Will and Surrender

I was looking down a fairway. I hadn’t played golf in 15 years and was never good anyway. (You don’t have to know or even like the game to read on).

But here I was looking down a fairway again, my little white ball atop the wooden tee and my club head hovering above ground right behind the ball, ready. I held the club still, and focused. I wanted to hit the ball strong and straight. I wanted to see it soar through the air, a projectile of my virility, defying gravity then coming to rest exactly where I planned. Right.

As I began my swing my mind started to wobble. A brown ant was crawling over the shiny pitted surface of the ball. Was I really going to send it flying through the air at I-don’t-know-what-speed? My muscles tightened just-that-little-bit too much, and what should have been a clean stroke became an ungainly swipe. The ball was still there, and so was the ant.

I prepared for my second attempt – more tense than before. My fingers twitched and I gripped the club with new determination. This time I had to do better. One screw-up was enough.

The ball swerved into a pond.

I finally accepted I would never be ‘good’ at this, and my third try was far more casual. I plonked the ball down directly on the grass and swung without a care. The ball went straight and long, just like I’d wanted it to in the first place.

For the rest of the afternoon i explored the relationship between Will and Surrender. With each shot i sought to balance determination and focus with the softness of trust. Each time I hit straight it was because I surrendered enough at just the right moment. But how difficult it was to let go of the need to hit hard and straight, even though I knew that was why the shot went wrong in the first place!

For three hours the relationship between the will and surrender proved mercurial and unstable. When I thought I had it figured out, my newly constructed approach didn’t work at all. The ball continually reminded me so, as it flew in all directions but the one I intended.

Like I said you don’t have to play, or even like golf to get the message. Gripping too tight is just hanging on, and when we hang on how can life flow smoothly?

With Breathwork there is a fine balance between will and surrender. We need the will to keep on breathing, but we need the surrender to allow what needs to unfold. If we effort to find out what it is, it evades us. If we limit our effort to the rhythm of our breath, we notice more as we enlarge our awareness with each conscious, connected cycle.

Now we’ve completed the first half of 2016, what are we ready to release from our lives? After all, how can we have clear vision of what we want and need if old toxic thoughts and feelings cloud our view?

Perhaps next time you do a breathwork, you may consider that each exhale is a release. The last exhale of life is the release of everything. All our thoughts, memories, accomplishments, acquisitions, emotions, baseball cards and stamp collections – they all go with that last breath. Down to zero.

What if we use our exhale consciously to do it now? We know that breath accounts for the largest portion of physical, psychic and emotional detox. Why wait? What if the things we hang onto are the very things that stop us reaching our full capacity as humans?

What is there in your life that calls for your surrender?

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