I‘ve been contemplating Eckhart Tolle’s theories on surrender lately. His ditty goes a little somethin’ like this: during an argument or fight with another person, or within yourself, if you find yourself riled up, becoming loud or animated, that is your cue. It’s time to shift into the position of the witness, watching your own behavior, your defensiveness as it arises, your own need to feel heard, for him to see your point, how hard you’re holding onto your position. My way. All that is just Ego. Ego. So let it go. Surrender. Walk outside of yourself in that prickling moment of defensiveness and look at your behavior, how you’re behaving. Surrender to it, internally, acknowledge that it is there, these feelings, and WATCH them go. Observe what happens when you diffuse the situation by simply saying, I surrender. Not to YOU, I don’t, no. I don’t surrender with a “you win,” said with the tone of someone superior, who is above fighting, no. That’s just another form of resisting, of rationalizing that you are indeed right, taking the high road, because you know you’re “right.” Instead, you let it go with a thoughtful “no,” not a “no” barked in frustration, but a “no” that is from a calm place, a state of knowing for yourself what is best for you. Little by little, this practice is meant to become easier, catching yourself. I understand this. I get it. Though I wonder how it ultimately resolves conflict.
I surrender to these feelings that you’re bringing up for me to deal with, my ego, my discomfort, my frustration, because when I am in that state, I cannot hear anyone. I don’t want to really communicate. I’ve got too much to learn. Why are my feather’s getting ruffled? Why not just surrender to it? Don’t resist, observe it and let it go. Got it.
But when it comes to our internal conflicts, of how we ought to spend our lives, career, day, how do we actually surrender, give it up, let it go, without becoming immobile? Tolle says that surrender isn’t indecision, it’s not a paralyzing choice where you throw up your hands in defeat and surrender. One can surrender and make plans. “Active surrender.” I’m still trying to “get it.” I guess it’s that we recognize whatever fear or discomfort is at stake, acknowledge it, surrender to it, watch it, and keep on keepin’ on, facing it, not judging it, letting whatever happen, happen. Not fixated on the outcome, just following the choice we’ve made and taking what comes. Still, “surrender” still feels like a pajamas on the sofa day, where I’m focused on the “now,” how my body feels, the click tick of the keyboard beneath my fingers, an unproductive day.
How do we surrender without giving up, without sitting on a sofa to eat Cheetos instead of working? Because the work is what I’m fearing, fear is keeping me from writing. I do anything but write to avoid how the writing might not be big enough, original of an idea enough, funny enough, sell enough. It becomes enough. So, I don’t do it. Fear. Fear that I couldn’t be a bigger sell than what I’ve already done. That’s what this is all about. Fear. Fear of being told I’m not good enough AND BELIEVING IT. That’s the key, mind you. Because to be told we’re not good enough, that we suck, that we’re not worth it, that’s one thing. But to believe it and let it become part of your story, that’s a choice. And it seems like you’re letting someone else choose your life for you.
I guess I just need to surrender to the fear, give it a nice how do you do, see it sitting there on my sofa, smoking menthol cigarettes, shaking its head, tell me I’m wasting my time, offer it some sangria and be done with it. Okay, I get it. You’ve moved in. Fine. Stay, don’t stay. Whatever. I’m getting back to it now.
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