Love, Sex, Truth, Breathing, Dying – Teachings on the Sacred Art of Surrender.
To surrender in the highest sense is not give up, but to give way to something greater.
Surrender is found across all spiritual practices.
For it is a foundational to life and the most cherishable experiences.
Surrender may be contrasted with effort.
Effort is of the individual will. It takes a kind of force to exert this will upon yourself and the world. Because the individual will is asserted from the vantage point of your separate identity, it is selfish. This is not a condemnation of individual will, it serves a purpose in the development of consciousness. However, the individual will must be surrendered for consciousness to experience the higher dimensions of reality associated with love, high sex, truth, and dying. The processes associated with these four words can lift an individual into higher realms of being in which their individual identity and will dissolve -this process is hallmarked by surrender.
What is the individual will, and why must it be surrendered?
The individual and separate identity is ego, it is a certain stage of development when consciousness seeks to know itself as separate. This stage is associated with an effort of being in the world. Because, when you are a separate ego with a will and needs, wants, and desires, it is upon you to create actions to fight for, or to earn what you desire. The development of this will, is associated with the solar plexus chakra in yogic philosophy, and it is an important stage in development. An individual who operates primarily at this vibratory level of consciousness with success will be a ‘doer’ in the world, they may have a large business or other operations that take place in the dimension of reality we see with our 5 senses. The solar plexus vibratory level is very much associated with the third dimension, the one we can see with our eyes.
Individuals who operate primarily at the third vibratory level often seek control. Control of diet, and their body. Control of their environment. It is all a great effort, and masters of this level have done many profound acts to affect the world.
Beyond the world we see with our eyes lies the higher dimensions. The next vibratory center that consciousness can rise to is that of love. Love is associated with the heart chakra, and at this level of consciousness the individual ego begins to or totally dissolves through surrender. It is through love that we surrender our individual for the shared being that is created through love. At first this may be love of another, or one’s family, then eventually this love can extend to all beings. It requires surrender. The individual will and effort is ineffective to navigate love, and it acts to impede the shared being that is created in the name of love.
I mentioned sex as a pathway to surrender. And all forms of sex have some sense of surrender if one is feeling the pleasure associated with this great act. But, on the lower levels of sex, the individual will and desire can still be active. The higher level of sex is when two individuals come together in love and their sex can effectively be a vehicle for dissolving and reaching higher states of consciousness. Once again, this process and its practice involves surrender.
In both love and sex, the surrendering may not be an easeful process if one is resistant. In order to surrender one must be willing and ready to bow down their individual desire to have things the way they want them, and offer control to the higher force of love. It takes a certain level of faith. For one has been operating at the level of control and will, and to surrender to love is a death. It is the recognition that there is something greater than oneself, and the act of surrendering takes place on an alchemical level of being.
So too with truth, one must surrender all that they know up till that moment to allow a great understanding of reality. Once again, the individual will can cling to its worldview and understanding, it can resist information that is contrary to its current understanding. The process of resisting will take great psychic effort to repress new information that violates one’s world view. After a time enough information will pass through that a reconstruction must take place.
The whole process of the learnings of this life culminate at death. If one has been resistant to the unconditional love of the universe, and the higher truths of reality, then death will be a struggle and effortful affair of clinging. If one has lived a life of surrendering at the level of their being, then death is another doorway to a higher dimension of knowing. We learn through polarity, and death is the other side of life.
Surrender is the pathway to an easeful life and passing. Yet, the teachings of surrender and the practices that are helpful for this vital art are rarely taught in the mainstream or valued in culture. Much of culture still values the self-made man (or woman), much of culture still values effort and the individual who can assert their will on the world and make change. We value working out or using effort, drastically more than gentle arts of moving with grace, or balanced arts of working with effort and surrender. We value effortful and controlled dances more than free movement and ecstatic dance. Especially in the West, we want our individual vision for life to unfold as we desire it, perhaps this includes our white picket fence, two kids, and vacations in Hawaii. – once again, I am not passing judgment, at a certain level of consciousness this may be the highest potential that one can dream or aspire to. But, as an individual evolves, and this is the theme of our generation during this pandemic, we are, myself included, are being asked to take a wider vision of the context of our lives as a global community, connected through love and a shared existence with all beings on this earth.
The point of development from ego to love, is from “I” to “we” and a theme of our collective evolution is a surrendering of our individual plans and desires for how life will unfold, and a surrendering to what actions are necessary for the benefit of the all. In this process, our society will all have the opportunity to surrender into greater levels of love, receive greater access to truth, and even transcend any fears of dying and the understanding of their individual life in the greater context of how they fit into the All.
It is a sacred time to be alive.
How does one learn to surrender?
There are systems found in nearly every spiritual science or religion. At a fundamental level, it involves presence. In order to surrender to a situation, one must be aware of what the energy of the situation is asking. Then, one must be present with their body and what the higher intelligence within them is calling forward. Thus, developing a connection with your body, your heart, and mind is important. This can be practiced in yoga, breathwork, meditation, and qigong, among other mindbody arts. For example, take yoga.
In the beginning of a yoga practice it is good to ‘tune in’, or cultivate awareness in the body, in the heart and emotions, and in the mind. Then as one practices they take different postures. Each posture is an opportunity for surrendering. To surrender into a posture, assume it, and then relax your whole body and being, and then allow the greater intelligence of your bodymind and the universe to guide you into a more easeful way of posturing. This is in contrast to efforting into a posture, not fully relaxing, which means carrying the same rigid conditioned posture of the body and mind one entered the practice with and efforting and carrying it through the movements. If the practice has gone well, one will move into many different positions and have surrendered to the universe and thus cultivated a level of surrender and deep listening at a cellular level of their body and being. This increased connection or union with an individual to their body and the greater mind of the universe can then be carried out into the world. When a yoga practice is consistent and daily, an individual can learn to live at a level of surrender, where life becomes an effortless process.
Remember this, how we move and breath, is how we cultivate our mind and actions. I am not against working out, but if you are always working out and efforting, you will become excellent at efforting, and to the degree you fail to learn to be easeful and learn to surrender, you will only know how to effort. This may be satisfactory if you are doing well in life and working, but what happens when you go on vacation and want to unwind? Or when you are asked to fall in love and surrender? Or when it is time to surrender to death? All the effort in the world cannot save the last dance with death from being a surrender.
The sacred teachings of the breath.
I teach many mind body arts, breathwork being the primary one I offer to the public. The breath has a remarkable capacity to teach us the balance of effort and surrender. One of the styles of conscious connected breathwork I teach involves an effortful inhale and a surrendered or effortless exhale. This pattern of breathing ripples through the entire being, effecting the nervous system and every cell. When an individual practices this art, they learn to live in this balance, knowing surrendering on a felt-sense level. And when practiced regularly, this breathwork has a capacity to change the subconscious breathing pattern – the one you have when you don’t think about your breathing that happens around 22,000 – 26,000 times a day. And there it is, the sacred teaching of the breath. If upon each breath cycle you learn to effort and surrender, you know the great cycle of life. Then when love comes, or when death comes, or when life asks you for something beyond yourself, you are already practicing surrender with every breath.
Every breath is a cycle. Life and death is the great cycle. Master your breathing, and master the cycles.