All lower emotions are limitations and blind us to the reality of our true Self. As we surrender our way up the scale [of emotions, from negative to more and more positive], there occurs the realization of one's true Self and the varying levels of Illumination. The main importance of this is to note that, as we get higher and freer, what the world calls spiritual awareness, intuition, and growth of consciousness occur. This is the common experience of all who surrender their negative feelings. They become more and more conscious. That which is impossible to see or experience at lower levels of consciousness becomes self-evident and stunningly obvious at higher levels.
David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph. D.,
Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender, p. 34
To think of surrender can be frightening. What am I surrendering too? If I let go (of my defensiveness, of my anger at him/her/this situation) what will happen to me? How will I protect myself? How will I make sure I get what I need?
How will I know who I am?
We study the concepts of advaita, or non-duality, in order to be able to answer these and other questions from a paradigm that can help support our growth. If I tell you to surrender this negativity and trust that all will be better, what is it you're trusting? My word? Some vague New Age notion we've read about but not understood? How can we find an idea of surrender that is workable for us?
In the Vedic worldview we say, trust your experience. So yes, you must have the experience of surrendering in order to feel the power of it.
Many years ago I had a fear of flying. I used to have to drink up a storm before getting on the plane, then drink on the plane, then continue when I got off the plane to recover from having to fly. On one trip to visit family back in Montana, I discovered that an old high school chum had become a pilot. He took me up in his Cessna and explained to me, using the science of aerodynamics, how the air actually held the plane up, actually pushed the plane up, away from the ground. Then he said, now I'm going to show you a stall. I'm going to make the plane fall off of this column of air that's supporting it so you can feel it landing on the column again and, once again being supported by the air.
With some trepidation, I agreed. He slowed the plane way down until a stall speed alarm began to blare. Then, pulling back on the stick, he changed the angle of the plane, the angle of the wings, until literally I felt the whole airplane fall off the column of air, then shudder as it landed again on the column of air. I could feel, with my entire body, the plane being held up. Light had been shed. The mystery of how tubes of steel could be hurtled through the air such that it actually was safe to be in one had been shown to me, and my fear vanished, replaced by excitement.
Like this column of air supporting us no matter what, the Veda tells us that beneath the appearance of life, there is pure consciousness, what we might call our higher Self. This higher Self never has been touched by anything I have done or anything that has been done to me. It is unsullied by life. Clean. Perfect. This pure, higher Self is in truth what I am; and everything I think I know about myself--my thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions, judgments--are simply barriers standing in the way of knowing this truth of what I am.
When I surrender, no matter what I surrender, I am supported. I am held up. When I let go, I do not fall into an abyss. Rather, I end up resting on this true Self and beginning to know myself as this true Self.
The more we let go, the more we trust. The more we trust, the more we let go. And as we let go more and more, we begin to feel the brilliance of what we are meant to be: pure, perfect, beautiful expressions of life.
We don't have to know where this brilliance is, or what it's supposed to look like. We need only let go. And after we've let go of everything, the brilliance will be all that is left.
Today when I feel judgment arise within me I will let it go. When I feel angered by something someone does, I will let it go. If I feel wronged by one of my fellows, I will let it go. If I find myself utterly unable to let go, I will let go of the judgment of myself I may have for not being able to let go. I will let go of my idea of how this all is supposed to work, and entertain for a moment the possibility, rather, of life showing me how this might work.
Lacey, Grazing, Griffith Park, CA