I’ve found Mickey Singer’s teachings to be the most eloquent, relatable, resonant and, most important, helpful, of ANY of the myriad spiritual teachers I have explored. Here are four quotes of his that, if you incorporate them into your life, will provide all you need for your spiritual journey.
1. “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind — you are the one who hears it.”
This one lies at the heart of many spiritual traditions and teachings. One way or another, this concept sits at the foundation of Buddhism, Hinduism, Eckhart Tolle’s teachings and many others. If you get this, you’re halfway toward the pot of gold at the end of the spiritual rainbow. If you don’t get it, life will remain hard.
Why? Because that “voice of the mind” Mickey refers to is the self-critical, conditioned, egoic self that torments most of humanity…And it isn’t who we are.
Who we are, as Mickey says, is “the one who hears” this voice. Once we begin identifying as this conscious “hearer” of our mind/voice, the spiritual journey picks up steam and we’re on our way.
2. “Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.”
This one is related to the quote above. How? Because once we start identifying as our conscious self we create space between it and our crazy, egoic self.
We then spend the bulk of our sadhana (spiritual practice) on simply observing that egoic, thought-factory mind, both in meditation and in daily life. Over time, this simple observing results in the weakening and eventual dissolving of our egoic selves, aka, our baggage.
This “letting go of yourself” (baggage) clears away the very obstacles preventing you from being close to others. Why? Because there is literally less “you” to get in the way of that closeness. Less you that feels superior/inferior, vulnerable to criticism, insecure, etc., all of which serve to sabotage our ability to get close with others.
The conscious you, which has been lurking all along beneath the baggage crowding it out, then moves into that space. And the conscious you knows how to be close. It loves being close with people. Why? Because the conscious you is love itself.
3. “You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience.”
This one is all about perspective and I love it. Mickey refers often to the fact that we live on a tiny rock twirling around in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
I actually wrote a piece about this last year that focused on the photo below. The photo was taken from Voyager 1 at a distance of 3.7 billion miles (somewhere near Pluto), making it far and away the most distant image of Earth ever taken. Can you see Earth? It’s the tiny dot about halfway down and to the right, in the middle of the brown vertical band (the bands are the result of sunlight reflecting off the camera).
Why are Mickey’s quote and this photo relevant? Well, next time you get bent out of shape that someone at work undercut you, or your car bumper got dinged up in the grocery store parking lot, or your husband forgot your anniversary, try to remember that you’re floating in an incomprehensibly vast universe comprised of 99.99999999999999999999999% empty space. Then consider Mickey’s advice that you may as well be happy and enjoy the experience!
4. “If you are resisting something, you are feeding it. Any energy you fight, you are feeding. If you are pushing something away, you are inviting it to stay.”
So much of our lives are spent resisting the reality of the moments of our lives. And as Mickey says, when we resist, we feed what we’re resisting.
It’s worth pointing out that it makes sense that we resist. If you don’t like something, push it away, right?
But the universe doesn’t work that way. The universe (or God or Jesus or Allah or the Supreme Creator or whoever you think is the head cosmic honcho) wants us to experience the moments put in front of us as they are. That doesn’t mean we have to like every moment of our existence. It just means that, at the very least, we need to accept those moments and not resist them.
My favorite analogy that illuminates this is that of the dark cloud. When we’re experiencing a challenge in life, think of it as a dark cloud raining down on us. When we fight with or push away that problem, we feed that dark cloud and it sits over our heads, making us miserable. But if we merely look up at that cloud, notice it and accept that it’s there, it moves…and slowly but surely, passes through the sky and disappears.
Of all the tremendous benefits I’ve reaped from traveling the spiritual path these many years, this concept of nonresistance might be the most valuable of all. Why? Because when we learn to not resist the moments that challenge us, an enormous burden falls away and we feel lighter, calmer and more at peace.