by Marlene J. Geary
Chair, Sunday Services Committee
Unitarian Universalist Society: East
Manchester, CT, USA
“Surrender is simple and yet complex. It can be inviting, not threatening. It can be fulfilling, not defeating. It is an act that does not merely effect a natural progression of change; it is alchemical in its magical ability to transmute us from one state of being into another. It is a tool that we can willfully employ for beneficial development” – Mary Beth G. Moze, from her piece “Surrender: An Alchemical Act in Personal Transformation.”
Surrender means different things to different cultures. Eastern cultures tend to value trans-formative surrender for providing insight and wisdom in a curative process. Western cultures often view surrender as the therapeutic result of insight and wisdom gained through intellectual or experiential analysis.
Surrender is often paired with the concept of resistance, but it all depends upon if you believe that you have something to resist or if resistance is a natural condition. Surrender can be about growth and development as opposed to overcoming obstacles.
Western society is heavily focused on independent achievement. It emphasizes the separation between ourselves and others. Surrendering to something outside of ourselves often means defeat, humiliation and destruction of our own individualism. As a result, we see great resistance to the concept of surrender in the West.
But what if this was not the case? What if surrender was simply a transformation of the self? What if surrender meant access to a greater understanding of the self? What would you not resist if you knew surrender meant growth of your identity, your life, your soul, your community and your connection to the interdependent web of all existence?