I was reading some poetry in preparation for a meditation class I was teaching when I came across one that described the sentiment that spiritual surrender leads to sure satisfaction. I immediately remembered the lessons of my teacher. When he talked about his spiritual path, if he tried to encapsulate it into it’s most basic essence, he said it was the path of love, devotion, and surrender.
The very first step taken on this journey is the path of love. Learning to love is essential for anyone practicing spirituality. That is if it’s the right kind of love. There are two general types of love: conditional and unconditional. Ordinary human love is full of conditions and expectations. The conditional love between two people lasts as long as both sides continue to contribute input. They take turns giving and taking, and argue when one of them feels the other took too much. It is like a contract. In contrast, divine love is non-binding. There are no conditions, no expectations, and no quotas that need to be upheld. There is only ceaseless, unconditional love. This kind of love is only achieved once the ‘I’ is removed and replaced with ‘we’. It is the realization that all of existence is one.
Devotion is the next step. Devotion is the action connected to unconditional love. Love is emotion. Devotion requires energy and effort. This energy and effort can manifest in a wide variety of ways. It can empower monastery monks to stay up all night transcribing copies of the Holy Bible so that they can be distributed to the people of the world. It can be a parent going to work each day to feed their children. Devotion has a myriad of forms. To be devoted is to dedicate oneself unconditionally.
Then comes surrender. Spiritual surrender does not mean giving up everything to something else and becoming a slave. No, in this kind of surrender, a person completely identifies with their highest self, their true self. Of course the human ego is extremely reluctant to let go, though. It feels that surrender would limit its capabilities and destroy its essence. But this is a misconception. For a surrendered person, their capacity infinitely increases because they are now connected to the Source. The human isn’t destroyed, but rather illumined. Complete surrender to the Highest frees a person from the darkness of the world, which means sure satisfaction.
All human beings are looking for satisfaction and happiness in life, and there is no better way to achieve this than to surrender. For spiritual guidance, I believe that connecting the experience of surrender with something positive and life affirming that compels you to want to surrender can be a powerful part of your meditation.
Feel that you are a part of something greater, and imagine that as a vast energy: give the energy a form, a color, a feeling or a sound and try to trust and love it. I was raised a Catholic, and as such, I was constantly exposed to the crucifixion. To me that was not an image that inspired me to surrender. It made me feel that if I surrendered to God’s Will, I would end up crucified. This is, of course, not necessarily the case, and many Christians do receive inspiration from the surrender and forgiveness Jesus exemplified on the cross. If you prefer, like I do, then you can imagine a yogi in deep meditation. He has surrendered to the universal consciousness and now experiences the infinity of the universe. Use any imagery you like. As long as you’re on the path to surrender, satisfaction is assured.
Sujantra McKeever has practiced meditation since 1980. He began studying with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy at age 18. He is the author of five books on meditation and spiritual philosophy which are available on Amazon. He the founder of the online yoga studio PYO.yoga. His writings can be found in Elephant Journal and Huffington Post.