My favorite spiritual book of the past five years is Mickey Singer’s The Surrender Experiment. The book is about the decision Singer made in his 20s to surrender to the flow of life, by which he means accepting what life/God/The Universe/The Tao brings us rather than fighting for what we want or resisting what we don’t want. If this sounds confusing, here’s an example from the book on how this manifested.
One summer Mickey went away for a month to a spiritual center in California. He returned home to his Florida land to find that a female friend of his had begun building a home on his property. No joke.
Abiding a squatter led Mickey to his lifetime love
Every fiber of Mickey’s being wanted to scream at her and kick her off his property. But he had resolved to ignore his preferences and flow with what life put before him, so he didn’t say a thing. Not a word. In fact, he helped her finish the house!
The postscript is that not long after, this woman’s friend came to live with her, a woman named Donna who would soon become Mickey’s wife, the love of his life and mother of their daughter. All because Mickey ignored his preferences.
It’s just one day
Mickey’s surrender experiment has endured for fifty years. Admittedly, asking you to join me in committing to surrender to life for the rest of our lives would be a pretty huge ask.
But how about for just one day? Just as an experiment to see what it’s like? I’m going to do it today.
As for you, let’s start the deal with this. If you’re interested and you’re reading this piece before 12 noon your time, devote the rest of the day to surrendering. If reading after noon, begin your surrender experiment the next morning.
The experiment particulars
Now, for the all-important particulars. Let’s get more specific on what this experiment looks like. The best way to do that is by providing examples.
-Your boss asks you to work the weekend. Don’t say no. Or make up an excuse why you can’t. Surrender.
-Your spouse/significant other suggests a restaurant they really want to go to but that you aren’t enthusiastic about. Surrender.
-Your kid barges into your office while you’re working and begs you to take them to the store to get art supplies for their school project. Surrender.
If this sounds preposterous or unthinkable to you, remember that we’re only doing this for a day. And to reiterate, what we’re doing is flowing with life rather than fighting it/resisting it. Think of yourself as like a leaf on a river, flowing with the current, downriver.
We also need to stipulate what our experiment doesn’t entail. If you’re walking down the street with your kid and somebody tries to snatch them, fight like hell to protect your kid. And if, in the third example, you’re working on something urgent that your boss needs in thirty minutes, don’t go on the art supplies expedition.
It may have occurred to some of you that what we’re doing here, if only for a day, is monumental. It is nothing less than putting into practice the foundation of most spiritual traditions: Not allowing our desires to guide us. “I want this. I don’t want that.” is how most of humanity lives every day.
Join me. Let’s see what it’s like to fully surrender to the universe for just one day.
Please let me know in the comments how it goes for you. Thanks!