BY SWAMI CHETANANANDA
Surrender is the first thing we need to do every day. By that I mean letting go, letting go, letting go. Usually we wake up in the morning, we think about what we have to do, we think about what we haven’t done, we think about all this stuff, and it immediately makes us crazy: “I’ve gotta do this, I can’t do that, I’ll...” Blah blah blah blah. Upon awakening to our day, we enter into that state of what has to be done, what shouldn’t be done, what wasn’t done, and we become all inflamed around our entanglement in the world, when the first thing we need to do every day is think about the complete lack of control that we actually have in our lives.
One of the reasons why I recommend that people read the book Incognito by David Eagleman is that he argues from a neurophysiological standpoint that we have no free will. This discussion doesn’t come up much in the media or in popular science because it’s a complicated subject. But Eagleman makes a convincing case that we have no free will. So, getting up in the morning, the first thing we do is let go, and think about the lack of control that we have, which clears our hearts and minds of all the struggle, so that we can become attuned to our own inner strength and our inner vitality. Remember that the most important thing that we are doing, all day every day, is self-cultivation. We are cultivating the awareness of ourselves, cultivating a connection with our hearts, cultivating kindness and compassion and caring, and, ultimately, love for our fellow human beings. We are cultivating devotion to Life Itself. That’s our first job every day.
We do asana practice to cultivate body awareness and flow. The movement of the energy in our body, through the intentional movement of our body, gives us a deeper connection with and awareness of ourselves. Then we go, layer by layer, from the body to the energy, through the mind to the energy, to our heart and to the abundance that resides in our Essence. From that abundance we serve each other. Slowly dissolving the boundaries of our awareness, the boundaries that are expressed as want and need and desire and also opinion and attitude and judgment, all of which are lumped together in most spiritual texts under the word “ignorance.”
We let go of the idea that we have control in the outcome of our day, and we engage in the activity of self-cultivation. After first establishing our awareness within ourselves, we move out into our day, following the flow of the energy and doing our best to serve the flow that is expressing itself in that day—which sometimes means that the day ends up going some place we never thought it would. A lot of the time that’s a very happy and fruitful occasion.