Like many people, I grew up believing that intelligence and hard work would bring happiness and success. After studying economics I worked in banking and management consultancy, did my MBA, and then started my own business. I was living and working in Paris when I realised that I was stuck in every area of my life: health, relationships, career and finances. The old success formula – intelligence and hard work – wasn’t working any more.
I was reading a novel called A Rich Man’s Secret, in which the protagonist did a simple exercise that involved returning his attention to the present moment. (This was the year before Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now was published.) I tried the exercise for myself and noticed some remarkable changes. I suddenly felt more relaxed, and my intuition became much stronger. A few months later I realised I’d learned mindfulness by accident.
Since thinking and working hard hadn’t brought me happiness and success, I had a feeling I should let go instead. Having attended church and Sunday school as a child, I was also comfortable with the idea that there was something going on which was far more intelligent than my brain. I therefore asked to be guided.
My life changed quickly for the better. Six months later I was back in London, in a highly-paid job, working with the Chairman – Europe of Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s largest executive search (headhunting) firms.
After I left the firm I learned Transcendental Meditation – also known as TM – on the recommendation of an American friend. Nothing happened at first, but then I let go and felt as though I was falling into a swimming pool, while continuing to breathe normally. There were lots of positive changes. The jet lag I usually experienced after long-haul flights fell by 90%. Solutions to problems and creative ideas often appear during or shortly after TM. (I’ve written five books since then. The latest is about the power of letting go.)
By this stage it was becoming clear to me that every spiritual practice that works involved letting go. However, I still hadn’t let go completely. I hadn’t surrendered.
Then, in October 2016, I read Mickey Singer’s extraordinary book, The Surrender Experiment. I felt a connection with him because we’d both studied economics and worked in business. He also described a series of spiritual experiences which I recognised immediately.
Since then I’ve pretty much surrendered in every area of my life. I still have desires, but I don’t try to force things any more. Ideas and solutions tend to appear during or shortly after meditation. My intuition then tells me what to do. I take lots and lots of action, sometimes very quickly, but I feel relaxed while I’m doing it. The results are often beyond anything I’d previously imagined.
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