Surrender: A Journey from Resistance to Acceptance

Exploring the Path of Acceptance and Surrender

In AA, it’s common to hear the phrase “acceptance is the answer to all our problems today.” This is something I’ve thought about through my entire sobriety, but it wasn’t until I started actively practicing surrender in a profound way that I really understood what it means to let go. Letting go and releasing all the underlying tension and negative emotions of a situation is like “dropping a weight” (Hawkins 8). I have been practicing surrender for a long time now. Like psychiatrist and spiritual teacher, David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D discusses, now I am able to let things go before I start ruminating about them in my mind.

Gaining Awareness: The First Step in Letting Go

It took me a while to really understand this process, and it’s not something that just happens overnight. I’ve had to really reel myself in. For example, in the past, while disagreeing with someone over text or waiting for someone to respond, I’ll find myself checking my phone obsessively. Through my practice of letting go, I have gained a more profound sense of awareness that allows me to at least notice that I’m acting obsessively and checking my texts over and over. Awareness is the first step in surrender while also accepting that it takes more work to release the resistance in some situations. 

My two main intentions in life are love and forgiveness. The practice of letting go helps me to prioritize these intentions. It reminds me constantly to love unconditionally and forgive always.

The "Okay" Response: A Simple Tool for Diffusing Tension

My therapist taught me a simple yet brilliant tool a few years ago: When someone says something that rattles you, simply respond with, “Okay.” It is remarkable how many arguments I have stopped or how many attacks and snide remarks I have responded to by just saying, “Okay.”

I use this word in many difficult interactions these days. And just like the process of surrendering, it took me a while to have it become instinctual. When in a disagreement with someone, I often respond, “Okay, I hear you.” Or simply, “Ok.” With this response, I am not resisting; I am accepting. And simply by not resisting, one can disarm the other person by just feeling heard and that their point of view matters.  In most cases, there are always two sides to a story, and there are always other ways to be “right” about that one same thing.  Furthermore, it allows space for the other person to process their feelings, and the cycle of emotion is allowed to ebb and flow  without resistance. 

The Ripple Effect: How Acceptance Influences Those Around Us

When we get thrown, it’s often because there is resistance coming from within ourselves or from the people around us. If someone close says something that triggers us like, “That was not nice!” We most likely fire back with something to defend ourselves, which perpetuates the argument. It’s a never-ending cycle. This is why the “okay” response is a lifesaver. That magic little word has helped me let go of so much negative energy and enabled me to be more aware of my resistance.

The Physicality of Resistance: Tuning Into Your Body

These days, I can actually feel it in my body when I’m resisting. I feel myself begin to ruminate. Just having this awareness and the simple tool of “okay” has changed so much. There are fewer arguments and less stress. Without this awareness, I would have been too stuck to even realize I was resisting. Now, I have the ability to let go. 

The Wisdom of Non-Resistance: Lessons from Loved Ones

If we resist every time we don’t get our way or think we are right, we would most likely be surrounded by people who act in the same way. However, I’ve discovered that the more fluid I am, the more I stay in non-resistance with ease, the more it rubs off on the people around me, especially my closest family members. 

My sponsor gave me a great piece of advice once: “In life, you can have anything you want, but not everything.” It took me quite some time to understand what she meant. But after some time, I realized that resistance is the negation of this statement. We can have anything we want, but we get there by acceptance of what is. We cannot have everything we want, and we surrender to knowing that we can’t. 

Life stays hard when we are are on ourselves

Even more importantly, it’s essential to become aware of resistance towards ourselves. If we do something we aren’t happy with, like cooking a meal that didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We don’t get angry with ourselves for it; instead, we accept that everyone messes up a meal. I notice that about people all the time: they get upset about something, and then they also get upset with themselves. I call that double doing it. In other words, you double the amount of resistance and upset within yourself. 

Life stays hard if we are always hard on ourselves and meet our mistakes with resistance. On the other hand, self-acceptance and non-resistance are important for long-lasting contentment and joy. 

The practice of surrender doesn’t always come easily because it’s tempting to get caught up in the dramas of it all in our fast-paced world. By working on acceptance day-by-day, we can start to see that going with the flow and recognizing that we don’t always have control allows us to live in a greater state of ease, forgiveness, and love. Starting with a simple word like “okay” can be magical and can begin your journey of surrender.

You and your loved ones will begin to feel the shift, one moment of acceptance at a time. 


Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D

Share Post

Awakening 101 Logo

Abdi Assadi is unlike any other healer or spiritual teacher ever encountered. He is an expert in martial arts, and a dynamic healer practicing a diverse array of Chinese and Eastern Medicine, indigenous shamanic rituals, and meditation techniques. With a clinical practice in New York City for almost 4 decades, Abdi has accumulated a vast knowledge of real life experience working with several thousands of individuals, guiding them through the most difficult times, and teaching them how to understand themselves. One of the greatest things about him is he merges the human psyche with the spiritual psyche.

Steeped in deep wisdom and insight that is rare to find on this planet in these modern times, Abdi has an extraordinary ability in perceiving and comprehending human souls and their individual psyche. Guided by the divine, Abdi guides you to open up and see beyond your limited Self, into your own soul. His impeccable discernment enables him to unleash personal remarks that pierce through your veil, statements that you will never forget and in an instant alter your perception of yourself and your reality.

– Quotes from Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi:

All spiritual masters teach us that love is an activity before it is a condition – and that love is all-encompassing.
Page 18

It felt like I was coming off a race track and driving in a school zone. He knew, years before I did, that my speed was my way of suppressing my early childhood anxiety, and that only slowing down could heal it.

Why do you need to use all these words like God and spirituality? It is right here Abdi, all around you, all the time
Page 40

one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Page 51

Ultimately it keeps grace out of our lives because we are using our will power to manipulate every event and person around us.
Page 74

His lesson, which I had begun to learn for myself, is that outside circumstances do not define our internal experience if we can surrender into them. Painful or undesirable situations will always arise; true suffering comes from our ego’s desire to resist life as it is.
Page 77

Note from Pernilla:
I met Abdi in the fall of 2014 and when I arrived in his office the first thing he said was, “It’s time that you stop carrying other people’s anxiety.” In the year that followed, my entrenched codependency patterns reared their ugly heads and I was confronted with a part of myself that I had never even known was there.

A few years later, Abdi said, “When are you going to start writing your book?”I looked at him in surprise. I was not a writer. My expertise was centered around creating crazy good Excel spreadsheets. However, I started writing and collecting notes about life issues and life experiences … and here we are a few years later.

Sally Kempton is a preeminent meditation teacher of our time.

She is an expert scholar in Hinduism and all Hindu texts especially in Kashmir Shaivisim. Formerly Swami Durgananda, she left monastic life in the 1980’s to teach publicly. She has written several books and is one of the most known and loved spiritual teachers in our time.

Note from Pernilla:

I met Sally at one of her workshops at City Yoga in LA in 2003. She had the most gentle and loving disposition, and I just wanted to always be around her. I was fortunate to have been part of her two year-long “Transformative journey” courses in 2006 and 2007 and many retreats ever since. She is the true representation of unconditional love and transmits intense shakti from her Guru Swami Muktananda.

Sally is the primary building block and foundation in my spiritual journey. Without her, I would have never found and stuck with meditation – the most transformative experience of my life. Without her, I would have been lost without a clue where to go next. Her wealth of knowledge of yogic philosophy and incredible understanding of the human condition is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.  She understands your depth and makes you feel seen, heard, validated, and deeply loved.