Weekly thoughts and insights from participants of the “Surrender: Experiencing What Is” series.
This week’s contribution is by Eric Smith:
This week Cara taught the first class of our new series called “Surrender: Experiencing What Is”. We started off by looking at what the word surrender means to us. Things like, allowing, trust, accepting, giving in and not resisting came up. When we took a look at the white board we had filled with all these words Cara asked us, “How do these words make you feel?” The subtle uneasiness was alluded to in the rooms unanimous silence. Words such as, “nervous” and “hesitant” came in response. We all found that there is this reluctance to trust in the process of surrender especially when we do not feel safe or certain of things. We want know in advance that everything will be just fine before we let our guards down. We want to feel as though we have some place to stand on, some amount of control over things.
In reflecting on the class, I noticed how I had not wanted to “give in to” or really feel the discomfort that had arisen in my own body in response to the question. I just wanted to glaze it over and get on to the next thing without having to really look at or acknowledge what it was that I felt.
Cara went on to describe some of the ways in which our unconscious habits keep us from actually surrendering to and feeling these often very subtle sensations as they arise in the body. She explained that whatever initial sensation arises, we can identify it as being pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. “Ooo chocolate!” – pleasant sensation, or… “What?! $200 speeding ticket?” – unpleasant sensation. So often these initial feelings go unnoticed, while we in turn react blindly out of habit.
In the next 24 hours following the class, I had several opportunities to observe this phenomena in myself with more acuity and clarity. I was fascinated to see just how subtle the initial sensation was that, if I hadn’t taken a moment to observe it more closely, could have easily slipped into the background while my unconscious coping mechanisms kicked in and took over. You know, some such situation like, “Uh oh… someone is inquiring about my vulnerable emotional state… quick! defend! barricade all doors to the heart! What are you talking about? Nothings the matter. What emotion? I’m fine, I’m not feeling anything! You’re projecting your emotions on to me!”… something like this, with chin held high, arms crossed and chest puffed up.
Alternatively, drawing upon what we had just talked about in Cara’s class, I caught the “knee jerk” reaction before it took over and I checked in with what I was feeling in the body. What is it that I’m avoiding or not wanting to look at here? I noticed a generally unpleasant sensation in the body and with a closer look, I noticed a very subtle pain in the centre of my chest, a tightness along with a dull stabbing type feeling. I was amazed at the sense of relief I felt as the reactionary charge dissipated. The discomfort I felt initially became totalized in my being and quickly dissolved as I was no longer trying to fight or avoid what was arising. As a result, I now had the space within myself to make a choice, to remain open to that other person and relate to them with calm, vulnerability and honesty.
This kind of surrender that we’re talking about doesn’t happen by accident or with an attitude of passivity. Surrendering is an act of will that requires courage and a choice in each moment to show up for the experiences that this life has to offer. The beauty and richness of life are ours to behold if we so choose to fully surrender ourselves to it. Thank you Cara for the wonderful class and for sharing some great tools to help us on this road to true surrender.