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NOVEMBER 2020. MONTHLY INSPIRATION
This month: Surrender (Ishvara Pranidhana): Surrender to life.
Previous months: Monthly Inspiration.
On the ‘Monthly Inspiration’ blogs we look at the Yamas and Niyamas. Each month a new theme is being shared with you. We do this to reassess what you value and believe in life and to align it with what you need and desire most in life to be happy and content.
The first 5 blogs were on the Yamas and we also summarized these ways of dealing with the world around you in the blog ‘Tomorrow is a new day!‘. During the last 4 blogs we have been looking at the Niyamas. They tell us more about how we deal with the world inside of ourselves. Today we continue with the last Niyama called ‘Ishvara Pranidhana’, which can be translated as surrender to life.
Thus; … Ready for the theme of November?
Surrender is what we will look at this month.
So, let’s take a look at surrender closer to home.
How can you surrender to life?
Let’s look at:
Surrender to life
The fifth Niyama is called ‘Surrender’ and it means as much as being present and living in the moment: “As we learn to stop fighting life, we can begin to act skilfully” as Deborah Adele mentions in her book ‘The Yamas & Niyamas’.
Live your life to the fullest. More easily said than done. We like controlling as much as we can, we like directing our lives and we like telling others how to live theirs. Now how can you stop interfering? Simply stop. Other people’s lives are none of your business. Like Byron Katie explains: “Is it your responsibility?”. If not, mend your own life.
“Even under the most complicated circumstances,
you have a choice. You are never a victim.”
Less is more
I would like to suggest: ‘Less is more’. Do less, want less and enjoy more. Everything we do is a choice. Like a card stated that I drew the other day: “Even under the most complicated circumstances, you have a choice. You are never a victim”. Even though we sometimes use this archetype of being the victim to manipulate a situation to get what we desire.
What attitude can you cultivate to lead the life you wish to lead? Yes, take responsibility for the consequences of your actions and adjust accordingly. With holding yourself, others and the world around you in your mind’s eye. Make decisions that not only improve your situation, but also that of others.
“Ishvara Pranidhana, the jewel of surrender,
presupposes that there is a divine force at work in our lives.”
We live our lives backwards
This is the way I see it. We simply came to this world and we will leave it one day. Everything in between seems insecure and chaotic at times. Like somebody once said to me too: “The only certainty that we have in life, is that everything is uncertain”. We just have to deal with that fact. We are born. We die. That’s the deal.
I also know that we all handle this ‘truth’ differently. There are so many religions and ways of life and they have all found their explanation to deal with life and death. I like the thought that we understand our lives backwards. We live it first and then from time to time when we look back at a period, we see the path that is unfolding. What to do? Surrender!
Now how to deal with this ever-unfolding path? In the last ethical code (Niyama) of the Yoga philosophy they talk about surrendering to life: ‘Ishvara Pranidhana, the jewel of surrender, presupposes that there is a divine force at work in our lives’. It is about surrendering, actively participating in life and being present. It is also about moving through life with trust, gratitude and devotion whilst embracing the mystery of life and appreciating its greatness.
“As we learn to stop fighting life,
we can begin to act skilfully.”
Find your ‘flow’
You might think: “Great, … but what does this mean truly?”. Do activities that make you forget about time or space. That’s your ‘Yoga’. It will feel like becoming one with what you do. It is also referred to as being in a flow. This harmonious feeling will make you realise that when surrendering to an activity, you can feel oneness. So, find your ‘flow’. Important here is that you dare to let go of control. It really asks for daring to stop fighting life and being part of it instead of against it: “As we learn to stop fighting life, we can begin to act skilfully”.
When you try to surrender, do you also feel resistance? This resistance means you are still fighting what is happening. Like I heard inside of my head the other day: “Let go of what needs to be and be with what is!”.
It’s like Lori Ladd keeps on saying in her videos. It kind of goes like this. Energy is energy, no matter whether we label it as good or bad. Let it move through you and open up to life by letting it move through you. Allow life to be the way it is. She often gives tips in her videos on how to deal with the current energies in the world, your world and of life in general. These steps below sum up what she advises us to do. These tips are the steps that I also know from the Yoga classes that I have followed and taught.
How to surrender to life?
- Move into your body. How? Breathe and get up and move.
- Breathe, keep on breathing and FEEL what’s present.
- Observe. Observe. Observe.
- Don’t analyze it too much. Breath. Feel. Observe.
- Acknowledge what’s present and accept it.
- Choose how you wish to respond.
And as Lori Ladd keeps on emphasizing: LOVE. EMPATHY. COMPASSION. Just like we have been doing on the various Yearly Walkabout blogs. Move through life from a non-violent place inside of you.
When you allow yourself to do less and be more present, can you then feel gratitude and wonder for what is present in your world? Can you appreciate all that life has given you?
- Take some silent time.
- Sit still.
- Do nothing.
- Can you see that life is supporting you?
- And then thank life for all it has given you already!
Deborah Adele explains in her book that it is about moving from ‘being careful’ to ‘being carefree’. Can you do that?
You can see it all as being on a boat that is floating on a river. You are that boat. The water is the flow of your life. Sometimes you will find yourself in the port; safe & sound. Sometimes your boat will be stuck on a rock, in the sand or on a bank. Sometimes your boat will find itself in a rapid and sometimes in a quiet current.
What to do? Right, surrender.
To conclude, that’s all you can do: “Surrender is knowing ourselves to be part of this Divine Oneness and then giving ourselves over to his great whole. We find in the process that we do not lose ourselves, but instead become part of the greatness itself”.
With love and care,
Marianne de Kuyper
P.S. I’m a Dutch girl going global. Even though I reread everything multiple times, my apologies in case I’ve made a language mistake somewhere. Just mail me about it. I’ll be happy to adjust it (if I can) and learn from it!
P.S. The blog is Inspired by ‘The Yamas and Niyamas, exploring yoga’s ethical practice’ from Deborah Adele.
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// I, Marianne (founder) am a Dutch girl going global. Even though (the team and) I reread everything multiple times, my apologies in case I’ve made a language mistake somewhere. Just e-mail me about it. I’ll be happy to adjust it if I can and learn from it! //