The Power of Surrendering? You might think this an oxymoron. After all, it seems that the words power and surrender are polar opposites. The word surrender is very powerful and evokes images of defeat, particularly for men. One who surrenders is thought have lost in some form of combat (intellectual or physical), to have no power. It seems that the word surrender is more in line with the word defeat. In fact, the dictionary defines surrender as:
- to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
- to give the control or use of (something) to someone else
- to allow something (such as a habit or desire) to influence or control you
However, there is a difference between surrendering and giving up. In fact, there is an immense difference between the positive power of surrendering and the negative power of giving up. Hence, another definition of the word surrender is:
- to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)
My favorite definition of surrender is found in TinyBuddha:
“Surrender is complete acceptance of what is, knowing it will all be okay, even without my input.”
Notice that this definition includes the fact that everything will work out without your input! Hence, to surrender does not require you to give up on something that is important to you. Rather, it is a matter of letting go of a false perception, or an inaccurate idea of separation from that which you desire, where, in fact, that separation is illusory and self-created. It is also accepting guidance from a higher power.
Most of us feel we must conquer by ourselves. Men, in particular, find it difficult, if not impossible, to ask for help. The reasons are varied and mostly rooted in our genetic evolution where to ask for help was to show weakness and hence lower our chance to be picked by a female. Hence, the idea of surrendering is a powerful concept (no pun intended). But, from a spiritual perspective, we are never alone. The Source that allowed for our existence is always present within and with us. Our Souls are always present within and with us . And a myriad of people we know are ready to help us if we would just ask. In doing so, we also allow them to express themselves.
The idea of surrendering has, in fact, been proven to lead to success. Example? Well, let’s take Alcoholic Anonymous, or any growth prospect for that matter. The first step in AA’s 12-step process requires a person to admit that s/he is powerless. We could also mention just about any religion since they all require us to surrender to a higher power be it Allah, God, Hare Krishna, Yahweh, or some other name or designation.
Can we, therefore, all agree that to surrender is NOT the same as giving up, be defeated, be a failure, etc.? It is also NOT a sign of weakness, lack of intelligence, strength, cunning, etc. In fact, to surrender, we don’t even have to admit that we did something wrong. But to surrender, we do have to admit to ourselves that we need a new way of thinking, of perceiving our obstacle(s), and accept guidance.
Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Well, it is our way of thinking that got us stuck, no? Hence, at least according to Einstein, to get unstuck requires a new level of thinking. But we cannot get to a new level of thinking if we do not surrender our belief systems since all of our thoughts are based on those. This requires us to really understand our limiting beliefs and habits, which is not an easy task. When we do so, we discover that it comes down to a belief that we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not young enough, not old enough, not tall enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, etc., etc., etc. That is, not enough self-worth.
We don’t have to admit that we are surrendering to anyone else. In fact, it’s probably best if we don’t tell anyone that we’ve surrendered as, then, we’ll have to explain why we’ve surrendered, what we’re surrendering to, and the difference between surrendering and giving up. Best to keep it to ourselves.
You may, or not, believe in the power of prayer, incantation, imprecation, plea, worship, etc. But there is power in words. Those who know me know that I am not religious. However, I believe in the power of words and in the power of what is referred to as the prayer of serenity which goes: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” If you can truly accept these words, you are likely to see some quick and extraordinary changes. At the very least, you will experience peace even in the midst of strife and chaos.
The power of surrender is also the invocation of the higher power to guide us. There is a catch, of course. Your surrender must be genuine. And just as we must genuinely surrender, we must also be open to such guidance. They go hand-in-hand, as go our resistance to both, particularly in the Western world where we are taught not to believe what we cannot see, feel, hear or smell.
To surrender can be quite scary for most of us. It means to believe that everything will be alright. That whatever happens, happens for our greater good. It means giving up trying to control the people and events around us. It means accepting uncertainty and going with the flow. When we surrender to the truest depths of our most authentic Self, we release the grasp of our ego upon our choices and allow what we desire to manifest.
And let’s not confuse surrender with lack of action. To surrender is an inner experience, agreement, or acquiescence. It does NOT mean that we cannot, or should not, take action and change the situation. As I’ve said before, there is a difference between surrender and giving up. I am NOT saying that we need to accept an undesirable or unpleasant life situation. Nor do we need to deceive ourselves and say that there is nothing wrong with whatever situation we are presently confronting. Not at all. Surrendering means that we are still looking for a way out of our predicament.
So how do we surrender without giving up? Simple and yet very hard… do not judge the situation or yourself. Accept what is as an experience. When you let go of judgment you let go resistance and negative emotions. You accept the moment and then you take action. In this case, positive action which is more powerful than negative action arising out of anger, fear, despair or frustration. When you stop trying to force things to go your way (i.e., fitting a square peg into a round hole). you go with the flow and things progress naturally.
Remember that your power (usually defined by our possessions, our bank account, our jobs, our influence over other people in our lives, etc.) is illusory and can disappear almost instantly. In fact, it will when you die as you will leave the same way you came in… with nothing.
May you experience the power of surrendering, Jean-Pierre
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