Both willful and surrendered actions seem to exist on a spectrum; on one end, there is the will run amuck, our wild pursuing what we think we want and believe we need. Without attuning to the universe’s signals, we are paddling our little canoe against the current of life, no matter the cost to ourselves or to the people and things around us. At the other end of the spectrum exists the right use of will. How can we best align our actions with the flow of positive life energy with which we partner? Every iteration of willful action and experience lie between these two points.
Yogic living has powerful insight into the skillful use of will. The practice of passionate non-attachment, the taking of action coupled with (here’s the hard part) letting go of the results of those actions—that’s the key to masterful living. Mindfulness practices call us into the world and into action in that world. Life does require us to partner, to work in hand with the universe, in order to move forward.
Surrendered actions can be considered as existing on a spectrum, too. On one side, perhaps, there would be resignation, the throwing in of the old proverbial towel of life. On the other end exists, as we say in Twelve Steps, surrender as getting on the winning side of reality. Just like yoga on the mat, as we surrender into the experiences off the mat as they unfold, as we cooperate with the moment, transmutation unfolds. As we relax into what is, it comes and it goes with so much more ease.
How can you practice mindful discernment to strengthen your conscious use of will and surrender? Having a body-centered practice teaches us physically to sense, to feel, and to cooperate with reality. An on-the-mat yoga practice gives us the mindful choice to willfully bring tension into your body, and to then practice surrendering into and through that very tension. The power of that practice, on so many levels, is profound. Any physical, embodied practice will get us aware of the energetic differences of will and surrender. Practice lives in the body. Motion is the lotion of growth.
Another clue to practice; if you are a Type A personality, your growth probably lies in relaxing just a little more. Ayurveda teaches us that like plus like equals imbalance. For example, Ms. or Mr. Type A, you do not have to do Type A yoga. You already have that in your life. Doing a gentler practice, perhaps even restorative yoga, could be helpful. Like plus unlike equals balance. If you are laid back, focusing on your more willful actions could be the key to your growth.
The mind practices discerning the right use of will and surrender. The body feels the differences. The heart is a source of deep knowing and vast healing.
Here are some questions for your heart. Consider:
What is the arena in your life in which your will runs amuck? Where do you struggle the most?
What would it look like to surrender just a little bit in this arena? Be specific.
Do you have an intention, a prayer, or a blessing for yourself? Offer that blessing to yourself—take it onto the mat and into your day. Walk and move and live your prayers.
Dear Folks, remember, permission to be human, permission to practice and find our way—that is the blessings of practice. Consider yourself blessed! And please keep me posted—what does this inquiry bring up for you? What are you noticing? How do you lean toward a growing skillfulness? What would that look like for you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to all—