People admire someone with definite goals who succeeds in achieving them. But, pursuing a concrete goal does not always result in personal, relational, or career success. And what about those free spirits who fall into the right job, the right relationship, or the right opportunity without having a plan in mind at all? What role does the path of spiritual surrender have in life?
Goal Setting – a Necessity?
Many teachers emphasize the need to set clear intentions to manifest one’s desires. This is not only the case in spiritual practice but also for business and careers. Towards this end, we make lists, set priorities, create vision boards, and speak affirmations. What could possibly be wrong with assuming that progress begins with goal setting?
Spiritual seekers commit themselves to visioning the desired outcomes and having faith that the universe will manifest what they envision. Often, a clear focus and consistency in assuming the reality of the wish fulfilled yields the expected results. But not everyone who commits themselves to spiritual practice will experience unequivocal outcomes. Failure may then lead to self-recrimination or blame placed on the teachers. It may result in giving up spiritual practice and resuming possibly harmful behaviors as compensation.
To know why goal setting and visioning are sometimes problematic, we must explore the complexity of the spiritual mind.
Spiritual Surrender and The Illusion of Control
As the human mind is bound by physical reality and by individual perspectives, desires that arise in the mind are similarly limited. How can we truly know what is in our best interest? Our awareness doesn’t take into account the myriad possible connections we may have with people and events.
Thoughts of the past and hopes for the future burden us. We may not be aware of the extent to which we link our thinking to our emotions and past experiences. What we may consider bad and unwanted–say, a cancer diagnosis–may be needed to create the right conditions for us to evolve or heal some deeper, emotional wound. Success may require us to surrender to the unknown, rather than seek to consciously use the law to shape life according to our preferences.
What is needed is access to a higher consciousness – outside of time and space – to sense and tap into the flow of life.
A New Premise
Cultivate a relationship with the divine and learn how to use intuition to live a happier, more successful life. This process starts by assuming that the power of intention and individual vision are activated in partnership with the divine. Use mental discipline to create a receptive inner environment in which we can receive divine guidance.
Sometimes, a goal may be unworthy of our attention. We need an inner process to understand when and if this may be true. This promotes the development of the spiritual mind.
Four Steps to Spiritual Surrender
First, encourage a sustained awareness of your inner voice. There are many practices, like meditation, that help quiet the mind and bring one into stillness. By cultivating a state of calm within, it then becomes possible to distinguish between the urging of the ego and the whispering of inner truth.
Second, learn to comprehend your spirit’s message. Some people hear a voice; others obtain access to the inner truth by interpreting images or feelings that arise when in the flow state. Each person has their own soul language.
Third, accept inner guidance when offered. Sometimes, the spiritual mind will indicate a path of action that conflicts with a person’s strongly held preferences. To acknowledge one’s resistance and to release it – this is the path of spiritual surrender. It leads to true success.
Fourth, act in alignment with this high consciousness once you have brought your inner guidance into conscious understanding. To choose words and actions that are in harmony with the inner self is to act for the highest good.
All is Well
When we use divine guidance as a primary tool for personal growth, expect the unexpected. Deep desires, which may not have been voiced as intentions, can then be spectacularly fulfilled. Acting from alignment with source means going forward in a state of peace and equanimity. This includes various strolls on the path of spiritual surrender. Everything is always working out for you.