Living the Law of Least Effort
“Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are this moment, not as I wish they were.”- Deepak Chopra
What is the Law of Least Effort some might ask. The Law of Least Effort is a spiritual law about life that Deepak Chopra describes as, “the principle of least action, of no resistance”. This is the principle of harmony and love. When we learn this lesson from nature we easily fulfill our desires.
I first discovered it in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. The fourth law described, The Law of Least Effort, was the most empowering & Inspiring of them all to me.
I found myself suddenly saying, “Yes, this is exactly how life works.” The discovery of The Law of Least Effort triggered the lightbulb in my head. When you surrender, everything changes.
The three lessons I held onto were:
These are the three principles I took away from this valuable life lesson and how to implement them in my own life. To simplify this life lesson, I put them into a mantra to help you remember and to implement: Accept, Surrender and Release. Repeat.
Accept what is happening rather than fight against it. This seems counterintuitive. But we must accept something…in order to change it.
Too often denial keeps us fighting ourselves and in the way of getting what we really want. We think of how things should be rather than how they are. We miss the beauty of the moment, as well as miss opportunities.
Every obstacle is an opportunity. Can you accept that? Losing your job, breaking up with an ex, going bankrupt can all lead to breakthroughs.
You may start that business, find self love in place of romantic conquests and become more self aware as you rebuild your life. The truth is we all start over at some point in our lives. Life is filled with chapters and just because one chapter ends does not mean a new beginning will not start.
I can give you a personal example. For one year, I simplified my life and put my mental health first. In that time, I reconnected with an old friend who I found is a strong writer and editor. We partnered, him as an editor for a young adult fiction novel I am writing.
If I had been too busy to notice it, I would have missed an opportunity.
Decide that everything is already good. Accept your circumstances as they show up. They challenge your character.
Letting things fall into place rather than forcing them together is an important key of the Law of Least Effort. You let the answer come to you rather than seek it out. Your attitude is what matters.
Accept your feelings, sit with them, remove your mask and become more authentic. You don’t have to have all the answers.
In accepting the problems right in front of us, we discover PURPOSE. The reason is resilience. The road is the detour, not the initial destination.
It starts not in what you want it to be, but what it is. That’s where you find your voice, your vision.
The saying “Turn lemons into lemonade” is directly applied in this principle.
I discovered and applied this concept once when I worked at a summer camp. I was with teens who did not like filling out worksheets and getting assignments for our Leader in Training program.
It reminded them too much of school, and I had to accept that this method was failing. Instead, I tried on more hands on ways to reach the youth.
We ended up having a Cross the Line Challenge where challenge by choice, interpreting the questions how you wanted, you would answer simple to difficult questions about your life and cross a line if the answer was “yes.”
The questions were all yes or no format. We started with simple questions such as “Do you go to school?”
We ended with questions such as “Have you ever betrayed anyone? Have you ever been suicidal? Have you ever lost someone?”
“Have you ever felt alone?” The majority of teens crossed the line on each question as it got more difficult and real.
They ended up crying and hugging each other. This brought everyone closer and made them more proactive about their progress.
Had I not accepted the problem in front of me, I would not have recognized the purpose.
I once had a conversation with a friend about life. It went like this:
Me: I just feel like I always have to fight.
Friend: I found when I stopped fighting and just surrendered, that’s when things started to happen for me.
I took this and tried it. Instead of trying to make everything good or okay, I decided it already was.
This concept of surrendering came at an important time of my life. I was stuck as a preschool teacher, running around with kids in a situation where I was spread too thin. Working with kids was a passion of mine but it was just a season in my life meant to pass.
I had outgrown it.
I decided to follow my friend’s advice. To surrender. When I surrendered, I realized that I did not have to stay where I was. I could leave.
This thought never occurred to me before. I. Could. Leave.
So, I did that. I left. I remember having no plan, driving around like crazy looking for another job.
I drove far into Pittsburgh and had no idea where I was, so I finally prayed that I would find a job in the next place I stopped. I pulled over and walked into a furniture store.
I walked in and asked them if they were hiring. They said yes. It was for an interior design position.
I had no experience but they hired me on the spot and I even met with the president of the company that same day.
Law of Least Effort created a drive in me to move forward. My passions were what I followed, not a destination. By closing one chapter, I also ended up helping others, teaching kids with autism, writing a book and self help as well.
When I surrendered, the answers came to me. The dots were connected.
I realized how fragile and vulnerable I had been before I surrendered. In surrendering, I found strength. Life began to “work” again.
It was as if I had been given a superpower. I knew everything I needed, I knew when to leave, what to look for and what to love or lose.
I let it all go.
Take a deep breath in. Deep breath out. Release.
What are you living for? Money, fame, power, the illusion of control? Everything on the outside. The appearance of success at the cost of inner turmoil.
Control is an illusion, our sense of it anyways. Rather than trying to control every outcome, let things fall into place.
Let people and problems go. You don’t have to salvage or solve everything. Don’t chase it.
What you should be chasing? Gratitude for being alive. That’s a feeling we never quite get.
You should feel empowered by simply being alive. That in itself is a gift.
Life is a gift. When we let go the need to control the outcome, we become better people.
Once I was in hot yoga and the instructor told us to go into Tree Pose. I did this and clumsily fell out. She then said, “It’s okay to fall out of tree pose. What’s important is how you rebuild.”
A light bulb went off in my head. I had an Aha! moment right then and there. There was no reason or need to control everything. So, I stopped.
I stopped trying to control that I had little money, little way of finding out how to navigate the next chapter of my life, little knowledge of what was to come, little courage in facing my fears and I let it all go. What I tried to control was actually controlling me.
I once met a Holocaust survivor. I remember as a teen saying, “You’ve seen a lot in your life.” He nodded, a faraway look in his eyes. I gave him a hug.
But it wasn’t enough. I needed to learn from his life that mine was a gift. That I should appreciate my time on earth because nothing was promised.
We cheat ourselves of the joy of the moment when we try to control everything and when we don’t appreciate our life. We stop ourselves short of success.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not have the answers. Just Be.
Accept first and learn to let go.
Surrender the fight and see the opportunity.
Release the need to control and actually live your life.
Accept, surrender and release. Try it sometime. It will change your perception and transform your problems into purpose.