It’s understood to mean that one gives up – gives in – and is, in effect, a loser.
“I surrender!” is a phrase often used in anything from innocent play fights to dialogue in serious movies.
In the past I would never surrender i.e. give up. The winner in me always insisted that no goal was too difficult to achieve.
In the so-called spiritual world (whatever that means), however, surrender is actually seen as something valuable, and I soon found myself striving for it. But I realized that striving could not bring me victory, because striving is kind of the opposite to surrender.
In fact this new goal of mine, a positive surrender – perhaps cleverly appearing to fill the void after most of my old career goals had evaporated – was unobtainable, at least with my old mindset.
The tried and tested method of “setting my mind to it” no longer worked. “The harder you work, the better you’ll do” (read: “succeed”), I discovered, was an old paradigm, already obsolete. As a result, for quite some time I felt frustrated. What to do when you desperately want to surrender?
The Good News
With time I started to see more deeply embedded truths. I saw that continuous striving leaves an emotional void. Valuing achievement higher than anything, striving pushes emotions to the side for the sake of it. So, I increasingly decided to instead pay attention to and value my emotions – how I feel.
Actually, doing this persistently opens the door to an entirely new dimension, one where it’s not about what you do or what you acquire or achieve but about how you feel.
Here, in fact, the less “I” do the more I am able to flow with life and float on its current. This is not necessarily good news for a (past) workaholic like me, but I welcome the new task of keeping vigilant – I keep busy observing myself, I need to, to avoid falling back into old patterns.
Secondly, seeing how quickly my life was radically changing helped me surrender further. When nothing any longer made sense, I had no choice.
So, what really is surrender?
I don’t DO surrender. Rather, I allow it and feel it. In surrender mode, life happens to me instead of me trying to orchestrate it into being what I THINK it ought to be. In this sphere, strangely, thinking is not only too limiting but can be painful.
The previous version of “me” was fully into thinking and rationalizing and planning my life, my days, my hours. In surrender mode some part of me knows that my inner guide points to wholeness, peace and love… Call it what you want, but this is where I feel deep joy and love for everybody and everything. Life flows.
Surrender is to follow an inner voice; to trust and act on it, even when this voice is in disagreement with the mind. Why? The mind is normally busy validating our ego and it wants us to do the same. To achieve that it carries around countless stories that are constantly being reshaped.
What can support your surrender?
To be able to hear your inner voice – and surrender to it – it may help to unlearn the habit of always keeping busy and keeping your mind busy. Experiencing stillness through any form of meditation can help.
Also, a book that might offer inspiration is The Surrender Experiment by Michael A.Singer. His life was completely transformed by his commitment to surrender. He lived alone in the woods and he achieved great success as a CEO – all the while with a deep sense of peace due to having surrendered all personal preferences in lieu of taking the position of witness consciousness.
In my next article I will share My Surrender Experiment.
Isn’t life truly amazing? I send you Love.
Interested to read more? Food for your Soul is a bi-monthly column featuring short posts for moments of reflection – to look at life from a different perspective (should you choose to!). Invest a few minutes and allow your thoughts to ponder. Awareness creates choice.