Complete Surrender

I don’t understand what it means to completely surrender to Dhamma and the technique of Vipassana. The first step to surrendering is to let go of control and have faith in the practice to guide me, but am I also relinquishing responsibility and ownership of my life and actions? Once I accept that someone else is at the steering wheel how do I avoid deferring responsibility for where I’m going?

It seems like the very definition of the words “control” and “responsibility” are artificial. Do I every truly have control of anything? And if not, how can I be responsible for the outcome of events? With Dhamma, it feels more like a river current. I can feel the difference between when I’m following the tongues of the rapids down the fastest flow, and when I’m caught in the vortex of an eddy, being driven into the river bank or back up river. I don’t know what the river looks like in the miles to come, but based on my experience on the river so far, and what people who have travelled further on this river in the past, heading down the river is best. The only control I have is whether tread water closer to the center or closer to the edge of the river.

I carry, along with many others, the illusion that I can have complete control of my life and the situations I arrive in, but these are just branches in the river I clasp to for fear of the unknown down river. When I cling to a branch, I can see the river banks and become used to, and comfortable with my surroundings. This familiarity feels safe, but over time, the river will change, and my time in this life will end. While allowing myself to rush down the center of the river is scary, having faith in the path, and finding comfort in the rolling rapids is how I define complete surrender. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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