SURRENDER, CONSECRATION AND FREEDOM

DescentwithimaginationA recent post over at Lance’s The Jungle of Life blog, The Evolution of Our Hearts’ Desire, penned by Megan Bord, of It’s All About Joy, was captivating.  Megan has found a reality greater than the one that is self-propelled.

As I mentioned in the comments, there is huge spirituality in this realization. All the major religions and spiritual traditions reference the act of surrender as a means to obtain a higher level of awareness.  In Christianity, we surrender to Christ.  In turn, Christ requires that we serve each other in our relationships (a sometimes controversial form of surrender).  In Islam and Judaism, we surrender to the power of Allah or Yahweh.  Asian religions revere the greatness of Buddha and Confucius.  Zen thinking acknowledges the great power within paradox. Even 12 step programs have a basis in surrender.

Megan found freedom in surrender, which on its face seems a paradoxical statement.  The shift began, she writes, through a change in priorities:  I became less inclined to seek things and more inclined to seek inner peace, gain a better understanding of my God-self, and come from a space of love in all that I do. A fairly common objective held by those who seek understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

FIREWORKS-OVER-LAKE-4But a more radical transformation would soon take place:  The thing I hadn’t thought to do, though, was surrender. . . As a result, I kept spinning my wheels more and more until I was so jammed into the very state I tried to get out of that I had a minor breakdown. We’re taught that action cures all ills in modern society.  If something is wrong, we need to keep working on it until we fix it.  If we’re sick, we try different types of cures.  If there is injustice, we legislate against it.  If we are scolded, we muster a defense.

The problem with taking a harshly proactive approach is that things often don’t respond in the ways we want. Business marketing is a perfect example.  “All marketing is,” my husband has told me on more than one occasion – and he should know after doing it for about 30 years, “throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.  Sometimes nothing you can think of does.”  This sounds familiar.  Didn’t I hear in the NICU from my son’s neonatologist that, “we don’t really know what’s going to work until we try something.  Then if that doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.”  Rinse and repeat.

I’ve noticed some recent changes to challenge the methods that involve trying so hard, along the lines of what Megan wrote about.  Instead of broadcast marketing, where you throw something out there in fine tradition of direct marketers everywhere, there’s been a modification toward relationship development and responding to what need the potential customer expresses.  This feels more right, though it might take longer to develop a trusting relationship.  The move toward more holistic ways of healing involves a kind of listening to what our bodies want to tell us, as well.

apalachicolagardens2Surrendering from what we think might be the answer to the evolution of an answer through listening is the same as what Megan described in her breakthrough:  I used to look at my dreams – the things I thought I wanted – and see them as something to strive for; something outside of me. But now, as I look around with a fresh set of eyes which love the very moment I’m in no matter what that moment is, I see how my heart’s desires have evolved. Wherever I am is exactly where I want to be. . . Whatever is, is my dream.

Sometimes our biggest breakthroughs or rewards come when we stop trying so hard, and surrender to a force, which, I believe, has greater gifts in mind for us than we could ever imagine.  My business partner and I, slow learners that we were, realized this on a multi-year continuum.  We would beat ourselves against the wall striving and working constantly to achieve a new milestone, get that next client, resolve a problematic situation, acknowledge our frustration with the slowness in which everything was happening.

We expended considerable amounts of energy, so much so that often we found ourselves at a point when we each had no further reserves.  It was then, and I’m ashamed to say this was a repetitive cycle instead of a single realization, we had nothing more to give.  We surrendered.  We literally would say, “We’re putting this in your hands, God, because we’re fresh out of ideas.” And the breakthrough or game-changing moment would occur.  We would say, “Well, we should’ve gotten to that point a lot sooner!”

300px-Torah_and_jadYes, we should have kept that point in mind.  There is a greater reality than the one we fuel with our own efforts. When we let go, the thing we most seek is often given to us as a gift by the great power which knows all.

Pete’s late sister, Margaret, on her own path to enlightenment, knew this very well. She wrote, “When I am on retreat, there’s a sense of release, of lightening up, of letting go.  I’m able to live fully in the moment instead of experiencing things secondhand, lost in thoughts and stories.  This direct contact with my experience returns me to the natural vividness of life I remember as a child. Colors, foods, and emotions all take on a richness unique to life as a yogi.  It’s as if I open a window to seeing more clearly the true nature of experience.”

Margaret strove for clarity and presence, and found it through surrender. Megan went from caretaker to being taken care of.  Instead of having to constantly be on guard from threats, Megan came to a place of openness. She accepts and experiences a more vivid reality, like the one Margaret described years ago.

Associating with the powerful spiritual force and openly accessing the “better” self through that association is called “consecration” in Christian terminology.  Generally, the term is used during ordinations of hierarchical placeholders and acknowledgment of the holy aspects of sacramental objects, icons or artifacts.  Places are also consecrated – buildings, cemeteries, etc.

I believe ordinary people – like you, Margaret, Megan, and me – can choose self-consecration through surrender. It is then that we may find ourselves in a holier, or as Margaret described, more vivid place.

Megan went on to say in the comments section that the transformation was magical and miraculous, in a very zen-like description:  I couldn’t surrender until I did. I didn’t know how to just be until I was. I’m rather obstinate, and while I understand concepts and how important some things are, until I’m ready to live them, they stay very cerebral. The good news is that the Universe is always willing to nudge me where I need to go when I need to go there. I didn’t love what I was going through at the time, but looking back I couldn’t have learned about surrender and acceptance any other way.

AK-SEWARD-LAKE-MOUNTAINS-SNOWWe have to do, to learn.  For complete freedom, we must live in the now.  This entails an acceptance of what is, and transforms our state of being to the greater richness Margaret observed in the inter-connectivity of our experiences.  Thus, creatives might be more prone to access the state of “flow” in the higher functioning spiritual environment that surrender affords.

Robin Birch, in Let’s Live Forever!, writes, “I believe all parts of us are God’s expression… body, mind and soul (”God” to me meaning the universal source of creation).” Her take on surrender is similar.  Stop the resistance and look at the thing which may be your undoing: If we work through an issue “pushing our buttons”, we find that the love and connection that is naturally there anyway can shine through—our hearts open, and the differences between us become inconsequential. We are accepting a part of ourselves we had been denying. We feel different—we feel more… alive. Surrender, consecration – in associating with the love and natural connection = freedom.  Freedom from difference, denial, negativity, and inner strife.

As I wrote in support of Megan’s revelation:  We stop trying so hard. And in the absence of striving, we are more highly capable. We ignore the ego, who is the source of friction. We are a molecule in the stream of life. It’s as though the bonds loosen, like Houdini’s, when we relax. The reality of who we are then bursts forth in joy. In our acceptance, we become new again. And then we can be.

What do you think?

Photo Credits:

Descent with Imagination – Colin Purrington

Torah Scrolls – Wikipedia

All other photos - Peter Wuebker

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19 Responses to SURRENDER, CONSECRATION AND FREEDOM

  1. Walter September 16, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    Many people are not aware that we are the servants of our mind. From our very childhood, our mind is preconditioned to accept whatever values it has imprint upon by our experiences, thus accepted as truths. The problem is we are unconscious of the fact that we are being manipulated by our mind. We believe what it says about something; we never question its validity; therefore we live in discontent and misery. Surrender I will gladly accept, but letting go of what we initially believe in will be truly liberating; it will disarm the stubborn mind. And this can only be attained through awareness of the self.

    Wisdom comes from knowing. :-)
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..Deciding point: conquering limitations =-.

  2. Robin September 16, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    Hi Betsy – I’m honoured that you mention my words in such such a beautiful post – thank you. I love the way you tell of how you surrendered when you had run out of answers regarding your business – and then the answer came! It reminds me of a woman in The Living Matrix (movie) who was suffering from a brain tumour for many years and suddenly reaalised she was fighting it all the time and then surrendered and asked it what it wanted to tell her – and then she recovered. Love “I believe ordinary people – like you, Margaret, Megan, and me – can choose self-consecration through surrender.”
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Immortality Of The Body =-.

  3. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach September 16, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    I always believe that God (or more correctly, the inner spirit that resonates with your being) comes from WITHIN. That’s why one never needs any outside trappings to commune with the universe – we were all born knowing how to call into ourselves.

    Problem is, that notion doesn’t make money for the big religions…and so it’s never promoted. The Gnostics (early Christians), however, had similar beliefs (so the Church destroyed them). Live and learn.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..Today’s Quote of the Day – One Woman’s Wisdom Is…. =-.

  4. Barbara Swafford September 17, 2009 at 1:15 am #

    Hi Betsy,

    Wow! This is powerful. Like you, I read Megan’s post and found it to be extremely enlightening. Like you and your business partner who learned to surrender, I’ve been learning that, as well.

    Beating our head against the wall doesn’t get us anywhere. But when we step back and let the powers “be”, new doors are opened to us. It seems like such a simple concept, but that darn ego of ours insists on getting in the way.

    Down ego, down! :)
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Tapping Into A Larger Audience =-.

  5. Lance September 17, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    Hi Betsy,
    Surrender…something that surely isn’t always easy for me. “There’s got to be a way!”. “Don’t give up.”. And yet, I have to agree – that when I’ve brought myself to that space where I just stop and “be”, this can be the moment of clarity I’ve been so seeking. In fact, it reminds me very much of a retreat I went on a few years back. Very much a few days of surrender. And also the most spiritually enlightening time in my life.

    And then here I am, four years later…and forgetting how deeply good that surrender was…

    Betsy, you’ve really written a beautiful piece tying this all together…
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Happy Work =-.

  6. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord September 17, 2009 at 4:56 am #

    This post absolutely blows me away. Thank you, Betsy, for writing something so compelling, and thanks to Lance for telling me I should stop over and take a peek. First of all, I’m grateful that you referenced what I wrote at The Jungle and brought it to life with greater dimension. I read each word like I was eating the most delicious dessert, savoring every thought which was so carefully crafted.
    I loved what you said here: “When we let go, the thing we most seek is often given to us as a gift by the great power which knows all.” That has been my experience. Not once in the last year, not twice, but many times.
    And while I’ve only been to a couple meditation retreats, Margaret’s experience rings true for me, as well.
    What I really like is how you applied this to business, and mentioned the marketing aspect, which is something I spent 10 years doing before becoming a writer.
    This was a perfect way to start the day: on a positive, love-filled, and inspirational note. Thank you!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Runners, Bloggers and the Power of Applause =-.

  7. Betsy Wuebker September 17, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Hi Walter – Welcome to PassingThru! “Servants of the mind” – a great way to describe the effect of subconscious manipulation. What a challenge to remain aware that the effect is present. Thank you.

    Hi Robin – Thank you, I thought there were so many parallels between Megan and your writings. And yes, there are many stories of miraculous healing or turnaround that one could point to as a result of less intervention. Glad you enjoyed this!

    Hi Barbara – You’re right, in a scary, out-of-control world, we tend to want to have our say over what happens. A lot of traditional self-help suggests a go-go-go get’r'done approach, doesn’t it. So that when we do let go, we can still have nagging doubts. I think this is what makes the process hardest for me, or my ego. Blame the ego, yes! Thanks.

    Hi Lance – I never would have been inspired to write this if it hadn’t been for you choosing Megan as a guest, so thanks go to you! And, I appreciate your example of your retreat and how as time passed, it had a waning influence. It’s so easy to slip back, as we did in the business example, and repeat the cycle of frustration. Doing it the hard way, right? Thank you.

    Hi Megan – Welcome to PassingThru! Glad to help you start your day, too. Thank you for writing what you did over at Lance’s blog and inspiring this riff. The irony in the old saw, “Be careful what you ask for” relates to these ideas, too. The reinterpretation of what we think we need can sometimes be hilarious when it finally comes to pass. And yes, I think we need to be mindful of this phenomenon especially in business, where so much frustration and dogged striving occurs, often with disappointing results. Thank you.

  8. Betsy Wuebker September 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Hi Barbara L. – Sorry, you wound up in Akismet. :) I too believe, like you, that we are born knowing that. Much has been written and made of the falling away as infants grow into children, and children grow into adults. Margaret tapped that with “the natural vividness of childhood.” And you’re right, it’s not a money-maker for organized religions. Thank you.

  9. Jannie Funster September 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I do love that retreat feeling of lightness. If only we could all carry that with us at all times. Well, we can — but will we? We need to!

    I did not know that about your son and the neonatal days. That must’ve been harrowing, to say the least. Kelly was in there for 4 days, for low blood sugar. At least we knew what she had and was being treated for it, but I cannot imagine your heartbreak at not knowing what would work.

    I have always wondered at Cheap Trick’s lyrics in their song “Surrender.” You know it? “Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away, awaaaaayy, awaaaaaaaayyyyyy.” Can we go too far in surrendering? Or is that just a throw-away line from a song that should not be taken too deeply?

    Yours ponderingly,
    Jannie
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..It’s All Picnics And Cartwheels Until The Fire Ants Bite =-.

  10. Davina September 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    What do I think Betsy? This is a phenomenal post and my head is spinning a little with all the possibilities the idea of surrender brings. It sounds so EASY.

    To surrender… let go of the ego. What’s left is the natural flow and expression of who we are. The expression that we don’t have to TRY to make happen. The expression where there are no buttons to push. Those buttons are what keep “our shirts on”. Let’s get undressed :-) Brilliant and astounding! I’m updating my latest post with a link to this one.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..The Thyme of My Life =-.

  11. Betsy Wuebker September 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Jannie – I had forgotten about that song. You’d *like* to think they were that deep, eh? :) It’s interesting to look back on the NICU days now that the horror has faded (21+ years). The tether the babes have with life here on earth is so fragile. Perhaps that’s part of recognizing the lightness you mentioned? Thanks.

    Hi Davina – “Keep your shirt on” is something my dad used to say. :D Surrendering does sound so easy, doesn’t it? It’s that old trust thing that gets in the way, though, especially if our relationship with control is close. For all the times I’ve realized that good things manifest when I let go, it’s still difficult to maintain. So maybe instead of easy, it’s simple. Thanks.

  12. Cath Lawson September 18, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    LOL Betsy – I often drop by to see if you’ve written anything – but a watched pot never boils. Then I look in my reader and you’ve written two posts.

    I love this post. Before I got really depressed, I was meditating like mad – hoping I would connect with a higher power who would show me exactly everything I need to do to make life awesome.

    But reading this, I’m thinking that maybe I was trying to hard. If I just meditated for the sake of meditating, instead of hoping for something greater, maybe something great will happen when I’m least expecting it.
    .-= Cath Lawson´s last blog ..Are You Too Lazy To Live In Canada? =-.

  13. Betsy Wuebker September 21, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    Hi Cath – I’ve not had much luck with meditation either, but obviously there are legions who swear by it. I do think there is conventional wisdom/anecdote about letting go, especially in dating. Stop looking! is what all the advice seems to say. And I think whether our lives are awesome is a matter of our own perception of same circumstances on any given day, no? Thanks.

  14. Jeanne September 25, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    Betsy: I just came upon this post via Dot’s blog — and suddenly I’m experiencing serendipity! I’d just finished “pre-writing” tomorrow’s post and it’s so in line with what you say here. It just makes me think that the cosmic mind is working very effectively, the way it provides the same or similar messages to the likes of us, to put out there!

    I’m really glad to have found you, I’m so enjoying your posts, and will be spending a good deal of time “catching up” with your “old stuff”— You and Pete are awesome!
    .-= Jeanne´s last blog ..I Gotta Stop It, Already! =-.

  15. Betsy Wuebker September 25, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Jeanne – Welcome to PassingThru! Either the “cosmic mind” or collective insanity! :D We’re glad you’re enjoying yourself here and we hope you’ll stick around. Thank you.

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