Surrender is a spiritual buzz word that may still make us shudder. Actually our soul is buzzed and encouraging us to surrender our self concept, our point of view, our need to be right, our confusion, and our defensiveness. Wow, that is a lot for our ego mind to surrender, no wonder our human self shudders.
But here’s the thing folks, when we are truly struggling, when we feel that we are in a storm of doubt, blame, confusion, lack and real pain, surrendering is the surest way to healing, wholeness and truly living a life of purpose, meaning, and joy.
And yet…we still hold on. Even to what is making us unhappy and unhealthy. Often it takes utter exhaustion and hitting bottom with feelings of hopelessness and defeat before the ego mind finally says, “OK, Enough…You do it!” One of the subtle misunderstandings in the spiritual community of this kind of surrender is that we may think that “You” is a God outside of ourselves who has an exact plan that we are just to stubborn to see. When actually, we are surrendering to our own Soul, the individualized essence of God that is within us and does contain the next highest divine ideas that we can choose from to live our divine purpose. Our Soul essence within us is the fullness of all of the divine qualities that will support us in living our highest life. That is what we are invited to surrender to and dissolve into.
Surrender in the truest sense is not just turning things over to a God outside of us (in the sky?) and saying, “OK, fix this while I just go about my life.” Sometimes it feels like a relief to do that, we think we are practicing the idea of “let go & let God” and we relax. This can shift things, for a while. But I have found, that unless we use this time of letting go to truly deepen our understanding of the Truth and of God, by having a direct experience of that Truth and of God, then we can not permanently bridge the apparent divide between our oneness and the stubborn dualism that characterize much of our common experience.
What is a direct experience of God and Truth? It is the experience of our Soul essence, the actual place of oneness. We do this through meditation. That is what true meditation is, the direct experience of God. We need to truly experience the peace, calm, wholeness and clarity that is at the center of our being. Then, and only then should we walk back into the conditions of our life, now with the perspective of our soul and not our self concept.
Very often we come back too soon. We feel the relief of letting go. We call on God and our higher self to lead us, to guide us, to direct us, to support us, to care for us. We may even spend considerable time in the silence and stillness of our soul. Our ego and intellect gets a needed rest and may even enjoy this little respite for a while. And then it starts to get stronger again, it gets bored, it feels like it is not doing its job and begins to peek out at the circumstances of our life and doesn’t yet see a change, a shift, or any movement at all. If your ego is anything like mine, it begins to get loud again…”Well, obviously this is not working! Nothing has changed yet (in one hour, one day, even one week) so I have to take over again because if I don’t it will all fall apart and then where will I be?” Anybody…or is that just my mind? Those who are still with me will recognize that this is where we jump back in, where we start taking action again (usually the exact same action that got us here in the first place). And we are back at the circumference of the storm where the winds of confusion, defensiveness, blame and the need to be right blow with devastating ferocity. Instead of remaining at the center, at the eye of the storm, or as Gary Simmons teaches in his book and our fall series and class, at the “I” of the Storm. There we are invited to remain centered in peace and clarity UNTIL our intuition, our soul knowing guides us to the next principled step that will bring us wholeness.
In this way we learn to honor the ebb and flow of our lives. We learn to surrender when it seems that things are at a low point so we can drink deeply from the well of our soul and then return to ride the flow and rise up again to greater heights. It is all a wonderful cycle and when we consciously engage it, it can be a wonderful ride.
I highly encourage you to join me in this series at Unity to discover the “I” that is your Spiritual Self and to learn the tools that will allow you to remain centered there as you are guided to choose from this perspective. Join us on Sundays, or keep checking our website for blogs and podcasts.
For today, I invite you to use the season of autumn to open you to the idea of surrender and engaging the cycles, just as the earth does with the cycles of the seasons. Let this remind you of how often she opens herself to the dying and rising rotations. I offer you a part of a Prayer of Acceptance, by Wendell Berry to the Eternal One…
When I refuse to wait with the mystery of the unknown, when I struggle to keep control rather than to let life evolve,
Wrap me in the darkening days of autumn and encourage me to wait patiently for clarity and vision as I live with uncertainty and insecurity.
When I fight the changes of unwanted, unsought events and struggle to keep things just as they are instead of letting go,
Place me on the wings of traveling birds flying south, willing to leave their nests of comfort as they journey to another destination.
Oh, Eternal One, change my focus so that I see not only what I am leaving behind, but also the harvest and the plenitude that my life holds. May my heart grow freer and my life more peaceful as I resonate with, and respond to, the many teachings this season offers to me.
Amen and blessings beloveds,