Surrender to Win at Life

Very grateful to have run across this article about surrendering to life.  Surrender is one of my favorite subjects because of its positive impact on my personal and spiritual growth.  I’d have to say that I’ve been surrendering too many things in my life. Surrendering to the truth of my life situation over and over again. Surrendering in different ways – some skillful and some not so skillful.  In terms of recovery it is said, “surrender to win” because of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits that will be gained as a result.

Although I grew up under poor circumstances, for a while in my youth I actually held to a positive outlook on life.  Hearing reaffirming messages from my Teachers and Counselors at school, I dreamt of my future, being a marine biologist, or an astronaut or the President, owning a house in the country and having a beautiful loving wife.  But in my college years news that the draft might be reintroduced send this positive outlook into a long depression (the first time I ever experienced depression).  Now the small struggles I had of yearning for a mate, my career outlook, and the reality of my past and perceived future buried me.  Subtly I looked for an escape. I turned to people, work, drugs and alcohol to relieve this pain.  Trying to fill the whole inside.

Being constantly ill at ease, my life turned to an endurance race.  Lacking any sense of direction I snatched whatever seemed to give me relief or to meet my needs.  I was on a path without being aware of the whole picture.  I lacked patience or wisdom.  I did not see what I was doing in terms of the short and long term effects it might have myself or others. Emotionally and spiritually I was ill equipment to handle selfless, compassionate, balanced human interaction.  The kicker though was that there was nothing wrong with what was going on.

The kicker though was that I felt that there was nothing wrong with what was going on.    I thought of myself as a good-natured person in general despite my actions. Actually, I viewed myself as a good person despite my actions.  I believed in honesty, truth, and what is right in the world. When conflict or repercussions for my actions came up I felt as if I was unlucky or being persecuted.But then my world came crashing down. Although

But then my world came crashing down. The cumulative effects of all this came to a head for me.  My score card read zero and I could rely on my good nature to save me anymore.  I though I had lost all of the value to me.  I sat in disbelief.  I wanted it to all end.  I wanted to know why this was happening to me. And then I surrendered…..

For the first time, I let go and let Nature do with me as it would.  Having no understanding of what was going to happen, I took suggestions from those in authority and went with the flow.  I was all ears. Now I started to base my decisions on what might move me in a positive direction and my long-time benefit.  My spiritual side had always been neglected/ignored  – thought of as not existing. Now I learned that it was of primary importance. I left go of anything I could not control which was everything but my own actions.

As relief came I started to notice things within me that I had never paid attention to before.  I noticed the deep-seated unease and base of fear within me. Whereas I had been filled with ignorant confidence in the past I now realized that I knew very little.  Instead of knowing the world based on its worst I now began to experience life with fresh eyes seeing everything as both with its good and its bad and with it being neither good nor bad.  I see I always have some choice even if that is to do nothing at that time.  I have the choice of holding onto something or letting it go.  If I chose on to hold on to something then I should understand how that it may affect myself and others. Being aware of what is going on.  Trying to keep in mind seeing the whole picture.

Regarding the article:

The first thing that came to my attention was taking issue the definition of “surrender” itself as defined in the Oxford Dictionary.  The first one was to“stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.”  In my view, I take issue with the “to an enemy or opponent” part.  This is what makes the word so repulsive to us in the first place.  We see surrender as losing, like death.  In my opinion, the wording might be better served by ending the definition at “stop resisting” period.  There are many things that are better served when we stop resisting.  The reality is that as we stop resisting we go into acceptance and stop suffering. It is then natural to begin to look for a better path. This may mean regrouping, redoubling our efforts, or reevaluating our approach.

The second definition is even worse in my book, at least at first glance.  To “give up or hand over (a person, right or possession) typically on compulsion or demand” sounds like the opposite of surrender. This definition needs added, “… to a higher authority”.  This higher authority might be the rule of law, the greater good, as defined by society, or to a power greater than ourselves, but it always appears to us as at this time appears to be in our best interest.

Keys points to bring out:

  • Venting: All of our actions should be undertaken with Awareness of the big picture.  When we share with others we should be aware of how it might affect others.  We should not just lay all of our burdens on others.  At the same time, being witness to others and being witnessed is part of the spiritual path. We get so wrapped up in our own worlds we can lose our connections to others.  Seeing that others are going through tough experiences can bring us humility.  We see that we are not alone.
  • Surrender is not giving up.  Surrender to win.  Letting go of the burden brings peace.
  • On being the happy warrior. Learning to see conflict as part of the path. I prefer to call it being a spiritual warrior.

Thank you, Joshua for your article.

The One Who Knows

Today in my morning meditation my awareness of the one who knows was primary. This is a shift from what I have experienced. Instead of being a part of what I was experiencing and struggling to keep some awareness, I did not struggle.  I was able to see clearly what the body and mind was doing and did not get wrapped up in it.

This was different than my most recent practice of purposely keep the one who knows in mind.  In non-dual teachings it is said that this awareness or primary consciousness has no boundaries, is timeless, and is ever present.  This was how my presence appeared to express itself today.



Abhayagiri Reflections – The Cycles of Addiction

Source: Abhayagiri Reflections – The Cycles of Addiction

This article describes the process of turning feelings into suffering of which the addictive person may not be aware of.  It notes that, during this process, the mind clings to the objects of our desire – blotting out everything else. A whole train of events occurs where what we sense is identified with leading us towards grasping the objects of our desire but being unaware of it.

Cognitive Dissonance, View of Self and Outlook on the World

Psychology has identified many ways in which the mind skews our view of the world. Cognitive dissonance is one of those aspects of mind that intrigues me because the data provides many examples of how our truths and reality do not align.  In many ways we see what we want to see and are resistent to see things any other way. 

What occurs on a macro level also occurs on a micro level. By this I mean that it makes sense that this also happens internally. Given this evidence, it behoves me to practice looking deeper into my experiece to see where what the think I experience (including my views, outlook and belief system) sways my thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

What about my health? For twenty years I experienced back issues after straining while wrestling with a friend.  It became a lingering chronic issue for me for many years. Some days I experienced severe back spasms but generally I felt constant pain. I was prescribed an endless supply of pain medication, but it generally didn’t help. 

At a retreat a few years ago I talked with a fellow who told me about a issue he had with his hand.  He had severly sprained it a couple years back but had recovered. After a break up with his girlfriend the pain returned. He was introduced to a book by John Sarno on back pain. Dr Sarno was a Physical Therapist for many years who discovered many people were not recovering from their physical ailments similarly to my friend and his hand.  His discovery was that the mind was using the injury to distract people from their emotional stress – calling it Tension Myosis Syndrom (TMS).  His theory is that the body will prevent proper oxygen flow to the effected areas causing pain.  The solution was to bring this connection to the patients attention as was the case with my friend.

At first I was in shock that TMS might have any way of effecting me.  My pain was real and not in my mind.  Today though, suffice to say, my back pain has dissappeared.   Not only that, since then, I have been able to determine what causes most my back pain and to avoid it.

A key to identifying cognitive dissonance and TMS is to identify the stress we experience. Paying attention to when it is present and when it is not.  My spiritual practice provides the foundation for this. Awareness, alert, mindful, and persistent in looking at stress and it possible causes. All directed inwardly.  In this way I try not to avoid my experience, to explain it away, or to blame outward forces (whether they be partially true or not).

It is my intention to bring these possible connections to the attention of others so that they might be free from suffering. 

Scientists Link Selfies To Narcissism, Addiction & Mental Illness

The growing trend of taking smartphone selfies is linked to mental health conditions that focus on a person’s obsession with looks. According to psychiatrist Dr David Veal: “Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera

Source: Scientists Link Selfies To Narcissism, Addiction & Mental Illness