At the heart of the experiment is a simple question: Am I better off making up an alternate reality in my mind and then fighting with reality to make it be my way, or am I better off letting go of what I want and serving the same forces of reality that managed to create the entire perfection of the universe around me?
A great spiritual teacher once said, "Every day bite off more than you can chew, and chew it."
Instead of trying to free myself by constantly quieting the mind, perhaps I should be asking why the mind is so active. What is the motivation behind all the mental chatter? If that motivation were to be removed, the struggle would be over. I clearly remember deciding that from now on if life was unfolding in a certain way, and the only reason I was resisting it was because of a personal preference, I would let go of my preference and let life be in charge. The rules of the experiment were very simple: If life brought events in front of me, I would treat them as if they came to take me beyond myself. If my personal self complained, I would use each opportunity to simply let him go and surrender to what life was presenting me. This was the birth of what I came to call "the surrender experiment," and I was totally prepared to see where it would take me.
It's not that surrender gave me clarity about where I was going--I had no idea where it would lead me. But surrender did give me clarity in one essential area: my personal preferences of like and dislike were not going to guide my life. By surrendering the hold those powerful forces had on me, I was allowing my life to be guided by a much more powerful force, life itself. By that stage of my growth, I could see that the practice of surrender was actually done in two, very distinct steps: first, you let go of the personal reactions of like and dislike that form inside your mind and heart; and second, with the resultant sense of clarity, you simply look to see what is being asked of you by the situation unfolding in front of you.
My formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself--because it was.
Something that started out looking totally disastrous had ended up with a positive result. Time and again I was seeing that if I could handle the winds of the current storm, they would end up blowing in some great gift. I was beginning to view these storms as a harbinger to transformation. Perhaps change only takes place when there is sufficient reason to overcome the inertia of everyday life. Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred-up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change. I was learning to sit quietly in the midst of the howling winds and wait to see what constructive action was being asked of me.