The fourth principle is surrender. Some of you may struggle with this notion of surrender. However, your life becomes a lot more tense and unmanageable if you try to control everything yourself. If you want to leave absolutely nothing to the universe, and you want to think through everything yourself, then good luck! If you look around, some of the most unhappy people are the ones who are constantly delving into the details of every little thing even when it is not required. ‘I have got to buy a bottle of milk – organic or non-organic; low fat or whole milk; of grass-fed cows raised in a certain place.’ We have all sorts of information available nowadays. We have God incarnate in the form of Google!
It is all so very pointless. People keep swimming all day on the internet, then they get tired and sleep. What a senseless way of living! We have this tendency to keep ourselves engrossed all the time for no sane reason. That is what robs you of your sanity, and therefore, surrender becomes hard. When you think that I will control my tomorrow, my next month, my next lifetime, you are putting on yourself a great burden. Instead, you could just do your karma that you have to do anyway. You could do what you think is right and leave the rest to the Divine. Leave some things to Nature.
After all, you don’t control everything, anyway. You don’t have to remind yourself to breathe. Imagine if you did that i.e., if you decided that you have to take control of your breath and went to bed and forgot to breathe. You will not wake up!
Assuming you believe in God, surrender is not just saying that everything belongs to God, and nothing is mine. Because usually, that is just something that people say and do not believe. Surrender is saying, ‘I am happy, however you are keeping me. I am grateful that I exist, and I am able to walk and eat. I am grateful that I am able to pray, and I am able to help somebody. I am happy with that. I don’t need anything more.’
There is a story in Ramayana. Lord Ram and Lakshman were walking through the woods. Ravana had already abducted mother Sita. They pass by a pond, and Laxman suggests that they have a bath there. Lord Rama takes off his bow and plonks it on the ground. It was soft ground, and so the bow stands on the ground. They bathe and twenty minutes later, they come out. As Lord Rama takes his bow out of the ground, he sees a frog in the ground. The frog had been hurt and bloodied by his bow. Seeing this, Lord Rama is shattered that he had hurt a living creature.
He lifts the frog in his hands and says, ‘I did not mean to hurt you, but I have, and I am very sorry. I don’t know what I can do to fix it.’ The frog says, ‘My Lord, nothing can fix it now. Everybody prays to you when they are in trouble or when they are in pain. If you are the one who has caused the pain, then who can I pray to? I have nobody left. It is okay. I am happy that I am dying by your hands. I have to die one day, anyway. But, dear Lord, there is one thing that is sweeter than dying by your hands. Only one thing that I would desire more than dying by your hands is to die in your hands. What could be more divine than this?’
I would like to end this story with the question -‘What are you clinging to?
Perhaps everything, but does it have any meaning in the big scheme of things? The only way to retain or grow anything is to pass it on. Anything that you are willing to part with, that thing will grow in your life. You will get more and more of that. When you part with negative emotions, they grow. For example, when you part with anger and pass it on by getting angry at someone, it grows. If I have a seed and keep it to myself, it will eventually meet its fate and be destroyed. But if I pass on that seed to the ground, it would sprout and grow one day. The only way to keep anything good or bad is to give it to others. The more you give it, the more it will grow.
Surrender is giving back to the universe. It is saying, ‘I am just happy to be here. Things could have been much worse.’
I am reminded of a story from my blog. There was an extremely positive man. No matter what happened in his life or what anybody said to him, he would always smile and say, ‘It could have been much worse.’ This behavior got onto the nerves of his friends. Somebody who is very positive can sometimes put people off, especially those who are not as optimistic. It frustrates them to see a person who is always positive and happy. So, one of his friends thought that something was wrong with this guy. He thought that maybe they should tell him something so horrifying, so severe, that he would finally be forced to say something like, ‘Oh, this is bad!’
So, his friend goes to this positive person and says, ‘You know, last night I had a terrible nightmare. I saw that I had an accident and I died. I was dragged to hell. They flayed me. I was crying in excruciating pain.’ The positive man said, ‘Ah, don’t worry, it could have been much worse.’ The friend said, ‘How could it have been much worse? I died in my dream, and terrible things happened to me afterward. How could it have been much worse?’ the positive man said,’ It could have been true! You should be happy that it was not true.’
How many of our fears ever come true? The chances are less than 1%. I think that is probably a generous figure. Most likely, 0.001% of our fears ever come true. Whenever you have fear, you should remind yourself, ‘What am I afraid of? What is the worst that can happen?’ Shift your mind and surrender, ‘You know you have created me, Lord. If you are there, I do not have to worry.’ A child plays in the lap of his mother. He is not worried. He knows, ‘I am in my mother’s lap, and I do not need to worry.’
Look at our existence. To experience the vastness of this existence, look at the night sky full of stars or the ocean. In this grand scheme of things, where do we stand? What is the worry? It is not always practical to have summer. Sometimes you will have to see the winter, sometimes the fall, and sometimes, you will see the blue clouds. Sometimes it will rain, sometimes you will have to experience wind storms or hailstorms. These are all various colors of life. It is up to you whether you want to go out and have a good time or sit and be afraid and keep planning. It is a matter of personal choice.
Your happiness is in your hands. Nobody can give it to you. People may make you feel good for a while. They may give you pleasures, they may help you feel happy for a short while, but ultimately, if you choose not to be happy, nobody can make you happy. Also, if you always choose to be happy, then nobody can make you feel bad either. So, gratitude, compassion and happiness as a matter of commitment and surrender are the four things important for being happy.
This post is transcribed from the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRgBhKkw9wI
Himalayan mystic and best-selling author Om Swami has transformed thousands of lives sharing his insights, his experiments and experiences with anyone who is on the path of personal fulfilment, happiness and discovery. Today he spearheads a movement in the form of Black Lotus, a mobile app designed to raise the Kindfulness Quotient in the world through Kindness and Mindfulness.