The Art of Surrender
In a world that encourages action-taking, planning and control, to surrender can feel foreign and scary. To relinquish the reigns of control and completely trust. In the past, I have understood surrender on an intellectual level. I got the concept. But I didn’t fully embody it like I do now. Personally, I found it extremely challenging – I resisted and would let my mind run the show. It was only when I continued to lean in and really surrender, that I was able to experience a sense of peace, relief and a deep appreciation for the present moment. It really is a practice of remembering, catching yourself in those moments and choosing again.
Surrender is not failure or defeat, it is not a decision to let go, or a task that we can accomplish with our mind. Usually, we are forced into surrender – there is no other choice but to do so. We may encounter a situation that pushes us to our limits and is typically emotionally painful. These experiences generally have the power to bring us to our knees in every sense. It may be sudden event that overwhelms us or a situation that we’ve lived with for a long time, and our usual coping strategies no longer work. Holding on and trying to control is no longer an option. And in these uncertain times that we find ourselves in, surrender is no longer a luxury – it’s required now more than ever!
The mind loves to control
Our mind tries to control everything. It tries to make us happy, keep us safe, and strives to help us live a better life. It is often future-oriented and focused on controlling the future. The minds goal is to make sure that we move towards the experiences we want and move away from the experiences we don’t want. Our minds will fight, reject, ignore, push against, and do everything possible to change those situations that we don’t want. All of this can create stress, anxiety and dis-ease. But there eventually comes a time, when we can’t keep fighting, either because it’s too painful, or because we finally know that some other path is needed. Surrender begins here; it’s waking up and realising that all other efforts have failed and the only option left is to surrender.
There eventually comes a time, when we can't keep fighting, either because it's too painful, or because we finally know that some other path is needed. Surrender begins here.
Acceptance of the unknown
Surrender happens when we accept that that we just don’t know. We can no longer think our way through a situation. We accept that we don’t have the answers. We don’t know if what’s to come will be better or worse, more comfortable or more painful. All we know is that we can no longer continue on the path that we’ve been going. More effort, more doing, more thinking, more plans – won’t work!
The path leading up to surrender can be excruciating, but when we finally reach that point and truly surrender, it brings with it a great sense of relief, ease, and peace. Control falls away and surrender takes us. This is true freedom. It’s does not mean that the situation gets better or easier, but we feel better and more easeful when we release our mental attachment to an outcome. We begin to realise that we cannot fix or figure it out, that it’s actually not up to us. We realise we are not in control. From this place, we can feel a softening when we turn it over to something else (anything besides ourselves); universe, energy, God or perhaps to just the truth of not knowing. Something deep within us relaxes and our suffering eases when we acknowledge that we simply do not know.
The gift of the present moment
When we surrender, we begin to live in the present moment. We accept that this very moment is the only thing we really have and is really all that matters so we might as well pay attention to it. What a gift to truly allow ourselves to be present in the beauty of life. We begin to realise that we’re not in charge and what matters is the now, not some imagined future we may or may not achieve. When we do finally let go of the reins, and acknowledge our absolute not knowing, we allow life to take us where we need to go and we begin to directly experience being supported by a larger source of wisdom.
So how do you actually surrender?
You’ll know when you’re not surrendering; when you find yourself trying to control, force, fight, and figure things out in your mind in order to achieve a certain outcome or result. Yet these efforts are futile and simply lead to more suffering and pain. In this moment, pause and instead try to:
- Take a few deep breaths in and out and bring yourself back the present moment
- Remind yourself that you are not in control and accept that you do not know. You could repeat the mantras “I accept that I’m not in control” “I let go of control” “I accept that I do not know” “Today, I surrender it all” “I surrender this situation over to an energy larger me” “I trust that there is a plan far greater than mine” – the key here is to really feel it! Remember surrender is not a mental activity.
- Ask yourself, what is it like right now if I let everything be just as it is?
- Drop into your direct experience and bring your awareness to what you are sensing, feeling and living in this moment I.e. a beautiful cup of coffee, summer breeze, conversations with friends.
When we do this, we agree to feel life as it is now, without our mind adding, taking away, manipulating, or doing anything whatsoever to it.
Invite surrender in your life, today
With awareness, you can begin to invite surrender into your life. You can begin to meet life as it is, you can give up the need to fight or control. As a result, you can experience the gift of relief, gratitude, freedom, grace, and even joy. You can feel the aliveness of this present moment and experience yourself being flowed down the river that is life; flowing with the tide, rather than against it.
If you’d like to find out more about how the practice of surrender can support you in your life or if you’d like to book in a coaching session, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61435749205.