• Peter M

Give up the Narrative

Surrender is often considered a key element in waking up to our truest/deepest self. Surrender to the Guru, Surrender to God, Surrender to Truth..... But it is a challenging concept. What does it actually mean? In itself it is quite abstract and hard to relate back to one’s own experience. It is also open to interpretation and abuse and is consequently potentially dangerous. Does it mean giving up personal responsibility? Giving up one’s conscience? Both of these are risky strategies if the one you are surrendering to is not deserving of that degree of trust.

Another way to think of ‘Surrender’ is to give up the personal narrative. Stop listening to and giving validity to the story we are constantly creating about ourselves and telling to ourselves. If I look at my experience there is a constant weaving together of all the disparate threads that create the content of my experience into a seemingly coherent picture with me front and centre – the hero or maybe the villain of my story. That story acquires a life of its own, a momentum propelling it forward through time with its roots in past events and projected forward full of expectations for me in my future. It acts as a comprehensive filter of the unfolding of each moment so that what is seen reflects back an affirmation that I exist, that I have a role to play, that I am important/not important at all (depending on what neurosis is playing itself out). It helps to locate a separate ‘me’ in a world outside of ‘me’.

Can we drop the story? Can we allow the unfolding to occur and participate in it without needing to overlay it with a narrative, with a projection, with a fabrication that obscures the whole picture? Can we throw the whole thing overboard and stand ‘naked’ and undefended? And then not turn “dropping the narrative” into yet another narrative.....?

Peter Mitchell

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