The fine art of non effort and working with your spirit


Sometimes we humans are excellent at making things seem harder than those things need to be.

One reason we do this is because we’re trying to control the situation, perhaps so others won’t compete with us? Our big show of effort becomes a sleight of hand, designed to throw others off our trail.

If it looks that hard to do, will you even try? Do you believe you’re worthy to give it a try at all? What if you fail? Can you embrace non effort?

Some people decide to try anyway. They don’t effortlessly succeed the first time they attempt to achieve something, especially if that particular thing requires practice and experience, like playing the violin or riding a skateboard. They know that if they keep making an effort, showing up and practicing, they might get somewhere.

They could get really good at doing this thing they want to do, and then others will look to them as doing this effortlessly. Except. Except that it took years of putting the effort in to get there. That’s the part we don’t see when we compare ourselves to the expert, and find ourselves lacking, which is when we go into effort.

Being in effort is different from Making an effort.

Do you have to be in effort to create what you want? Ask yourself: do you have permission to do the thing you want to do? If you think you need it from somewhere outside of you, you’ll go directly into effort. If you give it to yourself, you’ll be able to make an effort without feeling like it’s too hard for you to continue.

This is you the spirit giving yourself the permission, and if you do this, you can’t fail. Even if you don’t quite achieve what you set out to do, you’ll still have an amazing adventure, and may even create something bigger and better than you’d originally thought was possible. This is all because you decided to listen to your spirit. Connect with yourself in a positive way and work from non-effort.

What puts you in effort?

Doing something that you don’t want to do will create a drag on your energy levels every time. This isn’t about being lazy and avoiding something you need to do, this is about letting go of the things you are simply done with. When you don’t have any energy left for an old activity, job, or relationship, it takes a lot of effort to keep it going. You’ll be in effort as a result.

Sometimes resistance is the reason for effort, as in you’re not ready to take that step forward yet, so you go directly into effort. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00, etc., until you’ve done it the hard way.

Overthinking, as in when you sense, intuit, or know a simpler way, and you don’t follow up on your hunch because your thinking mind takes over and insists it must be harder than this. ‘How can it be that easy?’ your reasoning mind asks, reflecting your own beliefs about how it ‘should’ be.

Maybe you need it to be difficult so that you can prove something to yourself, as in “Aren’t I amazing, I just did this most difficult thing?’. In other words, you’re a little bit invalidated and have something to prove to you.

Doubting yourself will put you into effort every time. You may have learned this behavior as a child watching how grown-ups did things. Did the grown-ups around you work from a place of effort, or non-effort? Don’t blame them, figure this one out for yourself and choose your own path. Maybe you can choose non-effort and influence others to do the same by your example.

Needing everything to be perfect all the time will create resistance, fear, and lots of effort. When I was in art school, I learned the value of experimenting. An experiment is never a failure, it’s an experiment. Yet we expect ourselves to perform perfectly in our lives without giving ourselves the space we need to properly experiment.

Some people are martyrs. If they put on a show about how hard it was to accomplish something, they get to be bigger martyrs, and therefore, win. To them, all that effort makes what they are attempting to do more real, and therefore, more valuable.

Not knowing what you want can put you into a space of effort. This can often coincide with being unconscious about who you are and what you’re doing. If you find yourself here, know that it’s time to do your own spiritual work.

Running yourself ragged, and then trying to squeeze more out of you = effort.

Hanging out with people who always seem to do things the hard way will put you in a space of effort. Those who need to learn everything in the most painful difficult manner will drag you down. They will continue to do this as long as they choose to, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait around and watch, or worse, match to their effort. Someone who needs to be in effort all the time will not be validating for your spiritual effortlessness.

Do yourself a favor and decide you can create effortlessly.

On the other hand, there are those who seem to have the fine art of non-effort down. They operate more quietly, or seemingly without trying too hard. They make it look easy. Yes, they may have years more experience than you do right now, but no matter. They weren’t always this experienced, they had to learn the fine art of non-effort too.

If you’ve ever seen a great magician perform, you’ve already witnessed non-effort. Magicians do not wow their audiences by making what they do seem difficult. After all, it’s magic they’re doing, and magic just happens, right? The same is true for a brilliant musician, a fluid dancer, an actor performing. You are not watching these people thinking about how much effort they are in, you’re wowed by their ability to do what they do.

The secret is that each one is accessing their spirit in order to create what they create. You know the difference between an unsuccessful flat performance versus one that is magical. Often the reason for the ‘bad’ performance is that the performer wasn’t in his truth, or fully available, or being herself. Yes, he or she needed lots of rehearsals and preparation time, but equally important is bringing spirit along to the performance.

Here’s a secret: your spirit is not in effort. When you work from spirit, effort doesn’t apply. In fact, it gets in your way.

  • ©Kris Cahill
    ‘Abstract Background’ on Morguefile