This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepak Chopra. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Do you have the tendency to judge everything that’s happening? Do you even try to fight it?
According to Deepak Chopra, each moment is what it should be, so we shouldn’t resist it. He believes that letting go of resistant thoughts and the need to control everything encourages inner silence and the flow of positive thought-energy.
Read more to learn about Chopra’s view on how we should embrace the moment.
Embrace the Moment Instead of Resisting It
According to Chopra, every moment that occurs is as it should be. Your experiences are neither good nor bad; as noted, they’re simply a reflection of your thought-energy. However, unawareness of this fact leads you to misperceive and resist certain experiences. When you resist your experiences, you also resist your connection to the flow of thought-energy and deny your role in creating your experiences. So, you should learn to embrace the moment.
Examples of resistance include: blaming others for not behaving in ways that you want them to, defending your opinions to convince others to agree with you, worrying about bad things that might happen, or complaining about things because you think they should be different.
By their nature, resistant thoughts influence you to focus more on what you don’t want than on what you do want. Chopra argues that they increase your internal monologue and influence you to think in ways that negatively influence the content of your thought-energy.
(Shortform note: The negative tendencies that Chopra refers to as examples of “resistance” underpin a victim mentality—the belief that bad things always happen to you through no fault of your own. This victim mentality creates feelings of apathy because when you feel like external factors are always trying to thwart you, you lack the motivation to take positive action and change your life. Instead, people with a victim mentality often magnify their problems and their perceived injustices in an attempt to gain attention (comfort, sympathy, reinforcement of their beliefs) from others. The attention they receive from others validates their powerlessness and keeps them from moving forward.)
To calm your resistant thoughts and take control of your thought-energy, Chopra suggests that you focus on learning. He suggests that you ask yourself what your role is in each of your experiences and consider how to align your thought-energy with what you want to experience. The point of asking yourself these questions is not to blame yourself for the things that happen but to proactively seek ways to improve your thought-energy.
(Shortform note: Grant Cordone (The 10X Rule) extends this idea by explaining that you must first take responsibility for your experiences before you can learn from them. Taking total responsibility for everything that happens in your life empowers you to view negative experiences as opportunities for growth. As a result, you proactively seek ways to amend your thoughts and behaviors to prevent problems from reoccurring, and you free up energy to focus on getting what you want. On the other hand, denying responsibility for your experiences encourages a victim mentality: You waste energy blaming others, feel powerless to change your situation, and stay focused on what you don’t want.)
|Schools of Thought on Acceptance Versus Resistance|
Many different philosophical traditions mirror Chopra’s view that you should embrace the moment for what it is instead of resisting it. However, they all offer different reasons for acceptance:
Stoicism (for example, Meditations) says that your experiences are what the gods and Nature have decreed for you. Since a human can’t hope to resist the will of the gods, it’s better to just accept whatever happens.
Hinduism (for example, the Bhagavad Gita) says that everything you perceive and experience is illusory and that God is the only true reality. Since your experiences are unreal and temporary, you mustn’t let yourself be affected by them.
Buddhism teaches that you should welcome your experiences, but not let them rule you. In other words, your experiences shouldn’t affect your thoughts or your actions. Tara Brach explores this topic from a Buddhist perspective in Radical Acceptance.
Less religious schools of thought talk about the benefits of “living in the moment,” or being fully present instead of lost in thought. For example, Tolle’s The Power of Now teaches that being fully present in each moment is the only way to find happiness, peace, and fulfillment in your life.
Whatever the given reasons, it’s clear that a wide variety of philosophies value accepting your experiences for what they are, instead of trying to judge and resist them.
Stop Trying to Control Everything
Another way to tame resistant thoughts is to let go of what you want and accept things as they are. According to Chopra, this will help you overcome a common mindset of resistance: that because things aren’t going a certain way, they’re “wrong.” He explains that holding onto your expectation of how things should be causes you to perceive problems where there are none and limits your ability to accept and benefit from your experiences. On the other hand, letting go of what you want and accepting things the way they are broadens your perspective and allows you to effortlessly experience the best in every interaction and situation.
(Shortform note: By suggesting that you let go of what you want in favor of acceptance, Chopra seems to contradict his earlier advice to intentionally direct your thought-energy toward the things you want. To clarify, he’s not suggesting that you reject what you want. Rather, he’s advising you to rise above your negative thoughts to see the potential benefits of every situation—especially those that don’t align with what you want. Staying focused on these benefits helps you to easily meet any challenges you face as you move forward.)
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success summary :
- Why success isn't based on how much you achieve or accumulate
- How true success comes from aligning with the flow of spiritual energy
- Chopra's five methods for connecting with thought-energy