Why does the West in particular have this obsession with not giving up? Why this determination to not be a “quitter”? What is this obsession with hearing the story of the one who won’t stop?
These are all questions I’m asking because it seems that we in the West especially are averse to approaching the Void, the place of ultimate surrender. The Olympics always brings this into stark relief for me.
It is often noted that in traditional cultures around the world, those who undergo initiations to become spiritual leaders of their people, have to simulate or approach death in some way—death being an event of ultimate surrender. There are examples of having to survive in the wild alone or fast for weeks or sleep in a tomb for months. In one culture, initiates had to jump into a mass of swirling water at the top of a waterfall. If they struggled, they either drowned or went over the top of the waterfall and died. However, if they surrendered, they flowed with an underwater current that took them through a series of rock fissures behind the waterfall that essentially functioned as a naturally-made waterslide and that jettisoned them safely out onto the lake near the bottom of the waterfall.
Initiations ask us to Give Up.
Now giving up in this sense doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means, rather, shifting from doing into Being. Of becoming one with the Flow. Of Trusting the Greater Purpose even when what is happening on the surface makes absolutely no sense to us and all our instincts are telling us not to surrender.
As Ingerman says, “We can’t think our way through an initiation. We can’t struggle our way through.” We can’t Olympic-sized power our way through either. We must surrender by going deeper and then surrender again, going even deeper into our True Nature.
One reason we avoid the Void is because we are afraid of emptiness, of annihilation. We try to fill the space of the Void with anything and everything.
What initiations (crises of all kinds: illness, career, relationships, loss, politics (!)) are inviting you to surrender into the Void?
How do you embrace the Void? By surrendering.
How are ways you can surrender?
Create space in your life.
Live in the now.
Accept not knowing how or when or why.
Enjoy the moment.
Breathe. Breathe again.
Rest some more.
Repeat the mantra: All is well. All is well. All is well.
What are ways you can think of to surrender and merge with the Void, trusting and knowing you’ll get through this passage, coming out the other side, with more Oneness and Love?
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Monica McDowell is a dynamic speaker, author, and practitioner in alternative wellness and spirituality. Find her on Thought Catalog here. She is the author of The Girl with a Gift, Confessions of a Mystic Soccer Mom, You are Light (internationally published by 6th Books in over 14 countries) and My Karma Ran Over My Dogma, and has the distinction of being the first ordained minister in America granted civil rights by a federal ruling. She lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and can be reached at email@example.com.