Reflections on the Law of Least Effort

butterfly cocoon XSmallThe spiritual Law of Least Effort states that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease.  When we watch the ebb and flow of the tide, experience the sweetness of a magnolia in full bloom, or witness night ceding to day, we don’t see nature straining or “trying” to make anything happen.

There is a scene in Zorba the Greek in which Zorba encounters a butterfly attempting to come out from a cocoon. Because it is not moving along as fast as he would like, Zorba breathes his warm breath on it, hastening its emergence. To his horror, he realizes the butterfly’s wings are crumpled, and it does not have the strength to open them. It dies in his hands as a result of his impatience. This poignant lesson reminds us to allow our lives to unfold naturally. It reminds us to trust that what emerges next is the expression of sublime evolutionary creativity.

With love,
David Simon

The Seven Spiritual Laws are powerful principles that you can use to fulfill your deepest desires with grace and ease. Each month in the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter – Agni – you can learn more about the keys to creating more happiness, fulfillment, and balance in your life. Each issue contains articles from Deepak Chopra and David Simon, as well as practical guidance on getting into the best mind-body shape of your life.  Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

  1. I have seen a number of monarchs in my garden have a hard time “coming out”, its not all that uncommon. When they do emerge, with or without help, their wings are still crumpled. Though personally I have never intervened, just watched. It seems the struggle comes from their wings being malformed, not in that they were helped or not. There is an ease to “coming out” with wings that are perfectly formed. All this to say, to my horror, some butterflys dont physically develop perfectly and die soon after they emerge but with lengthy struggle. Because a butterfly is meant to fly and it cant and there is nothing I can ever do. This is what I find hard to except in life. I wish I could see it differently.

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  2. As a person that worries a lot about picking the right thing to do, the right decision or choice, this couldn’t be more helpful to hear. If I sit back and let things unfold the way they should it might be the easier way instead of fighting to move forward. I must let go and stop controlling everything that may not be in my control in the first place.

    Thank you for your thoughts David!

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  3. Patience and willingness are what I need to practice every day.

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  4. O Breath!
    You come when I hear
    words
    that reach into my soul
    caressing

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  5. I have often observed in my life that when I try hard enough to achieve something, it tends to move even far away and a fear creeps in but when I simply sit back…I see it all happening.
    so it’s very rightly said that “the evil in human desire is not the desire itself but human struggle over it.”

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  6. It seems like trusting in the unknown is the key to all the spiritual laws. I get closer to having this trust everytime I meditate.

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  7. When we understand and love nature – we will aid it to grow in healthier ways. When we don’t understand and love nature, we are bound to harm it and harm ourselves.

    The Law of least effort therefore comes into play only when we understand and love nature. Not when we do not understand and love it.

    We are always performing some actions and always interacting with nature – and therefore – interfering with its functioning. We are an integral part of Nature. So, we can’t help it. No live being can help it.

    But, when we adhere to the Law of least effort – we are very relaxed – and enjoying our life – which is very limited in time.

    Buddha said smilingly – each person is clinging to his piece of debris.

    We do not want to part with our piece of debris (our properties, possessions, people, intelligence and so on) – until we becomes debris our self. The Law of least effort is – let go the “sense of possession” of all this debris. We will still be performing all actions – but we will be enjoying them a lot more.

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  8. Effortless and easy, it is our human nature to be in bliss. There is no choice when you realize and acknowledge that happiness is a state of mind that you can choose. Like the song: Don’t Worry~Be Happy! To me, there is no other way to live. I am transformed, transmuting fate into unknown destiny, unconcerned about the outcome, everything becomes effortless when I choose happiness.

    What a gift life is~www.deborahshemesh.com for in-spirit-nation. United we flow.

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  9. I LOVE Butterflies! They represent “newness of life” to me. I hope to reincarnate as a butterfly when my Spirit returns to eternity.

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  10. I work for a hospice and we have butterfly releases of Monarchs for our children’s grief camp and outdoor memorial services. It’s awesome!!

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