I surrender if I know one of two things:
1) I am not in charge of what happens
2) God is doing a better job than I could do
I am cooking dinner for friends. I am opening a can of tomato sauce. The grip on the can is lost. I catch it before it hits the floor (the benefit of meditation) but not before tomato sauce is spilled all over me, my socks, and across the kitchen floor to the far wall. This was not in my plans for making dinner! I begin to giggle, then laugh, then laugh so hard my belly hurts and tears are running down my face. What a sight! God is playing with me. How do I get the tomato soaked clothes into the wash without making pink tracks across the wall-to-wall white carpet? I take them off in the kitchen, wash them in the sink and carry them to the laundry, careful not to disturb the (still soaked in tomato sauce) floor. The clothes are taken care of, floor is cleaned and back to cooking, all with a good laugh, because I have surrendered my plan, surrendered myself, to being fully present to the events of the moment.
In the past, I had a personality that tended to get attached to my job, my service, my responsibilities. I had an idea of how things should turn out and a fairly fixed idea of my role in the situation. A lot of suffering arose from these ideas because, of course, things did not often turn out the way I envisioned them, and I could not fulfill my role the way I thought it should be done. After many such experiences, it dawned upon me that, quite possibly, God’s plan is better than mine. This sounds funny, I know, but it was a deep surrendering. I began to notice that things do work out in the Grace and Mercy of the Divine. Trusting that this is the Truth allows me to experience that energy of Grace and Mercy, no matter what the circumstances are.
This was shown to me yesterday [once.] The body was in pain—not unusual for me; it happens. I said, “Okay Gurudev, I know you are helping me through allowing me to have this experience.” (Feel free to insert your own name of the Divine, of course, if you want to adopt this form.) I deeply believed in the Truth of what I was saying. A sense of Peace, Grace and Mercy enveloped me. The physical pain didn’t change. My experience of it did. “But Suddhananda,” I hear you say, “there are terrible things we go through in life: sustained abuse, terror, fear, loss of a child or loved one. What about that? Do we trust God then? What do we do then?” I say, with eyes open to terrible suffering, this is when we need deep faith the most. This is when we need to reach out to the Divine the most, and if we can’t do that (if the mind is in shock, the heart too angry, or too afraid) then it is the time to say, “God, I am on my knees. I can’t feel you. I don’t even want to talk to you.” And, eventually, “You have to help me.” Then (this is the tough part for some of us) we have to allow and accept the help that comes. How do we develop Faith? I love Gurudev’s teaching about this. We develop Faith by noticing all of the gifts that we have been given in life (in my case, I wrote a list). Additionally, Gurudev recommended that we repeat, for one week, the following statement: “God is taking complete care of me.” Notice your experience in that week. Let us realize and know in our deepest heart that God, Gurudev, the Divine, loves us and is taking care of us every moment—much better than we can do ourselves. May we surrender into Divine Grace, Mercy and Love, and be in Peace.
Swami Suddhananda currently serves as a personal and group consultant for the Yogaville and the larger Buckingham communities. With an MA in Clinical Psychology and also having had to face the challenges related to life-long cerebral palsy, her gentle, compassionate approach is coupled with a strong faith in our innate emotional health and the tender mercy of the Divine. Swami Suddhananda is available through e-mail for consultation. Her email address is [email protected] A donation to Yogaville in exchange for this service, is appreciated.
(from the August, 2012 IYTA Newsletter)