Sometimes the Universe pushes us in directions and places, puts an experience in front of us, sits us down, and says "Let's talk about this."
And in that moment we have 2 choices. We can resist it. Fight to keep ourselves upright and stable. Protect our hearts from the discomfort rising up out of fear that it may be swept away.
Or…we can let go.
We can allow the rush of experience to fully enter into our awareness and flow with the rapid, chaotic energy that swirls us around like a dance. A dance of destruction that rips apart all that keeps us separated from the essence of peace. We can surrender.
Such a powerless concept. Images of giving-up and giving-in are triggered by the thought of the word. Failure, defeat…other words that we’ve come to associate with the idea of surrender. But how ironic that the act of surrender takes more strength than most of us can muster on any given day.
Contemplate this for a moment. Most of our waking focus is spent fighting to keep ourselves out of discomfort. We fight to maintain happiness. We fight to maintain health. And then in turn we fight one another because we think that other people are responsible for our peace.
And this is why we think of surrender as an act of powerlessness. Because through all of this fighting, we exhaust ourselves. We push and push against the perception of what threatens us until the moment of complete exhaustion. And in that moment, when what we have resisted for so long has grown to surround us, we lower our guard and experience the spontaneous release of surrender. And this is the only time we experience it, and so the only association we have with the concept.
But the true definition of surrender is to “cease resistance”, which in relation to an experience or life is more accurately defined as acceptance. And acceptance is synonymous with receiving. So by surrender, I open myself to receive. Now to open ourselves to an experience we fear, an experience of discomfort…now that takes great strength.
It’s the same as two people in a conflict taking the time to talk it out. It takes great strength not to try and power through someone else’s point of view. To get to know each other and understand each other…to listen. Ask yourself how easy is it to truly listen in a conflict? To not just hear the words of a conversation, but to know the other person’s heart? It’s not easy to lower our guard. Especially when we think that the world is threatening our peace. “How can I just let things happen and do nothing while the world threatens to take everything away?”
But to surrender doesn’t mean we do nothing. We can never not do anything. Time is the great reminder of that, as it continuously moves us forward. No, surrender means we stop the doing that arises out of fear. To let go of the reactions that come from our fears of what we perceive threatens our peace. Fear is what drives our resistance.
When we stop reacting out of fear, we start acting with purpose. And this is what surrender means.
Ask yourself how deep do I let fear run my life? It’s not easy. It’s actually a scary thought.
It takes a great deal of courage to honestly examine the depths to which we hold our fears. And not just hold them, but hide them.
When we let go of our resistance to life, we enable ourselves to fully immerse in its magic. And the quality of that experience, that dance, changes. It takes on a softness. And the path becomes more clear, less abrupt. Because we’re not resisting the flow. We’re allowing it to carry us. And when you find yourself in that place of surrender, in the bosom of life, there emerges a feeling of deep peace. And the realization that peace was there for us all along. We just had to stop kicking and screaming to see it.
It doesn’t take away the challenge. But we know that growth only happens through challenge. So challenge is good. But only when we accept the challenge can we start spending our energy on becoming better. On becoming more…more loving…more compassionate…more understanding…more courageous…more authentic. This can only happen through opening ourselves up the the gifts of those challenges. By surrendering to them.
And there’s a simple way to start doing this right now. We can start by shifting our perspective on the challenges in our life. By asking, “What is this trying to teach me?” instead of “Why is this happening?” And if you don’t get an answer right away, that’s ok. Just notice your reaction to what is happening. Notice your impatience. These are the places where you may be reacting out of fear. And just see how deep that fear is rooted into the perception of your decision making.
And then a magical thing happens. As we let go of that resistance, we stop the reactions that are arising out of fear, there opens up a door. A new path that we didn’t see before. And to be on this path, we don’t have to do anything. It’s just there and we are on it and we can feel it’s movement and it’s gentleness, and most importantly…it’s purpose. And in the blink of an eye, it washes over us…peace. And it may not last long, as our fears continue to rise up through our persistent impatience, but we know. We know that peace is there. And always has been. And our fears become a little bit smaller and easier to manage. Still there, but they don’t have the same control as before. Because we have sipped from the cup of peace. We know it’s warmth. And we know how to get there…surrender.