I used to think that surrender was a bad word. I felt my ego rising up inside me fighting against the prospect of giving up control, of making things happen, from within me. I am the captain of my ship, I thought, I take control, I have the agency. No one tells me what to do. Surrender left a bad taste in my mouth that I felt I didn’t want any part of. Even when I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now on my fortieth birthday, when he wrote about surrender a part of me secretly disowned this, thought it didn’t really apply to me, wondered, even, if he had got this part a little bit wrong. Insert a knowing smile here.
Now, when I am faced with the word ‘surrender’, I feel the whoosh of deep relief. Ahhh, says my whole being, I can relax now. I can give over to something much bigger than the little me, I can give control over to God (insert whatever deity or divine power you like here. I’m not attached to ‘God’ – these are just words that try to describe the feeling). And the feeling is: there is something beyond us, much bigger than ourselves, a vast expanse of something to which we belong, and when we serve it, when we surrender to it, we feel many things. We feel a huge sense of relief that it doesn’t all have to come from us. We feel a giving over to Life, a trust in life’s intelligence over and above our meagre intelligence located in our brains, trying so busily to figure it all out. Surrender conjures up a feeling of service: it asks us to consider “What am I here to do? What am I an instrument of?” Surrendering to this answer which swells up in our hearts brings us joy, because when we are serving this purpose, it makes us feel alive. We feel grateful for unlocking the secret to our happiness. It is a never-ending well where, the more we drink from it, the fuller it becomes.
So now when I see Surrender, I think ‘thank God’. It’s a reminder that I can just give over, I can relax, I can feel a sense of being cared for. There is simplicity. The relief that it doesn’t all have to come from me opens my heart and allows inspiration to come in. I can act on this inspiration, playfully and joyfully, and keep an enchanted eye out for the magical touches of synchronicity, those circumstances that surprise and delight, which I could never have arranged myself through some clunky mental process of addition and subtraction but which, in the mischievous hands of life, belies a Divine Intelligence that sees so much more than we do.
These are our clues to something greater than ourselves. This is where we see the tapestry of life showing through the gaps of the reality we usually see. Surrender is a graceful relax. Thank God it doesn’t all depend on me.