Spiritual Practice and Learning to Surrender (w/music)

Here are some insights on surrender from various spiritual teachers, paths, and poets that I have found comforting and inspiring.  At the end, I share a moving instrumental piece by pianist Solomon Keal from his beautiful album Peace of Heaven.

Some of us have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, before we let go, and so there tends to be more struggle in the process. For others, it’s not a lot of struggle. Their conditioning and preparation is different. Mourning is a dramatic word, but the basic process is the same. There’s no way around that. Whatever the path and however the practitioner comes to it, the path turns on the working through of loss, acceptance and surrender—at every moment, but especially in the process of awakening.

Jack Engler – Practicing for Awakening

However innumerable beings are, I vow to meet them with kindness and interest.
However inexhaustible the states of suffering are, I vow to touch them with patience and love.
However immeasurable the Dharmas are, I vow to explore them deeply.
However incomparable the mystery of interbeing, I vow to surrender to it freely.

The Boddhisattva Vow – Thich Nhat Hanh

Healing Hands, Healing Heart by Marie Finnegan

All dualistic confusion will dissolve when your surrender to God is genuine and when you are willing to be your autonomous self. If you follow through you will no longer be confused about individuality versus community; about self-surrender versus self-hood and real independence. True self-hood creates a social being who is not at odds with his or her surroundings. On the contrary, this kind of person is intimately connected with others and always contributes to them. Truly autonomous people can be strong leaders, as well as willing followers, because their vision is clear and their selfhood is centered in divine reality.

The Pathwork by Eva Broch Pierrakos

Say: We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed
To Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes,
And in the books of Moses, Jesus, and the prophets,
From their Lord.
We make no distinction between one and another
And to God do we surrender our will.

The Koran

This Yoga does not mean the rejection of the powers of life, but an inner transformation and a change of the spirit in the life and the use of the powers. These powers are now used in an egoistic spirit and for undivine ends; they have to be used in a spirit of surrender to the Divine and for the purpose of the divine Work.

Sri Aurobindo

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

The Bible

No matter what else we do in meditation, just by the fact of sitting down and giving up the tasks with which we normally clothe ourselves, we are challenging our very sense of self. We’re testing the possibility of giving up these roles and just being what we actually are.

This takes trust. You have to trust yourself to the ground when you sit on it. You have to trust yourself to the practice, to let yourself be held by it and give up, surrender. You want to say, “I’ve got to do something.” But you can’t do this. We can’t, finally, do our practice, just as we can’t do ourselves into a state of calm or a state of keen discernment. We can set up the conditions for it to arise, and that’s where grace or blessings or inspiration comes in.

Anne Carolyn Klein – Grounded by The Earth

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver

And here is the beautiful piano music of Solomon Keal.  The song is called “Surrender,” from his beautiful Peace of Heaven album.

Here is the iTunes Store link:


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day, into answers.”

Rainer Maria Rilke


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

5 Responses to “Spiritual Practice and Learning to Surrender (w/music)”

  1. I have had a progressive hearing loss since I was nineteen. For years I was in denial. I hid my hearing aids and tried to bluff in social situations. Not until I finally surrendered was I able to begin living life more fully again. While I acknowledge that my life is different, in many ways I feel I have gained.

    • Hello Kim! What a beautiful comment you’ve shared. I was very moved my it, and I think what you say here could be very helpful to others. Thanks so much for sharing it and for stopping by.

      With warm metta,

  2. Surrender is emphasized — required, essential, actually — in AA and the other 12 step programs, too.

    • Hey Robert. Yes! That’s a very good point, and I appreciate your mentioning it here. I have a great respect for AA and other 12-Step programs, because I’ve personally seen them in action in people’s lives and have seen how much they help.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Warm regards,



  1. Mary Oliver, the Buddha and a poem called “Spring” « Metta Refuge - 2010/04/29

    […] Spiritual Practice and Learning to Surrender […]

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