I know it sounds silly to talk about movies, but it was 2012. I watched the movie, “The Life of Pi” and had forever been changed. The take-away for me (which may be different for many) had a significant impact on the way I currently live my life. The first time I heard him say those words, “I surrender” I felt a chill down my spine. It was calling out to me, urging me to say it. “Try it… Say it…say, ‘I surrender”.
My body felt a sudden tension. “No way!” I thought. “I’m not ready! If life is anything like the message in this movie, just look at what happens when we surrender!”
It had seemed that Pi had gone through enough pain and suffering. He literally lost EVERYTHING: his family, friends, country, and when he thought he had nothing more to lose, he lost the last of his food, the boat that kept him afloat on an ocean that could care less about about whether he lived or died, and his best friend was dying next to him. On the surface, it felt like he was being punished horrendously…for what…why…?
And yet the storms kept coming…hitting him harder, and stronger. If surrender meant opening my arms to a bigger storm, count me out!
This was not encouraging at all. To surrender meant an increase in suffering. I was not willing to suffer more. I had had enough. But the message kept ringing louder and louder in the back of my mind for years. Something inside me kept calling, begging almost, whispering, “say it..say ‘I surrender‘.”
I knew I had to at some point. But I wasn’t ready.
To surrender meant having to endure greater suffering, isolation, and the loss of all I thought I knew and believed (i.e., my “ego”)… What I hadn’t realized at the time though, was that through surrendering the ego, I was to discover myself and my purpose.
There came a time in my life (a few years later) when I finally got the guts to say it. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I was desperate for freedom, so I said it. I didn’t whisper it either. I screamed it loud and clear: “Ok, God. I’m ready….(gulp)… I… surrender!”
And sure enough, I was granted what felt like Pi’s epic storm scene. A true shit storm. My husband’s infidelity came to the surface, my own ugly demons came staring me in the face, and eventually, my marriage came to crashing ugly end… and I was left thinking, “I’m a failure. A loser. Who on Earth could possibly ever love someone like me…?”
But what came out of that shit storm (shit storm being a serious understatement) was exactly what is promised when we surrender.
Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “your ego wants you to look for the inside on the outside.” He adds, “The outer illusion is the major preoccupation of the ego.”
In other words, when we let our ego lead, the ego feeds us false ideas of what will make us happy, constantly encouraging us to focus on things outside of us to fill that empty void inside of us.
But when we surrender the ego, we are forced to look inside- something we’ve been avoiding our entire lives. And yeah, when we finally have to take a peek at all of that mess…it is NOT pretty… Yet, when we courageously do look inside, we discover…the universe.
The cost is high, and the fear induced by it is great, but it is sooooo worth it. If you think about it, letting go of the ego to discover the universe…and as a side perk, suffering seems to decrease significantly. Now that’s a pretty good deal! An investment with HUGE return.
Suffering is something no one wants to do. And certainly, if we don’t have to suffer, why suffer? If there’s something we can do to remove the suffering from our lives, why not? But there are times in our life when we must endure the storms. There are times when we must embrace the suffering. And it is precisely this- suffering- a very necessary consequence of growth and evolution as a human being.
While it seems counter-intuitive, as we learn to surrender to the universe, we actually find peace. We find the universe, we find our true power, we reconnect and discover that full, infinite loving wholeness inside ourselves.
So perhaps the key to happiness, and yet quite a scary path to embark on, is to surrender. Don’t get me wrong: to surrender is not to give up on your dreams, or to aim a little lower when we don’t get what we hoped for, but to maybe aim a little higher next time, and let go of the outcome…each..and every time.