The Art of Surrender

How to stop seeing life as an opponent you need to resist Before this talk, I looked up in a dictionary the word ‘surrender’ and the definition was “to stop resisting an opponent.”  The word derives from a French word “surrendre” which is to give something up.  In my experience what we need to give up is seeking to be in control.  The price for peace is giving up the need for control, which we will come back to in due course. For me, all control is an illusion, so we are not actually giving up anything but an illusion or a delusion. Of course, many of us are clinging to our favourite delusions decade after decade and it is always much easier to see the delusions in others than in ourselves. I can see my wife’s delusions very clearly, but I can not see my own quite so well. Most of us, if not all of us, have been conditioned to, if not educated to, seeing the word surrender as something negative, weak, or undesirable.  Many personalities, perhaps more male than female to be stereotypical for a moment, are built around the cornerstone of never giving in.  Surrender is often viewed as a sort of passive resignation. Whereas true surrender, is actually an active awareness. True surrender is being receptive to what arises; being alert to how life develops.  To genuinely understand this topic we need to distinguish between the inner world and the outer world.  Without that distinction, there is … Read More


Harness the events of life for your own evolution… Responding, or responsibility, comes from the Latin word ‘respondere’ which means to respond. So, for me, it is really all about what is our response to what is happening in our lives? At the end of the 16th century, the meaning developed to include ‘answerable to’ or ‘expected to justify.’ In the 17th century responsibility was also extended to include the idea of accountability. Right now, my sense is that we’ve created radically different cultures around the world in places like North Korea, Afghanistan, Norway, Iran, Australia. And in all of these different cultures there’s extraordinarily little responsibility or accountability on our planet right now. What I’m going to focus on tonight is the idea of a lack of responsibility. I’m not going to get into the debate about the difference between responsibility and accountability and I will use both these terms interchangeably. Each lifetime is made up of millions of events, most of which are mundane. We wake up, we make a cup of tea, we shower, we get dressed. Other events are more meaningful; we make a good friend, we fall in love, we establish a new business, we move house. Then there are traumatic events; we get divorced, loved ones die – these are life changing events. Of course, there’s an awful lot in between but every one of these events makes up a lifetime. It seems to me that there are only two different ways to respond, i.e. take … Read More