Excerpt From: Eckhart Tolle. “The Power of Now.”
“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity. It becomes particularly pronounced when things “go wrong,” which means that there is a gap between the demands or rigid expectations of your mind and what is. That is the pain gap. If you have lived long enough, you will know that things “go wrong” quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practiced if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life. Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identification and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind.
Surrender is a purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now.
For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn’t say: “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. You don’t need to accept an undesirable or unpleasant life situation. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with being stuck in the mud. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labeling it in any way. This means that there is no judgment of the Now. Therefore, there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the “isness” of this moment. Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the mud. Such action I call positive action. It is far more effective than negative action, which arises out of anger, despair, or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result, you continue to practice surrender by refraining from labeling the Now.
Let me give you a visual analogy to illustrate the point I am making. You are walking along a path at night, surrounded by a thick fog. But you have a powerful flashlight that cuts through the fog and creates a narrow, clear space in front of you. The fog is your life situation, which includes past and future; the flashlight is your conscious presence; the clear space is the Now.”
This was the reading from our Y12SR recovery yoga class Jan. 10. (Every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday around Lansing)
Surrender is a key element in both our yoga practice and our recovery from addiction.
Surrender can be interpreted in Step 1 and Step 3 12-Step Programs.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
This admission is a surrender unto itself. We have to bow to our addiction and admit we are not in control.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
This step is about deciding to willingly surrender ourselves over to something greater than ourselves.
In the Yoga practice in the second limb, there is a moral principle called “Isvara pranidhana” – surrendering to spirit or higher consciousness.
We rolled out our mats and surrendered to listening to the reading, connecting with the steps and connecting with ourselves on our mat.
Recognizing the fight and resistance within is hard and unpleasant, but necessary if we are to find authentic being and self realization. With each breath and each stretch, bend, twist and push, we kept our intention on yielding and allowing the present moment to reveal itself.
And within that present moment, the act of surrender brings presence and peace, not reactivity and relapse.
Then we practice it again in the next moment, the next now.