Pause – Yield – Choose: Your Three Powers for Happiness and Vitality

Copyright 2006 Tom Russell

When I was a young man of seventeen I learned to fly airplanes. My first flight as a student pilot taught the value of the PAUSE.

On my very first lesson the instructor put me at the controls. Great tension possessed me as we lifted off and I wrestled the plane up to an altitude of a few thousand feet. All of a sudden Wally said to me, “Tom, the airplane was made to fly itself. Relax. Cooperate with it.”

For the first time in the flight I noticed my state. I was gripping the controls with everything I had. I was gritting my teeth. I was a wreck but was completely unaware of it until Wally had me PAUSE.

The PAUSE brings you back home to your released state. It returns you to the natural flow of life that “flies itself.” Strain and struggle are replaced by easy taps on the controls. You and daily life work in harmony to produce spiritual flight.

Here’s how to apply the pause: Simply let go and know where you are. Often a deep breath arrives to refresh you. See as much as possible about your present state and the world around you. Be aware of both your environment and yourself as an integral part of it. Hold this new state for as long as you can.

The Power to YIELD

Picture a man walking a path to the top of a high mountain. At a certain point a small boulder comes crashing toward him. Stunned, he reaches down with both arms and stops the boulder. It jars him terribly. A moment later another boulder heads his way. He does the same thing. But with the approach of the third boulder a new and higher idea comes to him. At the last moment he simply STEPS ASIDE. He YIELDS. The boulder passes right by.

This is how we can deal with difficult and obnoxious people. They are on the prowl for a fight and when you don’t give it to them they fall forward from their own momentum. It is amazing how powerless difficult people become when you consciously let them win. They are so ready to fight!

More importantly, YIELD is how to heal emotional hurts and conflicts that often lie deep in the mind. You are the calm spark of awareness that sees the turmoil without entering it or manipulating it or demanding that it go away. Release your efforts to handle them. Let them run their course and go where they want to go while you seek insight and understanding into precisely what is happening.

As author Vernon Howard so beautifully said once, “The problem is not the thought; the problem is the thought about the thought.” Mental gymnastics are powerless to relieve deep-seated pains. It is the Light itself that heals us, not machinations of the mind. The spirit knows precisely where to go and what to do. No mistake, no blunder, no grief is too much for it. Life with a capital “L” has an amazing power to renew itself if allowed to work without interference.

The Power to CHOOSE

To choose is to refuse to catch the ropes thrown at you from every direction. For example, people often throw negative ropes by their facial expressions and by their quick little remarks. The TV itself is a giant rope-tossing machine. But the power all of these rope tossers possess derives from one thing: YOUR DECISION TO CATCH THEIR ROPES! You can choose in favor of yourself. You can stay in your own intelligent zone of independence and free flowing energy by letting the ropes fall right to the ground.

It was a great relief to me when I realized that a large part of my problem was my demand that rope tossers stop tossing ropes at me. I finally understood that they are never going to stop. The ropes they throw are a result of the life-level they inhabit. The people who run the media are never going to stop. Sleeping people who have no interest in self-development are going to spend their entire lives tossing ropes. It was my demand that they stop that created anguish.

Most importantly, I can choose to refuse the thought ropes thrown within my own mind. Guilt, anger, worry — these are all thought ropes that linger in our minds because we catch them. What a pleasure to see a tossed rope that says something like, “You’ll never make it, you’re too old to change, you had your chance but missed it” and simply let it fall into nothingness.


PAUSE, YIELD, CHOOSE are never contradictory because they are three different powers that you can use at different times. Sometimes it’s best to work with YIELD. Other times it’s more profitable to turn your attention toward a refusal to catch ropes. When things are hectic remember the PAUSE. But at a higher level these powers combine into one dynamic force. As your skill grows in their application you’ll find that they fit together and work in perfect harmony. Your awareness of their existence guarantees their development.