The fourth spiritual law of success is the Law of Least Effort. This law is based on the fact that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. This is the principle of least action, of no resistance. This is, therefore, the principle of harmony and love. When we learn this lesson from nature, we easily fulfill our desires.
If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows. Fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don’t try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn’t try to spin on its own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and to hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.
In Vedic Science, the age-old philosophy of India, this principle is known as the principle of economy of effort, or “do less and accomplish more.” Ultimately you come to the state where you do nothing and accomplish everything. This means that there is just a faint idea, and then the manifestation of the idea comes about effortlessly. What is commonly called a “miracle” is actually an expression of the Law of Least Effort.
Nature’s intelligence functions effortlessly, frictionlessly, spontaneously. It is non-linear; it is intuitive, holistic, and nourishing. And when you are in harmony with nature, when you are established in the knowledge of your true Self, you can make use of the Law of Least Effort.
Least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. When you seek power and control over other people, you waste energy. When you seek money or power for the sake of the ego, you spend energy chasing the illusion of happiness instead of enjoying happiness in the moment. When you seek money for personal gain only, you cut off the flow of energy to yourself, and interfere with the expression of nature’s intelligence. But when your actions are motivated by love, there is no waste of energy. When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and accumulates — and the surplus energy you gather and enjoy can be channeled to create anything that you want, including unlimited wealth.
You can think of your physical body as a device for controlling energy: it can generate, store, and expend energy. If you know how to generate, store, and expend energy in an efficient way, then you can create any amount of wealth. Attention to the ego consumes the greatest amount of energy. When your internal reference point is the ego, when you seek power and control over other people or seek approval from others, you spend energy in a wasteful way.
When that energy is freed up, it can be rechanneled and used to create anything that you want. When your internal reference point is your spirit, when you are immune to criticism and unfearful of any challenge, you can harness the power of love, and use energy creatively for the experience of affluence and evolution.
In The Art of Dreaming, Don Juan tells Carlos Castaneda, “. . . most of our energy goes into upholding our importance…. If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to … catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.”
There are three components to the Law of Least Effort — three things you can do to put this principle of “do less and accomplish more” into action. The first component is acceptance. Acceptance simply means that you make a commitment: “Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur.” This means I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. This moment — the one you’re experiencing right now — is the culmination of all the moments you have experienced in the past. This moment is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.
When you struggle against this moment, you’re actually struggling against the entire universe. Instead, you can make the decision that today you will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. This means that your acceptance of this moment is total and complete. You accept things as they are, not as you wish they were in this moment. This is important to understand. You can wish for things in the future to be different, but in this moment you have to accept things as they are.
When you feel frustrated or upset by a person or a situation, remember that you are not reacting to the person or the situation, but to your feelings about the person or the situation. These are your feelings, and your feelings are not someone else’s fault. When you recognize and understand this completely, you are ready to take responsibility for how you feel and to change it. And if you can accept things as they are, you are ready to take responsibility for your situation and for all the events you see as problems.
This leads us to the second component of the Law of Least Effort: responsibility. What does responsibility mean? Responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself. Having accepted this circumstance, this event, this problem, responsibility then means the ability to have a creative response to the situation as it is now. All problems contain the seeds of opportunity, and this awareness allows you to take the moment and transform it to a better situation or thing.
Once you do this, every so-called upsetting situation will become an opportunity for the creation of something new and beautiful, and every so-called tormentor or tyrant will become your teacher. Reality is an interpretation. And if you choose to interpret reality in this way, you will have many teachers around you, and many opportunities to evolve.
Whenever confronted by a tyrant, tormentor, teacher, friend, or foe (they all mean the same thing) remind yourself, “This moment is as it should be.” Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.
The third component of the Law of Least Effort is defenselessness, which means that your awareness is established in defenselessness, and you have relinquished the need to convince or persuade others of your point of view. If you observe people around you, you’ll see that they spend ninety-nine percent of their time defending their points of view. If you just relinquish the need to defend your point of view, you will in that relinquishment, gain access to enormous amounts of energy that have been previously wasted.
When you become defensive, blame others, and do not accept and surrender to the moment, your life meets resistance. Any time you encounter resistance, recognize that if you force the situation, the resistance will only increase. You don’t want to stand rigid like a tall oak that cracks and collapses in the storm. Instead, you want to be flexible, like a reed that bends with the storm and survives.
Completely desist from defending your point of view. When you have no point to defend, you do not allow the birth of an argument. If you do this consistently — if you stop fighting and resisting — you will fully experience the present, which is a gift. Someone once told me, “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called ‘the present’.”
If you embrace the present and become one with it, and merge with it, you will experience a fire, a glow, a sparkle of ecstasy throbbing in every living sentient being. As you begin to experience this exultation of spirit in everything that is alive, as you become intimate with it, joy will be born within you, and you will drop the terrible burdens and encumbrances of defensiveness, resentment, and hurtfulness. Only then will you become lighthearted, carefree, joyous, and free.
In this joyful, simple freedom, you will know without any doubt in your heart that what you want is available to you whenever you want it, because your want will be from the level of happiness, not from the level of anxiety or fear. You do not need to justify; simply declare your intent to yourself, and you will experience fulfillment, delight, joy, freedom, and autonomy in every moment of your life.
Make a commitment to follow the path of no resistance. This is the path through which nature’s intelligence unfolds spontaneously, without friction or effort. When you have the exquisite combination of acceptance, responsibility, and defenselessness, you will experience life flowing with effortless ease.
When you remain open to all points of view — not rigidly attached to only one — your dreams and desires will flow with nature’s desires. Then you can release your intentions, without attachment, and just wait for the appropriate season for your desires to blossom into reality. You can be sure that when the season is right, your desires will manifest. This is the Law of Least Effort.
This article is excerpted from “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, ©1994, by Deepak Chopra.
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