In today’s world, where activity and achievement are celebrated, where multitasking and aggressive doing are crowned as great success skills, the notion of surrender can seem quaint or old fashioned at best, or downright irresponsible at worst.
Surrender, after all, according to Google’s dictionary definitions, means something like this: capitulate, give in, give up, give way, yield, concede (defeat), back down, relent, crumble, relinquish, forgo, lose.
Now why would anyone want to surrender, right?
Surrender or surrendering, when it sounds as bad as it does, centering around the idea of “giving up”, seems like it can only cultivate or promote apathy (not caring about anything) and lethargy (not doing anything).
Why in the world would anyone want to talk about surrender?
Yet, in spiritual practices, including Reiki, we often come across the concept of surrender, where it is talked about in elevated terms, in lofty tones, as if it were a pinnacle achievement of sorts. Frans and Bronwen Stiene have written about this in many articles including this one: Reiki and surrendering. In this article they write:
“Surrendering is about not clinging to our experiences, movements, sounds, or hand positions. If we cling we become like plastic cling wrap, completely tangled!“,
“To really move with spiritual energy we need to let go of any preconceived ideas and previous experiences. In other words letting go of the past, present, and future, as it is only at this stage of our development that we can move in complete surrender.”
In their words, there is a sense of flow that seems to be associated with the idea of “surrender”, a sense of freedom from the past or future, a state that precipitates the ability to Be.
That sounds exceedingly powerful, surrendering to spiritual energy, the Reiki, our True Nature, and being free.
But the state of BEing arising from surrender, seems to promote another related paradoxical concept, i.e. non-doing, or “doing nothing”. That is apathy, or so it seems. Does this mean that I can simply stay in bed as long as I want, stop doing work, don’t bother with getting things done? Tempting conclusion 🙂
However, that is NOT what the masters say about non-doing and BEing! Lao Tsu says this, in the The Tao Te Ching:
The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.
As a lay person, as an ordinary man, even if I put in lots of effort, there are always more things left to be done. This is our practical experience of life and living, is it not?
But when a master does nothing, nothing is left undone! i.e. When a master surrenders, and is in a state of BEing, or non-doing, everything mysteriously gets accomplished. As spiritual practitioners, we all might have had some experience of this mysterious, mystical flow.
So what is that which separates apathy from surrender (in the spiritual sense of that term)?
Apathy and lethargy are the “I” resting in the “I”.Surrender is the “I” dissolving in its Source.
DOing emerges in the “I” and is inherently limited in its scope and outcomes. That is why there’s never an end to the things that need to be done.
BEing emerges in the Source, which is inherently infinite. And in this flow there is no sense of DOing, for there is no DOer!
Shall we remain in the limited and limiting framework of the “I” and embrace continuous DOing and sadly see that there is no end to the DOing at all?
Or shall we practice surrender, dissolve the “I” in its Source, our True Nature, and let the infinite flow DO whatever is needed, using us as instruments as it needs to?
That choice is ours.
Usui san’s precepts are a clarion call to surrender, to recognize our True Nature, and dissolve the “I” in it. That is how we can embrace “The Secret of Inviting Happiness”, and the “Spiritual Medicine for All Illness”, through our presence, our BEing!