My Relationship with Surrender
“Often we don’t understand the scenes that unfold in front of us. Keep faith that life will give its explanation in time. Tell your mind: ‘Just wait and see.’”
Over the years I have found that the practice and discipline of meditation has stood me in good stead. This is how I set my mind, after doing all the preparation work for any event. I sit and meditate and then I simply surrender everything to God. At the beginning of every spiritual retreat, I often give the example of the army retreating in a battle to create a fresh strategy, to create a new sense of direction before venturing out again onto the field. Before we can make any changes in our life, we have to come to realize that the old strategies are not working and this is why the battle is being lost.
“Not repeating your mistakes is a form of progress.”
For souls on a spiritual journey, this is the turning point. Exactly at the moment of retreating from the old, we need to have surrendered our ego if we are to save the honour of our soul. If we keep fighting in the same old way then we lose everything. Therefore, sometimes it is wise to just step back for a moment, take up the position of the observer, and get a change of perspective.
I would say that it is pretty much the same in both a military and spiritual sense. Sometimes life can feel like we are constantly in combat… an endless struggle to survive, to make relationships work, to balance life and meet the demands of everyone around us. The enemy is an invisible and silent one. We can’t put our finger on it, but we just know that we are not winning in this battle. The strategy we have been using is not working. We have to try something new. We have to surrender our attachment to our old mind-sets and our old ideas.
Of course, to begin with, the metaphor we are using is the wrong one. To quote the famous expression attributed to Abraham Maslow: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” So, if our focus is only on the battle, then we will always feel we have to take out our sword and fight.
How about turning it around and calling life a game; a dance; a symphony. As soon as we change the verb, we change our attitude and in turn we change our destiny. It’s all in our hands. Surrender need not mean to submit, concede or give in, but to rise to a new awareness and learning. By letting go of our old beliefs and habits, this can often be the method by which we find our way out.
“Let your teacher be love itself.”
In many religious faiths, the term surrender is synonymous with ‘sacrifice’, and this word ‘sacrifice’ triggers many strong emotions within us, therefore we need to understand the depth of the words we use. In the story of the Mahabharata, Arjuna is told to first fight the attachment in his mind, to kill his own attachments, because this was why he was suffering. Once Arjuna had accomplished this change in his thinking, then the battle was an easy one in which he achieved victory. The truth is, the only one we are at war with is ourselves.
Today, why not spend some time thinking about what it is you need to surrender to, to make way for the light of freedom. Perhaps it is the endless ego, or some of those old arrogant ideas and opinions, those false beliefs that we are attached to that actually stop us from progressing on our spiritual path. We must re-interpret the language we use, and think deeply about the power of our words.
“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.”
If we can learn how to let go of those old beliefs and thought patterns that are stopping us enjoying a life of happiness, then we will ultimately make ourselves free from suffering. In reality the only control we have is the power of our own mind, we cannot control anything outside of ourselves. Every parent knows that they cannot control their children. As individuals they have their own minds, for sure they will make their own choices in life. Fear, force and any form of coercion will at some point backfire upon those forcing their will upon others.
If we look at surrender, not as losing or giving up something, but more about what we are gaining then change becomes effortless. When we can see where we are bringing benefit to ourselves, then we will find that surrendering that which is not useful in our lives becomes very easy. Put simply, when we surrender that which is not supporting our well-being, that would feel just like relief from a painful headache.
It’s Time… to surrender, let go of those things that are creating obstacles on our path to peace and happiness and create a life of eternal freedom.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK