As you probably already know if you've ever met me, or read my blog long enough (see here and here), reading The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer had a profound impact on me - and Repurpose Your Purpose would probably not exist without it.
So finally, after a few years of getting deeper and deeper into Mickey's work and my own practice, I took the leap and went to Florida to hear him speak at The Temple of the Universe. I stayed in Gainesville - 30 min. from Alachua - and attended his Sunday's service (which has been happening since 1975!) and his Monday night's talk.
I read (or listened to) The Surrender Experiment and read The Unthetered Soul many, many times during the past 3+ years. I find Mickey's style of writing and teaching to be really helpful in grasping some timeless concepts. The Truth is always the same, but isn't there a saying that every generation needs its own books? I think it's also true that each individual needs her own path to it, and Mickey's work resonates particularly well with me.
Why travel all the way across the country just to hear the writer of The Surrender Experiment speak - someone who has plenty of books, audio and video recordings available? I expected there would be something different about being in the same space with Michael Singer - something technology could never quite capture. What I experienced surpassed my expectations.
I read so many times in The Surrender Experiment about Mickey's Sunday Service - I was really looking forward to it! When I arrived there were maybe 30 people, and soon we were a group of 60 or 70. The energy was great, but comparable to any other gathering of sincere meditators. What really struck me was being in the presence of Michael Singer. I only once before met someone who clearly had crossed over another level of consciousness through meditation - and the similarities were uncanny.
Mickey had this quality of absolute joy - it reminded me of what Alan Watts said in his lectures - that if you do find God you cannot help but laugh. I felt as if Mickey Singer had seen the entire universe and found it delightful, funny, full of love, and was in a complete state of bliss - as if he had gotten the joke. Hearing his laughter made me want to really, really tune in, so I could join in the fun.
I grew up in a strong intellectual environment: the Italian public school system is very good - and I enjoyed years of philosophy in high school, along with Italian, Latin, French, English and German literature, scientific studies, and more. I went to college in California and learned a bunch more. I am very grateful for all that knowledge and it served me well. But it had one flaw - one that I see present in so much of Western thought, from academia to politics to psychology: the belief that pessimism, talking about problems, and feeling "down" are all hallmarks of people who know more and are smarter. This is simply not true. What I have been discovering instead is that when you actually get to what is real - what is beyond the mind - you would be crazy to feel down! And this is what I have observed while in the presence of those who "get it" - there is something beyond - and it is a place of unconditional love. Once you get a glimpse, and if you ever get to inhabit it consistently - you cannot help but feeling joy. What we consider sanity is absolute madness.
Reading The Surrender Experiment, I had imagined Alachua to be quite remote, but I had not fully grasped how isolated it is! Michael Singer's entire tale of creating The Temple of the Universe there and building a company from basically nothing, seemed to me even more fantastic now that I was actually there. A few people in town asked me what I was doing in Gainesville, and not one had heard of Mickey. I saw that it really doesn't matter where you are - if you connect with Spirit, if you put yourself in service of what's in front of you, if you truly commit to transformation - you will always be exactly where you are meant to be. Mickey is a human being just like you and me, except for one big difference: he committed to the practice. He started from where it was - as he encouraged us all to do during one of his lectures - and took on the practice of small, incremental, consistent steps of letting go.
One thing I always wondered reading The Surrender Experiment was how intentional he had been while building his business. In the book he always seemed to "go with the flow," and yet he had to make a ton of decisions, such as how much to price his products, how to hire people, etc. Did he really just let things happen? Had he been way more intentional, but failed to recognize it? I felt there was something escaping me from his narrative - and I was hoping to find the answer during my trip.
As "life's perfection unfolded" (to borrow one of his phrases), during his Monday night's talk someone asked a question that provided me with the answer I had traveled thousands of miles to get. Mickey shared that he worked 10-15 hours per day and had to make decisions for many people when he was running his company - but he never identified with his mind. Such a beautifully simple answer - and yet it takes a strong practice to achieve! I really got that there is a higher place from where we can operate so that our decisions do not come from a place of self consciousness, manipulation and ego, but from a place where we are at One with everything. Letting go of your personal self doesn't mean you stop making decisions - but who makes those decisions ceases to be the you you used to identify yourself with.
Here are some of my biggest take-aways from this trip - not new, but always good to remember:
- Intellectual knowledge - how much theory you know, how many facts you can recite - is nothing without real application in the world and understanding that comes from a deeper place within.
- Ram Dass wrote: "Do not get high, be high!" meaning, drugs will never get you where you want to be, only a true spiritual practice will. If you have ever been around someone high on drugs vs. someone who is "high" through spiritual mastery, you will immediately see the truth of Ram Dass's words. Don't look for outside substances to help you merge into the One. Start a meditation practice instead.
- Start now - wherever you are. You already have all you need.
- Technology is great - but when you can, seek in-person connections and experiences. You'll get much more from them that you can ever get from a video.
- Joy, Bliss, Love, these are Truth. The rest is just the rest.
If you want to find out more about Michael A. Singer's work, here are a few tips and resources. FYI, I am in no way affiliated with his work or organization and I get nothing whether you click on these links or not. I am simply sharing because I love his teachings ♥
- I recommend reading The Surrender Experiment first, and then The Unthetered Soul - I find the former helped me better understand the latter.
- If you are interested in spirituality, I highly recommend Singer's short book Three Essays on Universal Law - it contains one of the best explanations of Karma I have read. You can also find a list of books Singer's has been influenced by in the bibliography, including Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.
- Check out the video course.
- And here's the website for The Temple of the Universe.
Last, but not least, stop taking a bunch of courses, reading book after book, learning all different theories, and practice instead. Choose a few teachers and/or approaches to transformation and apply yourself to them. I cannot tell you how many times when I mention Michael A. Singer's work, people start telling me about all these other books or writers they read (and still feel stuck). Unless you do the work, it doesn't matter how many books you read. Got that? Now go!