This one little term seems to endless perplex people, and yet it is so integral to today's topic and most spiritual healing and growth. In surrender, we let go of holding on to our ideas about how life should go. In surrender, we let go of being in control or out of control. Strangely enough, we can be holding on even when we seem to be doing the opposite. It just depends on the person's ego. If the person wants to hold on to being out of control and/or victimized by life, it'll find ways to actively avoid decisions and doing things s/he needs to do. And so even that is a strange kind of control, and it makes surrender just as crucial.
But surrender is not the end of human development.
You see, most of humanity is too lost in their ego stories to really understand what life is doing or how it is flowing. We are in this massive ocean of consciousness, but we are all Hell-bent on doing whatever it is we think we should be doing to get whatever it is we think we want. So we are rowing onto reefs, beaching ourselves, and capsizing our proverbial boats. Some of us are just paddling around in circles. So we all have to learn to surrender as basically step one on our spiritual journeys. Then we can start to listen, and in listening, we can begin--just begin--to understand how the ocean of consciousness is moving.
In a spiritual awakening, it can feel like a captain comes up on deck, wonders what in God's name we've been doing, and then grabs the helm and redirects us. Depending on our beliefs, we can feel more or less like we've lost "control" of our lives and no longer know anything. This is a good thing. In time and as you heal, you can discover a lot about how the ocean actually moves. Then one day--about the time you no longer think you need to do it--the captain decides you are ready to direct the boat again.
It's this part of the development of a human soul that I am interested in today. Despite what is said about surrender in most traditions, it is not the only big lesson. There are ways we can guide and should guide ourselves. We have an enormous amount of freedom to live as we so choose and to follow our soul's bliss. But it really tends to be much later on in our spiritual journey that we are actually ready and intelligent enough to do so. So allow me to talk about how this intelligence actually works and how to guide your awakened energy.
ego desire and something that is true to you. If not, this blog post is not where you are yet, and I encourage you to practice the humility of acknowledging that in yourself. Humility is another one of those important lessons that everyone needs to learn, like surrender. In learning it, you come into deeper places of true power.
The Humbling of the Ego
I can't emphasize enough that guiding your awakened energy isn't about what the little "you" inside wants. There are deeper interests inside of us that often do not get revealed until a lot of inner work has been done. For some of you, those true interests are less hidden than others, but the full shape of them may be difficult to discern. In which case, more deeply understanding this true interest is about continuing to listen to your energy. Keep paying attention to how it draws you towards some things and away from others. The more clear you are in yourself, the more easily it is to discern what naturally seems to arise in your life.
Keep Listening to the OceanThe initial parts of a spiritual awakening are a big re-learning lesson. We are being taught many things. Another of the big lessons along with surrender and humility is listening. We often do not know how to listen to ourselves. So we have no idea who we really are and what our true interests are. Too often, those who are immature on the path assume that there are no true interests at all. As everything dissolves away, it can seem like nothing is left, but I have found that as we mature on the path, some things do matter to us. But they matter in a different way. They matter, but they don't matter. It's like we can be an apple tree and make apples, but if we don't make apples for whatever reason, that's fine.
When we aren't listening to the truth, it seems like we have to do things. We feel like we have to make things happen. We have to get life to give us stuff. And in general, there are a lot of "have to's," "should-do's," and "why-isn't-this-going-my-ways?" That is the result of a deaf ego. It doesn't pay attention to life. It wants to control it in some way. So the quiet spaces and the stillness inside of us are covered up by the noise of the ego. We can't hear much anything, which is another reason that a spiritual awakening can be like a tidal wave. It takes a whole lot of noise and power to break us out of our delusion and to get us to start listening. Once you start listening, there's a whole lot to learn, and you continue to listen even as you are transitioning to the phase where you can paddle your boat.
Moving Into Stillness: The Power of Presence
The Pure Openness of FreedomUnlike the ego self, the ocean of consciousness does not care which direction you paddle your boat. Many people can get stuck at this point because they do not know what to do, and there isn't always a particularly powerful current--aka a true interest or major life event such as being evicted from your home--to push you in any direction. This can be confusing for many of you, but as I already said, it also doesn't matter. You don't need to paddle in any direction. If there is no real urge to do so, then you don't need to. But you also can.
Freedom from Desire
For those of you still looking for certainty, this can all sound very wishy-washy. It is not. It's just not how our ego selves are programmed to think in Western Society. The purity of spiritual freedom gives us the opportunity to go anywhere, and it gives us far greater abilities to shift our lives than we are used to. Certainly, the external world creates certain realities that we have to honor to different degrees. For instance, if you get sick, you may want to go to your doctor for help. Or you may not. You do not actually have to address it. You are free to help resolve the illness or not. It tends to be that most of us go to the doctor when we need it, but a sick body impacts what we can physically do in life. And we learn to honor that human reality as part of the many currents of life.
During the unconscious ego days, most of your life is defined for you. It really is like being in a jail cell with a jailer deciding when and where you can go, when you can eat, when you should sleep, and so forth. It's a whole other ballgame when you realize you no longer are in that jail cell and are out in wide open spaces.
The Rising of an Inner CurrentFrom time to time, something will move inside you. For the sake of this paragraph, we'll talk about a more significant arising such as the desire to move, find a new job, start a new career, have a baby, or something else. In truth, we have little currents moving all the time that guide us to sleep, eat, meditate, call a friend, and so forth. It's not hard to listen once we are listening and we are clear.
Occasionally, there are things that really seem to matter to us. It can be anything, but it does seem that awakened people tend to be drawn to more real things. By this, I mean like addressing hunger, homelessness, or disease. These are extremely prevalent issues that impact humanity in the most fundamental ways. Helping to design a new widget for a website isn't quite so important. However, an awakened person can still do this. S/he may just love coding, and in following his or her bliss, that's where the person has arrived. But more often it seems awakened people are drawn towards the alleviation of pain and suffering, and that tends to lead towards some of the most basic problems in human life.
With any true current comes a lot of energy, and that can push people in powerful ways. Sometimes, the current needs more active work from us. Sometimes, it needs less. This is why listening to our intuition and this flow of energy is so key. It's how we stay tuned to what is needed and how we trust that the rest is provided. It's also important to let go of any end goal. We never really know where a current will take us, and while the old ego is all about getting somewhere and achieving goals, the spiritual path shows us again and again that there is a lot we do not know. We just need to do our part to paddle the boat when a wave rises to fully and deeply embrace this next flow in our lives.
Guiding Your Awakened EnergyThe more deeply you are surrendered to life, the more powerfully you can move a current in life. The exact opposite is what most of you have probably seen. Someone decides to start a business and "make" it successful. A huge amount of energy is expended. The person works a lot--probably too much. Maybe the business makes it. Maybe it doesn't. The person's happiness is dependent on success, but in attempting to succeed, the person is also often very unhappy. The whole story is a very unhappy one, and it is driven by illusion and the unconscious ego.
When you understand life, you can see how the energy is flowing. You aren't creating something new really. You are taking the building blocks life already has given you, and you are guiding them. You are guiding you. Ultimately, you and the flow of life are one. The earlier parts of our spiritual journey are fraught with illusions around separation and division. But as you realize your oneness with life, you understand. You understand what is possible and what is not. You understand how the energy flows and works, and you join with that energy with any activity or interest you choose. In this way, this guidance is being done by you and not by you at the same time. Once again, I know this sounds wishy-washy, but you will simply have to continue your journey towards this truth. This type of truth cannot be just intellectually understood. It has to be your reality.
Reality and Re-shaping Your LifeWhen you come this deep into reality, it can seem like life just responds to any whim you have. That's not exactly true because we are much less whimsical as mature beings. The ego likes to play with things because it can. It's like a child. The adult understands how to utilize fire without getting burned, so think of guiding awakened energy like being an adult using fire. Through your ability to understand the medium and the tools at hand, you can do amazing things from cooking food to forging amazing metals. We are amazingly powerful beings, and with that power comes consequences and responsibility in the human world.
Honestly, I'm talking about a stage that few people get to. Every now and then, a few people in more immature phases of this spiritual journey touch a little of this innate ability--because we all have this capacity--but it's usually for stupid things like making money, finding soulmates, getting their own approval through finding a life purpose, or something else. It's probably surprising for some of you that I label these things as "stupid," and perhaps I should label them as ignorant. When you are deeply in love with yourself, do you need a life purpose or soulmate? Some of you already know that you do not. When you flow with life and can provide for your basic means of living, what difference does having money make? It's just a tool to something else, and the spiritual path leads us towards the things we truly want anyway.
But as you discover a true interest, it's a whole other game. A true interest could be finding a romantic relationship, but why you would get in such a relationship would come from a fundamentally different place than before. It would not be about need. It would feel entirely different, and as I said, when you are mature in your space, you'll know what this inner truth is like compared to the old ego desires.
A lot of people talk about setting intentions, but when you do not know yourself and the truth, it's like squirting a water pistol. The water squirts out, and that's all the flow there is. When you align with your truth, it's like a huge wave washes through you. It guides you as much as you guide it. You flow together towards whatever feels true for you to do and to experience. It's truly transformative and parts of life transform by your awakened touch. Thus, as I said, there is a great responsibility to consider what and who you touch in life. There is no need to force anyone or anything to be other than what they are. There is no force in this space, but there is tremendous power. It's yet another distinction that you will come to understand as you open to deeper and deeper levels of reality.
Soulful Intentions Guide and Transform Life
All the while, you flow to wherever you want and trust the intuitive currents guiding you. Some elements of life will adjust to support this flow on their own. It's an amazing thing to behold, and being in this level of connection makes life fresh and constantly renewed.
None of this, however, is about safety. It's not about going towards a comfortable life. The comfort and ease we find in this flow is within. Even if life has us crashing in an amazing cascade of droplets, froth, and seaweed on the beach, that is beautiful even if it is painful. In this way, we continue to embrace all of life--painful and comfortable--which is precisely what unlocks so much of that inner power within us. Inner power is many things, but one of the most important aspects is the ability to embrace pain and joy as equal partners in life. In so doing, we gain an ability to guide our awakened energy in any way we so choose.