Or do you commit hari-kari every day?
To surrender means to yield. It usually implies defeat.
If you surrender, you’ve lost the battle.
So, when we surrender to what is, are we admitting defeat? Are we giving up? Have we failed?
Is your life a war zone?
We’ve read about surrender in books and seen it in the movies, so we know it involves the following four steps.
1. You realise you’ve lost.
2. You put down your weapons.
3. Your leader signs a peace treaty.
4. You go to prison camp.
Too often we get out of bed with the fixed idea that life is war and every day is a battlefield. We pick sides, elect leaders, hoist flags, point weapons and vow never to surrender, because that’s seen as weak. And every moment is packed with incidents we perceive as enemy actions.
So, when a relationship ends, your car is stolen or you lose the middle button of your suit jacket, what happens?
1. You realise you’ve lost. Yes! The lover, the car, or the button is nowhere to be found.
2. You put down your weapons. No, you don’t! You weep over the lover, rave about theft, or fume as you search the floor and wardrobe for the finishing touch to your fashion statement.
3. Your leader signs a peace treaty. No, never! Generally, your leader is your mind. There’s no way your mind is going to sign a peace treaty. If your mind had feet it would be stamping both of them in frustration. It wants a lover! It wants justice right now! It wants that button found!
4. You go to prison camp. Yes! You enter the prison camp called What Happened To Me. Unfortunately, you may stay there forever.
Like zealous Japanese samurai, we too often commit versions of hari-kari every day. We hurt ourselves because we can’t accept what is happening.
We don’t kill ourselves outright like samurai did, falling forward on the short blade they thrust into their bellies. But we make life hard for ourselves. We fight the facts and thrust pointless questions repeatedly through our minds.
Or that one-word question with the strong upward inflection:
Hey, let’s stop hurting ourselves. Let’s settle down a bit. Let’s surrender.
When you surrender, life stops hurting so much. Life settles down.
Paradoxically, when you surrender to life, life surrenders to you. It offers you support.
Surrender doesn’t mean giving up. Surrender isn’t handing over or caving in. Surrendering adds space and power to the moment.
Try it and you’ll see.
Living with Mindfulness
A lover leaves. Be still. Let go in that moment. Set yourself free.
A car is stolen. Don’t burst a blood vessel. Immediately accept it’s happened, then run after it if you’re Superman, or calmly phone the authorities.
A button is lost. The world hasn’t ended. There are many buttons in the world. Go find another and sew it on.
All these things are forms of surrender. And they set you free.
In the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
With love, Marlane
Find new ways to surrender. Take the FREE 7-Day Mindfulness Challenge!
Original version published on Medium.com/Illumination