Top positive review
Read it!!! Its enlightening, captivating and a life altering book!!!
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 2 December 2020
There is so much evidence that life does quite well on its own.
The planets stay in orbit, tiny seeds grow into giant trees, weather patterns have kept forests across the globe watered for millions of years, we are not doing any of these things as conscious acts of will; they are being done by the perfection of life itself.
All these amazing events, and countless more, are being carried out by forces of life that have been around for billions of years. This was so evident, especially during these Pandemic times, when the Nature has put the whole world on stand still.
So, can we trust our life to this same natural flow of events and let yourself be carried by life? These are some of the questions that this book compels us to ponder. Michael is of the opinion that nature knows best, and it functions well without much of interference from us. He wanted to apply the same logic and hence started his biggest Experiment of life, The Principle of Surrender.
Surrender - the word itself has negative connotation to many and it literally strikes terror in people’s heart when they hear this word. People translate it to mean as ‘loosing/giving up control of their lives’. And that is a terrifying feeling for many, as we are taught at an early age to be prepared for life - make your weekly goals, monthly goals and yearly goals. Can you imagine what it will do to Self Help Industry claiming to change your life in a day’s workshop, seminars and books based on 5/10 steps to change your life?? Yes...it would put an end to that thriving billion-dollar Self-help industry for sure.
So, should we then give up on life and ‘just settle’ for whatever life throws at us?? Hell no!!!
What if is there is another way? A way that feels right in your mind and soul. It is to the exploration of this intriguing question that this book is devoted.
Michael A Singer called this, The Surrender Experiment. This experiment would not be about dropping out of life; it would be about leaping into life to live in a place where we are no longer controlled by our personal fears and desires.
At the core of this book is the Principle of Surrender and what happens if you don’t let your preferences get in the way and Surrender to Life...What would that life like look like?
Ever since he awakened at 22, witnessed his thoughts and being the awareness behind this constant chatter, he wanted to rid himself of this incessant chatter that goes in our mind and took to meditation in Florida.
When he started this inward quest to rid himself of this negative voice, life changed dramatically for him. They say, “When the student is ready, the master appears” and he came across two books that played the role of a spiritual guru in his life. First book was, Three Pillars of Zen, by Philip Kapleau and second book that altered his life was, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda (eternal fav of every spiritual seeker during that era n even now).
These books satiated his thirst for learning in depth about meditation and all the real questions he had for quieting that incessant chattering voice and freeing himself from the hold of the mind.
One day, he went camping with his wife along with a few of his friends to Ocala National Forest for the weekend. But this trip wouldn’t turn out to be just another trip – this trip was destined to have a profound impact on Michael’s life. When he saw that place, he was overwhelmed by the beauty of that place and picked up a nice spot and just like Buddha, decided to meditate and not get up until he has reached enlightenment. He was just 22, when he had this life transforming experience.
He began sitting in a lotus position, concentrating on his breath and chanting on the sound of Mu.(Something he learnt from a book)
“I lost myself in the warm flowing force that tied my
exhalations to the warmth in my abdomen. The force
became much stronger as I concentrated more deeply.
Eventually, all consciousness of my body and my
surroundings was gone. I was only aware of the
effortless flow of warm energy that was building and
expanding at the core of my belly. I was not there;
only the flow was there”
After this intoxicating experience, Michael was left with stillness, awareness and at peace with himself and most importantly - there was no voice. He truly experienced the sound of silence in that moment. He was in this state for weeks and a moat of thick peace allowed nothing to reach the citadel of his elevated state.
Although he returned home after the trip, he couldn’t relate to the life he was coming back to. Remember, he was in a doctoral program, on full fellowship. Yet his heart was yearning to go back beyond and experience that stillness and elevated state he felt during that camping trip.
He wasn’t able to stay detached for long as his outer existence did catch up with him. After 2-3 weeks, the unassailable inner peace began to develop cracks and leak back into his sanctuary of silence, that he held so dearly.
Just when he was experiencing this internal struggles, his outer life mirrored the same changes. One day, Shelly (his wife) told him that it was time to move on. Although married for a year, the foundation of his personal life was built around this relationship. He was shattered to say the least. In one swell swoop, his “normal” way of being was gone. From Absolute peace he was pushed to absolute turmoil. From a married man with a definite career path, he started to envision himself as a meditator who was seeking deeper truth.
During this stage, his life was pretty simple - doing meditation, some yoga, and periodically going to class. He kept throwing himself into meditation more and more. It was not just a way of escaping the pain; meditation gave meaning to his life.
He was so intrigued by meditation, that he finally decided to drop out of his Doctorate studies and concentrated on meditation daily.
As he studied both his master’s degree and doctorate work under full scholarship, he had saved 15,000$ left by his father for his education. After his divorce, he was looking for a place to buy so he can concentrate on his meditation. A series of events led him to purchased a piece of land (a lot of 10 acres) in April Gift Estates with that same amount. He literally retreated into the woods, away from civilisation so he can start his inward quest by leading a monastic life.
He, along with his close friends built a small cottage on this land, so he can meditate. He also constructed a small Temple, by keeping all the deities, so people can come and meditate. Word spread around and people started coming to The Temple of the Universe to meditate and its still running to this date.
After seeing his well constructed humble cottage, made entirely of wood, he started getting more offers from his neighbourhood to build a similar house and that’s how he started his first business venture, Built from Heart. Michael had only 1 principle, say Yes to whatever life has thrown open to him and take up that task with reverence and give his all. As this venture started to thrive, his life changed for the better. Even though he didn't have any experience about construction, he started learning on the job and kept saying YES to life.
When you find your calling...you heart and soul just know it. There is this magnetic pull towards that activity/ product. You feel lit up inside and there is this child like curiosity to learn as much as you can about your calling, you become like a kid in a candy store. You also loose sense of time and that activity fills your soul in a beautiful way. It is this all consuming passion, that Michael felt when he first saw a Personal Computer in a store, nearby his home in 1970’s.
And it was love at first sight for him. He got one of those PCs and taught himself coding. And then he stared coding for small companies. During this time, he sold off his first venture to a friend and got into coding full time. Life didn’t stop there for Michael as better was in store for him.
"I simply sat at the computer and wrote down the
spontaneous stream of inspired thoughts in the
form of code. I wrote and wrote this in a fervor
and passion that was almost frightening.
Everything i did, i did to the absolute best of
my ability. I was probably writing the best program
i could as my gift to the universe. The flow of inspiration
was such that i was not allowed to cut a single corner."
Word spread around quickly and he started writing personalised coding for Fortune 500 companies too. From a one-man army, he now had a total of 1500 employees working for him. Whenever he needed a new employee, somehow the right kind of a person either came in contact with him or he was led towards them through his friends and colleagues...Serendipity is the word here.
Although Michael and his team had no formal training or experience in medical software design, they went on to create one of the best written programs.
"If you asked me how, i would tell you that my
experience with meditation had shown me that
there were 2 very distinct aspects of what we
call mind. There was the logical, thought-driven mind
that comes up with logical solutions. Then there was
the intuitive, inspiration-driven mind that can look
at a problem and instantly see a creative solution.
As it turned out, the years of spiritual work i had
done to quiet that voice in my head that opened
the door for almost constant inspiration. It seemed
the quieter the mind, the more that solutions
Apart from writing coding, he was also actively hosting Spiritual Retreats at his temple regularly and was religious with his daily meditations as well.
Michael created the Medical Manager, one of the first programs that helped medical practitioners to digitise their medical records. I guess Medical Manager was bound to become a massive success.
The fact that one of the most-respected New Age Spiritual teachers in the world, Ram Dass carried this software in Michael’s car, before this software was to be presented at Computer Dealers Exhibition in 1982, LA...kind of gave early signs of its success...like it was destined for greatness right from the start. In all honesty Ram Dass even asked Michael, “Is it any good?”
And far from being good...this software took the Tech world by storm. It was acquired by WebMD, a billion-dollar public company which focused on medical data management. Medical Manager is a recognised achievement archived in Smithsonian Institution, NYC.
When he started resisting less to life and surrendering more to life, things had a way of working out, whether it was getting near by patches of land or the right employee...things just worked out seamlessly.
Just when it looked like it can’t get any better than this, life had a wicked way of throwing a curve ball. That’s precisely what happened when FBI landed in their office premises on Sep 3, 2003 with a search warrant owing to some discrepancies in accounting, which is punishable act.
So, when this whole FBI Trial was going on...nearly 1.2 million e-mail messages, 1,500 boxes of files containing more than 3 million pages of documents, and 830,000 computer files were confiscated by FBI .... anyone can loose their mind. But not Michael. 40 years of practicing yoga, had instilled Michael to be in alignment with his mind, body and soul.
It’s very easy to be at peace when you are tucked away in a monastery, practising solitude. The real test is when you are in the midst of an intensely dark period and still retain that oasis of calmness, being centered and not let anything deter you from that peaceful center.
After 7 years of countless investigations and court room dramas, Michael and his team were allowed to walk free by dropping all the charges. Turns out, it was one of his employees, Bobby Davids who tied up with some dealers and presented discrepancies in accounting and falsely made accusations against Michael and Team. And just like that, Michael was free of all charges.
Even during this Trial period, Michael chose this time to become more centered and reconnect with the Divine Source even though his inner voice was wreaking havoc in his mind, he didn’t allow himself to surrender to that negative chatter. The fact that he wrote his 2 NYT Best Sellers, ‘The Untethered Soul’ and ‘The Surrender Experiment’ during this dark phase, speaks volumes about his spiritual strength.
There are times in our lives when a book, an article or a film comes at the right time. Call it a Divine intervention but that was how it was for me and this book.
At a time, when the whole World was under the grip of COVID 19 and so much of doom and gloom was being predicted by media...this book was a nice solace for me.
I came across Michael, some years back on Oprah’s Show. Somewhere at the back of my mind ...this book kept coming back to me ...I took this as a sign from the Universe and got this amazing book and I’m so glad I read this book.
Just like the beautiful cover page that is soothing to the eyes, this book was soothing to my soul as it has re kindled the stillness within me. A wave of contentment and peace washed over my soul while I was reading this book. This book will have a permanent place on my night stand along with my other soulful books.
From living a life of a hermit, surviving on a mere 250$ as guest lecturer to becoming VP of WebMD (renamed after acquisition). Throughout this amazing journey, Michael didn’t let go off his meditation, which he practices daily (to this day!) and held on to that oasis of stillness.
From leading a life in solitude, to leading a life with purpose and service, this is an extra ordinary journey of Michael, who surrendered to the flow of life events. And when you start living life in a new way, in alignment with your spirit and by listening to higher intelligence that’s always guiding you, you can unleash MAGIC in your life.
"Once you are ready to let go of yourself, life
becomes your friend, your teacher, your
secret lover. When life’s way becomes your
way, all the noise stops, and there is great peace" - Michael
Read this life altering book, so you can start surrendering to the flow of life events and participate in life’s dance with a quiet mind and an open heart.
Read it!!! Its enlightening, captivating and a life altering book!!!