• Something to Think About: The power of surrender

young people of different skin colors linking arms

Dr. Amit Sood says, "Replacing intellect with surrender is a good bargain."

Dear friend,

I can read, write, predict, remember, analyze, decide, create, imagine, and entertain. I am not a genius but am not entirely dumb. From the time I became conscious of my presence, I have been busy trying to prove to the world that I am intelligent and worthy of attention. I may have somewhat succeeded in that endeavor. But lately I am realizing how limited, almost phony, I am.

I read but do not understand, write words that often don’t make sense, predict but to a very rough approximation, remember but soon forget, analyze but with great incompleteness, decide but without conviction, create but only the ordinary and the barely useful, and imagine but within three dimensions. I am terrible at entertaining. Most of all, I can do nothing to take the pain away from someone half a world away. I have no idea how the world will be in a day, an hour, or the next moment. I am severely limited.

I give up. I give up my obsession with control. I give up my love of intellect. I give up the desire to be right. This giving up relieves me.

In that giving up, I find the freedom that I have been looking for—the freedom of surrender.

I surrender. I surrender to a higher intellect that created and can protect all the world’s children. I can’t. Who breathes air into our children’s lungs when they (and we) sleep? I know not. I truly respect and love that power. I surrender to the intellect that created the dimensions. I don’t know if that intellect is formed or formless, or where it resides. I won’t name it, since I can’t fathom it.

Perhaps that intellect is probability or providence or destiny or nature or consciousness or intentionality or emptiness or something else. Poets, philosophers, scientists, believers, citizens—we all have different names for what we consider larger than ourselves. Let’s not quibble about the names. For this intellect unites us all. Its nature is wisdom and love—wisdom that teaches universal interconnectedness and love that teaches universal compassion. We sorely need wisdom and love to help our children thrive in a caring world that we collectively create. I am grateful to you for your contribution to the creation of such a world.

I am also grateful that I have the intellect to recognize my intellect’s limitations. I am grateful I can think of surrender before I lose the ability to surrender.

May the power of surrender empower you for passionate action.

Take care.

Read previous blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.

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