Surrender or Let Go or Be Dragged
Today I want to return to the basics
and talk about a classic spiritual-religious topic – surrender.
In spiritual-religious circles, the
concept of surrender is treated differently from how it’s treated in war. The
surrender I’m talking about here is not a synonym for “losing.” Surrender means
we are willing to stop trying to control
the whole world. Surrendering involves letting go of the misguided belief that
we’re the ones driving the ship. Moreover, it requires releasing the proverbial
steering wheel, standing up, and sitting somewhere else.
But how? How can we relinquish our
desire for control? After all, it seems to be a basic, biological instinct.
We love control. We love it. We love
If you’re like me, you might even believe
you possess a magical super power that enables you to control almost
everything. Even though you know this
is not true, you still sometimes believe it. How do you know if you have this
somewhat delusional thinking? It’s simple: do you get upset when you discover there
are things are outside of your range of influence?
The great serenity prayer says, God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to
change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
While not all of us seem to always have
or act on this wisdom, at least most of us have heard its voice whispering good
advice to us. The key is listening to and acting on it.
Case in point: my father’s health. I know I can’t do anything to save his
health. Even though we had a beautiful, heart-to-heart conversation recently,
the fact remains that I can’t get my father’s body to reverse certain
deteriorating processes, and I can’t get him to take any better care of himself
than he can. Both parts of the previous sentence are significant. I have
neither the magic ability to get his body to spontaneously heal nor the ability
to force him to do anything more that he can do.
We often think we can get people to do more than they can do.
I must surrender. If I don’t, I’ll
continue driving myself (and probably my family) nuts by trying to control that
which I can’t control.
I must cultivate in myself “wisdom to
know the difference” between what I can and can’t control. Intellectually, I
know which things are in my bailiwick and which aren’t. I just need to act on
this knowledge. I must release my illusion
of control, my fantasy of possessing a super power over the world.
Recently I heard someone say, “You
either let go or you get dragged.” What a great quote. Let go or be dragged. When we let go, we find a new sense of
freedom. We feel liberated – unlike when we’re busy clinging to something we’re
powerless to change.
Somebody else gave me this image:
Imagine you let go of a balloon, yet you step on the string with your foot so
the balloon doesn’t fly off. What’s the point of letting go if you’re not
really letting go?
Now think about your own life. Consider
the things you know you ought not to be stressing over. Maybe there’s something
or someone driving you nuts, but you keep trying to change it all. You know
what I’m talking about – that thing
in your life.
How can you let go of it? Picture
yourself washing your hands of it, or throwing your hands in the air, finally
being free of it.
I’ll make you a deal: you work on letting go of yours, and I’ll
work on letting go of mine.
This week’s spiritual-religious