In his recent post in the Huffington Times, “God, Life and Spiritual Practice of Surrendering ‘Complete’ Control”, Rabbi Will Berkowitz puts a faith based/religious slant on the practice of letting go of control. He advocates what he calls cultivating a total and “ferocious surrender.” Perhaps it is just his choice of words, but I nevertheless felt compelled to post a comment voicing my view on the subject:
- “I agree with much of what the Rabbi says, but I dislike his use of the words “ferocious surrender.” To me the key is finding the balance between control and surrender that works for us, and I have found that even partially letting go of control can be very beneficial. It doesn’t have to be a total surrender. Once we gain confidence and begin to experience the benefits of the process, it becomes easier for us to give up more and more control.
I also view the process as more of a spiritual rather than a religious one. When we are able to let go of control, it frees life’s natural currents and we are better able to engage those currents in an intuitive and expansive manner, whether in love, parenting, friendships, creative endeavors, or work. Our strong need to control obscures our vision, and we fail to see options and make choices that would significantly improve our lives emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and financially.”
Need Surrender be Faith Based?
Letting go of control or surrendering clearly can be faith or religious based. However, advocating the benefits of surrender on that basis limits its appeal and value to many people. Non-believers or doubters will likely take objection, as some did to the Rabbi’s post, and thus not sufficiently consider the underlying merits of letting go of control.
Surrender needs not be faith based to be effective. It can also be reality based or accepting life as it is. Once we recognize that there are many things in our lives that we cannot control, or over which we are powerless, it simply makes sense not to devote our time and energy to fruitlessly trying to control or change them.
Need Surrender be Total?
In my experience, we don’t have to “totally” surrender things in order to enjoy the rewards of giving up control. Even small steps help. If total or ferocious surrender is the prerequisite, many, if not most, people will be reluctant to try releasing control. Control is such a deeply ingrained pattern in most of us that it is unrealistic to assume that you can switch from control to no control in one fell swoop. That’s why in Losing Control, Finding Serenity I encourage readers to start gradually in giving up control in “low stake” areas of their lives so that they can get comfortable with the process. You can then up the ante as you go forward.
Thus, I recommend that you start by taking small steps in letting go of control or surrendering. If you decide to try, please let me know how it goes!
And remember……Let it Go!