"Sometimes surrender means giving up from trying to understand, and becoming comfortable with not knowing." ~Eckhart Tolle
This showed up on my news feed today and like most often, with seemingly perfect timing in seeing a particular message. It was as if the universe knew exactly what I needed to hear and it also has been a recent topic of discussion with others.
To so many, upon hearing the word surrender - defeat is what comes to mind. That we have given up, that we have become powerless, and perhaps that we no longer even have the energy to care.
But this way of defining surrender is only one aspect of the word.
Surrender is ultimately giving way to simply what is and often to what cannot be changed. We have been conditioned to think that we either win or lose. That we are either the victor or the victim. That surrendering is to accept defeat, to accept that we have been conquered.
But conquered by what?
By our own fear? By a circumstance in our life that we wish could be undone?
What if we saw it another way?
What if we saw it as simply releasing our control over something that we really didn't have control over anyway? We can work for our goals, our beliefs and our ideas - and we can work hard. But in the end, we must let go of our attachment to the fruits of our work and let the fruits ripple out as they may.
Surrendering can bring us clarity on where we need to be in life and our true purpose for being here. If we are in an occupation or a relationship and we are met with constant resistance - we may need to surrender into the reality that it is not working. We may need to surrender into making a change.
Surrender, is the intersection between acceptance and change.
We can also understand this idea in a very practical and physical way through our asana practice. Think for a moment of a yoga posture that is very difficult for you or one that seems impossible to obtain. We can practice diligently and mindfully - working to find greater ease or accessibility into the pose, but in the end, try as we might, the posture may still escape us. It is very possible that the given structure of our body, may be a contraindication to the posture. There are some things that are as they are and we cannot change them. Forcing our body to achieve a pose because the mind desires it, will only bring us harm. Our ego may tell us a million things - if only I practiced harder this would change, or if I don't practice this pose it means I am a failure or I have "given up".
But the reality here is that you surrendered into greater wisdom. You surrendered into what is and the knowing that bringing force into your practice will only create harm and injury. You are not defeated. You are wise in your understanding.
In another case, the difficult posture perhaps can be accessed, but it will take time and diligent practice. Here, the practitioner surrenders into patience - understanding that it will require steadiness and a commitment to conscious and consistent practice. The practitioner is then supported by faith - faith in the efficacy of the practice.
Much of life requires faith. Faith is not belief.
"Belief is a preconception about the way reality should be; faith is the willingness to experience the reality as it is; including acceptance of the unknown" ~ Judith Lasater.
Our ego is not comfortable with unknown. We like to know things with absolute certainty - we prefer things to be guaranteed. The unknown can be terrifying, which is often why we would rather remain uncomfortably comfortable in what we know, rather than risk making a change. Surrendering into the many moments in our life and trusting that we are right where we need to be to learn what we need to know, requires leaps of faith. Each moment has something to offer and teach us, and it is this that we must ultimately surrender to.
Take the leap.
You might feel fear.
As Erin Hanson wrote,
You might think, "What if I fall?"
"oh, my darling, what if you fly?"
For you either already have wings, or you will build them on the way down.