I learned some years back to pay attention to synchronicity- those strange little coincidences that after the third or fourth time, force you to pay attention. Most recently, I had this happen with the concept of surrender.
I first learned about surrender in its healthy and meditative form when, as a public school teacher, I took a group of students, along with other teachers and schools, to Japan. The lead up to the trip was filled with wonderful, meaningful cultural lessons. This is where we learned about letting go or surrendering what we can not control. I wish I could remember how to spell or even say the word correctly, but it gets confused in my mind with the word for "man is it hot!" which it was that summer. I believe the 2 are combined and confused in my head because I spent so much time reminding myself to just surrender to the heat - something I could not control, among many things on that wonderful trip.
As a control freak, learning the art of surrender was so necessary. I get better at it every year since then. It is not the idea of giving up or lying down, belly up. It is the art of knowing when to let go, to allow, to walk away with your sanity in tact. It is the art of knowing what you can control and create and accepting what you can not with grace and dignity. It doesn't mean I put up with things that are wrong or unacceptable. It means I know that I can choose my fights and I can know that what I think is wrong or unacceptable is mine and others have every right not to agree. And, it means more than that, as I was soon to learn....
Most recently, I learned I could go even deeper. I took a class on meditation where we were taught the art and practice of surrender. Of course, it was not assumed we would master the lesson, but it was a very meaningful and timely reminder for me and I was told I smiled through the entire practice (I often smile during meditation). It was such a relief to let go of some things I was holding tight, unnecessarily. A few days later, I was going through a pile of articles I had printed that were never read and taking up space, ready to recycle. I found an article called Get Carried Away by Sally Kempton. I kept it and began reading, soon discovering it was about surrender.
Sally wrote about surrender in a broader sense than I had yet to experience. The idea of letting go of the result you want and allowing something else to flow creatively through you - to trust or surrender to the process. I so needed to hear this. Struggling to make sense of the business world, I often lose track of what I want to feel and do in this business and try to get a result I wish for. This article reminded me that when I allow myself to surrender to the process, sometimes things even more amazing than I ever dreamed become possible!
The real synchronicity, however, comes in an aspect of surrender Kempton shares which I had never heard before. Surrender is the process of asking "Who Am I?" and allowing that very Tao-ist answer- "I am all that is." It is the complete surrender of ego. Yikes! My ego is trying to create success. My ego is trying to be popular. My ego is controlling my life and Kempton is suggesting I stop all of that and trust?! Not only is it scary, but how?!
That night I went to bed with a book by Erich Schiffmann - Moving Into Stillness. He wrote about a meditation in which we ask that exact question, "Who Am I?" and we seek the stillness that comes when the ego and the mind let go - or surrender. Geesh! How could I not pay attention to that?! I have since spent my morning meditations with this intention in mind. I will not say here that I've got it. My ah-ha moment has come! But, I have had moments of wisdom and release and I am committed to learning and teaching the practice, because I can feel that it is right. I know because my ego so often makes mistakes, gets stubborn, and makes me stay stuck. I know because the release I get with surrender feels like freedom and joy.
How can you take a step toward surrender and make your life more joyful?