Surrendering is a tricky word. Many faith have mentioned this word over time in history and yet the word remains illusive. I ignored this word in the past as I thought the word “self-reliance” is more appropriate – later did I only realized that I was actually holding on to a egocentric definition of “having the ability to control or to take charge” instead of its true meaning of being.
The word surrendering tends to be misquoted for giving up or resignation. In the world of constant doing. controlling and acquiring, surrendering prone to be seen as a sign of weakness. To surrender in war is considered a sign of defeat.
Once my teacher threw a question that brought me to understand the word “surrender” better. He asked whether do we need to look to see; do we need to listen to hear? It was an unexpected question as I have taken both these senses for granted. What’s the difference between seeing and looking, or for that matter, listening and hearing? Seeing is not your job, looking is yours. Irrelevant whether you wish to see or not, seeing is already taking place. Everything is capture through the seeing though your attention is not given specifically to it. I don’t have a button to switch off my seeing. I can’t stop seeing by closing my eyes as I can’t close my eyes at all, except closing my eyelids. Seeing is still taking place though I closed my eyes. There is no “me” involve in the seeing. I cant’ do seeing. Seeing is simply a part of nature.
What is “looking” then? When I look I manipulate my seeing outward, for in reality, seeing is arriving to me, rather than I “going out there” to see. I am conveying a conceptual experience though in reality neither is true – seeing simply takes place as seeing. But for the purpose of inconvenience in differentiating the experiences, I am sharing with you how I felt when I see and when I look.
Let me illustrate an example: If your eye-lids are closed, and I were to clap my hand, you seems to have a sense that hearing is “coming” to you. But if I were to invite you to listen to a specific sound, you seems to have an impression that you are “going out” to hear. Get what I mean? Whenever you involve yourself in a process, nature takes a thwarted direction, replaced by the nature of ego instead – the “I am”. Ego has its own specific way of functioning, many a times in opposition to the natural flow of nature.
Observed too that once ego is involved, you only pick up what you want to pick up – when you are looking, what is around the parameter of your look is blurred. A good example is like the autofocus function found in camera: everything around the focus becomes blurry when we target on a specific subject, creating a contrast between both. Whereas everything is sharp when there is no focus in particular.
Thus whenever I focus on an object or a situation, I am omitting a lot of details from my parameter. When I am not, I am able to see a wider scope of what is already here for me. When I “focus” on my work, I place myself outside, losing myself totally to it, oblivious to anything that needs my attention. When I am “aware” of my work, I place myself inward, fully acknowledging what is in my space, including anything that needs my attention. Why the need to focus when everything is already here for me? Does it mean when I don’t focus I am not giving attention? This misconception arises because I don’t realize it is the awareness that is important rather than the work that is important. When I am aware, I give fullness to whatever I am doing. But because I have difficulty sustaining my awareness the only way I know better is to focus and doing so I lost myself to it, including everything that is dear to around me.
What needs to be surrendered? Surrendering the ego and allow beingness to take over. Surrendering eagerness and welcoming presence to what is already here. Surrendering is getting myself out of my way and allow awareness to grow. I can allow awareness or ego to dictate. And that makes a difference between thy will be done instead of my will be done.
Surrendering is not giving up. On the contrary, surrendering is letting it be. Surrendering is giving presence to what is already going on. And even if ego is on the control, can I give presence to it without involving? And in the space of allowing, awareness naturally takes over.