Somewhere along the labyrinthine path to spiritual enlightenment, somewhere after the “Dark Night of the Soul”, we are faced with a very dark and frightening turn, The Path of Surrender. At some point on the Spiritual Path, it becomes impossible to make any further progress without surrendering.
What exactly is surrender? Is it the complete jettisoning of personal will, a total sacrifice of goals, the hoisting of the white flag of defeat? Surrender is not defeat. Surrender is victory. It is not giving up on our personal goals and sacrificing our personal will to another and it is certainly not co-dependence.
Surrender is giving up the concept of control and letting the “Universe”, or the “Higher Self”, or the personal divine take over the steering wheel, with no back seat driving. Control involves the ego, and the ego has no place in personal spiritual development. The ego seeks to control others, our environment, events around us. It seeks to control the emotions, our ability to love, and the emotional life of others around us. The wasted energy spent in control needs to be released so that the natural process of spiritual growth can continue unhindered.When I visualize this concept, I think of one of the episodes of the original Star Trek series. Captain Kirk and Spock are caught in an alien force field that they are fiercely fighting. As they struggle, the force field becomes ever more vigilant. Finally, they are barely able to move. “Captain” Spock says quietly. He has discovered something. He has discovered that the more they fight the force field, the worse it gets. Spock suggests trying stillness and calm and not fighting it to see what happens. Of course, when they stop fighting it, the force field dissipates. What a wonderful metaphor for Surrender!
Surrender involves an incredible leap of Faith. Faith is the most significant element of Surrender. Without Faith, there can be no Surrender. Faith involves the belief that there is a greater good, a higher perspective, a divine, a higher self, or the “big picture”. Faith involves trusting that our souls have chosen for us the path of greatest good, or spiritual learning and soul growth that is after all our purpose for being here on the Blue Planet.
This may involve finally seeing that not receiving gratification for the demands of our immediate ego needs may result in a greater opportunity somewhere down the line. This “leap of faith” must exist in order for our destinies to unfold. A coveted promotion which doesn’t pan out, the cherished relationship which fails, loss and separation, death, divorce, illness, vanished opportunities….all will evolve into a greater opportunity to realize the soul’s place on the true life path.
Also involved is a certain degree of patience. Patience to let the way of the greater good evolve into the ideal situation. The True Path does not reveal itself in the time frame we would like. To a society largely sown on fast food and instant gratification, it must be acknowledged that there is no “McSpirit”, a drive-through of instant enlightenment.
In order to Surrender, one must realize that there is something much greater and much more powerful than anything this existence can offer. Call it the Universe, God, Goddess, Great Spirit, The Big Picture, or whatever, but it’s all the same. The Universe works in its own time and its own place. Because in the Big Picture, there is no linear time or linear place. The Universe is not bound by linear constraints. It is beyond time and place. Time and place are illusions created by our own egos. Surrender involves Faith in the workings of the Universe, the divine order that governs all, and the Patience to see it through.