The Surrender Experiment

by Michael A. Singer (a summary by Pat Evert)

img_4073

Not with a shout, but a whisper
A life changing event that transformed him in 1970. Michael was a college groomed hippie. He sensed a separation between himself and his thoughts and feelings, he was just the observer. He noticed the voice talking in his head. This voice began to annoy him and he wanted to quiet his mind.

– Getting to know me
For every experience he had the voice was commenting on it. Why this running commentary? He became driven to know himself. The voice wasn’t me, I was watching it.

– The pillars of Zen
The voice of the mind and how to get free from it; meditation was the work required to quiet the mind. So he began practicing meditation.

– Absolute silence
In meditation he heard another voice, ‘Do you or do you not want to know what is beyond you?’ He went to a place of stillness and absolute silence – peace – no thoughts. This state within lasted for weeks.

– From absolute peace to absolute turmoil
His inner state had transformed completely, he would never be the same. He would not let anything disturb that peace. He was in a doctoral program in college. A veil had been torn within and faded after a few weeks. He was experiencing a flow of energy going through him, something happening to him, it was always there. He could now go within and separate from his personal life. His wife of one year left him. He began to live like a hermit in the countryside.

– South of the border
In the summer of 1971 he went to north central Mexico. He camped out for weeks and was received with hospitality by the land owners.

– Disconnecting the panic button
He faced his fear with ranch hands on horses. They invited him to more hospitality.

Unexpected inspiration
Learning to embrace life as it unfolded around him was new to him. Meditation and the simple life was his passion. He was getting close to his doctoral graduation and his final paper was approaching. He sat down and began to write. Inspiration flooded him and was finished in a few days. He received an A in the class.

– The promised land
After graduating he went from living in his van to buying a 5-acre lot in Florida. This he bought from what was left over from his education funds.

– Building a sacred hut
A friend and Michael set out to build a meditation hut. But, it turned out to be a good sized house. They built it, learning how, as they went. All he wanted was to go into solitude and absolute peace.

– Get thee to a monastery
He moved into his house (1971) which was a gift from the invisible hand. The monastic lifestyle came naturally to him. He lived a very intense, disciplined life.

– When the disciple is ready, the master appears
God became a large part of his vocabulary. God represented where he wanted to go, self realization.

– The great experiment begins, the experiment of a lifetime
Why was the mind so active with chatter? He decided to concentrate on the flow of life, instead of personal preferences. What would happen if he allowed the flow of life to guide, surrendering all resistance? It had already begun with life knowing better than he what to fill his life with. He would say yes to whatever life brought to him.

– Life takes charge
He was teaching one class a week at the university. One day he tried maintaining a meditative state the whole day and he appeared before his class bare chested. The committee asked him to tutor a bank president to acredit him with a PhD. Michael said yes.

– The prince and the pauper
He was tutoring this man as a response to life’s purpose for him at no charge. Michael was afraid to finish the last three exams for his doctorate, but he was willing to surrender to it. Inspiration had filled him and passed quite well.

– Following the invisible into the unknown
He had been invited to learn cría yoga in California and also to teach at a newly established college in Florida. He surrendered and said yes to both. Life itself was guiding him, teaching him to let go of his likes and dislikes. This became the foundation of his spiritual and worldly life.

– My first job interview
At the college the program director asked what he would like to teach. He replied that he would like to teach about the voice in our heads. This would begin upon his return from California. A friend, Sandy, asked if she could pitch her tent on the end of his property and later if she could join him for meditation on Sundays. The group started to grow, his solitude was slipping away.

– Letting go of the rope
The struggling person within was no longer an enemy but one to enable him to ascend. That scared troubled person was one to be loved and let free. He needed to learn to relax. He didn’t need to listen to the voice, but to love this person. He now was a wiser person returning to Florida.

– Acceptance, acceptance and more acceptance
Sandy had begun building a house on his property. He hadn’t wanted another house on his land. If life wanted this he wanted freedom from resisting it. If it’s a matter of preference, life wins. He offered his work up to the force of life. Class was soon to begin and he had determined to prepare nothing, only let life to lead him in becoming a teacher. The premise of the class was that all life was based on one truth and everything observed and declared that truth. Little by little many of his students started to attend meditation at the temple on his property. He was filled with inspiration to write his dissertation on ‘the search for truth.’ This was the final step for his PhD. Following the flow of life, instead of his own preferences, he was now a carpenter, a teacher and a public author.

– The most important thing I was ever asked to do
In the summer of 1973, more and more neighbors were populating his area. He was asked to visit a prisoner in the absence of a friend on vacation. The voice in his head said no, but Michael said yes. Being in that setting had touched something very deep in him. On his 2nd visit there was a group who wanted to meet with him in prison. The group grew over the years and later in a second prison also. Giving up his resistence grew into a ministry of over 30 years.

– From solitude to service, the call of a living master
He visited his ex-wife Shelley, where he learned of a yoga master from India, Bobba. Upon returning home a woman had moved with Sandy who was a follower of this same yoga master. She insisted he write Bobba to visit them on his next trip to the U.S. Arrangements had to be made but he did come (1975). Donna moved in with Sandy. She later became Michael’s wife.

– Shaquitpa
They prepared to host Bobba. Even with all the activity he had felt more connected to the life force than ever. The solitary life he wanted wasn’t to be. He also had an amazing physical experience.

Gainesville hosts a guru
He remembered his commitment to surrender to life. His brother in law, who was an attorney, turned out to be a devoted follower and coworker of Bobba.

– The temple is built
My life had changed from a life of solitude to that of service. Life was no longer a battlefield, but there was still much resistance in him to be overcome. The temple was built (09/75) and the place of solitude was transformed into a place of service.

– Opening the Heart chacra
The touch of a master started a flow of energy through his heart. He was encouraged to meet with the disciples morning and evening in the temple meditations. Solitude kept drifting farther away.

– Get thee to an ashram
He officially signed over the temple and property to the temple of the universe. He was free and owned nothing. Donna and he got married (1976). A spiritual community was forming, more were moving in to live there. Michael continued to let go and allow what was meant to be.

– The business of surrender, a company is born
A visit from the sheriff turned into a call to do an ‘add on’ to the sheriff’s house. He was too busy for such, but once again Michael said yes. That job was the start of a construction company, ‘Built with Love.’ He had to get used to the idea of running a business.

– The master builder
Construction was bringing in much more money than his teaching job. A builders’ license was offered him and others joined to help in business affairs. He was now earning $350/mo. teaching and a few thousand dollars a month in construction. A certain job brought $35,000 profit. Immediately after this, the property of 10 acres adjoining the temple came up for sale for the same amount.

– Community banking
‘Built with Love’ was growing. A client wanted them to build their house and they needed a loan to do that. After many refusals he was led to the president of a bank who had taken an interest in him. He had approved his loan at a risk to himself. Ten years later they meet again with their roles reversed.

– The ever-expanding temple of the universe
He built a beautiful home two lots from his, not knowing that in time that they would own that property also. Built with love kept earning enough to buy all the neighboring properties as they sold.

– Metamorphosis of a creature
At the prison visits he taught meditation and yoga, how to not listen to that nagging voice within, how to let go of yourself. An outlaw, named Creature, became a sincere follower. He visited him in maximum security where Creature was overwhelmed with feeling love.

– Something priceless is born, from the personal self to the personal computer
Life still had so much more for Michael. Surrender had taught him to not allow personal preferences to make his decisions for him, but rather to allow the reality of life to determine where he was going. He was attracted to a personal computer. He already had two full-time jobs. Self taught he made an accounting system for the construction company. Others started to want him to design computer software for them. In 1979 he was spending more and more time at it. Life was turning him into a professional programmer.

– The birth of the Medical Manager
He started another business, Personalized Programming, Inc. All the money was donated to the temple and Michael continued his simple lifestyle. Living a life of surrender kept him from living for his preferences and to honor life’s flow. In 1980 he got a couple of calls to design a system for medical/healthcare billing and practice. He was just a one man operation. The birth of the Medical Manager software came out of this. His commitment to detail excelled all other programs available at that time. Later he would be managing hundreds of programmers.

– The early programmers
Someone appeared and volunteered to help with programming. She was extremely competent and scared. In the first year there were four full time programmers.

– Preparing for launch
Systems Plus was interested in his Medical Manager program which he had just installed in a customer’s office. They offered to distribute it. Michael surrendered. They were the perfect distributor for this system.

The forces of natural growth, foundations of a successful business
The market was right. His years of meditation had shaped the intuitive, creative part of his mind. In 1985 dealers were multiplying with about 150 installations a month. He remained a spiritual man surrendering his life. They wound up leading the industry of computer to computer communications.

The industry knocks on our door
The only business plan they had was to keep up with what life brought them. Their only financial budget was to hire whoever showed up who could help them. The right person would always show up at the right time. With Paul they were able to make electronic connectivity with the major lab companies.

The temple keeps growing
In 1988 the neighbors to the north were over a thousand acres of forest. The owner wanted to sell lumber rights to it. Michael offered to lease much of the land to protect the trees. The temple property was now up to 85 acres.

When dark clouds become rainbows, a touch of magic
In the 1990’s, the more he was willing to let go the more he could recognize subtle synchronicities. The temple was never meant to be a large property but grew quite large. Another 85 acres adjacent to their property came up for sale. Now temple property was up to 170 acres, as though each piece waited until they could afford it.

The scary messenger of change
He knew enough to embrace whatever was happening. Personalized Programming was to grow from 25 employees to 300, from 4,300 square feet to 85,000. They needed to move to comply with legal zoning. A large adjoining property was being annexed for a commercial waste dump. This 185 acre property came up for sale which they purchased as another part of their property. This was zoned for business, for Personalized Programming and had enough land for the needed business expansion to come.

The foundation is built for the future
In 1994 the Medical Manager program was now in such large installations that it was in need of revision. This kept them in the market place for years to come.

– Meanwhile back at the ranch
When push comes to shove I don’t care what it takes, just free me from myself. A good friend was going through a time of great darkness and pain. No matter who we are life is going to put us through the changes we need to go thru. Are we going to use this force for our transformation?

– Embracing explosive expansion
I was not in charge, life was. Life knows what is best, there is no sense in kicking against the goads. Surrender is the only wise option. In 1995 Personalized Programming was doing $10 million a year. A possibility of selling Personalized Programming and merging with four other companies arose. Michael was called on to once again ‘let go.’ The new company would be Medical Manager Corporation.

– Medical Manager Corporation
Michael’s dad was a stock broker. Now his only son, who went to the woods to meditate and still did the same, was CEO of this company. Michael and his dad now had something in common. He kept giving everything up and it kept coming back ten fold.

– Becoming CEO
He could not do all the responsibilities that came with this title. Once again life had supplied another key staff member. In a very short time their company lead the industry at a $100 million a year revenue.

– The internet and healthcare
In 1998 Genetics saw that Medical Manager Corp. had over 100,000 physicians in their network and wanted to merge with them for further growth. Everything that had come to them was due to surrender, nothing else. This was karmic yoga at its finest. By this merge Michael was going to have his first boss. They offered $1.3 billion. In May of 1999 the merger was announced.

– Building Rome in a day
Medical Manager Corp., valued at $3.5 billion merged with Healthion, Onvoy and Web MD. Then the internet bubble began to deflate. The development department of 800 people, gave the company an ultimatum and when refused, resigned. By letting go a stronger flow replaced it. They had grown to nearly 2,000 employees.

– Hanging out in Washington
In 2000, the smithsonian institute preserved the story of the Medical Manager. What years of meditation and yoga had not gotten rid of, life’s situations and challenges were routing out of him. Peace within was growing, all he had to do was let go. Medical Manager had grown to 2,300 employees and $300 million in revenue.

– Total surrender, the raid
In 2003 the FBI had taken over their entire facility. The same was happening at their other two locations. Their search warrant gave them full control. A couple of employees were scheming kickbacks from dealers. They were making a deal with the FBI by supposedly showing that upper management was involved. All the files and computers were confiscated, 1.2 million emails, 1,500 boxes of files and 830,000 computer files. Surrender was the only sane thing to do.

– Attorneys, attorneys and more attorneys
Calming that voice within had prepared him for this time. Over time it would work itself out. He was free from that scared person inside. Bobby David proported himself as a whistle blower on his superiors. But in reality he was the head of the crime, but tried to transfer blame to his superiors. With the amount of documents they had, the government could make the story say whatever they wanted.

– United States of America vs. Michael A. Singer
In 2004 Michael again let go, stepping down from being CEO. Bobby agreed to serve one year in prison for stealing $5.4 million in 53 kickback schemes over 5 years. Now Michael just had to be willing to go wherever life was going to lead him. Now he had time to write a couple of books, this one,and ‘the untethered soul.’ Michael and nine other executives were arrested and indicted.

– Preparing a defense
They were facing the possibility of 15 years in prison. After 30 years of prison ministry work his access to the inmates was now denied. A team of 30-40 attorneys were working together on this case.

– The constitution and the bill of rights
The government had to cut down the immense documentation into a specify claim of offense. The U.S. constitution declared it. Also, in such a case the judge can overrule the end result. Bobby was making them criminally responsible for what he had done. The lead attorney of five years had a cancerous tumor in his chest. He had surgery, but later had to bow out of the case for chemotherapy. Michael again had to surrender.

– Divine intervention
The judge, due to his age, had to step down, before the case could finish. They had lost their judge. Again, no choice but to surrender. Now this case had gone seven years. One of the executives had died of cancer during this time. The government dropped all charges against Michael, but continued to pursue two other executives in the case. Later every government employee had become convinced of their innocence, but the jury came back with a verdict of guilty. The judge later overruled the verdict and dismissed them. The judge had the obligation to protect the innocent. The pretrial costs were $190 million. Truth and justice had triumphed.

– Returning to the beginning
After 40 years he still lived just down from the temple. But the temple was now on its property of 900 acres. Because he had surrendered at each event there were no scars on his psyche. He kept coming out on the other side a transformed person. He who left on this journey never returned. He had thrown himself into the arms of life. The more he let go, the freer he became. Life had given him the opportunity to write this book. Life knows what it’s doing and you can only know it by experience.