Surrender is not throwing away or giving up and losing. Surrender is giving up the fruits of the outcome. Acting complete in every minute without expectation of winning or losing. Outcome is off the point. The question is, “Did I play with integrity and authenticity, and without thinking? Did I give my all without seeking any reward?”
In his introduction to Mastering The Art of War, Thomas Cleary speaks of the dangers of success: “[E]ven in success they are in danger, for success itself becomes an object of contention that continues to animate the aggressive tendencies of all people on this level.” The truth is, unless we are careful, success will feed aggression. Then both the success and the successful will be crushed. As the I Ching states, “Honor will be taken away from you three times before the day is out”.
According to Liu Ji, “When you have won, be as if you had not”. This is not about pretending you did not win. This is about surrendering the results, the fruits of your efforts. When we operate from this place, we do not have any pride or personal ego investment. The small self does not and cannot take credit, because it was not the doer and therefore not involved at all. At this point we no longer have excessive celebration; we are nonattached, so we act with equanimity. We no longer care in the conventional sense, nor do we have apathy. In developing our sādhana, we learn that neither the one who turns inward nor the one who acts outwardly is who we truly are.
“Care” and “not care” are still on the same playing field; they are two sides of a coin. If we have the quality of care, then we also have the quality of apathy. When we are surrendered and nonattached, we are the blissful spectator. That is why it is so enjoyable.
This is not about tricking the small self to go to the other side, the side of not caring. It does not take place in the faculty that thinks; we are letting go of the ideas of caring and not caring and relocating to a completely different playing field, the Heart. Here the one you have always called “I” is no longer the invested player and the receiver of the rewards.
Elsewhere in the introduction to Mastering The Art of War, Cleary cites the commentator Cheng Yi: “‘Even if the army acts in the right way, the leaders must be mature to obtain good results. After all, there are those who are lucky but also faulty, and there are those who are faultless but still not lucky. To be lucky and also faultless is as mature as people can get. Mature people are stern and worthy of respect’”. The mature person or leader sees the whole and proceeds appropriately. He is not swayed by expectations or ideas. He accepts what is, takes that in, and then clearly discerns how to proceed. The mature person actually is not lucky; rather, he sees the whole spectrum and can choose how to proceed to an outcome that can be both lucky and faultless.
In spiritual practice we are uncovering the layers. We have to work inward from outward manifestation to subtle vibration. The vibration gives rise to words, which we must be able and willing to articulate clearly. But the answer is never just words. It is what is underneath, internal to all we do, that changes everything. Acceptance of the deeper vibration allows us to let go of the more superficial manifestation. Proceeding in this way continuously, we find ourselves as our Self.
Once we have let go of a deeper vibration, though, we have to resist the temptation to re-establish it. For example, a person says he wants to get rid of emotional pain. I say, “Let’s do it”. We then do the practice together and get rid of it. The practice calms wave after wave of vibration. Now there are no excuses, because we are doing the practice and it works. But then the person actively pursues the return of his vibration of emotional pain. He does it by going into his head and looking for resistance so he can recharge the vibration by thinking about it. He had dropped his ragged old doll, and then went looking for it. He had surrendered and let go, and then he turned back to look for what he had lost instead of being glad he had lost it.
These seekers usually say the practice does not work. The reason it doesn’t work is that they are committed to doing it wrong; therefore they aren’t doing the practice at all. Whatever it is they are actually doing will not work, and the small self is thrilled about that. So these seekers need to stop calling what they are doing practice, because it is not the practice.
What every small self really wants is to be off the hook. Until you know who you really are, you are just whining to get off the hook. But if you really wanted to be off the hook, you would complete your sādhana and find that God is the only doer. God is responsible for it all. An intellectual understanding of this Reality won’t get you anywhere. Intellectual knowledge is shrunken knowledge; it doesn’t give your voice authenticity.
In order to strip away all the layers of your inauthenticity, you must first accept them. You can’t get rid of something until you accept it and take it in; only then can you let it go. We become what we fight against.
|Accepting / taking in / receiving||Rejecting / denying / dismissing|
Impressionable / weak / dependent
Independent / powerful / self-contained
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