Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm. Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat, she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world.
When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid. The minister could hardly believe his eyes. It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl who he had watched for such a long time.
Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.
There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky. HE is in control and taking us home. Surrender is not a word often associated with positive actions. If we surrender, what are we giving up?
Does it mean, as it does for the enemy in battle, to give up on victory in our lives? Is the Higher Influence holding a gun to our heads and forcing us to give It everything we have, like a bandit or mugger might do? But when we come to know the true character and nature of Virtue, we quickly discover how false that image is.
By surrendering to Virtue, we soon discover the dramatic realization that in surrender we find more freedom, power, and peace than we have ever known. The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves.
Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance.
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Surrender to the Higher Power is not difficult for alcoholics, because for years they have surrendered to a lower power. Surrender is a key ingredient in the AA program of recovery, indeed it is the starting point. It is a paradoxical approach—surrender to the enemy you have been fighting. This concept is Eastern in its roots for Aristotle could never have conceived this route to victory! What is the nature of this surrender, and what happens when you surrender? When you admit you are powerless over alcohol and that implies a surrender. It is a big shift from all those years of trying to control your drinking: the worse it got the harder you tried.
So what happens when you surrender? For one, you stop doing direct battle. This thing has got the better of me! It is out of my control! Then, one day, something happens. It is like a muscle in spasm suddenly relaxing, suddenly letting go. A new world opens up. What we had been tensely resisting is no longer occupying our focus. We are no longer battling the notion that we cannot control our drinking.
Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude by Percy Bysshe Shelley | Poetry Foundation
Surrender implies a shift, a sudden change. Surrender is a global cessation of resistance: you stop fiercely defending your old ideas. This surrender is also the path of many religious and spiritual traditions. Entering a monastery, taking a vow of service, shaving your head and taking on a new name, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, accepting a Guru in Hinduism or a monk as your teacher in a Zen monastery—these are all moments of surrender. The value of surrender as an entry point to a spiritual path has been known and practiced by many cultures.
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Science and rational thinking Aristotelian logic do not understand the value of surrender. Surrender is a quantum leap, not continuous, incremental change.
Holy Spirit Come With Your Fire – Divine Hymns
Even our formal mathematics has great trouble dealing with discontinuous change. In the human psyche, surrender happens on many fronts at the same time. Surrender is a transformation of posture, a major change of attitude. A dam has burst and outside thoughts, ideas and influences that had been kept at bay can suddenly seep in.
While it appears to the alcoholic that the main aspect of surrender is an acknowledgment that they cannot control their drinking, there are simultaneous changes occurring on other fronts that are crucial in setting the wheels of recovery in motion. Our entire system of defense involving rationalization, minimalization, distortion and denial is fragile like a glass bubble.
When we crack it open in one place the entire structure crumbles. New ideas can enter and transformation begins on many fronts. Battling alcoholism is like wrestling a porcupine. The harder you fight, the more quills and needles get embedded in your body. When you surrender and stop fighting the possibility of healing opens up. The moment you say: this thing I have been battling is bigger than me, you are acknowledging that there are things bigger than you.
There may be other Higher Powers out there too, and perhaps you can enroll one of them on your side. Surrender is a key step in creating and relating to the notion of a Higher Power. If you are in charge, then you can always decide to pursue vice. No matter how convinced you are today that you should act virtuously, there will come a time when the world does not look so bad and it seems OK to submit vice.
Or, perhaps the world looks so bad that it is absolutely necessary to be bad! If you need protection from vice at these moments, it is absolutely necessary to realize that the urge to be bad does not originate in you, but comes from beyond you. It comes from thousands of years of practice and it is programmed into your genes, it is not a decision you are making in the moment. They come from beyond the individual.
Similarly one could argue that the urge to survive, the urge to get well and heal comes from such a higher power too.