Think of a scenario in your life when, after stressing out or driving your self crazy about it, you finally just let things be, you surrendered, and it actually worked out in the end. Why is it, when we can likely come up with more than one example of this, possibly many, do we still believe that letting go is giving up? Why do we think of surrender as, at it worst, defeat, or at it’s least, rolling over and playing dead?
In this week’s classes we focused on forward bends–generally held to be the physical metaphor for ‘letting go’. After practicing a few times, one quickly learns that tight hips and hamstrings can be like a stubborn mule–if you want them to move, they need to be coaxed. And this coaxing takes patience and practice. Forcing just doesn’t work. (If anything, it could create injury). Interesting, too, that the hips and legs are what we need to literally move forward; without them there is no locomotion. Esoterically this almost implies that to move forward we need to let go of that which is keeping us stuck or holding us back ( fear, or limiting beliefs, perhaps?).
The mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya” is translated as “I bow to Shiva”, a deep surrender to all that is and will be. Shiva, Lord of the Yogis, is known as The Destroyer, and according to Zo Newell, “He destroys negativity, illusion and things that have to go in order to make room for new creation and a higher level of consciousness.” Makes sense to me.
The illusion in this case is the ego’s illusion of control. We often allow the ego lots of bandwidth–we create perfectly decorated homes, coiffed lawns and gardens, schedules machinated to the minute, children’s lived pre-planned from kindergarten to grad school–all of this lets the ego believe it is in charge–and by attrition, so do we. And like any spoiled child, when the ego isn’t getting its way, it stomps its feet until it has its way once again. (Ah, the illusion of control masquerading as peace…for aren’t I at peace when I think I everything is going my way? But that is another blog for another day… ;)) To the ego surrender means losing: losing its hold, losing its importance, losing its grip on us.
Westerners might translate this mantra more loosely: Thy Will Be Done. Whichever translation you prefer, it implies that there is something greater than we, something to trust and have faith in, in order to let our life unfurl, and through the process, hopefully evolve. Let go and let God, as it has been said. In this way, Surrender walks hand in hand with faith…our faith allows us to step aside and make room for the Divine order of things.
In Return to Love, Marianne Williamson writes, “What if we believed there is a force holding things together that is beyond our control? What if we could see, in our daily lives, the working of that force? What if we believed we could afford to relax?” When stated like this, Surrender sounds sensible…easy… welcoming, even. Max Ehrmann encourages our release; coaxes us into surrender with his famous quote:
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding exactly as it should.
No doubt. Namaste.