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Friday, 24 April 2009

Guest Writer - Todd Schaefer

This is the second part of an article written by Todd. You can read Part I first by clicking here

Spiritual Surrender Part II - by Todd Schaefer

I Control My Life

I discover more each day about how surrender works in my life. With this awareness, I’ve noticed how much I attempt to control my life. When things have looked uncertain and felt fearful, my tendency has been to attempt to control. I’ve done it without even realizing it. When I have felt out of control within myself, I have tried to control another person’s behavior, which was my ego feeling the most threatened. Some of my ego’s games are its insistence on doing things its way, its intellectual dominance games, or its just plain whining.

As I’ve begun to realize how controlling things has not made my life work, I began to make correlations among what I was controlling, how much I was controlling it, and how controlling it created discord as a result. Learning to become aware of these minute control mechanisms is staggering to realize. When I became disgusted enough with my controlling behaviors and their resulting stagnancy, I made a more serious choice to surrender.

Control vs. Surrender

Control is the opposite of surrender. But to what degree are we aware of the controlling behaviors that we do? The best choice I can recommend is to continually “check in,” asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. Stating, “I surrender this or that” can be very helpful to create the right kind of atmosphere for learning, and it leads to better results. Letting go of agendas and the need for attention or approval are two examples of how we can become cognizant of what it is we are attempting to dissolve.

I’ve observed how some things in my life have developed and other things have not. The things that were not developing which I wanted to develop, I realized that I had fear about them. I had become so sick of the same patterns recycling that I couldn’t stand it any longer, but a solution never seemed to come. Development never seemed to blossom regarding certain things. Then I began to recognize that I was telling myself that I was always “developing so much” that I realized…I wasn’t?

I chose to surrender deeply, because I felt I had no other choice. No other choice led me anywhere. I said, “God/Holy Spirit, I do not know the answer. I’ve surrendered before, but I didn’t do it fully or it didn’t seem to last. I have no clue how to get through this. Please guide me through it. I want to mature. I want to give up fear.” The words I used were not important, but the desire and the choice that I had made was important.

Weeks later, as I remained committed to my vow to practice surrender and not fall back into old patterns, I began noticing myself making little discoveries. These “blips” began slowly coming through onto my radar screen of consciousness. There was a flicker of the awareness to address something differently. Or a new thought that never before occurred about how to address something better came into my awareness. I noticed all kinds of previously unidentifiable defense mechanisms which seemed perfectly normal before (or that I deemed “a part of who I am”), but I began to recognize that they were blockages.

I felt compelled to act on those opportunities before the dim candle was doused by my mental momentum. You see, I saw differently the temptation to validate myself through dealing with x,y,z in my old ways arising in me. So often, my ego wants to validate myself through whatever I address. It wants to make itself stronger through anything I do, if I am unaware of its influence. This holds true for my dislikes and my likes. To ego, it is better that we “know” exactly how we stand on an issue so that we don’t get caught in the uncomfortable situation of “not knowing what we think” in a world that demands that we do.

I Know Nothing

Surrender is the choice that I gave my mind which allowed me the possibility to reach a new level. It still occurs, and it occurs slowly. New light continues to come into my aperture. Ever hear of the phrase, “I know nothing?” It took me a while to learn what it meant. It means to empty yourself of what you think you know, and allow the Holy Spirit/God/Inner Self to teach you. It means to empty yourself of your agenda, and to allow the Holy Spirit/God to teach you His agenda. This means not only learning how to listen to the God voice within us, but also learning how to recognize and deny the ego voice.

We seem to put emphasis on developing the undistinguished inner voice and all of the white magic surrounding it, but what about stopping the ego’s voice as it uses the very thing it has taught us to prize to continually let itself into the back door of our minds?

It seems to be our nature as humans to discover the “valuable” part of us, but then once we are happy with what we’ve discovered, we allow our ego to slowly close our aperture once again. What I mean is, when we have found what we liked about us, we run the risk of allowing ego to praise us for what we have discovered. Ego tells us “we now know.” Then, we no longer have room to receive anything more – because the ego-mind has convinced us that we think we now know. In a certain manner of speaking, “knowing more” by ourselves alone is what creates this separation from God.

Ever meet a “know-it-all?” I’ve taken on that role before, but I was unaware of the separation it caused between my Inner Self and my physical self. Why does it seem so lonely at the top? Because when we “know it all,” we close our aperture. We literally let in less light. We close our minds and our hearts to some degree. We’ve become complacent with what we know, and although valuable and validated by the world, being a know-it-all isolates us if we know it by ourselves alone. Should the cost of becoming an expert be so steep?

The Surrendered Expert

I’ve discovered that when spiritual desire is the primary part of self-discovery, the type of expert that a person becomes is what I would call a “surrendered expert.” A surrendered expert (or teacher) is someone who is not attached to the results of serving you. A surrendered expert is someone who points you to love, not to him or her. A surrendered expert is someone who, even though they may have expertise in a given field, is still open to others’ perspectives.

When we attain expertise at a given thing and we eventually seem to use no faculties of mind concentration in order to achieve it, when our experience melds with our gifts and we trust our talents - we are surrendered. When we surrender, we allow the Inner Self to spiritually blend with the waking consciousness without the interference of the ego-mind. Surrender is what allows us to feel peaceful instead of wanting, appreciative instead of jealous, content instead of anxious, compassionate instead of suspicious, and detached instead of expecting. Curiously, ego can masquerade these comparisons as being similar on the surface, giving the illusion of growth, but not the reality of it.

Surrendered Trust

When we choose to step back spirit steps forward. We could call it “surrendered trust.” In surrendered trust, peace begins to replace our discontent. In surrendered trust, we don’t magnify problems in order to seek unconscious resolution because of our upset. In surrendered trust, we don’t cover up our discouragement and feeling of lack with affirmative platitudes as we try to manifest something. Manifesting occurs without effort when we surrender. In surrendered trust, we also give without expecting anything in return.

Surrendered Giving

What is real giving, by the way? Is it expecting something in return? No. Is it succumbing to social conditioning and the resulting guilt of not giving? No. Surrendered giving is giving because we are at peace and we feel peaceful by giving. Surrendered giving is sharing because we have something to share, not take. When we give something for psychological gratification or social (guilt) conditioning, we are taking, not giving. It is a game of the ego-mind. I would even go as far to say that if we are not giving peace, we’re not giving anything at all.

Surrendered Expression

Surrender accesses our natural communications with our Inner Self. (We’ve been speaking a great deal about the Inner Self, Surrender and A Course in Miracles on our SSG Talk Shows.) When we speak or express from the heart, for example, we are creating a surrendered expression. We are in a state of surrender. Notice how you feel good when you speak from your heart. That’s real communication from your Inner Self! Surrendered expression can occur through talking, painting, dancing, basket weaving, Olympic Ice Curling - you name it! If our heart is in it, it’s a surrendered expression.

Un-Surrendered Living: Spiritual Development vs. Ego Development

Ever have times when you could not stop thinking? I cannot emphasize enough the following sentence: We think to avoid experiencing and feeling. We put more importance on thinking than feeling. We tend to forward our development in ways that we feel we can bring through our identity. Then, we have to figure out how to present that identity to others so that they know we’re fulfilling that role we say that we are doing. We go to great lengths to put our identity out to the world without truly putting our Inner Self out there. That’s the surrendered difference.

The Surrendered Difference

We know very little about life beyond pretensions and conditioning. We don’t know what it’s like to live 24/7 in surrender. If we surrender, we think that we’ll be attacked if we put ourselves out there. (Newsflash: “Nobody cares!!” I’ve told myself that exclamation hundreds of times to trick me into taking another step that stretched my comfort zone. It works great!) We still think it’s better to think instead of experience, to speak instead of be silent and to go faster instead of slower. We are so busy proving ourselves to each other, and we are also so busy proving ourselves to ourselves that we rarely remember that there is anything deeper than the mind. But there is.

The Irony of Surrender: Manifesting Change

The nature of surrender is unmistakably ironic. The ironic thing about surrender that many of us are still in the process of learning is that if we want change, we need to surrender the change, not try to control the thing we want changed. Why does the change we want not change when we try to manifest change so much? It’s usually because we are blocking the change, attached to the change, or the change isn’t what our Inner Self desires (which often conflicts with what the ego wants). Here’s the other half of it. When we surrender the need for controlling the change, the resistance we feel leaves us.

“I feel the resistance leaving me as I surrender. That’s weird. I thought I needed that object/thing?” you say. The irony is not that we wanted change but we did not get it. The irony is that the very foundation with which we do the wanting is not real.

“Why can’t I manifest?” underneath the truth magnifying glass is translated as, “I don’t trust God or myself.” When we do trust, we don’t count the days on the calendar. Time has nothing to do with our salvation.

The good thing is, it’s the ego that doesn’t trust, not the real you. Isn’t it interesting how the wanting for more reveals the truth within our illusions? We say we’re not “getting what we asked for,” but we are indeed receiving it! We are creating and receiving the opportunity to gain the awareness of why our life isn’t working the way we think it should so that we can have what God wants for us. We just need to recognize and trust Him and ourselves. (“Should” is an ego word, by the way, because it implies “agenda.”)

When we have truthfully surrendered, change will happen if we’ve asked for it. If it’s not the change we expected, surrender will ensure our peace, regardless. When we have truthfully surrendered, the change we tried to control is no longer in our mind. If we have surrendered, we have found peace…we have given our minds to God.

Real Solutions: Surrendering Our Minds

A solution of the mind arrives at the level of the mind. The mind may appear to dissolve a problem, but it merely prolongs the problem. The problem is the un-surrendered mind. When we believe we are creating a solution, we are merely negotiating internally as to what we will accept or not accept. We take inventory of our value systems, fears and we explore contingencies. Our unhappiness does not come from our life situations. It comes from trying to create a solution in the mind. Surrender is what gets us out of the mind and into the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Salvation and solution do not exist at the level of the mind. We cannot think our way out of our problems. Thinking may facilitate our acceptance, but it doesn’t create solution. A real solution heals the mind and returns it to God through surrendering to the Holy Spirit. A real solution creates peace. A surrendered mind is at peace, not compromised.

Daily Intentions

As often as I can remember, I make daily intentions for myself to give up my control over everything, especially anything that gives me concern. If something is meant to happen, it will happen more quickly through the Holy Spirit working through me than through my unconscious fearful interference - controlling it. If action is required, it will be surrendered action, not fear-based action.

I make no decisions by myself. I listen in silence for instructions. I focus all my attention on what is happening now. I experience my life with ease. I step back and I allow You, Holy Spirit/Holy Father to lead the way. I allow You to teach me love and compassion for myself and for others. Dear God, remind me…check in, check in, check in.

©2009 Todd Schaefer

Todd is the founder of the Soul Solutions Healing Group, which features a team offering widely, varied spiritual writings from many different voices serving as a profound teaching and learning instrument for a wide variety of audiences. You can find out more about Todd and the team at SSG by visiting their website and blog.

Visit: Soul Solutions Healing Group Website

Visit: SSG Team Blog


Marvin D. Wilson said...

Great article. Todd is one of my favorite spiritual writers, and I sometimes contribute articles for his Soul Solutions Healing Group Blog which is one of my favorite spiritual blogs.

Wonderful blog you have here, Julieanne, thanks for the visit and comment on Free Spirit. I'll be back. :)

Julieanne said...

Hi Marvin!

Thanks for visiting and for the compliment :) I have really enjoyed getting to know Todd and have recently loved listening to his new radio show. At the moment Todd and Ronnie are discussing A Course in Miracles. Hope you have had time to check it out. There is a link on my blog to their show.

Have a great Monday!



Vancouver, Canada said...

Very Interesting Blog..I am so glad i came across Your Blog Hun..Thanks so much for sharing :)

Julieanne said...

Hi Sandy!

Thanks for visiting and for the compliment!

Hope to see you again soon :)

Love the pics on your blog!


Vancouver, Canada said...

Hiya Hun! Thanks so much for the lovely comment :) You know, i too am originally from England..was born and raised married here. Love England! Canada is a great country should come visit again someday...we have the 2010 Olympics here very soon :)

Julieanne said...

It is lovely here. It is very familiar landscapes to Canada in places. i am originally from Australia but have been here for nearly 3 years. We live in the South-West which is a beautiful area.

I would love to get to Canada again someday... Beautiful!

Speak soon!


Fay said...

Hello and let me commend you for doing a wonderful job with this blog. Your post are entertaining and the layout of your blog is smooth and clean.

I would like to offer my congratulations as I have finished reviewing "Be Inspired Today" and I'm happy to inform you that your blog has been added to Blogging Women.

I wish you continued success with this blog and all you do.

Julieanne said...

Hi Fay!

Thank you for your kind words and for adding me to Blogging Women! I look forward to getting to know everyone over there.



Street Guru said...

I have an award for you on my blog, What The World Needs Now.

Keep up the great writing and guest writers!

Domonyi Károly said...


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Julieanne said...

Hi Street Guru!

Thank you very much for the award! I look forward to keeping in touch!



Julieanne said...

Hi Domonyi!

Thank you for your kind words :) I will definitely check your sites out!



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