Not only can we not, as Einstein once said, fix a problem at the same level of consciousness which created it, there are some problems we may not be able to fix through conscious thinking at all. Some problems are not meant to be worked through rationally and mentally. Some problems are meant to be given over, laid down and surrendered. When we say: “I don’t know what to do” that might mean it’s time to drop into feeling and sensing and listening.
When we surrender something we hand it over. It means we are willing to change from the energetic position of PUSHING to HOLDING STEADY or clenching to opening. It means we are willing to stop, to pause. To sit in stillness. To consider the very fact of our aliveness on this planet right now as a magical mystery and to posit that the guidance we need in our lives, the guidance which transcends our own conscious wisdom, may come from that same ethereal source.
I had a teacher once who said: “Pray or worry. Choose one. They’re not the same thing.” When we pray and then we continue to worry or loop about the same thing we just asked for assistance with from a higher power, it’s like micromanaging the divine. But this is why a prayer is not a one time event at the start or finish of our day. It’s a thread running through our days, humming in the background like a song. The more we keep our prayers at the forefront of our consciousness the more powerfully charged they become. Just like my peonies. One group of flowers is planted in direct sun and the other is partially blocked by some trees. One is now thriving as June settles in and the other is struggling, barely opening. HOW we pray matters as much as what we pray about. Worries are just reminders: return to the prayer. Say it again. Keep surrendering it. Surrender is a verb. A doing word. An action we can take, again and again.
And just as a prayer and a worry are not the same thing, thinking and surrendering are not the same thing. Surrendering is what we tend to do AFTER we’ve exhausted the avenues of rational (or sometimes obsessive) thought. There is quiet to surrender. Like a whisper. When my children were smaller we talked about “inside voices”. Surrender is one step further than an inside voice - it’s an internal voice. It’s that sacred convo between our souls and their divine maker. Most of my surrenders start with the word “please”. Please hear me. Please help me. I’m in the center of the labyrinth and you’re high above it like a hawk. Please tell me which way to go; I can’t see it for myself right now.
There are two places I like to go to surrender a question: one is on my meditation cushion when no one else is home and I can start the conversation out loud. The other is on the page. Writing is such a powerful way to channel wisdom. And it’s such an invigorating feeling to experience the words coming from a place outside of us, through us onto the paper vs feeling like we have to dig deep and cough something up. When we surrender we are receiving. We are being shown. We are not solving our own problem. We are holding space for the solutions, the clarity, the shift in perspective to come through and land with us.
This is why it’s ok to not know. The issue is not not knowing. The issue is not knowing and insisting that if we hit the problem with the hammer of our thinking long enough and hard enough it will crack open and reveal a pearl. Set the hammer down from time to time. Get still. Surrender. And listen.