Surrender is a key part of enlightenment unfolding. A recent question has led me to explore the word in more detail.
The surrender I refer to is not giving away our power. That is submission, keeping our control but giving responsibility for it to someone else. That is disempowering.
True Surrender is allowing; it is letting go; it is permitting life to lead us; it is harmonizing with the Divine.
Surrender is allowing our higher nature to lead, letting go of the controller, our ego identification. Once the controller falls way, we can begin to operate from our infinite source. We gain infinite resources, inner peace, happiness, and profound support from the world.
But this surrender isn’t something we do. We’re so used to doing that just being without doing is foreign. It’s somehow lazy or insufficient. Surrender is a non-doing, it is allowing everything to be as it is. This has nothing to do with an idea or story of letting go. It is letting go of that too. It is a way of being.
Awakening is profoundly simple. But because we’re so used to doing, we don’t know how to just be. It is when we finally relax, just for a moment, that the Self can shine through and see itself.
Yoga Sutra 1 v2-3:
Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind.
Then the observer is established in their own nature.
A similar thing can happen after awakening. If we try to hold on to it or control it, the mind can temporarily overshadow it. Part of settling in is learning to let it be as it is. Settling in to a deeper surrender to deepest being.
A pre-awakening example comes to mind. When I first started witnessing sleep, it was fascinating and exciting. I watched the body fall asleep and observed and manipulated dreams. But soon I realized that watching the details means the mind was still awake as it’s what processes the senses. In deep sleep, the mind also sleeps.
I had to surrender more deeply into it to allow the mind to sleep too. Without senses, there was no detail. Sleep was more like a deep, silent meditation. Testing showed that the breath often stopped during deep sleep. That’s a key symptom of transcending or samadhi. The body is in such a deep state of rest that the need for breath pauses*.
Yet even if there was no sensory awareness, there was a continuity of Self that hadn’t been there before. ‘I’ was eternal. (But the controller stayed in charge awhile longer.)
This is the nature of the spiritual process. An effortless meditation can teach non-doing. But if we confuse that simplicity with insufficient, we’ll corrupt the practice and drift away. In the same way, awakening is only hard because we’re looking for something. It happens when doing ends. When we stop, that’s when we wake up.
It is just that simple. Surrendering the need to be something and just Be. Surrendering the need for awakening to look a certain way. Surrendering control, just for a moment. Pop.
And then we can learn surrender to our higher nature more and more deeply as we step through the higher stages.
After I woke up, I remember Lorn Hoff talking about perpetual surrender. This horrified me. It took me all this time to surrender for a moment. How was I possibly going to surrender perpetually?? (laughs)
It comes down to deepening into our infinite nature and learning to trust. Then the contractions can relax and we can let go more and more deeply.
*This breath pausing is in sharp contrast to sleep apnea when the breath is blocked and the body is oxygen-starved. If samadhi is extended, we may notice the lungs shift into a fine vibration. That’s all the body needs.