Have you ever dreamed about going off to an ashram in India, hoping to get your life clearly sorted out once and for all, as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love? Have you secretly dreamed that one day you will land in some sacred place and feel miraculously in tune and connected, such that all of your life’s troubles disappear?
The illusion that we can fix our life by abandoning it is admittedly very tempting, and many of us try to escape our lives in search of something better. We are often fooled into thinking we can find ourselves and find peace if only we meditate enough, go on retreats, and magically make ourselves over to have all new and healthier habits.
This is not to dismiss the value of taking a short break to recuperate and gather yourself. Indeed, such changes can be immensely helpful in realigning and reinvigorating the soul. However, many of us unconsciously use these spiritual events, tools, and resources in the external world in order to escape pain, to escape the profound disconnection we suffer within.
What happens is this: We want to make a change, yet we remove ourselves from the place where we would like to actually manifest that change, and we go somewhere else—often a new and strange place—and reap only the short-lived benefits of isolated change. “It was a relaxing trip. Life feels different now,” we might think, not fully realizing that when we go back to the real places we live, we go back to the cluttered rooms, the broken marriage, and the daunting financial responsibilities.
The reality you live and breathe now is your spiritual path. Where you are right now, in the midst of your troubles and your suffering or your joy and your happiness, is the actual path. When you acknowledge that spirituality happens in every moment, you make a leap of faith. Any time you embody or act from love, any time you live from a selfless place because your inner self is already full, you bring yourself closer to the Divine. Any time you look at someone with a compassionate heart and do your best to honor that person, a piece of yourself is restored, and you feel aligned and connected.
Everything we see in this universe is a reflection of two qualities: love and truth. From there, we make our own contributions, further reflecting these two qualities in our life and the lives of others. Positive change in your life starts with acknowledging the truth, then moving into finding solutions and taking informed, loving action. No solution is complete unless we are in tune with ourselves and find our place in the circle of prayer and surrender to Divine.
What does it mean to surrender? In our limited capacity to control the outcomes of our lives, we forget that everything in the universe—the planets, stars, trees, and animals—is in a state of surrender. Surrender is about knowing when to “do”—when to exert our influence—and when to simply “be.” When we decide to embrace surrender, we are asked to become more and more discerning of what is within our control and what is not.
Alignment with the Divine is the delicate combined state of surrender and prayer. In alignment, you move and act the same way the rest of God’s creations do, secure in your awareness of the higher power that guides you. At the same time, you are in a constant state of prayer, of personal communication with the Divine, to ask for what you need and express your gratitude and praise.
The gift of free will is an honorable one, given to us by the Divine. Surrender is the art of operating in a governed universe by cultivating an intimate relationship with the Divine. You step into a sacred circle that rotates with input both from you and from the Divine. In that circle, prayer is your input. At the same time, you allow guidance and input from the Divine by wholeheartedly surrendering your actions and listening in. In this way, the Divine shapes your life with wisdom and grace. When you take action and then let go, you enter into a space of harmonious creation. You experience the light and support of the Divine.
Your life is your sacred ashram. It is up to you to make your life the most amazing journey. No one will live your life for you, and no one will create peace of mind except you. You will not find the answers any place other than where you are. So open your eyes. Begin to look at your everyday life differently, to allow it to have the light and the sacredness it is supposed to have.
Here are simple ways to practice surrender.
Surrender Your Day
When you wake up, without stating any desires or plans, release the day and its events to Divine guidance, and then go about your day. You will notice that when you let go, there is no need to force anything. Bring your heart on board and be open.
Surrender Your Health
When you have a chronic symptom or pain, try this prayer: “Dear God, I now let go of the need to fix myself. I allow the light of your truth to enter my body and restore me fully. My body knows how to heal itself. I now allow it to awaken to the truth of your creation. I am ready and willing to learn and heal. Thank you.”
Surrender Your Time
The notions of past, present, and future enable us to take responsibility and make things happen, but when we hold on to them too tightly, we destroy our own peace of mind. To break free of this trap, set an intention, and then allow the Divine plan – the "how" – to unfold. Try the following prayer as you wake up in the morning: "Dear God, I am willing to let go of my worries about time and allow your guidance to take over instead. I am open and receptive to your plans to bring me what is best. Thank you."
When we shift our perspective, our outlook changes for the better. That’s the power of self that we all carry. By living fully and being mindful in every moment, we gather our strength and become more aligned. Our spiritual journey is fully realized in our intimate relationship with the Divine. It is when we surrender that magic enters our mundane life.