With an intention to help you potentially use obstacles as fuel to benefit you in any small or large way, I offer you ‘Surrendering.’
As Annie Duke, winning poker player and strategic thinker, describes, I was telling myself bad beat stories. Ruminating over tales of woe. Getting caught in fear cycles. Sigh.
Upon Noticing this, I doubled down on Surrendering; it was a crucial aspect of finding redeeming-ness in great hardship & I find it aids in maneuvering through varied sized hiccups in life. As Neale Donald Walsch writes in Conversations with God, “It is in Surrendering that the victory is won.”
A beautiful concept, that I’ve found works, alas it’s a bit like putting my arms around an amoeba – first, in doing it, then, in describing it.
Surrendering, from my perspective, involves cultivating Acceptance – realizing and tolerating that which is feared – and Trust to result in a sane(er), calm(er) feeling within despite what life brings. Not pushing away or avoidance. It’s an internal self-truce of sorts instead of being run by inner fear grumblings talking trash that can derail interactions with the world.
A potent real-life example of Surrender’s Power is Michael Singer. His transition from a hippie yogi in a van to a peace filled man running a billion dollar company was due to Surrender. Not bad, eh?
Singer’s book, The Surrender Experiment, is discussed by him and James Altucher here. Singer notes:
“Surrendering doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. People take it too far. They go past the middle. … Surrender is the … middle. You are neither resisting nor completely ignoring what is taking place. You have achieved a place inside yourself where you are not the problem. There’s only 1 problem [which is on the exterior of you]. That is, a situation that needs to be dealt with. I am clear about it. I am competent, capable, and present. What should I be doing? … There will be a fairly natural instinct to straighten [it out] … As opposed to you’re freaking out so you can’t feel that instinct; you can’t be in harmony with it. … Surrender doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. … It’s not a state of non-using your will. It is that you are using your will to deal with a situation that is in front of you, not to try to fix the fact that you can’t handle the situation that’s in front of you.” Wow, right?
Some Surrendering thoughts and tidbits I find helpful or worth mulling are:
- Practicing more Silence & Stillness. Less unfruitful talking, more intentional Listening. Sitting with yourself may, at first, involve (uhhh, perhaps uncomfortably) hearing internal fear grumbling – to which I sometimes say ‘I hear ya and I’m gonna sit here anyway.’ It’s “your own commotion” per Singer. In time, sitting with and even waiting out fear grumbling, it surprisingly quiets. Or becomes less ‘noisy’. Trouble and disturbances eventually settle more within and tuning into the Divine can happen,
- Noticing that I am trying to fix what isn’t my beeswax and Pausing – instead of controlling. And, just feeling how I feel. I know, I know; easier said than done, especially initially. Slow walking in nature. Sitting on a deck. Meditating. Visiting a quiet, sacred space. Looking out the window while reclined. Or whatever individual way works,
- Practicing, little by little, Surrender makes it more achievable feeling to me,
- Connecting with Higher Power. I honor it’s different for everyone. Eventually, I worked up to (and am back in the saddle with) regular prayer as it decreases internal grumblings for me and increases my likelihood of Surrender. It aligns me with more Truth and reduces fear which can drive unfruitful control attempts. (Ask me how I know…) It magnifies internal Peace and fills cracks within – of which there are plenty – with Love. It reminds me what truly matters and generates a connectedness feeling with others. It softens edges and cultivates discernment. It surfaces Wisdom and makes challenges seem – more – ok. Not in a sidestepping way, in a real way. It decreases worldly focus and increases Celestial attention. Dumping all and anything out to the Divine, for me, is a productive Release for sharing and digging through a tough stuff to get to/hear message(s), and/or
- Following Gut Knowing that arises during Surrendering in a step by step, moment by moment fashion becomes more possible with above and can yield remarkable, at times mind defying, outcomes.
Surrendering “change[s] your focus from ‘I’m a mess inside so I need to control everything around me to get it in a way that I can tolerate myself.’ … That’s not nice to everybody else. That’s not nice to yourself. That’s not going to fix anything to try and create an environment where your … disturbance inside doesn’t get too disturbed.’ Instead, you say ‘I am in here [inside yourself]. This is my house. This is where I live and I am gonna straighten this up. I am going to get it nicer inside.’ [Singer’s] experience is if you do that, … a very different world will unfold in front of you than if you had been jumping in there manipulating, screaming, carrying on because it wasn’t the way you wanted. [Singer’s] experience … is almost miraculous the way things unfolded. … The truth is, isn’t the universe that way? Don’t the planets stay in orbit? … If you are willing to not project your problems on the outside world, maybe you will be very surprised at what is naturally unfolding” per Singer.
With Surrendering, mind noise can quiet and stillness tiptoe into the heart, clear thinking or Gray Thinking is possible, Acting more kindly feels do-able, agreeably disagreeing or boundary setting happens with more ease, working on what matters occurs more efficiently, loving myself more -even in a mess is, actually, possible. And authentic.
Issues aren’t gone, however, steps can be discerned and taken with less push and pain and more ease and flow.
As William Booth noted, “the greatness of [wo]man’s Power is the measure of his[her] Surrender.”
May you consider Surrendering for a life with even more Grace – and peace,
Original Email Date: May 21, 2001
Click to listen to the audio podcast of the above post