Lesson 21 - Surrender to the Zone
An Introductory Course, Designed and Written by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
The concept of surrender is fundamental to all religions and a goal of all spiritual paths. The idea is that we release control, get our mind trips out of the way and let the universe take charge. Surrender recognizes that our limited perceptions of what we think we want and need and how to satisfy our desires are limited, and that cosmic forces and our soul are more intelligent and efficient in producing the best results.
Recognizing a force greater than ourselves, our optimal strategy is to cooperate with It and learn how to participate as a co-creator in the give and receive process. Actually being a co-creator is a good deal. This means that we can consciously participate in our own destiny, if we can master the art of working with universal energies. Herein lies our challenge.
The Goal of Kundalini Yoga
The goal of Kundalini Yoga and all spiritual technologies is to create a conscious connection with the Divine. Yoga means union. The union is between our physical reality and God-consciousness, universal energies and our soul. The practice of Kundalini Yoga removes our blocks and resistances, raises our energy to higher frequencies and opens our awareness to expanded realities. If we train ourselves to focus our attention on our goal of union, we can facilitate our transformation. The goal of this lesson is to set out guidelines on how we can train ourselves to pay attention to and hold the experience of the infinite in our consciousness.
Active and Passive Talents
Human development is dominated by learning how to be in control, take action, initiate and be responsible for our lives. These active talents are critical pieces of our maturation process. Basically we learn what we have to do to get what we want. An infant cries to get fed. As a young child we learn to ask for what we want. If our direct requests are not fulfilled, we learn to manipulate others and situations to get our needs satisfied. Later we learn to earn a living and integrate the concept of exchange into our survival strategies.
In the process of learning the active talents of asking, doing and exchanging value to get our needs met, the passive skills are often neglected, undervalued and misunderstood. In a male-dominated world, the passive (feminine) concept of surrender is often misinterpreted as giving up and giving in. This is because we feel like victims of unknown forces beyond our comprehension and known forces beyond our control. The result is a sense of resignation, powerlessness and even hopelessness.
Surrender, the ultimate passive skill, requires letting go of control at a very deep level, mentally, emotionally and physically. Authentic surrender releases us from our limited thoughts and produces an openness, which facilitates our connection with universal forces. Inauthentic surrender creates more, instead of less, resistance.
If we cultivate only the "action" talents necessary to live on planet Earth and do not cultivate the "being" talents, our actions are sabotaged by an ego-dominated mind and a needy, helpless subconscious. Negative and counterproductive interpretations of passive concepts (trusting, letting go, relaxing) are the natural result of not cultivating a relationship with our Soul, God or universal energies and not having a direct experience of Spirit or the Divine. Without a personal experience of what we are surrendering to, surrender is impossible. There is a void in our psyche, which by default is filled by fear. Fear prevents us from trusting, letting go and surrendering.
If an action-dominated mindset pervades our being, it will also determine how we carry out our spiritual practice. It is legitimate to do Kundalini Yoga and meditate to achieve certain results. Specific meditations and kriyas produce specific effects. However, we must avoid turning our practice into a bargaining tool. If we do a particular meditation to buy results, our prayers become begging sessions to a bigger than life daddy version of God. If we observe our mind and our thoughts, we can monitor our conscious and hidden intentions.
By altering our attitude and our attention, we can shift our relationship with universal forces from plea bargains to participatory co-creation. It is actually pretty simple. To cultivate this shift in consciousness, it is important to understand the active and passive aspects of spiritual practices and how to appropriately integrate and utilize both.
Active talents include (1) attention, (2) focus, (3) doing and (4) discipline, i.e. doing our daily Sadhana and Kundalini Yoga. The principal mental goal is to focus our mind on the infinite.
Passive talents are (1) relaxing, (2) letting go, (3) listening and (4) surrendering. Between each exercise we relax, allow the energy to circulate and feel the sensations in our body. We are simply present to what IS. The principle passive goal is to cultivate an ongoing feeling relationship with the infinite in our body.
Experience the Infinite
The main purpose of raising the Kundalini and moving our energy from the lower to the higher chakras is to give us an experience of the infinite. The goal is to expand our awareness so that we have a conscious experience of "what is, was and always will be," often referred to as God. This awareness is awakened in the upper chakras by activating the pituitary and the pineal glands. The possibility of experiencing the infinite is always there in each one of us. It never goes away. We can resist this experience by being preoccupied with and attached to the thoughts in our minds. Endless mental chatter blocks our conscious connection with the infinite. However, whenever we turn our senses inward, the infinite experience is available.
The experience of the infinite has several basic manifestations:
- SOUND The most basic is the unstruck sound, the silent sound of infinity. If we turn our listening inside, we hear it. This is the Word. "In the beginning was the Word."
- SPACE If we turn our sight inward, we see an infinite space. Simply close your eyes and look.
- LIGHT If we concentrate at the third eye, we see a light that can even fill our entire head, whole space and being.
- SMELL Some people even smell the fragrances of the universe.
Of course, all of these have many variations on a theme. But the basic experiences are simple and repeatable. The goal of all spiritual paths is to connect with one or more of these infinite experiences and keep returning to them. As we increase our attention, our awareness expands and we experience deeper and deeper levels of connection with universal energies and their numerous manifestations.
It is of critical importance to avoid the pitfall of consciously searching for intriguing lights, sounds, visions, etc. Our goal is to be a conscious, but passive, observer. The goal is not entertainment. The goal is energetic connection and inner peace. The simpler the better. Don't try to get fancy or get attached to different colors or visuals. We are in a mental manipulative ego mode if we are trying to make something happen. We have to train ourselves to distinguish between searching for, discovering and trying to control, and simply being with what IS. We want an experience that we can return to, relax into, be comforted by and trust. The rest is a diversion and distracts us from our goal of cultivating a relationship with universal forces that we can merge with and surrender to.
Cultivating the Zone
I propose to call our experience of the infinite the Zone. The most commonly used term, God, conjures up images of a big daddy. Our mind gets hooked on pleasing and pleading to a paternal caretaker. The Zone is a neutral place where we can go, be alone with ourselves and with the Universe. This more neutral concept activates less preconceived ideas that interfere with our pure experience.
How do we do get into the Zone? How do we stop our minds' manipulation and control trips? Stopping the mind comes at very advanced stages of meditation. In fact, Yogi Bhajan said that the mind always produces 1000 thoughts per wink of the eye. Stopping that is out of our league. I like to approach the task from the perspective of changing channels. Kundalini Yoga and meditation help us change channels.
Stop Searching and Doing
The spiritual teacher Gangaji uses the following dictum to help people to tune into the infinite:
"Stop searching for whatever you think you have to do to get whatever you think you want."
I like to use "Stop DOING whatever you think you have to do to get whatever you think you want."
Try it. When I actually took a few moments to stop whatever I was doing to try to get what I thought I wanted, I could hear the infinite sound. I realized that my mind was habitually in a perpetual scan (maybe even scam) mode -- a state of searching and trying to make something happen. This means that my mind is trying to be in charge and not allowing space for the universe to act, respond or at least cooperate. Energetically this translates into not trusting the universe. It also reveals a deep level of neediness. When we are always trying to get something by making something happen, we are acting out of a sense of neediness that was imprinted in our psyche in pre-verbal years. We are re-enacting our childhood programming where we learned that if we do not manipulate our environment we will not get our needs met.
When I asked my Kundalini Yoga class to "STOP doing whatever they thought they were doing to get what they thought they wanted," the whole room became silent. This dictum short-circuits the mind. For a moment the mind stops because it does not know what to do. At this moment, the infinite channel is available to us. For a second, we seize a glimpse of the infinite. This dictum also helps us identify what our minds are doing and why they are doing it. Once identified, we can choose to focus our mind in other ways. We can actually interact with universal energies in a receptive, accepting and co-creative manner.
Keep It Simple
Cultivating and surrendering to the Zone is actually a simple process - but of course it takes practice!
Do a Kundalini Yoga set or exercise. Stop after each exercise and listen, look or sense inward. Turn your attention to the sensations in your body. Continue until you can hear the infinite sound, see and be in your inner space, see a light at your third eye or in any other way perceive a sound, sight or sensation that is always there when you turn your attention to it. Keep doing this. Over time you will have a place to go to that feels secure, comfortable and peaceful. Ideally we want to always be conscious of this place, feeling or sound.
Be aware of "What you are searching for or doing that you think is going to get you what you think you want." What we need to do here is create an attitude shift. First we must identify what our mind is doing. What is the intention of our mind? Are we trying to do something to get something? This does not mean that we will stop doing things. This means that we shift our intention and focus while we are in action and in meditation. When we make this internal shift, we operate without the mental resistance or control trips. We can train ourselves to listen to the cosmic sound or relax into the cosmic zone while we are carrying out our daily activities. Our attitude and our projection automatically changes. Energetically we join the universe instead of pushing against it.
It is appropriate to have goals. It is not appropriate to be obsessive about what we think we want or what we think will makes us happy or successful. One clear statement, written or oral, is enough to communicate with the universe. Repetition and compulsive attention on what we want projects neediness and separates us from the universal flow through control trips. Our thoughts get in the way. We need to listen, not to talk. Specific requests also limit our options. The possibilities available to us are infinitely greater than our minds can conceive.
If we do have requests and prayers we can state our intention before our meditation. But we must shift our attention to our energetic experience during the meditation. We should use the concentration power of our mind to focus on infinite experiences. While doing any chanting meditation, chant to the sound, the space or the light. Don't try to control what will happen. Do your best to be with what is happening in the moment. Join the sound or the space. Merge with it. Integrate your actions, voice and sensations into the cosmic presence. Hold this experience in your body.
Through mental attention and physical sensation awareness, we participate with the universe as co-creators. We collaborate. When our attention is on infinite experiences, as we perceive them in our own awareness, our energy integrates with universal energies. When our attention is inward instead of outside ourselves, we attract through our magnetism. This is a more efficient and productive way of getting what we want and need.
Surrender has very practical applications in our daily life. When you feel frustrated, need answers, can't seem to figure things out, instead of resorting to more mental activity fueled by out of control emotions, STOP, CONNECT, and SURRENDER TO THE ZONE. Insights, help and peace are on their way. Your trusty intuition is ready to assist, if you open the space for it to communicate with you.
I like to remember the dictum of Yogi Bhajan, "There is a pathway through every problem." We access the pathways by letting go. We are in the habit of holding on very tightly. To really let go, we must practice releasing the grip of both our minds and our bodies.
When we really stop talking to ourselves, our intuition becomes available. Listening opens up our intuition. If we actually listen, we can hear our inner voice. If we really listened to other people, we would have more sincere and intimate relationships. If we actually listened to ourselves, we wouldn't need to ask for so much advice. If we listened to the infinite sound, we would know God.
One common question concerns what to do when we get intuitive messages during our meditations. Generally simply take note, let the thoughts pass and stay connected. Sometimes we get information that we do not want to forget. Instead of trying to remember the information, I take notes. (I have written a lot of books this way.) Then I go back to my space.
I like to go to sleep listening to the cosmic sound. At the end of the day it feels good to surrender to the infinite, let go and let God take care of me.
Surrender is one of the most comforting and pleasurable experiences available to humans. We are freed from the chains of our minds. We join the cosmic flow. We are truly happy. We experience the embrace of universal love.