The Irony of True Surrender

by Christopher Lovejoy on April 20, 2019

Some eight years ago, in The Art of Surrender, I explored, among other things, the meaning and value of surrender. In this post, I will explore and examine what it means to surrender religiously and spiritually to the present moment on the way to being wholly and truly surrendered.

I will touch on the differences between a momentary surrender, a ceremonial surrender, and a devotional surrender alongside a backdrop of understanding that includes notions of survival, identity, social relations, love, wisdom, and faith viewed in the light of ultimate surrender.

Finally, I will wax poetic on why I feel ultimate surrender is so ironic.

Knowing what little I know about the nature, meaning, direction, and purpose of this world, this depiction of an iron fence above a cliff is an unusually powerful image in the light of what I am about to share with readers about the true nature and meaning of cosmic surrender.

For illustrative purposes, I invite you to see yourself standing in the middle of this scene on the grass facing away from the fence, but only if you can derive some meaning and value from the rather lofty notion of surrender, not in the earthly sense, but in the ultimate sense.

In the ultimate sense, surrender is a release from all need and desire, including the need to know and the need to understand why, both of which imply giving up attachment to all things known and familiar, including any attachment to the content and meaning of thought itself.

Now I would like you to take a step back. In stepping back, you surrender to the moment in the ultimate sense with a beginner’s mind, a mind attached neither to condition nor to expectation. In stepping back, you start losing your sense of knowing the whereabouts of the fence.

Each momentary surrender, however, brings you ever closer to the edge. Just know that the moment you touch that fence is the moment this fence disappears, leaving you vulnerable to the ultimate surrender; here, there’s no “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

As you follow the prompts to step back, you realize you no longer need to follow the prompts; nor do you need to treat any of your momentary surrenders as ceremonial in nature. Having tasted the wholeness of surrender, your moments of surrender become devotional in nature.

As a devotee of true surrender, you now know it’s only a matter of time before you touch the fence, before you surrender wholly and truly, releasing all that you know, releasing all that you’ve ever known, so as to surrender graciously, ultimately into all that can be known.

*

Oki doki, so why not just surrender wholly and fully, here and now and forever? Why not, indeed. Any ideas? What’s stopping you, or anyone else for that matter, from doing a backward swan dive into ultimate surrender below all momentary, ceremonial, and devotional surrenders?

What’s stopping you, dear reader?

Surrender, here, now, and forever.

Wait, you still here? What’s going on with you? Why are you still here? Why are you hanging onto my every word? Didn’t I just respectfully and lovingly tell you to surrender ~ ultimately ~ to let be, to let go, and to let God? You’re not afraid, are you? Unfinished business, perhaps?

Seriously, why are you still here with me now?

Yes I know, to be humble and honest, I must confess, I could be asking myself this very same question. Why am I still here now writing these words, attempting to know and be known, attempting to control, attempting to understand why through the medium of the written word?

Do I not know, ultimately, in giving up my creature comforts, in taking a hit for creation and passing into the Great Beyond with the blessing of creation, or in surrendering all I’ve ever known to be one with the sacramental nature of all things, that I have absolutely nothing to fear?

Do I not already know all of this deep down?

I know it, you know it, but does the human host know it? My human host is stopping me from taking leave of this post to be wholly committed to ultimate surrender, just as your human host is stopping you from taking leave of this post to be wholly committed to ultimate surrender.

The human host does not fully comprehend the divine spark, does not fully understand why the divine spark would wish to give up its creature comforts, does not fully understand why the divine spark would wish to take a hit for creation, does not fully understand why the divine spark would wish to surrender all that it’s ever known in tandem with the human host to be one with the sacramental nature of all things.

Survival means one thing to the human host and survival means another to the divine spark, as the divine spark knows deep down that it will never die when the human host dies; the human host, however, knows that death is oblivion for the human host; that is, death is forever.

Not so for the divine spark.

The divine spark is all too ready to surrender momentarily, ceremonially, devotionally, and ultimately. No problem for the divine spark, but what about the human host? What sort of compromise can be struck with the human host? What sort of negotiation can be made with same?

Any ideas?

*

The human host, being the mammalian primate that it is, enjoys many things, like comfort, convenience, and pleasure. The divine spark also enjoys many things, like beauty, mystery, and spontaneity, knowing there is much more to life than comfort, convenience, and pleasure.

Which is not to say the human host does not appreciate beauty, mystery, and spontaneity and which is not to say the divine spark does not appreciate comfort, convenience, and pleasure. We can always hope and trust that the host and spark are a match made in heaven.

As the human host ages, however, comfort, convenience, and pleasure are growing concerns for obvious reasons, and so the divine spark negotiates a compromise: “in exchange for allowing you your comfort, convenience, and pleasure, please allow me a little adventure.”

What sort of adventure?, asks the human host.

Not the sort of adventure that will be certain to get you killed, replies the divine spark.

That still doesn’t answer my question, rejoins the human host.

Fair enough. The sort of adventure that invites a little uncertainty, proposes the divine spark.

A little uncertainty? wonders the human host in a dubious tone.

Alright, maybe a lot of uncertainty, concedes the divine spark.

I don’t like the sound of that, recalls the nervous human host.

Alright, start with a little uncertainty and then build up tolerance for a little more uncertainty.

A little more uncertainty? How much more uncertainty? presses the human host.

And so it goes.

Life on Earth as an eternal divine spirit undergoing a temporal human experience is an ongoing negotiation between security and insecurity, certainty and uncertainty, significance and insignificance.

In light of this admission, is ultimate surrender even possible in a manifest realm without shamelessly bypassing or otherwise overtaking and overriding the concerns and wishes of the human creature?

I leave that as a rhetorical question.

With due respect for the human host, how best to view true surrender? As a distant shore or a guiding star? As a distant shore to be reached some day or as a guiding star to be followed every day?

As a distant shore, proclaims the divine spark.

No, as a guiding star, rejoins the human host.

As a distant shore, insists the divine spark.

As a guiding star, growls the human host.

Fine, fine, as a guiding star then, relents the divine spark, but I will forever leave open the possibility, dear friend, of having you change your mind as and when you feel ready, willing, and able.

Not likely, intones the human host.

In view of ultimate surrender as a guiding star, a fulfilling life reflects a steady release of the divine spark from any preoccupation with human need, including the need to know and the need to understand why, which means slowly releasing attachment to all things known and familial.

Oops, did I say familial? I meant to say familiar.

Eventually, this includes being free of attachment to the content and meaning of thought itself.

Steadily, slowly, gradually, eventually. Note well these careful qualifications. A momentary surrender here, a momentary surrender there; a ceremonial surrender here, a ceremonial surrender there; a stint of devotional surrender here and a stint of devotional surrender there.

And so it goes, in view of the guiding star that is ultimate surrender.

*

The journey of ultimate surrender is a stellar journey of meeting need with desire until need no longer drives desire, with a mind less and less and ever less attached to human conditions and expectations, reflecting a growing mystery and mastery of seven themes, as follows:

human survival (real)
personal identity (true)
social relations (good)
universal love (right)
spiritual wisdom (best)
wise compassion (fine)
sacramentality (pure)

These themes are best viewed in context, as a contextual interweaving of meaning having cosmic relevance and significance. The stellar journey is not merely a vertical divine journey into the depths of now, but a horizontal human journey into the breadths of now and then.

In view of the guiding star that is ultimate surrender, let us see how this is so.

A quick ultimate surrender, here and now, would likely get your human host killed sooner rather than later, which might be fine for the divine spark, but disrespectful in the extreme to the human host, and so when we speak of survival, we speak of a distinctly human survival.

Upon incarnation of the spark into the host, the basic biological, neurological, psychological conditions are set. A tension is created between the spark and the host as a catalyst for growth. As the incarnation proceeds, parental and societal expectations are added to conditions.

In time, a personal identity, a sense of who and why, begins to emerge, one that attempts to negotiate the ongoing tensions between the spark and the host, and one that attempts to negotiate and navigate the ongoing tensions between “my expectations” and “their expectations.”

Eventually, if the spark is fortunate, a harmonious relation between spark and host emerges, in the midst of harmonious social relations that help secure the needs of human survival and that help support the desires of personal identity, which prepare the ground for universal love.

The transition from being egocentric and sociocentric to being ready, willing, and able to be vulnerable and empathetic enough to give and receive love, understanding, and compassion to one and all is no small feat, as it opens the way to higher frequencies of consciousness.

A healing, wholing, unconditional love opens the way to free communications with inspirations, leading to a trust in life that transcends a mere belief in faith through the unity of compassionate wisdom, which prepares a ground to reveal the sacramental nature of experience itself.

The essential formula of true surrender to sacramentality is as breathtakingly simple to proclaim as it is breathtakingly difficult to sustain as a divine spark incarnated as a human host: (1) be present ~ be here now; (2) be aware ~ be still now; and (3) be awesome ~ be love now.

In moving onward and upward from preoccupations with conditions and expectations, the embodied spark is free to impress and express in ways and by means that make ultimate surrender a fait accompli.

The One is All and the All are One (whole).

*

In true surrender, symbolic preparations for true surrender and social rituals to acknowledge and celebrate the desirability of true surrender all seem very much beside the point, the point being that the depth of now in the absence of past and future is where true surrender resides.

From what little I know of true surrender as a divine spark in human form, the conditional happiness of the human host is gradually replaced by a peace, grace, and ease of soul and spirit. Yes, ’tis a beautiful thing, but the cost seems exceedingly high: not knowing what comes next.

And, to the consternation of others, not being attached to knowing what comes next.

As a divine spark in a human host, I must wonder: much time and effort are expended, from incarnation to incarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, to finally come to the ultimate realization that, yes, ultimate surrender is where we long to be. I mean, what could be more ironic than this?

What could be more ironic as/when ultimate surrender is but one moment away?

Here’s to opening evermore to the pure witness of beholding becoming.

/

A preview of my published work can be found here.

An outline of my masterwork in progress can be found here.

A listing of my posts on this site can be found here.