In my last post I described how we get upset when a motorist ‘beeps’ at us if we are slow to get moving when the light turns green. Such a trivial event has the ability to disturb our equanimity. What about more ‘serious’ events like your messy divorce proceeding, business reverses or career setbacks? I am going to speak about an important step you can take to ‘let go’ of the inner disturbance that life produces so, so often. Wanting to ‘let it go’ is not the same thing as being able to do so. I will say more about this in a future post. So here is something that can help you. Step 1: Examine your life as it is right now and make a list of all the things that disturb you with some predictability. For example: you may are bothered by your daughter refusing to take college seriously and hanging out with a boyfriend you think unsuitable; or you get angry/depressed at how things are at work and feel your career has been derailed; or you have concerns about your relationship with your spouse and wonder if you should stay in your marriage; or whatever.

Alan Gassman, a prominent Florida attorney, took my capstone program Creativity and Personal Mastery a few years ago. Shortly thereafter he invited me to Tampa to meet some of his clients. He gave me a bunch of books that had an impact on him and among them was an inconspicuous paperback with a light blue cover. It was called ‘The Untethered Soul’ and was by someone called Michael Singer. I gave many talks during that visit and an affable gentleman, who had asked some really good questions, came up to me afterward and asked me if I had read a book called ‘The Untethered Soul’. I assured him that I had not. I came back to New York and discovered that I had two copies of ‘The Untethered Soul’ on my bookshelves. I buy lots of books and my wife is convinced that Amazon’s share price run-up is entirely due to my activity. Somehow, somewhere, something had made enough of an impression on me that I actually ordered the book. Twice. I can recognize when the Universe is nudging me. I read the book. It instantly made it to the ‘life-changing books’ section of my syllabus. I have since recommended it to many. Andre Vogtlin, an executive recruiter based in Basel who is also an alumnus of my program, called it ‘spiritual TNT’.  I concur. ‘The Untethered Soul’ is not a book to read. It is something that you have to let seep into you so that it permeates your entire being. When and if you do, a transformation will occur that cannot be described. It can only be experienced. Two weeks ago I got on a plane to Gainesville, Florida. I just had to meet Michael Singer. Mickey, as he prefers to be called, had graciously agreed to a private meeting. Afterward he took me in his car to show me around the Temple property and we talked about many things and he acquiesced to remaining in touch. He has a way of driving home the ridiculous predicaments we are all stuck in and the ridiculously easy way to get ourselves unstuck. The paradox is that it is both supremely easy and exceptionally difficult at the same time. Here is one of the game changers he threw out in his talk at the temple on the Sunday I visited. You are driving and stopped at a red light when your smart phone vibrates. You take a quick glance at it and your brain registers that it is a message you have to respond to. Even as you do this there is beep from the car behind you. The light has changed. You shake your head and move on. “Geez,” you think. “What’s with that guy? Where the hell does he think he’s going and who the hell does he think he is? People are so impatient these days.” When he pulls up beside you at the next light you glare at him. He studiously avoids looking at you. That beep bothered you. It threw you off your stride. It colored your day and made it a little worse. It’s just a trivial beep. If you let that upset you, what will happen when you have to deal with your ex-husband or your contentious son or your irritated boss? No wonder we are all stressed out and desperately seeking to meditate or be mindful or practice Yoga as a way to hold it all together. There is an astonishingly simple way out. There is a brief moment, when you hear the beep when you can decide “Am I going to let this disturb me?” You can decide that you will not let it disturb you and relax into the entity that hears the beep and watches you decide to let it go. You can also decide not to let your irritated boss or your contentious son or your ex-husband disturb you. This does not mean that you don’t do what you have to. It does mean that you do it from the knowledge that you are doing what you can in the best way that you can and you are at peace with the outcome, whatever it may be. It does not disturb your equanimity because you have decided that it will not. It really is that simple. It is ridiculously easy. It is unbelievably hard. There is one thing you can do, starting right away, that will help you practice letting go. I will tell you what it is in my next post. If you are impatient and cannot wait, send an email to my trusty right hand person – Janelle Light – at Janelle.Light@theraoinstitute.com with the subject “I am impatient – please send it to me right away”. Peace!

I made a bunch of phone calls this week but reached few of the persons I wanted to. Companies are slowing down and executives are more concerned with holiday plans than business. My wife is in California visiting our daughter and I am holding the fort in New York looking after my mother-in-law who is the most good-natured and undemanding elder relative you can hope to find. And I am also taking stock and acknowledging the many blessings in my life. And I am remembering my friend. We had known each other for more than three decades and met socially many times in the early days. Then he moved west and I moved east so geography intervened. I used to joke that New York was close to the largest toxic dump in the world – a dump called New Jersey. As a new resident of that state he did not agree.
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