Surrendering One’s Will

Spiritual teachings emphasize transcending the ego, an aspect of which is surrendering one’s will. This is not to be confused with not making an effort or being indiscriminately compliant in situations, but rather is relinquishing one’s sole reliance on the logically rational mind.

The dominant voice in one’s head is first recognized, and then considered to be only one aspect of the mind. And more importantly, it is no longer understood to be one’s self. Realizing this, one cultivates mindfulness or mastery over one’s conscious awareness through practices consistent with one’s spiritual orientation, e.g. meditation, prayer.

One admits the great divide between oneself and Spirit, and that one usually thinks, feels, and acts in ways contrary to the ultimate truth of nondual oneness of all existence. And with a strengthened mindfulness one trains the mind to correct and eventually prevent thoughts associated with individuality, suffering, or harm to others.

Until one naturally behaves righteously one uses one’s individual will in service of its own transcendence. As a means of strengthening positive habits one declares certain actions unacceptable, and focusing on them one at a time, refrains from engaging in them until they are extinguished. Eventually this enables one to more often behave in a virtuous manner even as old habits beckon one not to do so.

Reading various philosophy and theology on reality and truth, and inspirational works of virtue and righteous action, challenge the mind to operate differently. They reveal the conscious awareness of the true self, and serve to weaken the false will. Especially useful are works that clarify principles contrary to natural worldly behavior, e.g. rather than seeking understanding one works to understand others, giving loves results in receiving love.

One practices bringing oneself into union with the Spirit/God within. This is experienced as a range of awareness from stillness, quiet, and clairvoyance through to an infinite and eternal all-encompassing now. This presence is of one’s true self, the “empty witness” or “awareness of awareness”, and it lovingly observes the world as itself. During these moments the individual will, formerly believed to be the self, is in the background and subject to the will of this witness awareness.

Now with the true self more frequently shaping one’s experience the personal heart is moved to a less significant position. The Divine heart becomes a stronger loving force, reducing fear, and resulting in greater equanimity, nonattachment, and acceptance. Operating more from feelings of Divine love, the individual will is weakened and the Divine’s overall influence is strengthened

Remembering one is an aspect of Spirit following karmic dictate, not an independent agent, serves to further humble the individual will. One intentionally practices dissociating from individuality, especially its habit of attributing to oneself extraordinary positive outcomes. And this effort is supported by the natural humility that arises from witness awareness and Divine heart.

One strives to rely completely on Spirit. One cultivates a faith that all things are possible even when one cannot envision success in a particular circumstance; not simply because one is eternally hopeful, but because one knows that God/Spirit has unlimited power to accomplish anything deemed worthy.

One also strives to steadfastly identify with Spirit/God so the individual will is completely replaced by Divine will. Then, with ego relinquished one lives in the world guided and directed by the wisdom and heart of the Divine, embodying an enlightened holiness and omnipotence to act in ways atypical of, but beneficial to humankind and the world.


2 thoughts on “Surrendering One’s Will

  1. What is to be done with ego-rooted desires? If one continues to desire worldly things in spite of aspirations to become more spiritual, how can this be overcome? How can these desires be extinguished rather than simply relocated to the subconscious/unconscious where they may continue to operate more powerfully?


    1. If what we practice does not result in changes we seek then it means we must do something other than what we are accustomed to do no matter the promise of the teaching. Notice what actions you take that alter your awareness to that of nonattachment to outcome, neutral feelings, and generosity. When you discover a strategy that works, do not assume change is accomplished, but rather that you must continuously act in this new way while meticulously rejecting/extinguishing/correcting the contrary thought/action. Much of spiritual practice is repeatedly promoting spiritual (one might say godly or raised consciousness) thoughts, feelings, and actions until they become natural. We all too often think that changing thoughts results in changed behavior; in fact changing our actions, repeatedly through will power, changes our beliefs. Seemingly an irony, that surrendering will requires using will. In truth we are replacing individual will with the will we attribute to the supreme consciousness or being.


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