“Surrender is like a fish finding the current and going with it.”
– Mark Nepo (poet, philosopher and spiritualist, and author of the best-seller, ‘The Book of Awakening’)
‘Surrender’ usually evokes fear and anger. We imagine ‘surrender’ to mean slavery; a big guy with his sycophants may bully us to obey commands. No wonder most people despise the word.
However, in our relationship with God, surrender has a different connotation; it has more to do with a sense of belongingness than a fearful subservience. Like a cow for instance, when sold to a master, accepts her new master as her shelter. She shows her belongingness; she trusts her master and allows her new relationship to blossom without fear. A devotee is like a cow; he has confidence in God and accepts the Lord as his benevolent authority.
Often we are put in situations when none of our plans seem to work. Our intelligence could fail, and we could be bewildered. At such times, a quiet acceptance of our small position, our inner courage, and our trust in things eventually falling in place is the practical demonstration of surrender. Once I had a severe stomach ache and gastro-intestinal complexities. The treatment had begun, but the doctors seemed clueless. As I groaned and howled, I felt helpless. That moment a friend suggested I let go the control and internally ‘surrender’. I offered a silent prayer expressing trust. My belonging to God at that hour of pain was my inner succour even as I externally cried out writhing on the bed. That was a moment of surrender, and in the middle of confusion and pain, it offered me relief and strength.
We don’t have to wait for a shower of misery to propel us to submission. In the middle of happiness and success, we could celebrate God’s gifts with gratitude and appreciation. That is surrender; when we live our lives anchored on firm principles, we discover submission as a joyful experience.
Although our ability to appreciate would bring us lasting happiness, sadly as C.S. Lewis said, many people let their happiness depend on something they may lose. Our body, wealth, and material acquisitions are fleeting; we need to connect to things and principles that survive the ravages of time. When we enter the space of eternity by accepting principles of thankfulness and appreciation, we find our true selves for we too are eternal, full of consciousness and bliss (known in Vedas as Satchidananda).
Therefore whenever I express with gratitude that I belong to the universe, I show my intent to connect, and that’s sweet surrender to God!