Silence, Self and Surrender

Live in total surrender and you will live happily ever after!
Yesterday, a well-meaning friend suggested that we try a new form of Vaastu that helps release positive energy in a living space. His point: Vaani and I badly need that positive energy to bounce back in our Life and business. While I don’t deny that we need to bounce back in business, we can’t quite relate, anymore, to any of the methods that are on offer. Not that we didn’t try them before. We did. We wore rings and stones on our fingers, we tried foo dogs and laughing Buddhas and fountains and gem trees, we tried “freeing” up the north-east corner of our home and almost every method that’s available in the public domain. To be sure, we still consult astrology and use it like a dashboard. Even so, with due respect to all the sciences that promise “better living”, I can, through my own personal experience, learnt that the only science that works for intelligent living is the science of silence, Self and surrender.
Simply, when you embrace silence, you understand your true nature, your true Self, and through that understanding you learn to let go and surrender to Life.
I have come to realize that this is the best way to live. Don’t protest any situation. Don’t berate yourself. Don’t be angry, guilty, fearful or anxious. Just accept what is, work to your best ability on changing what is if you don’t like it, and surrender to Life’s ways, to its flow. This is a discipline – like a fitness regimen or a diet or a manufacturing process. You learn to perfect it over time. And you start by being silent for a certain period of time daily – usually 20 minutes is a good start for beginners. Slowly increase it to an hour. During your silence period, you remain silent; don’t try to silence the environment, you remain silent! With diligent practice of daily silence periods, you will awaken to this truth that your trying to control your Life is meaningless drama. You will know that whatever is happening to you is beyond your control and is happening in spite of you and never because of you. Then you will realize that total surrender – saranagatias the scriptures teach us – is what intelligent living is all about!  

Surrender does not mean inaction. It only means that you act knowing that the outcome is not in your control. Not in your hands. So you act, to the best of your ability, and leave the outcome to Life – accepting whatever is! Then you are forever soaking in positivity. You are always happy no matter what circumstances you are placed in. You don’t need any crutches – Vaastu, Feng Shui, superstitions, astrology, gemology – to live. To live well, to live happily, you only need to be silent for some time daily, you will then know who you really are and will realize the value of total surrender!

Surrender to Life and be free!

Surrender to Life. This is the only action required of you. When you surrender, you will be free.

When you are free, you are peaceful. When you are peaceful, bliss follows. With bliss comes abundance. With abundance comes allthat you need. When you are in that state, you are radiant.

It’s possible for all of us to be resplendent, radiant like the idol at Tirupati. Those who have been to that temple shrine in southern India will agree that they are speechless, they are thoughtless when in front of the main deity. Many confess they have even forgotten how to pray or what to seek when in the sanctum sanctorum for those few nano-seconds. They speak of divinity and they speak of a super power. They are mesmerized by the glow radiating from the idol, their Lord. They believe it is a superior energy that is embracing them when in proximity of that idol. I don’t wish to challenge their beliefs. But I want to say that you too can radiate that kind of energy. Only if you surrender. Only if you submit yourself to Life’s situations.

All your pain comes from fighting, from resisting Life. All suffering comes from expecting your Life to be different from what it is just now. When you give up the fight and when you stop expecting, you will be at peace. In that state you will be bereft of all wants and yet be abundantly endowed with all that you need. In such a moment, you are one with the Universe, with creation. This is where you begin to radiate the energy that created the Universe. This is not just spiritual thinking. This is metaphysics.

Linji Yixuan, a Buddhist Zen monk, went to his Master and said, “Give me freedom!” The Master said, “Bring yourself. If you are, I will make you free. But if you are not, then how can I make you free? You are already free.”  “And freedom,” his Master said, “really is not the freedom you think of. Really, freedom is freedom from ‘you’. So go and find out where this ‘I’ is, where you are, then come to me. This is meditation. Go and meditate.” So the disciple Linji goes and meditates for weeks and months, and then he goes back to his Master. He tells his Master, “I am not the body. Only this much I have found.” So the Master says, “This much you have become free. Go again. Try to find out.” Then he tries, meditates, and he finds that “I am not my mind, because I can observe my thoughts. So the observer is different from the observed – I am not my mind.” He comes and says, “I am not my mind.” So his Master says, “Now you are three-fourths liberated. Now go again and find out who you are.” So Linji went away thinking, “I am not my body. I am not my mind.” He had read, studied, he was well informed, so he was thinking, “I am not my body, not my mind, so I must be my soul, my atman.” But he meditated, and then he found that there is no atman, no soul, because this atmanis nothing but your mental information – just doctrines, words, philosophies. So he came running one day to his Master and said, “Now I am no more!” Then his Master said, “Am I now to teach you the methods for freedom?” Linji said, “I am free because I am no more. There is no one to be in bondage. I am just a wide emptiness, a nothingness.” Osho, recounting this story often, concludes: “Only nothingness can be free. If you are something, you will be in bondage. If you are, you will be in bondage. Only a void, a vacant space, can be free. Then you cannot bind it. Linji came running and said, “I am no more. Nowhere am I to be found.” This is true, real freedom.”


And this freedom comes from surrender. Try it. See what you are enslaved by. And break free. When you realize the nothingness of your creation, the emptiness of your ‘self’, you will be filled with abundance, drenched in a radiant energy. Then you don’t need anything….because you have all that you need, you have freedom! You are free! 

Understanding the meaning and power of ‘surrendering to Life’

Surrendering to Life does not mean inaction. It means acting duly but without any attachment to the outcome.
Someone who read my blogpost of yesterday pinged me wanting to know if ‘surrendering to Life’ was ‘accepting defeat’ or ‘giving up’. He said, “All our early Life, through being raised at home, through teachers and peers at school and college, through seeing the way the world behaves, we have been taught the theory of ‘survival of the fittest’. We have been encouraged never ever to give up and keep competing. Isn’t then the concept of ‘surrendering to Life’ a sign of weakness, a sign of ‘accepting that Life has defeated you’?” This reader’s perspective merits a discussion.
First, let’s understand that Life is not a competition. It is not a race either. And nor can you compete with Life. It is perfectly fine for you to have goals, ambitions and aspirations. It is absolutely fine for you to go after them with passion and focus. But, as you may have well realized through your own experiences, you may not always get what you want in Life – despite your best efforts. Or sometimes Life may act in such a way that, without any immediately evident cause or reason, your Life will change. And because your Life has changed, your aspirations will have to change. You will have to accept and live with your new reality – knowing and understanding that some things you planned may never be possible any more.
Let me give you an example. I know of a young lady called Preethi Srinivasan. Had Life not literally felled her in 1998, and left her a quadriplegic, Preethi would have played for the Indian Women’s Cricket team. She overcame shock, grief and agony, accepted her new reality and is now a motivational speaker who also runs this wonderful organization called SoulFree (http://www.soulfree.org/who-is-soulfree/) which she set up in 2013 to help people like her who are dealing with spinal cord injuries. Now, can someone like Preethi, just wallow in self-pity and will such wallowing restore her physical condition? What she can do is to live each day fully – celebrating the Life she has. And she’s doing this remarkably well. In fact, her Life is an inspiration to so many people – including me.
Now, if someone feels that Preethi has been defeated by Life, they are sadly mistaken! And if someone feels that she should be competing ‘better’ with Life, they must go live her Life before making that comment! To me Preethi has embraced the Life she has with total acceptance and this is the reason why she is a personification of the indefatigable human spirit.
Labels like ‘defeat’, ‘failure’, ‘loss’, ‘success’, ‘victory’ – all these are irrelevant in the context of Life. People who are labeling themselves or others are “armchair theorists” – they keep rocking away with their opinions but never really get going in Life!
There’s only one way you can respond to Life. Which is to accept whatever comes your way, whatever happens to you, and live your Life one day at a time. The action I talk about is doing whatever you can do each day, doing it well, and leaving the outcome to Life. You just be sincere with your living – and your doing. Leave what you are given at the end of each day up to Life. Not doing what you can do in any context – well, that’s inaction. Therefore, ‘surrendering to Life’ is not inaction. In fact, if you truly understand the power of ‘surrendering to Life’, you will value a ‘good night’s sleep’ as your biggest blessing, your greatest wealth at the end of each day – and never the money you have made or the money that you are pining for!
The best principle, as I told my reader friend, is to not think too much about Life. Just do your best daily – and live with what you have been given, fully!

Drop your grief, let go and surrender to Life

Intelligent living is all about letting go and living in complete surrender to Life!
Know that we are all custodians of this opportunity and energy called Life. We didn’t ask to be born. This Life is a gift we got. So, if we were given the gift of Life without our asking for it, please understand that we will also get all that we need to live it fully.
This is the truth, the reality of Life. When we seek material things__money, power, position, fame__we are looking a gift horse in the mouth. We have been given a Merc but we are asking why is the upholstery not of a pastel shade, why is there no bar inside, why is a DVD player not fixed in the rear side of the car? By wanting, we are being ungrateful beneficiaries. Instead, surrender to Life. Be the way you were before you were born. You__and I__may not remember it, but we were totally at the mercy of Life before and when we were born. For the first few years of our Life, we stayed that way. But as we started getting educated, we started wanting. When each want was initially fulfilled by our parents, we started wanting more. There, the miracles stopped. And our challenges began. So, to attract miracles into your Life, just surrender. Just tell Life that you are in command and I am a humble follower. That I will accept and enjoy anything that you will give me.

Those of us who have surrendered and seen the miracles in our lives will appreciate this perspective from experience. Those who find this logic difficult to understand, need to just observe Life around them closely and they will see that everything__everything__in this Universe is created only on this principle. When we lose something and we grieve its loss, it’s because of this wanting in us. In fact, grief itself is a sign that we are out of the surrender mode and are in the want mode. Jalaluddin Rumi, the Persian mystic says,”Don’t grieve over anything that you have lost. It will come back in another form.” That coming back, the miracle, can be created by you, when you drop your grief and surrender to Life!


Surrender to the Cosmic Design

It is important to let Life’s design take care of you instead of you trying to control that design.
This does not mean inaction. This means insightful action. This means acting with a deep awareness of the nature of Life. That everything is transient. That you must live flowing with Life. This is what living intelligently really means. It means to be live spiritually. To be spiritual does not mean you must not live well. Spirituality, in fact, makes no demands on you. There is no need to abstain from anything, no need to propitiate any Gods, no need to observe any rituals and no need to give up anything compulsorily. Spirituality is the flowering of inner awareness. An awakening that teaches you how to live in this world and yet be above it.
When we are merely acting on Life, we are actually reacting. When we are acting with insight, we are actually meaningfully, purposefully responding to Life’s every move, every hue. That’s the only way to live in this world, face all its challenges, and still be above the world, and unmoved by those very same challenges. Only if you can prevent death, can you control Life, can you attempt to change its design for you. Without the ability to control death, controlling Life is like trying to grab and hold water in your fist__it is, well, improbable, impractical and impossible! The truth also is that, when you look back at your Life so far, you can’t but agree with the way your design has evolved. Every success, every tragedy, every opportunity, every loss, while it didn’t make sense as it unfolded or happened, appears to have so perfectly fallen in place, so sweetly timed.
So, surrender yourself to the cosmic design and flow with Life! Only then can you wear the Life it weaves for you on your sleeve!