Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Surrender to the will of God

A common theme in the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) is the call to surrender to the will of God. "Not my will but thine, O Lord".

This is a simple message, a very powerful one. It tells us that on the path to enlightenment, the way of spiritual growth, your willpower means nothing. Your ability to set goals, to visualise the correct course of action, to make disciplined, sustained effort: all this is irrelevant. Your volition, your willpower, cannot help you.

What does help is to cultivate the hunger for enlightnement, to be awake to the yearning for God. But this is not about setting goals or making an effort.

Religious people often misunderstand this call. They think we have to figure out what God's will is, and then determine the correct course of action. They think we need to make disciplined, sustained effort. More volition, more willpower. They miss the point completely.

Acorns don't have the goal of growing into trees. The sun doesn't make an effort to shine. Your original beingness is not affected by your plans and willpower. You find it through surrender, in letting go.

(Atheist will dismiss the call to surrender, because they don't believe in God. But so what? If someone says "You need to face your inner demons", you known what they mean, even if you don't believe in demons).

Sometimes, the ability to set goals and make plans is useful. But in the big scheme of things, none of it matters. Let go. Relax. When you are tired, you will know it. When you are hungry, you will know it. When you want company, you will know it. These simple desires are the important desires, and relatively easy to satisfy.