Restlessness is an urgency that drives many entrepreneurs to take action and achieve. But is there really a choice in restlessly reacting to problems? Entrepreneur Jesse van der Velde teaches the art of “switching,” the ability to find peace with our inner restlessness and “switch,” at will, to a state of surrender.
- Do you meditate because you anticipate higher productivity?
- What does “surrender” mean to you?
- How willing are you to let go of who you think you are?
The reason why you feel empty after so many years of self-development is that you haven’t found the simple ability to sit, close your eyes, and to just be: to find true surrender. So much is available to us in this state of true surrender, but until we develop the skill of Switching, we will never be able to access these inner truths. We will never be able to receive from the greater collective consciousness that we all live in. We will always be a human doing rather than a human being.
Feeding the Wolf
One of the greatest questions of all time is “Who am I?” It’s hard to answer because you spend more time thinking about who you need to become and which skills you need to develop. We call this “personal development” and end up spending more time developing an idea of who we wish to be rather than being comfortable with who we already are.
The answer to “Who am I?” cannot unfold when we live inside our minds still searching for the means to an end: “Who do I wish to be…so I can have what I want to have.”
We go through life living in anticipation of something we desire. We think, “If I have that business; if I make a certain amount of money; if I can bring my business to a certain level; if I have that car, or that watch, or that house – if I have that, then I will be the person that I want to be.”
This gives us excitement, making us feel strong and significant. We like having this vision and it gives us a sense of purpose.
But in all this – we are silently and unconsciously feeding our ego. We are feeding the wolf inside of us that is always hungry. The ego wants to be seen. It’s afraid to not be seen; it’s afraid to be hurt…and more importantly, the ego is afraid to BE who he or she is because: “What if I’m not good enough? I might not be good enough if I am who I am.”
Burn Your Identity
So you probably know this between your ears. But do you know this in your heart?
Have you first found that deep surrender of just simply being and seeing yourself and becoming OK with that?
In order to answer the question, “Who am I?” you have to be willing to simply BE that person. You have to stop living in anticipation of who you want to be – you have to drop that.
In fact – you need to burn it. You need to put your “identity” into the fire – the identity of someone who is “successful,” “who builds businesses,” someone who “moves fast and things big.”
This is scary because, “Who am I without that? Who am I if I burn everything I know about myself – and will the people in my life still love me?”
These fears are legitimate, I myself experienced them when I first met my shaman mentor and was faced with burning my own identity. I knew this was the only way that I could heal; the only way to discover my truth – despite the fears that came up.
The fears that arise when faced with burning your identity – these are merely the fears of the ego – of the wolf within.
The way to deal with this wolf is by acknowledging: YOU are here as a light being, a human of flesh and blood. You stand here on this planet – alone.
Can you see yourself standing alone? And can you be completely OK with that?
Can you be OK with the story ending there, even though the story doesn’t end there?
Can you find a state of true surrender?
A lot of times we trick ourselves into a kind of “false surrender.”
Because we are in a constant state of busyness – constantly restless, searching, doing, and looking for the next thing – it is easy to reach out to the easiest vices to “let go” and “surrender.”
How many times has “letting go” turned into a Netflix binge?
How many times has “letting go” turned into a morning hangover?
How many times has “letting go” turned into escaping with sex?
Sure – these vices may offer temporary relaxation – a temporary release of tension. But these are not a true surrender of the soul – of your heart. It is not a true surrender to the emptiness that lives inside of you. How you may be accustomed to “letting go” is actually something more of a distraction.
How you relax is not true surrender, it is false surrender.
You have to find that surrender with being completely OK with the fact that there are no longer ideas inside your head of what you need to do. That you let go of all those ideas of business strategy – so that you grow your business fast and get it to a certain level. Because this is all living in anticipation.
True surrender means welcoming the emptiness that lives inside of you and from there finding everything.
The true surrender is sitting alone, in the dark, butt-naked with your ass on the grass on the belly of Mother Earth. Sitting there by yourself and daring to close your eyes and look within; daring to feel and truly let go.
True surrender is sitting with all the fears that come up: “I have to do this; I have to be productive; What if I don’t do this? What if I let go of this opportunity?”
Because honestly – what IF you find who you are?
Responding to Restlessness
The reason why you feel empty after so many years of self-development is you haven’t found the simple ability to sit, close your eyes, and just be.
You don’t need to sit here for the rest of your life and do nothing, but you do have to START here.
I myself struggled with this restlessness so much, and for so long, I didn’t know why I was so restless. After my first night in the teepee, and many other following nights – I became fully aware of just how difficult it was for me to find true surrender. Whenever I faced myself, I grew restless with thoughts of growth, self-improvement, and ways to be more productive. I couldn’t stop – I thought to myself: “What do I do with this?”
It was after I met my shaman mentor and began my path with sacred plant medicine that I began to feel more and more comfortable facing this part of myself.
When we eat a plant medicine, it expands what lives inside of us – it’s like the medicine brings us on a silver platter: “This is who you are; this is what lives inside of you.”
And through this expansion, it becomes clear who we are – and who we are NOT.
Plant medicine expands what lives inside of us so we can find a new perspective – and at the end of the day, all healing is a matter of finding a new perspective.
If our perspective is restlessness, “I have to do this; I have to improve; I have to be better…”
That’s just one perspective.
All healing is a matter of finding a new perspective.
How do you wish to deal with your restlessness from now on?
Instead of reacting to restlessness and taking action (which is nice – this does keep us productive) – but instead of dealing with it this way, what if you did the opposite?
What if you just sat there and felt the restlessness?
What if you gave it your breath and simply observed this restlessness?
The Art of Switching
The only moment when you have a real choice is when you’re OK with not doing anything at all.
Otherwise, it’s merely a reaction to a need: “I have to do this; I have to be productive; I have to move; I have to get this done.” It’s a reaction to a restlessness inside you; it’s a reaction to the emptiness, identity, and rules that you’ve developed in your mind.
And in every moment; you have the option to choose. To access this place within ourselves, we can use a technique known as “Switching.”
Switching is the ability to switch from your productivity mindset to that of surrender.
There is no doubt that you have achieved a great deal with your productivity mindset and personal development. Yes: you’ve become successful. Yes: you’ve achieved your goals.
But we’ve already established that no amount of success is going to help you heal the wounds within and allow you to discover your inner truth – to find TRUE happiness.
In order to find this truth within ourselves, we must practice the ability to switch: to switch from productivity to complete and true surrender when you no longer have to do anything.
Switching to the place within yourself where meditation is not a practice just so you can find REST and DO again, but instead where you feel completely OK with accepting what is.
This is a new place of living, and it is here when you can find true CHOICE. Only from true surrender do you have a true choice
Your invitation is to develop that place inside of you so you can switch back to it whenever you need. From this place, you can choose what is real to you.
And when necessary, you can switch back to your productivity mindset and take the action that is needed; to achieve; to strategize. But always with the knowledge that you can easily switch to the place inside of you where you can truly surrender.
A “Litmus Test” for Switching
When experimenting with switching, it’s easy to slip into the trap of:
“Let me meditate and surrender…so I can fix this problem…so I can be more productive…so I can have more of a competitive edge…”
This is the big joke: you sit, feel, look within, and then find yourself thinking, “….so….how do I fix this so I can move on…?”
This isn’t true surrender. If you find yourself slipping into this kind of thinking, this means you still haven’t found that quietness. Do you think the old wise shaman would think this way? Or would he prioritize simply being OK and finding that blank space – doing nothing?
This might scare you, but really…can you do nothing?
Can you be Ok with not knowing? Simply give it your breath and be OK with finding a new perspective.
- Be OK with letting life inform you.
- Be OK with taking the time to let the answers come to you rather than searching for them.
Remember to have a kind of “litmus test” of your own practice.
Always check yourself: “Why am I surrendering? What is at the root of my desire to let go? How fast am I trying to fix this?”
If you are practicing with the goal of being productive again – this is the clue that you are still striving. Breathe and relax – let go of the ambition.
But if you develop that true stillness where you want to stay and you don’t want that feeling to end – like the feeling you have after great sex – then you know you’ve found that place of true surrender.
You are a Receiver
The ability to switch is so crucial on the path to becoming. Not only is it the gateway to finding your true surrender and inner truth – it is the way to open up your ability to receive from our dear Mother Earth and Father Sky.
You are a receiver – a soul temporarily in this human body.
Our brain is our receiver of signals, information, light, knowledge, and wisdom.
When we take the time to see our body that way, we can fully receive the information offered to us from mother Earth.
Feel Mother Earth below you and see Father Sky above. Experience yourself as part of a greater consciousness. Perceive your mind as a receiver.
You’ve been chosen to receive a certain type of information – and maybe this information is related to your business. Maybe it is love. Maybe it is light. Maybe it is the connection to your ancestors. We don’t know – all you have to do is be willing to receive.
And the only way to receive is to master the art of switching to that place of true surrender.
You can spend as much time as you want in a state of productivity – you’re still here on Earth; life is still a creation process; we are allowed to achieve. But to access more, we need to be willing to also open ourselves more.
Switching is the only way that you can be both a human doing and a human being.