The philosophy of Life itself is Surrender. Life is made up of so many countless moments. A single day is made up of so many moments. So, if we equate 1 second to a moment itself, each day is made up of 86,400 distinct moments itself. What will it take to truly deeply surrender to every single moment in a day?
So then, let us say that about 120 minutes (7,200 moments) of every single day are spent in commuting from office to home and back in your car & most of this time is to move through a completely blocked road.
So, to surrender to each of these 7,200 moments in the middle of traffic and completely blocked roads would mean to Accept the Situation on the road, as it is & then making necessary decisions to alleviate the situation itself.
However, that’s clearly wishful thinking!
What instead happens is a feeling of extreme restlessness, a few swear words thrown at the other commuters on the road who are equally helpless & a complete state of Suffering! The Suffering bears down on the very existence when the heart begins to pump the blood faster, anxiety takes over, the body’s biochemistry changes; But Alas, There’s nothing one can do in that moment.
In one of his videos, Sadhguru says – “Pain might be real, but Suffering is self-created”.
What he probably means, is that even though you are physically stuck in a situation, You have a choice on not to suffer. In other words, it is perhaps imperative to truly deeply Surrender to each of the 7,200 moments we are stuck in the traffic itself.
The extreme fear of restlessness and anxiety are essentially a product of some regions of the brain that become hyperactive during a panic attack. This includes amygdala (a.k.a the fear center of the brain) and portions of mid-brain that are responsible to assess the quantum of pain itself. Sustained bouts of restlessness and anxiety lead to a build-up of the stress hormone Cortisol in the body & that’s how you experience the pain of being stuck in traffic itself.
At the root of the restlessness and anxiety, however, is the very fact of being exposed to a completely unknown situation.
In the traffic situation described above, the question posed is – “When will I get out of this mess”, which sadly has no answer at that moment in time.
Since the body biochemistry works in the same manner in every situation where you are exposed to something unknown – Be it the moments before giving a presentation or missing an important deadline at the office or simply things not going your way, every uncomfortable situation keeps damaging the body with cortisol.
In simpler terms, this is just a plain way the body helps “you” sense pain through the sensory organs. How else could the body talk with you, right?
However, the way to get out of such situations is to Surrender, itself.
Surrender is a two-part process –
Part I – Accept the existing situation as the body is sensing it in the moment.
Part II – Find possible solutions to get out of this situation.
When Surrender itself happens well, there are two more parts that are necessary to cross-over to the better side –
Part III – Act on one of the available solutions
Part IV – Assess your progress & get out of it to the better side.
So, in case of the traffic situation above, We first accept that the current moment is completely out of control. Since there’s so much traffic on the road, there’s nothing I can do about it. The second step is to find possible situations to get out of the mess. In absence of the traffic police, some people get out of their car and decide to navigate the traffic themselves; Some decide to look for a detour or others might decide to turn on the music, sit back and relax. Sooner or later, one gets out of the mess.
Since life unfolds only one moment at a time, it is necessary to make a decision in the moment itself. If the act of surrender happens well, the thinking mind presents the possible solutions automatically & in no time, the situation has been alleviated. However, if swear words ensue on the road, the body feels the pain & you suffer.
The philosophy of life still remains Surrender.
In a world that is constantly accelerating, each of us wants every single desire to be fulfilled immediately. We want to become millionaires in the least possible time; We want each of our desire to be fulfilled right now & when there are no clear signals of a desire being fulfilled, we are again being thrown into an unknown situation.
The cause of extreme concern and anxiety at a personal level here does not seem to be the unfulfillment of desire itself, but the fact that we are not in the Present moment itself.
In any waking moment, if there is a feeling of extreme discomfort, it is basically because of no immediate visibility of a desire being fulfilled. In other words, it could also mean that while we are existing in this present moment (12:10 pm on the 16-September-2017, in India), we are mentally extrapolated either to a memory of pain from the past or to a worry of something not being fulfilled way into the future.
I wrote a post earlier on – The Audacity of the Present Moment, which spoke about the infinite possibilities that the present moment has. So, if you have a desire to lose 20 kilograms of body fat & you are depressed because the goal is nowhere close to being achieved, you are basically thinking of a future point in time in which you are still not fitter or you are reminiscing on your past self about 10 years ago, when you were 20 kilograms lighter. But, the only choice you have is to accept deeply within every single cell of the body, the current situation as it is & therefore find ways to go closer to your goal of losing weight & since Life unfolds only one day at a time in relevance to this goal, one will have to track progress every day to see how you are inching closer.
The magic of Surrender itself in the above situation is that When you take charge on a day to day basis, commit the body to exercise and healthy eating habits, the physical body begins to react to the changes made. You start losing the fat, one day at a time & the biochemistry in the body changes again. The healthy hormones build up & you start to feel healthy & then when you look at yourself in the mirror, you begin to feel good.
The philosophy of Life’s goals still remains Surrender in the present moment itself.
If you are wondering what Acceptance can really mean, think about the varied situations in your life. The first day at the office when you were a part of a new team; or the first time you tried a new sport or a new exercise. It all felt so uncomfortable, because of the sheer presence of so many unknowns.
Probably, the very act of acceptance happens when you decide to reduce the unknowns in a particular situation. In a situation of ” the First day at work”, one could reduce the unknowns by familiarizing oneself with the office premises, the people working at the office, being committed to new-joiners formalities and so on.
In case of trying a brand new exercise, reducing unknowns could mean learning more about how various muscles in the body work or respond to varying levels of tension, differentiating between the good pain resulting out of exercise from the bad pain itself & therefore pushing the limit further.
Once Acceptance occurs, solutions flow automatically. Without acceptance, You suffer.
From the perspective of life itself, it is important to perhaps note that one will have to trust the process of life itself, work on each desire every single day, measure progress & be persistent until it is finally achieved.
This is, of course, easier said than done because Life unfolds one moment at a time & it is a collection of so many infinite moments & each moment is dependent on so many different people we work with.
Let us say – I want to own a Mercedes by the year of 2020. This becomes a desire. However, for this desire to manifest into reality and to have the Mercedes in my parking lot, a series of conditions must be satisfied –
- The Mercedes auto company will have to produce one more unit of the car I ordered.
- The dealership I ordered my car from will have to place an order with the auto company.
- The auto company will have to place an order for parts with their ancillaries.
- I, on the other hand, will have to make sure that there’s enough money in the bank.
- If I have to get an auto loan sanctioned from my bank, I will have to visit the bank and give them business.
These are just 5 of the countless other things that will happen to make my personal dream of Mercedes a reality. For practical purposes, the only things in your control would be to put in your hard work every day at the work you do so that the bank account is full of cash to enable you to buy that swanky car in 2020.
However, What if other priorities come up in life in 2020? What if you have to divert the money to those causes?
The choice then remains to feel sad and suffer that the goal did not yet achieve, or to accept the situation, work harder & stay focused on the goal itself.
Some of the smaller desires might get manifested immediately. You thought of a friend in the morning & suddenly got a call from him in the evening. You thought of owning a red Hyundai I20, and you suddenly started to see many of the red cars on the road. However, for the larger desires that have many different goals to be achieved, it takes time.
The Philosophy of Life still remains Surrender.
Yesterday, when I was at my Yoga class with RajLaxmi teacher at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, in Pune, I had a small vision when the class was reciting the prayer – Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara, Gurur Sakshat ParahBrahma, Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah(a);
The prayer itself means –
“The teacher is like the Lord Brahma, as he generates knowledge within us, like Lord Vishnu as he drives ideas and knowledge into our mind unto the right path, and like Lord Mahesh (Shiva) as he destroys the ill-conceived ideas that come from our knowledge, while enlightening us and helping us stay on the right path. Thus, the teacher is like our ultimate god and we should pray and give respect to our teacher”
The vision communicated ( via the inner voice that all of us have) – For the next 90 minutes, while this class lasts, RajLaxmi is your teacher. She will communicate instructions & you are just supposed to obey them by doing the yoga postures. The class began & about 70 minutes into the session, we were asked to do a head-stand. Now, head-stands (Sirasasana) has not been my strong point for years. The maximum I can stand on my head is for 30-35 seconds. However, yesterday I did better. Perhaps, the acceptance had set in at the beginning of the class itself. So when, the arms started to ache while in the posture, I got another thought – The pain itself is due to the lactic acid that is being secreted in the muscles. This was followed by another thought – What if you stay for another 5 seconds in the same posture? and this was followed by action of staying right there. I think, what worked was the lack of confusion due to the pain itself. There was no anticipation as to when the teacher will ask us to break the posture. This helped me tune in to the solutions being given. I was able to remain for another 30 seconds in that posture.
The philosophy to remain in Sirasasana was also, Surreneder.