Thursday, June 24, 2010

Least Effort

In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra says that one of the laws of nature is the Law of Least Effort. In his words, "This law is based on the fact that nature's intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness." He goes on to observe that "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," and so forth.

There are three components for putting the Law of Least Effort into action. The first component is acceptance. This means accepting that "this moment is as it should be, because the whole world is as it should be." It may not be the way we want it to be, but since this moment is the culmination of every moment before it, when we struggle against this moment, we are actually struggling against the entire universe.

The second component is responsibility. Chopra defines this as "not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself." By taking responsibility, we can turn obstacles and upsetting situations into opportunities for growth and beauty, and tormentors and tyrants become our teachers.

The third component of the Law of Least Effort is defenselessness. This means that "you have relinquished the need to convince or persuade others of your point of view," something that we spend a great deal of time and energy doing all the time. Being defensive means that you are resisting something, and when you put resistance against an object, you get more resistance back. Chopra suggests that, rather than being like the mighty oak that breaks in the storm, that you take on the characteristics of a reed that is flexible and bends easily with the wind.

It is helpful, of course, if you are rooted in the present moment, rather than predicting the future or ruminating about the past. That's one more reason why a practice of mindfulness meditation can be helpful in reducing our suffering. Or as Dr. Chopra says, "The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called 'the present'."


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