6-18-23 The Behavior of Spiritual Surrender

The Behavior of Spiritual Surrender

Do you feel like you are in battle, perhaps constantly or occasionally? Do you feel like there is “something” that keeps you on edge, is a constant underlying dissatisfaction? Do you have a hard time feeling at peace? Do you feel that life is a hassle? It seems natural to fight against something that you see as “bad,” but violence always brings more violence, and you are actually feeding your demons when you fight them.

The spiritual tools offered by AA and other programs are designed to induce surrender to the fullest degree possible so that defiance, grandiosity, or feeling like a victim cease effectively to function. When that happens, the individual is more open to reality. They can listen and learn and practice without conflict or shame. They are receptive to life, not antagonistic. They can join in the joys of living honestly and fully, not fearfully.

That we are powerless over an addiction or behavior once we have begun indulging is true. Ironically, in accepting our powerlessness, we’re empowered to move beyond it. Once we surrender, if we’re willing to do some hard work, we find we’re surrendering to more truths. Truths such as our capacity to find happiness, healthy relationships, and a sense of worthiness within ourselves. We come to understand that any connection with our higher spiritual self can’t be owned and jealously guarded—only cultivated and shared. Helping others is essential to our recovery and growth.

With surrender comes change, and change can be disconcerting. Regardless of how many meetings on spirituality we’ve attended, how many podcasts we’ve listened to, how much growth and change we’ve seen in others, we often don’t seem to be able to (or are afraid to) let go of the false ego-based image we’ve made of ourselves—a safe haven that is painful, but familiar. Even if we’ve experienced joining the spiritual and worldly together, feeling a wholeness we did not know existed before, we may still hesitate. Not knowing who we are is scary. We’ve put a lot of work and time into creating, supporting and promoting an image of ourselves and we don’t like to let it go.

Many of us lead busy lives. But what is the quality of our doing? As we run the errands, cook the breakfast, send the emails, talk with the co-workers, drive the car, are we even really there? How total is our awareness and presence? Are we in a state of surrender, or are we grasping? This distinction is what determines your success in life, not how much effort you make. When we’re operating from the need to reach a certain point in the future or accomplish a certain result, we miss the entire journey. We’re in a constant state of disconnect.

When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. Now is the key. Eckhart Tolle

We begin with knowing our behavior and mentality is ruining our life and the lives of others, and even killing us. We surrender to the fact we can’t keep going like we have, and need help to find a better way. Through our recovery we begin feeling the difference of surrendering to the knowledge of unhealthy past behavior, which is difficult to look at but necessary, and reinforcing healthy behavior to replace our old behaviors. We begin not acting out with old destructive behaviors – anger, withdrawing, fear, judgement, and greed. And we replace those behaviors with an effort of being aware, considering, and acting more compassionately, confidently, kindly assertive and wisely. We can’t just surrender to NOT doing harmful behaviors, we must replace those behaviors with a new light or the darkness will return.

Consistency and discipline are important to staying spiritually surrendered. Going to a meeting now and then and occasionally spending a few minutes on prayer and meditation is helpful. Reading something uplifting or listening to a podcast on spirituality may make us feel more peaceful. But in order to form strong, lasting connections, we must have the discipline, gentle but firm, to establish new behaviors. We must strive to stay constantly aware of all our thoughts and actions and surrender to making right efforts as naturally as we breathe. We need to check ourselves all the time: am I conscious? am I surrendering to my higher power? We must remember to slow down a little bit. It takes work to be so aware, but the effort will produce the rewards you have been looking for.

We greet each precious day with a smile and a hello. Easy enough to do, and a good way to start. Have something concrete to say each morning that is inspiring and calming. We join the natural flow of life’s energy. We don’t want to be confused bystanders, treating our lives like a spectator sport, wondering who’s that jerk that’s in control.

Many of us have trauma that we need time and help to work with, and it is important to do so. But if we continue to indulge in fear and control, we’re fighting our imaginary demons with imaginary weapons that only feed the demons. We become lonely, isolating our hearts from life and choosing to live in a non-existent world of our own making. That is why we feel like life is passing us by, because real life IS.

We surrender to the fact that we are responsible. We surrender to a daily practice of meditation, awareness, mindfulness and prayer. We surrender to taking right action and effort, and stepping through our fears. We spend more time each day cultivating awareness and surrendering, and less time grasping. In this way, surrender will become the dominant, natural behavior. We can let go, trust our inner selves, have the courage to stand up, to be kind and strong and to have some fun. We begin feeling content and alive.

No one can give us the play by play for exactly how to move forward into a better self. But we can be encouraged by the knowledge that we’re better off than we were, and inspired to keep going and keep making the right effort.

We know by instinct, not by analyzing it to death, what to accept and embrace, and what is better to let go of. We realize that failure is the result of trying, and we keep failing and learning and trying and learning and trying and trying. If we don’t try, we may wallow in stagnation, thinking it is the norm.

Trust your inner knowledge and wisdom. Be quiet, listen, and take right action through right effort. What are you going to do tonight, tomorrow and from now on, that will promote surrendering to that better way you have been thinking about for so long? The time is now, not later; there may be only a few laters.

It may feel like a tall task to surrender to so much. Begin by living a little bit slower, and being aware of what is happening and how it makes you feel. Your true sense of worth, connection and kindness will naturally arise.

When I pass I would like to know I had truly tried, rather than wish I had.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

                                                How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
                                             The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
                                  The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
                                           May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.