By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on April 4 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment... Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.”
Whatever it is that you want, you can have it.
Maybe you desire more money. Maybe you long for a new relationship, or perhaps a trip around the world. Or maybe you want to experience really great health in your body.
Whatever it is, it can be yours if you remember this: The only author of your experience is you.
Do you read those words and feel skeptical? Are there circumstances in your immediate world that appear to be beyond your control? I invite you to pause for a moment and take a really good look at your life. Look at everything – your relationships, career path, the bills piling up and the checks coming in, how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Can you make a connection between your choices and all of these things?
Whether you perceive them to be negative or positive, each one can be traced back to a decision you made at one point or another in your life.
Your Life Reflects Your Commitments
Before you can manifest something new in your life, you must first own the fact that you – and you alone – are completely responsible for everything you experience. Everything.
On some level, you created the reality in which you currently live. All the wonderful, joyful moments you experience – you created those. And all the challenging, dark moments – you created those, too.
Sometimes we can’t imagine that this is true. We read something like the above statements and say, “How could I be responsible for the injury I sustained in the car accident I was in last year? The crash wasn’t even my fault!”
The truth is, everything that shows up in our life is a message reflecting back to us what we are committed to. If the reflection we get is something we don’t actually want, it is often a reflection of an unconscious commitment.
For example, while it might be true that someone else was literally responsible for the car crash because they ran a red light or were texting while driving, your involvement in that crash is another story.
You might, have an unconscious commitment to feeling unsafe or physically vulnerable in your life because, as a child, it was only when you were injured that you received love.
Or you might be unconsciously committed to carrying the energy of victimhood for someone in your familial lineage because when you were little you wanted to rescue them from their own suffering.
Or perhaps you really wanted to get out of an upcoming business trip, and you knew that you would jeopardize your job if you told your boss you didn’t want to go. In this case, your unconscious commitment would be to going against your truth in exchange for the perception of security.
Those are the kinds of commitments behind the accidents, illnesses and injuries we attract into our lives. By keeping them unconscious, we shape our worlds in ways we don’t want.
Discovering what you are committed to and why is important for creating the life that you most desire. Often people benefit from the guidance of a skilled coach or therapist to help them identify and dissolve their unconscious commitments.
Yet it’s most important to remember that even when things feel completely beyond your control, you still have the ability to choose how you will respond, and this will dictate what happens next.
Commit to Purposeful Thinking
Where your attention goes, so the energy flows.
We’ve talked about unconscious commitments. What about the conscious ones? If you look at the places in your life where you experience success, you will likely see that you are committed to those places. You pour generous love, attention and thought into everything that is thriving in your life, yes?
Life becomes really fun when you realize that you are here to creatively express yourself in the world. You do it every single day on a profound level, whether you realize it or not, through the quality of your thoughts.
Purposeful thinking is so important. All over the world and for thousands of years, spiritual teachers and mystical figures have taught seekers the importance of thought. They say this: Creation happens when our thoughts and feelings come together as one cohesive force.
James Allen was a British philosopher who lived and wrote in the 20th century. In 1902 he wrote one of my favorite literary essays, called As a Man Thinketh in which he states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
He goes on to say, “Act is the blossom of thought. In joy and suffering are it’s fruits. Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought, he creates weapons by which he destroys himself. By the right choice and true application of thought, men are sensed to divine perfection. Man is a growth of law and not a creation by artifice.”
(I highly suggest you read this essay – it is only 30 pages and you can purchase it here
I say it all the time, but it’s worth repeating: The way we think influences the way we choose; the way we choose influences our lives. When we surrender our destructive thoughts and allow them to drift off, we are surrendering to a more peaceful, creative life.
Surrendering our addiction to negative thinking can be difficult, and even require some support from a therapist, coach or spiritual guide. Focused mediation is very helpful, as is curating the kinds of media we allow into our awareness. Getting into nature as much as possible and bringing mindfulness into daily activities, such as eating and grooming ourselves, can work wonders when it comes to shifting from habitual worry and negative mental chatter to purposeful thinking.
A very simple technique for shifting out of negative thought into purposeful thinking is consciously entering into gratitude. You cannot generate negative thoughts while you are feeling grateful. As well, remembering all that you are grateful for will shift you into your heart, which is essential for creating what you really desire.
Take five minutes every morning before you begin your day to think of what you are grateful for and then visualize what you really want to create that day, that month, that year. Then surrender it all to the Universe,
The Difference between Passivity and Surrender
Many people confuse the difference between being passive and actively surrendering. Passivity is a choice – it is a choice not to choose. Surrender is a way to disconnect with Ego and move into the flow of life.
Surrendering to your own desire and releasing it into the Universe means taking a step back and allowing the Universe to meet you half way. It is always possible to do this, in every moment.
Surrendering looks like taking a deep breath and relaxing into the Eternal Now of the moment. It is accepting that we are participating in a co-creation with life. Allowing ourselves to surrender like this is one of the greatest manifestation tools on this planet.
On the contrary, passivity is action (or inaction), characterized by frozen desires that have not had the chance to be heard, acknowledged and expressed.
Why do we go passive? For most of us, passivity is a fear response. We fear something and become passive about it rather than make a clear choice to surrender.
Hunt for the Hidden Gold in Your Fear
In surrender, we are often inspired to action. In other words, if you are feeling fear and you choose to surrender, there’s a good chance you will discover a hidden desire resting below that fear. Contrary to what we’re taught, fear is not something to avoid, but rather something to fully experience and allow.
There is always a lesson to be learned in our fear. So, ask yourself, what if fear is actually pointing the way?
As long as you’re not standing directly before a real threat – such as a starving lion licking his chops – the question is, “What is the real fear in this moment? And what do I perhaps need to let go of? What is the limitation that creates the confusion I need to release?”
You may uncover thoughts like, “I can’t.” “It’s not possible.” “I can’t afford it.” Or, “I will disappoint others.”
Today, look for areas in your life where you are passive. Beneath the passivity, there’s a good chance you’ll find fear. Under the fear, you’ll likely find a great desire – and when you identify and surrender to the desire, the Universe has the space to meet you half way and bring the life you most desire into reality. Remember, when you say “Yes” to life, life is able to say “Yes” right back.