Surrender is not a 4-Letter word. In a world smitten by self-reliance and strict self-determination, any association with the experience of surrender is quickly dismissed as a form of defeat, resignation, weakness, or powerlessness. Salty expressions of indignance at the concept of “giving up the battle to win the war” or that admitting weakness is a sign of strength, are a sad commentary on how we are conditioned to believe that the “Almighty Self” is the center of the universe.
A self-centered society is one aspect of how surrender is seen as sh*t. Another way in which surrender seems to be shunned is the tidal wave of trauma that has taken over our collective consciousness. As described in PTSD Nation, we now live in a world in which self-defeat and self-empowerment are mutually exclusive. Surrender and powerlessness have become synonymous with re-traumatization. Once a “self” has been shattered by trauma and then fought so hard to piece itself back together, any suggestion of letting go of this reclaimed sense of self is a terrible threat. In reality, true empowerment comes from surrendering our sense of self for the purpose of tapping into an expansive awareness of true power, for the individual and community, for country and cosmos. Does this sound too lofty? Listen again.
When we align what we think of as our “self” with others, with the world around us, with a sense of a higher self, or some might say a “higher power”, we discover power, connection, energy, movement, stillness, and growth. The “self” at the center of ‘our’ universe merges with “something else” (like spirit) at the center of ‘the’ Universe. Still sound too out there? Try this: Surrender Guided Meditation by Sarah Blondin. Another good listen is this podcast by Tara Brach on Surrender. Forgiving, giving up, and giving in all involve giving. When we give ourselves over or give of our selves, we gain, get, and grow immeasurably. Holding on to pain, resistance, suffering, and hurt may be necessary for a time while also constraining and imprisoning us. It is often in total surrender that we find true peace. Ego deflation, dissolution, deconstruction allows for the discovery of true power within and around us and allows us to rebuild on a new kind of foundation. This is discussed in 12 step recovery from addictions, research with MDMA and trauma, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and research on psilocybin and anxiety around death and dying, among others.
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” Oprah
“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” S. Kelley Harrell
“Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.” BVDK