Sweet Surrender #54 August 14, 2018
Thy Will Be Done. These words are echoed in many traditions. A prayer of the individual to surrender to what is greater, more powerful and more knowing than the limited perspective of the one.
What does it mean to surrender oneself? How does it look; how does it practically work, in a world where there is so much for us to do; in a culture that prizes “pulling oneself up by the boot strap?”
In the yoga tradition, the notion of Will is coupled with Knowledge and Action: Icchā, Jñāna, Kriyā. These three form a triad upon which Śakti, the power of consciousness, moves out into varied manifestation.
Meditation then is the trajectory of growth in consciousness, it is the journey to the Self and as such is not religious in nature. That said, it is appropriate and supportive for those who do have a religious tradition as well as those who do not.
We seek to align with śakti through the illuminative intellect set on fire by meditation. To do so it is necessary to have, what scholar Paul Muller-Ortega terms, the “practice of the practice” and the “theory of the practice.” Experience and knowledge together yield the highest results. Through natural alignment with the “cosmic sequence generator”, self referential insight occurs, sequentially, systematically, step by step. It is at the door way to Ultimate Reality that purified insight, in its most potent formless form, is met and teased out into the world of action.
In this then, we are not throwing up our hands in surrender relinquishing responsibility, but rather softening our limited edges and permitting the natural expansion of light, always prior, but previously unavailable, to shine more fully. In this fulness we know how to act more skillfully as we engage our will because we are aligned with the source of ALL that is generated. We see, hear, taste more keenly and in that subtlety, we are rendered more potent and capable.
The non-dual Kashmir Śaiva tradition is built on the foundation of the Śiva Sutras, the Tantric equivalent and addition to the Yoga Sutras. From this standpoint, if the Yoga Sutras are the path, the Śiva Sutras are the goal. Comprised of three openings or chapters that each align with a particular method or upaya, the means to achieve what is spoken of, it succinctly and powerfully states the following:
-you are perfect.
-yet your knowledge of that is limited.
-do something about it- hence yoga.
It is not about changing who you are, as you already are perfect; it IS about recognition, authentically knowing that, not as a wish or hope, but the truth of moment by moment existence.
It IS about refinement; how you know who you are; how you know absolutely everything; attaining the highest wisdom, śuddya vidya. This is the Śaiva Tantric path of sādhanā
-where does your identity assemble?
-what do you confess spontaneously?
It is inspirational yes, AND practical so that experience of a more full life is naturally manifested.
It is not a panacea; it IS a path of knowledge, refinement, engagement, fullness, skill and love.
There is work for us to do both internally and externally. First, go in, rest individual awareness in the pure light of consciousness that is the base of every color imaginable; the engine of all manifestation. Then, come out and use your deepened awareness and increased capability in service of life.
Sutra # 1.1 caitanyam ātmā
Consciousness is the Self. That is to say, the great unbounded Consciousness, which is absolutely and completely free in all knowledge and all action, is the true Self, the essential nature of what is.
Sutra #1.6 śakti-cakra-saṃdhāne viśva-saṃhāraḥ
By intense fixed awareness on the collective whole of the śaktis, the separateness of the universe disappears with regard to the Great Consciousness.
[translation Paul Muller-Ortega]
Go in. Clear the debris that prevents this knowing; immerse limited individual awareness in unbounded wholeness; upon emergence, the light of creativity engagement is more available.
Surrender. It is not that we give up, in fact we never give up.
Until the last blessed breath has left the body, there is movement and growth. The question remains what is supporting that growth? And in what direction? There is practice, and many traditions offer this, but what of knowledge?
Knowledge is necessary on so many levels. Knowledge of the foundational principles of the practice we enact, as well as knowledge as signpost, recognition of what is already occurring and what will occur. If we miss this step, we under value and as Abhniavagupta, the great Śaiva Tantra polymath said, a thing unknown may as well not exist. And for far too many the powerful light of their very own existence is simply unknown and way under valued.
How we rectify this, the creation of a circumstance where increased light, in the form of highest knowledge and experience of that knowledge, as opposed to darkened ignorance, is the mission of Śaiva Tantra yogic sādhanā.
Initiatory paths of practice are present in almost every conventional tradition – Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, etc. – as well as every indigenous culture on this planet. It is understood in all cultural traditions that the conventional tradition most often represents the religious aspects of the tradition, while the initiatory paths are the esoteric teachings nested deep inside the conventional aspect of each tradition. These are in a way, “hidden truths” and guides/teachers are needed to assist us in recognizing that which is subtle and tender.
Increase your understanding of surrender, of the relinquishment of limited will.
Increase your knowledge both intellectually, and that of a higher experiential sort.
Act from this higher knowing, and surrender will be the beautiful skillful dance of partnership that life is meant to be.