I love spiritual psychology. And one of the reasons I so appreciate it is because it has redefined the word surrender. I used to believe, and I know I am not alone when I say, it meant giving up. It meant giving in. It meant being weak and therefore it meant you were powerless. Even Commander Peter Quincy Taggert, in Galaxy Quest (one of my all time favorite Tim Allen movies) is famous for the line, “Never give up! Never Surrender!” Naturally, that is very appropriate as the TV show (in the movie) is set in space and known for encountering aliens. There are even those circumstances here on earth (in reality) in which it is reasonable to never surrender. I mean, there’s a lot of crap in this world that I certainly will never give into. Even so, my point is, my understanding of surrendering has evolved from that. Because there are circumstances in which surrendering can be an incredibly powerful thing and is necessary even here on earth. In fact, it is one of the first steps to and essential for healing.
Surrender, as Christ once did.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are hanging from the edge of a cliff by your finger tips. You can't see the ground below you and it seems that if you lose your grip, you will fall to your death. I feel like most of the time, we are hanging on by our fingertips. Avoiding what we think would be a spiritual death (giving into trauma or fear). But, in reality, if we only let go, if we only surrender, that would mean spiritual rebirth. The ground is not as far as you think or it's soft enough to break your fall without harm.
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." - Luke 9:24
Hanging on means we are trying to save our own lives. But we can’t. We “shall lose it”, as the scripture says. We have to let go. Give our life to God as Christ gave his for us. Not physically, but mentally, emotionally. Surrender. Then shall we be saved. Then shall we be spiritually reborn. In other words, we must surrender our ego to save our spiritual self.
Christ was the ultimate example. He showed us how. He gave his life and bore every single one of our burdens to show us how to surrender, how to use the Atonement. So that we might know how to do it ourselves in this life. He was the ultimate example of surrendering. He surrendered his life, physically and spiritually.
I think that while Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane, there was a moment, a small moment, when he was hanging on by his fingertips, praying that just maybe he won’t have to do what he was about to. So he asked, “Father, if thou be willing, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. I think in that moment, he knew what his Father’s will was, so he let go. And he fell. He surrendered entirely. But I think he also knew that although it meant a physical death (for him), he knew it meant spiritual rebirth. Not just for him, but all mankind.
So how do you surrender?
First, it takes practice. Spirituality is a practice. It's about being aware and it's about tapping in emotionally. Because emotions are the opposite of the ego and the natural man. It's about allowing vulnerability and authenticity. Because those things are not of the natural man, they are not part of the ego. They are a spiritual practice. It's about allowing without judgement. When you are aware, and you allow, you enable yourself to act on your emotions differently.
My mom’s daily prayer is, “Father God, help me surrender to this present moment experience.” And what I think she means is,"Father, help me to allow exactly what I am feeling in this present moment. Help me to allow myself to feel uncomfortable and therefore to find out what exactly is making me feel uncomfortable. What is hurting? Allow me to feel it in it's entirety so that I can heal it." This is her DAILY prayer.
My mom says this prayer to allow herself to live within ANY present moment. Don’t fight any present moment. You have these moments for a reason - opportunity. Opportunity to use the Atonement. To peel back one more layer you have built up against your authentic spiritual self - one more ego defense, one more false self belief, one more unvalidated trauma. Let go so that you can find the barriers. Stop trying to control. Allow the pain and grief. Surrender to what is. Surrender to your everyday life. Work with life rather than against it. Allow yourself to be who God intended you to be. That includes the triggers and the ego defenses and the imperfections.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Gialal al-Din Rumi
I think the Atonement is about breaking down those barriers to reach that point of pure love and acceptance. It’s about working internally rather than externally. It’s about love. Pure, authentic, unmatchless love, which you already obtain.
You are love and so it your Higher Power.
"I am at my most powerful when I am working with life rather than against it." "I am at my powerful when I allow myself to be exactly who life intended me to be." - Anita Moorjani, Dying to be Me
OR who God intended me to be.