If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
A key element to transformation in following the Siddha path, the science of Yoga, is not just the desire to follow the path, but the sense or trust...View Now
by Kambra McConnel
Audio Version of This Blog Post
“Surrender is Love. The two cannot be separated.” – Sadguru Kedarji
I grew up holding the understanding that to “surrender” is a sign of weakness, defeat, loss, or incompetence that occurs by way of control, manipulation, power struggles, and fear mongering—the proverbial waving of the white flag.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “surrender” as:
a: the action of yielding one’s person or giving up possession of something especially into the power of another
b: the relinquishment by a patentee of rights or claims under a patent
c: the delivery of a principal into lawful custody by bail
d: the voluntary cancellation of the legal liability of an insurance company by the insured and beneficiary for a consideration
e: the delivery of a fugitive from justice by one government to another
However, through the Grace and Blessings of Sadguru Kedarji, and by steadily engaging in the daily spiritual practices instructed through the Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga offering, I now hold a completely different – and much more useful – understanding about the notion of “surrender,” and how essential it is to simply surrender for spiritual growth and total well-being.
While the Merriam-Webster dictionary associates surrender with mundane, worldly notions of distinction, duality, separation, Sadguru Kedarji and the Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga lineage of Saints and Sages define surrender as being imbued with true courage and fearlessness.
As Sadguru Kedarji utters, “Surrender is abandoning fear, abandoning what we think we know, abandoning what we are attached to, in favor of the Self. Even a little bit of Faith can go a long way in helping us to Surrender to the Truth of our God-nature.”
And he also goes on to say, “Once you let go completely—surrender completely—everything becomes clear. If it is not clear, then that is because you have not surrendered completely.”
Until I crossed paths with Sadguru Kedarji, I always feared “surrendering in defeat.”
Now, after engaging fully in the Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach, instead, I reach for the highest, most useful understanding that surrender is about letting go of all that I am not, which is necessary to cultivate courage and fearlessness. Quite the opposite of defeat!
For example, when I ran cross country and track in high school and college, after I achieved proficiency as a runner and was granted the honor of competing as part of a varsity athletic team, I feared losing races, not contributing enough to the team, or running race times that I deemed to be sub-optimal, according to high standards that I had adopted. I had a big fear of missing out (“FOMO”) – I had worked so hard to achieve this standing that I did not want to lose it.
So, while I had started running for pure enjoyment and camaraderie, it evolved into a desire to be “somebody” and to do “something”…and ultimately, I put a lot of mental and physical pressure on myself to perform and achieve in ways that eventually wore my body down.
Due to my fear of loss and my “FOMO,” I tried to thwart defeat. Although I diligently tracked my mileage to ensure that I was not running too many miles, I did not rest enough, and I did not really allow myself to run at an easy, relaxed pace during long slow distance runs, unless my body was teetering on the brink of pain or injury. I pushed myself too hard, I weathered persistent illness and injuries, and I burned myself out. My fear of surrendering in defeat had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After I graduated from college and started working full-time, more than two decades passed before I felt that I could properly start running again. And, while I enjoyed it, I could not sustain the practice. Some type of obstacle always appeared to get in my way, whether it was pain, illness, serious injury that required surgery and recovery from near-paralysis, weight gain, fatigue from stressors of daily existence, inclement weather, or persistent distractions of “better things to do” with my time. I could not seem to develop a level of consistency in training.
Then, what Grace! I crossed paths with Sadguru Kedarji.
Within one year after engaging in Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga, I had an awesome direct experience of what it truly means to surrender: to let go of my attachments to false notions, to embrace my spiritual practices, and to cultivate courage and fearlessness.
During that year, I trained for several months for the Great Race, a popular road race in the city where I reside. As the race date approached, my body felt ill, so I was unsure whether I would be able to participate or not.
Gratefully, on the morning of the race, I had enough energy to go, and while running the course at a slow pace, I repeated the Mantra Om Guru Om with every single step and recalled the form of my Guru throughout the race.
This was the first time that I had ever felt so relaxed in a race! In each moment, I surrendered all memories of personal record times and disappointing finishes, fun with teammates and feeling left behind when I could not keep up. I surrendered my fear of defeat and let go of my attachment to praise. I surrendered being “a runner” and held the highest, most useful understanding that I am the Self—and so was every other being whom I saw.
For these reasons, I began to refer to this event as my “Grace Race.” It was a great test of my ability to surrender, and I became aware of how much more I needed to continue practicing surrender. Because it is definitely an ongoing practice!
Sadguru Kedarji speaks about how so much of mundane existence involves planning. Yet, to be content and to get into a mode where we fully trust in God and the Guru, we must surrender attachment to expectations. Plans can change, and embracing this understanding…and allowing ourselves to be led and inspired from within at a moment’s notice…is part of surrender. It means embracing simply being content, and not trying to make things happen. It means becoming courageous and fearless enough to trust that we can embrace whatever comes our way, without attaching to expectations or outcomes.
So while I had one “Grace Race” under my belt, it was not long before my restless mind began to attach to the expectation that I “should” participate in this event every year thereafter. And the more pressure I put on myself, the more distractions and excuses appeared to pile up regarding why I could not continue to run and train consistently. The bliss of that “Grace Race” dissolved into my sabotaging Grace.
Yet, as I learned later through the Grace and Blessings of Sadguru Kedarji, the health of my physical body had subtly begun to decline, and as it turned out, there were good reasons why I did not have the energy or stamina to stay the course with respect to physical exercise.
So when Sadguru Kedarji invited me to participate in a Total Well-Being Challenge a few years ago, I enthusiastically embraced that Grace.
And it was a great experience of surrender because it encouraged me to deepen my Spiritual Power and to learn how to practice letting go of dietary and lifestyle habits that are not useful on an ongoing basis, so that my Mental State, Emotional Resilience, and Vibrant Health can strengthen.
It showed me many new, useful ways to surrender and go with the flow, instead of attaching to a “set it and forget it” attitude in caring for the health of my physical body…so that I could embrace whatever was next, with a smile on my face.
Then last Spring, Sadguru Kedarji instructed me to start running again, for exercise. I felt joy, and then fear about all sorts of possible challenges…and then, a reminder to practice surrender!
My next step in practicing surrender was to sign up for the Great “Grace” Race this Fall…and then to let go of any expectation about running in it.
Over four months, I began running again, steadily increasing my mileage and pace as the weeks went by, and inwardly chanting sacred Mantras—performing japa—and recalling the form of my Guru on every outing.
When the race day arrived, I felt ready to go. Although I had some sore muscles, by surrendering my fear of defeat, letting go of attachment to outcomes, engaging in my daily spiritual practice, and reaching out for chiropractic help, my body was prepared.
And then, I could not help but run the “Grace” Race with great joy and uplift, without holding myself back, and while chanting sacred Mantras and maintaining a heightened Witnessing Awareness at each step of the way.
It was pure fun—pure bliss—pure love!
And total Grace.
Om Guru Om.
Kambra McConnel is the Treasurer of The Bhakta School of Transformation. She sits on our Board of Directors and also volunteers as a certified staff teacher and program leader for Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga.