“The Law of Least Effort: Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.”
—Deepak Chopra’s, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
While I’m not crazy about the word “laws,” potentially introducing a new set of standards to live by, the words contained in these seven aspirations are soothing to my soul. Yes, yes, yes, she whispers.
Accept people (including you), situations (including those you have created), and events (and your feelings about them) as they occur. I would add, in all of these, start with yourself. This is not a guide on how to be with others.
Take responsibility (You are the maker of your story.). Taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation (and this includes myself).
Practice defenselessness. Since my last meditation retreat, this is the one that is lighting me on fire. Practice like your hair’s on fire. That’s what my teacher always said.
“Today my awareness will remain established in Defenselessness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view, and I will feel no need to persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them.” —Deepak Chopra
Ok, got it. Relinquish the need to defend my point of view…That’s one way to practice defenselessness. Sometimes I can even do this.
Another way defensiveness has been coming up in my life is quite literally me “defending” myself from attack. The attack generally comes from a part of myself, either as an abandonment or a judgment or it’s a made-up conversation where I think I know what is happening inside another and must defend against that.
I started exploring defensiveness a few weeks back (click here to see that post). What I’m noticing is it looks different in real time than what I thought it was when I first read about it in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
Now that it’s on my radar (we’ll call this pattern of defensiveness, “conditioning”), I’m seeing all the ways it shows up for me, hidden underneath everything I do. Only now that I see it, it’s not hidden or quiet anymore.
And when I don’t take conditioning personally, it’s easier to look at. In fact it’s a relief to see it, to smile at it, take a deep breath, let it go and shift the focus of my attention. A space has just been created and I get to fill it any way I like. How delightful is that!
Here is one example:
Sunday, my former mother-in-law (we’ll call her grandmother), invited me to a film screening. I pulled up to the front of her building at exactly 3:00 pm and texted her to let her know that I was there. “Be down soon,” she responded. I felt annoyed: she chose the time. I didn’t want to feel annoyed that this 80-year-old woman needed a bit more time. I just did.
Then I noticed another story: She probably is grumpy at me for coming to the front of her building instead of coming down into the garage to pick her up. The garage requires less walking for her. But her garage is gated and kind of a pain to get into and the walk probably does her good, my mind justifies. She probably needs to walk more.
And so I watched this argument take place in my head and came to understand that my irritation was based on two things: my perception of what I thought she thought and therefore was probably what a part of me thought I’d done wrong. Which immediately put me on the defense. And, the judgment (on me, by me) for feeling impatient. This was what made me grumpy. Not waiting for grandma.
When she finally got to the car, she was very apologetic. She was feeling quite sick right before I got there. Threw up, in fact. Had to clean up and change her clothes. “Otherwise,” she said, “I would have been here waiting at the front.”
Wow. So glad I took care of my annoyances while I was waiting.
The beauty of the Law of Least Effort is that it calls on the divine feminine.
“She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines. For she is terrible with the terror of the avenging lightning, and gentle with the goodness of the bright sun; and both her terror and her gentleness are incomprehensible to humans…. But she is with everyone and in everyone, and so beautiful is her secret that no person can know the sweetness with which she sustains people, and spares them in inscrutable mercy.”
—Hildegard of Bingen
The invitation of the divine feminine is to sit back and receive. Same as the Law of Least Effort. Life is deliciously magnanimous and filled with magic when we are able to surrender to it. In fact, the whole world is available to us when we are able to stop efforting so hard to make it be the way we think.
How? you ask.
Thoughts, comments, questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
P.S. Today I had to review myself for work, here is what I wrote: Awesome. Except when I’m not. Then I am doing the best I can.
Please remember to practice with kindness for yourself. More kindness than you think necessary.