A word in Spanish that I find to be both poetic and insightful is me doy. It is a reflexive verb translated as “I surrender.” Literally it means, “I give myself.”
Ours is not a culture that deals well with surrender. We equate it with failure. But in the spiritual life, surrender is essential. There is an aspect of ourselves that wants to have its way no matter what, and cannot even entertain the notion of surrender. It strives and pushes, fights and struggles to attain its own desires and assure its own survival, and that striving, willfulness and grasping become the great barriers to our spiritual development.
The spiritual sense of surrender is exactly as Spanish describes it: to give oneself. This act of giving oneself may come as an acknowledgement of defeat when one’s life has fallen apart and it is clear that no heroic personal effort can restore it. In those times we have no choice but give ourselves over to the mercy of a power far greater than ourselves.
But we don’t have to wait for our world to collapse to practice spiritual surrender. It can also be a choice we freely make when we want to go deeper in our lives. We can give ourselves as an offering, willingly, to that Reality–often called God–and its purposes which transcend the boundaries of any single lifeform or lifetime.
When life begins to feel unsatisfying and superficial, the culture will tell us we need to change jobs or buy a new car, or move to a nicer house. But one thing the current economic downturn has taught us is that those responses are themselves superficial, fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying.
It may be, instead, that our souls are asking us for something much more radical: to give our very selves as an offering, to relinquish our firm, controlling grasp on our lives so that we can surrender to a vast and exquisite Oneness that is at the heart of all existence. To say whole-heartedly, “me doy”.
[Photograph used courtesy of The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_14153212]