S2 E3: The Commitment to Stay Conscious

Tami Simon: Welcome to the Michael Singer Podcast. Michael Singer is the author of the widely influential New York Times Best Sellers, 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 the Temple of the Universe, the yoga and meditation center he founded in 1975, near Gainesville, Florida. Produced in partnership with Shanti Publications, the Michael Singer Podcast brings you select recordings from Michael Singer’s teachings at the Temple of the Universe. This episode is on the commitment to stay conscious.

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. 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”. Now, “The Commitment to Stay Conscious” with Michael Singer.

Michael Singer: Jai gurudev. To really grow, you have to decide then that’s what your life is about, nothing else. Everything else will be taken care of. In fact, it’ll do better than you could ever do with it. It won’t be the way you would have thought about it, but overall, it will do better, everything. Your financial life, your family life, your personal life will end up overall higher, purer, cleaner, more balanced, if what you’re doing is living for growth, living for liberation, living for freedom. The rest will take care of itself. If what you are doing is living for the rest, living for your name, fame, finance, family, relationships, neither they will evolve very high, nor will you. The law works wherever you work, at whatever level you work. You do your real work. Everything below that takes care of itself because you’re not messing with it. You’re not disturbing the flow of the energy.

However, wherever you are focusing your attention, especially in this world, you create problems, by definition. The very fact that you’re focusing your attention there means you’re being too detailed, too picky. There’s a whole universe, and you’re caught up with a spot here or there. It just [becomes] an ingrown toenail. Your mind becomes ingrown, and it can’t ever be happy. So if you want to really grow and evolve, you have to devote your life to your evolution. What does that mean? People think it means that you have to leave your job or leave your family or renounce things. It doesn’t. It means that every single minute of every single day, no matter what you’re doing, that’s what you’re doing. You’re going to the same place everyone else does. You’re married or you’re not married. You have children or you don’t have children. You’re working your finances at whatever level they are presented to you. You’re doing what’s put in front of you and being where you’re put, the same passion, the same commitment, the same focus, maybe even deeper than people who really care about it do. The difference is what you care about and all that you care about is freeing yourself from yourself.

The only thing binding you is you. There is nothing else. It’s not your life. It’s not the people around you. It’s your relationship with your life and with the people around you. You can’t change the outside. You fight all you want; you change it very little. But you can change your relationship with it. So, when you decide that what you want to do is grow, you don’t have to change anything except your attitude about what’s going on. If you think what’s going on is some temporal situation that you need to mess with, control, manipulate, change so that you’re OK, you will never be OK. If what you know is going on is that the world is unfolding, and if it happens to be disturbing you, it’s because there’s something wrong with you. If it happens to irritate you, it’s because you’re irritable. If it happens to cause fear, it’s because you’re afraid. If you weren’t afraid, you wouldn’t feel fear. If you weren’t irritable, you wouldn’t get irritated. If you didn’t care what people thought of you, you wouldn’t care what they thought of you or what they said about you. If you weren’t out there looking for someone to take care of you or love you, then it wouldn’t bother you whether people liked you or not. It’s always coming from you, always.

A being who wants to grow spiritually, who wants to really explore beyond, uses every single minute of their life for that purpose. No matter where you find yourself, it is either attracting you, repulsing you, or you’re not even paying attention to it. You’re looking right past it to something that does attract you or repulse you. If you are sitting here looking from here across the field and there was something out there that was attractive to you or scared you, look at all the stuff you’re missing in-between, the carpet and the thing and the color of the glass and all the way through. It’s almost as if you will look right past everything that’s neutral to you until you see something that’s either attracting you or repulsing you, that is either making you feel good or making you feel bad. It’s almost as if you look for them.

That’s what life is going to be like. It is either attracting you and causing those issues, it is disturbing you and causing those issues, or you don’t notice it. I mean, you notice it, but you don’t notice it, not in that way. You look right past it until something actually stops you. Eventually, it will. Don’t worry about it. You can’t even take three steps until something’s either bothering you through attraction or bothering you through disturbance. But I want you to focus on that, how it is that so many objects can be neutral. You walk past desks and chairs and rain and millions and billions of things, and they don’t cause attraction or repulsion.

During those moments, you are centered. They are within themselves. There’s a reality to that relationship. Here you are being aware of what is. There’s nothing to do about it. It’s not affecting your inner state. Therefore, you don’t feel the need to mess with it. The chair is welcome to stay where it is. The person is welcome to say what they say. Rain is welcome to come when it comes, go when it goes. Wind blows when it does. When it doesn’t, it doesn’t. If that’s what’s happening and it’s not creating a change in you either for or against, you are really in a very balanced state about that. The problem is it doesn’t last very long because something is going to happen that either attracts you or disturbs you. Both are disturbances.

When that happens, your natural tendency is to say, “I was OK until this happened, so either I need to push away what disturbs me, or I need to get and keep and cling to that which attracts me, and therefore I won’t be disturbed anymore. I can get on with my business.” The trouble is there are so many things that disturb you or distract you that you’ll never get on with your business. You’ll get on with their business. You go from one thing that disturbs you. You finally fix it. It takes two years. Then all of a sudden, this changes or that changes, and you’re constantly working on something. The something you’re working on is not you. We’re talking about—to grow spiritually, you have to work on yourself. How can you work on yourself? You’re busy working on your problems and your solutions. You’re busy working on keeping that which you think makes you happy and getting away from and pushing away that which you think disturbs you. That’s what you’re working on, and it’s a full-time job, so you have no time to work on yourself.

That is what yoga’s about. Yoga’s about turning the whole thing upside down. In sitting, you’re saying the only time I have is to work on myself, and only by working on myself can I solve these apparent problems that I have. I can’t solve the problems by messing with those things outside. It’s a very evolved being who understands that. You cannot solve problems by working with things outside. Why? In the same way that things that are neutral to you, you don’t feel you need to solve. They take care of themselves. Leaves fall, and wind blows, and billions and trillions of things go on that don’t have any effect on you. Then they solve themselves, because they weren’t problems. What you want is for everything to get to that state. You want a state where you’re at peace with every single thing in the universe. You can’t be busy trying to make things the way you need them so that you’re OK, or you will be very, very busy, all the time.

The only way you can do this is to work on yourself such that all things in life have this peacefulness, have this neutrality to them, that they are all life passing by you. It’s one and the same thing. There’s no difference between any of it. All of it’s the same, and they come and they go, and you’re at peace with all of them. You have no preferences, desires, fears, hopes, dreams, concepts, views, philosophies, nothing. You’re just there, and life is there, and you’re at peace with it. It is at peace with you, and it’s just fun. It’s just fun to be there and to wake up in the morning, and then these events take place. Then you go to bed at night, and then you wake up again. That’s all. Then all of these events are happening all the time, and you’re experiencing your life. You’re living your life.

If you live like that, you will feel a depth of fullness that people rarely feel. What people normally feel is that life is passing them by, and it’s happening very fast, and they’re not actually tasting it or touching it. They want to go do things or change things in order to make it, so they feel a deeper experience of life. The yogi comes to realize that all of life is beautiful. All of life is fulfilling, every single moment of it. If it isn’t, it’s because something’s wrong inside of you. If you want to fix that, you have to fix what’s wrong inside of you, not what’s wrong with life, because there’s nothing wrong with life and not what’s right with life, because there’s nothing right with life.

Life is like the planets. They’re neither right nor wrong. They’re just there. Certain planets have rings. Certain planets are further out. Certain planets are closer. They’re of different diameters and sizes, shapes and colors. That’s neither right nor wrong. It just is. Life is like that. People are the way they are. Situations are the way they are. Things happen when they happen. They stop when they stop. They come when they come. They go when they go. You have the honor of experiencing them, of seeing them, of being there with them. You even have the honor of interacting with them. There’s nothing about the deep state that says that there is no dance going on, that there is no interaction between the self and reality of life.

There’s just no attempt to control it. There’s no attempt to define how it’s supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fullness of the experience that you’re having. You put your whole heart and soul and being into what is before you and then the next things before you and then the next things before you, and you keep living fully your life. What you don’t do, once you catch on, is to decide within your head the way you need life to be, and then use all of your energy that should be being used to work on yourself, to go out there and attempt to manipulate life, to make it be what you need for it to be. That is the essence of your spiritual growth.

Now what does it mean to work on yourself day in and day out, every single moment of every single second? Don’t I have to go meditate somewhere in order to work on myself or go do yoga or read books or taking my little quiet time for myself. “I want to go work on myself and go off to some hut in the woods somewhere on a retreat or something.” No, actually not. You work on yourself every single moment of every single day, no matter where you are or who you’re with or what you’re doing. You say, “Well, how could that—I could never do that.” Why? If you meditate in the morning and you meditate in the evening, that’s good, but it’s not great. What you need to do—let’s say you meditate in the morning and you got to a state where you could have very, very deep meditation, and you feel very relieved and deep and free. Then in the evening you can do the same thing.

Until you understand why it doesn’t stay that way for the rest of the day, you’re not getting anywhere. At some point, it’s more important to understand what takes you out of that state than it is how to do your pranayamas to get back into that state. Why don’t you stay in that state? What’s pulling you out of that state? Because the truth of the matter is, obviously, you will never be able to stay in that state until you understand what’s pulling you out of the state. You have to fix what’s broken. You can’t just put things on top of it.

The depth of true spirituality, of true yoga, is about watching yourself in your day-to-day life. If you’re around people and you feel nervous, then don’t sit there and say, “No, I could never be centered because I’m so nervous here.” That’s wonderful that you feel nervous. If you feel desirous, if you feel competitive, if you feel challenged, whatever the heck it is that is coming up in you because you find yourself in this situation around this person or during these events, whatever it is that’s happening inside of you, you have to watch that. You have to see that, and you have to realize, this change that has happened inside of me is what’s keeping me from being at peace. The situations outside are not what are keeping me from peace. They’re just situations outside. You have to say, “I want to be able to be at peace no matter what the situations are outside. I don’t want to have to create certain situations to be at peace.

If you say that, your work is over outside because what you’ve basically said is the outside will unfold on a minute-to-minute basis, and that’s fine. I will be there with it. If it creates disturbance inside either due to being drawn because of attractiveness or being pulled away because of fear and disturbance and repulsiveness, either way, you’re watching your inner state, and you learn to work with that shift of energy that starts to happen inside of you because of your outer situations.

That is the first major step in true spiritual growth, which is, you’re not working on the outside. You’re working on the inside and not just when you’re meditating. Every single minute of every single day, those are situations that are happening outside of you so that you can work with the inside of you. If the same situation happened every moment, same people, same things, same words, nothing would happen. You’d get very used to it. But because all these varieties of things go on and you can never tell how people are going to behave or what’s going to happen, it’s going to cause shifts inside of you because you’re not prepared. It catches you by surprise.

Then you have a choice. If you say, “Oh my God, this caught me by surprise. What did I do wrong? I should have planned better so that I couldn’t get caught by surprise so that this didn’t disturb me.” Or you sit there and say, “Good, life unfolded. It caught me by surprise. Now I have to work on myself so that I’m able to grow enough to where, if these situations take place, I’m OK, I’m at peace, I’m able to experience life as it is, not as I defined it to be.” Again, how do you work on yourself in what we call the pathless path, in the path in which life itself is your path? It is your guru. It is your teacher. All the circumstances of life are attempting to free you, to liberate you.

How do you do that work? First, you have to stay conscious. Some people still lose their center. What does that mean? You’re there. You’re saying, “I’m going to work on myself, and now I’m going to go into this room or be with these people or have this experience, and usually it bothers me, but I’m not going to let it bother me. I’m going to stay very aware and conscious of what’s going on, and then I’m going to come out of the room. I’ll be so excited that I was able to stay the same before I walked in the room, while I was in the room, and when I came out.” You say that to yourself. You should do that. You literally should do that. You should remind yourself that that is your goal when you walk in the room, not to impress people, not to do this, not to do that. Your goal is, “Now I’m centered and calm. Here I am. I would like to walk in the room, sit down, do whatever’s going on, be a proper participant, and when I leave, be right back where I was before I walked in, without any loss of continuity of purpose or consciousness.” That’s a true meditation, deep center.

In most cases, if you walk in and then you walk out, you’ll go, “What happened?” You were there before you walked in. Then you’re not there for a while. But you don’t know that you’re not there because you’re that much not there. Then you walk out, and all of a sudden, “Oh, I said I was going to—” and you blew it. You weren’t able to keep the continuity of consciousness across the experience and back to that point. That’s your work. See, your work isn’t that other stuff. I told you.

If you really want to know the truth, when you hurt your fingers and your tendons and things in your hands after surgery or an accident or something, sometimes they give you therapy, a type of therapy. It’s occupational therapy or something like that. Is that what they call it? All right. You make ash trays. They give you these ash trays, and you make them on a wheel. You move the clay, and you do this stuff. I told you once before. When it’s done, after a week of this, and the doc comes in to check you out, I know it’s going to shock you. He ain’t going to look at your ash trays. He don’t care about your ash trays. I know you feel very self-conscious about them. You thought you wanted to have the nicest ones. You got all your ego involved in that stuff. You did all this stuff. He’s going to look at your hands. You’re gonna get all insulted, man. You spent all your time making those ash trays, and you like the guy, and you thought he’d be impressed. But all he wants to know is the strength that’s in your hands. When it’s said and done, you’re going to walk out, and they’re going to throw the ash trays away. Whoa. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Sure, it does.

Those ash trays were about strengthening your fingers, strengthening your hands, increasing the mobility. Life is just like that. It will get thrown away. In fact, it’s constantly getting thrown away. Every meeting, every moment, every discourse you have, all the different things, they come and go, don’t they? They seem so important before they happen, and the next thing you know you’re at the next important one, and you don’t even remember the one that got you all uptight that was going to be so important. They’re just gone. Nobody’s saying nothing. Nobody’s giving them back. Nobody’s doing anything. They’re just like the ash tray. The purpose of them was not the event. The purpose of them is what happened to you while you were interacting with that situation. It is about spiritual therapy, instead of occupational or physical. It is spiritual therapy. That’s what life is. It is putting you through situations that, if you’re conscious, you practice maintaining your consciousness in that situation.

Anybody—maybe not anybody—but most people can maintain their consciousness alone out on a pier looking out over the ocean, not everybody. Some people are very uptight about the ocean or about wind bothering their hair or something like that. See, they can’t stay conscious. But many of you could stand there, and you could handle that situation. But there are situations that could happen while you’re there, a car screeches on a brake, or somebody else walks out there. There are just a million things that could happen where you don’t stay conscious, aren’t there?




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.


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MS: They’re the events that unfolded in life. You were there. You were aware. You maintained your consciousness, and then all of a sudden, your consciousness is gone, and then you come back. That act of losing your center and then coming back is a very, very spiritual thing. The truth is it is the core of your path. All of your practices, all the practices you do with yoga or Zen or whatever it is, whatever techniques you use, they are just practices for learning how to do what I just talked about. They’re just not [very meaningful] unto themselves. You start by reminding yourself that you’re going to stay centered. You permit life to unfold the way she does. If she manages to find something that challenges your ability to remain centered, this is not a bad thing. This is a good thing.

I’ve got to qualify that—not for any of you guys—but if you were just starting on this journey and you couldn’t keep your center even for a moment, then it’s not so good, because you don’t have your bearings. Yogananda used to say that when you start on a path, it’s sort of like putting a fence around a little garden. Once you plant those seeds, they need a little protection in order to start to root themselves and so on. You don’t want them handling hurricanes and hard rains and dogs running over them when they’re first seedlings and they’re starting. They need protection.

Likewise, when you first start on a path and you don’t know anything about staying centered, you’re always neurotic, you’re always uptight, it’s good that you have some space. That’s what retreats are for and all these things, that you have some space to practice remembering what it is like to remain centered, what it’s like to be there instead of being lost in the whole mess that’s happening. I’m talking about advanced growth here. Once you’re through with all of that and you’ve worked on yourself sufficiently, you get to the point where the only thing that life is about—it’s not about going on a retreat. It is the retreat, period. You’ve got to get the whole view. From birth to death is the retreat you took this time. It’s a spiritual retreat.

On this spiritual retreat, what is going to happen is there are going to be various situations that happen to you that attempt to hone your ability to remain centered. Your life is for the purpose of your being able to remain centered, clear, calm, filled with spirit and awareness and consciousness, while all, and I mean all, of the events of your life pass before you and you interact with them. The interaction part might get really hard for you, so for a moment let’s just talk about passing before you. (We’ll get into interaction in a moment. That’s advanced studies.) At first, if you can’t stay centered while it’s happening, you’re just going to get lost. What happens is the energy comes up. It disturbs something inside of you. Your energy comes up, and it overwhelms you. It’s almost like getting drowned. The consciousness gets pulled down into the emotions, the mind and all the disturbed energies. The next thing you know, all you are about is this situation that’s happening outside of you. That’s all your mind’s thinking about. That’s all your heart’s feeling. All of your will, all of your chi, all of your energy, everything is just about this situation that’s disturbing you. You’ve lost your sense of self. You’ve lost your center.

When the situation ceases, your disturbed energies inside calm down, and they cease. Therefore, it’s like the water receding. Now you find yourself some solid ground. The next thing you know you pop back up, don’t you? You find, “Oh, here I am. What happened? Oh, my God, how did I get so upset by that?” It’s something like that. You’ve regained your center. I’m telling you, what it means to work on yourself is to do whatever is necessary to prolong the periods of time before you get sucked in and shorten the period of time until you come back out. That, for a while, is your spiritual journey.

The first phase is, in order to protect the seed, plant the seed, protect it so that it even remembers that it’s back here, that it’s centered. Your next advanced phases are to sit there and eliminate the gaps in your consciousness.

Consciousness must have a single continuity. Even before you wake up in the morning, you should be there, and you know what I’m talking about. When you become really consciousness, you are aware of yourself waking up. You’re aware, if you’re having dreams, of the dreams fading away and of your consciousness returning to the center of mind and of heart. You watch these things happen. Very good, you’re a conscious being. You have seen this. When you go to bed at night, you put your head down, and you’re conscious of yourself until it falls asleep. Everything in between should be that conscious, and I mean it. I’m challenging you. There should not be one single millisecond that you don’t know that you know that you know that you’re there. What happens is most people can’t do that all that well. Then that’s the work. That’s your work.

How do you work with that? You remind yourself constantly, “What I am about is remaining centered. I am about remaining conscious. I care more about remaining conscious than I do what people think of me. I care more about remaining conscious than I do money. I care more about remaining conscious than I do whether people like me or not.” It doesn’t mean you renounce those things. It’s not about renunciation. It’s about the center and purpose of your life being spirit. You can stay in your whole life. It’s a question of whether what you’re about is your center. Are you about consciousness or the object of consciousness? You remind yourself constantly—“I am about consciousness.”

The world is not here to disturb you, no more than that clay ash tray are there to disturb you or trick you. They are there to help you. The world will show you where you’re not done yet. Situations will unfold that you find you tend to lose yourself. Just remember, you don’t have to. There is no reason to lose your center ever in this world. The world has no meaning. It’s going to come and go. Pretty soon you’re going to die, and nothing is going to go with you. I could give you a million truisms, but they’re so trite they sound stupid. It is true that the stupid thing keeps coming and going, isn’t it? It’s like water in a river that’s flowing by you, and you’re worrying about this little piece over here. What for? It’s gone. So, what, are you going to go run after it? If you just stand there, it comes and goes. No moments ever stop. They just come and go.

A person yells at you. Then they stop. Then it’s either over or it’s not. Your house burns down. Then it’s ashes. It doesn’t keep burning, nothing. It just all comes and goes. That’s a truism. It is also a truism that you’re going to die soon. All of these things mean you shouldn’t take it so seriously enough to trade your spiritual consciousness for what the heck’s going on. You shouldn’t trade consciousness for object of consciousness. They are just things that are passing through. And soon, very soon, you will die. That’s all there is to it, and you have to be very comfortable with that. You should contemplate that and be aware, that soon you’re going to die. All this stuff that seems so important and seems so meaningful will be meaningless. It’s meaningless, just like the ash tray. It has no meaning.

If those truisms aren’t enough, then why don’t you just check out on the fact, just in case you thought that maybe this was all weird and not true, that every single thing that’s happening to you, and I mean every single moment of every single day, is sitting on a little ball spinning around in the middle of nowhere. I mean nowhere. You should go on the web. They have pictures of half Earth, a crescent Earth taken from Mars through a telescope. They couldn’t see it well, so they took, they said, the kind of telescope you would use out in the field, and they looked at Earth from Mars. They had the Mariner up there, looked at Earth from Mars, and they sent us that picture that’s just absolutely beautiful.

Why don’t you look at that and realize every single thing that is happening to you is just happening on that little ball in the middle of nowhere. How in the world can anything bother you? How can anything bother you? There’s nothing happening that’s big enough to bother you in the face of those truths. Do you understand that? It is temporal, and you’re temporal. It’s temporal; you’re temporal. Even if it wasn’t, it’s all happening on a little speck of dust in the middle of nowhere.

You finally get to the point where you commit yourself to your work, which is to remain conscious. Nothing is worth losing your center over. There is nothing you’re going to fix except you, because there ain’t nothing broken except you. The world unfolds. It always has, it always will. You are not going to change it, I’m sorry, nor do you have the right to. You can only love it, interact with it, be part of it, participate in it. You can’t define how it’s supposed to be and then go out there and screw with it. You make a mess.

You finally make the commitment, which is, what I am about is remaining conscious through all the circumstances that happen in life. All right, the moment you do that, you’re going to find out that it has nothing to do with the circumstances in life. It has to do with what effect those circumstances have on your inner state. If those circumstances cause fear, then can you stay conscious in the face of fear? If they cause desire, can you stay conscious in the face of desire? If they cause anxiety, likewise, jealousy, likewise, lust, greed, this, that, anything, who cares? Whatever the heck it is that it causes inside, the question is, can you remain centered while that thing is going on inside of you? Because it too is temporal. All that comes and goes, even your own energies, and that becomes your work again.

You’re now right down to where a real spiritual being’s work is. Every minute of every day, they welcome the circumstances that take place, and they are conscious enough to see what effect those circumstances have on their heart and their mind, and they remain calm, centered behind it, permitting the mind to say what it must and then go away, permitting the heart to do what it must and then go away. Your work is to be able to do that. If you can’t do that, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Why? Because it means that the ash trays are working. In other words, if I give you that clay and that ash tray, you say, “No. This is no good for me. My hands are too weak. I can’t knead the clay. Stop it. This is wrong. I’m not coming back tomorrow to do this. This won’t work for me.”

If you can’t find the strength in your hands to knead that clay, well, that’s a perfect exercise. I found the right one, didn’t I? All right? You say, “But every time I turn it like this, I get a cramp.” Good, turn it. Turn it like that, because it means you’re exercising muscles that you weren’t exercising before. That’s what it means when you can’t keep your center. Good, good, because it means that there is something getting hit inside that is strong enough to still pull you out of your commitment. As long as there’s something outside that is strong enough to cause a change inside, to pull you out of your intention of remaining centered, it means you’ve got some work to do.

All right, now we see that. Now how do you do that work, the real specific work? It’s fun. It’s easy. What do you do if you can’t stay centered when you go to visit your parents? Some people are that way. You go to visit your parents, and you’re fine. You do fine, and then you go, and somehow you just can’t hold it together, and you find yourself falling back into your old patterns and getting into arguments and doing these things. All right, what do you do? You work on it. You literally center yourself before you walk into that room. That’s what you do. You breathe, just within yourself, and then you see how long you can sit there without opening your mouth. How many things can get said to you without you saying things back? Then you start to see why it’s so hard to not get sucked in. You just do what you need to do to watch, and then you’ll notice inside yourself deep stuff that you never noticed before, insecurities and fears and resentments and things that you stored inside of you that these people stimulate, and you can’t handle those things. That’s why you can’t handle the people.

You keep staying centered, and you let that be the purpose of your life. Then when these things come up, you let them go. All of a sudden, going home to visit mom and dad is a spiritual experience. All of a sudden, meeting your ex is a spiritual experience. All of a sudden, all of these things that you thought were so disturbing that you didn’t want to happen, the fact that they can still get to you means you have work in that area, and you just decide to do that work because you don’t have a choice anyways. That’s what I think is funny. “No, I’m not going to do that work.” Okay, suffer. You either use it to liberate you, or you suffer. It is either leading you to a higher state of consciousness and freedom and exhilaration and openness, or you suffer with it. That is your choice. So, you do this work, and you just, little by little, stay conscious, let go, stay conscious.

I told you, in the end—and you might as well make it in the beginning, because in the end it is not a mental thing, it is not an emotional thing—it is as follows:

You notice that the energy is starting to get disturbed. Before you figure out why, don’t even think about it. Just relax your shoulders, relax your chest. Relax your stomach and let go. What does that mean, “And let go”? Be willing that, if it wants to go, to let it go. Don’t get into it. Don’t analyze it. Don’t blame anybody. Just let it go. These things that you stored inside of you that are causing your energy to get disturbed, they will go. Over time, they will go if you do that. Eventually, that’s all you do. If you do that constantly, you will never lose your center ever again at any time ever, period. No matter what is going on, you will have the honor of being there to watch it go on, and that’ll be so much fun, all right?

You’re there until, eventually, you couldn’t make yourself not be there if you tried. If it was getting so bad and so disturbing that you wish you didn’t have to be there to watch it, you’d watch yourself wishing that you didn’t have to be there to watch it. Eventually, you can’t turn it off. Consciousness is like the light of the sun. It shines upon all things, truly, day and night, and you just think it doesn’t, right? It is, at all times, sitting there shining.

The consciousness of the centered one is always aware of what’s going on, period. That awareness will burn through everything. But you have to be willing to do the work, and so that means never blaming anybody for giving you an opportunity to grow. That means never preferring one situation over another enough to where you leave your consciousness to try to make it happen and then think, “Oh, now I’ll go back to my consciousness.” You don’t ever leave.

If you have a preference of one circumstance over another, it’s because there’s something wrong with you. You still have disturbances and blockages inside of you. I guarantee you, if you like one thing over another, it is because that thing makes you feel better inside, and that makes you feel worse inside, guaranteed. The question is not, how do I get this and get rid of that? The question is, why do I do that? Why does it do that? Why are you not just as comfortable in the heat as you are the cold? Why are you not just as comfortable in the daylight as in the night? Why are you not comfortable around rich people or poor people or anything? Why? Why are you not just as comfortable? The answer is because of you, not because of them, and you decide, “I ain’t going to buy into that. I am never blaming anything or anyone ever again. I just want to do the work of letting go of what’s binding me.”

That’s what it means to do spiritual work. So, we start it. You have to do the inner work. But that’s the inner work. Meditation will help you, but it is not an end in and of itself. Mantra will help you. It’s not an end in and of itself. Spiritual practice, yoga, spiritual company, all these things are wonderful things, but they are not ends in and of themselves. The thing that leads to the end in and of itself is that you commit yourself to maintain your center of consciousness, and nothing has the right to take it away. You do the work to make that a reality. Jai gurudev.

TS: You’ve been listening to the Michael Singer Podcast, produced by Sounds True, in partnership with Shanti Publications. Sounds True is the co-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”. The music you heard is the song “Giving It All” by Be Still The Earth. Thank you so much for listening. Sounds True: waking up the world.

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