“I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever harm me. ” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

At the end of the second hour long mediation session of the day at Sadhana Yoga Retreat, I lay back on my yoga mat, eyes closed, and had the sudden Inspiration to write a blog about “Surrender.” The meditation session had gone very well. Besides feeling like I spent the entire time in the present moment, which can be quite a challenge while meditating, I had managed to spend the entire session with my legs crossed in the Sukhasana position, without having my feet go to sleep or having to spend most of the session trying to detach from the incredible pain. The Sukhasana position involves bending the right leg so that the foot sits on the floor right up next to the crotch and then bending the left leg so that the left foot lays on top of the right foot. Four days into our retreat, I was making progress!

The yoga hall during this meditation was charged with an energy that was not present during the morning session, which begins at 6:00 am, after being awoken by a clanging bell at 5:30, and on an empty stomach. The morning session felt long, my legs were screaming in pain and went completely numb from being cut off from circulation, and it was very hard to sit still and even harder not to let the mind wander. When our instructor finally released me and the other students from the painful asana and let us lie down in corpse pose to relax, the relief was palpable and universal. It seemed that the difficulty was not confined to myself, but was instead shared and manifested by everyone in the room. In contrast, this noontime session the air was charged with the positive energies and virtually everyone came out of the room with large beaming smiles on their faces, saying that almost as one there was much less pain experienced, and that everyone even felt that the session was much shorter. Perhaps it was the conversation I had shared with a number of people during our break before the noon meditation, when we have the chance to relax and take mud or steam baths (yeah, its awesome here). We talked about our ideas of the world, the general consciousness of people these days, how they are yearning, so it seams, for greater understanding of how things really work, how they are fighting against the mundanity that seems to be inflicting our very advanced societies. By the time the meditation bell sounded we were charged up, really excited by all the ideas we shared, and apparently that energy carried over collectively to those others in the hall who had not shared our conversation.

Me in the steam bath at Sadhana Yoga. It’s as silly as it looks, but it certainly works!

Paulo letting the mud bake dry from his “mud bath.” No lotion will ever make your skin as smooth as sanding it with this mud.

Even as early as the previous evening I may not have really put much stock in the idea of the collective consciousness in a room having the ability to affect everyone’s experience. From a tangible standpoint, it seems that if you put 20 strangers in a room and told them to sit quietly with their eyes closed, not interacting with each other or distracting each other in any way, then it would only make sense that they would each have their own individual experience. But, the “group therapy” session we had all shared in the same hall the previous night had provided tangible proof to me of the single shared power possible amongst any group of people.

In the dark, around a single candle, because the power was out, we all sat on our respective cushions. Divyam, our instructor, told us he would like to have a group therapy session to help Melissa, who had been sick the entire day with the travelers bug. He asked each of us to cross our arms in front of us and then clasp hands with the person sitting to either side of us. Then we were to chant “Om” as loud and as long as possible in unison nine times and to feel the energy traveling around in a circle. While I did not feel in any way dismissive of the action, I was certainly curious as to whether I would feel any proof with my own senses of the energy being shared amongst us. And so we all shut our eyes, took a few deep breaths, and began to chant “Om.” The power of the sound was incredible, with so many people sitting confined in the small hall and the natural balance of the deep male bass and higher female sopranos mixing together into one harmonious sound. Instantly there was energy present. I could literally feel the energy enter my hand and body from the person to my left and exit into Paulo who was sitting to my right, revolving in a circle, quickly, around the room. The feeling was like being shocked with a pulse of electricity, over and over, around and around. It was incredible. Everyone ended that session on a great high, buzzing with the feeling. And so I was a true believer. And again, even though we weren’t holding hands or physically touching each other, the power of the group energy was again on display during today’s meditation.

That brings me back to the Inspiration for this post – Surrender. Lately I feel as if I have no choice but to just surrender, and I am not fighting it! And I think that most of us would do well to surrender ourselves as well. What I’m talking about is much like one of the fundamental tenants of the Ho’oponopono: You are not in control. Give up trying to control things and let them happen as they are supposed to, everything happens for a reason: Surrender yourself to what is supposed to happen.

I feel that ever since I left home I have done so little to control what happens to me that it seems remarkable that I ever even end up doing anything. Events just seem to transpire, and I am just sitting in the back seat observing all of it happen. The more it happens and the longer that I sit in this position observing, the more I realize that they are happening for my benefit – that everything which happens to me is supposed to happen to me. The more time goes on, the more I let things happen and the less I try to fight them, the happier I get and the better my life gets. It feels progressive, as if each experience and the inherent lessons and knowledge gained through them, are setting me up to properly appreciate and understand the next experience. Things that happened to me months ago seemed virtually impossible to grasp at the time and now feel like just the beginning of the story – like explanations given in chapter one of a book so that you can understand what happens in chapter two. Chapter two felt just as crazy and unexpected and hard to grasp, but I experienced and I learned, and that allowed me to move on to chapter three without putting the book down.

I think that our world is one where we are conditioned to try to control everything. Hell, I have spent the last five years of my life trying to control exactly where I would end up and how it would be – and it happened – but then imploded just as fast. I never had the control I thought I had; none of us do. Unfortunately, our belief that we do control our own life, our own destinies, our own futures, conditions us to just put the book down if we don’t like what we are reading. Life is always trying to teach us something but how often are we trying to learn from it? Give up. Surrender. Let things happen as they will, as they are supposed to, and pay attention, contemplate, learn what you are supposed to learn. Life will make you as happy as you can be if you just let it!