Lately I have been coming up against a big lesson in letting go, or as Yoga calls it, Ishvara Pranidhana, surrender to the ultimate teacher.
Surrender does not mean giving up or being passive in fact, it’s quite the opposite. When we are best able to let go it is because of conscious action. If we are always trying to control the outcome, then suffering ensues because as we all know, not everything works out the way we want or plan.
What Yoga offers is the three step process of Kriya Yoga.
First, we focus on the action, doing something different, or creating heat to burn off or bring to the surface any impurities, whether physical, mental or emotional. Then, we reflect on those actions to see if they are the best or most appropriate. We can do this via journaling, the breathe or seeking counsel from a trusted source. The final stage, and the most difficult for most of us, is surrender.
There are so many external factors that are not possible for us to predict. So instead of holding tight to what we want to happen, the focus turns to what is happening. By trusting in the quality of our actions and doing the best we can with the knowledge and tools we have rather than trying to control the uncontrollable, we are better equipped to release our tight grip and be open to other possibilities.
It is not an easy practice but it is one that can help us to feel more at peace because if it doesn’t work out, we know that we have done our best. Surrendering to the ultimate teacher means we are open to learning from the experience rather than feeling disappointment, shame or regret. This is where true growth can take place. Just like doing a difficult pose or making time for meditation, it takes practice and with practice, it does become easier.