Although surrender is often preached in the spiritual path, it can be difficult to understand exactly how to go about doing it. It is important to understand that surrendering doesn’t mean living your life passively. It means approaching life with an open mind and the ability to go with the flow. It means not labeling what is happening in your life and not reacting to everything that you come in contact with. It means observing everything from heightened, non-judgmental awareness.
By surrendering, we open up the doorway to joy, satisfaction, and gratitude in our lives.
However, despite the benefits of surrendering, many of us find it difficult to give way to this state of being and let go. These steps make easing into surrender a bit more accessible.
It is easy to fall into a pattern of judgment, both of ourselves and of others. We’ve likely judged things throughout our entire lives and probably aren’t even aware of it. Recognize any judgments that come up during your day, and choose to replace them with kindness and gentleness. Chances are, you’ll feel much more at ease than if you hold onto that judgment.
When our thoughts are living in the future or the past, we are not surrendering. We are often trying to control and over-plan with future thoughts and we are often trying to make sense of mistakes with past thoughts. When you find yourself caught up in thoughts that take you out of the here and now, try turning to a practice that will help you focus on the present. Identify something that you see right here, right now. Anchor yourself in your breath. Breathing in. Breathing out.
When we are unable to surrender – by trying to control, by becoming impatient, by worrying about outcomes – our body is listening and physically reacts. Take a mindful look at your body throughout the day. Are your shoulders up to your ears? Are your fists clenched? Are you fidgeting? Mindfully observe how your body is reacting, and breathe into those spaces. Tell yourself to let go, breathing in tranquility and relaxation.
The fifth limb of the eight limbs of yoga is called pratyahara. This limb revolves around withdrawing our senses (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing) from our surroundings and more clearly focusing on our inner self. It may sound abstract, but it can actually be fairly simple to practice. Start by reducing any stimuli around you – put your cell phone on silent, turn off any lights, and so on. Sit comfortably in a chair. Close your eyes, and avoid moving for a few minutes. Simply sit in this heightened state of awareness. Through practicing pratyahara, we are not reactive to the world around us. We break out of a cycle of constantly reacting to every stimulus that comes our way, and we can just simply be. Here, we are better equipped to surrender to a state of tranquility and inner peace.
These steps will make letting go more attainable and you’ll soon start to see that surrendering opens up the doors to relaxation, opportunity, joy, and gratitude in your life. When we rest in awareness, we feel grounded, sane and open-hearted. We then have the opportunity to alleviate suffering and illuminate the beauty of others and our world.
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