I am fascinated with the art of surrender. From totally yielding in child’s pose to rolling with the punches of ‘failure,’ to bowing & saying ‘namaskar’ to a stranger, to surrendering the human voice to mystical repetition of Sanskrit syllables.
Surrender is the main reason I love chanting. The first thing I do when a kirtan starts is listen to the voices around me instead of my own. I feel my own voice but I don’t focus on it. My goal is to merge with a vibe in the room and surrender to it.
Once I surrender I’m in a position to start having fun- to ride the mantra wave. Because actually there is no ‘me’. And what’s being created musically is oneness- one group voice that carries the mantra in its own unique way through that moment in time. The experience will never be repeated the same way again. Kind of like a meditative jazz solo!
You could think of it like this- have you ever walked down a busy street, in a park or in a grocery store and been annoyed because a person in front of you walked too slow? What if, instead of feeling impatient you viewed them as someone you’re walking with? This is similar to what the ego (a soul feeling very separate, a voice focusing on itself) goes through during a kirtan when it shifts from resistance to surrender. We realize that what we’re surrendering to is love!
We live in a culture that wants to be like fire. We celebrate extroversion, excitement, amped up individuality & burning ourselves out to show how successful & deserving we are.
There’s nothing wrong with being successful, rising up from the ashes, or being in the spotlight/ shining and we all deserve it. The problem is when we become obsessed with it as a way to get love and unconsciously exhaust ourselves in the process.
Fire is exciting and can ignite things & be hot & amazing to watch but it is not nourishing.
The gift of surrender is like water.
Water is reflective & naturally moves around obstacles quietly & patiently to flow back to its source. It will go to the lowest places, let gravity pull it toward its source, and like a cosmic dance it sways back and forth when it merges with the ocean.
A cooling antidote to the burnt-out feeling, water refreshingly accepts us for who we are, beneath all the accolades. It quenches a deeper desire- the thirst for nourishment.
To be like water is to be ok with not shining, with not being exciting, with having your personal edge smoothed by the current of change (aka grace…or nature’s inherent rhythm).
The art of surrender is like that. It teaches us humility, that love doesn’t require anything special from us, it’s natural, and that the roadblocks on our path are actually there to direct us back to an endless ocean of self-love.