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Learning the art of surrender through meditation

Opportunities for surrender can be found in every day, as this meditation teacher found one rainy day in Sydney

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A few years ago I was living in a suburb of Sydney called Tamarama which is right by the beach. 

We lived in a rundown old house that was falling apart and freezing in winter but you could be in the ocean in sixty seconds flat without even running and the views were spectacular.

But when it got stormy, the wind would whip in from the sea and rain would lash in sideways. You couldn’t open an umbrella without it immediately flying inside out or trying to drag you down the road.

My usual response to this was to hunch my shoulders in towards my ears, frown and walk a bit quicker, as if that would offer any protection.

Then one day I was walking down the hill six or seven minutes from home when the skies opened.

On this particular day, I didn’t have an umbrella and for some reason, instead of my usual hunching forward and speeding along, I decided I didn’t care if I got wet.

I was going home and figured I could easily get changed and hang my clothes up to dry.

So instead I relaxed and enjoyed the novelty of it – enjoyed the feeling of the rain like it was a new and interesting sensation, rather than an inconvenience, which is how I usually saw it.

A rainbow stretched across Tamarama in Sydney (Rory Kinsella)

It was pretty liberating – definitely a more enjoyable way to get home.

This idea of surrendering to what’s happening is something I’ve got better at since I began meditating.

When I started, I always held out for clear mental skies. Then I’d get disappointed when I instead got drenched by storms of thoughts.

But once I accepted that I couldn’t control my thoughts, things got a lot easier and more enjoyable.

I can’t control my thoughts – just like I can’t control the weather. Or global events and pandemics. 

When I accept these things, I’m able to surrender into the flow of events and enjoy the ride rather than paddling against the current.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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