To Evolve – Master the Art of Surrender
Recently one of my colleagues asked me the secret of staying calm in the event of a crisis. He holds my admiration as a young and able leader, so I told him about a conversation that is very close to my heart, a conversation that has taught me my lessons at being a calmer, more centered human being! As I finished narrating to him, I felt a lot of people would get benefitted if they would get access to the same. I hence penned down this post, keeping it as raw and narrative, as the day when I heard it.
The protagonist of the conversation is my father, who I consider my biggest mentor. Looking back at his life, there have been numerous occasions where he could have simply given up. When someone asks him how he managed to overcome a particular personal or business crises he is unable to give them a concrete explanation. "I just went with the flow because giving up has never been an option," he says. Or that, "I trusted the universe, the signs it brought, or the people it introduced me to", he says!
Usually people are satisfied with these answers. Until one day he was questioned by his most inquisitive grandkid, my younger daughter. She wouldn’t be gratified by any of these explanations. “There’s more to it,' she said. "Something more fundamental, a secret that you’re just not giving away," she said.
Despite being a senior government official, he was always awed at how she could bind him into answering her questions. All of us gathered around to listen to a few words of wisdom from him. He seemed to be silent for a minute, before beginning it thus - "When you have to understand your own subconscious source - often the answers don’t come easy in words," he paused, "let me try and see if I can articulate it for you," he says, as we all nod in accord.
"You see, I usually don’t see a situation as a struggle. No matter how difficult it seems to the others, I take it in good stride." he begins.
"When you see something as a struggle, you position yourself against it. You become the victim of the situation, or your EGO makes you want to be a hero! In both cases, there’s a fight. I, however, choose to surrender."
He looks around the room. All of us listen in rapt attention, except my daughter who is ready to dart with the next question!
"Surrendering sounds like a loser’s thing to do!" she shrugs. He smiles.
"Well. Again, "loser" is someone who has lost something. But there’s nothing to lose in actuality. Beings are planted as a fetus in their mother’s womb and are mostly taken care of, loved and looked after. There is very little struggle. It is a very Darwinian hypotheses that life is a struggle; that the fittest will survive! But in essence, since the very inception, one is always provided for, cared for, loved for. All of this was done whilst one is in complete surrender and not while one is swimming against the tide looking at it as a struggle!"
"But if I surrender, won’t I lose? I will no more be the first rank holder of my class!" she was in no mood to let go of the argument.
Well then you think your first rank defines you, it is who you are! When you base your identity on your possessions - you are what you have; when you base it on your achievements – you are what you do; and when you base it on your reputation - you are what others think of you! All three build up your EGO. And the bigger the EGO the farther you are from your true self and from your spiritual beginnings. This separation leads to the illusion of control and when some event threatens this control of yours over your achievements or your possessions or your reputation – it becomes an existential crises for you! You have to save it at all costs and hence the power play entanglement makes you either a victim or a hero – when in reality there is none."
"Okay this is deep stuff! I am trying to wrap my head around this" she says. We all sit in silence and introspect the times when we have caught ourselves in the exact rut that he just mentioned about.
"But in such situations, how will surrendering help anyone overcome it?" She asks him after a pause.
"Surrendering is an act where you detach yourself from the result. Surrendering also means that you take some time off and reconnect with your source. For me it is meditation, for you it might be reading a book, for someone else it might be travelling or yoga or a walk in the nature. This time off helps you reconnect to your greater purpose and helps you to see the bigger picture. This is where most people get it wrong, they operate out of their EGO rather than their sense of purpose."
"But how do I get to know if it is Ego, or it is purpose?" she voiced her confusion.
"Well there’s a simple difference. If you’re operating out of your ego – stress is the result, if from purpose – bliss is the result. Ego makes you want to be in control, to make things happen. But when you’re operating out of bliss, things happen by themselves. You’re merely a detached observer. Sometimes, solutions come to you. Sometimes you realize that it is not your fight altogether so you step out of the drama to make way for the good things – things that matter more to you. Surrendering doesn’t mean that you don’t have ambition, rather it is ambition transmuted into purpose. When you work with a sense of purpose – the whole act seems like a service. Instead of working to be served, you work to serve! This way you give more, and since you give more – you get more! This moves you from a sense of entitlement to a sense of humility."
"Wow, grandpa, I guess you’ve given me the lesson of a lifetime!” she says, “It is – to evolve into your optimal self – you have to master the art of surrender, isn’t it?
He nods and smiles. “I guess I have answered your question then!” he says.
About the author
Tapan Singhel is the MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited. This blog has been initiated by him so that he can directly interact with all the valuable customers and employees of this company.