Usually after I drive home from work, I have a mental (or sometimes verbal, depending on how sassy I’m feeling!) conversation with Spirit. It’s basically a big long brain dump, where I complain or vent or rant. I do this because I believe that by handing over (aka letting go) my problems to Spirit, my Higher Self, I can return to peace.
But I found that this little ritual didn’t really make me feel peaceful; if anything, it got me more pissed off.
Last night, I realized why: I wasn’t really surrendering anything to my Higher Self, I was just verbalizing all my interpretations and judgments of what happened. Literally, all the thoughts that I felt were SO IMPORTANT and NEEDED ATTENTION are just interpretations. They’re just the ego, running me around and around in circles.
No WONDER I’m tired!
Constant judgment, as ACIM tells us, is intolerable. It exhausts us. But judgment feels so natural, and it often feels so important. And I think that’s why it was so easy for me to get hooked into this cycle of spouting all my judgments and worries to Spirit without actually releasing them.
So I decided to experiment. I said to Spirit: Ok. I’m not going to interpret anything that happened today. I’m not going to say anything about it. Instead, I’ll let you do that. I’ll just be here.
I was actually willing to let go, and it was as if something inside of me that had been clenched was released.
It was like when you’re a kid, and you’re walking home from school with this heavy backpack full of books, but you do it every day so it’s not that big of a deal, but you look up and see your dad walking towards you, and he lifts the backpack off your shoulders and carries it home for you. You forgot how awesome it was to walk without that burden of the backpack, without that heavy load; how relaxing it is to walk free and unencumbered; how blessed you are to have someone to come and take that from you.
I felt this amazing rest permeate my being. I felt more relaxed than I had in weeks, and I thought, I want to stay here all the time.
So often I allow myself to believe that this work is hard. That connecting is hard, that letting go is hard. And it can be. It can be really hard to recognize when you’re stuck in judgment and interpretation.
But after awhile, I’ve found that you’ll have this extra moment before you enter the ego’s games. You’ll get this teeny opportunity to be like, hmmm. Is this all really true? And as you continue on the path, you’ll feel more and more of these moments, each one a stepping stone towards true release, towards staying in that place of peace all the time.
Note: To speed up the entire process and to access these moments of surrender faster—let self-judgment go. If you just complained in your mind to Spirit for the last half an hour, if you jumped in to the ego’s crazy stories, if you fell face first into anger and anguish and judgment….don’t feel bad. Don’t feel like you’ve failed. We’re students ACIM for a reason. We’re learning. We’re practicing.
“You cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.” T-18.V.1:6
I used the word “experiment” when I described my willingness to surrender. That’s what this all is…experimenting, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And in my experience, a prayer or a mantra works one day, then a different idea works on another day. You may use different words or different prayers (surrender, forgiveness, non-judgment, staying present, choosing peace, mindfulness, miracle, turning to the Holy Spirit, creating space, releasing beliefs), but in the end it’s all the same. It’s all turning towards your True Self and releasing the old self to feel peace.
So, no guilt! No judgment. You don’t know what you need to get willing enough to take that next step, to surrender a little deeper. Experiment, and have fun. Spirit is with us, and gives us exactly the tools we need to keep going with ease and joy.
How do you experiment with surrender? Share your practices with me in the comments below!