The Art of Surrender
I spent years learning the art of surrender. It was my initiation. It is part of me now, like blood and bone.
But it’s not an easy thing to teach. Surrender is deeply personal, deeply intuitive.
If you are on a spiritual path you will have many dances with surrender and yours will never be the same as someone else’s. You will have to listen to your own guidance to know the way to go.
On this journey, there are many things you will have to learn such as resilience, endurance, and grit, but it is surrender that’s at the heart of the path.
Until we have surrendered some part of ourselves, spiritual practices are little more than games. Without surrender, yoga is just exercise. Without surrender, meditation is just self-control. Without surrender, fearlessness is just cockiness.
Surrender is the tether between us and Spirit.
The depth to which you surrender is the depth to which you are liberated. But surrender is hard. It requires great humility, and thus great suffering.
We believe that surrender is a weakness. It makes us feel vulnerable. We try to cover it up, to explain it away. We say that surrender isn’t the same as giving up, that it’s not quitting. We try to find a way to surrender and keep our egos intact at the same time.
But that’s exactly what surrender is: It is giving up. It is quitting.
Surrender happens when we have no choice but to give up. It happens when we know that we can no longer do it on our own. Despite our best efforts, we can’t make it work. Surrender is the only sane thing left to do.
When life has pressed you so far into the ground that you can no longer pull yourself up, you might just let go. And in the gap between you and what you’ve been clinging to, Grace can move in.
It is through this process of letting go that the ego begins to fall away.
It will scare you. It will feel like you are losing something. But you are not losing anything that was ever real in the first place. And you are gaining everything in exchange for your willingness to risk.
Surrender is the ultimate courageous act. It is stepping into the complete unknown without a safety net. It is the first and final act of fearlessness.
To trust yourself to the unknown is to give up your conditions.
Spirit does not care about your perfect life. Spirit does not care if you are rich or happy or beautiful. Spirit wants only for you to know who and what you really are. It wants you to wake up.
It is discomfort that sharpens the blade of Truth. The path of a warrior — make no mistake, if you are seeking Awakening, you are on a warrior’s path — is not one of ease.
It's a very Western thing to have narrowed spirituality down to only what could be bought and sold as a commodity. Do not be fooled. This path will bring great suffering. And it will bring great joy. Through surrender, we learn the beauty of both.
Think for a minute about how hard you have tried to make yourself happy.
How much effort have you put into it? How much time? How much energy? How much money have you paid? How many books have you read? How many classes have you gone to? How many drinks have you consumed? How many drugs? How many relationships have you burned through?
Haven’t you really spent your whole life trying to make yourself happy?
And has it worked?
Is it possible that you actually have no idea how to satisfy yourself?
Anything you do or get or become will only bring fleeting relief. Happiness does not come from success. Happiness does not come from a lack of suffering.
True happiness comes only from being fully alive, it comes by throwing off the half-dead cloak of comfort and safety. This is what brings the satisfaction you are looking for. And this kind of aliveness requires the surrender of your small, known self to something infinitely more vast.
Surrender doesn’t mean that you stop moving. It is not a lack of action. It is not stagnant. It is not lazy. It is not complacent. It is not self-pity. It is setting aside your personal will to make room for something extraordinary to move through you.
The mind can only know what has already happened. It has nothing fresh, nothing new to give. Its greatness is only in proportion to its ability to serve the heart.
Creativity, inspiration and right action are always born of Spirit. Through surrender, you become a channel for Creative Consciousness itself. Through you, the Divine impulse meets the world. This is the fullest expression of your humanity.
All of the lessons, all of the experiences, all of the beauty and all of the pain in your life are drawing you closer towards the essence of YOU. They are drawing you to your own wholeness. They are drawing you to your destiny. You just have to let them.
“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.” - Paulo Coelho