I had been brought up to be obedient – to my parents, but more importantly to God’s will. No-one ever really explained to me what God’s will was but it was translated as obey the Pope, obey the Priest, obey your parents. And when I tried to get away from Pope, Priest and parents and get on a direct line to the main power, it seemed a bit scary to me to trust that God would always know best. I had already had a close shave when I thought He wanted me to be a nun when I was 18 years old and I used to pray fervently “If this is a vocation please, please take it away”. My impression at that time was of God as a king, judge, conductor – removed from me but having control over me. Yet He had been so wrong about the nun thing. How could I possibly trust Him? (For many years I only saw God as male)
As I matured and took control of my life I thought again about this notion of surrender. But I still avoided surrendering to ‘God’s will’ in case, yet again, He asked me to do something I didn’t want to do. Suppose He wanted me to go away to work in a developing country or worse, leave my marriage. I shuddered at the thought of it.
But then my marriage started to break up and I struggled for years wondering what to do. It was painful and I found myself becoming more and more weary with the struggle of it all. I went to an Ashram for a day when I was visiting India. At the end of the Darshan the teacher suddenly turned on me – “and YOU – what is your question?” I mumbled a question about how to live in the now when you had employees to consider and had to plan for the future. He looked hard at me and said “That isn’t the question you wanted to ask. What you really want to know is where has God gone in your life. ISN’T it?” Where indeed? God was certainly around me, but he wasn’t within me, and I certainly wasn’t connected with Him.
It as a couple of years later, with my pain increasing not decreasing that I found myself on a beach in Mexico, sitting on a rock, waves rolling in, watching a beautiful sunset and I realised that I wasn’t handling things. I couldn’t trust myself anymore. I had made some decisions which had had terrible consequences. I had recently read ‘Conversations With God’ so decided to start my own conversation. I remember saying out loud “OK God – I am so tired. I can’t fight you any more. I’ll let you in. Whatever you want, it’s done. Take me – I’m yours and I will do whatever you want”. I felt something move inside me and what seemed like a huge stone came right out of my chest and rose up. The most incredible peace descended on me. I felt incredibly light and I was in total awe about what had happened. And in that same moment I knew my marriage of 25 years was finally over. Yet I felt no fear at all – just total trust that I would be OK. A trust that has never left me since.
So what IS surrender then? Maybe it’s the answer to the call to give ourselves to something larger than ourselves and to become what we were meant to become, instead of being a prisoner tied up with the chains of our past decisions.
And what was I surrendering TO? I wasn’t sure then. I just knew that relying on myself wasn’t working. Now I think that surrender is not to a disconnected God but to my Self, to wholeness and to my lived life as expressing this. For me wholeness IS God, is my Higher Self, is my Soul, is consciousness, is love. It’s what I am already part of. It is my future here in this present moment which I am co-creating minute by minute. I am already ‘it’ but I have forgotten so my spiritual journey is actually a journey back – back home. We can gain an understanding of wholeness, of our Souls, through reading about it and talking about it but there can be no real experience of wholeness unless we surrender and feel the connection.
I felt the connection that day on the beach in Mexico, when I surrendered and put my Higher Self in charge. That’s when I realised that surrender isn’t about giving up something – it’s about making a positive choice to co-operate with Soul.