What Does It Mean To Surrender?
I have found that there is often confusion when it comes to the idea of surrendering. In fact, it has taken me awhile to really understand what it means to surrender. One common mistake is to believe that it means to give up — as if surrendering is a free pass to just live life passively. I like to think of surrendering as allowing. As we become intimate with life, there is a trusting relationship that arises.
Through my spiritual work, I have strengthened my relationship with God. Not everyone identifies with a God so feel free to substitute life, higher power, spirit, universe or whatever resonates with you. If we are committed to living a purposeful and meaningful life, it is vital to have a trusting relationship with a power bigger than ourselves. As our trust is strengthened, we learn to let go of the reigns and allow life to unfold, knowing that we are 100% supported.
Through practice, we can train ourselves to let go of the “should have’s” or “what if’s” or “could have’s” that take up way too much of our mental space. Our suffering comes from our inability to see life as is. Our fixations on how we think life should be distracts us from the life that actually is. We have also been trained to take everything personally. As we become aware of our ongoing mental narrative, we shed light on the fact that we are the stars of our inner movie and we have the tendency to see everything happening to us.
What would it feel like to experience life without expectation but yet feel wonder and deep support? How freeing would it be to not make everything about you? To actually feel like you are cared for so deeply like a mother cares for her child?
I have found that there is a balance to surrendering. It takes practice to understand the difference between passively waiting for life to happen and to controlling life and its outcomes. We want to continually take steps in the direction of our highest good yet at the end of the day surrender the outcome to a higher power. For example, I have been doing a lot of training in mindfulness/conscious living. I have been actively participating, showing up and changing the course of my life.
However, I have encountered some roadblocks along the way. Over time, I have learned to trust in God and have a deep knowing that if a door doesn’t open then it just isn’t my door and I will patiently wait for my doors as I keep learning and growing.
We don’t have to like all that life is presenting to us. Our job is not to judge life or even to try to figure it out at times. It is our job to meet life where it is even if it is difficult. There is so much suffering in this world. If we can be with the suffering and not judge it, wish it away, or deny it, we will find that compassion and strength arises. No matter what our situation, we can find refuge in a higher power that is continually with us and holding each of us dearly.
So to surrender means to continually take action but at the end of the day allow life to unfold and have faith in our own potential and faith in God. We can find gratitude in all situations; even ones that we don’t think “went the way we wanted.” For every experience is an opportunity. We do our best to try to control, resist, and deny the things in life that we don’t want. If we surrender, that means allowing all things not just the “good.” We can’t cherry pick what we will allow. To live consciously means to experience life as it is and trust the process. We will be led to live a life bigger than our wildest dreams if we take the leap and know we will be caught.
What are you resisting in life? How can you practice surrendering?