The Wisdom of Surrender

Aren't you tired of the struggle and the recurring disappointments and the always present self-doubt? Or do your concerns lie with control — criticizing others, organizing your environment, and avoiding your feelings? Or perhaps you've moved beyond these tugs but the unpleasant past won't stay buried. Your memories terrorize you; life inside your head resembles a war zone.

Your best thinking has brought you where you are today. And you know the cliché — you create your own reality. You even believe it. But  . . . and a "but" always inserts itself at this point. But your life as you are living it doesn't quite fit. What exists today wasn't what you had in mind. You had expected to be happier. And more . . . (fill in the blank).

You've worked for decades and you have done your best and still you are not satisfied. The thought of rehashing your personal debate exhausts you. You know it won't resolve anything. And you feel disinclined to push against the formidable wall that has erected itself in your head.

All of us adopt beliefs (unconsciously) when we are young which we don't question. How can we question them? We don't even acknowledge them. We live with an abusive father and we learn to be "safe" by detaching from the parts of ourselves he punishes. He wants complete control so we lose our spontaneity. We won't think for ourselves; that's dangerous.

Or our mother lived with depression and fear. We learn to ignore our own needs and focus on hers. Our inner worlds loom threateningly. Will I be swallowed by unquenchable longing? Will passivity destroy my power? If I can't change her, will I be OK? Making her OK guarantees my OKness. Then I'm safe and I'm powerful. Thus, we lose our connection to our own core.

These patterns develop early, even before we identify ourselves as separate beings. As infants we see ourselves as extensions of the adults around us. We need them to be responsive and we'll placate them by damaging our integrity. Alternatively, if by nature we're tough, we may resist them. We refute them loudly and deny our dependency. Since we don't receive what we need, we choose (unconsciously) not to need it. No one will hurt us again. We'll never be so vulnerable.  

It's completely understandable for a powerless child to process her experience this way. She's not thinking in words. In her powerlessness she learns to disavow some parts of herself. Adults hope they sidestep powerlessness by avoiding their inner worlds. One reason adults cut themselves off from their wholeness is their fear of their feelings. We fear our feelings so much that we cut off our vitality in every aspect of our lives. Of course, that is not our intention initially but that is the result. We don't feel our hurts as a child because we're not allowed to. As adults we don't allow ourselves to cry. Our hearts close a little with each hurt. And the hurts keep coming.

The expectations presented to us as children we create for ourselves as adults. Inside our own heads we disparage parts of ourselves. How many adults recoil from feeling their feelings? You'd think feelings were monsters with the ability to kill us. We damage ourselves by disconnecting from our feelings. We become the evil Parent to ourselves. What happened with Dad or Mom all those years ago replays itself every day in our heads at a level so subtle we don't recognize it.

We may not relive the old circumstances but we (unconsciously) create the grown up version of the  circumstances that yield to us the same experience. We may not have an abusive supervisor to replace Dad but we abuse ourselves so that we don't cry when we're hurt. We draw opportunities to us which allow the inner world experience we failed to complete (and, thus, heal) in earlier times.

Our inner worlds set the blueprint for everything we do and everything that happens to us. Nothing counts more than our inner world status quo. We may hide our inner world dynamics so that we don't recognize them but they influence us every second of the day. Why don't we want to acknowledge that reality? Do we think if we deny our inner worlds they cease to exist?   

It's not what was done to us years ago that's the problem. It's our response of closing down on our natural feelings that prevented and continues to prevent healing. We damaged ourselves then and we continue to damage ourselves  today. When we were children we did the best we could to survive. Employing a self-destructive strategy in our youth is understandable. Maintaining that same strategy as an adult seems  lazy, self-indulgent, and irresponsible.

By the time we've moved into our adult persona we've chosen thinking as an acceptable way to distance ourselves from our experience. But our experience will carry us to healing if we so allow.                         

Not one of us is where we are because someone else destroyed our integrity. The most abusive parent in the world can't cut out your soul. Only you can do that. You learned to do that to yourself as a child and you continue to do that today. Don't blame anyone else. And if you respect yourself, don't indulge in self-pity.

Life offers us opportunity after opportunity to heal our wounds from earlier times. Just living each day and meeting the challenges presented to us will lead us to heal our souls. But we must allow the natural flow of our feelings that we couldn't previously. We keep our hearts open and we welcome any feeling that comes. We don't say, Do I really want to feel this? We don't ask if it's convenient or appropriate or comfortable. Our feelings exist. That's all we need to know. Our feelings are and we trust them.

We don't have to understand this process. We just show up every day in our Observer and we pay attention. If we fear our feelings we notice the fear. If we're hurt and angry we observe those dynamics. We don't judge what is worthy of our attention. We practice focusing our attention on nothing in particular. We just pay attention. And we allow. That's how healing proceeds. If our intellects don't interfere.

Our intellects interpret our experience. What we need is to feel our feelings. We assume that thinking erases our childhood powerlessness and, thus, makes us safe. Quite the opposite is true. Thinking just gives us more armaments with which to defend our damaged souls. But our souls don't need to be defended. They need to heal. And we can't force healing. We can only allow healing.

How frustrating that is for our intellects! They so want to take action or at least think and conclude and decide. But intellectual activity just digs the hole we're sinking in deeper and deeper. And we can't see what we're doing or the hole we're living in. We use our intellects to interpret our experience when we really need to feel our feelings. We experience in our hearts. Our intellects can't go there. They function well in business and in school. We use them to clean the car and the house. But restoring our souls to wholeness requires that our intellects bow out temporarily.

 

Healing emanates from the deepest core place in us--from our eternal center. We move out of our intellects and our personalities. We slow down and we pay attention. We be and we allow. In our deepest center we are already healed. We spend time there when we practice stillness. We be and we trust. And we surrender.

 
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