Spiritual paths, both traditional and alternative, in one way or another, always revolve around to call for surrender. Surrender means giving up, letting go, ceasing to resist. The moment of surrender is the moment of initiation. It is the beginning of the journey, not the end. It is a leap of faith that propels us into mystery and adventure.
The moment of surrender often involves a profound and sometimes dramatic healing from the deeply conditioned habit of mistrust and self-protection that most of us live inside of. A doorway opens when, deep in our hearts, we find access to spiritual wisdom that we deeply trust. That doorway invites us to a new life, but it does not stay open indefinitely. If we hesitate too long we miss the opportunity and must wait for it to open again.
Spiritual practices are designed to coax the door open. Stepping through the door is the surrender that begins the spiritual life. If we long to awaken and transform it is important that we are ready to let go when the door opens. We do not need to do anything to pass through the door. We will naturally pass the threshold once it opens as long as we do not resist.
The reason that surrender holds such a central place in spiritual work is because the essence of transformation is a shift in identity from a limited sense of self to an unbounded experience of being. We begin our spiritual search rooted in a culturally inherited identity that I like to call a ‘thinking-thing.’
We experience ourselves to be an isolated and separate individual entity living in a universe that is fundamentally separate and distinct from us. We appear to have access to a capacity for conscious awareness that originates inside of us. We use powers of perception and reason to take in information about the world and make decisions in response to it.
In short, we see ourselves as independent agents of activity – beings that make choices and take actions based on internal considerations. This leads to a deep assumption of autonomous control over our lives and the world around us. If you don’t think you have such an assumption look at your internal response when you encounter something or someone that is beyond your control. We feel that we should be masters of our own destiny and we resist outside authority over our lives.
Most spiritual paths are based in the direct recognition that this view is profoundly distorted by a false assumption of separation. In mystical revelation we recognize that we are not separate from each other, the world or anything else. All is One, and I am That, has been the declaration of great spiritual realizers of all ages.