One of my oldest and dearest friends lost her father to cancer yesterday, practically on the eve of the 20th anniversary of my own father’s death from the same disease. Suddenly two decades seems like a heartbeat away and time has warped and stirred up familiar feelings of loss and sadness.
What is this thing called death? What does it mean when those we love are gone? Where did they go? They were here once and now they are not. That mentality somehow falls short of explaining this incredibly mysterious journey all sentient beings experience in life and death. From the perspective of the material world, in which we reside, there is a strong temptation to compartmentalized what we can see, feel, touch and hear and the absence of those things we can no longer sense. It’s our little ‘self’ way of trying to understand the unfathomable, but in the process, we exclude one of the greatest truths on this journey – surrender.
Surrender is a misunderstood phrase that at best is often considered as giving up and at worst thought of as cowardly. I challenge you to examine surrender, not as a weakness but as a strength and perhaps one of the bravest things anyone can do. I often use the word surrender in my yoga classes by saying, “surrender into the posture” and with letting go, a deeper meaning of that experience may surface. When we let go and let be, hand over our false sense of ego-driven control to the unknown, a far greater truth awaits, revealing the essence of your highest Self.
Practicing surrender in our daily life either on a yoga mat or giving up the events of the day by succumbing to a good nights sleep or letting your teenage son or daughter drive your car for the first time by themselves are all baby steps to the bigger challenges that life throws our way. Eventually we all arrive at the moment when our only choice is to surrender. By far, one of the most courageous and egoless pursuits on this journey, magnified all the more when faced with the uncertainty and mystery awaiting all of us in death.
We spend an enormous amount of time and energy running from or to objects and situations of aversion or desire, under this false sense that we are actually getting somewhere. But where is there when where ever you are, is always here? By contemplating this tongue twister, we may be getting closer to understanding the mystery. If we approach all relationships with our parents, children, loved ones and friends as a continual exercise in letting go, the present moment and time spent in their company will be all the richer.
‘BE HERE NOW’. So simple, profound and accessible, revealing the splendor of each golden moment as it unfolds. When we trust each moment to provide what we need at that moment, surrendering to it feels like a reunion with our Beloved. There’s no need for fear or apprehension, you have all you need within. No one really goes anywhere. Running parallel to the dance of birth, life and death that keeps rhythm to the beat of this spiraling cycle of human imposed time, resides the eternal Light of our Being which we all born from and return.
In loving memory of Edmund Ryan & Svend Nedergaard
Alexandra Nedergaard, February 15th 2012