’s exciting. You don’t have to try and not get upset. You don’t get upset. You think it’s adorable. You think it’s just adorable that there’s somebody out there that hates your guts. I mean, there has to be something. Everything has to be out there. Why would it bother you?
The only reason you don’t want someone to hate you now is as follows. You don’t want people to hate you. Do you? Why? Because I’m not OK. I already said that I’m trying to be OK. And I’ve defined how things need to be for me to be OK. And people hating me is not on the list. That’s not on the “I want” list and is very high on the “I don’t want” list. So when it starts happening, it hits the “I don’t want”—closes me down. I freak out. So I don’t like it. What if you don’t have a want and not-want list? What if you let go of that? And now you’re feeling this joy and this well-being just to be alive. Just to wake up in the morning is funny. I’m back. It’s still here. And you just giggle. And so then in this world you came back to, there’s all kinds of people, including someone that doesn’t like you. So it doesn’t bother you, because you’re not trying to get anything from this person.
What if the person who doesn’t like you tells somebody else everything they say is bad and wrong about you. Oh good. Now there’ll be two people that hate me. What do you care? You’re not trying to get anything from these people. You see the difference? Now I want you to see what I mean by get off the wheel. That’s a serious wheel you’re on, isn’t it? The wheel of caring what everybody thinks about you, the wheel of caring about every single thing that happens, whether you get what you want or what you don’t want, and what somebody says to somebody else, and what somebody’s thinking about you, and whether you said something wrong, or whether you look silly, or whether you had a pimple on your face or… That’s the wheel.
I’d rather be on the hamster wheel, right? That’s the wheel of the psyche. And you’re just running around. You get off of that. Not by changing it, not by fighting it, not by anything—by relaxing in the face of it. And I’m telling you every single time you relax, you are investing spiritually in yourself. Every time you fall behind the mind and remain seated within the seat of self, you have elevated your state of being.
If you have to meditate to do that, by all means meditate. If you have to do mantra to do that, so it keeps you centered enough to remember not to do that, then do mantra. If yoga helps you, do yoga. If reading the Bible helps you, read the Bible. If reading the Gita helps you, read the Gita. Whatever it is that helps you remember to do this very simple process, which is: I live in here. My mind is a guest. I don’t have to listen to what it’s got to say.
It’s never taken me where I want to go. Ever. In fact, somebody says something nice to me, my mind finds some way to ruin it. How about yours? It does, right? Finds some way that they didn’t mean it or I’ll get hurt like last time or how can I be sure that they meant it and maybe they say it to everybody? Oh, I can’t trust, doesn’t anybody else’s mind do that? Just mine? I have the only mind that does that. I don’t believe it. All right.
And you would just see, the mind is literally stealing your happiness from you in the name of giving it to you. It is taking it from you. So you relax. You will, over time, start to feel well-being well up from within the state of your being. So that is the start of your spiritual path. The first step in your spiritual path is decide you want to do this, want to do what I forgot already. Get off of that stupid running after what you want and running away from what you don’t want. That’s what it boils down to. Not that it’s wrong. It just doesn’t get you anywhere. So now you decide, what I am going to do all day is relax.
I mean, I’ll go to school. I’ll go to work. I’ll get involved when I’m supposed to get involved. The only thing I’m not getting involved in is me. I’m still getting involved in the things that are unfolding around me. Maybe I’ll get married. Maybe I’ll have children. That has nothing to do with it. Nothing. Maybe I’ll run a business. Maybe I’ll go help people. I don’t know. Whatever’s unfolding, I’ll get involved with, but that has nothing to do with me doing it for the purpose of getting what I want and avoiding what I don’t want. That’s the only thing you’re letting go of. You’re not letting go of life. In truth, you’re starting to live life. You’re letting go of the thing that was defining how life was supposed to be, which are the wants and not-wants within your mind. So you do that by relaxing.
So the first stage is to wake up and say, I want to do it. Your second stage is start doing it. Most people never, ever would get past the first stage. Most people just, you know—are you crazy? The whole purpose in my life is to get what I want and avoid what I don’t want. Why would I ever give up on that? Doesn’t make any sense. OK, fine. I did the best I could. Right? But some people wake up. Some people say, I see why I would do that. That thing’s nuts. That thing’s done nothing but give me ulcers. And so you decide that I do see it and I want to try another way. I don’t want to be like that hamster my whole life.
- I’ve given you the other way as simple as it can be given. Relax. Relax. All you have to do inside is relax. When the mind says, “I want” and the mind says, “I don’t want”—however it says it—your response is relax. You just relax. At first, it’s very difficult. Because you think you’re giving something up. You think you’ll miss something. It does not take long before you realize, hey, this is nice. I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to run after every single thing it says. I don’t have to run away from everything it says. And you’re going to find out nothing happens. You’re fine. It’s not true. You didn’t jump and run like an idiot because it said something bad was going to happen and you said you’re relaxed. And nothing happened. You don’t understand, 99 percent of the things your mind says are going to happen that are bad don’t happen. But they did make you uptight. They made you uptight. Because it said it, you worried about it. You got anxious and it didn’t happen.
So what would happen if you just relaxed? Then a whole percentage of the time you’d be fine when you weren’t. And 99 percent of the time, when the mind says, “I want that. I have to have that. I got to get that,” you either really don’t want it once you get it or you’re not going to get it anyways. So you get disappointed, you get resentment, and so on. And instead, you start feeling, what’s that word? Oh, peace. You trade neurosis for peace. Why would I feel peace? Because you’re not running around like a chick with your head cut off inside, getting scared and getting anxious and all that. You just relax. All right. So that’s the second phase of deep spirituality, is you actually do it. You actually let go of your mind. You just let it go. And you’re going to find out you’ll come and talk to me and say, I’m shocked. It’s true.
The vast majority of every single thing the mind says is completely irrelevant. Nothing changed except I’m better off, right? I’m not as anxious as I was. And I’m more at peace and the world still goes about its business exactly like it did. Nothing was changing. My mind was just driving me nuts. All right? Good. Now the third step, relax deeper. Just relax and be aware of what you’re experiencing, where you end up when you’re relaxed. Don’t try. It’s not effort. It’s just experiencing. Just look in front of you right now. What’s in the room. Look, how hard is it to see it? It’s effortless. You see what’s in front of you. That is spirituality. There is no effort here. You relax. And you see what you’re seeing when you’re relaxed.
And at some point I’m telling you what you’re going to see. You see something very beautiful because you are beautiful. You are. Not your mind, not your personality. You—the one who’s in there when you relax—are very beautiful and you will start to experience that beauty. People call it light, people call it love, people call it joy. I don’t care. Spirit, Shakti, qi, any word you want to use, you will start to experience beauty inside because that’s what’s there.
Now you go to the next phase of your journey. Once you start to experience something very beautiful inside, you will realize, that’s what I was looking for. I wanted to have a state of well-being. Here it is. I feel fine. As long as I don’t get involved in what the mind is saying to get what I want, to avoid what I don’t want, I’m happy. I’m fine. And you start to move back into realizing, that is what I was looking for.
In the sixties, I used to have an expression: you are what you seek. You are what you seek. Everything you are seeking, love, joy, peace, harmony, strength, all that is actually the nature of your being. So you settle into that. And at that stage, you start to really appreciate and settle into the spiritual life. And the spiritual life is what? Settling into spirit. You settle into the spirit of your being. Now it starts to happen. Now you get into the mystical stuff. All of what the mystics wrote about, all of what most people talk about is spirituality. Because they skip the whole first steps, which are the most important. What happens is, at some point—maybe it takes years—you live in that Shakti flow for long enough and you don’t come out. You go out and do your business in the world, but you’re living off this energy. That’s what’s feeding you.
If you meet somebody and you feel love, it’s no different than what you were feeling before you met them. Just a little more. It stimulates the flow of love that you were always feeling. So you enjoy that. You appreciate that. You say thank you. You don’t, like, grab the person, have to own them, because you never had love before. And now, in their presence, you feel love. So you start getting grabby and possessive and needy and all that. That doesn’t happen. You don’t have to not do that. You don’t have to go to a course and learn how not to be needy and grabby. You won’t be needy and grabby. Why? You don’t need anything. Thank you. That’s what you’ll say to the person. Thank you. If they stay, that’s nice. If they don’t, that’s fine. All that’s happening is they’re just stimulating the flow of love that you’re already experiencing inside your own being. It’s fine.
So what happens is you are now completely centered. It’s called being established in the self. That’s the word—not enlightened—established within the self. Do you see that you now are drawn into the center of your being? Why? It’s so beautiful. Over time, your next phase is as follows, you will live there long enough to where you become very detached, very free of the different dance that’s going on in the world around you. You participate. That’s amazing. It sounds so different, what I’m talking about. Every time I say something, I could quote the Bible, that is what’s meant to be in the world, but not of it. That’s what’s meant by that. You are in the world, but you’re not of it. You are centered within your own being.
You are being said—another quote in the Bible talks about this. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that leaveth the mouth of the father.” You go to the state I’m talking about, you know exactly what I was talking about. You used to get your joy and your shot of energy off of what was going on in the world. You were living off of her saying she loved you. You were living off you got the raise. You were living off that you got the job. You were living off the fact you’re feeding, where the food’s coming from outside. Now all of a sudden the food’s coming from inside. It’s just spontaneous. The same food, except it’s just welling up inside constantly. That’s what’s meant by that. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that leaveth the mouth of the father.”
So the end result is now, what happens? You live long enough in that flow of energy, you become detached enough, removed enough, free enough of the changes and the ever-changing and dance of the world. They are not affecting your flow of energy. And at some point—I don’t care how long it takes. Without your mind there, just be intuitive within your own being. You are going to wonder where this energy comes from. You’ve been being fed with all this love, all this strength, from where? I’m feeling these rushes of energy, I’m feeling all this beauty. Where is it coming from? And what you will do is lean back a little further and you will feel it coming in behind you. Literally like you would feel water flowing behind you when you’re standing in a spring or the ocean, you can tell what direction it’s coming from.
It comes behind you. You feel it flowing. You will feel this flowing in behind you, pushing on you. Over time, you will learn the source of where it’s coming from is to lean into where it’s coming from. If you feel a spring pushing in your back and you want to know where the spring’s coming from, keep leaning back into the direction the water’s flowing from. You start to lean back into this Shakti. It’s just rest. Just rest. Same as you got out of your mind, now you go beyond being established within the individual self. Within what we call the atman, within the witness. You lean back. You will feel the energy gets stronger and stronger as you lean back into it. There’s no thinking. There’s no mind. There’s no concepts. There’s no views. It’s just an intuitive, energetic thing. And as you lean back into it, it expands and you start realizing all that was happening is, all this energy was coming to a focal point, which was me.
My consciousness was settling down to a focal point, and then I was looking out into the mind and the world from that focal point. As I lean back, I am transcending that focal point. I’m leaning back into the spread, the broad energy, before it focused. Now you’re starting to get into what the mystics talked about. Because they call it expanded consciousness. I don’t like calling that. What it is: non-limited consciousness. It is the consciousness before it got focused down and it keeps broadening out and you just keep leaning back into it. And ultimately, the great masters—now you understand the master. Anything that anybody can ever do, including Tiddlywinks, somebody’s better than somebody else. There’s somebody who’s better at catching a football—Jerry Rice. There’s people that are better at things, at whatever thing you want to name, there’s somebody’s best at it.
And it’s the same thing with this leaning away from your center of consciousness, from that point of consciousness, leaning back into the energy. Somebody did it better. Well, somebody did it best. The people who do it best, we call masters. He’s a master at chess. He’s a master at golf. We even call the tournament, the Tournament of Masters, OK? Masters Tournament. That is what you’re dealing with when you deal with the great masters, with the great Yogis, those who went the furthest back into that energy and the beauty of that, and this is how you should read and study that. You should look at the lives of these great beings. Just like if you want to play an instrument, then learn about Beethoven. You know, learn about the great master. We call them masters of art. Don’t we? We call them the great master composers. I love it. Right?
So there are masters in this and every master, everyone who leaned back to explore the source of all this energy said the same thing. Every one. They said, I leaned back far enough. And at first I was an individual who was aware that I was free and that I’m not the mind, that I’m not the body. We already talked about that. You’re now seated in witness consciousness. Then I leaned back. I leaned back and I found myself in this water, in this ocean, I was no longer watching the mind. I was no longer human. It was just me bathing in this ocean of light. Wow. That’s called savikalpa samadhi. That’s one of the great samadhi states where you have lost your sense of humanness. You were watching a human, now you’re not watching a human anymore. You’re still you. But it was you watching the mind, watching the body, watching through the eyes. Now you’re not doing that anymore.
Now it’s you falling into the source of all this Shakti and the source of all this light. And you feel yourself bathing in that. But even that state, the great ones write of that and then they write that that was not deep enough. It was still me bathing in this ocean of energy. Where was the energy coming from? I want to know the source and they leaned back even further. And the really great ones lost all sense of the duality of the individual self and the ocean of life. That’s still two things. It’s me experiencing these waves of light, of energy, of God, right? When you lean back far enough, Meher Baba said, “It’s like a drop of water falling from an eye dropped into the ocean. Find it, go on. Find that drop of water. Once it hits the water, you’ll never ever find it again where it merged.” And that’s yoga. What yoga means is merger. That is what that word translates, out of Sanskrit, into: union, merger, oneness.
So when you fall far enough back, you have let go of your need to be separate. So now it’s not you experiencing the energy, just the energy. And that’s what Christ meant when he said my father and I are one. That’s what all the masters, the great ones, came back and said, right? That they merged with God. They merged with that energy. Let’s not call it God yet. They merged with what energy? The energy they were feeling pouring in. What did they experience? Yogananda, in his chapter “My Experience in Cosmic Consciousness,” said when he fell back and lost himself, he experienced himself as the entire universe. He could feel the galaxies inside his being. His whole being was expanding out at the speed of light and all of it was his body. And that’s the great teaching: that the energy that you experience inside, the energy, who you are is Einstein’s energy.
Einstein died trying to prove a unified field where there was just one field of energy that was the cause of gravity, of radiation, of light, of everything. There’s just one, right? What the great yogic masters and Christ found is that the field of energy inside of you is exactly the same as the field outside. Once you let go of your individual self and fall back behind, the whole universe is manifesting out of your consciousness, all the same being. So now we went from where we live, caught in our minds, everyday life, to complete enlightenment—and that’s what enlightenment is—to complete enlightenment and realization, in a continuum of relaxing away from whatever you were experiencing. Do you see that? All it took was for consciousness to be willing to let go of what it was attached to at that moment. Because if it doesn’t let go, it will stay attached to it.
So first, let go of like and dislike. Not because they’re wrong, it’s not renunciation. It’s not like, OK, I’ve let go of everything. I don’t like anything. And I don’t like, no, give me a break. It is not about suppressing and renouncing and not-doing and doing all that stuff, taking vows. And because it’s not about that, it’s about relaxing. Not fighting. There’s no fighting in this. It’s relaxing. I call it relaxing and releasing. It’s just, go on vacation, go on vacation from being you for a while. It’s the only true vacation by the way, because wherever you go, you take you with you. So you relax away from yourself constantly. It’s your job, every moment of your life. And then, when you start to feel Shakti and joy, relax beyond that. Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever stop until there’s not an individual self left to relax, right? You let go so much that it just merged with the whole universe.
So that is the spiritual path. That’s very beautiful. And you do it right here at the other side of it. That’s very fascinating. The great ones say that if somebody had reached that state, truly you wouldn’t know it, you just, they might be driving a bus. They say the Buddha is driving a bus. Hear me. There’s no reason for you to be different than anybody else. It doesn’t change the outside. You still have a life. Why would you not have a life? There was a purpose for creation. You were made for a reason, but you weren’t made to be neurotic. There’s a role for you to play in life. It will unfold. You will play it. If you are a fully enlightened being, your role would still go on. The great master Yogananda was fully enlightened.
When you read the state, when he actually writes or talks about the state he was in, it’s incomprehensible, what this man was experiencing while they walked around teaching at Carnegie Hall and doing all kinds of things. But he said it wasn’t there. He was literally merged in the universe while the words were coming out of his mouth teaching, standing room only at Carnegie Hall in the twenties. So you just realize, don’t sweat it. Just let go. It will all unfold. And you get to have peace.
I’ll end with Christ. Christ said, “My burden is light to me.” Now you understand. Your burden is light, because there is no burden, because you found what you were looking for within yourself. You let go. So this is your path, whatever degree you wish to try it, live with it. I hope it’s full. Use every minute of your life to let go of whatever’s trying to make you not let go and see what happens.
TS: You’ve been listening to The Michael Singer Podcast produced by Sounds True in partnership with Shanti Publications. Sounds True is the c-publisher 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.
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