Many spiritual teachers have enlightened us with their various views about ‘surrender’ and what this actually means. Eckhart Tolle is one of them. He often writes about the meaning of surrender within the context of the acceptance of the NOW. This is the way that I too have come to understand ‘surrender’ as a spiritual practice. As a form of non-resistance to what is happening in the current moment. The current moment is all that we are called upon to live. One moment at a time. One moment IN Time. Relinquishing our inner resistance to what ‘is’ means we close the gap between expectations of our mind and what ‘is’ actually happening. A judgment regarding what ‘is’ happening as being wrong – results in pain and unhappiness; however, acceptance of what ‘is’ frees us instantaneously from our identification with our mind and connects us directly to the state of Being.
Henry Miller in his book THE WISDOM OF THE HEART, states: “The art of living is based on rhythm , on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of ALL the aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life’, as Havelock Ellis called it. Miller goes on to point out that the real function of the dance is metamorphosis. Transformation. The acceptance of a situation, ANY situation, says Miller, brings about a “flow, a rhythmic impulse toward self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn.”
Miller discusses the simple and yet “revolutionary idea of full and unequivocal surrender” as the religious view of life: “the positive acceptance of pain, suffering, defeat, misfortune, and so on.” He states: “It is the long way round, which has always proved to be the shortest way after all. It means the assimilation of experience, fulfillment through obedience and discipline: the curved span of time through natural growth rather than the speedy disastrous short-cut.” This, Miller says, is the “path of wisdom” and that not only must it be taken eventually, but, all others only lead to it. Miller articulates for us the way in which Dr. E. Graham Howe sees the world – very much as a patient coming to him for treatment. “The truth is, we are sick,” he says, and also “we are sick of being sick.” Miller (who was profoundly influenced by Dr. Howe’s writings on psychoanalysis) says that if something is wrong, Howe infers it is not something that can be “driven out with a stick, or a bayonet. The remedy is metaphysically achieved, not therapeutically: the cure does not lie in finding a cause and rooting it out.” Rather, Miller informs us, Dr. Howe states: “It is as if we change the map of life itself by changing our attitude towards it.” ( by Howe in I AND ME; TIME AND THE CHILD; WAR DANCE) Changing our attitude toward it, which is definitely a metaphysical approach that many of us are practicing today, hinges on the understanding of acceptance and surrender. Acceptance of what ‘is’ and surrendering as a form of non-resistance. ‘What we resist, persists.’ Miller says, “man has got to learn the doctrine of acceptance, that is, of unconditional surrender, which is love.”
Surrender, for some people, may be a word that carries negative connotations. For some it may mean defeat or failure to live up to life’s many challenges. However, as Tolle says, “true surrender… does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action.” (THE POWER OF NOW) Tolle describes surrender as a “purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the NOW.” p.206) Tolle elucidates surrender as being completely compatible with taking action or achieving goals; however, he notes that in the state of surrender, a totally different energy flows into your ‘doing’ and that this different energy or quality re-connects you with the source-energy of Being. Tolle calls this quality “surrendered action” and postulates that as we humans awaken, the word ‘work’ is going to disappear from our vocabulary. He says that no positive change can arise from an “unsurrendered state of consciousness.” I agree. In the state of surrender, great clarity is achieved, and things get ‘done’ one step at a time, focusing on one thing at a time. Yoga style – no multi-tasking! Everything becomes a meditation. Life as a meditation. Tolle goes further to quote Jesus as a master who taught us about the unfoldment of miracles: “Look at the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”
In another of his books (A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE) Tolle quotes the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, J. Krishnamurti – who travelled all over the world for over fifty years – trying to convey, through language, things that are, seemingly, ineffable. Tolle says that in the latter part of his life Krishnamurti surprised his audience by asking them if they wanted to know his secret? Apparently everyone became alert and quiet to listen to this great teacher, especially as many had not yet been able to grasp the essence of his teachings. “This is my secret,” Tolle relates Krishnamurti as saying, “I don’t mind what happens.” Tolle suspects that many in his audience may have been even more perplexed by this! However, as Tolle says, “the implications of this simple statement are profound.”
Krishnamurti didn’t mind, because, at each moment he was aligned with what happened. Internally. In internal alignment, Krishnamurti was in a relationship of inner non-resistance: “It means not to label it mentally as good or bad, but to let it be. Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring about change in your life? On the contrary. When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.” (A NEW EARTH)
Surrendering to your present moment means there is no judging of that moment. It is what it is. This relaxes our psychological state as we simultaneously are in a physical state of relaxation. Energy is free to flow through our bodies and does not become ‘stuck’ creating dis-ease. Our practice of surrender needs to be a daily practice. By giving up our patterns of resistance, we dive into the present moment and connect with the ALL. ALL that is.
Many Blessings, Monica