At the end of every year I recall to my mind the meaningful words of Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been, thanks. To all that will be, yes.” His words reflect the spirit of gratitude we need to have for 2019 and a sense of Spiritual Surrender to 2020.
Surrender is constantly taking place all around and even in us. We cannot control the play of nature with our mind and will power. We surrender to what unfolds in nature: the rising and setting of the sun, the movement of the moon, the twinkling of the stars, the gentle and the torrential rain that falls on the earth, the seasons of nature … We surrender even to things that are beyond our control: we surrender our journey into the hands of the pilots, our life to the physician who performs our surgery… We surrender to constant changes happening in our bodies: every second cells die and new cells are born. Surrender to life is constantly taking place. Surrender, at the spiritual level, is what we need to experience a life of inner peace.
Spiritual surrender is not giving up on one’s life, plans, and dreams for the future. Spiritual surrender is not a refusal to work and to act. But the nature of the mind is to control the outcome of one’s works and acts. The human mind is capable of executing calculated plans and strategies to have the desired result but when that does not happen, we succumb into an attitude of defeatism, failure, and we give up. This giving up, when nothing seems to be working in our favor and living with a sense of failure and a defeatist attitude, is not spiritual surrender. Surrender here is not another strategy among other strategies to have a desired result.
Surrender, at the spiritual level, is not giving up on life but rather giving up the ego (the false self) that desires to control the outcome of one’s works and acts and identifying one’s self with a desired result. In doing this we set ourselves to a life of misery, sadness, failure, stress, and even depression. In surrendering our life and works to God, our focus is not on the fruit of our work, but letting God to control the outcomes of my work and acts. It is to realize that I am just the doer but God is the one who controls my life and works and guiding my works to their fruition. In surrendering to God, there is tremendous peace because we give up the attachment to the fruit of my work. Isn’t this the path to inner peace and joy?
To live by spiritual surrender:
Strongly believe in the divine plan that God has for you. “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope (Jer 29:11).” God’s will and plan for us will only be for our good and not our destruction.
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and body. If all my works are performed out of love for God, then the focus shifts from the fruit of my actions to the acts themselves. As often as possible use the phrase, “For the love and glory of God.”
Have hope in your heart. With God at the helm, nothing can wrong in my life. God will definitely bring my works to bear proper fruits.
Never lose trust in the power of God. If I place trust in mere mortal human beings (pilots, physicians …) and in nature that can be destroyed, should I not place absolute trust in the Infinite Loving God who only desires my happiness and peace?
Be patient. Do not give into the temptation of immediate gratification. Learn to accept that there is a purpose in everything that happens in my life – even when the desired result seems a distant scene or the outcome is different from what I expected.
Practice Nishkama karma. Perform your actions without any expectation of fruits. Be selfless as you go through your works. Hold onto the teaching of Jesus: “Let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing. And when you pray, fast, and give alms do them without any expectation in return (Mt 6).”
Be stress free. We bring on ourselves undue stress because the focus is on a particular desired result and not on the act itself. It has happened so many times in my life when all my attention has been on a particular desired result and not on the work itself – to love what I do and leave the rest to the loving God.
Pray. Jesus says to ask, knock, and seek what we need (Mt 7). There is nothing wrong in asking God for a particular desired result for our works but let us also not forget that he tells us to conclude our prayers with, “Let Your will be done.”
Pray with Mary, “Be it done to me according to your Word.” Mary went about doing what she had to do, but she left it to God to fulfill what God had to do in her life. God kept his word for Mary and God will keep God’s word for us as well.
Meditate. It’s one of the best means to stay in the present moment and not be preoccupied with the future. Meditation enables us to accept the present moment without resistance. Resisting what is, is what causes pain and sorrow. Seek silence and solitude as part of your prayer life. Be mindful, be aware, accept and embrace with gratitude and contentment what each moment/hour/day brings. Love what you do and leave the rest to God. God will never abandon us.
Happy New Year!