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When we think of the word surrender it often conjures up ideas of “giving in” or “losing something,” but surrender is actually a very powerful stress management tool. It’s the practice of letting go. In the practice, we ask ourselves, “Can I let go of wishing or wanting things to be different?”

Surrender is a practice to teach us about dying, but it is also a practice to teach us about living.

When we surrender to what is, we often find ourselves flowing in the stream of life without the resistance or struggle that can cause suffering. We begin to experience a kind of adaptability, and unwavering happiness that doesn’t rely on things going our way.

Years ago, I went to listen to the Dalai Lama deliver a week of Dharma talks. I recall him very clearly saying, “Practice dying every day.” That phrase haunted me for years, and then I realized that is exactly what we are doing when we practice relaxation.

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Relaxation, or what is called Corpse Pose in Yoga, is the practice of dying. We are letting go of the past and the future in order to be fully present here and now. It’s a learned and conscious letting go. Ultimately, we are asked to let go of everything in the end. Why not practice that now so it’s easier when the time comes. Not only is it a practice to teach us about dying, but it is also a practice to teach us about living.

When we can let go and surrender to what is, we give up the fight. We loosen our expectations of what we think should happen. This allows us to drop into the experience of the moment and really be with what is. We stop trying to arrange everything around us and we let ourselves experience the natural ebb and flow of our lives. Somewhere in the being present is the experience of being happy.

We start to recognize that being happy isn’t about getting something outside of us nor does it rely on what is happening around us. Instead, we start to see that what we’re looking for is right there inside of us and all we need to do is return to it. Surrender is the first step in returning.

During the practice of relaxation, we start unpacking our stress by systematically letting go of tensions in the body and mind. The body rests deeply as if it is asleep, but the mind stays awake and alert while fully relaxed. We then begin to witness what arises in the mind without any judgments. Here we begin to just watch the ebb and flow of the mind without getting lost in thought.

In time, we drop into that place of peace and stillness deep within. We experience ourselves with greater ease and clarity. We are awake and alert, yet fully relaxed, and we settle with ourselves just as we are right now. So many practitioners report that they feel more aligned with life when they take time to practice surrendering. Things that used to be hard seem so much easier. Life begins to takes shape around a sense of ease and grace.

What has arisen for you in a moment of deeper reflection?  How did it help you live your life more skillfully, with less stress, more love and greater gratification?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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