In 2020, my word of the year was “surrender”.
Little did I know at the beginning of that fateful year, that my word would have such significance, not just for me, but for the rest of the world.
But what is surrender?
It is important to point out that what I am talking about here has nothing to do with war. It is all about spiritual surrender.
Let’s start with what it is not.
Surrender is not passivity. It is not inaction nor apathy. It’s the opposite. When you are going with the flow of life, you are often acting on your intuition and doing so fearlessly.
Surrender is not about resignation. It is not giving up nor giving in; it is not hopelessness. It is not about laying down and being a doormat.
Surrender is not an easy way out. It sometimes requires courageous steps, commitment, and faith. You learn to trust your inner guidance system instead of the guidance of other people.
Surrender can easily be misunderstood.
It can be done electively and proactively, but sometimes it arises from sheer exhaustion. The body gives you no choice but to give way to its needs.
This is my understanding of what spiritual surrender is.
Surrender is letting go of control. In trying to control the people or circumstances of your life, you deny the natural flow of life; you are practicing resistance.
What you resist persists. So, the more you try to control, the more you struggle.
The reason you want control in the first place is that you believe you know what is best for you. You decide what is a good or bad outcome and try to manipulate the circumstances accordingly. But, in doing so you might miss the best possible outcome and the opportunity to learn, and all the wonderful blessings in disguise.
Once you accept that yours might not be the best plan, you get out of your own way.
Surrender is service. Ishvara Pranidhana is a Sanskrit word. Ishvara means “Lord” or “Supreme God,” and Pranidhana means “surrender” or “devote.”
It is the practice of surrendering the self, the ego, to God, the Universe, Source, or the Divine.
The literal meaning is “putting God first.”
It is surrendering to the best path that we can take in life for the highest good of all.
Surrender is to trust in the process. To go with the flow means to trust that whatever happens next is perfect for you. That you are always headed towards your greatest joy and freedom and the next best step will always become apparent.
It is trust that you will always find guidance through your intuition and gut feelings.
It is trust that what is meant for us cannot miss us.
Surrender is being open to guidance. This means taking inspired action which feels right, based on your internal guidance system.
It is looking out for signs and synchronicities which reinforce this instinct. It is saying yes more, even though it feels scary. It is knowing when to act and when to wait.
“My formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was.” – Michael A Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection
Surrender means to release your burdens to the higher self, or God.
It is the act of giving over all your fears and worries to a higher power, be it God, the Divine or the universe.
You simply surrender the struggle,
“At some point there’s no more struggle, just the deep peace that comes from surrendering to a perfection that is beyond your comprehension.” – Michael A Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection
Surrender means abandoning old ways of thinking and being. It is relinquishing all illusions and delusions.
In his book Living Buddha Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh explains how in Buddhism the true nature of things is called cessation nirodha (the end of suffering) or extinction nirvana.
Cessation is ending all notions and delusions, and extinction is the destruction of notions and wrong perceptions.
Through nirodha and nirvana, by detaching from cravings and desire, there is an end to all suffering, anger, and fear and the manifestation of peace, solidity, and freedom.
Touching Nirvana is regarded as a total and unconditional surrender to God.
Surrender is about detachment and about trusting yourself and the unfoldment of your life.
Vairagya is a Sanskrit term meaning "detachment." It is a state of being free of attachment to material things.
Letting go of the ego, including feelings such as pride, aversion, inferiority and superiority, and fear, are all also associated with vairagya.
It is about letting go of a desired outcome; it is trusting that the outcome will be perfect for you, whatever that might be.
In essence, surrender is going with the flow of life. It is accepting that there may be a plan better than your own for your life.
It is abandoning suffering.
It is the pathway to happiness and peace.