It’s been a tough couple of days. Weeks. Months. Along the path there are times where we are, for lack of a better way of saying it, wallowing in our own shit. It feels like I’ve been wallowing in my own shit for a while now, and it’s getting exhausting, and one wonders how far down one must go before we get to come back up. I get that it’s necessary to have the breakdown before the breakthrough. But is it necessary to break everything in life, even the seemingly good parts, before we have the breakthrough?
And I also get that seeing all of this stuff about me – the years-old patterns, the inherited and learned behaviors, all of the emotional baggage from past relationships – is all so incredibly important to see. And I am very grateful for the opportunity to work on it. The thing is, I just don’t see the way out. I don’t know what to do next. Which calls to mind the notion of surrender.
Surrender brings to mind war – waving white flags, one side dominating the other, treaties and armistices with terms in favor of the victor. In a spiritual sense, surrender is generally accepted as the complete release of one’s own needs, desires, thoughts, deeds, etc. to the will and teachings of a higher power. Do I see the similarities? Ha. Depends on what mood I’m in.
In Christianity, surrender is the emptying of the self to allow Christ to live through you. The word Islam means “to submit” or to surrender. An entire branch of yoga, called Bhakti, is dedicated to the adoration or worship of God. It’s been referred to as the path of “love for love’s sake.” One approaches divinity with the complete and utter devotion of a lover. In the Narada Bhakti Sutra, a Hindu text important to the Bhakti movement, you’ll find many gems on surrender, like this one:
Narada gives these as the signs of Bhakti (devotion): When all thoughts, all words, and all deeds are given up to the Lord, and when the least forgetfulness of God makes one intensely miserable, then love has begun.
So it’s clear surrender is a big part of this work, and yet… we fight it. I fight it. I go through moments of complete and utter surrender, and then I find myself back in the proverbial ring, fists up, refusing, looking like this guy, who doesn’t know what just happened. And I don’t even remember how I got there in that moment.
The crux of the issue: it takes a hell of a lot more energy and will power to surrender than to fight.
“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” ~Eckhart Toll