Part of being a seeker is learning to understand the difference between force and free will.
Force is when we attempt to orchestrate life events to fit our expectations. We might demand our children behave respectfully in public. We might sacrifice the reputation of a colleague to get a step higher on the career ladder. Or we might beg someone to stay when we know they want to leave. When we force, things rarely go our way and we ultimately suffer.
Free will is the understanding that we are always at choice. We can’t make life events go our way but we can consciously choose how we respond to them.
Your child has a tantrum in public — you can threaten or chastise them to stifle their behaviour or softly ask what is bothering them.
Your colleague makes a mistake — you can point the finger of blame or offer training to address the inconsistency.
A loved one wants to leave — you can coerce or manipulate them to stay or agree to love them from afar.
When life events go against us, we can try to force a different outcome or we can gently surrender to the way the cards are dealt.
And how wonderful it would be if the path of surrender brought us relief, peace and joy instantaneously.
Don’t let any romanticised spiritual mumbo-jumbo tell you that surrender is the easier path.
Surrender takes grit and determination. Surrender takes inner strength and commitment. Surrender takes courage and fortitude. It is not for the weak spirited.
Frankly, the first part of surrender sucks. Because first you have to give up what you want to happen. And we humans aren’t that good at letting go of our wishes and desires.
But what’s the alternative?
How long do you think you can control life?
Life cannot be controlled.
So here are the choices… brute force or free will? Control or surrender? Short-term illusionary power or long-term alignment with life’s flow?
Today my choice is to release the need to force.
I am a seeker and I will surrender, even though it sucks.
Today I shall accept the way the cards fall. I give in to my fate.
(Taken from a series of articles written for a project called “Notes from a Seeker”)