Tosha Silver: “Outrageous Openness” | Talks at Google

Tosha Silver: “Outrageous Openness” | Talks at Google

RACHEL O’MARA: Hi, everyone,
and thanks for coming today. I’m Rachel O’Mara,
and I’m really excited to host
Tosha Silver, who’s here to talk today at Google
about her book, “Outrageous Openness.” And I’m excited because
I got introduced to Tosha and her
work last spring. I got a copy of her earlier
version of this book and was fascinated by all
of the tales and anecdotes that Tosha had experienced that
really told a really good story about things that happened
in her life serendipitously, and just ways that were
more open than others, and coincidences. And I just really liked it
from a world of figuring out how that related to me
and all the coincidences that I’ve also
witnessed in my life. So I’m very excited
to bring her in today to talk about her book,
and to answer questions, and to learn and share
a little bit more about outrageous openness. So without further ado,
let me introduce Tosha. Thank you! TOSHA SILVER: Hi. Thank you all for coming. Let me talk first about what
this book is really about, and then I’ll give
you a few examples. The nature of what drove me
to write this, in some ways, really came originally from
growing up in a very type A sort of family, where there
was enormous amounts of drive. It was like an East
Coast Jewish family where you really had
to prove yourself. I went on to Yale. I had to prove myself there. You know, all that
typical stuff– living on the East Coast, the
ideas of competition, the ideas of making
your mark, making it all happen, what, in a lot of ways,
spiritually is called doership, because it’s the small self. It’s the ego trying to take
the lead and prove its worth. So I’m not saying that there’s
anything wrong with that. However, by the time I got to
the age of 30 living that way, I had adrenal failure. And I’d become quite ill. And I write about
it in the book. And I had actually
done everything exactly the way that I
was trained to do it. And I was very ill. So at that juncture,
I had to begin to take apart what
I had been taught and go on a spiritual journey
to learn a different way to live that involved this
outrageous openness, which, really, when you get
down to is actually how to let this force
of love– it’s called different things in
different systems– the dao, or the shakti, or God,
or love, or eternity. How to let that force actually
take the lead instead of how to let the small self, the
mind, the push, the force, the “do it now,” the
“if I don’t do it, it won’t get done,” how
to let that energy lead. Which, living in a culture that
is very alpha-driven, oriented, that’s what’s rewarded. However, ultimately,
that’s what can make you, as it happened to
me, quite sick. Now, it doesn’t always
happen that the person gets physically sick, right? I mean, you can
just get overwhelmed because it’s such a burden. And the burden of
it– and this is like, it doesn’t matter even if
you’re a super person, which, in some ways, I’m figuring
anybody that works at Google is sort of a super person. Just like when I was
at Yale, everybody considered themselves
super people. And what was happening was
that the burden of doership, this idea that if you don’t
make it happen, it won’t happen, is exhausting. And so many things
have come in now. Like, I know this is the
week that people are talking about mindfulness
training, and yoga has now infiltrated the culture. I’ve done yoga for
about 20 years. However, very few people
talk– even when you’re talking about mindfulness,
or even when you’re talking about yoga,
or even when you’re talking about meditation,
very few people say, how do you actually
let go on a practical level and let anything larger
than the ego run things? How do you actually
invite this force of love or invite this great
self, this great mind? How do you do it? That’s the voyage I was on. Once I got sick and
I began to open up, I realized, there was lots
of information out there. Like, oh, you should
just surrender. You should take more vacations. You should learn to let go. But that’s not actually
what this is about. This is about the
act of invitation. And this is really what
this book is about. How do you actively
invite in the divine? I’m calling the divine love, the
dao, you can call it anything. How do you actively invite this? Almost nobody is
writing about that. So this book goes way beyond
synchronicity and coincidence. I’m saying, how do you
actually build a relationship to this force of love so that
it can begin to guide your life? Because it all sounds good. It’s like, oh, yeah,
surrender sounds great. Or letting go sounds great. But on a pragmatic
level, how do you do it? And so especially
in a culture that only rewards you
carry the burden, you make it happen,
it’s all on you, if you let, blah, blah, blah. And what I began
to find is that you can engage with
this force of love just like you would an
individual person that you are very excited to meet. You can engage with
this force of love on even the most mundane topics. And it will begin
to respond back. That great it, that
great one is sort of waiting to engage with us,
which is why Walt Whitman said in his poetry,
“the sidewalks are littered with
postcards from God.” Everywhere you go, this
force is waiting to engage. And all that it’s taking
is this act of invitation. And because it’s a culture
that’s not about invitation– those are considered
very passive things. It’s about invitation
to that force. It’s about offering
to that force. So I’ll give you an example. On my way here today,
somebody said, well, you know– I was talking
to a friend on the phone as I was driving over. And she said, well,
aren’t you worried? What if there’s a
lot of people there? Aren’t you worried? What if there’s no people there? And I said, it doesn’t matter! All the people that need to
see this, all the people that need to be in the room
are already selected. And they’re all
going to be there. That’s why whoever’s
here is here. Anybody who needs
to see the video later is all going to
see the video later. So it sounds like fatalism. But it’s really so
far beyond that. In the book, it’s a term
that I call divine selection. And some of these things
came from, originally, from a book with a really hokey
name called “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by this
writer back in the 1940s named Florence Scovel Shinn. But these ideas of divine
order, divine selection, they all tie to surrender,
because what they mean is the perfect route
is already picked. It’s really how to move with
the dao, if you know anything about– or how to
surf the wave, or how to, rather than– I have
friends that are surfers. And they’re always
saying, oh, this stuff is just like surfing. It’s not that you
don’t go in the water. It’s not that you don’t
train to be a great surfer. But once you’re in
the wave, you’re not there controlling the wave. In fact, if you try to control
the wave, you will crash. So it’s actually about how to
let go and move with things. And the way to move with them
is invitation and offering. So that’s a lot of what I’m
writing about in the book. In a way, you could say it’s
the divine feminine that’s available to everybody,
regardless of gender. You’re inviting the
force of receptivity. So for example, to go back
again to this idea of, well, aren’t you worried? Who’s going to be–
who’s gonna hear this? Is it a lot of people,
is it a little people? If it’s offered, if I think that
the talk– this talk, whatever it is– belongs to me,
the small self Tosha, that will go nowhere. But if I think–
which is honestly how I think, and it’s
what’s in the book– this is an offering
to the divine. No matter what you do, it’s
an offering to the divine if you’re in the
right head space. So whoever’s meant to
hear it will hear it, because it’s now a
gift to the divine. I love the statues where
you see the goddesses, and they just are holding the
lotus in their hands like this. Or you see the Buddha holding. Everybody is that Buddha to me. Everybody is that
goddess or that god. So you’re taking whatever it is. And it can be something
as mundane as a talk you have to go give to
your supervisor or the date that you have to go on. I love using examples like
dates or a real estate deal, because this is all the stuff
we’re told isn’t spiritual. And it’s completely spiritual. There’s no separation of
mundane and spiritual. So let’s say you take
something like you’re going to go on a date. And everything in the
culture will be like, wow, you really better look amazing. And you better wow them. Same thing, you’re going
on a job interview. Oh, you better be spectacular. All of that is the small
self controlling the show. And because it’s a culture
revering the small self, that’s everything we’re taught. Now, again, it has nothing to
do with not preparing or not making yourself however
way you are your best. But it’s that the action is
actually offered to the divine. We’ll do a meditation
on it in a little bit. But you take this burden. I’m not a big Bible person,
but the Bible talks about it directly when they say,
you cast the burden. You cast the burden
to this great self. You cast this
burden to the light or to this power of
love, whatever it is. You’re in a horrible marriage. You cast the burden of the
marriage to the divine. Or the interview, you cast
the burden, or the date. Because if you keep
going back to that idea that every single
thing we’re taught is that we have to do
it– and even when I was 12 years old, growing up
in my very driven Jewish home, there was a little
sign above my bed when I was 12 years
old that I picked– nobody made me have it. And I had a sign that
said, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. That was how I grew up. This sometimes really gets
mistaken for passivity. And it has nothing
to do with passivity. This invitation and offering
and surrender, all of which really fill this book, what
it really has to do with is letting something
greater than yourself, which is you– it’s
your high self instead of the small self, which
is filled with insecurities and fears and competition
and scarcity, and oh, my god, what if somebody
else gets my job? And what if I don’t get the
promotion I’m supposed to get? And what if somebody
takes my partner? All that is the small self. The high self, the great
self, is the one that goes, everything that’s meant
for me will always happen. There’s that quality of
destiny guiding everything, that quality of,
I’m now offering it. Once it’s offered
to this greatness, once it’s offered
to this great self that you are,
beyond all illusion that you’re only that
grasping thing that has to keep making sure
that everything that’s meant to happen
happens, once that part is no longer the identity,
then what takes over is the great self. And what was happening for me is
that even though these are not new ideas– you can go back
in scriptures from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity
in some ways, Judaism, lots of religions,
Islam, they’re really speaking about how
do you offer things over. But I’m not a religious person. I’m really a
spiritual pragmatic, a spiritual pragmatist. And so to me, it was
like, how do you do it? How do you let go
of control and begin to trust that something larger
will guide your actions? Because it’s not doing nothing. It’s offering it so that
the right actions always arise at the right time. You begin to move with the flow. That’s what it’s about. And that’s actually how
synchronicity emerges. So you can take any single
thing that you’re in and imagine, really,
whether you even think of yourself as
a spiritual person or not, you can take any single
thing you’re in– I kind of do it all day long with
everything– and say, to this force of love,
I now offer this to you. You decide, show me the way. If it’s not meant to happen
now, sometimes it’s the timing. It’s meant to happen later. If this isn’t the
right person, open me to trusting that the
right person is picked. If this isn’t the
right opportunity, open me to knowing that the
right opportunity can come. It really starts
to become, like, a general language–
not just a language. It really opens
everything into being a dance with this
divine instead of a push and a force, which,
ultimately, for me, took me to adrenal failure. And then I got better
from an acupuncturist. And this is really
how it happened. And one thing I like to
say, because I really think this is how it works, is
as you begin to live this way, this is actually a line that’s
from a great non-dualist saint named Nisargadatta
Maharaj, from India. He lived earlier in the century. He had this line where
he said, “life begins to happen for you and through
you rather than by you.” And this is it. It’s like everything we’re
taught in a culture of go, go, go, get it all, it
has to happen by us. And then here’s the problem with
having it to happen all by you, is that then you
can also lose it. Then all these things, like,
oh, get it, get it, get it, you could lose
them at any point, because the nature of this
world is so impermanent. But if you’re offering, and
you’re inviting the divine, and you’re giving it
over, and you’re saying, make me a conduit, let
everything happen through me– anybody can say this. I’m not special. I just was desperate
and had to learn how to live like this
because I got sick. When you begin to do
that, it’s just what Nisargadatta Maharaj said. Everything begins to happen
through you and for you, not by you. And not only for you. They begin to happen
for everybody else. This is the thing, is you
start to actually become a conduit for the good. In really weird ways. Like, you get on a bus, and
all of a sudden the person next to you ends
up– something you need to say to them happens. They end up being next to
you, because you say one line, and they’re like,
wow, thank you. I needed to hear that. I’m sure you’ve all
had that experience. But it begins to happen
more and more and more, because you’re actually
inviting the universe to begin to use
you as a conduit, because you’re offering
rather than saying, you have to do it
all, the small self. I’ll give you a really
funny example of that. Actually, I don’t have a watch. So I don’t even know
what time I’m on here. Might want to tell me. RACHEL O’MARA: Yeah, it’s 12:20. TOSHA SILVER: OK, perfect. Somebody reached me this week. It’s just a good example
of how to do offering, because I do it for everything. Somebody reached me this week
who has a number of books out. And it’s really
common for authors to collaborate and hook
up with each other. And so somebody
reached out to me. And I got this message. Do you want to collaborate
with this person and maybe do some
events together? Now, if I was thinking of
this from my small self, from the mind,
which is how we’re taught to think, the small self
is going, oh, I don’t know. Our writing doesn’t really
have that much in common. Now, from a
marketing standpoint, it would be, well, you
have to because there’s a big market there. And you’ll bring your
market, and she’ll bring her market,
and blah, blah. But again, when you’re offering
things to divine order, you’re not doing it
purely for marketing. And you’re not doing it even
from the small self going, oh, I don’t know if
we’d be a good fit. So what I did is I offered it. And I just said, on
a practical level, OK, god, universe,
this is yours. If it’s your idea that I’m meant
to collaborate with this woman, make it clear. I’m open. If it’s supposed to happen, yes. If it’s not a good
idea, let it go. So about 20 minutes
after I did this, I open up the “San Francisco
Chronicle” or the “Weekly,” and here’s this story
with Elvis Costello. And Elvis– you
know, the musician. And he’s talking
exactly in this story about how he’s had to
learn– he’s, like, written between
400 and 500 songs. And even though he really comes
from a background of rock, he’s learned how to
collaborate with almost anyone, because his feeling is, this
is how you really learn. But at the same time,
he said, but the key to collaborating with
anybody is knowing you never have to
lose who you are. So his thing is he’ll
basically collaborate with the San Francisco Symphony. He’ll collaborate
with jazz musicians. He’ll do anything
as long as he knows, I don’t care what
they think of me, and I don’t have to
modulate my own message. Then, anybody– it’s
a kind of fertility comes, because you’re not
changing your essence. And I knew in that moment–
because I had, to be honest, never opened up a newspaper
with an article from anybody about why you should
collaborate with people. It was crazy. And there’s Elvis Costello. So it was like, in that
message, I knew in that moment, you should say
yes to this woman. You know, that my fear
was coming from the place that I would have to lose the
purity or the essence of what my work was about and
somehow accommodate her work. And he’s saying,
oh, absolutely not. I’ll go work with the
San Francisco Symphony, and I just come as
a rock musician. And then we have
this great dynamic of bringing together
these different worlds. Anyway, it’s the kind of
thing that happens for me and can happen really for
you, for anybody all day long. Because as you’re
taking something, say, like, a simple
question, do I collaborate with somebody who
I’m not so sure I want to? I could have opened
the paper and I could have gotten a
message that said no. No, don’t. Because that equally can happen. It’s like, each case
is so different. And then you end up not having
to come from just a stock response that says, oh, yeah,
I don’t know about that. Let’s just say no, I’m scared. Or yes, I better
say yes to anything, because every
opportunity is needed. You start to be able
to respond to each case because it’s offered
to the divine. So I’ll say one last thing. It’s actually a
story from the book. I truly think that this
energy, this force of love is always trying to interact. And one of the stories
that I have in here– I have a friend who’s very
cynical about this stuff. And we’re very,
very good friends. So he’s actually fun
to hang out with, because he’s always
making fun of me. And so he teaches
economics at a university. And he’s always
teasing this idea of inviting this
force of the divine. So in the story, I’m
asking him, I’m saying, OK, you want to
make fun of this. But haven’t you ever had
this experience where you feel like something
greater is clearly trying to get your attention? And so he told me the
story that’s in the book that when he was
in college, he had a roommate that he was close to. And one night, the roommate went
out to a party or something. And it was a big snowstorm. And sometime by
midnight, the roommate still hadn’t come back. And my brother
Michael went to sleep. And by 3:00 in the
morning, all of a sudden he woke up with a
start, realizing the guy didn’t come back. But he’s hearing this voice
in his head screaming, Michael, come find
me, come find me! And there’s nobody in the room. So he thinks he’s going nuts. So he gets in his car. He’s just operating
on automatic, which I think many of you
have had that experience. The great self takes over. It’s the example. The small self is useless. He’s going on automatic,
getting in the car. And he just starts
driving, half asleep. And he ends up
about a quarter mile down the road in the
middle of a snowstorm finding his roommate plowed into
a snow bank, drunk, and stuck. So he gets him out,
gets him in his own car, gets him back to the room. So he’s telling me
this whole story. Like, OK, that happened,
but I made that go away. What I said to him
is, how could you have an experience
like that and not have some curiosity to
want to open up to more? Some force sent you
that message that screamed your name while
you were in this room. He said, look, if I
opened up to that, I’d have to change
my whole life. Everything I’ve done
has been to just have my small self take the
lead and go, go, go, go, go, and claw my way up. He goes, if I open to this idea
that there is this force that knew somehow, clairsentience,
clairaudience, whatever you want
to call it, let a guy who’s a quarter mile
away scream in my ear, I’d have to rethink everything. So I love that. Because you kind of
go, you don’t really have to rethink everything. All you actually have to do is
put out the barest invitation to say, hm, maybe you’d like
to interact with me more. Maybe I can invite you to
run the rest of my work day. Maybe I can invite you to take
over the relationship I’m in. Maybe I can invite
you to show me what the next steps are that you
want to have happen in my life. It’s like, it really starts–
and then, believe me, it becomes second nature. It becomes, I
can’t even imagine. Like, somebody said
to me, oh, where are you going to live next? I’ve been talking about
I might be moving. And I said, oh, I’ve
offered it over, and I’ll be shown where
I’m going to live next. And again, I was
saying it to somebody who doesn’t think this way. And he’s like,
well, that’s novel. And I was like, no, no. Because if you
offer it genuinely, and you’re saying the highest,
most right place for you to live is already
selected, and you’ll be guided in the perfect
time and the perfect way, this is so different than
thinking your small self has to run around like a lunatic
figuring out what that place is or what that home is. You’re offering it, then you’ll
be shown the right action. So I’m really not
here to convince you, because I think if you
take it on as a game– this is how I really advise people
do it, with the book as well. If you try this
as an experiment, say, for three weeks, to
start living like this, you may be very, very
surprised by what unfolds. Because for a lot of
people, all you have to do is unlock the door. You don’t have to open it. You just have to turn the key
in the lock in the barest way. And maybe we can do
a short meditation. And I’ll just get you started. Because you can
feel how to do it. Although, you don’t even have
to do this in meditation. So just focusing on your breath. And taking in a deep
inhale and a deep exhale. Breathing in deeply
and breathing out. And I’d like you just to bring
into your mind something that’s a big burden right
now, some issue that you’re really carrying,
that the small self is carrying. Whether it’s another person, a
job, a family issue, a health issue, anything. And I’d like you to imagine
that you can take that issue and offer it just as if
your hands were cupped. And you are giving a
present over to a friend. That there is some force of
love, kind of eternal dao, this great wave of energy
that holds everything, that you can offer just like
a gift, that burden over. You may even feel,
as you do that, as if a certain weight
is leaving your body. Whatever this thing
is, it’s so exhausting that as it’s offered, a
certain lightness comes in. And that this force perhaps
has been waiting all this time to take it off your hands and
show you, in the right time and in the right way,
the actions to take. And just feel for a moment as if
it now belongs– that problem, that weight now truly belongs
to this force of love. It’s no longer yours. The perfect solution, whatever
it is, is already selected and will be shown. It’s completely offered. You might even feel a deep
breath coming into your body that you can just deeply
exhale as you give it over. No longer needs
to belong to you. Whatever the highest
resolution is, you’ve now created space
for this great force to carry the energy
and show you the way. And as you’re ready,
you can slowly come out. And bringing that
awareness with you. So you can offer things
over as much as you want. When it’s a topic that’s
really loaded for me, and because I have a kind
of obsessive frame of mind sometimes, I’ve offered
it 100 times in a day. You know? Because the training
of the brain is, oh, this is your problem. You have to solve this. You better solve it. You better solve it. A lot of times, that
isn’t what solves things. But the offering creates
synchronicity in a way that almost nothing
else can, because you’re making the room for
the solutions to come. Sometimes what you’re
shown is you really have to work your butt off. And you’re shown the actions. So it’s not passivity. But sometimes what you’re
shown is do nothing for now. Wait. It’s not honored in this
culture to do nothing and wait. Everything is go, go, go,
get it, get it, get it. But sometimes you could
feel that when you offer it, the message you get is nothing. Wait. Be still. It’s not time yet. That’s the beauty of this. You start to be able to move
the same way the seasons move or the same way animals
even know how to move. We just get a little
confused, as people, I think, because that’s how we’re taught. Anyway. And I think if
you read the book, you’ll get a much deeper
sense of how to do this, because it’s really
part of our birthright to reclaim that ability to
offer and invite and receive, bring solutions that sometimes
almost nothing else can. Also, it reminds you
who you actually are, which is not the small self. It’s the great self. Anyone. So I’d love to open
this to questions, too, because that’s fun. If you have any. AUDIENCE: So if you’re doing
this and you read the book, how do you practice this? Is there any way to get
support in doing this? TOSHA SILVER: Yeah. One of the things that
happened on the website– I have a website that you
probably can see on the book. But it’s And one of the things that
we created on the website were courses and ways for people
to learn how to practice this. Because again, very
little in the culture says to think this way. So especially if you go on to
the website in the near future, we have a forum starting that
is basically a way that anybody can join and work with support,
and answering questions, and it’s sort of an
intentional community online for learning how to
let the divine take the lead. Because it takes practice. It really is like
developing a muscle. It’s almost like
developing a dormant part of the brain, the
part of the brain that rules surrender,
openness, invitation, offering. And yet knowing
that that’s actually where a lot of the most
inspired action comes from. So yeah, if you
go to the website, there’s a forum starting
in about two weeks. There’s a new course
on outrageous openness that Simon & Schuster
just put together that is good basics of how to
follow the ideas in the book. So there’s help. AUDIENCE: Let’s say I,
just like your friend– like, it sounds interesting. I’m open to this idea. But I just feel like
it’s not for me, and I’m not sure I
believe in the divine. It’s not something I
really feel rooted in. If I were to just
say, how would I know if that’s just coincidence? Or why should I try
this if I’m happy, if I’m doing what I do, and
it’s all working for me already? What would you
say to me or those that think along those lines? TOSHA SILVER: Yeah. Well, the good thing
is despite the fact that I come from a
family with six rabbis, I’m actually not an evangelist
for this way of living. What I would say
is if you’re really happy with the way your
life is, don’t use this. I’m getting this message
to really the people that sense something lacking. And I think that everybody’s
in a different place. So if you get a message
inside– I think also part of the problem is that
words like “god” and “divine” really trigger some people. And I write about
it in the book. Because actually,
what’s really funny is this book has a fan base
among atheists and agnostics, because you don’t actually
have to use the word “god.” I have somebody else that I
know, and he’s always saying, oh, I don’t believe
in any of this. And I said to him, imagine
that the same force that makes a tree grow– you
really can’t say you don’t believe in trees. Something is making
that tree grow. Something is keeping a
bird aflight in a way that– what I did with
him, and it’s funny because he lives this way, too. And he was about as
skeptical as you can get. What I’d really
say to anybody is, if you have no interest
in this, don’t do it. Doesn’t matter to me. If it’s sparking something
in you, that’s how you know. You get that place
inside of you that goes, this is speaking to
something in my heart that’s an undeveloped part
of this culture. Now, it’s not for everybody. But if you feel that, then
what I’ll say to people is, try it as an experiment. If you really feel
that skeptical but you have a
curiosity– curiosity is a beautiful thing–
try it as an experiment. You don’t even have to
know who that force is that you’re inviting. Because to me, there’s
a great line that says, “the god that atheists
don’t believe in never existed anyway.” So that’s how I see this. It’s not this idea of
the god in some sky with a long beard
issuing orders. It’s a force of love. Most people believe
in love somewhere, because they’ve
experienced love somewhere. So what this is
actually about is inviting in that force
of love as an experiment and beginning to offer
pragmatically things to it. AUDIENCE: Do you
think that people who practice living
their life in this way, that they ultimately
end up making decisions and living their life in a way
which is for the greater good? I was thinking
about the examples you were giving
about the business deal or the contract
or the– and I was just trying to imagine, if you
were asking for the divine to lead the way,
then I don’t know, I just felt like
I had a revelation that it seemed like then
that it would be always, whatever you did, would
be for the good of all, because you wouldn’t
make decisions that would be somehow hurtful. TOSHA SILVER: Yeah. I love that question, actually. Because I have had
examples of that. Since the book came
out, there’s just been all these
thousands of letters that have come from
all over the place with kind of crazy
examples of people that were beginning to
live this stuff. And this woman
wrote me just that. And she said that she had
taken a job that she really didn’t like, because she
was getting paid really, really well and the
perks were great. And that as she started
to use the book, the book isn’t
saying, quit your job. And it’s not saying,
stay with your job. It’s saying, invite this force
of love to show you the way. So what happened for her was it
really– once she offered over and she was like, do you want
me to keep this job or not, the message started to
come again and again. Wow, you are
miserable in that job, no matter how much
money you’re making. It was an inescapable
message for her. And so she just wrote me. She said, in the end, she took
her savings– she had a lot. She opened a boutique. And it was something
she never would have had the courage to do,
because she would have thought her friends thought a
boutique was ridiculous. And she’s really happy. So it wasn’t like she
was hurting anybody by having that job. But she was hurting herself. And I think what
you’re talking about, it expands out in a lot
of different dimensions. Because the way we’re taught
to think is, what do I want? How do I go get it? It’s very different. Even when you’re
looking at books like “The Secret,” that some
people might be familiar with. And the whole focus is, how
do I manifest what I want? This is very different. This is saying, I’m inviting
in the great self that lives inside everybody,
not the guy in the sky, but this force of
love, and saying, you show me the highest,
most inspired actions. I think you’re right. Over time, the more
you’re aligning with that, the more people are benefiting. There’s a really
good line from Hafez, the Sufi poet some
people may know. And he said, “be the person
that everybody’s luck changes when you walk in the room.” And I don’t think you have
to go be some saint in Persia to live like that. I think anybody can
live like that once you stop thinking just, how does
my small self go get everything at once? And you’re actually
thinking, how do I offer this over to be
shown what actions to take? If that’s an idea
that intrigues you, I would just say,
go play with it. That’s all. AUDIENCE: This is
more of a comment and a request more
than a question. So I’ve read the book,
given it to lots of people. Don’t know if they’ve read it. But a comment is– the
request is could you talk more about the format of the book
and the inspiration for that? And the comment is,
the format of the book really worked so well for me. It’s two-, three-, four-page
little anecdotal stories based on your life, on the
stories of your friends. I think they were
excerpts from columns that you used to write in
the “San Francisco Examiner.” And so sometimes I tell
people, like, open the book. Just pick it up. Whatever you open to is perfect. You can read a
little bit at a time. For me, each story, because
it’s about real life and real people,
it’s entertaining. I could sit with it. And the message sometimes
would appear to me immediately. Or I would sit with it, and
it’s just a really cool format. So I just wanted to say
that and ask you maybe if you could speak
about it a bit. TOSHA SILVER: Yeah. I love that you’re saying
this thing about this joke that the book is an oracle. And I’ll say this to people. I’ll say, it’s not a book
you have to read start to finish like a
conventional book. You can have a question, and
you can simply say, you know, what I need to know about
right now about my landlady. And then you just open it up. And it’s really kind
of fabulous that way, because you can get– in a
sense, you could use any book. You could go use a phone
book that way, too. You could use anything. But this book has
a certain alignment with using it that way. And the other thing, I think,
about what you’re saying is that it kind of goes back to
what Rachel was saying earlier. People come to this
book when they’re ready. That’s why I don’t believe
in twisting anybody’s arm. When somebody’s ready for
it, they’re like on fire. And I get these letters
from all over the world. And they’re like,
I started the book. I’ve destroyed my
life now, because I missed two days of work. I did nothing but read it. I’m completely obsessed with it. I went and I bought 40
copies for everybody I know. There’s that kind of person. Then there’s somebody else who
reads it, and they’re like, I don’t relate. And I’m like, that’s OK. And then somebody else
says, I picked up the book. I read two pages. It wasn’t my thing. A year went by. Oh, my god, a year later,
I can’t stop reading it. Because they went through
an inner revolution that made their soul hungry for
what the message of the book was. Or somebody else
writes, and they’ll say, going back to what you
just asked, they’ll say, somebody gave me this book. It’s an interesting book. A lot of people give
it to their exes. Like, here, I want
you to evolve. Here’s this book. And it’s like, screw you,
I’m not reading this book. So somebody said, my
ex-husband gave me this book. And I thought it was
sort of witty and funny and a good time. Thanks for writing it. Then they write me a year later. And they’re like, oh,
my god, I read it again. I actually read it
three more times. I understand what
you’re doing now. It’s not just witty,
funny stories. You’re actually showing people
how to hand their lives over to a force greater
than themselves and how to let a force
of love guide things so that the burden that
the ego’s always carrying doesn’t have to
struggle like this. But for some people that write,
they’re reading it three times. And then they’re ready. So I kind of love that. It’s like movies that you
like, sometimes you see them, they keep meeting
you wherever you are? I mean, “Groundhog
Day” is even that way. I kind of love that crazy movie. And each time you see it, you
see a different piece of it. So that’s what I
say to people is it comes to you
when you’re ready. Go experiment with it. And it will meet
you where you are. AUDIENCE: I just have one other
comment, question to make. And it reminds me of
just the whole control issue, and how much
are you willing to let go of your own control of
your life, whatever it is, or your aspect, or
this certain question. And it’s hard. Everybody wants to control. I know I want to have
say in what I’m doing. That is my goal sometimes. And if I don’t, it’s
a freak-out moment, or I don’t want to be there. It gets resistance. Even the simplest
way, I would say it’s like an example of control. It’s an experiment of
control, if nothing else. TOSHA SILVER: Yes. And it’s a good
point because what I would call it is the
illusion of control in the first place, the absolute
and utter illusion of control that the culture indoctrinates
into us moment after moment, that we’re actually
making everything happen from the
place of the ego. And in fact, that’s what any
good surfer will tell you. I mean, I got so influenced by
this very good female friend of mine who’s a
wonderful surfer. And she’s like, this is
like a surfing treatise, because any surfer
worth their weight knows how to go into the ocean. You can develop all the skills. It’s not saying, don’t get
good at what you’re doing. But you ultimately only
become a great surfer when you know how to
let go into the wave. And so that’s actually
what this is about. It’s that there’s this
illusion of control. You’re not letting go into
something outside yourself that wants to hurt you. That’s, again, the illusion
of a culture that, I think, is maybe teaching fundamentalist
religious ideas of a divine. But when you’re starting to
talk about a force of love, what you’re letting go into
is your highest good. And so the best thing
I can say about it is that if you approach
it as a playful experiment as opposed to this big,
heavy thing– like, oh, how can I go force
myself to let go? But you’re taking it as
a playful experiment. Like, oh, here’s this issue,
and I keep trying to control it. Let me playfully offer
it over to the divine and see what happens. I have a second
book, by the way, that’s coming out in May
from Simon & Schuster. And it’s called
“Change Me Prayers.” And it’s a continuation
of these ideas, because it’s going along with
what Rachel’s bringing up, that you can actually
do prayers that invite the divine to shift you. So if you’re somebody
who’s always saying, I have to control
everything, I freak out if I don’t control everything,
it’s another invitation. You can actually say, help
me shift into allowing things to occur in the way that’s
for the highest good. Because it’s the reiteration
over and over of, oh, I’m a control
freak, oh, I freak out, that keeps telling the small
self that that’s the truth. But all of this is about what
happens when the invitation is made to begin to make
these things safe. I kind of love Brene Brown’s
work on vulnerability. People are familiar with it? And it’s very
similar, very similar, from a different
perspective but compatible, where you’re saying what happens
when you begin to make yourself vulnerable to a force of love,
not just something that wants to harm you, but to a force
that actually wants your highest good. RACHEL O’MARA: Thank you, Tosha. TOSHA SILVER: Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

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