The Power of True Surrender

True Surrender

by Jayaram V

Surrender means many things to many people. To an egoistic self-important person, surrender means to give up or admit defeat. In the materialistic world, it is something very unthinkable and ignoble. If you have any doubt, pay attention to what goes on in the corporate world or in the political arena. The world in general does not appreciate those who quit or give up, or those who do not fight for themselves or for others even if they have strong reasons to do so.

Society never forgives those who run away from the battle field, even if sometimes it is the most sensible thing to do. A quitter does not command respect, even if his or her decision was based on certain values and personal interests. You become a hero if you go down fighting, but if by any chance you withdraw, your position will be worse than that of a deserted soldier. The world may tell you to surrender to your whims, but it will not respect you if you surrender to others or to despair and hopelessness.

Despite all the reservations and mental blocks we have against it, surrender is not really a big bad word. Sometimes it can be a gift which you can give to yourself. In yoga and spiritual life, it is a virtue that leads you to the doors of freedom from self-induced limitations and the delusion of self-sense. It is a proven method to protect yourself from exertion and overwork. In a world that is ridden with egoistic conflicts and stressful living, true surrender can give you the peace and contentment you badly need not only for your survival and success but also for your inner growth.

It can provide you with an opportunity to pause and recharge yourself for a better tomorrow and balanced life. In moments of self-doubt and hesitation, it can help you review your life and actions to find yourself and be yourself in ways that are difficult to obtain otherwise. It is a blessing which you can embrace, without yielding to your instinctual urge to claim your territory or subjugate your enemies, real or imagined. In a competitive world like ours, people are always eager to take control of situations or manage their circumstances effectively to the best of their advantage. To safeguard and promote our interests, we lead stressful lives and over exert ourselves often at the cost of our own happiness and wellbeing. We do not want to let go things because we are afraid of losing control and losing our edge. But is it the best way to live?

In the spiritual realm, the expectations are different. Here, you have to live by an entirely different set of rules. Spiritual people are not expected to strive and struggle, but let go of things and live life as it happens. They are expected to live spontaneously, neither reacting nor taking control, neither trying to promote themselves or defeat others. They are not expected to swim against the currents of life, but flow with the flow of life. They have to find balance, harmony, equanimity, sameness and stability through tolerance, acceptance, surrender, awareness, understanding and appreciation. They have to live without the burden of their fears and anxieties and the weight of their past or the lure of their future. In other words, they have to give up the urge to be something other than what they are and should not attempt to achieve anything that may interfere with their goal to be free from all attachments and obligations. A true yogi has no obligation whatsoever, not even the need to perform obligatory duties.

A monk on the path of liberation is expected to own very few possession. He is not supposed to cook food for himself, even if he is hungry and eat whatever that he may obtain through the generosity of others, without being insistent. He is not expected to have any relationships, possession, desires, attachments, needs or dependencies. He has to set aside all clinging and hankering and live freely and in harmony with everyone and everything.

We can bring the power of true surrender into our lives and create balance, order and harmony in our thinking, actions and responses. For ordinary people, the art of relaxing consists of knowing when to push themselves to achieve their goals and when to let go of everything and take a backseat. They should know when to take control of situations and when to become a mere witness, letting things happen. The should have the intelligence to choose wisely between periods of activity and withdrawal. Cultivating discriminating knowledge and applying common sense rules, they can create balance and stability in their minds and in their lives. This norm applies to every aspect of your life, not just to yoga or spiritualism. You can follow it in everything you do, in your relationships, your profession, in pursuing your goals, in resolving your problems, in rest and relaxation and in your spiritual practice. The wisdom of the Middle Path suggested by the Buddha is based on a similar principle. The Buddha wanted the monks to exert themselves to cultivate discipline and practice virtue for their transformation. At the same time he wanted them to let go of their worldly desires, their clinging and hankering for material things.

You can create balance in your life by knowing when to be in the driver's seat and when to take a back seat. in the bustle of life you should give yourself an opportunity to enjoy life and find relief from the oppression of deadlines and incessant demand for perfection and achievement. Some times you may have to jump into the fray to fight the battles of your life; but it may be a foolish idea to spend your whole life doing it. At times, you may have to withdraw from the arena and become a mere spectator of life, doing nothing, just watching and being yourself. In truth, our essential nature is to be the Witness Self.

In our preoccupation with the world, we forget this simple truth and become lost in the illusion of things and the diversion of appearances. Activity and withdrawal are inherent in our very existence. Day and night are created for the very purpose. We cannot exert ourselves continuously beyond a point, however important it may be. After an intense period of exertion, we have to rest and relax so that our minds and bodies may recuperate and prepare for the morrow. The same principle applies to every aspect of our lives. In whatever we do, we have to know our limitations and our boundaries. We need to know when to act and when to withdraw and when to be in control and when not to be.

For example, you may take control of the situations where the task is crucial for your survival; but you should let go when you are relaxing and enjoying the pleasures of life. Also if you are on a spiritual path, you should spend more time trying to withdraw actively rather than asserting yourself and establishing your zone of influence. Such discriminating wisdom arises in a mind that is filled with the rare brilliance of sattva or purity. When you are in a state of surrender, you stop fighting, asserting, defending, controlling, reacting, opposing, criticizing, resisting and insisting. You act as if you are invisible and immaterial.

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