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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Surrender?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Surrender

Activity of the Personality is Not Surrender

The personality can only perpetuate itself. The moment you try to do something, you're on the wheel of action and reaction which is what we call the wheel of samsara. Perhaps to you surrender means that you will engage in an activity. But the activity of the personality is a rejection, which is ultimately hope and desire, leading to frustration. How can that be surrender? Surrender can only be awareness of activity. When you are aware of that activity, you're not interested in engaging in it. If you can feel the core of frustration directly and understand what it is, you are not engaged in it even though you might be feeling it. And the more you see it, the more it becomes ego-alien. If you see the activity and don't go on with it, then the essential state which you've been resisting will arise and melt away the contraction and reactivity. What arises is a kind of acceptance and love, which flows and melts you away.

Any State of Non-Surrender is a Contraction, a Tension, a Grasping

Let’s investigate what surrender is. Let’s take the moment of surrender and put it under the microscope. What we notice first is that there is a tension, a state of holding or contraction. What is the tension, the holding, and the contraction? When there is a tension in your mind and in your body, aren’t you saying no to something? You will find out from your own experience that holding, tension, and contraction are simply the resistance to the experience or the perception of a certain state or a certain truth or feeling. When you say no, there is a contraction that is a form of resistance. What else could it be? So any state of non-surrender is a contraction, a tension, a grasping. It can take many forms and be experienced at many depths. It can be hard, like armor, so that you aren’t even aware of it most of the time, or it can be softer, like a defensive attitude or resistance, or it can be dullness, non-seeing, and confusion. But at the deepest level, there is always contraction when you are rejecting something in your experience. And the contraction restricts the flow of energy. It creates a barrier that separates you from the experience that you’re saying no to.

Believing I’m Surrendering

No One Ever Surrenders

Now, I’ve said before that the notion of the individual “surrendering” is only an approximation— that it’s just an attempt to describe a process in a way that makes sense to us at certain stages of our journey. In truth, I wouldn't call it surrender. I couldn't surrender. I never surrendered and no one ever surrenders. You see, to believe I'm surrendering means I still believe I can do something. But I can’t let go. All that happens is I quit, and that’s because I recognize that I can't do it. It’s the grace, the blessing—it’s that energy that does it. This dynamic has happened to me many, many times and that’s how it’s become clear to me that there is something else there that does it. There is a source, an energy, a presence, a consciousness, and that is what really does the work. It’s only this that can bring about the release and it’s this that brings the resolution and the letting go.

Paradox of Repeated Failure

So paradoxically, it’s through such repeated experiences of failure that I’ve developed a kind of trust, some kind of faith, some kind of inner confidence in my process. It comes from a knowingness that it is not up to me. I'm not the one who does it and if it wasn't for this other force, if it wasn't for this grace that can happen, I would never be released and no development would happen. No true and lasting awakening can arise and no transformation is possible without this grace. And this has continued to be the major theme, the main thrust of my process. There came a time during some of the main discoveries of the diamond approach, such as the discovery of the aspects and the dimensions, when there was a complete trust that it's all happening on its own. And it’s not only happening on its own, it's pushing me and pulling me and showing me and releasing me and confronting me and melting me. This is one way grace works.

Distinguishing Surrender from Resignation

Surrender is not resignation. It is very important to distinguish between them. Resignation means that you are admitting that you cannot get your own way. You are taking yourself to be a separate self with a separate will that is being thwarted by reality. This is very different from true surrender, which is neither acceptance nor rejection, but ceasing to separate one's own will from reality. To learn to surrender means to expose your willfulness -- the belief that you have a will separate from reality's and that you can have it your way.

Facets of Unity, pg. 131

Surrender and the Dissolution of Personality

When there is surrender and letting go, there is no activity and ego is not there. The cessation of resistance, the cessation of rejection, the cessation of defense, is also the dissolution of that part of the personality. It may bring fear because you believe that you will disappear. And you may be concerned about who will do what is required if you don't do it. You need trust and confidence in Essence here.

Surrendering Possessions

Surrendering our thoughts, feelings, judgments, preferences, and desires doesn’t mean that these things disappear but that we don't have them in the same way. They just come and go. We don’t hold on to them as possessions. They are not vital for us. Maybe we can learn to be that poor inside. But then, as we begin to have experiences of reality, of essence, of awakening, the ego wants to possess these too. We believe that essence, spirit, and inner states belong to us, that we accomplished them. Havingness is back again. We might even believe we have virtues like patience, humility, courage, equanimity, and so on. On a spiritual path, the ego can become rich again, can come to possess a wonderful inner panorama, the panorama of spirit.

Surrendering to the Flow of Existence, with its Movement, Direction and Force

The acceptance we are discussing is not a matter of saying, “Okay, I can allow this to be going on.” It is not the stance of being someone who takes a positive position relative to something else. Perhaps calling it non-rejection is more accurate, although it is the lack of any reaction to what one is experiencing—positive or negative. It is just letting things be exactly as they are, with no inner sense of self that is feeling one way or another about them. It’s not meddling in God’s work, to use religious terminology. Putting it another way, it is surrendering to the flow of existence, with its own inexorable movement, direction, and force. When you say no to it and try to fight it, you just create frustration for yourself. A good analogy to the effortlessness of the surrender we are discussing is spending years practicing how to swing a golf club, and then reaching a point one day when you swing the club and it is completely effortless. Likewise, initially, you have to exert great effort to be present with yourself: You have to remind yourself continually to feel your body and remember yourself. The more you work at it, the easier it becomes, until you reach a point when the remembering happens by itself. So there is a place for effort, and the deeper your practice becomes, the less effort there will be.

Facets of Unity, pg. 133

Surrendering to Your Inner Truth

The issue of getting one's own way is a big one for the personality, and the thought of surrendering to God's will may seem to involve giving up your own will. However, if you are sincere and truthful with yourself, and you stay with your experience without trying to change it in any way, you find out that having your own way is really a matter of surrendering to your inner truth. Your way is following the thread of your own experience. It is not a matter of choosing or not choosing it; your way is something that is given to you. It is the road you are walking on, the landscape you are traveling. You discover that it is a huge relief not to feel that the territory you are crossing should be different than exactly how it is for you.

Facets of Unity, pg. 130

The Meeting of Personality and Essence

Surrender is a step further than letting go, a small step further. The letting go is ceasing the activity of resistance. When you surrender, you realize that you are pushing and resisting, and then you understand it so that you are not as interested in the resistance. And then, because you have stopped pushing, a certain essential state, a certain energy arises and begins to flow. This flow of energy of the essential state, plus the letting go, the cessation of activity, is felt as surrender. So surrender is a meeting of the personality and Essence. The personality does its work of seeing its identification, its resistance, and its contraction. That's its part; it can't surrender. Essence comes along and melts it. The personality can't melt on its own, but it can be melted.

The Process that Leads to a State of Surrender

Let’s examine closely the process that leads to a state of surrender. If you observe carefully, you will see that you first become aware of the tension. If you pay attention to the tension, you realize that the tension is a resistance, a contraction. When you realize that it’s a contraction which is a resistance, you want to understand the resistance. Then, when you understand what the resistance is about, the activity of resistance ceases. This simply means that you are no longer going along with the activity of saying no. It doesn’t mean that you are saying yes. It just means that you were pushing and now you have stopped pushing. But stopping this activity brings the absence of personality. If the personality stops pushing, it ceases to exist, because the very existence of the personality is a contraction, a pushing. So, when you follow this process, the part of personality which is holding a particular tension will disappear when you see no more reason to push. When you realize that the pushing is useless, you stop doing it. This is still not exactly what is called surrender; it is what is sometimes called letting go. We sometimes think of it as the personality letting go, but even this is not accurate. The personality can’t let go. It just stops pushing. And when it stops pushing, it disappears. There is no person which is letting go of something. There is no entity letting go of another object.

What it Means to Surrender

So you can see from everything that has been said thus far that True Nature really doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t push and it doesn’t hold on to anything. It simply relaxes, effortlessly, and is present with full awareness, embracing the immediacy of feeling and sensing our experience. That is the sense in which surrender is meant. It’s not that we are going to do something: “Okay, now I am going to surrender.” What are you going to do to surrender? I have never seen anybody surrendering. Nobody ever surrenders. Surrender means basically nondoing. It means not doing anything to what is arising in our experience. It means leaving ourselves and our experience alone. When we have been pushing and pulling and resisting and controlling and then at some point we stop doing that, the transition can sometimes seem like surrender. When we have been holding ourselves together or remaining involved in an active, rigid mental process, and we recognize that and stop doing it, we call it surrender. But stopping doing something is not doing something. So, surrender is not an activity. And it is definitely not control.

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