A 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.
But 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.
Surrendering 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!”
Yes, 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.
We 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?
Descent with Imagination – Colin Purrington
Torah Scrolls – Wikipedia
All other photos - Peter Wuebker