Book: The Surrender Experiment

I’m writing today to heartily recommend a book called The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. He also wrote The Untethered Soul, which many of you are already familiar with. I’m sure I’ll be writing about that here in the future. Both are amazing, and they fit together like puzzle pieces. Today we’ll start with The Surrender Experiment, which is a bit of a memoir.

So this dude was a long-haired, flip flops-wearing hippie in Gainesville, FL in 1972, and he basically wanted to check out of society to meditate in solitude. He had been a star economics graduate student at the University of Florida, and he was sharp as a tack. He started to meditate, though, and he began to have some powerful experiences. So powerful that he quickly lost interest in pursuing his Ph.D. He was teaching a class or two a week, and it paid him all he needed, since he lived on a shoestring. He’d been able to purchase a few acres in the country north of Gainesville in Alachua, FL, and he was content to live out the rest of his life there, in solitude. And then an acquaintance showed up on his property one Sunday morning to meditate with him. Wha???

He noticed a little voice in his head get annoyed, thinking, “What are you doing here on my property? What part of “solitude” do you not understand??” He was a very smart guy, though, and he contemplated the situation. Who was he to say this was bad? Was he really qualified to judge? When he zoomed out and took a look, it sure seemed like the entire universe had conspired to bring him this gift, this person showing up at that spot at that moment to meditate with him. Who was he to say no? The more he thought about it, it seemed like it was him saying no and the rest of the universe saying yes. David versus Goliath seemed like an even match compared to that! So he decided to disregard that little voice and see the situation through, seeing where it lead. And you know what? It lead to forty years of Sunday spiritual services, open to all, helping thousands of people to experience more peace in their lives. Forty years. And he almost said no. Life clearly had other plans…

Of course he didn’t have the gift of forty years’ worth of hindsight at the time, but he started to catch on right away that life knows what it’s doing. He decided to always say yes to life, whether that little voice complained or not. Hence the name the surrender experiment. He was simply letting his life be an experiment in surrendering to the flow, and he would evaluate the results later. And each time, he was amazed at the pot of gold that was at the end of the rainbow. Sometimes he thought the initial occurrence was bad, but he remembered all the other times when he thought the same and it turned out so well. “This is a gift from the universe, so see it through,” he told himself. And again, each time he was amazed at the intelligence behind all things. He’d look back each and every time and he’d clearly see that life knows what it’s doing. Those “bad” things happened because they were needed to get him to bigger and better places than he had even imagined. Every time!

I’m risking being a spoiler now, but I want to make sure you have an idea of how ridiculous things got after forty years of experimenting with surrender, forty years of saying YES to life. That hippie that wanted to live in solitude ended up being the CEO of a multi-million dollar tech company that helped to pioneer the electronic medical record in the healthcare industry. And he didn’t even care about money!

This book is a study in surrender to an intelligence that’s WAY greater than yours and mine, and the tale it tells is absolutely comical. His conclusion was always that life knows what it’s doing. And the takeaway for you and me is that the same intelligence is working for us to have an awesome life right now. Right now. Regardless of who you are. Regardless of your current situation. Regardless of your past. Regardless of how you feel in this moment. Regardless of your background, your accomplishments, your seeming intelligence, your looks, your body, etc. It has a plan for you. Just get out of the driver’s seat and learn how to ride.

So give it a try. And don’t get mad at yourself when you listen to the little voice in the head and say no. Just notice it, keep doing your best, and note the results. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And trust me, I’m experimenting with the same exact thing! And to be honest, it’s super cool and getting more awesome all the time. With this as a reference point, we’ll be talking about specific things in my life and the lives of others that tell what happens when we say yes to see it through. So cool. And I have no idea what’s to come, but I really look forward to it. Because life knows what it’s doing.