When I first came across the concept of surrender, I thought it sounded like madness.
If bad things happen in my life, I’m supposed to just fully accept them?
My mind completely rejected this idea for a long time, but as I learned about surrender, I became intrigued by it.
The spiritual definition of surrender is this…’the attitude of surrender is the best antidote to one’s own anger, anxiety, and fear.’
Ok, but what does that actually mean?
It means, full accepting whatever is happening in our lives. We don’t have to like it, but not resisting and allowing it to be, is the key to peace. If it’s losing a job, not having enough money to pay bills, getting sick, the breakdown of a marriage or a relationship, falling out with family members or problems with our kids. Accepting it fully allows us a better state of mind to deal with it.
‘If you think you’ve surrendered, surrender more’ – Gabby Bernstein
According to great spiritual teachers, surrender is not giving up. It’s not just accepting bad events in our life without doing anything about them. Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now, ‘if you get stuck in the mud, you don’t stay stuck in it. ’ Surrender means, instead of complaining and crying about being stuck in the mud, you fully accept that you are, then you’re in a stronger position to change it. It’s the same with every situation in our lives. Surrender to ‘what is’ and you have clarity of mind.
Most of us however, resist or deny. We go into victim mentality, telling ourselves that we don’t accept it. How many times have you heard yourself say, ’no, I don’t accept this,’ or ‘no, I don’t want this in my life.’
If it’s already happening, resisting it and fighting it internally does absolutely nothing to change that. The only thing that resistance does is create anxiety and fear. The two ingredients that make an already bad situation, worse. If one things goes wrong in our day, resisting it is the best way to ensure many things will go wrong.
Surrender to ‘what is’ and you create peace in any situation.
I once missed a flight to Geneva with my son. He was going to summer camp and had to meet his camp instructors in Geneva Airport at 9am on a Sunday in July. Our flight was at 6.30am from Luton Airport and misjudging the timing, we got there late. Up until that point, I’d never missed a flight in my life and the anxiety I felt was devastating. Stomach churning and heart racing, I was completely freaking out. Of course my stress was radiating to my fourteen year son, who was already feeling nervous about the fact that he was going away on his own for two weeks, completely freaking him out as well.
Finding our flight closed, we ran straight to security, thinking we could go directly to the gate, but because Ethan had a big bag to check in, it wasn’t allowed through security and we were turned away. At this point I was nuclear, trying to convince them to let me through, when suddenly I thought of surrender. I don’t know why it popped into my head, but it did and I found myself thinking.’What the fuck am I doing?’
I immediately stopped arguing with the staff, turned around, got our bag and made our way back to the car. As we walked a calmness came over me, ‘It’s ok,’ I said to Ethan with a big smile and he looked at me nervously, thinking I’d completely lost the plot. When we got back to the car, I closed my eyes and spent ten minutes in meditation. I focused on calmness and acceptance and when I opened my eyes, I felt better.
My body had been in near physical meltdown, because of the stress I’d forced onto it. I felt like I’d suffered emotional trauma and it took me a further twenty minutes of just sitting there to overcome it.
In full surrender, I formed a plan. I went online, booked a new flight, fully accepting that it was going to cost me more money. I rang the camp and told them we’d be late, then I started my car and drove home. We arrived back in the airport at 7pm that evening and in Geneva at 9pm, exactly twelve hours late, but calm and relaxed. As I said goodbye to my son, I thought to myself, ‘everything is ok.’
My self awareness allowed me to observe the anxiety I created for myself by resisting. The fact that we were late and might miss our flight, didn’t mean the world was going to end, but my mind made it seem like it would. Only when I surrendered, did the crisis and chaos in my head disappear. The people at the camp didn’t care if he was late and were in fact picking children up from the airport all day long. My bank balance took a hit, but there was nothing I could do about that so I just accepted it.
When caught up in the throws of our own drama and fear, surrendering can seem impossible, but it’s then that it’s needed most.
Whatever is happening, is happening, wanting it or not is irrelevant, because it’s already happening. It turns out that everything except surrender is madness, because in the end, that’s the only thing we can do.
If you’re late for something, surrender to it and then work it out. If you hate your job, surrender to it, then change it. If you want to loose weight, surrender to it, then do it. If you don’t make enough to pay your rent, surrender to it, then look for ways to make it happen. If you want to meet the person of your dreams, surrender to it and they will come.
Surrender, surrender, surrender, stop resisting and watch your life unfold.