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Ellen Davis

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Inquiring Into Surrender and Letting Go

Posted: 05/12/2012 7:20 am

"Surrender" is what we look forward to when we notice we are holding on, or what we look back on and assess when we realize what we let go of, or, maybe when inquiring deeper, what dropped away. But when we are here, we are here. Where is there "other" to go? There is nowhere that "source" isn't.

Generally, the idea to "surrender" in the context of spirituality comes up in relation to feeling that there is a lack of acceptance of what is and a sense that there is something to do to fix that. It comes up when there is a sense of the one who desires, and that which one must give up, when there is a sensed two -- a sensed division. The positive intention, timelessly guided wisdom, or inspired aspiration to surrender may be about giving up personal will to divine will, giving up thoughts and beliefs to silence or that which is prior to them, giving up self to Self, or giving up one's ego to essence.

A trap for many aspirants is that the directive "surrender" can often become a mental exercise where we push ourselves to be where we think we should be, which reinforces a sense of division and conflict with where we are. It is not a full letting go that happens when seeing the illusion for the bag of dust that it is. Whatever we would want to let go of ceases to have a hold on us when that which is holding is also seen for what it is.

Surrender is not something to do but something that is happening as it is happening because it is all that can happen. We can look back and see that we surrendered or that we stopped fighting, or we can look forward to an idea of surrender -- but in truth we are where we are, and our surrender is the degree to which we are present with that reality. One cannot head-trip or push oneself into surrender.

That being said, when we recognize that we have an identification with what we think is not the Source/the Divine/God/That/All that is/the Mother, yet have a deep knowing and faith in That, it can be effective to surrender or give ourselves or our problems to That. In that light, we are not concretizing our separation from That, but giving voice and reinforcement to our faith and oneness with That.

The thing about holding on, letting go, and surrender is that when we fully realize our oneness with all, there is nothing to hold onto and nothing to let go of -- it is all here and all one. In this light, when surrendering happens, we are in the awareness that is already one with what is, and it is happening effortlessly.

Being taught that what we long for can only be achieved by the efforts of our aspirations, we try to make a "doing" out of surrender. Yet it is what happens naturally and effortlessly when all resistance is out of the way. Behind the efforts of our "doing" is the resistance of the belief that what we are when we are relaxed is not enough. There are technologies to facilitate learning to relax, and disciplines that one can practice to make ourselves more available to recognizing what lies at the core of habits and reactivity that obscure our ability to be present. However, this is different from "trying" to surrender. Trying to make a "doing" out of surrender is quite funny, actually -- oxymoronic. Yet, without the deeply integrated awareness or trust in the divine creative will and intelligence that flows through us and that is our true nature, it is precisely that, left unexamined, which leads spiritual aspirants to feed the very things they are wanting to surrender. When surrender is sensed as what we must do and separate from where we are, we tend to feed the illusion of that separation and the ego that wills and perpetuates that sense of separation.

In surrender, there is a release of the sense of separation and our attachment to that sense, and to the appearances of what we want. There is a release into the unknown. That release is as natural as breathing, but we have forgotten it through having become habituated with the beliefs, fears and tensions that obscure it. The beliefs, fears and tensions drop away when they are recognized for what they are. A sense of peace and lack of division do not come from a surrender of what we hold onto or what we desire to another illusory "other," so much as simply stopping fighting what is and seeing it in truth. In the peace of that stillness, there is no sense of division and no "other" to fight. There is a greater presence with what is, and this is where enlightened action, as differentiated from the will of ego that is born from that sense of division, can take place.

Letting go and surrendering are experienced as difficult when we are identified with what we are letting go of and what we sense as separate from all, rather than with the awareness in which all of this arises. In our earnestness to make a change or stop our suffering, we often try to let go with that which still holds on and are caught in the effort, agony and perpetuation of this, rather than feeling the release that comes from seeing the illusions of separation for what they are. When there is suffering, there is some kind of illusion that is believed as truth; there is the belief that there is something to fear in this moment and that our resistance to that will save us. When we understand this, our suffering can be a signal towards unveiling this illusion and the dynamic that perpetuates it.

Surrender is an unveiling of illusion that co-arises with the seeing of truth. In that light, it is effortless and renders the term "surrender" meaningless. If you see God as one with yourself and one with what is, then where and to whom is the surrender?

I recently inquired into what surrender is to me:

What is surrender?

Surrender is being here now, fully, without fear or hesitation

To whom or what?

To this moment, to God, to truth, to self of which there is no other, to the love that breathes within and as all of life, to the soul that paints the landscapes of my visions. This moment is where I begin and though it may change, this moment is what I can never leave, and in all arising prayers, I find that it is to truth that I wish to surrender and love is the chariot that I am drawn to and that carries me to where I am.

This view of "surrender" removes the sense of division that we can have in trying to push ourselves into what our idea of surrender looks like, or in judging that we have not done enough, somehow. It acknowledges the effortless surrender of being where we are that renders the term "surrender" meaningless, the powerful life of connection that we have so immediately, effortlessly and choicelessly, no matter what we decide, will or think. It takes the pressure off of us to do or be more, and it lets us see the beauty of our true face, uncontorted, that shines its effulgence as love, lover and beloved, this notthree trinity blurring its own distinctions with its resplendent luminosity.

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