Surrendering to the Now

by Paul Goodchild on March 11, 2009

I’ve been reading a book recently called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  There’s heaps in there to keep you occupied; learning to apply some of the principles here can only make you grow spiritually in a big way I feel.

The latest section I’m reading, nearer the end of the book, is really quite intriguing… it’s a question that comes up time and again in different forms throughout and it’s really been playing on my mind.

What is ‘surrender’?

In essence, a significant message from the book is acceptance.  Accepting what is, what has been and what will be.  Though, he stresses that ‘what was’ and ‘what is’ is not relevant since all that we actually have is ‘what is’ right now in this moment.  Another term he uses for this acceptance is ‘surrender’; surrendering to what exists and the conditions of the moment you are now experiencing.  He takes over 200 pages to go through this and more, so I can only give a pointer to what he says – you’ll have to go grab the book yourself to get the full text.

The prose of the book, in parts, is Q&A with the final chapter kicking off with the following question:

You mentioned “surrender” a few times.  I don’t like that idea.  It sounds somewhat fatalistic.  If we always accept the way things are, we are not going to make any effort to improve them… How do you reconcile surrender with changing things and getting things done?

This idea of surrender and acceptance forms the cornerstone of the whole philosophy here, so getting this point clear in our heads is critical.Tolle points out that resignation and surrender are different, and that while surrender has negative implications for some people, this is not the context with which he uses the term.  He states that “surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life”.  Inline with his message throughout the book, all that we have is the Now and so accepting the moment absolutely and unreservedly is the surrendering to which he refers.

Do not resist

When you resist or oppose the current flow of your life, this leads to internal strife.  The present moment is what it is, and if you don’t accept it and face up to it, you are fighting and denying the simple fact of life.  Denial cannot change the situation you face.

Surrender to the moment will free you to work through the external situation at hand and change it if that is your desire.  Because you accept it you can now clearly define it since you can see more clearly what is there.  You are present.  You’re more conscious, and you can therefore better apply yourself to bring in solutions and set up goals that would transform the current situation.  Stress, hardship and unhappiness, and many other negative emotions arise from resistance to the present.  This reduce your ability to perform and make effective changes to those things you find undesirable.

There is heaps more to be said about this whole topic as I’ve only covered it summary.  Have a look online, or grab the book itself for more information if this has intrigued you.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome below.  Please feel free to offer any feedback on what I have said.  Thank you for visiting!

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