Friday, February 27, 2009

Tips for Happiness #3

3. Radical Surrender

This last of these three "Tips for Happiness" is aimed at those who really need it. Those who are going through the inevitable difficulties life dishes up to all of us at one time or another. You may not need these tips so much if you're already pretty happy, but "Radical Surrender" can be so effective for those suffering hard times, that it's an extraordinarily effective means for assuring continuing happiness as well. This is surrender not in the sense of resignation, of "giving up" in a pejorative sense, but of surrender as a strategy, as a way to deal with life on life's terms. Surrender in the sense of joining the winning side.

All through mythology and mysticism, in the quest for wholeness, there's the need to pass through "the darkest hour" to reach the place of light; of acceptance, self-love, and love and compassion for others. And that darkness will happen in every life, so resistance to it only energizes that period with more negativity. In recovery movements, there's the expression: "When you're going through Hell, keep going!" And: "Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth." It may not be much consolation at a particularly painful time to try to realize it as a great opportunity for growth and learning. Indeed, it may be a pretty tall order to do so. But this is a first step towards learning to energize every event in your life, "good" and "bad," in a positive, growth-inducing way. After all, when you look back at the hardest times in your life, they're over, aren't they? And you are still here, and all the better for the experience.

 Surrendering to the broken-openness brought about by your suffering will allow healing energy in, so you can grow out through that break, like a wildflower growing through a crack in the pavement. You may wisely never want to go through something like that again, and because of the wisdom gained from the experience you've had, you may never have to. Of course, you can't do it alone, so it requires surrender in the sense of accepting the company and care of others as well.

"Yeshua said: Blessed are those who have undergone ordeals. They have entered into life."
Logion 58, The Gospel of Thomas

Then, even if (when) similar painful circumstances arise again, you can say (as crazy as it may sound): Here's a chance to learn something I will need to know for the future. This is not really going to be bad at all – in fact, it's going to be very rewarding. I need to be here. I need to learn this. In this way, you can bring a new consciousness to a difficult (but familiar) situation, and completely transform the nature of the experience from one of resistance and pain, to one of acceptance and growth.
For someone who's basically happy already, and only experiencing minor setbacks, practicing this type of strategic surrender will just support and strengthen the happiness you already have.

"When you put your boat in the river, go downstream."
Abraham (via Esther Phillips)

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!


  1. What can you make with a file, a wooden yardstick, a roll of electrical tape, stolen hardware, and a length of cord? The resulting mental image still brings me great happiness. wish i still had mine.

  2. Thank you for your interesting thought collection. Aside from the "stolen" part, I've spent many happy moments with all the stuff you've listed.

  3. Are we talking about the same "Batarang"? because i distinctly remember the "stolen" part.

  4. It's remarkable how the mechanism of repression works...when you force me to remember the hard truth of it, I stole ALL of that stuff, and ended up either setting it on fire, or throwing it down the canyon. Thank you for making me face those difficult bat-memories.