Dear Integral Yoga Shanga,
Pranams. The residents of the Institute chose surrendering the ego as a practice for the month of June. Surrender can have negative associations, especially in the West where it can mean failing, being defeated or giving up. The spiritual practice of surrender is instead an expression of inner strength that comes from understanding that our lives take place in the context of a much bigger picture than our minds can comprehend.
Surrender refers to the realization that while we can make every effort to accomplish goals, we cannot control the ultimate outcomes of those actions. This is expressed in the well known Serenity Prayer with the words, “….grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change….”
But this form of acceptance does not mean resignation or indicate a lack of ability. On the contrary, it implies a deeper source of inner stability and freedom from dependence on outside events or achievements. When I let go of the desire to make things go my way, to look good or be right, and value instead the well-bring of everyone, I’m left with peace in my heart instead of a feather in my cap.
We can easily practice this by noticing whenever anxiety arises over what we want to get or how we are being seen. Can we relax into the flow of what is needed in this moment or are we resisting what life is calling for by holding onto our vision of how things “should” be?
Another expression of surrender takes place when we acknowledge the limitations of the mind to know the answers, and we sincerely open ourselves to be guided by a higher wisdom, the universal consciousness beyond the mind. This may take the form of quieting the mind in meditation, or in moments of confusion or distress, sincere prayer for guidance.
However we practice surrender, this intention to cease being governed by the me-centered ego mind, inevitably lands us on a deeper ground of being where we are connected to the whole of life. Michael Stone writes, “….through letting go of habitual forms of clinging to thoughts and money and addictions, we find ourselves deeper in the world due to the renunciation of clinging….we find our true nature, our true home, our refuge.
When we practice this as a community, we can support each other in taking refuge from the relentless wanting in the mind by accessing a source of peace that we share. Om Shanti, Yours in the Light,