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The Power of Surrender

August 1, 2019

“As part of my ongoing professional development I recently attended a week long training about trauma that came highly recommended. To my surprise I found myself resisting and putting up a fight instead of surrendering to the experience. The combination of a very large group, poor set up and a perceived lack of safety, made me feel very out of control. I also realised quite quickly that these were convenient excuses for me to ‘not go there’.

My initial reaction made me reflect that trying to maintain control in this life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly I grip the bar. Once the desire to leave the course had passed, I was finally able to let go of the struggle and the fight. And with this I experienced a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and fully feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take me rather than fighting against them. I realised that when I fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, my whole being becomes tense and anxiety is my close companion. When I go with the ride, accepting what I cannot control, freedom and peace inevitably arise.

As with so many seemingly simple things in life, it is not always easy to let go and surrender, even of the things we know we can’not control. Most of us feel a great discomfort with the givens of this life; one of which is the fact that much of the time we have no control over what happens. Sometimes this awareness comes only when we have a powerful encounter with this truth, such as an illness diagnosis, death of a loved one or a significant relationship ending. We come to see that all our attempts to be in control are meaningless and revealed to be unnecessary burdens.

We can aim to cultivate this awareness in ourselves gently, by simply making surrender a daily practice. At the end of our meditation, we might speak a simple mantra such as ‘I say yes to everything that happens to me today’.” These simple yet powerful words can be repeated as necessary throughout the day, when we find ourselves metaphorically gripping the safety bar.

We can either give in to our fear and anxiety or we can choose to surrender with courage to what is. When we see people on a roller coaster, we see that there are those with their faces tight with fear, and then there are those that smile broadly with their hands in the air, carried through the ride on a wave of freedom and joy. This powerful image is a reminder to us that often the only control we have is choosing how we are going to respond to the rollercoaster ride of life.”
Gabi Krueger – Co Founder of The Bridge Retreat

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while.

Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice….Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love.”
Bill Hicks


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