Throughout history, raising the white flag has indicated surrender. It says clearly that I admit defeat, that I am beaten and desire no more fighting.
The last niyama, appropriately enough, is ISVARAPRANIDHANA. It is surrender to God, to the universe, to the higher power of your choice. It is the recognition that we are no longer able to fight for ourselves. It is the choice to let go and step in to the faith that all will be as it should.
Breathe. Now, re-read that paragraph.
Have you ever struggled with a person, a job, an illness only to find that the more you fought the less control you actually had? This constant battle we create for ourselves is really unnecessary. Yes, it makes us feel important. Powerful. IN CONTROL. Yet that is the illusion we must give up.
Surrender is often used in a negative way…but instead of looking at it as a losing position, what if we framed it as a way to remove ourselves from the fray? Choose a situation you are in, and imagine yourself just letting go. As you do this, notice if when you are choosing what to let go of that your hands clench a little bit. Look at them; do they look like they are holding the reins to a runaway horse? Now imagine letting it go… and look at your hands again. Are they relaxed, a little looser? Have you noticed that your shoulders are no longer up around you ears? I hope so…
I recently had to deal with a personal situation that was very difficult. I mulled it over and over, and over and over again. Over-thinking would be the Olympic sport I could medal in. I did not make the choice to let go for longer than it should have taken, in my mind. But, once I came to the place where I literally said a dear friend “I surrender,” I was able to feel an enormous peace. I recognized that letting go, seeing that I am not in control and releasing all of my grasp was all there was left to do. As it turns out, just the act of letting go allowed for some wiggle room. There has been progress made, and I am reminded yet again that what I want and need are possibly two different things. Giving it up and leaving it to my Higher Power to sort out takes all that off me and places it where I should have left it all along.
Like every other concept I’ve talked about, some days of practice are better than others. Work in progress.
Here’s to a blissful, white flag-filled day. Surrender…and watch what is delivered.