The problem is, you have made a really big deal out of the moment in front of you throughout your life by bringing your personal preferences into that moment.
How to Coach Yourself Using These Wisdom Quotes:
Put aside everything you think you already know.
Open your mind and heart to receive something new.
Take your time going through each point.
Return to any points that particularly touch you.
In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.
*All quotes are by Michael Singer, Living Untethered
1. The Giant Inkblot Test
"Let’s take the example of a psychological Rorschach test, often referred to as an inkblot test. The psychologist holds up an inkblot and asks what you see. You immediately respond that you see people making love or, perhaps, mommy and daddy fighting. In other words, the Rorschach test stimulates the patterns you’ve stored inside your mind, causing you to see what’s not actually there.
The truth is the whole world is a giant Rorschach test. The world is a flow of atoms unfolding in front of you. It’s no more personal than the inkblots. But it’s hitting your samskaras, [stored mental impressions] and that stimulates stored mental and emotional reactions.
Now, instead of experiencing what is passing by outside, you are experiencing the likes, dislikes, beliefs, and judgments stored inside. These impressions are so strong that you actually think they are what is really out there, just like the inkblots.
The personal mind has taken over your entire life. You are no longer free to enjoy the experiences that are actually happening - you are forced to deal with what your mind says is happening.
That’s why life seems so scary and why it seems to always be hitting your weak spots. The truth is, life is not hitting your weak spots, you are projecting your weak spots onto life."
The world is full of people taking everything personally, believing that their version of what the inkblot means is correct.
We all have psychological imprints created by past experiences (samskaras) that we project onto life. This is why certain things trigger us.
Re-read the second to last paragraph. Notice when you take something impersonal and make it personal. Notice especially how much unnecessary suffering it causes.
There's what's happening and there's what the mind says is happening. Make it a point to discern the difference between the two.
2. Noticing You're Bothering Yourself
“We are perfectly willing to admit that what is going on in Timbuktu right now has nothing to do with us. Likewise, we have no problem admitting that the rings of Saturn, the big storm on Jupiter, and the sands of Mars have nothing to do with us.
In other words, more than 99.99999 percent of the universe has nothing to do with us, but somehow the .00001 percent does. Which .00001 percent does? The part that’s in front of you. Somehow, because you’re looking at it, it’s no longer part of the impersonal universe. It has become personal.
The problem is, you have made a really big deal out of the moment in front of you throughout your life by bringing your personal preferences into that moment. Notice that the billions of people who are not looking at the moment in front of you don’t have any problem with it. They couldn’t care less about it. It’s not stirring up their thoughts, and it’s not stirring up their emotions.
When you’re no longer experiencing that moment, it generally won’t be bothering you either. Instead, the moment you turn to next will be bothering you. “Why is she sitting there?” “Who’s she talking to?” “The lights are way too bright..” All of a sudden this new moment starts affecting you because you’re looking at it. The truth of the matter is, it existed exactly the same before you looked at it.
One of the most amazing things you will ever realize is that the moment in front of you is not bothering you - you are bothering yourself about the moment in front of you. It’s not personal - you are making it personal.”
It seems so normal to have preferences and to complain about our lives that we often don't give it a second thought. In fact, talking about how much we disagree with what's happening is a common way for us to connect with each other.
"The problem is, you have made a really big deal out of the moment in front of you throughout your life by bringing your personal preferences into that moment."
Can you imagine what life would be like without all your personal preferences? How much more open would you be to life's unfolding? And how much less suffering would you experience?
3. Notice You're at War With the World
"We use the tremendous intellectual power of the mind to conceptualize an outside world that will not bother us and will, in fact, make us feel good.
It seems perfectly logical. The problem is, what we think will make us feel good or bad is simply the result of blocked mental patterns from the past.
If we use our mind’s brilliance to develop thought patterns based on how everyone and everything needs to be for us to feel okay, we have limited our life to serving our samskaras [unreleased patterns from the past, also referred to as blocked energy].
And our personal thoughts don’t stop here. What good is it to analyze how you need things to be if you’re not also going to think about how to get them that way?
First we figure out the strategy of how to be okay, then we figure out the tactics of how to make it happen. Strategy and tactics - that’s military training. In essence, we are at war with the world."
Notice what demands you're putting on life.
Are you innocently using your brilliant mind to figure out how everyone and everything needs to be for you to feel okay?
Are you continually serving your blocked mental patterns from the past, allowing them to dictate what should and shouldn't happen?
Are you unconsciously at war with the world and fighting with life because you want things to be your way?
4. Relax and Release
"When you reach the state where you can observe what is going on in the mind and heart, you’ll notice that you’re not always comfortable with what’s happening inside. What is more, there is a tendency to want to willfully do something about it. That’s very natural.
If you want to willfully do something, here’s what to do - relax. This is certainly not the intuitive thing to do. You want to protect yourself from the inner disturbance by getting rid of it. That struggle makes it worse.
You are capable of simply relaxing and not engaging with the disturbed energies. At first this seems impossible because you’re trying to get the disturbance itself to relax. Don’t do that; You relax.
You who notices the disturbance are not the disturbance. You are witnessing the disturbance, and you are welcome to relax in the face of it.
You are in the seat of awareness, way back inside, watching the dance of mind and heart. It’s a very natural place, this place back inside. If you don’t get pulled into the thoughts and emotions, you can just relax and notice. Don’t think about it.
The moment you see what’s going on - just relax. Relax your shoulders, relax your tummy, relax your buttocks, and most importantly, relax your heart. Even if the heart itself won’t relax, the area around your heart will. You have willpower in there, use it.
Here’s what you do with your will: relax and release. First relax through your initial resistance, then release the disturbed energy that comes up."
First relax, then lean away. You who notices are at a distance from what you are noticing. You don’t have to think about it. Just notice that what you are seeing in there, thoughts and emotions, are all distinct and at a distance from you. Now, lean away from their noise.
The mind and emotions make noise. That is not a problem. Just relax and lean away from the noise. When you lean away from the noise, you are creating distance between You (the consciousness) and the objects of consciousness (the thoughts and emotions)."
We are all very familiar with the noise of the mind and emotions, but Michael Singer tells us that it's not a problem. You're only making it a problem if you identify with it.
You are the one who notices the disturbed energies. You are not the disturbance itself. Realizing this is huge! It creates a space between you and your thoughts, you and your feelings. This is an extremely empowering position to take and one that changes everything.
It is from this position of awareness that you can relax and release.
5. Work With Low-Hanging Fruit
"The best way to let go of stored pockets of pain is to practice. You start with simple things. We call these the low-hanging fruit. Start with the small things to prove to yourself that you are capable of doing this.
Once you are able to relax and release through the relatively easy stuff, you will find you are better able to deal with the bigger situations. You are training yourself to deal with yourself.
Lots of different experiences in life fall into the low-hanging fruit category. A good practice for letting go can be found in your relationship with the weather. Believe it or not, you can use the weather for tremendous spiritual growth.
There’s always weather out there: hot, cold, windy, dry, humid, and everything in between. The weather has nothing to do with you. It has to do with the forces that are causing it to be the way it is. If you can’t handle the weather without getting disturbed, how are you going to handle anything else? What do you gain by complaining about the weather? Nothing, except to get upset.
For example, when the mind starts up with, "It's hot; I'm so hot..." Ultimately, what you need to do is relax and release past the disturbance. If you bother to relax and release, you won’t be so hot. After all, You in there can’t get hot - you can only experience that the body is hot. You are way back inside, witnessing the experience of heat.
If you relax and release back into your seat of consciousness, you are relaxing away from the part of you that’s complaining. There’s definitely complaining going on in the mind, no reason to deny that. But if you relax and lean away from where the noise is coming from, you will be leaning back into the seat of Self.
Two things happen when you relax and release. One, you stop fighting with the causes of your disturbed mind, and that gives them room to release. Two, you are actually relaxing back into the seat of Self, and you will grow spiritually.
If you will do that with the weather, if you will do that with the car in front of you, if you will do that with all these low-hanging fruit situations, you’ll grow every single day."
Here we see a simple way to grow spiritually every day: relaxing and releasing with low-hanging fruit. In other words, practicing creating a distance between our true selves and the part of us that is bothered by little things.
"Believe it or not, you can use the weather for tremendous spiritual growth." This is a very encouraging statement because all of us experience weather on a daily basis. And do you ever feel bothered by other drivers? Again, so many opportunities to take your place in the seat of consciousness and become aware of those complaining thoughts and upset emotions.
Today, keep an eye out for low-hanging fruit situations and use them to your advantage.
6. Create a Beautiful Place to Live
"If you work on yourself, you’re going to create a beautiful place inside to live. This is more important than your marriage or your family. It’s more important than your job or your career.
If you create a beautiful inner environment, you can have a wonderful marriage, a wonderful family life, and a wonderful job. But if you have a mess inside, you’ll just be trying to use these outer situations to make yourself okay."
"If you work on yourself, you're going to create a beautiful place inside to live." How do you work on yourself? How do you create a beautiful place inside to live? By relaxing and releasing every time you sense your disturbed energies.
Whenever you notice yourself becoming bothered simply relax back into the seat of awareness. Your inner environment can transform very quickly when you stop fighting with life and trying to control it. Then, from this place of deep presence, the flow can be released to make all areas of your life more beautiful.