As I continue to explore yoga’s ethical practice the excerpt below, from Deborah Adele’s book, meant a great deal to me today. As I finish the Heavenly Handkerchief Project and the anniversary of my sister’s death is tomorrow the concept below has helped me. It is divine intervention that I read this again today. I was on a completely different book with my Kindle and when I opened it to begin again, it opened to this book on page 172 all by itself!
I am working on taking the “I” out, or at least recognizing it in my thoughts and wishes. For example, my husband and I went to see A Star is Born. As Lady Gaga’s character is grieving the loss of her husband I was crying thinking, I don’t want to loose my husband. Then, I remembered how little control we have of our lives. It is hard to fight the universe. It is, stressful, exhausting and hard on our health. (Hubby is fine, cancer cured, but fear remains).
I had no control of my sister’s car accident, I wasn’t even in the same state. But, I fought her death for way to many years. Through my learning, and how my body feels, it is best to surrender to the facts. Try to imagine we are part of something bigger. “I” am not the only one who lost a sister.
“We are one after all, You and I, together we suffer, together we exist, and forever will recreate each other.” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) Can you guess which book I read that quote from this year?
In Sanskrit, Ishvara Pranidhana means devotion, surrender to a higher force. It is a subset of one of the eight limbs of yoga. A Niyamas (personal ethics).
“Surrender is ultimately a stance of devotion that takes place in the heart and permeates all of our attitudes and actions. In its deepest sense, Ishvara Pranidhana is the surrender of the ego to a higher purpose. Or, as Richard Rohr says, “it is the prayer of Thy kingdom come; my kingdom go.” As the ego surrenders, the heart expands. As the ego stops working so hard to get its own way, life begins to take on an ease and rhythm. As the ego stops fighting to be number one, life begins to nourish and feed us in amazing ways.
As we grow ourselves into the fullness of what this jewel has to teach us, we begin to understand the magnanimity of what guides, protects, nourishes, and cares for us. We begin to understand that there is something much greater which is “doing” us, and we begin to give all of our actions, as well as the fruits of our actions, into the arms of the Divine. Surrender is knowing ourselves to be a part of this Divine Oneness and then giving ourselves over to this greater whole. We find in the process that we do not lose ourselves, but instead become part of the greatness itself.
Questions for Exploration
Living with these questions, taking time for reflection and journaling will give you a new insight into your life and the practice of surrender. For this month, frame your exploration in the following statement by Swami Chetananada:
Ultimately there is nothing I can tell you
About surrender except
Having nothing and wanting nothing;
Not keeping score,
Not trying to be richer,
Not being afraid of losing;
Not being particularly interested
In our own personalities;
Choosing to be happy,
No matter what happens to us.
These are some of the clues.
The rest we learn with practice and grace.
Week One: This week watch your attitude and responses to the moment. Are you fearful, trusting, fighting, judging, or annoyed? Notice if there is a pattern to your attitude.
Week Two: This week notice any tension that arises in your body when you need the moment to be “your way.” Consciously choose to relax your body and shift your attitude to curiosity. Notice what happens.
Week Three: This week wake up every morning and “let God in.” Believe in something that is greater than you are and let your actions, your mind, and your heart line up with that greatness.” The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele