Active Surrender: The Root of Empowerment, by Loren Swift

What does it mean to surrender in spirituality? How is the idea of active surrender revolutionary in our healing? Loren Swift explains.

Every time someone said “surrender” to me in the midst of a spiritual crisis, it felt like I was being asked to give up my hopes or dreams. That I was wrong or what I wanted didn’t matter. It took a while to realize surrendering has nothing to do with accepting defeat. I love how Loren talks about the art of active surrender in this beautiful piece she wrote for us.

It really resonates with me, and I couldn’t have put it in more eloquent words! I also admire her ability to combine spirituality and science into her approach.

Note that her words are deeply healing, and require you to slow down with them, to really integrate their depth. So, unwind to this post with a warm beverage, and let her wisdom soothe you!

“To surrender into our hearts is to live fully at choice and to be fully empowered.”
-Loren Swift, The Earth Keeper’s Handbook: Assuming Leadership in a New World

When power and control are highly valued modes of being, the notion of surrender can seem a weak position. But maybe our definition of power and our need for control are out of sync with a fluid, more fulfilling life.

Control is an aspect of domination, which Vasundhra also calls a sign of wounded masculine energy. It’s a method to keep unwieldy and undesirable factions at bay, disenfranchised and powerless. Whether those undesirable parts are on the inside or outside of us.

power, confidence, strength

This power-over approach stems from a lack of trust that our needs matter, or that the world is kind, generous and will provide for us.

A sense of separation ensues, along with scarcity, fear and isolation from the earth and community and the natural abundance that life is.

By this time, the idea of surrender has become extremely frightening. It’s as if we must be in control in order to survive the hostile environment surrounding us.

This mindset is a vestige of the Newtonian-Cartesian model of physics of over 300 years ago. It is a mechanistic portrayal of life that assumes everything is comprised of discreet, inert and spiritless parts. The sense of being separate from nature and at odds with the natural processes we emerged from and depend on, follows.

The Cartesian model still informs our thinking and assumptions about the world and ourselves. We are overdue for an overhaul.

In fact, we are not separate from the earth or the surrounding environment, or from one another. Our intense need for belonging and social connection, our interdependence not only with others but also with the natural world, upend the illusion of separation.

we all crave connection to nature, active surrender as a spiritual act

In contrast to the mechanistic model of the universe, the current scientific model depicted by quantum physics proves that everything is connected.

We live integral to one big, multi-dimensional, vibrating fabric of energies and consciousness. We belong to the creative life force, we are made of it, and therefore, we are necessarily imbued with creative powers.

So, we are anything but helpless. Surrender is an empowered act into the centre of our being, the place that touches into all-that-is.

Surrender, as I use the term, is the choice to follow constriction, defensiveness or fear when we sense it in ourselves. Rather than to numb ourselves, deny or otherwise avoid it.

One of the reasons we tend to constrict rather than to surrender into what is, is because surrender often includes softening and feeling our emotions, which can lead to opening our heart.

And this is exactly what we need to do to heal and become whole. The heart is the seat of empowerment. It is the center of our true intelligence; emotional, spiritual and intuitive. The heart knows what is so sooner and more accurately than the rational mind, which carries on with the learned programming of our upbringing.

Our habitual reliance on the narrow band we call “rational thinking” frequently steers us wrong. It takes us down familiar, dead-end roads. The wisdom of the heart sees right through to the essence and understands what is instantaneously.

Our task, then, is to learn how to listen to our hearts. It starts with learning how to be with what is. Active surrender is a direct path to this ability to be present and connected with what arises at any moment.

When we approach ourselves and our emotions with tender attention, we allow for gentleness in our discoveries.

Emotions are the lifeline of connection and understanding with ourselves as well as everyone else. To deepen self-connection, it is important to develop and integrate a compassionate observer-self. And to observe ourselves with kindness.

looking in mirror, observe yourself, self awareness, active surrender, spirituality

The choice to hold ourselves and others with kindness and consideration unravels the experience of separation. It brings us back to our innate knowing and the authenticity of the heart. Our liberation depends on our reawakening this inner wisdom.

Freedom is gained through effort. But it isn’t the effort of fighting against something. Rather, it is through actively surrendering into love.

To gain full freedom nonviolently, that is with compassionate presence, shifts the dominant paradigm internally and externally. When we soften and allow all aspects of ourselves and others room to be, we move from separation and exclusion to connection and inclusion.

This is a revolutionary path. The Earth Keeper’s Handbook offers practices that support our nonviolent liberation into love. Once we stop, notice, reflect, feel and acknowledge our internal experiences, then we have access to a whole new world of possibilities.

Concluding Thoughts

It is simply the limitations of our beliefs and expectations that keep us bound to lesser possibilities. We can use the spiritual act of active surrender to gain freedom from the limiting programming we’ve received.

When we surrender into our hearts, constrictions and limits melt and are transformed in the alchemy of love.

Loren Swift
Loren Swift

Loren has a deep appreciation for the scientific, the psychological and the mystical. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in counselling from Oregon State University. Previously, she was a licensed psychotherapist working in the field of addiction recovery and dissociative disorders in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been a certified Nonviolent Communication trainer since 2005 and has worked as a life coach for nearly 20 years, integrating her various backgrounds to support couples and families in finding tenderness, joy and connection through mutual understanding and to support collaborative group endeavours for systemic change.

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