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Have you ever felt like you could achieve just about anything… if you could just get out of your own way? Or that all of your efforts are being sabotaged by a stubborn part of your subconscious?

We are often our own worst enemies. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Deep down, we almost always know what we should be doing. We know the next step on the path that will lead to the achievement of our goals.

What stands in the way is resistance. It’s the fear of taking that next step that keeps us frozen in place. The way to fulfillment is through the surrender of our resistance.

What Does It Mean to Surrender?

The word surrender can conjure up images of white flags and defeat in battle. It is often associated with handing over power to some external authority. In this sense, surrender means weakness.

But in the context of spirituality the word takes on a much different meaning. Surrender means to let go. And what you are letting go of is everything you are not.

What are you surrendering?

You are surrendering your illusional sense of self. Your ego mind. The part of you that thinks it has it all figured out.

You’re surrendering your stress, tensions and fears — your resistance.

And what are you surrendering to?

You are not surrendering to anything outside of yourself. You are not giving up your power to some external force.

You are kicking your ego-mind out of the driver’s seat and allowing your Spirit to take control.

In other words you’re quieting the mind, allowing your emotions to settle, and letting this part of yourself that is larger than your ego self come through.

Living in a Surrendered State

A surrendered state is a state in which your Awareness, your innermost nature, guides your every move. Your Spirit is pouring through your mind and body without any resistance. You feel radiant, inspired, and creative.

An artist deep in their work is operating in a surrendered state. They are in touch with a deeper part of themselves that is bringing something new into form.

A musician, lost in their music is plugged into this state and riffing with the rising energy of the moment. After coming out of that state, many have reported that it felt as if the music was playing them, like they were just a conduit for a creative force.

An athlete “in the zone” is also in a surrendered state. It’s as if they can’t miss a shot, and like they can perceive the whole dynamic of the playing field at once, and know exactly what play to make at exactly the right time.

The artist, musician, or athlete in a surrendered state is not functioning at the level of the mind. They may not have a spiritual practice or a spiritual language to describe what takes place. All the same, they are opening to the flow of higher creative energy.

In other words, they have surrendered their resistance and allowed their Spirit to take control.

Let Go And Rise

We all crave this experience of flow. We’ve been in it before, when everything seems to be going just as it should, when every one of our next moves are executed with perfection. Without any intellectual thought, planning, or second guessing.

We’ve all had a taste of this state of grace. And then we’ve all fallen from it, pulled back down by the gravity of our own resistance. The thing we don’t realize — especially when we are struggling and suffering — is that grace is always present.

Spiritual work is about opening to that ever-present flow. When you give yourself over to it, a dormant part of your being begins to awaken and rise up from within you. It cleanses you as it climbs, expanding your awareness and increasing your vitality. The more you give yourself over to this process, the more rapid the transformation occurs.

Clearing the Path For Creative Energy To Flow

If you want to grow spiritually, if you want to access the flow of grace, your work is to open inside — to surrender. Your work is to clear a path through which Life can flow.

You can do this by:

  • Recognizing that you don’t have everything all figured out
  • Getting quiet inside
  • Asking for help to surrender
  • Releasing your tensions
  • Letting go of your heavy baggage
  • Letting go of your obsessive desire for control
  • Giving yourself over to Life
  • Trusting the process

When you surrender deeply life becomes more enjoyable. You become lighter. Radiant. Freed from all the weight that held you in place for so long, you can move through the world without fear or attachments.

Meditation: The Daily Practice of Surrender

The most difficult time to surrender is when you’re engaged in the stresses and pressures of the day. This is exactly when you need it the most, of course. But if you haven’t trained for it, if you haven’t gone inside yourself over and over again to release your tensions and open your heart, you will not be able to do it under pressure.

Just like a musician who practices scales, or an athlete who trains everyday no matter how they are feeling or what else is going on in their life, you have to practice letting go. The best time to do this is in the morning before any of the day’s pressures are coming at you. Before your mind is flooded with all the things you need to accomplish, you sit and open your heart and mind to the Infinite.

The practice of meditation is the practice of opening and surrendering. It’s the conscious recognition of Presence. And the offering of yourself to that Presence.

In the beginning of a meditation practice there is often a certain amount of effort that is required. You have to ease yourself into a state of stillness and silence by using tools and techniques such as prayer, pranayama, or mantra. Then something interesting happens.

If you’re able to let go, something takes over. Not something outside of yourself, but the deepest and highest part of yourself takes over and starts to pull you back into It. It draws your attention into the inward current. It takes you out of the ego mind and brings you into a direct recognition of Awareness Itself.

Surrendering Resistance

The practice of letting go is not mechanical. There’s no magical mantra or technique that will allow you to access the flow of grace. While techniques can be helpful, in the end they are just tools. It’s only by surrendering with enough depth and intention that you can get beyond the limitations of your ego-mind.

Life is always flowing down into you. It’s always trying to express Itself through you and help you evolve. At all times It is attempting to guide you toward the achievement of your highest goals.

It’s the force of resistance that shuts you off from that flow.

Resistance is what closes your heart and isolates you from the rest of humanity. It prevents you from intimate contact with the world around you. And it blocks you from pursuing your passions.

Resistance keeps you on the couch watching TV instead of working on the book you want to write. It talks you into staying up late and sleeping until noon instead of working on the business you want to launch. Resistance talks you into skipping workouts and meditation sessions.

It’s easier to give in to inertia than it is to listen to the directive of your inner voice that is telling you to get up and move. It’s easier to listen to the voice of your ego than to the voice of your Spirit because your Spirit wants you to grow. And growth takes work.

It’s by surrendering your resistance to that work that you become free.

Becoming Free: The Work of Surrender

The sages tell us that everything is One. There is no separation between the inner and outer. No division between the spiritual and the physical.

There’s no separation from your inner work of meditation and your outer work in the world. Both complement each other. Your meditation helps you prepare for and open to the day. And your surrendered actions during the day break down the resistance that prevents you from experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation.

Each time you are confronted with the choice of action, and you choose the one your inner voice is guiding you toward, you overcome resistance. When you overcome resistance, blockages in your energy flow are released. And when those blockages are released your energy rises.

In other words, you become more happy and fulfilled.

This is as simple as taking a deep breath before you decide to act. It’s getting quiet enough inside to feel the direction creative energy wants to flow. And then it’s giving yourself over to that completely.

I have found that the following practice helps me to stay more open and surrendered throughout the day. Maybe it will help you as well.

Every few hours, or more if I am going through hard times, I take a deep breath into the heart chakra and say a kind of prayer to my Higher Self:

“Spirit, I give everything to your flow. Please help me to surrender. Help me to break down my resistance to you. Guide my thoughts, words and actions. Show me how to serve.”

Often, when I say this prayer with intention I feel a sense of release. And I feel an energy come rushing in. It pours into all of the places I had been holding tension. It shows me all the ways I had been fighting the creative force. After, I feel lighter, energized, and on purpose.

Try placing yourself in your Spirit’s hands and see what happens. Watch your tensions slide away, your creative energy rise up, and your life become transformed.

LET GO AND RISE: THE PRACTICE OF SURRENDER