Surrender, Acceptance & An Open Heart - What Does This Mean?
A Reflective Guide for Freeing Your Mind Before a New Experience
This piece is a reflective essay on observing, feeling, and releasing to come back to who I am. It is written whilst in extreme pain from an illness called chronic endometriosis, which helped me to shift my perspective, redefine my narrative to better align with my true nature, and therefore share all inner contemplation into this blogpost below.
Returning to My Cultural Roots
Many a times have I wondered, when will I return back to the motherland that I know to live in my blood, flow in my veins, rejoice in my pulse and to dance to the rhythm of every breath I take? I now know that these years of personal growth, of developed skill in the arts, of new realizations of the ways of the real and dreamlike world, and healthier, more stable changes have all been in the pursuit of growing into who I really am -- who I was meant to be from the beginning.
For you see, I haven't fought the changes. I've fought the feelings, the thoughts, the ideas of the "what I'm supposed to be", but in the end, what is truly in harmony with what I want, with what I want to be, will always be there and it takes me surrendering to the moment, to all my experiences, to fully allow myself to be Evi and love, live, and share joy. These are the steps I've taken consciously to free myself of past conditioned beliefs to come back to my true self:
Surrendering to the Moment
What does that really mean? If time is ephemeral and an illusion, if the past is by-gone and we have no control over it and the future is an uncontrollable dream, then what does it mean to stay in the present? Does it mean that I have to only narrow my focus onto that which is in front of me? Does it mean that I have to ignore the voices in my head that replay memories of all emotional states, that project what I want my future to be? Does it mean that I have to live today with a purpose, or without a purpose and let the Universe do its own thing in accordance with the being that I am and the energy I project?
Point is -- I've struggled with surrendering because the only context I have for surrendering is defeat. In the Bible, countless war and battle stories of King David, the Mennonites, the Phillistines, etc, all in the context of fighting, sacrifice, pain, loss. That's a big word, isn't it? LOSS.
In my linguistic-ly trained brain, the semantics of the word "loss" exists as a stand-alone, but in the context of interactional or perhaps individual experiential events, it exists as a balance -- the other half being "gain". I've heard these universally-accepted and non-nonchalantly used phrases "no pain, no gain", "no harm, no foul", "no loss, no gain". The Universe does function in harmony; everything is in balance to sustain our existence, and we are alive and enjoying life as human beings because of it. So why is it that the idea of LOSS is so powerful? Who in the Universe created this English word that has come to encompass such a strong, powerful meaning? Why don't we just go back to speak Ancient Aramaic or even Hebrew?
I wish I could say that I've conducted a ton of research, and am therefore able to explain what it means to surrender. I cannot do that, and I won't, because that would do injustice to the innate knowledge that lives within my soul. It might be based of past experiences and thus my definition, or it might be that somewhere inside my spirit, my inner being is fighting for its release, for its surrender to the present so that I (my ego) doesn't have to fight it and create internal conflict, internal resistance.
My own explanation would be this - surrendering is releasing my conditioned mindset, my conditioned perspective on positive or negative or neutral experiences, letting go of preconceived explanations/projections/understanding of emotional states of being, and just being. Being, to me, means to allow the inner you the freedom, the permission, to feel all that it is feeling when you hear the words "I love you" or even the words "I don't want you". It is about not fighting/supressing the joy, not fighting/suppressing the pain, but releasing them as energies, so they do not harvest themselves into your physical body and cause illnesses or otherwise. Another way to explain releasing, is to express it in the way that you know how - creativity, expression, art, movement, breathing, being in harmony with nature, space, color, speech, and the best release of all, according to one of the 13 natural excretions in Ayurveda, crying.
Surrender to the moment because if you fight it, you're fighting yourself. If it hurts, you know it hurts because there is a part of you that wanted something different, something more, something less. Wanting and hoping is not incorrect or wrong, and it doesn't always lead to pain. We are human beings, we create hope, we create dreams, we live our dreams. When you are disappointed or hurt, don't judge yourself for having failed. Praise yourself for having had the opportunity to have ridden the hope and the joy that came with it, and for knowing that you have the ability to love and dream so deeply, so completely, that you could only be able to do that if you went through this experience.
Surrender to the moment because your real soul, your real spirit is telling you what is right for you, and what is wrong for you. It is your internal personal and completely 100% correct right-o-wrong meter that will never lead you astray. Surrender to the moment because you are as precious as the most expensive diamond and blackhole collection in the galaxy; surrender to the moment because you will know what feels right. If it feels good to you, it is right for you. If it doesn't feel good to you anymore, it is not right for you.
Every interaction, every engagement in any moment in time is for that - that moment in time. If that conversation, that advice, that hug, that gaze doesn't feel good for you, then it is not right for you in the moment. Living in the moment is about letting go of all that you think you are, that you ought to know, and allowing yourself to observe and have a conversation with your inner you about what you're experiencing in the world. It's vibrational feedback- the most accurate source of truth in the universe. AKA Harmony!
Acceptance of What Is
Past experiences and definitions of successes and failures guide our perception of what "should be" and what "should have been" and what "will be". Even though really, we are all creators of our own reality, and really we truly truly are, it takes a certain amount of letting go of your conditioned beliefs that go against what you feel to be the truth inside you, and faith that because of your existence in harmony with the Universe/God, the experiences that you want will naturally happen because you're always living in truth. Why is it that we fight reality so hard? Why is it that we can create a whole world of someone having done us wrong and therefore we live victim to a past experience in pain, anger, resentment, grudge, or even hatred?
Not anything that a person does on the entire planet is because of you. They're doing it because they want to, of their own accord. We all have the freedom to choose our actions, and they have chosen their own, and it can affect you, but it isn't about you. Notice the effect it has on you and study that -- are you feeling a certain way because you had a preconceived notion of the person/ situation? Are you reacting because your image of yourself has now been hit? Are you feeling things because your hopes were for naught and now will be forever for naught because of your one experience?
Accepting things (an English word used very lightly here) as they are means to look at your situation, your friend, you partner, your closest soulmate and acknowledge all the thoughts, judgments, feelings, sensations you experience when you think of them, or are looking at them. Accept that these all these inner workings in your mind, body, heart, energy, spirit is your body's way of telling you that these are your reactions or responses to the present moment, but that it is not a definition of who you are. It is a reaction to the external. It's not your job to fix them right away, but it is perfectly alright, almost important, to look at it, become aware of all the noise, of your feelings or almost-reactions to the noise, and pause. Pause, to accept that it is, in this moment, exactly what it feels like to you.
It is neither wrong nor right, it just IS. It is exactly the way that sun rises up in the morning and sets, the way you accept that there is always air to breathe, accept that you are you, exactly perfect, regardless of whatever beliefs you've instilled in your brain that go against the essence of your truth - that beauty and truth IS you.
Why the speech, you ask? Because sometimes writing it down for myself and re-affirming the inner me, not my ego, is necessary for me to come into harmony with all that is around me. To feel joy continuously, even though it is not a constant, it is a wave, just like a vibration, that goes up, and goes down.
Accepting the things you cannot change doesn't mean that you don't have power. It means you have the MOST power because then you know, you believe, that you are a powerful living, breathing that...well. Once you've accepted, you've let go of all the what ifs, why nots, whys which is you relinquishing the need/desire to change things, events, experiences, interactions, outcomes. It is giving yourself permission to live in the next moment fully, without internal discord, internal resistance, or the fighting and incessant voice that repeats in your head telling you to be hurt, to be upset, to be angry. If you experienced a happy moment, would your thought pattern play itself on repeat in the next moment, telling you to be happy again and again and again in that past moment? It happened. You're not trying to change it. Same goes with other energetically (emotionally) charged experiences.
Our greatest joy comes from living in the present. From seeing and experiencing things as they are with our gift of the senses, which we employ to translate that which is external - our daily experiences, interactions, actions, perceptions. Ask yourself, am I choosing to remember the memories or look at the flower and project my hurt onto it, therefore making it an ugly flower, or am I choosing to look at the flower, accept that it is innocent of my past, and accept and love this moment fully because it brings me joy?
Haphazard thoughts from a mixing pot of too many.
An Open Heart
Recently have I learned that to be alive fully, means to do everything FULLY. That doesn't mean that you don't guard your heart, or vet the influences in your life whether they're for you or not, but it means that if you don't allow yourself to feel all the energies completely, you are not completely taking advantage of the fact that you're a human BEing.
An open heart means that because you're sure of the essence of you, you are able to share that essence with people because nothing will tarnish, change, or disfigure it. It is the faith that you are a joy, a treasure, a gift to everything around you, as is your environment to you - harmony + vibration.
Learning to live with an open heart is difficult for those who have experienced traumas, prolonged suffering, abuse or anything that has had a long term negative psychological impact. These repeated negative energies/experienced results in conditioned fears that can be illogical, conditioned negative self-beliefs that are not true to who you are at your core, and conditioned self-beliefs about what you deserve.
Make a laundry list - what resonates with you when someone else says or does something negative? Write it down. Then explore:
- Is this what I believe about myself?
- What past experience has made me develop this belief about myself?
- What do I know to be the truth about myself? Once you can say to yourself that THIS is my truth:
- Seek affirming people and messages
- What are your good qualities? List them. This a start to looking at yourself and loving yourself for the goodness that IS you, and in you.
- Whenever the negative conditioned thought comes to your mind, seek the opposing thought to counteract it (Purusavada in Vedantic)
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Because practice is habit and we're all habitual/routine individuals.
I've learned to live with an open heart, and still am, the more I identify the truths that are within me, that are my inner being. This can be a conversation with God, a practice of loving myself and knowing that I'm loved and that I am a physical perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is a daily practice and a daily action. Through it can I only share the love I have and the love that I am, for I am most certain of the fact that I will never ever EVER allow any false belief to mar the love that I embody to share with the world. (#QuoteOfTheDay).
Conclusion - Going Back to India
My heart feels like it's balancing on a wave of subtle movement whenever I think about India. I'm excited, scared, nervous, happy, joyous, and most eager to be around that which was my life when I was a child. That which shaped most of my early interactions with the world. That which allowed me the freedom to play, to learn, to fall and get back up, to fight for what's right whether it was my chocolate or someone else's, to defend the child that was me when all else seemed difficult. To be in the environment that shaped me will bring back sensations and feelings I'm sure, because the mind can forget but the body remembers.
Why am I writing all this now?
Not for you, or for anyone reading this. This is my translation of the ideas, thoughts, and feelings passing through my mind like hyperactive electrons to bring me back to a place of the security I find in being open to the real Evangeline. The Evangeline that loves fully, lives completely, feels committed-ly, and that is true to her inner Evi that guides her on the right path.
Reflections from a day of extreme endometriosis pain,