• May

    Surrender in Action


    In previous posts, I’d written about my fruitless attempts to find a place to live. On the last night I’d failed in my last attempt to find a place and I knew I’d be facing homelessness the next day. I knew I’d gone as far as I could; that I could go no further. At that moment, I felt something inside me let go. There was a brief sense of falling, then suddenly realizing I was at peace, which surprised me.

    In spiritual circles, this is known as surrender. It doesn’t make any sense at all, but that’s what happened and has happened many times.

    Since then I’ve gone through many cycles of suffering, then letting go into surrender. Every time, it’s a surprise. Getting there is often difficult and I wish my mind didn’t hold on so tightly to its demands, but that’s how it seems to work. Knowing that sometimes makes it easier to let go, but not always.

    Sometimes the suffering, the hanging on intensifies and gets much worse. It often feels like a fight to the death, an intense hanging on no matter what to the last bit of my strength.

    As that intensifies, my mental abilities start to fail. I’ve made all sorts of logic errors, some big, some small. One time I nearly lost my laptop. A couple of times I went into a Mac’s to buy coffee and walked out without paying. Thankfully they never called the police. When I discovered my error, I went back and paid, but it was profoundly embarrassing and a bit frightening.

    With the logic errors have come memory lapses. I find I’m unable to remember some things. In trying to retrieve the memory, all I find is a black hole in my mind. I ran into a good friend this afternoon who confirmed that these things were the result of intense duress.

    Another symptom is feeling like the bottom falls out from under me and I find myself in periods of extreme exhaustion, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

    Paradoxically, when the surrender and peace happens, the exhaustion seems to evaporate and I know that all’s well, even though it obviously isn’t.

    Again, I want to acknowledge the friends reaching back with places to stay (Doug and Burt), for which I’m grateful. I’m also receiving small pockets of work that earn me a little money, but not enough for rent. Another, very kind thing is running into even more friends who offer me food.

    I realize all of this is temporary and I feel I’ll eventually recover, but one thing is very clear, I’m being forced to live in a completely different way. In surrender, I find all’s well, even if I don’t understand it, but if suffering is triggered, it all goes to Hell.

    All of this has taught me profound humility and gratitude. I’m also seeing what’s truly important in life and relationships are very high on my list.

    I’ll write more about surrender in future posts, though one thing is becoming clearer with each passing day. I’m learning to live in a state of non-resistance to life.

    See you next time.

    © Nathan Segal

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