The Limbs of Yoga: Surrender


Surrender (Ishwara Pranidhana) is a beautiful moment of grace, the practice of faith, dedication, sincerity, and patience to transcend the ego, which is very resistant to surrender. Ishwara Pranidhana starts with the lost of the identity of self and emerges as Ishwara, the identification of the divinity within. This whole process of yamas and niyamas has been a continuum leading to your own preparedness to meet that part of you, or your belief system, that offers you unconditional love, entirely reliant on nothing but you. There is a common belief that enlightenment, once reached, is like a void or a blank of space and silence; that the enlightened disappear into another realm leaving nothing behind. Lama Zopa Rinpoche argues that it is the opposite—it is exactly like life is right now, with a sense of unshakeable, inconceivable equanimity, of blissful interconnectedness.

The purpose behind the search for enlightenment isn’t to remove yourself from the world you have spent so long and worked so hard to integrate into. It is to be fully alive and awake to the miracle of you, and us, and everything in the world. As you work towards finding your way to that place, the restraints and observances of the yamas and niyamas are there to guide, prepare and upskill you to reach the divinity within. I don’t believe that liberation, or enlightenment, is a moment of excessive fanfare and fireworks. I believe it is found in the absence of creating suffering; in the moment when you haven’t reacted to a situation of immense stress, where you have felt limitless love and compassion for those who do you both good and ill; where your action and your heart meet and merge. It is where your yearning for your true nature of self, and the clear vision of what it is you are capable of doing, is clearly revealed.

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