When we think of the word surrender, most of us see it as synonymous with accepting defeat. According to the dictionary, surrendering means giving in or giving up, especially concerning one’s opponent.
In life, we learn that to succeed, we must never give up. Becoming an expert in any designation means to show up again and again with grit and practice with deliberate focus. It means being a steadfast, active participant in your learning. Success (we are told) relies on carrying on for as many hours as it takes to get to where we want to go.
And yes, there is a place for the science of learning and active doing in getting to where we want to go.
But along the path of our head-down-focused attention, we can often forget to pause and check-in with our hearts. Too often, we forget that many of the things we are doing or striving to have fallen out of alignment with our higher selves, or maybe, they weren’t in alignment in the first place. Many of the things that we humans endeavour are a result of our conditioning, or the “shoulds” and “have to’s” bestowed upon us by our family members, communities, or cultures.
What happens, as a result, is that the doing turns into suffering. Yet because we don’t want to give up, to fail, we plod on, continuing to push the metaphorical boulder up the hill. And this can take place in any area of our lives: holding on to unhealthy relationships, eating habits, jobs, patterns of thought that we carry around that relate to everything. So many of us have simply given up and given in to the idea that this feeling of difficulty in life “is just the way it is.”
But life wasn’t meant to feel so hard. It’s just that along the way, we’ve forgotten that we have a choice.
We’ve forgotten that we can surrender.
To surrender doesn’t mean to give up. It just means to concede to the idea that purpose, joy, abundance, creativity, health and love stem from having to try so hard. It means surrendering to the idea that everything you want is “out there”– outside of yourself, at all. To surrender means to give in to the idea that you are separate from the universe. It means to slow down for a moment, breathe deeply into your heart space and ask yourself honestly if what you’re doing, feeling or thinking right now is in alignment with your highest self. It means answering this question honestly and having the courage to stand in your truth even if it leaves you feeling confused about what to do next.
Sometimes the best path forward means making a physical change. Or sometimes, it means to change your thoughts about the situation. But before that, it’s a letting go of your resistance to the moment itself.
Ekhart Tolle said, “What could be more futile, more insane than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life – and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
When you can take time throughout your day to surrender to the moment, to your heart, you will begin to know if how you are navigating through your day (and your life) is right for you.
And this is the opposite of giving up. When you take time to practice surrendering like this, you’ll begin to see that you’re actually showing up for yourself more than you ever could otherwise. You’ll also start to notice that, as you align with your inner truth, you begin to align with the flow of the entire universe. Moreover, you’ll start to allow this all-powerful current to wash through you, hold you and carry you. All of a sudden, the doing won’t seem so hard after all.
And so, if you ever feel like giving up, consider surrendering instead. Come back into your heart, breathe deeply, send love inward and tell your inner self you’re listening. Feel your body connect to the ground, to the universe that holds, surrounds you and is you. Proceed from there.