S2 E4: Taking Care of Your Inner Environment

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 taking care of your inner environment. 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 15 percent off any Michael Singer program available through sounds true when you use the code Singer, numeral one, numeral five at checkout. Again, that “Singer15”. And now taking care of your inner environment with Michael Singer.


Michael Singer: Jai gurudev […]. The spiritual life is really life itself. To separate your life into my worldly life and my spiritual life is to not understand what’s going on. They’re all the same. They’re both the same. They’re additive to each other, there’s nothing to be left out, depending upon how you work with yourself inside. If you don’t work with yourself insid—and very, very few people work with themselves inside—then what is going on inside is just what’s going on inside. If it’s a mess inside, it’s a mess inside. If it’s nice inside, it’s nice inside. People don’t understand—it’s your responsibility. It is your responsibility, just like it’s your responsibility to keep your house clean, your responsibility to make your bed. It is your responsibility to take care of your inner environment. If you don’t take care of your outer environment, bugs and things will crawl in and it’ll become a mess. If you don’t throw your food away, if you don’t clean up the house, it’s going to be a mess. It’s the exact same thing inside.

The default of your inside if you do nothing about it is the lowest possible state. Energy falls down to its lowest possible state, which is depression, which it just goes to where you’re just not doing OK inside. You don’t feel well. You don’t feel enthused. You don’t feel love. You don’t feel passion. You’re just not doing well inside. That’s because you didn’t work with yourself. It really is the same. If you don’t drive your car, you’re going to get an accident. If you just take your hand off the wheel and don’t pay attention to what’s going on and just let it go where it goes, you’ll be in bad shape. It’s the same thing inside.

You live inside, you don’t live outside. You live inside. There’s a mind in there with you. There’s a heart in there with you. There are energy flows in there with you. If you leave them alone, it’s going to be a mess. People don’t even understand what a mess it is, because they don’t know it doesn’t have to be that way. You just get used to living in a mess. You’re moody. You have problems. You’re sensitive. You don’t like things. You don’t get what you want. You get what you don’t want. You’re afraid. You’re desirous. It’s just a commotion. It’s just uncomfortable inside. Most people are always uncomfortable inside. Very rarely are they comfortable.

What this drives you to do if you’re not paying attention—and I’m telling you, people are not—it’s a mess inside. It’s uncomfortable inside. It’s disturbing inside. Nobody wants to live like that. So, instead of straightening it up inside, what will happen—and it’ll happen to everybody, all seven billion of you—is you will realize that certain things can happen outside that make it worse inside.

People can say things that disturb you. People who you love can leave you. You can get old and not be as good looking as you used to be, get wrinkles in your face and so on. All kinds of things can go on and will go on that cause disturbance inside. Sometimes things will happen outside that make you feel good inside, but it’s not as much. There are way more things that cause disturbance, that cause discomfort, that cause fears, than there are things that actually make you feel well. I’m not talking about, “Maybe if I get this, I’ll feel well,” but the actual moment of “I feel whole, I feel complete. I wouldn’t change a single thing. Everything’s beautiful.” You must admit, you can count it on your fingers on one hand, versus the things that bother you—there aren’t enough stars in the sky; you’re always getting disturbed by something. That is because it’s disturbed inside.

If it is disturbed inside, then events that unfold outside and come into you are going to stir up the disturbances. All of us have different disturbances, therefore different things disturb us, turn us on or off—so, a normal life, which you don’t want. The normal life of a human being on this planet is as follows: 

“I am not OK inside. I’m not comfortable. I’m always uncomfortable. It’s not comfortable. I have found that certain things can happen outside that made me feel more comfortable. And I can find that there are other things that happen outside that made me feel really worse. So, my task in life is to try to control the environment outside of me so that more often it makes me feel good inside comes in, and less often it unfolds in a way that disturbs me, makes me worse.”

If you dare to be open and look at it, you’ll realize that’s most people’s entire life: trying to figure out what they need or want outside and what they don’t want and don’t need outside, then trying to figure out how to make it be that way. We up going to war with reality. We end up going outside, fighting with people, places, things, situations, everything unfolding, because it’s not the way we want. And then you try to make it be the way you want. By the time you’re done, it’s very difficult to make everybody be the way you want. It’s very difficult to make every situation unfold the way you want. It’s very difficult to have things not happen that disturb you since it’s so easy for us to get disturbed. It doesn’t work. 

We end up getting frustrated, we end up getting tense, and we end up getting anxious. This is the normal state of how people live. That’s a worldly life. It’s just an external life of fighting with the outside to try to make it so you can live with yourself inside.

There is an alternative life. It’s so simple, it’s ridiculous. And very, very few people actually walk it, which is: 

“I live in here. I should straighten it up. I shouldn’t try to find somebody that’ll straighten it up for me. I shouldn’t try to find a job that will turn me on so much that I will be distracted by the disturbances inside of me. I should fix what’s wrong inside of me. This is my house. I live in here. If I’m sensitive, if I’m scared, if I’m insecure, if I have issues going on in here that I don’t like to talk about that cause me trouble, I need to clean up. I need to straighten this up in here. I don’t want to go for the rest of my life keeping garbage inside of me and then trying to make a life outside that either distracts me from it or fits what’s wrong inside of me.”

[On the other hand], “Somebody talks to me exactly how I want to be talked to, they give me space when I need space, they feel close to me and say loving things when I need them to, and so this makes me more comfortable inside because of the way this person’s behaving outside”—have you ever met anyone who succeeded at that? You can’t sit there and control and manipulate people and then think they’re going to love you and think it’s going to work out. There’s never a situation, it will never work. What does work is to once and for all sit yourself down and say, “I’m a mess. I’m sensitive. I got things that have to be exactly the way I want them to be from me to be OK, otherwise I get weird inside. I don’t want to be like that.” That’s what you say. “I don’t want to be like that. I want to be able to be OK inside as a starting position so that when I come outside, it’s because I want to share the love that I feel. I want to share the passion that I feel. I want to share the creativity that I feel. I want to share the inspiration that I feel. I want to bring something into the world in front of me, not always be taking something because I’m not OK.”

I am telling you, someday, if you grow in this path, you’ll find out that need is not natural. There are no needs. You need to feed your body or something basic like that. But in terms of social or psychological needs, no. It’s because you’re disturbed inside that you need all these things outside. It’s like, if you get really sick and you make your body really sick, you need a doctor. You shouldn’t need a doctor. If your body is healthy, you don’t need a doctor. Do you? If your mind is healthy, if you are healthy inside, you don’t have needs.

It doesn’t mean you don’t have relationships. It doesn’t mean you don’t go to work, but you don’t do it out of need. You do it out of love. You do it out of joy. You do it out of expressing the beauty and passion that you feel inside of yourself. Then life is beautiful for you and everyone around you because you don’t have to manipulate them and control them and complain about how they are. 

The whole spiritual path—and I haven’t talked about a single technique yet. The whole spiritual path is about waking up and realizing, “I have a mess in here and I’m expecting the world to unfold in a way that makes my mess more tolerable. The driver in front of me better drive at the speed I wanted to drive or I’m getting upset.” That’s called road rage. “The light better not change; I’m in a rush. It better not rain; I want to go camping. He better not talk to her for more than three seconds, because I get jealous.”

Every single thing is predicated upon the fact that “I am not OK inside, therefore you guys get your act together or you’ll be sorry.” It’s cute. There is a way for you to be OK inside, I guarantee you. Everyone. There is a way to be OK inside. It is not true that just because it’s been a mess that it has to stay a mess. If you let your house become a mess, there’re pizza boxes all over the place and bugs, it doesn’t have to stay that way. The minute you decide you don’t want it that way anymore, guess what? You do the work that’s necessary to clean it up. Then it’s just the same as if it was never that way. Is exactly the same inside.

Now we get down to what does one do to clean it up inside and “why haven’t I been doing it?” The basics of it are always the same. You have stored inside of you things that bother you from the past. You know you have. Whenever something uncomfortable happens, you’re not comfortable with it. Someday, when you meditate deep enough, you realize, what you don’t want is for this uncomfortable vibration that came into you to touch you. It’s almost natural in a sense. “I don’t want something that’s uncomfortable to me to get too close to me.” Outside, you don’t want it to get too close to you. You try to avoid it. You stay away from it. You do the same thing when it comes inside.

When a vibration comes in, that is uncomfortable to you, you don’t want it to come all the way back in your face. You don’t want it to actually come all the way in. When a vibration comes in that is comfortable to you, an intimate, loving situation, a beautiful sunset, something’s happening that you’re very receptive to, you’re very open [to it], then you do want it to come in, don’t you? Nothing can get close enough. You want it to come all the way in and touch your whole being. That shows you what’s going on. So, when things come in that are not comfortable, you try to push them away. When things that come in that are ultra-comfortable, you try to hold them, you try to let them come all the way back so you can keep them. That’s very beautiful. Except if you push away something that already happened, where do you think it goes?

Does it make the thing not have happened? No. It doesn’t, does it? Period, ever. It means it stays inside of you. You actually store it inside of yourself. So now this uncomfortable thing that was already uncomfortable when it happened. Somebody’s yelling at you, somebody fires you, your house burned down, somebody died. There are things that happen. No question about it. There are things that happen that when they come inside are not comfortable. You know about that yet? OK. It’s reality. Don’t think being spiritual means that doesn’t happen. Don’t you dare think that. What spiritual means is when it happens, it comes in. It’s not fun, it’s a discomfort. And you experience it fully. You let it come all the way back in, learn from it, grow from it, experience it.

Someday someone you love will die. Your parents will die. Something will happen. It will happen. Once it happens, it already happened. There’s no reason to say, “I don’t want it to have happened.” You’re living in a fairy land? It happened. So, the question is, what are you going to do with it? What most people do with it, in a sense, is refuse to let it have happened. They say, “No, I wasn’t finished with my relationship with my mother. I wanted her to live longer.” Whatever the heck it is, it’s called denial—not the psychological level, but it is a spiritual level of denial. You are denying the reality of what took place. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable. “Well, I can’t deny that it happened, and I can’t deny that it’s uncomfortable. So, I’m left with only one choice: honor it’s right to be, learn from the experience of what it’s like to go through an experience like this, become a greater person because I went through this experience. I learned from it. I grew, I learned.”

It doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. You’re not in there trying to make it be comfortable; you’re in there learning from the discomfort. You’re working out, it starts to hurt, your coach pushes you. He’s not mean; he just knows that the way the muscles work. Unless you get to the point where it’s starting to give off lactic acid (so it feels yucky), and they’ll tell you, if you push it—not too much, but if you push it past that point—the muscle gets stronger. That’s why they say “no pain, no gain.” It’s the exact same thing inside.

If you had your way, you would never grow. You would build a little life that’s in a box. And every single thing in it is exactly the way you’re already comfortable, your boundaries, your limits, your sense of what you want. And you go hop in there and lock it up and never go anywhere. You would never grow. There’s no growth there.

Growth is when events unfold that are not comfortable. It comes in, it is uncomfortable, but you learn how to be comfortable with uncomfortable. You learn to understand that what discomfort means is “I can’t vibrate at that level. My soul, my being, my consciousness is not evolved enough yet to be comfortable with this vibration.” So, what you do instead is you learn to say, “Events are going to unfold. They’re going to come into me. I’m going to feel their vibration. Some of them are comfortable. Some of them are not comfortable. That’s fine with me. I honor that. I honor reality. I honor the right to learn from different experiences that unfold. Well, what do I do about the fact that it’s uncomfortable?”

You don’t have a choice of undoing the event. If event has come into you, it has already happened. There’s no undoing it. It has to happen out here, then it goes into your senses, doesn’t it? You pick it up secondhand. If it has already happened—no one has ever undone what already happened. So that’s not a choice. You can’t undo the event. So, now, the event, it comes in and is uncomfortable. Well, things are uncomfortable. I don’t know. You can try to make it comfortable if you want, “Oh, boy, my mother died.” You can do that if you want, but that might not work too good.

So, what you do is honor—“Gee, my mother’s only going to die once. And I was very close to her. It hurts a lot.” Isn’t that beautiful? To me, that pain says, “I love you.” I don’t feel that pain for someone I don’t know. 

The pain that you feel at somebody’s death is love. It’s a way of expressing your love. You learn to find a way to be open and receptive to the reality of life that is coming into you, because you can’t undo it. And sometimes it is uncomfortable. Vibration is not always pleasant, and you realize I would like to learn to be comfortable with all vibrations in life. I’d like to learn to be comfortable with reality, with the whole. This is called working on yourself. So, instead of fighting with everybody and fighting with life and getting weird—because things happen—you learn to honor, accept, and respect reality. And you learn how to expand yourself. It’s really an expanding of your being so that what has happened can fit inside of you.

Since we didn’t do that in the past—very few people do that, don’t feel bad. The natural tendency is to push it away. “I don’t want to experience this.” Therefore, you didn’t let it come through. You stored it inside, and you have this entire collection of stored things from the past that bothered you. That collection is going to ruin your life. It’s just that simple. That’s the junk. That’s the pizza boxes that you left inside because you never cleaned up as you went through your life. You didn’t finish, they didn’t finish. They’re stuck inside of you. Now to do it very briefly. Anything you have stuck inside of you is going to drive you crazy. Someone’s going to say something, you’ll feel weird. You’ll see a billboard that will remind you of it. Then you’ll be afraid of seeing a billboard or you’ll be afraid of seeing this person again, because they always push your buttons. You’re filled with this stuff and now you have to adjust your life so that it doesn’t disturb you.

At some point you collect enough stuff, and you, in a sense, abstractly relate everything to it. At first, it was, “I had trouble with George. It was a bad relationship, I hadn’t known. So, I don’t want to have a relationship.” Then you had a trouble with somebody else and then you always say, “Well, I just don’t like men of that age. So, we just don’t get along well.” Then you have another one. Sit there and say, “I don’t like men that are cowboys or firemen or this or that.” And you keep broadening it out. And eventually “I don’t like men at all. “People get like that. It’s just, you have no more room left in you where an event can take place that doesn’t hit your stuff. Do you understand that? Please understand that. You don’t want to be like that.

You can’t have a nice life if your insides are that messed up. And then you try to control the life around you so that it doesn’t hit your stuff. So the alternative is to say, “I don’t want that stuff inside of me.” What stuff? Any of it? “I don’t want any of it inside of me. I want to be open. I want to be receptive. I want to be able to handle the reality that’s unfolding in front of me and finish it off.” 

I told you I maintain a rule. I’m very strict about it. Not always successful, but I maintain a rule. If it’s not happening outside, it’s not happening inside. I give them the room, if something’s happening outside and it’s disturbing, OK. That’s tough. It’s hard. But when it’s no longer happening outside, there ain’t no way I’m letting that go on inside, otherwise it’ll never go away.

If somebody’s yelling at you, it’s not comfortable. Then they stop up yelling. Don’t worry, they won’t stay there yelling; nobody ever has. And then they walk away. I don’t want this disturbance still inside of me. It’ll never go away. Now I’ve got scars inside of me because somebody yelled at me. No. If it’s not going on outside, it ain’t going on inside. I’m going to let the energy pass through. I’m going give it the room to finish so I don’t have to carry it with me. That is the essence of spirituality. That is the essence of yoga. That is the essence of every single thing that has anything to do with spiritual growth. You cannot have that stuff inside of you. The highest technique you can do is to let go of your stuff.

It’s to basically sit there and say, “I don’t want this stuff inside of me. I don’t care what it costs.” I spend my money on lots of things; you do too. Nothing buys what that’s worth. In fact, the reason you’ll spend your money on a new car or a boat or a vacation is you’re so disturbed inside, you need a vacation from yourself. “I need a vacation from this junk that comes up inside of me.” And I’m telling you, that’s where you spend all your money. That’s why you need a nicer house. You need a nicer house because the Jones having a nicer house than you makes you feel insecure, because you don’t feel good about yourselves. And now you have to go out and get a nicer house.

Everything you’re spending your money on—you’re better off, this is a better way to spend your money. If you’re going to have some pain, some discomfort, and have to do some work, get paid properly. What gets paid properly is “I want less of me. I want less stuff inside. I want less stuff inside.” How would you like to be able to wake up in the morning and giggle without a single thought on your mind? Not one single thought. Just like “I’m back! I wonder what’s going to happen today.” And be all excited to find out what’s going to happen today, to have no notion, concept, view, opinion, preference, just like, “Wow, it’s Christmas morning. There are going to be events that unfold in front of me during the day, I wonder what they will be!” And just have the blast of your life. And if something happens that’s challenging, then play chess. Be challenged. 

People put themselves— wait a minute. Sometimes people come up to me and they say, “You don’t understand. So challenging.” Chess champions put them themselves in these amazingly challenging situations, don’t they? Mountain climbers—oh my God. That’s pretty challenging. And life-defying. There are people that go out of their way to purposely put themselves in very challenging situations. Why? Why do they do that? Because it brings out the best in you. It makes you dig deep and bring out the best that you are and makes you better than you were before, doesn’t it? That’s why we have competitions, that’s why you climb mountains, that’s why you challenge yourself to your limits. Why can’t you let the everyday events that are unfolding in your life be your mountain climbing, be your chess match? They are just there. If they’re challenging? Good. I’m glad they’re challenging. That’s exciting. That’s better than being bored, isn’t it? It’s better than just floating through empty, dark space.

You get to the point where you realize, “I have made a mess inside and I am going to clean up the mess I made inside so that I can enjoy the rest of my life.” Not enjoy it conditionally. It doesn’t have to be a certain way for me to enjoy it. I enjoy it. What? Life. I enjoy the moments that are unfolding in front of me. They’re challenging. They’re exciting. I don’t need dreams. I don’t need to dream about “someday it’ll be the way I want.”




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: People make a big deal out of dreams as if they’re spiritual. Dreams are not spiritual. I’m not talking about your inner dreams; I’m talking about this notion that “someday my ship will come in.” All you’re doing is saying, “I’m not OK, but maybe someday I will be.” I don’t want you to say someday “I will be”; I want you to be OK right now, right where you are. The Buddhists say, “Bloom where you are.” I want you just to sit there and say, “I can make something beautiful out of every moment of my life if I’m beautiful inside. But if I’m problemed inside, I can make a mess out of every single moment of my life. I can get tense. I can get anxious. I can get scared, insecure. Can’t I? I’m good at it.” I’m telling you. So now we have the groundwork.

The groundwork is you have this stuff stored inside of you. You do not want it in there. That’s your main technique. I haven’t given a technique yet. That’s your main technique. “I don’t want that stuff inside of me.” I used to say it—I’m going to say it again, but my friends yell at me when I say it. If there were a 50-gallon vat, an oil drum filled with roaches and snakes, and I had a choice, or you have a choice, of having this stuff inside of me or having somebody shove me inside that bin, you better pick going into the bin because it’s much more comfortable. Because at least the bin is outside of you—do you understand that? Being in there with the maniac, who’s not happy about anything, who’s got a lot of preferences, I don’t like it. You got all these scars from before; you understand that that is not fun.

So, you make this phenomenal commitment. It’s a very personal commitment, has nothing to do with your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend or children, anything; it has to do with you. This is your life. You were given the time between your birth and your death. That’s a gift that was given to you, wasn’t it? You’re here. You don’t know where you came from. You don’t know where you’re going, but you know you have this time between your birth and your death. Do you really want to live it scared to death? You really want to live it like this? “That I’m so screwed up inside, that maybe I can manipulate and control the world around me, so it doesn’t bother me too much. Or maybe I can find somebody that makes it tolerable.” No. And so you take arms against it. You sit there and say, “I am not going to leave this stuff inside of me.”

This is my life, it’s my job. It’s not somebody else’s job. I put it in there. I’m going to let it go. And so now you live this great life. It doesn’t sound like a spiritual life, but it’s the ultimate of a spiritual life. You make a vow, and you remember it every morning, every evening. First, “I am not putting anymore in here. If an event takes place in my life, now that I’m conscious enough and I woke up, if an event unfolds in my life and it is uncomfortable to me, I am going to make sure that I let it go.” That’s as simple as that. How you do it? Those are what I mean by techniques. But underneath there has to be that commitment, “It will not stay inside of me.”

You say that about all kinds of things. You love somebody, you go to great ends to get them, don’t you? You want to go on a vacation? Oh my God, you’ll work overtime. You do all kinds of stuff. What do you gain—a week? And then you’re back to your same place.

Do something that works, that lasts. Do not build this stuff inside of you. So, you start—and you don’t start with all that stuff you already built in there; that’s too hard. You start with the new stuff that’s happening. And you sit there and say, “I can handle that it rained when I wanted to go camping. I can handle the person’s driving slowly in front of me when I’m a rush. I can handle the fact that I wanted to wear a certain outfit, but Sally said she was going to wear it to the party and heck if I’m wearing the same thing as her.” Can you handle these big, amazingly traumatic things?

You’re going to your senior prom in high school and these little zits or something shows up on your face, comes to visit you, have a little imperfection. Can you handle it? You’re sitting on a planet, spin around in the middle of nowhere and this little tiny, 16th of an inch thing changes, and you’re weird. You have to sit there and say, “I can handle it.” Why? Because the alternative is to say, “I can’t handle it.” If you can’t handle, it’s going to ruin your life. You’ll be weird for the rest of your life because that happened in high school. Don’t tolerate this. So, it’s something you do inside yourself where you say, “I am going to find a way to let things pass through me. They may be uncomfortable. They’re happening, but I’m not going to keep them inside of me.” That’s the first commitment. You say it to yourself. How do you do that?

People say, “I don’t know how to do that.” I agree you don’t know how to do that. If you knew how to do it, you would have already done it. So there’s this word in English language called “learn.” You didn’t know how to do calculus when you first went to school. You didn’t know how to play tennis first time you pick up a racket. You didn’t know how to play the piano first time you sat down, did you? But you didn’t say, “No, I can’t play the piano. I don’t know how.” You knew you were there to learn. You need to learn how to do this. And don’t say, “No, I’m not capable of doing this.” Yes, you are. You are capable of doing this. You would not have made it to the human race if you were not. That’s one of the perks of having taken a human birth; you’re capable of doing this.

It’s like, if I walk into your house and there’s pizza boxes over the place and all kinds of junk going on. “No, I don’t know how to clean it up.” Yes, you do. You’re not going to convince me you do not how to clean that up. It’s just, you don’t want to. It’s the same thing here. You do know how; it is instinctual and natural to you. I’ll prove it to you. If an event takes place outside—a person’s driving in front of you, is the [example] I’m going to use; everyone likes that one. Driving 10 miles an hour slower than the speed limit in front of you and you’re in a rush. How are you doing? The answer better be “fine.” Why? Otherwise, you’re not doing fine, otherwise you just ruined your day because somebody’s driving slow in front of you. How did that help?

Did it make her drive faster? No. Did it make him take a left and get out? No, it didn’t do a single thing. It’s what we call irrational. What is irrational? If you do a cost-benefit analysis and there’s 100 percent cost and 0 percent benefit, and you do it anyways, what is the benefit of you not being able to handle what is actually happening in front of you such as somebody driving slower than the speed limit? Now, I told you if there’s room to pass, pass. I’m not telling you to sit there and be a masochist. But if there is no room to pass and you’re going to be driving like this for a little while, I am highly encouraging you to enjoy it. Why? Because the alternative is to make a mess out of your life for absolutely no gain. This is what I meant when I started, when I said you don’t know what it’s like to live in there and drive the car, to clean up.

It is of no benefit. It’s bad enough that the person’s driving 10 miles an hour below the speed limit. It’s worse that you’re bothering yourself about it. These things are not related, they’re different events, aren’t they? They’re completely independent events. Something’s happening outside, the fact that you’re bothering yourself about it inside is something you’re doing. Well, I highly advise to stop doing it. And that’s why when I say to you are capable of doing it. People say, “I’m not capable.” I say, “Learn.” They say, “I don’t understand.” No. You know how I know you’re capable? Because you are the one who’s doing it. It’s like maybe if I told you to pick up Mount Everest. …

But if I say to you right now, “You’re about to put your hand on a hot stove, don’t do it.” There’s no way you’re not capable of not doing it because you’re the one who’s doing it. You’re about to do it. Just don’t. Just withhold the urge to do it. And then it will be done. It’ll be over. It’s the exact same thing with the person driving in front of you. There’s a person driving in front of you—that is not disturbing; it’s just somebody driving in front of you. You have to go out of your way to make it be disturbing. You start saying, “What’s wrong with you?! You should be driving in the right lane.” It is something you’re doing, just don’t do it. Don’t do it. Here’s where techniques come in.

At that moment when you see this tendency, it’s just a habit-formed tendency to create trouble for yourself. I don’t want you to create trouble for yourself. This is not about getting to know God. This is not about some spiritual journey. This is not about awakening the kundalini. (Although all of that will happen naturally. That’s what’s so funny.) This is about why do you want to ruin your life? Bad enough somebody else ruins it. Why do you want to ruin your life? Why do you want to go out of your way to make yourself uncomfortable? It doesn’t make sense, does it? Then don’t do that.

There are techniques. For example, there’s affirmation. “Well, what do you mean?” I’m sitting there, I’m driving and I’m in here, I notice my mind is about to get negative about the way the person’s driving in front of me. Very good. So, what I do is before it can start, I take over the mind. You can use your mind, make a count to 10 right now inside. That do it? See, you’re the boss. The problem is you’re not using your mind. And when you don’t use, it uses itself, doesn’t it?

You’re not telling it to get upset about the driver in front of you. It’s doing that out of habit. So, what you do is when it starts to do it, there’s affirmation, sounds like, “Oh my God, do I love the way this person’s driving.” I literally have taught my mind to say, “Hey, I want to drive the way I want to drive. Then they get to drive the way they want to drive. I don’t want anybody taking away how I drive. I don’t want to take away how they drive.” You just start using your mind to say something constructive, to say something more positive, so that then, when you’re doing that, it can’t be doing the other thing. It doesn’t do both at once. When you’re using your mind, it can’t be spewing this negative stuff. It’s only when you stop driving in there. If your hands on the wheel, your car’s going to go where you’re putting it. Take your hand off the wheel, who knows where it’s going. That’s what this is like inside.

Affirmation is one way. Another way is, if you meditate, if you are meditator, and you learn to follow your breath—which is a very, very good thing, to meditate. This is a good time to do it. If you’re not going to do affirmation, you’re driving, so you’re going slower than you normally would. You’d usually go 15 miles over the speed limit. This person’s 10 miles under the speed limit. Therefore, we got all this time, while you’re driving so nice and slowly and safely—follow your breath. Just start watching your breath. Instead of wasting your time doing something destructive, do something constructive. You tell me, who’s stopping you from doing that? Nobody. That’s what’s so funny. There’s nobody in there but you, you do whatever you want in there. Don’t think this doesn’t matter. This is going to change your life.

Now by the time the person turns off, if you even notice, because you are enjoying the experience as it is, they turn off, you’ve had a nice time. You’re in a good mood. You’re ready to go to work.

The other way, you already went to work. You’re burned out before you get there. Then, when you get there, all you can do is tell everybody how terrible the driver in front of you was, what a terrible experience that was. Then you come home and tell it to your husband or wife. Oh my God, which is better? I’m asking you, I’m begging you, to do a rational cost-benefit analysis about how you are living inside yourself. Don’t call it spiritual, call it rational. It’s just a rational thing to do.

You do it with the food. You look at your food before you eat it, and you see if it’s going to make you sick. You may like it, so you eat a little bit, but you do make rational decisions. You don’t make any rational decision about your thoughts. 99.9 percent of human beings who walk this earth, make no rational decision about their thoughts. They just let them be where they are. They like something, so “I like it. OK, I like it.” We didn’t even know where that came from. Where’d that thought come from? So, you start working with yourself. I call this working with yourself. It’s a beautiful thing to do. You do it every moment of your life, especially when things are disturbing you. It’s not about the big things, it’s about the little things.

We end up being disturbed all the time—by a mosquito, “It’s too hot out,” “It’s raining and I don’t want it to be,” this, that, all kinds of stuff. Instead you start working to train yourself to be happier, to be more positive, to be able to handle the events that are taking place in life. If you will let these things pass through you, they will pass through you. I say this all the time, but I mean it—there is no super glue in there. If stuff is stuck inside of you, you did it.

Listen to me, there’s nothing inside. It’s just empty, it’s just energy, it’s just pure energy. So, if an event comes in, it passes right through; you learn from it, you experience it, you become a greater being because you experienced it, but it will not stay in there, I assure you. I’ve done this journey for 45 years. I’ve watched it very carefully. Nothing will stay in there, nothing. No matter how bad it is, no matter how disturbing it is, this stuff’s going to come in; you don’t stand in front of it, you don’t try to stop it, you don’t try to control it or rationalize it or do anything; you just let it go. Let it blow across your face like wind. And eventually it’s like, “Ooh, this is exciting.” You can have as much fun as you want with life.

That’s a second technique. The first one is, try to be positive, work with affirmation, work with positive thinking. That’s fine. All right. Your second one step deeper. Just because your mind is saying something doesn’t mean you have to listen. Just because it’s in there saying, “Why are you driving like that? I don’t like it. You should be driving [blah blah blah] …”

I don’t have to listen to that. I can put my attention on my breath. Your consciousness is where you live. If you put your attention on something other than the neurotic mind, you’re going to find out it quiets down. If you don’t listen to it, it will quiet down. You’ve heard it said, “An ignored guest quickly leaves.” All right. So that’s a second technique.

A third technique, which happens to be the highest, but you need to work your way to it, is to notice, “There it goes again. There is the disturbed mind being disturbed.” Relax. “What do you mean? It won’t relax.” I didn’t tell it to relax—I told you to relax. You are in there noticing the mind being disturbed. How do you know the mind’s disturbed? How do you know the mind’s complaining about the person in front of you? Because I’m in here, and I notice it.

Relax back into where you notice from. Did you hear that? That’s what it means to meditate on yourself. Relax back to where you notice from, as opposed to relaxing into what you’re noticing. That is the highest technique you will ever use. When you learn that no matter what’s going on in front of you, you don’t have to pay attention to it. You can just relax and release. At that point, what you’ve done is given plenty of room for it to pass through. You are the one who’s in the way, you’re in the way. You take away the block that your will is creating that, your resistance is creating, it will pass right through. Take down the Hoover Dam and the Colorado river will go exactly back to the way it was however long ago they built the Hoover Dam. Get out of the way, because you’re the dam. Get out of the way. Do not resist. Relax and release.

That’s the highest thing. Relax and release and the energies will pass right through you, and they will not leave a single scar. They’ll just be there when they’re there and then they’ll be gone when they’re not. So, this is your technique. I call it working with yourself, because you are working with yourself. Instead of manipulating, controlling the world around you to try to make it fit your messed up self, you’re letting go of yourself. Then ultimately what will happen—and it’s a very natural process—is, as you let go of the everyday things that are happening now, the old stuff will start to come up. Why? Because you didn’t shove new stuff down on top of it. It will release naturally. It’ll come up in your sleep.

It’ll come up while you’re just minding your own business you were doing well, and all of a sudden, the stuff’s coming up. Good, that is what is supposed to happen. It’s called purification. If that stuff is in there, it’s either going to stay down there and run your life from underneath or you’re going to be willing to let it go. And you want it to come up, and you want to let it go. Now that sounds scary, because you know there are things in there you just assumed you’d never see again. That’s why they’ve been shoved down there so far.

Because you’ve practiced with these everyday things, the car in front of you, the fact that it rained and we didn’t want it to—they seem like trivial things, they’re not. They’re just like—when you learn to play the piano, they don’t give you Beethoven; they give you scales. “Oh, scales.” Yes. But what do scales have to do with being able to play Beethoven? Everything.

As you learned to play your scales, you were getting the basics down about how to move your fingers, about timing, about all kinds of stuff. It is exactly the same with this. As you learned to let go that somebody didn’t say hello or somebody didn’t act the way you wanted them to, or the car in front of you was a problem, or it rained when you didn’t want to, those are your scales. […] Nothing is small enough to not be worth letting go of. Not big enough, small enough. The slightest thing that happens, if you feel resistance, learn how to relax behind the resistance and let it go. Because you learned your scales, now you can play some.

Because you learned these basic techniques of relaxing and releasing and surrendering and letting go, now a bigger thing will come up. “What do I do?” The same thing. “But I don’t know how to.” Of course, you don’t know how to; you just haven’t done it with something bigger yet.

You don’t know how to play Beethoven just because you go with your scales. But now we’re ready to try something. You’ll flub around a little bit, but you’ll be able to do it because you got the basics now. 

When this thing comes up, do the same thing, relax and release. You welcome it, that’s the highest thing I can teach you. You are to welcome the disturbances that come up inside of you. Why? Because the alternative is to keep them. Remember how we started—you don’t want them in there. You don’t want them. You want beauty in there. You want love in there. You want enthusiasm, excitement, passion, inspiration, don’t you? Well, you can’t have it when you got the other stuff in there, it’s already—tank’s full. Tank’s full of poison. You have to be willing to let it go. So, you change your attitude about stuff.

So, what happens? It starts to come up, you relax and release behind it. A couple of big ones will come up, and you’ll get good at it. That’s all it takes. Because what’ll happen, at some point you will let go enough to where not only is it not a negative that that stuff’s in there, but all the energy you used to use to keep it down, to fight with it, to control the world so it didn’t hit it, is now liberated. You literally free that energy and it will start going up. And I’m telling you, it will go up, and you will start to feel these waves of love, of joy, of shakti, of chi flowing up inside of you, literally flowing up. It’s not a figurative statement. It is an upward rush, rushing through your being, and it lifts your heart.

It lifts your heart like when you fell in love—but there’s nobody there. It’s just something inside of you raising you, lifting you. You find yourself smiling all the time. Basically, your whole life changes. You will find that you get smarter than you used to be. You can remember things better. You can do more calculations in your head. You will find that you get inspired and have intuition, intuitive inspirations that happen. It’s just your whole life changes because all that energy you were using to fight with the negative stuff, to keep the negative stuff and then fight with everything about it is liberated to be able to come up. And when it starts coming up, your whole life changes. All the chakras open. All the beauty of what you think of is spirituality that you try to make happen, happens naturally.

Literally every single center of energy will open. You will feel it open, and you’ll feel how the energy flows through them, until eventually all of it just flows up and fills you with joy and love and ecstasy—while you’re working, while you’re doing anything. Just like—hey, you can be depressed while you’re working, can’t you? You can get down while you’re working, and you can be negative while you’re working. Why can’t you be positive while you’re working? Why can’t it be a beautiful, positive experience? 

This is what it means to walk the spiritual path. If meditation helps—and it does—meditate. If mantra helps—and it does—do mantra. If positive thinking helps—and it does—do positive thinking. Whatever technique, yoga, whatever it is, find things that work for you to help you work with yourself. But the important thing is, do you understand that you don’t want that stuff inside of you that you stored inside of you, and then try to compensate with it with the rest of your life?

You commit yourself every day to let go of a piece. Every day when you wake up in the morning, before you do your practices—you remember what I said? You sit there and say, “There’s going to be less of me when I go to bed tonight. I don’t know how much less, but there will be less. I am not putting more in. And if some comes up, I’m letting it go.” And every night when you go to bed, you check it out. Don’t worry about what you did. Don’t review everything and judge yourself. Just sit there and say that—“I let some of it go. Did I do my best letting some of this stuff go?” Then sleep well and get up and get another day. Every single day do that. And then you come back, and you tell me what happens.

Because I know people that meditate five hours a day, six hours a day for years and do not have the growth that takes place if you do this. You know what happens when you meditate? They say you did your practices. That’s why they’re called practice. They’re preparing you for the real work, which is letting go of yourself. Christ said what? “You must die to be reborn.” You will find that the essence of all spiritual teachings is what we just talked about. That’s what it means to die to be reborn. You are willing to let go of your personal self so that you can rise up and ascend to the beauty that’s inside of you. Work with these things. 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. 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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