In our culture the notion of surrendering has a negative connotation to it. It means you’ve been defeated and that you’re powerless. But if you look to the world’s wisdom traditions you’ll find that the idea of surrendering is a courageous act that creates more insight and freedom from the unnecessary mental struggles of life.
The 13th century Sufi poet Rumi uses a wonderful metaphor to bring this to life:
Very little grows on jagged rock.
Be ground. Be crumbled,
so wildflowers will come up
where you are.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Many of us harden into patterns of life that keep the struggle going. We can’t seem to let go of the self-judgment because our brain believes it’s there to keep us in line. We numb out to the world through eating, drinking, over-use of social media, among so many other ways.
Question: Why is our brain so afraid of surrendering our unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving?
Answer: Because the alternative means to be vulnerable. The brain works off of an archaic understanding of life, where to be vulnerable means the threat of being killed.
But when the ground is crumbled it opens up the crack so light can shine in and wildflowers can bloom.
Think about what would happen if you stopped trying to fight the so-called “demons” in the mind and instead worked on taming them.
How do you tame the inner demons?
It’s a process of uncovering what they need. What’s behind self-judgment is often times fear. That means somewhere inside we are afraid and need to be soothed.
When there is pain involved, there is an awareness of the pain and the attention has this quality of wanting to be supportive in some way. It is a quality of care and self-compassion. What’s getting in the way of you giving yourself more self-compassion as a path to taming the inner demons?
After all, when it comes down to it, there is truly no one more deserving of happiness than you. I promise.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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Last reviewed: 9 Apr 2014