Surrender is a key theme I am working on.  Jumping out of a plane–with the faith that I will land safely–is one of my own ways of expressing this.  It’s a knowing, based on intuition, and a faith in a higher power–a faith that everything will be okay as long as I stay true to myself.  Once at that level, everything flows naturally.  During the free fall stage of AFF Level 1–it was just me and the sky.  It was one of those rare times when I felt “at one” with the sky… and the universe.  There was no adrenalin rush.  It was peace personified.

Chapters 29 and 30 of the classic Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching (道德經), had this to say (following is based on Stephen Mitchell’s translation).

Chapter 29

Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a  time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

Chapter 30

Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn’t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.



  1. Hey Henry,

    Your post made me think of a passage I read recently by author Michael Brown. He pointed out that the word surrender can be viewed as “sure-ender”, which highlights the true meaning of the word: “the end of being sure”.

    He went on to write this:

    “As we accomplish a level of calmness within ourselves, we can open our mind to the concept of surrender; the possibility of flowing with what is unfolding, and not attempting to interfere with it via control and sedation. Only when we enter this frequency of surrender, do we allow ourselves to perceive the truth of our predicament:

    Our entire life experience is happening because we are in it.
    Our perception is our connection to it.
    We are not separate from anything we perceive.

    Awakening to the extent of our intimate connection with the outer world is a rite of passage that goes hand in hand with the realization that it is not possible to control or sedate our outer experiences through outer activity because they are always an externalization of our inner condition.”

    I think you’d like the book “A Thousand Names for Joy”, which Stephen Mitchell wrote with his wife, Byron Katie.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks, Pedro! This is a great post. I love how Michael Brown depicts the concept as “sure-ender.” I’ll check out the book “A Thousand Names for Joy.” Have you read it?


      • Hey Henry,

        I have the book on my shelf and I’ve read through many chapters. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the Tao Te Ching which Byron Katie then comments on. Chapter 29, for example, begins with a passage you quoted above:

        “The world is scared.
        It can’t be improved.
        If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
        If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.”

        I consider the book to be a great pointer to that which the mind will never fully understand and which needs to be experienced in order to be truly known… but I still have fun reading it.

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