We can’t try
and surrender: surrender happens when all the resources against it are exhausted, and giving up is the only choice remaining. My job is to guide you to this point and, while my way of guiding someone to this place is a rather intuitive and even shamanic skill acquired with time, there are still ways in which I can provide explicit guidance, especially if we are to address some specific aspect of surrender, such as feeling your feelings.
I will take myself as an example to illustrate what I mean. I believe I have come to be good at feeling my feelings, in all of their variety. My emotions are now allowed to roam and pass freely, so I never feel stuck, as I do not resist them. I’ve re-conditioned myself into having a healthy, welcoming approach towards my inner world. Once my feelings are welcomed fully, they tend to come and then to go so that there is nothing left over for tomorrow. This way, the “poor me” victim state has no opportunity to be formed at all.
How did I get to this point? Well, I have been putting myself through various experiences of surrender throughout my life: BDSM submission, BASE jumping, freediving, psychedelic journeys, extensive solo travel, radical shifts in my life direction, giving up homes, work, partners, friends, even when all this felt terrifying (but right, nevertheless). These transformational experiences entailed going through a cocktail of vulnerable emotions and have provided me with some authority in offering ideas on how to process your feelings harmoniously.Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Come with the right intention, that is, to feel your feelings. The intention is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a very powerful tool. Intend on opening up to your feelings. Give yourself the permission to be unapologetically you, moment by moment, without hiding a thing.
- Whether for good or ill, feelings exist to be felt. To resist or deny our emotions is only to strengthen them. Now, your mind can be tricky — you might notice how your thoughts are looking for every possible excuse not to feel what you’re feeling. It’s not the right time, why am I here, what’s the point, I’ve already tried feeling this before, it’s useless and painful, if I fall apart I will lose my mind and go crazy… Expect this resistance, give it the right to exist as mere thoughts passing by. Do not identify with it. Do not think of your feelings! Think of them as clouds, while you are the sky of awareness; let it all pass freely upon it.
- If struggle comes, don’t just label it: “I don’t like it.” Instead, really see the resistance. What is it made of? Who is resisting? If your reaction is“of course it’s me!” ask yourself: who is this me? You may notice that your inner judge, who is equipped to resist, is getting out of his comfort zone. You may notice the tone of your mother in it, or your father, or someone else. Observe the forces fighting within you, feelings, emotions, storms, tsunamis, all fighting against this inner critic, inner judge. A tsunami of thoughts: stop it, I don’t want it, I want it to be over…. This is when you don’t take sides. Acknowledge the battle raging within you while you remain merely as presence — the space that contains it all without any preferences for the content of it.
- Feel your body. Feel your breath. Feel your being. This is the best way to avoid becoming entangled in thoughts and remain here and now. What is your body feeling like? How are your fingers and toes? Curved and tense? You can communicate to your body it’s safe to relax, there is no need to fight, and then allow it to relax.