I read an exerpt from “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle recently. It said something to the effect of… (I can’t find the exact passage anymore) when you surrender you come to realize that you don’t live life, life lives you. This book has a million pieces of gems that say so much and this line really struck me.
I’ve been studying various spiritual teachers and the most common thing that comes up for achieving peace, love, joy, and enlightenment is surrender. There’s something about surrender that’s just really hard to take. My mind is so sure that “I” am the one that makes things happen in my life. “I” am the one that ensures my own survival. If I simply surrender how will I achieve anything, how will I stay healthy, how will I create, how will I survive? These are all abstract thoughts. The mind has this perspective but logic does step in and settle the mind into trusting that everything is really going to be okay and a little surrender doesn’t hurt. The part that’s hard to figure is making surrender a lifestyle.
Activism is a very important part of the queer community. People take a lot of pride in standing up and fighting and “making change”. So what does surrender mean to the activist community? I don’t know and I would never suggest that activists need to be different. I think everything is perfect as it is and that includes the people who fight for change. But, back to surrender. It’s a frightening concept.
The image that came to mind when I read the line, “life lives you” was that of a sailboat. I’m into sailing these days so I thought about it in regards to sailing (I sail little one or two person dinghies).
To say that I live life, is like saying that I power the sailboat. I steer it, yes. But, when there is no wind then there is no power. Without any wind, when I move the tiller it has no affect on the boat whatsoever. This sailboat metaphor really hits home for me. As the skipper I am a decision-maker. I have free will. I can steer it, I can adjust the sails. But, to get anywhere I need to surrender to the power of the wind. An example of fighting against the wind – rather than surrendering – would be trying to sail directly into the wind – it’s not possible. You have to be just off the wind and zig-zag back and forth to get upwind. That’s just the way it is. I can choose to point the sailboat right into the wind if I want to, but I will be stalled. No movement whatsoever.
So, I’m taking this metaphor and relating it to living life with God. (Aside: These days I refer to God in my thoughts as “God, etc.” because to me that means, Life, my Guardian Angel, All-That-Is, Self, Source, Universe, you know, etc.) I am here inhabiting a body and I don’t live life, per se. Life lives me. And that’s amazing because Life is everything and it knows the pathways of least-resistance. It knows where the Love is. It knows where the Joy is. My mind…not so much. Here is where surrender comes into play. My mind wants to live life. My mind thinks that “I” know what’s best for myself. But, imagine if I just “let go and let God”, as they say.
I could say to God etc., “I want to experience Joy and Peace (or, using the sailboat metaphor: I want to reach that island over there). Show me how to head in the right direction based on where I’m at right now and my physical capacity to get there in this lifetime. I will pay close attention to the signs you reveal and make choices to the best of my ability.”
Sailboat metaphor: I choose my destination – the island – and surrender to the power of the wind. I pay close attention to which direction the wind is coming from and how powerful it is. I will make choices about which direction to turn and how to adjust my sails based on my physical ability, the boat’s capacity, obstacles in front of me, signs of the boats responsiveness, and my knowledge and practise up to that moment. Depending on my when the sun sets and what the weather is like, I may or may not get to the island that day. I may have to turn back and try another day. But, I will make those choices to the best of my ability and surrender to What-Is.
I welcome Life to live me and vow to make choices on what direction to take to the best of my ability. Let’s do this thing!