Claim this small space of time as your own. Let yourself rest here for a few moments. For now nothing is required of you. Simply breathe: in, out; in, out.

When you feel quieted, both in your mind and in your body, ask yourself what comes to mind when you hear the word surrender. Do you think of defeat, humiliation, loss of power, even entrapment? Or do you think of love, humility, the willingness to change, the commitment to make a difference in the world? If you feel a mixture of reactions, can you sift through them, determining their sources within you or in your beliefs about the world?

It is not only Christianity that sees value in self-surrender. In the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, for example, Krishna – the Divine – says, “Abandon all varieties of purpose and simply surrender unto me alone…. Do not fear.”

What is your response? Identify any emotions that arise in you. Imagine you can ask Krishna what he meant by this. What do you think his answer would be?

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says, “Surrender is to say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” Does this give you a new understanding of what Jesus, Ignatius, and Krishna were talking about when they call us to self-surrender?

Carl Jung had this unusual definition of God: “the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.” How does this relate to the concept of self-surrender…?

Mindfulness meditation is sometimes said to also be an act of surrender. By turning your awareness away from your regular preoccupations, you allow your smaller ego-self to drop away so that you can connect with your true, essential self, the part of you who lives in connection with the Divine. You surrender the small self with all its limitations so that you can enter your vast, eternal self.

What is your emotional response to all these ideas? Do you feel any clearer in your understanding of self-surrender? What questions remain?

As you go back to your ongoing life, carry these questions and reflections with you. Allow them to percolate in the back of your mind as you go about your day. Return to them tonight as you settle yourself for sleep. Consider specific ways that self-surrender might take shape in your life in healthy and life-giving ways.

Patrick Saint-Jean in The Spirituality of Transformation, Joy, and Justice