Updated: Sep 14, 2018
The word surrender is usually associated with giving up a struggle against an enemy and submitting to his authority. So we think of armed struggle, political struggle, personal argument with someone and more.
Surrender is also commonly used in religion or spiritual practice, meaning surrendering your earthly desires to the will of a higher power. This too is a form of struggle of course. A struggle with ourselves, our emotions, our desires, our fears...
The latter type of surrender is what this post is focusing on, based on the fact that we all have our own individual inner struggles. Different from religious teachings as we know them, this article will examine the practice of surrender from a more earthly perspective. This does not mean that it is based on rationality and science per se, but on an understanding that a wider, perhaps non religious, audience will most likely be able to relate to.
A struggling child, will curl up in his mother's arms and the world, that seemed to fall apart around him, will be whole again. Similarly, religion teaches that god is the comfort to all your pain. As secular adults we find it difficult to simply accept that concept. A reality in which god, the ultimate mother figure, will save us and lead the way. The ultimate mother does not exist in the flesh and it is therefore not true for so-called 'non believers'.
How then do we cope with the obstacles that life lays before us? How can we deal with the sadness of loosing a loved one, separation, the fear of material survival, the disappointment of failure, the frustration of not being heard, the anger of being betrayed...Sometimes life throws things at as that bring us to a point where we see no way out. Where our emotions run wild and we loose control of our actions and fall into a continuous downwards spiral..where anxiety takes hold and our physical body cripples us to the point of a complete standstill. In such moments we often just want to curl up into the arms of a mother and be held and told what to do to find our way out.
If there is one thing that science has confirmed, it is that our physical body is affected by our mental state. With anxiety symptoms it is clear. Your heart races, you feel nauseous, dizzy etc. When we really struggle in our relationship, we argue, we feel we can't get through and it is all lost, we can fall into depression and our bodies give in. We lack energy, appetite and are prone to headaches, for example. I am sure you can come up with many more examples.
Of course we can remedy all this with pharmaceuticals, but this will only lead us down a different path of side effects, struggle and different kinds of lows.
The only thing we have left is to weed out our selves and get to the bottom of it all. The only way we can do this at times, is to completely surrender. Let go of trying to control the course of things, fall back, breathe deep and trust that things will run their course and we will be carried by the winds of good fortune...Sure, it sounds like the ultimate hippie talk, but if we think about it, leaving our worries behind is the only thing that we have left in these situations. It is a matter of survival.
Therefore, even us secular people must believe. We don't have to believe in god but we have to believe that we will be guided if we allow our own wisdom to come to the surface. We have inherent, ancient wisdom in all of us, but when we are busy with mind and heart, this wisdom is not given any space. Only when we surrender mind and heart to our deeper selves, can this wisdom come alive. If we do this, we don't have to get to the point where we feel we have no choice but to surrender. Live like this always, don't forget to have patience, and your life will get easier!