Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Art of Surrender

The Peaceful Warrior Camp is amazing for so many reasons: the great, intensive training (with some of the world's best instructors), the high energy of the participants, the positivity, the deep dives into specific areas of study, the conferences on health, personal development and spirituality, the guest instructor slots, so much more.

One of the many things I look forward to each camp is the chance to reconnect with my global "Kali Family" who I don't get to see and train with as often as I'd like.  When we do get together, it's always great training, great fellowship and great conversations.  I learn so much.

Last night we got onto a very important theme at the dinner.  What do we really want our students to learn?  Techniques? Morality? Physiology? Health?  All of these things are surely very important for our personal growth.  However, said another way, it can all be the Art of Surrendering.

What does it mean?

We are FIGHTERS, Southeast Asian Martial artists who dedicate a lot of time and attention to becoming good at what we do.  We don't surrender right?  We train so that we don't have to, right?
TV and movies and coaches (and even our parents/friends) all encourage us to "Never Give Up", but is that really true?

The more we meditate, the more we do yoga, the more we practice our martial arts, the more we get in tune with ourselves.  We come to learn our skills and limitations (sometimes painfully).  We strip away the illusion; the ego so we can see into who we really are.  Without this, there is no growing.

As well we learn to live in the moment, to accept The Now for what it is, and to accept that we cannot change the world outside ourselves, we can only change what is within.  This profound wisdom is the cornerstone of living efficiently --- that is, spending our attention and energy on what we can influence or change and not wasting it worrying about the things we cannot control.

This is what it means to Surrender to The Moment.  We allow things to transpire as they must, and we don't try to fight the inevitable.  Instead, we look for the positives and try to align ourselves with the tide and "go with the flow".  Standing in the ocean here in beautiful Pranburi, Thailand, it is easy to test this theory.

We punch and kick the waves but they keep coming.
We swing our sticks at the waves but they keep coming.
We scream and yell at them but still they keep coming.
Eventually, we relax and let the waves gently push us ashore, rather than crashing into us.
We let go of the illusion of control and instead we enjoy the moment for what it is - our connection to the sea and to the planet and to each other.  We feel peace.

So much in life is just like this.

A famous zen monk said "the secret of fighting is that there is no victory. You can neither win nor be beaten."  What did he mean?  When we surrender to the moment, the outcome becomes irrelevant.  We do what we must and the result becomes what it must be.  In doing so, we no longer have a fear of losing control.  We accept we were never in control anyway.  We no longer fear death.  We are all dead eventually anyway.  We focus only on living fully, surrendering to each moment as it comes in order that we can understand it with a fresh perspective and no prejudgment, appreciating the beauty of it every single time.  We feel our life is precious precisely because we know it could end at any moment and the vulnerability of surrendering opens up new ways of being for us.

It is said that everything in life is about "Letting Go", which is also the art of surrendering.

Don't worry, everything will be just fine.

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