Will and Surrender

“No matter what path you are on, sooner or later you will have to resort to surrender.”

When, after years of struggling to achieve fulfillment through the use of the will, someone comes along and makes a statement like this, it is no wonder that most people balk and walk away. After making a huge investment of time, energy and probably money, it is no wonder they are reluctant to become involved in something they see as throwing that investment away.

I use the word ‘will’ as a direct opposite to ‘surrender’ to indicate the attempt to make something happen or not happen through force or resistance. By definition, ‘will’ is the control deliberately exerted to do or restrain something. Surrender, on the other hand, is to cease resistance or force, to give in and abandon oneself to a powerful influence. My own usage of the word ‘surrender’ identifies this powerful influence as God, Truth, the Divine.

In the beginning of my Non Technique Meditation classes, which followed a course in meditation techniques, I would tell students that they were now going to do an about-face. To illustrate this, I would have them stand up straight in a doorway and, with their arms rigidly straight, not bent at the elbows, press the backs of their hands against the door frame as hard as they could, and hold this position until they couldn’t maintain it any longer. When they had had all they could take, they were to casually walk away. As they walked away from the door-frame, their arms rose up automatically in defiance of gravity. They got the point. This is the way opposites work. If you push on something hard enough and long enough, it will inevitably flip to an opposite.

Sincere and devoted people on willful paths often become discouraged after many years. They hit a wall, give up, and return to submitting themselves to the demands of the world because they are unaware that there is another option, that an opposite force has been trying exert itself and only appeared to be a wall, an obstacle, a dead end. So their opposite is to go back to living an ordinary, worldly life, and embrace it. They put on a good face, but they are not happy. They have taken this route because they have no awareness of surrender as a specific and viable alternative.

Surrender goes against everything we have been taught. We are supposed to be in control. Our society is organized around the necessity for using the will to be in control. If we aren’t in control, we could end up with nothing. With nothing, how can we live? We have to have a job (preferably working for someone else so we can get “benefits”) in order to make money so we can pay rent or a mortgage, and then we have to manage that money and pay taxes on it. Where is the time for God? Where is the time for sadhana? Our time is so limited that we are lucky to find an hour a day to acquire a passing familiarity with any kind of meditation.

After trying to attain fulfillment by willful means, the day inevitably arrives that one walks away from that endeavor, for the Divine cannot be reached by using the mind, and the use of the will automatically activates the mind. If we are genuinely and sincerely determined, we may walk away, but we will never quit. The option left to us is to surrender, to stop trying to force the inevitable, and to give in and leave everything to God.

My experience has shown me that this statement is true: “No matter what path you are on, sooner or later you will have to resort to surrender.” This is true experientially, and it it true logically. Surrender is the road less travelled. It is not compatible with our society and its demands, yet it is a road we must take if we are to attain and maintain our progress. There is nothing to lose, even if we give up down the road, for no progress is ever lost.

Durga Ma

Surrender Meditation
Sahaja Yoga, Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga

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Durga Ma

Samadhi — The Final Result of Yoga

Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.


III:1  Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.

III:2  When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).

This week:

III:3  Through meditation, samadhi is attained and objects shine forth of their own light in their own form, void of physical substance.

In other words, with the mind in this condition, objects shine forth of their own light because there is no need for light to reflect off of them in order for them to be seen—they are self-illuminating, they have no physical substance and cast no shadows. They are directly “seen” for what they really are.

The state of samadhi is an extraordinary state of citta (mind-stuff). Attainment of this state is dependent on the repeated practice of true, authentic meditation. The mature state such meditation (dhyana) is samadhi, a state of super-consciousness, by which the mind is ultimately dissolved into prakrti (nature). Samadhi is the final result of yoga.

“Now we see through a glass darkly (ordinary perception) but then
(when meditation become samadhi), face to face (directly).”

By “directly” I mean without the aid of the senses. The senses have withdrawn and have become introverted through pratyahara, allowing for the mind to settle down, else we would have all kinds of ripples on the lake of the mind (chitta). Why? Where the attention (mind) goes, the life energy (prana) goes; where the energy goes, the attention goes. Whatever the attention does, the life energy does, and vise versa—they normally work in tandem. So when the mind is active, the energy is active; when the energy is active, the mind is active.

Where the attention goes, the energy flows.

In advanced stages of samadhi the senses not only withdraw from external sense objects, but the sense faculties (your perceptive abilities) separate from the physical sense organs, and one can see, hear, feel, taste and touch without the use of the physical organs. At this point, direct perception takes on new meaning: direct perception exposes the true nature of what is perceived, and wisdom is gained.

Samadhi is sabija, samprajnata, or savikalpa. Samadhi is known by various names based on its various features: It has the potential to become disturbed by the rising up of latent things in the mind; there is something knowable, or perceptible; there is distinction between the knower and the known, the meditator and the object perceived.

Sabija Samadhi
Sabija – with-seed. In samadhi, the mind is present but in a uniform state because of the concentration of the attention and prana at one place. A seed is something in its potential state. In this case the seed is the mind itself with its ever-present potential to become agitated again.

Samprajnata Samadhi
Samprajnata – with a knowable. Samprajnata refers to what is perceptible, or knowable, the ‘objects’ referred to in the sutra.

Savikalpa Samadhi
Savikalpa – knower-known distinction. Savikalpa refers to the distinction between you, the meditator, the ‘knower’, and the object of meditation, the ‘known’. In other words, there is a distinction between self and other-than-self, “the seer and the seen.” Because the mind is present, vrittis (thoughts) will also be present but in a uniform state—similar or serial, and consistent with the singular object (the ‘known’).

In meditation, when the mind is on only one thing, the prana in only one place, the mind becomes calm because there isn’t anything else going on. When this lasts for a sufficient length of time, meditation becomes samadhi and takes on the characteristics mentioned before: perception is direct—the physical senses organs are not employed, the object is self-illuminating, has no physical substance and casts no shadow. Consequently, what is perceived, or known, is known for what it really is.

Thus, through samadhi, wisdom is attained.

More on samadhi next week.

Durga Ma

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