…submission and surrender…

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?  Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
— Lao-tse

Every path we take requires submission and surrender.  This “easy-to-miss” reality is one we often resist — mostly because so much is at stake — and because submission and surrender often feels so very much like freedom and release once we let go of our fears.

Someone, I’m sure, is rolling their eyes in disbelief.  “How can it possibly be said that submission and surrender feel the same as freedom and release?”  There is no way that you can make those words plausible as synonyms.  It can’t be done.

And I understand the disbelief.

Submission is the willingness to let go — the offering of ourselves to something else despite the strength of our resistance.  Same with surrender.  We use “surrender” in reference to military battles.  One side surrenders to the other.  A surrender eradicates one’s conviction; it disturbs the belief that we are unique and special.  Surrender yields control to someone else.

So how is it possible that submission and surrender can feel the same as freedom and release?

The answer lies how we willingly let go of fear.

In a recent blog (…framing our trust so it can deepen …), I make the point that how we frame things has a huge impact on our availability.  We frame our perspectives based on the immediacy of our desire.  Desire creates its own availability.  We are “best expressed” when we stand fully in our desire and offer it to others — not because we want to achieve what we desire, but rather because we want to mirror that desire more fully.  To “mirror” means to place ourselves within the image of our desire.  By mirroring a desire more fully, we learn to embody it without reservation.

Let me give you an example:

A father is teaching his son to ride a bike.  To more fully mirror his desire, he is energized and encouraged by his son’s efforts. Everything the son does which moves him closer to the achievement of that skill is amplified and supported. The father is more available because he mirrors his son’s successes.  He surrenders himself to the energy which that mirroring brings to him.  He submits to the emotional energy which the relationship offers.

But this availability still doesn’t get at the problem letting go of fear. How do we learn to shed the fears that block us from what we desire?

In another blog (…the unintended path of growth …), I make the point that the unintended path of growth requires us to “look at” what we normally cannot see.  Like “the road less travelled,” our journey becomes bigger and more expansive once we look at the impact that we take from our experience.  We surrender to the hidden knowledge that more of us being mirrored than we expect or intend.  We learn to admit that we are sometime blind to the ways we unconsciously act against our best intentions.

Let me give you an example:

A father is teaching his son to ride a bike.  The son is not listening.  Despite all his work, the father cannot control the situation and is ready to explode with anger and frustration. Stepping back for a moment, he allows himself to be drawn into his need for control.  The impact that he is trying to create comes from his father. Asserting command was his way of showing love.  Unknowingly, the father is mirroring what his father taught him.  Unable to surrender, the father still harbors the fear that without control love is not really love.  Unknowingly, he mirrors the loss he felt when his father abandoned him.

Lao-tse writes:  “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?  Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”  Only by shedding our fears can we find the patience to remain unmoving.  That is a moment of submission and surrender.  It is also a moment of freedom and release.  For only by letting go of fear can we grow enough to then choose what we want to mirror and accept the fuller reasons why that choice is right for us.

Thanks for listening!


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