I watched a video from Rennisance Unity in Detroit on Will & Surrender. It was a tag team sermon, with a number of presenters on the same topic, but as I watched, I got frustrated. I’ve felt that same frustration enough times to know ther source. It’s not about what the presenters were doing, rather it’s about what I am not doing, the work I am called to.
These people talk about surrender in various ways, coming to understand that the old externally focused “like me” persona may not be the best while you are having a heart attack, understanding how to stand back when your parents die by your thirteenth birthday and you are thrown into difficult places, or just not getting what you thought you wanted in Sydney and having something wonderful anyway.
I get all of these things. If you think about the best things that have happened in your life, could you have predicted them with any precision before they happened? Probably not. The wonderful bits are unimaginable to us before they happen, and if we were bound by the limits of our own tiny imaginations we would never know wonder at all, and worse, never know how wonder reveals parts of ourselves that, even though they were always inside of us, we could never have imagined.
But surrender is quite near impossible for me. The “trajectory” that I know my creator put in my heart is so against social norms that it’s near impossible to communicate that passion to anyone. It’s a calling that many, if not most, call sick, indulgent or perverted, something that violates the limits of what they believe is acceptable in their creator’s eyes.
But as I listened to these people talk about their experience with surrender, and how they struggled with the hard question of when to surrender and when to fight, what to push against and what to let push you, what is of God to be embraced and what is of the ego to be resisted. They talked of that moment when they realized that they couldn’t just live inside the answer and change the world to meet them, they had to live inside the question and change their lives to meet creation.
For me, the question comes down to the basic question I have always learned to ask: “OK, God, what I am supposed to learn in this situation?”
In other words, God, what is your will for me in this moment?
This is what I have learned to surrender to: learning. Surrendering to learning is surrendering to growth, and surrendering to growth is surrendering to transformation.
Education is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
Lots of metaphysical teachers have come to the end that what this life of separation is about is learning, working out what we can’t work out when totally connected. It’s a belief I cotton to, not least because as long as people keep open to learning they keep getting better. The path as metaphor may well be the path as recieved wisdom, but the metaphor of journey is a useful structure for an evolving and evolved human life.
Things happen, and we are asked to engage them. The lessons may always have been there, but being open to learning in every moment lets the lessons enter and transform us. This is what I think people mean when they say they are in the moment, that they aren’t fixated on the way things should be, their past expectations, or fixated on the way they want them to be, their fantasies, but rather are engaged in how things are right now, open to learning and change.
That’s the big challenge of surrender, the challenge of being open to learning, being open to everything.
And as for me, well, I know how closed I am to many things in the world of flesh. Those lessons seem to just cut at me, because they are so often lessons of how people come from ego.
It would be nice to say that means I am open to many things in the world of spirit, and I am, but the limit is simple: I feel the need to build a wall between that spirit and manifesting it in the flesh. This is far from a new behavior — I remember being pounded about it when I was five — but it is a caustic and claustrobic one, encapsulating me in my own world, where bases tend to burn what little flesh I have left.
I look to those who are commited to their own path to support me, but all too often I find that they want to surrender to some kind of previous knowledge rather than opening and surrendering to the learning and change they may face if they opened to me. They don’t ask what they can learn from me, even if its transformative, rather they just wonder how I fit into their current expectations and plans.
I know about surrender. There was a reason that many of the last times I went to a church I heard about Jonah; heck, that was the kids book next to me as I waited, waved off of going into the cardiologists exam room by my mother who didn’t want any hard questions.
But I also know that most people see surrender in much smaller bits. They have a life full of desires and expectations to maintain, and that means surrender is smaller, nicer and much more normative. Not so queer, if you know what I mean.
But for me? The knowledge is wide, the learning is vast, and there is so much to do.