How to Surrender

Surrender is a word that is used a LOT in the spiritual community, but what does surrender mean? And how do you surrender? In this article I teach you how to surrender (and why you would want to).

Birds flying over the ocean shore

What is surrender?

The dictionary definition of surrender states “To cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” This is a very disempowering definition!

My definition of surrender in the spiritual sense is “To cease resistance to what is.” I think that this definition really hones in on the POWER of surrender, and surrender is an extremely powerful practice.

Surrender is essentially releasing resistance to what actually is. It means that we view reality as it is, without adding our own stories and meanings to it.

Surrender does NOT mean that you don’t take action to change a situation. This is a common misunderstanding of surrender. In fact, once you accept the reality of what is, you are better prepared to take an action that will change the situation!

For example, if you have an argument with a friend and your friend storms off you now get to decide whether or not to surrender. If you choose to surrender you accept that your friend walked away, and you accept the feelings you are experiencing in the moment.

You do NOT make assumptions about how your friend is feeling (she’s so mad at me), what your friend is doing (she’s probably talking bad about me to other people now), or what will happen between you and your friend in the future (our friendship is probably ruined). All of these assumptions are delusion that you created in your mind that are not rooted in what actually is.

Once you surrender to what you know to be true (my friend walked away, and I feel bad about it) then you can take an action to change the situation, and know that you are taking action from a place of surrender, a place of what actually is.

A woman reaching towards the sky

Why would I want to surrender?

The beauty of surrender is that it removes resistance to actual reality. Resistance to reality is what causes us discomfort and suffering!

For example, before work you buy yourself a much-needed coffee, and then on your way to the office you spill the coffee all over the sidewalk. This is a bummer, yes, but you have two options: you can surrender to the fact that the coffee spilled and go buy yourself a new one, OR you can resist the fact that the coffee spilled (ie get really upset, decide this has ruined your whole morning, etc).

In which scenario do you suffer more? Definitely the situation where you resist reality by making up stories about it. AND by surrendering to the reality of the spilled coffee you’re able to quickly take action to change the situation (go buy yourself a new coffee).

This is the true power of surrender: surrender actually allows you to observe and accept a situation so that you can choose to take action to change the situation if you want to!

Buddha and crystals for meditation exercises

How to surrender?

The key to a regular, daily surrender practice is getting present. When you live in the present moment it is easy to practice surrender, because you aren’t trying to change the past or predict the future, you are simply allowing life to flow moment to moment.

The easiest way to get present is to take a few moments throughout your day to pause, take some deep breaths, and do a conscious body scan. Observe how your body feels in the present moment, and you will immediately be pulled into presence!

Surrendering is a powerful daily practice that will help you deepen your connection to both yourself and the Universe! If you’d like to learn more on this topic check out this podcast episode: The Truth About Surrender!

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