The Union Path Podcast
"Daring to Stop"
Have you tried stopping? Have you tried allowing? Have you tried letting go of the rope, letting go of your own resistance to what is, letting go of your own need to control, your need to force, you need to make things a certain way? Have you actually tried stopping? Have you dared to stop? Have you found the courage and the confidence and the willingness to stop, to let go, to let things be as they are, to allow yourself to be as you are? Is this something you've actually tried? Is this a skill you possess? Is this something you're good at? Or is this an aspect of your life that's been allowed to atrophy, that's been allowed to wither from lack of use? And I ask these questions, these honest questions is stopping, quitting, letting go, surrender is valuable, but its value is so often overlooked when we get obsessed, when we get overly focused on our own effort, on our own action, on our own activity, on what we're doing, on what we're making happen. And it's so easy to lose the thread, to lose the perspective, to lose the grounding in what is. And it's easy to do this, at least in my opinion, because when we're trying to force, when we're trying to control, when we're trying to make things happen. That's us getting overly involved, overly invested, overly focused on our own thinking and thus overlooking our own feeling, overlooking our own awareness, overlooking what we really know, because we're so caught up in just doing, doing, doing, doing this is so easy to do that oftentimes doing too much is a compensation for our own anxiety, for our own discomfort. It's kind of like the idea of being on a road trip somewhere and being satisfied that we're making really good time, even though we don't actually know where we're going. That in times of discomfort, that in times of confusion, action, doing something, can be soothing but also can be very distracting. And it's important for us to be able to be aware of the difference, to be aware of how much of ourselves is actually being expressed, is actually invested in our own action, and how much is our own action simply a reflection of our own anxiety, our own confusion, our own discomfort. Because confidence, security, knowing if in practice can be a little bit paradoxical can be one of those things. Like you hear that banks only lend money to people that already have it or to whom that has is given these ideas that things are given to people or people achieve certain results because they already are, whatever they're trying to achieve. There is an element of truth to this that I think. There's a lot of truth imbued in this idea that in our life, we tend to experience, we tend to achieve, we tend to accumulate what we are. That's consciousness, that's our consciousness reflected back to us in our own life, that we tend to experience what we are, I am, that I am, my experience is a direct reflection of who I am, of who I'm being, is a direct reflection of who I actually am, how I actually feel, what I actually am on the inside.
Because, especially in our American culture, it can be easy, it can be obvious, it can be the well-worn path to get overly cut up in our own productivity, in our own accomplishment, in our own achievement, in our own ability to get things done, our own ability to stack up activity and feel like these are the metrics of a successful life. That life is a quantity game and we live the best life by doing as much as we possibly can. And that might actually be true. But it's not quite as useful of a yardstick as we think it is Because, of course, like any experience, life is a qualitative game. Looking back, it isn't so much what we did, but how that experience was for us while we were doing it. What our life is actually like for us to experience on a moment-by-moment basis, added up in the aggregate over time, is our experience of our life.
And again, it's really easy, it's almost automatic oftentimes for us to get caught up in our own thinking Because it's so right in front of us, it's so accessible. Oftentimes it's so loud that our inner commentary can be so noisy that it crowds everything else out. It drowns everything else out. But to our overall being anyway, our thinking, our constant rumination, the constant inner commentary that we have going on can be a bit of an unreliable narrator, at the very least can be a very vocal minority of our entire being. Just because it's the loudest doesn't mean it's right. Just because it's the most insistent doesn't mean that it should always be followed.
That's so much, for thinking can be so magnanimous, can be so absolute that we have to do this because if we don't, something bad will absolutely happen, that we better not do that because if we do, then something bad will absolutely happen. But the truth is we don't actually know. We don't actually know for sure. Of course we have discernment and we shouldn't do things that we know are foolish or irresponsible. But if we're only following our own thinking, if we're only following our own thinking about what is and what we should do, then we're missing out On a vital part of ourselves. I'd make the argument we're missing out on the larger part of ourselves because we're only involved in our thinking and we're not really involved in our own feeling.
Because, especially over a longer period of time, inspired action is always superior to frenzied action, that we tend to receive the energy that we put into what we do. And if we're acting out of anxiety, if we're acting out of fear, if we're acting out of a lack of confidence, a lack of knowing, then that's what we tend to get back. Even if we achieve what we set out to, it's not really durable, it doesn't really feel like it's really ours, it feels like it has to be aggressively protected Because, again, we've gotten out in front of our own awareness, of our own knowing, of our own consciousness. We're trying to do things before we actually are things.
This is one of the areas where life can get really confusing and really frustrating is that it's a completely different consciousness to bring something into our life, to manifest something in our life than it is to actually hold it, to actually be with it, to actually be one with it, to have that experience be one of a natural fit, to really feel like ours, to really possess something and have it be ours. We have to be it, and if we're doing things, if we're manifesting things, before we've reached this step, that's going to be a really rough ride. That's going to be really difficult to guard and protect and attempt to sequester away what we've brought in, because we're fighting our own consciousness, our own knowing that our lack of confidence, our anxiety is betraying our own lack of being. This isn't something where we need to go to war with ourselves. This isn't something where now we have something else to control. We need to make ourselves be this or that.
It's really more a process of allowing ourselves to be what we are and, if there's growth required, allowing ourselves to grow, of bringing our action into alignment, bringing it back in sync with our awareness. And oftentimes the best way to do this, when we've gotten a bit over our skis of where we're doing too much, of where we're just venting our own anxiety through our own frantic behavior, is to stop, is to let go, is to surrender, because that in and of itself can bring ourselves back into sync, that that can allow us to reorient and reattune our action with our own inspiration, with our own knowing of where our action is inspired, because it's coming out of a deeper part of us. It's coming out of a more complete part of us and thus it's a more complete expression. It's not just based on our own thinking. It's more than that, it's deeper than that, it's more real than that, it's more authentic than that. But this is really hard.
So much in our culture, so much in so many of our upbringing was devoted to achievement, was devoted to doing, and a lot of us had the experience as children and young adults that if we were ever caught in not doing, then we were irresponsible, we weren't earning what we're trying to achieve through our own effort. That's another idea I think all of us need to question. Is what we achieve, what we bring into our life? Is it as merit-based as we think it is? Is that how all of this works, that only those who deserve what they get receive it? Like we can look around and acknowledge this is demonstrably false, and it's not that merit doesn't matter, but it's very easy to overvalue, because, especially when creativity is involved, especially when manifestation is involved, especially when growth and change are involved, the processes of life, oftentimes, a lot of times to me anyway, that seems to be more predicated and based on grace or something close to it.
This is where I think people who believe in a random world that there is no higher power, there is nothing else going on, this is all just random chaos of atoms banging into each other and come what may. This perspective does kind of have a point because, to the logical mind anyway, things definitely happen that are very and highly illogical. We can put in thousands of hours of effort towards something and have it all just come to not not really amount to anything, not be anything other than time spent in effort, with nothing really to show for it other than the time spent. We've also all had the experience of things coming to us without any effort, seemingly spontaneously and randomly, or we didn't work 10,000 hours at something, it just happened this walking along one day in poof, like a wish granted. But in my opinion anyway, how this starts to make sense, that we can see a bit of a framework going on, we can really understand how some of this really works is below the level of logic and more into the level of consciousness.
In being that, especially over a longer time period, we tend to experience who and what we really are, that our life is a reflection of our own consciousness. Because I think we've observed people that we know that just seem to struggle and no matter what they do, they can be really good people with really big hearts and everything is in the right place, but they just seem to walk around with a never-ending cloud above their head that nothing really ever seems to go right. But if it does, it'll be so short-lived that that other shoe always drops and their triumph turns a bit tragic. And we've also witnessed the person that lives the opposite life that just seems to be kind of charmed, that doesn't really seem to have to work for that much, doesn't really seem to worry that much or be stressed that much. Things for them just happen. We just kind of bop along through their life and everything just kind of works out.
And of course it's way more complicated than this. No one knows really for sure what anyone else's experience of anything is, especially something as big as a life. I think we can all see that as a ring of truth to this, that achievement, that possessing, isn't all based on merit, isn't all based on effort. In fact, it almost seems like that's a bit of an attribution error, that that's something that perhaps correlates but doesn't actually cause. There's more going on. There's more to the story, which often is what leads us down to the spiritual path, to begin with, of wanting to know the truth, wanting to know what's going on, of wanting to really bring some intention to our own life, really wanting to understand, wanting to know the truth of what's actually going on here. What is this life really? Who are we really? Why are we here really? And, of course, it's up to us to decide whatever meaning we choose to, to land on a truth that feels true for us and then go forward with that knowing.
As much as we'd like to be able to absorb this from someone else, as much as we'd like someone else to just tell us the answer, we have to work out the problem. We have to find the answers for ourselves. We have to craft and design and live our own life. No one else can do it for us. No one else can really tell us how to do it completely.
We're the ones who have to decide. We're the ones that have to choose what we do and what we don't do, and this is our freedom. This is the beauty of our own free will that is always present and undergirding our life, supporting our life. We always get to choose In everything we do, in every moment. We're constantly making choices and we are the one who chooses. We are the one with ultimate authority, with ultimate say, with ultimate responsibility for our own life, and that can feel like a heavy burden at times, but it's also the most liberating of all possibilities. That, if we can accept that no one is coming to save us but at the same time, we actually have full ability, we have all the tools, we have all the resources to save ourselves. That's an extremely liberating thing to know. That's how the truth sets us free, because that is the truth.
We all have the ability to liberate ourselves by acknowledging that our life is made and built and lived through our own choices, our own agency, and not only that. We get to choose what we value. We get to choose what we pursue. We get to choose the place and the perspective and the value system that our choices are made from. That's we are the ones charting the course of our own life. We're the ones drawing our own maps, designing our own paths, choosing which way to go, what to do and what not to do.
And once we've realized this, once we fully acknowledge and accept this, once we fully know this, then we have to realize that, because it's in our agency to choose what we do or don't do, it's also in our agency to choose how we use our effort or don't. That. Our effort is ours. We can choose to lay it down and we can choose to pick it up again. We can choose to do or not do. And in my opinion, in my experience, that the best effort is inspired effort, the best effort is effort aligned with my full self, with who and what I really am Thinking and feeling, converging into knowing A life lived consciously, a life lived with purpose, on purpose, a life lived for a reason and of course we all get to choose, whatever our reasons are. But our life is made much better, at the very least our life is made much less confusing, when we've chosen our reasons, when we know what we want, when we know what matters to us, when we know what we want to go and then set forth with that knowing.
And if we've gotten out of sync with our knowing, we've gotten too caught up in our thinking. Well, that's a beautiful and wonderful opportunity to stop. To stop with intention, to stop on purpose. That's what surrender is. That's where its value lies. It isn't stopping out of defeat, stopping because we've been crushed by something else. It's stopping from a far more empowered place. Again, that sounds like another paradox, like a lot of us think about stopping, about quitting, about letting go, about surrendering from a place of weakness, when conscious stopping is actually from a place of confidence, from a place of power. Because if we were truly confident in a situation we wouldn't do what we don't have to do, we wouldn't be frantically trying everything we can possibly think of, hoping, wishing something to just please finally work. We would act far more intentionally, our action would be integrated and imbued with knowing, with confidence that a lot of times, stopping can be a demonstration of our confidence, of our faith, of our knowing.
So if we've got too caught up in our thinking, we've let anxiety run rough shot over our life. We've gotten too invested in expressing our own insecurity, our own fear. One of the ways we can reclaim our action is to pull all of this back. It's a side to stop Even for a moment, even for an hour, even for a day in real life. Allow ourselves to recalibrate, to be able to live life as our false selves, as our real selves rather than just a manifestation of our own anxious thinking. That, if it's courage and confidence that we want, one of the ways we can build our courage and confidence is by demonstrating it, through seizing our own agency, descending our own ability to stop, to consciously surrender and know that inspiration will return, that effort fed from a deeper energy will return.
But if we've gotten too far out in front of ourselves, we've gotten too invested in seizing on and expressing just our own thinking, we can stop and allow ourselves to resink, to become whole. We can withdraw our effort in action, we can call it back home and then begin again when we can begin as our full selves. We can regain our wholeness through becoming whole again and we can go into life and often lead a completely different life, experience a completely different life, by living it wholly, fully, truly, through our full selves. Because we've dared to stop, we found the courage to consciously surrender, we've withdrawn and recalled all of our effort to realign with who and what we really are. To get full again. To get full and then act. Not try to use our action to make ourselves full. We start full and we stay full. We live fully and we experience fully. So if we're the kind of person that tends to just do and do and do and act and act and act and try, and try and try, maybe we could try stopping. Maybe we could dare to stop, dare to surrender, dare to reclaim our own activity, reclaim our own confidence, reclaim our own faith, reclaim our own knowing and when we've reestablished our own fullness, we can reassert our fullness over our own life. We can imbue our life with our own fullness and thus experience a much more full life. Because of it, we can live and experience a full and rich life by going into life as our full selves.