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  • Laurie Teixeira and Jari de Jesus

Surrender: The Art of Letting Go

Many of us have trouble letting go. Our minds are naturally controlling, with the stated goal of keeping us safe, making us happy, and improving our lives. We go to great lengths and what seems like an endless effort to design our lives so that we have the experiences we want and avoid the ones we don't.

When we don't like the way things are, our minds will actively work to eliminate, avoid, or alter that which is in the way. It occurs for a variety of reasons. The first reason is fear. Fear of not having any control over our lives. This leads us to control things because of what we think will happen if we don't. Second, it's the effect of being set on a particular outcome, one that we're already predetermined to believe will serve our best interests.

However, this way of life isn't sustainable and rarely produces desirable results. Life is too fleeting for you to ever have a firm hold on it. Consequently, you worry, put things off, feel hurt, become depressed or anxious, become angry or frustrated, and lash out or complain.

The answer? Learning how to surrender.

Surrender: What Does It Really Mean?

The essence of all spiritual practice is surrender. So what exactly does it means? Unfortunately, the concept of surrender is often reduced to a few platitudes about "letting go" and then utilized as a form of self-help advice. But because of our confusion, because we strive to surrender logically, just as we do with everything else, we strip surrender of its miraculous quality.

When we surrender, we give up the illusion of controlling the environment and shaping it to our liking while simultaneously shielding ourselves from anything that makes us unhappy. And instead, chilling out, embracing, and even succumbing to the fluidity and unpredictability of this universe.

If we surrender, we allow ourselves to be at peace with the ever-changing conditions. We relax our grip on the reins and look out kindly on the wondrous and miraculous world as it is.

To practice surrender is not to abdicate responsibility for one's life or to stop making plans for the future. You won't lose all sense of direction in life if you surrender, either. You can practice surrendering while continuing to take the initiative in your life.

It is more about relinquishing one's will, or ego, to the wisdom and perfect timing of one's soul, or true self, that lies at the heart of true surrender. The focus here should be on training the ego to work in service of the real you rather than the other way around.

When we surrender, we stop worrying about how our actions and choices will turn out. We acknowledge that it is possible to take every reasonable step and still fall short. As we flip the findings around, we are miraculously given a new perspective on the here and now.

When our actions, words, and creations aren't directed toward molding the future or achieving a specific outcome, we are free to enter the here and now and take each moment for what it is.

By letting go of the outcomes of our actions, we are free to focus on how we feel and what we are experiencing right now. Since this particular moment is all we ever really have control over, we might as well pay attention to it.

Suddenly, we realize that the outcomes of our acts are out of our hands and that this is the only moment that matters. Now that we've reached this point, the world has a newfound vitality and wonder. We can't control everything, and the future doesn't mean as much as the here and now.

Can I Surrender When I Don't Feel Safe?

When confronted with the unknown, we feel worried and even afraid. It's human nature to feel vulnerable while stretching into new territory. Whenever we do something that goes against our old, ingrained, and often unconscious programming, we experience a natural and understandable level of fear.

To someone with a history of trauma, the idea of surrendering might be downright terrifying. Relaxing your guard can feel dangerous. Thus, resolving your concerns around trust is necessary to surrender. To use surrender to your benefit, you must first learn what it means to trust yourself and others.

You see, trust can only grow when it is both given and received. The key is to stop resisting and start going with the flow. When our level of trust rises, so does our capacity to extend it. Nothing can be trusted when you don't trust yourself first.

Nonetheless, it might be frightening to learn to rely on something we cannot see. In many cases, it contradicts what we've been taught about in school and in our own homes.

A person's ability to trust their own judgment must come first. The ability to rely on oneself at all times is essential. When you lose faith in yourself, the world becomes meaningless and hollow. You need trust if you want to live a better, more prosperous life.

It is not always the case that surrendering will free you from all feelings. Making peace with our emotions and identifying healthy outlets for expressing and processing negative feelings is an essential part of gaining the freedom to fully surrender to whatever life throws at us.

If we ignore or suppress our feelings, they will remain trapped within us. Even though we experience negative feelings like irritation, anger, grief, fear, and loss, we may keep our focus on the goal of building trust.

Even if we can't see it now, we know there's a purpose to everything that's happening. The act of surrendering is a journey, not a destination. You must do it every single day. Over time, even if it's scary, we can train ourselves to let go and trust the process.


Being willing to accept life as it is, without resisting or trying to alter the present reality, is the essence of surrender. Yet strangely, the gifts that accompany it remain the same regardless of the length of time it takes to surrender, whether it be a minute or a lifetime. At the heart of surrender comes peace, gratitude, relief, and sometimes happiness.

Although surrender is beyond the mental capabilities of human beings, it can be welcomed into our lives if we are conscious of its presence.

Yet luckily, when we are forced to let go of the illusion of control, we can completely appreciate the richness and vitality of the present moment and the gift it offers. When we go along the river of life, of which we are a part, we can feel the presence of something greater and unknown. Once we've experienced what it's like to surrender, we'll be able to trust and let go with ease.


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